Hong Kong- and an Explosion of Experiences

We left Australia, flying out of Melbourne and knowing that this elongated excursion had little more time to run.

But there was one more set of thrills to be had before we turned our noses towards home. Australia, as we all know, is a long way from the UK and anyone with a brain cell realises that the civilized way to do it is to have a stopover. And if you aren’t time-poor, it’s even better to stretch the stopover into a few days.

This means, of course that you need to choose somewhere you want to see, somewhere worth the time. We’d opted for Hong Kong, the nearest thing to China but with a westernised twist. These days I’d be uneasy about visiting this commercial outpost of China, fearful of unrest or draconian laws since it was hauled, kicking and screaming under Chinese government rule. But this was before the protests and the unrest and all was calm.

Our hotel was in Kowloon, which is across Victoria Harbour from Hong Kong Island. Our immediate area was teeming with commerce, especially street food stalls selling a plethora of foods- some recognisable but many not. Plucked fowl were hung by their feet from the tops of stalls as were other, unidentifiable body parts. We needed to eat, of course and were keen to sample street food, but didn’t know where to start. Eventually we found a stall selling pork balls and settled for those; unadventurous but safe!

In order to see Hong Kong Island we had to get across Victoria Harbour. There are ferries but we opted to go via the metro, which runs underneath. Navigating and understanding the vagaries of ticketing and where to go was not easy- it never is in a foreign city- but we managed it. On the crowded train I was struck by the fashion sense of the beautiful young women passengers, most of whom were dressed wonderfully and with immensely vertiginous footwear.

On the Hong Kong Island side there were more bustling alleys full of food stalls and I wondered how it was possible to sell such an abundance of meals and snacks. But then, the entire place is packed solid with people, notoriously so, as is evident in the forest of skyscrapers soaring up to dizzying heights. New blocks were being constructed everywhere despite the fact that there didn’t seem to be any more room for them. The scaffolding for these constructions was all of bamboo poles, which was an eye-opener!

The trams that ran along the main streets had a character of their own. Unlike the long, sleek, snaking trams of European cities they were individual vehicles, quaintly old-fashioned and colourful, begging to be ridden!

Next week; Night markets, the misty peak, the restaurant conundrum and a foray to the mainland via unusual transport.

Grace is also known as the novelist, Jane Deans. Her new novel, The Conways at Earthsend is now out and available from Amazon, Waterstones, Goodreads, W H Smith, Pegasus Publishing and many more sites. Visit my website: janedeans.com or my author page on Facebook: (1) Jane Deans, Novellist, Short Fiction and Blog | Facebook

Australia 2011: Alice Springs and Adelaide

We’d arrived to Alice Springs and the end of our exploration of this enormous country’s red heart. True, we’d only scratched the surface, only had time for a brief flavour of the extraordinary landscapes, but we’d still a lot more to see and do. We had time for a peremptory examination of Alice Springs, a town I’d hitherto mainly associated with the Nevil Shute novel, ‘A Town Like Alice’ and film of the same.

Modern Alice is a pleasing place with a hint of wild west about it and enough shops, bars and restaurants to satisfy passing tourists. I still have [and wear] the rust coloured safari shirt patterned with Australian wildlife that I bought there. By now we’d passed a substantial part of the UK autumn in the southern hemisphere- their spring, and Christmas was not too far ahead, would be upon us once we got back home. But there was little in Alice to herald the event, and it was hot, although by this time we were well acclimatised.

We had a domestic flight arranged for Adelaide, where we were to spend a couple of nights before picking up the next [and final] van for our trip along the south coast. Our hotel in central Adelaide was swanky indeed, the room uber modern with one of those glass bathrooms in the centre that leaves you exposed to your room-mate whatever activity you may be engaged in. Hmmm…

Unlike Alice, Adelaide had moved into full Christmas mode, our hotel foyer bedecked with decorations and Christmas trees and across the street, a department store entrance bore a sleigh complete with reindeer and Santa Claus. And all of this in sweltering heat, the tinsel glinting in sunshine as the air wobbled above the pavements. I suppose anyone who has grown up in what to us is a topsy-turvy climate is accustomed to snowy scenes in stifling temperatures, but it felt incongruous to me.

Adelaide itself I considered to be an elegant, beautifully laid out town with attractive parks and wide avenues. It also seemed to be a bit of a party central, the restaurants and bars not short of revellers of various kinds.

