Jay’s final days in the land of the Dingo and the Blue Moutains Sydney Australia

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It’s now our third day back in Sydney and we’re all getting ready for our 11 hour trip back home.

It’s been a long holiday and everyone seems excited to come back and get started with the 2013 year.

For the moment we’re just trying to sort out some major over-weight luggage issues. When we left we had four bags over the 23kg limit. Now that we are on our way back, I dread to think how much we all weigh in at the airport. I am pretty convinced that the luggage weight system at airports is corrupt. We had had several discrepancies about it.

IMG_2041Quantas Airlines do this weird thing where they weigh each bag instead of doing it in groups. This caught us off guard as were used to weighting everything together. This of course is the largest money making scheme in airline history. Each bag must weight under 23 kg and there is no leverage, so it you are 0.3 kg over you had best start shifting shirts around to different bags. They will make you pay.

Caryn and I were having a good laugh when this happened, we of course packed light as instructed with our bags weighing in at a comfortable 18kg and 20 kg initially. If they had weighed all the luggage together then we would have been able to give people 8 extra kg to work with.

Anyway So we’re all trying to shuffle luggage around to fit in the weight but it looks like we’re going to buy an extra bag to fit the extra.

Our couple of days in Aus have been much better than the first. Caryn and I slept like crazy on day 1. The two hour gap meant we had woken up at 4am to get to Sydney, initially. Sigh and just when we had started to get acclimatised to the jet-lag.

IMG_1825Day 2 we went on a bus trip through the blue mountains. Aus’ famous blue gum forest. The day was particularly interesting considering that the country was on high alert with the largest fire warning conditions in history. It was the 5th hottest day in recorded history here 39.9 Degrees Celsius and even the wind was a blazing heat. But it was luckily cooler in the mountains.

They are called the blue mountains because the gums let off a steam that makes the atmosphere look blue in the distance. And yes you can see it.

On the way back we hit a zoo to see all the marsupial animals. Kangaroo dingo etc. That was pretty cool and I even got to touch a koala.

Today being our last day is going to be spent finding some presents for everyone. It’s going to be tough but I’m going to try find some nice fun stuff for everyone especially on our budget.

To end we are expecting to arrive around 4pm on Thursday. We might be a bit exhausted but will see! I am looking forward to travelling back in time, I wonder if we went fast enough whether we would end up creating a wormhole and transporting back to the 1970s…radical dude.

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The black sand beaches of Piha, a #photographer dream.

The lonely surfer

The lonely surfer

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The following day I was really excited. My friend Tony had managed to come up to Auckland for the weekend and Caryn and I spent the day with him.

He gave us a great insight into the world from a NZ perspective and he explained all the benefits of living in country. He introduced us to j & p a lemonade drink that was really nice and took us to a black sand beach Piha that was picturesque.

He is the regional development director of the whole the country’s south island hockey and is loving it. He is also in the NZ squad playing as a goal keeper. We might end up seeing him in a black cap soon.

He also showed us one or two of the Astros in the city and drove us around for the day to other beaches and sights.

Also had a great chill out on the harbour with one or two sun downers and a gamble with the free coupons we were given at our hotel.

That ended with us grabbing one final coffee before saying goodbye late into the night. They have these awesome butterscotch lattes that I tried out.  At the moment we’re making an early morning move to the airport for our final leg of the holiday …Sydney (Again)!  I can’t wait for the exorbitant food prices.

Thanks and email soon

Jay and c

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Beach photography with a difference. Jay Caboz hits the Island of Waikiki, New Zealand


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Our second day in Auckland, New Zealand out was spent on the beautiful island of Waikiki. Yes pristine beaches, vineyards and great weather meant the overall experience was unforgettable.

The day was so nice we ended up spending it on the beach instead of our intended plan of wine tasting.  Added to this was the fact that of the three places we tried to do some tasting, two of them were “full” and could not organise spaces for us, even though there was no one there!  We were very upset about this. So rather than fight with the winery’s we just hit the surf.

