8 minutes of wonderment covering the highlights of our time in 1995 with our young family in Australia. KHWD has recreated this in 2023 using a lot more modern techniques on old photos to show the art of the possible!
1995 Diary 5 weeks in Australia with the Family
Initially staying with family in Sydney but then other parts of New South Wales, Canberra the capital in Australian Capital Territory, Victoria before flying up to Queensland and hiring our mega 6 berth motorhome with antiquated double declutch gears and no power steering, our first experience in a motorhome and yet we continue to this day despite the battle to drive her, tee-hee.
By way of a Summary, we spent 5 weeks in Australia and were away between 3/8/1995 - 5/9/1995, have a look at our calendar why don’t you, thanks for looking.
Bit of nostalgia for you website browsers, on the old website photos were arranged in batches of 50 via the gallery to make it quicker to load them and easier to navigate through them. In 2020 we updated this so you can now use the slider feature under the 1995 images menu to run across them or click one and then just tab thru, up to you. All You Tube videos from that trip are available via the Playlist buttons above. Enjoy! This is a visual summary of our family trip to Australia in 1995. What lovely memories! We were supposed to have 2 stops on route, Kuwait City & Jakarta but in the end stopped at those and Changi airport, Singapore (where in fairness since 1995 we have been often as our family now live in Singapore, but that’s a different story) plus Denpasar airport, Bali, Indonesia, where we saw a lovely lady doing Batik and Keef filmed her for prosperity, just a fabulous skill and creation, note is also a mecca for Aussie surfers which would have given us and issue on the return journey if we hadn't arrived at Kingsford Smith early as unbeknown to us apparently they always overbook flights, we would worse case scenario have to get the next one and miss our connections, which is not fair plane by the airlines in our humble opinion #badnews. 48 hours travel to save the cost of one child's flight. We would not do that again, far too tiring. Whilst in Oz we visited Sydney, Hunter Valley wine area, travelled the Pacific highway to Hawkesbury River , French's Forest and Annie's old haunts, Hard Rock Café Sydney (defunct for a bit but now reopened at Circular Quay), Used the now defunct Sydney Monorail, visited Waratah Zoo, Botany Bay, Etamogah pubs so unique, ate at Doyle's Watson Bay (why wouldn't you?), Great Ocean Road , Loch Ard Gorge and the 12 Apostles, this was in the days when you could just park opposite them, no longer, now a huge tourist site, think it was better back then, Canberra, Lake Burley Griffin and Parliament house, Melbourne, Mornington peninsular, Keef's old haunts, Philip Island and Japanese tourist who just did not understand "no flash" please!, Ballarat gold panning at Sovereign Hill, Ned Kelly's at Beechworth, Glenrowan, Hopkins Falls near Warrnambool, Melba Gully Glowworms, Anne's Cascade Falls, South Gippsland's Earthworm experience and zoo, and Queensland especially Cairns, Fishery Falls campsite, Mossman Gorge, Gordonvale, Gillies Range, Crater Lakes National Park, Green Island, the Great Barrier Reef, the fab Kuranda Railway, Tapuki Aboriginal dance troop, Port Douglas, 7 mile beach, stinger stations, Daintree River croc and snake boat trip, Doug spotted a huge crocodile, Hartley's Creek Crocodile Farm (now closed but reopened as Hartley's Crocodile Adventures in 2001 ) , Wangetti, Cathedral Fig Tree, Danbulla , The Bruce Highway (highway 1) and the Atherton Tableland. By 2020 including living there as a child / teenager respectively we have been 5 times and still have rellies / friends living there, love the place! By 2017 we had in essence travelled from Caernarvon high up on the west coast all the way around up to Cooktown high on the east coast plus thru the red centre from Darwin to Adelaide including Alice Springs, plus Broome & Kunannarra both high up in Western Australia, oh and all the way around the island of Tasmania, and travelled on 2 of the great world railway experiences, The Ghan from Darwin to Alice Springs, and the Indian Pacific from Perth to Adelaide across the Nullarbor plain which we have also done in a motorhome in 2013. We would have lived in Sydney as a family way back in the late 80s if my company (Boots UK) had given me the job in the rocks area but in the end, they decided it was cheaper to give the job to an Aussie rather than pay for a whole British family to be shipped out there, shame, but travel & life is still fun. Indeed, my pal Peter and his family did do the job in the Rocks, he so loved it when Boots dragged him back to the UK he resigned and returned to Brisbane , where just outside in warner he and his family now live, we have visited them, snakes in the pool and all, ha-ha.
Anyway, to the Diary detail.
Thursday 3rd August 1995
Finish work, travel to London, stay overnight at Mum & Dad’s. We had booked all our flights via the Ilkeston Co-op and planned to snooze either at airports or on the plane, big mistake, we soon learnt that kipping on a plane is not easy with all the distractions around you.
