AUSSIE TOUR 2005
Thursday 7 th April
When did it start at Melbourne Airport
Became the lucky tour as decreed by June Sakamota [something about big men –WWE at LAX airport and arms around-too much information]. There was also the small matter of no visa to Australia but charm does wonders not only did June and Kay get visas but also at no cost!
One 12 seater bus and Matt’s CRV picked the majority of the international visitors plus
Peter Le from Sydney plus luggage of Pat Ellis and Jacqueline Chong and we left for Morwell. Our first stop was at a traffic sign warning of Kangaroos and this was our first photo stop
No traffic lights till we hit the Latrobe valley when it was time for lunch at a bakery at Trafelgar
Elsa Chen took a short break after lunch into a book shop and left with a book of paperfolding out of Chicago published in 1895. ![Lucky tour]
Went to a local drive through liquor shop which caused amazement to the Japanese , USA and Singaporean guests. Something about drinking and driving I think. It became a tourist feature as June just had to go back and order some drinks from the bus over the next few days. Adequate beer supplies were obtained we were set for a great convention.
Disembarking in Morwell 2 groups of visiters went to their 2 motels to met again for the evening meal. Italian food at the local pizza restaurant. This turned out to have a wood fired pizza oven and good honest Italian food. Most people were tuckered out and an early night was had by some. Though some nameless Japanese guests did try and evaluate some Australian Beer but with inconclusive results, testing was halted at 0100hours. The testing was set to continue
Friday 8 th April
Next morning breakfast and coffee at a local deli before the real work started . The visiters set up their displays with much enthusiasm including a debate how to clean glass display cabinets I think newspaper was thought to be the best.
By 12 noon I was instructed to take a visitors somewhere as Matt was getting stressed.
North of Morwell was an old Gold mining town in very hilly country called Wahallea. This took us through some bush and at one point a male lyrebird crossed in front of the bus [I have never seen in the wild before] Mr Yamiguichi riding in the front seat this time had carefully put his camera away under the back seat!. So sorry no picture. Still it was great luck to see such a bird in the wild
At Wahalla leisurely walk and lunch was had by all . The steep hills and seeing the houses perched on hills and surrounding bush had a peaceful air about it. All supplies in those days were bought up by horse and cart back . [It took us just under an hour to drive from Morwell which is 150 KM from Melbourne]. A rail line was put in and it became it operational after the gold boom just in time to move plant and equipment down the hill.
Late afternoon and it was time to get back for the opening of Origami House. The presence of road signs of koala and wombats meant time for another photo shoot. The level of excitement for road signs was high what would happen when the guests saw the real thing
Monday 11th April
Following the rigors of the convention a civilized departure from the motels was made with a convoy of bus, Matt’s and Jonathon Baxter’s hire car we set off heading south and slowly climbed out of the Latrobe valley
Caption June pencil and paper again to make sure no one was left behind
Our first stop was at Mirboo North [yet to find Mirboo!] which is on the Grand Ridge road through th Strezlic Ranges A short walk through some temperate rain forest with tall tree ferns in lovely silence all this close to the town centre.
Boarding the bus we went further south till we hit the sea shore stopping at Shelly Beach near San Remo
.Jonathon Baxter wanted to swim back to New Zealand but was restrained. Chris Palmer filled a shirt pocket full of shells and became excited with his finds. Ron Koh could not stop taking photographs [he even had a backup camera. That is why he became the official FA photographer, though this reporter wishes to thank Elsa Chen and Pat Ellis for their photographs also
Some people underwent personality changes as evident by their demonic looks. It must have have been the sea air
After been revitalized by the sea air we boarded our vehicles and reached Philip Island to the first of 4 stops. It was a small island called Churchill Island off Philip Island which was one of the first farms in Victoria. The main feature was the original farm house and out buildings with furniture and farm tools of that era.
Lunch and gift shop were also visited at this time.
Whilst people had lunch I [Martin Liu] took Matt Gardiner and Chris Palmer to a Surf Beach called Smith’s Beach to do a little surfing. After lunch and tour of the house and out buildings we left to see the koala sanctuary with a new driver Elsa Chen driving Matt’s car [This Australia group know how to maximize resources thanks to Jonathon and Elsa for your help with all your driving-we could not have done the tour ]
The Koala sanctuary was a chance to get close and personal with koalas on the tree top walk . The prize for getting closest and longest to the koala was June Sakamato
Clare Chamblain’s daughter tried to convince people to look at invisible koalas and had little success.