All too soon it was time to leave and to collect our third van of the trip, which was to take us along the famous South Coast Highway and a spectacular coastline, if the guide books were to be believed. There were to be more sights and experiences before our arrival to Melbourne, but best of all, if all went well I’d get to meet up with someone I hadn’t seen since childhood!

Grace is also known as the novelist, Jane Deans. Her new novel, The Conways at Earthsend is now out and available from Amazon, Waterstones, Goodreads, W H Smith, Pegasus Publishing and many more sites. Visit my website: janedeans.com or my author page on Facebook: (1) Jane Deans, Novellist, Short Fiction and Blog | Facebook.

Australia: The Long, Hot Road South

We were on the next leg of our Australian Odyssey, travelling by bus, a seven hour road trip. In the previous post I described how our driver made what could have been a tedious and tiring journey a fascinating and enlightening seven hours by sharing stories and radio clips as well as entertaining facts. The beginning of our drive was early- and dark, meaning that visibilty was limited and as the driver explained, roadkill was inevitable along the road, even though traffic was sparse. Enormous ‘land trains’ are not designed to make emergency stops.

There were breaks along the way at lonely cafes where we could buy meals and drinks as well as art and craft work by indigenous Australians, who were sometimes around, seated outside. The sun’s heat was as unrelenting as the red, dusty road was straight.

We arrived to our stop at King’s Canyon National Park, where we were to undertake a guided walk. As we descended from the cool of the bus the heat assaulted us. Our guide explained that we must choose between a shorter, less taxing walk or a longer, more arduous one. We needed to make this choice on the basis of how fit we were, as if we chose the longer route we’d have to carry at least 2 litres of water. We judged that we could manage the longer hike, a smaller group. Before we got going we were advised not to gulp down large amounts of water but to sip, swigging leading to the necessity for bladder emptying- not a convenient situation out here in the bush. I must point out here, however, that those of us who are used to camping are also used to dealing with peeing outdoors. I’d say the guide was more concerned with leaving the landscape unsullied than our sensibilities.

It was hot. The walk was, at times, hard. Sometimes we had to clamber up and down. There was a point when, on the way down some rocks, I inadvertently trod on a snake. We’d been specifically warned to avoid them, but whilst negotiating a steep descent I hadn’t seen the small, black, wriggling creature and it fell foul of my boot. Horrors! I watched aghast as it threw itself out of the path. At least I hadn’t murdered it- although Husband issued a stern admonishment!

There were some wonderful views, including a pristine pool- astonishing in the desert environment- the reflections beautiful. There were also beautiful birds and flowering plants, eking out a living in this parched, unforgiving environment. The rock stacks and ravines towered or plunged, the colours changing through a varying palette of russet, ochre and deep red. It was worth the effort- the climbs and the seering heat, to see such an astonishing place.

We returned to the bus, filthy from sweat and dust but jubilant from having completed the hike. Then it was on to our next destination, Alice Springs, for a stopover and I was looking forward to seeing such an iconic town…

Grace is also known as the novelist, Jane Deans. Her new novel, The Conways at Earthsend is now out and available from Amazon, Waterstones, Goodreads, W H Smith, Pegasus Publishing and many more sites. Visit my website: janedeans.com or my author page on Facebook: (1) Jane Deans, Novellist, Short Fiction and Blog | Facebook.

Peaks and Troughs in Sydney

It’s now a whole 10 years since we threw in our proverbial towels, packed our bags and set off on what remains our longest and most thrilling trip; first to New Zealand and then on to Australia. And while we were to be away for almost 3 months it felt like a real adventure, rather than a ‘holiday’.

I’ve described our trip around New Zealand, and how we were to visit plentry of spots that many New Zealanders have not seen, especially those who live on North Island. We’d timed the visit to coincide with the Rugby World Cup that year but gave ourselves enough opportunity to see the country. Even so, there remain places we missed!

Nevertheless, before the final of the RWC we’d planned to move on- not to return home, but to return to Australia for a look at as many iconic and well-known sights as we could fit in.

Arrival to Sydney from Auckland was late, and by the time our transfer had dropped us at the opulent ‘Seasons Darling Harbour’ hotel it was too late to see or do anything [we’d been last to drop off on the transfer bus]. At check-in to the hotel we were told we’d been booked in the previous year and marked as a ‘no-show’. This was our first hitch of the entire excursion and a real blow, since there were no rooms available, apparently, although the receptionist rallied and offered us a ‘suite’ somewhere high up in the high-rise hotel. This was all very pleasant as the suite comprised a living room as well as bathroom and bedroom, although we were only booked in for the one night!