Friday 4th August 1995
Linda drives us to Heathrow, leave Mum & Dad’s at 8 a.m. Linda is having our car for the duration of our time away, I put her on the insurance. Got to Heathrow about 9.30 a.m., heavy traffic understandably. Our first flight was at 11.30 a.m. to Kuwait City in Kuwait. We got there about 22.30 p.m. It was amazingly hot. There gave us a voucher for a drink and sandwich in the transfer area. A guy told me it had been 52 degrees centigrade at lunch that day, the 45 at almost midnight was more than enough for all of us and the jet lag was already kicking in. We looked out of the big glass windows at the airport it was just sand everywhere, even the roads looked like sand crop circles if that makes sense.
We left Kuwait City at about 23.30 p.m.
Saturday 5th August 1995
We were on the Indonesian airline Garuda which at the time had the worst safety record in the world, which did play on your mind a bit, and tried to sleep on the plane, it landed at Changi Airport , Singapore for refuelling, I remember they woke me to ask if I wanted yet more food, I shooed them away and tried to sleep. Unsuccessfully I might add.
The Garuda airline then touched down at its headquarters at 14.40 p.m. i.e., Denpasar airport, we were there for almost 5 hours at the airport, which meant we could stretch our legs, see all the wonderful palm trees and lady doing Batik, which Keef filmed. You will see that on the way back (2nd September) we finally got let out into Indonesia , what an interesting place, in Jakarta the capital of the island of Java.
We finally left Denpasar at 19.30 p.m. local time and flew on to Sydney overnight using the then Australian Ansett Airlines (they folded in September 2001), well and truly jet lagged by now after our epic journey with far more stops than Ilkeston Co-op had booked us, I even remember trying to sleep on a bench at Denpasar airport, it just didn’t work, the kids however seemed quite happy.
Sunday 6th August 1995
We arrived at Sydney Kingsford Smith International airport at 8.45 a.m. early morning Australian time, exhausted from travel but happy to be here. We waited for the sweet shop to open and bought a disgusting Australian chocolate honeycomb bar that was supposed to be the equivalent of a crunchy bar, it wasn’t. Anyhow the logic was to get some coins to ring Brian to say we had arrived and could he come at pick us up. After some lovely greeting he drove us back to their abode at x where we were greeted by Anne, Laura, and Leo, so nice to see them all again.
Brian’s company (BT) provided both accommodation and a car for the family, they lived at 30/1 New Street, West Balgowlah Heights, Sydney, Australia, NSW 2093 just overlooking Spit Bridge if you went out the front of their house. As a family we tried staying awake to get into Australian time and went out for a meal with B&A down at the harbour’s edge. I remember seeing our 1st Kookaburra and me having fish curry for my meal which on reflection was not a wise move, and it paid me back for at least a couple of days in ways I don’t wish to write about, ha-ha.
Monday 7th August 1995
Lazy day recovering from Jet Lag, spent it at B&A’s. Brian was at work in the city centre, a fab journey to work on the sea cat or ferry across to circular quay from the Spit, what more could you ask for? The boys played basketball with L&L and we all took a little stroll along the road outside to have a look at spit bridge and the harbour, nice.
Tuesday 8th August 1995
Brian drove us to pick up our hire car, a white holden, which we will keep for 15-16 days and drop off at Melbourne airport before we fly up to Cairns and pick up our motorhome. The car in Sydney gave us the flexibility to go out exploring as a family independent of B&A but we also did stuff with them as well. In the evening we all went to Doyle’s at Watson Bay, our first encounter of many at this fine fish establishment, we also had a bit of a stroll around Manly and the Corso, so remember all those Norfolk pines. As Brian had the day off, we visited Laura and the Blue Mountains, quite an experience with views to die for, we had a snack in a café in Laura to calm our nerves after an eventful go on the funicular railway, the kids loved it. It was called the Katoomba railway.
Wednesday 9th August 1995
Sydney and the surrounding area. We took our car into Balgowlah to get used to it and had another look around, on the 1st day we had used the bus from here to get around and Brian picked us up from the bus stop. In the evening we all went to Clontarf, Sandy Bay and Castle Rocks, great fun and oh so warm’ later met the Jones at Waratah Zoo to feast our eyes on all the wonderful Aussie animals and birds, especially the Koala’s a firm favourite forever. We also saw wombats, kangaroos and dingoes. It is worth noting that we used a combination of both open topped bus and our hire car to get around, car parking not being cheap or accessible often.
Thursday 10th August 1995
Sydney and the surrounding area, used the Manly ferry today and kept the ticket as a souvenir, in the day we visited the Chinese Gardens, so tranquil, Keef dressed up in traditional costume for photos, boy it was hot in that garb, plus strolled to the Botanic gardens up Macquarie Street (the ex NSW governor way back when it was a colony) where we saw Ibis and a whole lot more, some fascinating tropical plants that were a feast for the eyes, and then we finally went to Bondi beach in the evening and had the obligatory ice cream along the promenade. We also got views of the fab Pittwater and visited the posh houses at Palm Beach, allegedly at the time Russell Crowe owned something there as well as Home & Away / Neighbours being filmed on the beach there, so glad Kylie took up singing instead ha-ha.