When we got back we managed to go up the Sky City Tower for sunset, which coincidentally was the same hotel we were staying at. The day ended with us all going to bed at 10 just after the  sun had set, exhausted.

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Fantastic Marine Life from Jay Caboz’s lens in Auckland, New Zealand

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Auckland, phase 4 of 5

So it’s been a while, in fact a long while since last we chatted. And so the chapter New Zealand, Auckland begins.

Overall the experience here in NZ has been significantly better.  NZ is cheaper nicer and more friendly. They are more down to earth than Aus and a lot easier to associate with.

Our first day out was spent on a hop-on hop-off bus around Auckland. T he tour gave us the general feeling that it had nothing much to offer. This was pretty much true. Many people have said to us that Auck was a good base to move out from and explore NZ and so that was exactly what we did.

Thanks and email soon

Jay and c

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Photographing the geysers (p: gay-sers) of Tauranga and beyond


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I have raved about the fantastic scenery on offer in New Zealand and Tauranga added to this reception. Offering a unique chance to see a whole town that has been built on top of natural thermal geysers.  I went mad photographing these natural wonders and was in my element photographing a scene that is completely different from the South African landscape.

Omokoroa Thermal Holiday Park is a major attraction in the area and I can see why.

At the park is also a Maori Cultural village where we were able to see native Maoris perform their traditional dances as well as the  infamous Hakka. Usually I laugh off these cultural experiences because they are so touristy. But after this I will never laugh at someone who wants to go see a traditional Zulu dance.  It really gives you an insight into a foreign culture.

It was also a good chance to test my camera out in low light and I was quite happy with the results.

We also made our way to the world’s first luge race track.  Everyone had fun going down the hill and some even managed to squeeze in a couple of turns. I wish we could have spent an entire day doing it. It was really fun.

I know I did have not mentioned our day out in Wellington, so to put it simply…don’t go. We had a bad experience with an un-talkative tour guide, who had nothing to say about the city except that he lived there. Nothing was open since it was New Years Day and the wind was horrifically unpleasant.  Wellington’s one and only saving grace was the Tu Papa Museum, The museum has a broad array of artifacts  interactive displays from Maori culture to modern colonial cabinets of curiosity to wildlife diorama’s with an unforgettable giant squid tank.IMG_0288

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From Dunedin to Wellington and into the past..I’m in New Zeland


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Hello mom dad and all.

I am sure by now you are all enjoying the deep soulful sounds of the African bush.

We have been very busy the last few days.

Yesterday we went to the port of Dunedin for a train rode through the NZ “bush”. It was like being transported to the rocky lands of the Lord of the Rings. I can see why they decided to make the movie set here. It’s got a quaint Hilton midlands landscape feel with the sea on its doorstep. Very nice and plenty of photos taken.  The weather was mostly grummy and rainy.

Our next port was at Akaroa another quaint place. We were supposed to have a day out kayaking along the coastline but the company screwed up the booking.  This however, actually worked in our favour, we instead went for a boat tour around the bay and saw dolphins,  penguin,  sea lions,  and some more dramatic landscape scenery! It was a fantastic warm day out after we had begun to think NZ was permanently rain and cloud.

As soon as we hit the main sea line I began to feel the effects of sea sickness, so I missed a good majority of the coastline from the back of the small boat. Things had been going so well up until then.

It’s hard to think that tonight is New Years Eve and we’re expecting a HUGE supper of lobster, rib eye and lamb, so our waiter Enrique says. So try beat an all-you-can eat lobster dinner?  Hopefully by the time I send this message it will not be new years for all of you,  were 11 hours Ahead remember!

Were in Wellington for new years but the weather is pretty miserable so don’t think we’ll be doing much.

The whole town has free Wi-Fi, which is pretty cool, so we’re going to go mad with the emails!

So bye for now!

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First sights of New Zealand, the Sounds…

Sun light catches a rising mist along the cliffs of Milford Sound, New Zealand.  Milford is known as the wettest inhabited place in New Zealand with an average of ten sunny days a year. I just fifteen minutes  the sun had gone for the rest of the day.