The following morning, as I sat on the high rise toilet and contemplated the stupendous view of Sydney Harbour I heard a loud rushing noise which was quickly followed by the monorail swishing past the window. Who knew? The commuters would have a tale to tell their colleagues.

Realising we should have given orselves more time to view Australia’s iconic city before collecting our first Australian van, we asked about reserving a second night, only to learn that the price would entail taking out a mortgage, upon which discovery we checked out to seek a cheaper option. This, sadly, turned out to be the ‘backpacker hostel’, providing as stark a contrast to the previous night’s stay as it is possible to describe. Nevertheless we wanted more time to see Sydney and had little choice but to check in.

Wary of the greyish sheets on the bed and the sticky carpet, we left our bags and set off to see the sights, which were, admittedly, quite wonderful- Sydney Harbour Bridge standing stately over the glistening water and the iconic Opera House presiding over all. The waterfont is all you would expect. We took a ferry over to Manly, mainly for the views.

Eventually, after a long day of tourist sight bombardment, we returned to the skanky hovel of our accommodation and made the best of it.

In other areas, our travel fortunes continued to be rocky when a cash machine denied my card and refused to cooperate, which was yet another blow. Without card use or cash we were proverbially stuffed. We gathered together such change as we could muster and bought a phone card which we used to call my bank, who, I was at pains to explain, had been thoroughly apprised of all our travel plans; at which, yes, they did restore my financial capability. Phew!

New Zealand 2011. Northland.

We’d come to the final leg of our New Zealand Odyssey, leaving Aukland to strike out to the country’s aptly named, northernmost part, Northland. Here we motored up to Cape Reinga via ’90 mile beach’, a long, curving stretch of sand up to a headland where two seas meet; the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean. For the Maori these are the male and female seas coming together, ‘Te Rerenga Walrua’, representing the creation of life. Along the way, huge dunes provided a tourist draw for sand surfing, although there were no more than a handful of takers.

Here, as all of the coast throughout New Zealand the waters were clear, striking, azure blue and turqoise, topped with white froth. At the top of the headland where the two seas can be viewed in a turbulent cauldron there is a lighthouse and a couple of helpful signposts displaying distances.

We followed up with a visit to the Waipoua Kauri Forest. The Kauri trees are ancient giants of conifers, rightfully treasured and protected by walkways, platforms and paths. Like the giant Redwoods of California there are revered trees, special for their age or size and we took our time to gape and to wonder, humbled by the dimensions and endurance of these wonders.

There was little of our time in New Zealand left as we headed for Coromandel, where many tiny islands poke out of the sea and the terrain of the Peninsula is green and rolling. Coromandel town is tiny but we located a bar where we could enjoy a drink and people-watch. It was a favourite haunt of the local fishermen who loped in straight from work, wearing shorts and wellington boots.

Then we enjoyed a last visit to the beach at Cathedral Cove. I was glad, here that I hadn’t left it too late in my life to visit New Zealand. The climb down to the cove was not for the fainthearted. But once we’d got there we could understand how it got its name, as the rocks have formed a cave with a vaulted ceiling, as if a demented architect had been down here and built a huge temple on the sand.

It was time for us to leave. We’d had six weeks in New Zealand, meeting friendly people, enjoying the thrills of the RWC and taking in as many sights and experiences as we were able. And I know ther was so much more we hadn’t seen and done; the South Island east coast’s snowy glaciers and caves, the north west of North Island, Aukland and so much more.

But we were scheduled to leave. But not, reader to return to the UK. The trip had much more in store as we were about to leave NZ and take a look at another country- and a very large one, too. But that must wait for another time, another post…

Grace is also known as the novelist, Jane Deans. Her new novel, The Conways at Earthsend is now out and available from Amazon, Waterstones, Goodreads, W H Smith, Pegasus Publishing and many more sites. Visit my author page on Facebook: (1) Jane Deans, Novellist, Short Fiction and Blog | Facebook

New Zealand 2011. Abel Tasman.