By the time we finished there I had picked up Matt and Chris from their surfing
The convoy was back to normal and we left to see the penguins. No photos are allowed there but people did well in the gift shop area. The sitting on concrete steps facing the ocean waiting for the penguins to arrive made one glad to have bought warm clothes.
A small wager on when the first penguin would arrive was won by Chris palmer. I suppose there had to be some consolation for wearing shorts [Chris insisted he was warm blooded] The penguins were very cute as they struggled up the beach back to their burrows with full stomachs to feed their young.
The parade over we headed to Cowes the township of Philip island and broke up into small groups to have a late dinner.at Chinese , Italian etc
With full tummys we left at 9.30 pm and faced a 120 Kilometre drive to the accommodation. Arriving at 1130pm people were pleased to get to their rooms.
A long day and we did not lose anyone
Tuesday12 th April
A slow start to the day Matt Gardiner ,Chris Palmer and Jon Baxter arrived eventually Not quite sure what keep them though Matt does live in the centre of night life in Melbourne as a matter of interest. A drive of about an hour got the Bus and 2 cars to Yering Station a Winery but no time for a tour. It was time for lunch. A 2 course meal with main and dessert
Jon Baxter tends to get in all the pictures [once an actor always camera aware hey Jonathon!]
After Lunch we had a short drive to Healsville Sanctuary to see an abundance of Australian wild life. We had a short guided tour then free to wander the park.
We stayed till 5 pm at which time the gates were closed.
We then drove to a local suburb pub and had a few glasses and a meal without sweets.
Talk about a progressive dinner we then went back to martin’s house where 2 Pavlovas ,Cheese cake and Tia Mirusa awaited were waiting. Enough was left for doggy bags to take home for breakfast next day . Relaxed time for drinking and yarning happened. There was even time to see the DVD of the Japanese TV origami champ ship won for the 5 th time by Satoshi KAMIYA.
A short trip back to the hotel for a well earned rest
Wednesday 13 th April
Today was still sunny ,the weather was great for the whole trip. First stop was at a stately house built in the heady 1880s [gold boom time]. A guided tour was arranged a real upstairs downstairs tour
Lunch was at the Crown Casino with views of the city . After lunch of seafood buffet the group split up with some walking to various city sites including the Aquarium and top of Rilato Building.Martin, June and Yamaguichi left to see the sport of Kings.
Jonathon Baxter tried not to leave by losing his Parking docket but eventually was persuaded to leave. We missed his company and also his driving skills which were shamelessly exploited by Melbourne origami.
After the tours dinner was a a local Chinese restaurant everyone had enough to eat with the last toffee fruit raffled by spinning the lazy susan the winners been Glen Koh and Chris Palmer.
Thursday 14 th April
The first visit was to The Queen Victoria Market for a foodies tour to taste what Melbourians can and do eat
The rest of the day was a chance to shop there or in the city area. Were there some shoppers!! Yamiguichi was seen to enter R M William shop three times!
The only other excitement was martin flattened the battery in the bus. It was only a small hiicup. Martin returned home and picked up his wife to return for the tram car restaurant
Wher we had and 1 and1/2 hour dinner on a tram whilst we had a scenic tour. Martin found out his wife’s favorite coloured flowers [Thanks June]
The tour so far gave no time for late night folding.
Friday 15th April
Took Yamaguichi, Maekawas and Kamiya to the airport to find their flight cancelled
They were given the chose of a flight later that day or next morning They chose the latter.
By time this all happened we decide to have Breakfast and regroup. Alternative plans were made and we hit the paper shops. More football tickets were obtained.
In the evening we and 50.000 other people saw North Melbourne beat Collingwood
The Collingwood hats and scarves worn by Maekawa and Yamiguidch did not help . The Australian game of football is a fast high scoring game with plenty of physical bumps and tackling. Long kicking, fast handballs as well as high catchs off the ground occur.
After dropping everyone back at their hotels the Aussie Tour draw to a close
This article last modified: Wednesday 12 October 2005