Sun light catches a rising mist along the cliffs of Milford Sound, New Zealand. Milford is known as the wettest inhabited place in New Zealand with an average of ten sunny days a year. I just fifteen minutes the sun had gone for the rest of the day.

Do you like the stuff you see? Are you interested in purchasing a print?  I want to hear about it!

So today marks our third day at sea

We have been relaxing and chilling for most of the time. And of course eating some great food!

For the first time we were able to see New Zealand’s landscape.  Our tour took us through the Sounds of NZ. They are fjords that join the Sea at both ends (a fjord doesn’t join at both ends). The best way to describe the scene would be to say that they look like rainy mist covered mountain tops that are at sea levels,  the cliffs are dark grey in colour and the water is a mixture on sea and plain water. At times the water looks almost like reflective glass. Apparently it rains 95 percent of the time. In Milford Sound you would be lucky to get 10 sunny days, our cruise line director told us, how depressing.

The averages held out and most of the day was overcast but in small patches the sun managed to sneak through and we were able to see the rich green colours.

Our next port of call is the famous Dunedin harbour where well be catching a train through more scenic NZ countryside, the famous Taieri Gorge,  and hopefully a chance to send this message off!

Hope all is going well and look forward to hearing from you all soon.

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Greetings from the bottom of Aus…well almost


Arrrgghhh! I hate heights. I was too scared to try the extending glass door on top of Melbourne’s Eureka Tower. But these people weren’t

Do you like the stuff you see? Are you interested in purchasing a print?  I want to hear about it!

Hello all from the middle of New Zealand and Aus!

Yes we have just reached another time zone and as of now are a full eleven hours ahead of you all back in South Africa.

It’s almost freakish to think that we’re a full day ahead now. Alas that’s one tough thing to think about when you are on a lazy cruise ship, it’s far too much effort.

You may have noticed by now that my emails are a little delayed. That’s s because I type them a day or two in advance so as to save time on  bandwidth on the ship. Internet is almost as expensive as the food. And today I threw  R200 trying unsuccessfully to email you and do my fantasy football side. It was so slow that I gave up in the end.

When I last emailed I talked about the Aus lifestyle and how boring and controlled Sydney was…well I stand corrected,  because compared to Melbourne Sydney is amazing. Maybe it was just that it was boxing day and the public holiday was cramping the mood? But the city was really asleep.

We decided not to spend 30 Aus Dollars each on tram tickets each and took a nice 5km walk from the harbour to the centre of town in the morning . Caryn and I then split up from the rest of the Trimm/Upton crew as they went off to tour the Aussie open tennis courts.

Instead, Caryn and I wandered around the town looking for a nice coffee shop which ended up being from the top of the tallest building in the southern hemisphere.  It was a great view and gave a whole panoramic of the cities profile and can’t wait to show my photos of them!

After that we ambled along back to our ship and totalled a decent 12km walk around town.

Today, being our first day onward to New Zealand and at sea,  we did as little as possible. We watched some T.V ate some food at the all-you-can-eat buffets and then read from the book.

The weather although partly cloudy and warm in sunlight has a wicked chill in the wind so no swimming for us or Sun tanning, not that I need it my lobster skin is still recovering. Tomorrow is looking like the weather will be the same so an extended gym session is on the cards.


Sailing along our Cruise Liner, a cargo ship is bound for the port of Melbourne.


Sunlight catches a lighthouse along our route to Melbourne.


The Celebrity Solstice from the front.


Melbourne is an enchanting destination. The formal elements within the city are in abundance, making photography clean and simple in an exciting location.


Along the Yarra River, Melbourne.


A sight to behold. Going up the Eureka Tower is a must to get a glimpse of the Melbourne skyline. A visitor is reflected on a glass panel looking over the city.


A couple take a fishing break under one of the bridges along the Yarra River, Melbourne.


Tram line system connecting Melbourne’s habour to the city. It runs a distance of 9km, which we decided to walk in the morning.

Why go to Australia?

The ferry comes past the famous Sydney Opera house

The ferry comes past the famous Sydney Opera house

It was our first real day in Sydney and after much debate we decided to hit the famous Manly Beach to see what the city has to offer in terms of a beach front.