If you were to write a tropical paradise then the Abel Tasman National Park, in the north of New Zealand’s South Island could be your guide. As we arrived to our camp site, at Kaiteriteri, the skies were a flawless blue and the sea azure. We’d learned that we could catch a water taxi into the park, be dropped off at the start of a hike and picked up at another point, which was perfect. On the way we got to see ‘Split-Apple Rock’ before the boat pulled in near to the shore and a walkway was lowered to the beach- thus avoiding wet footwear.

By now we had long given up our warm layers, as since moving north [and with the benfit of a few weeks on towards summer] the weather was becoming hot. It had been tricky packing one bag for a long expedition covering all weather conditions but until now we’d at least had the benefit of the van to avoid carting heavy luggage around too much, although later in the trip this did become a headache.

So we spent our day walking along the white beaches, padding across lofty bridges spanning ravines, wandering through forest shaded with beautiful tree ferns and following rippling streams. emerald with reflected vegetation and dotted with enormous boulders, a spectacular way to spend a day.

Next we were off to Nelson to watch Australia play Russia, a wacky event at which the Aussie spectators had gone to town with their outfits. We’d been on South Island for a month and had packed in a lot of sightseeing and rugby. We’d worked our way up to the north, leaving two weeks to see what we could of North Island before moving on to the second big part of our expedition. In order to travel to North Island with our van we needed to get the ‘Interislander’ ferry, which, under good weather conditions would be a spectacularly beautiful boat ride, but on this occasion we were unlucky and made the crossing under grey skies and misty drizzle- which demonstrates that the course of true travel does not always run smoothly. Then we came to Wellington and [appropriately perhaps] the heavens opened and we were inundated.

Another first was that all Wellington campsites were full, which meant we’d need to use the local rugby club’s facilities. We turned up there, following the diversion sign and went to the clubhouse, where we were warmly welcomed by the kindly members, offered use of the club’s showers [an interesting experience] and offered a curry sauce for the chicken curry I was planning to make for our dinner!

We made use of our time to see what we could of Wellington, in spite of the rain, taking a cable car to Victoria Peak and looking at the old, timber government buildings.

Next stop was Napier and its art deco buildings…

Grace is also known as the novelist, Jane Deans. Her new novel, The Conways at Earthsend is now out and available from Amazon, Waterstones, Goodreads, W H Smith, Pegasus Publishing and many more sites. Visit my author page on Facebook: (1) Jane Deans, Novellist, Short Fiction and Blog | Facebook

New Zealand 2011. Arrowtown and Continuing North.

We left Queenstown for the more sedate pleasures of Arrowtown, and to visit friends who’d moved from the UK a few years before and were now firmly established in a small community nearby. Lucky for us, a campsite was within walking distance of their house and was sparsley inhabited.

We went to dinner and were shown around their home which, although a work in progress was already a house to be proud of, not least for its wow factor of a view; mountains surrounding it. I often wonder how much our daily environment shapes us. What is it like to wake to a view of snow-topped peaks every day? Our friends were clearly not unhappy with their choice!

Rising next morning and preparing to look at tiny Arrowtown and walk Sawpit Gully, I took a couple of beer bottles to the recycling bin, where a portly man was reclining on a bench. ‘That’s a viry poor iffort’ he remarked as I dropped the two bottles in, a comment that had me chuckling for days.

Arrowtown is like a little old, wild west town with historic wooden buildings, its main street lined with rustically named stores like ‘The Golden Nugget’ against a backdrop of rocky hills. It is tiny and characterful. In the afternoon we followed the Sawpit Gully trail up into the hills for spectacular views.

Then we were on the move again, to Kaikoura, where the blues of the sky and sea are almost impossibly vivid, like jewellery and the air cool and pure. Young seal pups dotted the rocks and it was here we opted to go whale watching.

Before we left on the sturdy boat, packed into rows inside the cabin area, we were told to expect bumpy seas- and as we got underway and left the shelter of harbour I felt I could have succumbed to the boat’s movement, whci was decidedly quease-inducing. But I stared hard at the horizon and managed to stave it off, until the engines were cut to idle and we climbed up on deck to see the giants we’d come for. Two magnificent whales surfaced and hung around long enough for camera shots and gasps of pleasure from us all. On route back we also spotted an albatross- a giant of the skies with its widest wingspan.

I loved Kaikoura with its postcard perfect scenery. A subsequent earthquake tremor destroyed the beautiful coast road we drove in on and I felt lucky that we had been there at all. Yet it was quiet and we were free to stroll around the bay and sit in the sunshine with a beer and hardly another tourist in sight.