Manly beach is the equivalent to Cape Town’s Clifton shores. The beach is lined with Million Dollar Houses that make the most of its pristine clear waters and high cliff’s.

Along the edge of the surf, there is a perfectly manicured walk way.  Ideal for those who like a scenic run in the morning or a bike ride in the late afternoon.

The Aussies have made extreme efforts to keep their beaches and city’s clean. And with Manly this is not an exception. Unlike SA an extensive recycling programme is efficiently run,  and it is a rare case to see a cigarette butt lying around let alone overflowing trash cans and plastic packets to line the sea water’s edge. It kind of hits you in the face that our beaches at home, although just as beautiful, can be so incredibly tarnished with rubbish. I can’t begin to imagine the impact this is having on SA wildlife.

Surfers gather on the rocks overlooking Sydney's Manly beach. Photomerge.

Surfers gather on the rocks overlooking Sydney’s Manly beach. Photomerge.

In addition, there is also the benefit of there being a warm sea to swim in too let me add so much more appealing than Clifton’s “too cool” temperatures.

There are however some things that just don’t compare with our African homeland. The first and most obvious of these is the fact that prices in Aus are outrageous. There is nothing that is decently priced. One should expect to pay around four times the price for drinks , R70 -more, as well as almost  R300 for the average meal. This is not the location for a budget vacation. The roos will suck your wallet dry on everything they can including charging R20 to rent a shopping trolley.

We are struggling to find the strength to resist such evil temptation and often a shout or deep shocked breathe will result once a simple Rand to Aus dollar conversion has been made. Alas some members of my crew seem able to overcome this powerful resistance and are drawn like moths to a flame to each and every dress store sale present.  (I shall not mention her name but you know her quite well.)

So far I have managed to pull myself out of having to share the…experience.

I can see why people want to come live here. They mood is generally jovial and one can expect the nightlife to start buzzing from about 10am (yes I mean that Aussies start drinking early). In the peak of summer the sun sets at around 8pm. There is a fantastic array of city lights and small cafes spring up like coral reefs under the skyscrapers during the day.

Yet I still feel incredibly out of place here. Here. There is nothing like the open friendly interest as with my journeys through Spain, but rather it’s like talking to a succubus politely chatting to its food while it’s in the cooking pot. There is just something that is too artificial about Sydney. Everything is too perfect. Everything is too clean. Under the surface there is nothing that would draw me back here. There is no raw South African flavour. Everything is under tight management and its reflected in a culture that has gotten used to being told to beware of strong currents ( Manly beach was closed due to strong currents that day, there was  even a loud speaker that would shout at people on the beach to get out of the water) or follow the pathways.

Where is the adventure I ask? Where can I go to find a place that has been unexplored that doesn’t have over the top security signage? My arty spirit feels like wanting to challenge the rules and regulations of Sydney’s lifestyle rather than become a part of it.

I guess in the end its better being South African in Aus. It’s much more fun seeing this outside lifestyle than trying to be part of it.

Thanks for all the news!  Keep us up to date.Looking forward to the T.V.!


The water dragon, a protected species of Lizard found along the coastlines of Australia.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge.


A mother and child walk down the steps leading toward the Sydney Opera House.


More photos from Manly beach, here a man was sleeping on the concrete wall.


A tidal pool along the pathway leading from Manly beach


Picnic benches surrounded by sand screens. Something you would never see in South Africa.


The backstreets of Sydney, near the Holiday Inn Hotel.


Rail lines and roads, the mechanisms that run Sydney’s transport system.


Light creeps through the overpass of a highway system, near the Sydney Fish Market.


Ports at the Sydney Fish Market



I loved the sky bridge which created a fun way to frame the Sydney Botanic Gardens in the distance.


Reflections of buildings along the Sydney CBD.


Mrs Macquarie’s Chair in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney. They are sandstone steps that overlook the Sydney harbor.


A wedding procession walks along the Botanic Gardens path in Sydney. The area seems to be a popular location for weddings, we saw three sets of them in just one day.