Some Brits we’d met on the Dunedin train ride, Ali and Claire, had recommended the Abel Tasman National Park to us, so it was our plan to travel there next. The skies were blue, the temperature warming, there was still so much to explore!

Grace is also known as the novelist, Jane Deans. Her new novel, The Conways at Earthsend is now out and available from Amazon, Waterstones, Goodreads, W H Smith, Pegasus Publishing and many more sites. Visit my author page on Facebook: (1) Jane Deans, Novellist, Short Fiction and Blog | Facebook

NZ 2011. Queenstown.

You have only to make a cursory search into New Zealand’s highlights for Queenstown to come up in the results. It is known, not only for its stunning scenery but for its opportunities to be active in all kinds of ways. Jet skiing, jet boating, boating, kayaking, walking, mountain biking are just a few. But above all, Queenstown’s biggest draw for thrill-seekers is bungee jumping. And the most famous of all bungee jumps, the place where it all began is the Hackett Bungy at Jack’s Point.

The Queenstown campsite is elevated enough to provide spectacular snow-topped mountain views but was busy, accommodating all kinds of travel vehicles, from bells and whistles motorhomes to spartan, cleverly converted estate cars with cunning stoves that pulled out under the boot lid. The showers were beautiful but, unusually, needed a coin in the slot. In the bitter cold evening I walked across between the rows of campers to the block with my two coins clutched in my hand, intending to wash my hair. When ready, I inserted both coins into the meter, after which the shower ran tepid so I shampooed quickly, expecting the water to heat up. It didn’t. In fact it ran colder than any shower I’ve had before or since, the water feeding down from the snow clad slopes. With a head full of shampoo there was nothing for it but to continue and get finished as fast as possible! Invigorating but brutal and I was never more glad to be dry, dressed and back in a warm van.

Next day we were up for exploring Queenstown.

Now neither Husband nor I was ever likely to willingly throw ourselves off a spindly platform into the void attached to an insubstantial bit of elastic, but we were excited to see others take the plunge.

At Jack’s Point a footbridge spans a deep gorge with a rushing river below. A platform attached to the outside of the footbridge exists for those brave or foolish enough to want to experience the rush of adrenalin that accompanies hurling yourself into a chasm. There was no shortage of these, although most were young. One young boy was clearly terrified as he teetered on the platform, procrastinating until the operator helped him with a friendly shove. We watched him plunge towards the foamy water and bounce back up and down until the movement slowed and he was hauled into the waiting boat, an enormous grin on his face.

Our own modest venture into activity was a jet boat ride, during which we were given helmets and life vests, crammed into a fast boat and swooshed around on the lake.

Best of all, though was to be lifted up the mountain in a cable car and to step out for the most stunning mountain panorama I’ve seen; the bluest blues, the clearest air and a perfect circle of snow capped peaks. Some had travelled up with mountain bikes for a thrill-packed hurtle down, some were undertaking bungee jumps here at the top, but for me, to stand above Queenstown and gaze was breath-taking enough.

Grace is also known as the novelist, Jane Dean. Her new novel, The Conways at Earthsend is now out and available from Amazon, Waterstones, Goodreads, W H Smith, Pegasus Publishing and many more sites. Visit my author page on Facebook: (1) Jane Deans, Novellist, Short Fiction and Blog | Facebook

NZ 2011. Fjordland.

By the time we’d arrived to Te Anau in the far south of South Island we’d settled well into the trip, although the grin was still permanently fixed to my face. I should mention here that packing for a three month trip to another hemisphere was a tricky business. We’d bought large, soft, wheeled, valise-style bags and were aware we’d need to cover all weather eventualities. Here in Fjordland I was very glad of my thick fleece jacket and the layers beneath it and we made good use of the electric heater in the van. The site at Te Anau was one of the ‘chain’ variety, for which we held a discount card and had luxurious amenities with underfloor heating- much appreciated!

Despite the cold, Te Anau was an unearthly place- snow topped mountains reflected in the lake, which was opposite our site. The plan was to get a tour to Milford Sound, which I knew to be an iconic sight. We could get a coach and boat combined trip, better than trying to drive ourselves as the snow-laden roads promised to be difficult.

Having settled at the site and arranged our trip we strolled out in the bitter night air and found a bar where we could watch the day’s match [Japan and the Allblacks, as I recall].

We got an early start on our bus next day but the driver was informative and chatty, making stops for us to see places of interest en route, increasingly snowy as we went. Once we stopped and clambered out into the snow to make snowballs and photograph the landscape and in one of the places cheeky Kea parrots were busy dismantling the rubber trim around a vehicle’s windows. On arrival to Milford Sound we had lunch, then boarded the boat for a tour around the cliffs, inlets and waterfalls of the sound.

This is a place where weather is immaterial. On our day the sky was heavy with grey cloud, the water iron-grey. An occasional sunbeam brushed the tops of the towering mountains with a bright glow. Our skipper took us along the cliffs to where tumults of waterfalls fell, close enough to be drenched, or near to huge expanses of rock where fat sea lions basked. It is impossible to fully describe the majesty of the towering cliff walls of the sound, or the thundering foam of the waterfalls, but it is an unforgettable experience.

We returned to Te Anau via more wonderful places. At ‘The Chasm’, foaming water thundered along deep beneath a huge rock with natural viewing tunnels and in the temperate rainforest I decided I’d fallen completely in love with tree ferns which were everywhere, casting their umbrella fronds in graceful arcs.

Next day we were off again, this time to New Zealand’s great activity playground and with outrageously gorgeous scenery to boot…

Grace is also known as the novelist, Jane Deans. Her new novel, The Conways at Earthsend is now out and available from Amazon, Waterstones, Goodreads, W H Smith, Pegasus Publishing and many more sites. Visit my author page on Facebook: (1) Jane Deans, Novellist, Short Fiction and Blog | Facebook

New Zealand 2011. Ever South…

We’d left the Dunedin rugby pitch in the early morning, following a cold, cold night during which we’d barely slept, and continued our route southwards, this time towards Invercargill. Along the single lane road we would drive through villages and small towns, striking in their rural, agricultural ethos, with strong references to local industry. Most place names were qualified with ‘famous for…’, adding such produce as peppers or apples, and sometimes an extra-large facsimile of a fruit or vegetable adorned a roundabout or a roadside hoarding.

The architecture charmed me in that pavements and sidewalks alongside parades of shops were shaded by overhanging canopies reminiscent of the wild west. Once we’d visited a ‘dairy’ which could be located in every town or village, we never looked back as there were t delicious arrays of cakes, bakes and scones, ruinous for the waistline but scrumptious for lunches. My most overriding feeling during that trip south was that I’d been transported back to my childhood into a gentle reconstruction of the 1950s.

One place we loved was Oamaru, where even the wildlife seemed delighted to welcome us. There were various contraptions in Oamaru’s streets, including a ‘steampunk’ machine that wheezed and blew steam. With all the RWC international visitors, campsites were busy but the sites were clean and comfortable, often with underfloor-heated showers and a variety of accommodation, including simple rooms and an option to share use of a well equipped kitchen. This made for sociable travel as well as convenience. We were often to meet like travellers along the road to the next rugby match or at a site.

We were able to find quiet spots to park up and have lunch-often by a secluded beach. Once we ventured out for a post lunch stroll on the sand, only to be confronted by a beligerent sea lion which reared up in a growling, menacing stance between ouselves and the waves. Husband, in a bid to draw him off, dashed into the water then became cut off by the animal, who’d pursued him. At last the sea lion seemed satisfied that he’d terrified us into submission and loped away.

We reached the Catlins Coast and had our first views of penguins- yellow-eyed penguins along the beach.The coastline had begun to be rugged, waves crashing and foaming on to rocks and at times, a fierce wind. Inland, paths through rainforests held magnificent displays of tree ferns and vegetation dripping with moss and lichen as well as tumbling waterfalls. All was pristine. But this was not a trip for sun worshippers. The weather was cold and often wet, although it never once dampened our spirits.

We reached the southernmost point of mainland New Zealand, Slope Point, where all was bent before the fierce wind. This is the furthest south I have been on this planet.

At Invercargill we stayed at the racetrack and were treated to a view of a trotting cart as we woke up and readied ourselves for the next match. Later, down in the town the pubs and bars were full of kilted Scotsmen, then a thrilling parade of pipers through the streets.What could top this? We were to move on to what became, for me, the most memorable part of the entire trip…

My brand new novel, the eco-thriller, The Conways at Earthsend is now out and available from Amazon, Waterstones, Goodreads, W H Smith, Pegasus Publishing and many more sites. Visit my author page on Facebook: (1) Jane Deans, Novellist, Short Fiction and Blog | Facebook