Friday 11th August 1995
Sydney and the surrounding area, Manly ferry to Circular quay again, love this area, listening to the trad aboriginal playing didge (indeed the same guy was still there in many future years when we returned) and some street theatre under the high-level railway arches. We even used the monorail to get around, quite and experience and great views. It closed in June 2013. We went up the Sydney sky tower and got some great views and photos of the dense panorama, including out over the harbour, we both love Sydney. We also had a look around the Harbourside shopping mall but bought nothing bar ice-creams, some of the days Ann came out with us when she was feeling up to it, B&A’s kids were at school during the day, following the “slip-slop” mantra.
Saturday 12th August 1995
Brian had hired a large people mover and we set off early north through New South Wales towards the Hawkesbury River which in 2017 when we were staying at Beacon Hill in our lovely apartment with pool, we travelled alongside on the train to visit Annie’s cousin Susan at Newcastle.
Sadly, Brian picked up the obligatory speeding fine this time for too fast on the motorway out of Sydney i.e., the Pacific highway
Sunday 13th August 1995
We went with Brian, Ann, and family into Sydney centre by ferry, saw the Rocks market, harbour bridge, Opera house and went to the then Hard Rock Café with its huge hanging American car, not surprisingly Keef bought the T-shirt. We also went of the Sydney aquarium and later in the week for a look around, when we went into Manly via Fairlight Ann took our boys into the one there near the wharf. We all had a good look around before returning late in the evening tired and happy to bed.
Monday 14th August 1995
Sydney and the surrounding area. Redid some of the things we had already done in the city centre but we so love it, including using the Tourist hop on hop off bus to get around the sites, much easier than driving into a very busy Sydney centre, we are getting to know our way around now and well and truly over jet lag.
Tuesday 15th August 1995
Sydney and the surrounding area. Went with Ann to the North Heads area. In the evening had a nice family meal as we are off on our travels from tomorrow.
Wednesday 16th August 1995
Said our goodbyes, we will see them later in the month, and left Sydney heading out towards Goulburn on the Hume Highway (M31) through Liverpool, Campbelltown, Mittagong and Marulan (we did see these in more detail in 2017) which we didn’t stop at but saw as we drove through, we stopped after Goulburn at Yass for a rest. We travelled onto the Australian Capital Territory to our hotel in Canberra through Murrumbateman, an interesting place.
Thursday 17th August 1995
We spent the whole day in Canberra visiting lake Burley Griffin and taking a boat trip out on the lake which gave us extensive views of the surrounds. Keef did quite a bit of videoing on his old fashioned (but at the time top tech) camcorder. We went up the Canberra sky tower and got some amazing views, most of which however was bush. We then visited the Australian parliament and did the tour which we adults found fascinating, less sure about the kids. Canberra in our humble opinion is quite a weird place, people seem to drive in for work and drive out in the evening, we had an evening meal out in what now seemed like a ghost town before returning to the motel and bed, a hugely interesting day, tick.
Friday 18th August 1995
Set off quite early in the morning after breakfast to avoid some of the heat whilst travelling, even though the car had air conditioning. Visited Gundagai whose past inhabitant Horatio Wills is credited with inventing Aussie rules and the 1st aboriginal cricket team. Some fame. We then went thru Wagga Wagga, just because we love the name. Stopped at Albury to see the historic department store and the paddle steamer on the Murray, this being the NSW / Victoria border. The mighty Murray runs into Lake Hume nearby. We then went to Glenrowan and Beechworth to see some history on Ned Kelly. We finally arrived at Melbourne and our hotel quite late in the evening having seen Seymour and its station, we have returned there since in 2017.
Saturday 19th August 1995
Today we went on a Keef Nostalgia tour after seeing the city centre cathedral. You must be so careful with trams when driving. You must stop alongside when they stop or get fined, a good safety idea. We parked in a central car park undercover and then caught the free trams around the sights of Melbourne. Flinders Street station, Greek area etc. We then took the car to Lalor to find Keef’s old house and then onto the Mornington peninsular, Elwood and Pine Avenue, another Hellinger haunt, and then onto Philip Island and Nobbies point to see the fairy penguins land on shore and hobble up the cliff side, just magical. We visited San Remo, Ventnor, Ryll and Cowes on Philip Island as well, how original eh? We returned to our motel late evening , a fun packed day.
Sunday 20th August 1995
Today we went out through Southern Cross to Ballarat and spent the whole wonderful day at Sovereign Hill both seeing a re-enactment of a gold mining village and doing some gold panning ourselves, in the evening there was a show with lights and sounds, a fab day which I think the boys will remember forever. We stayed in a motel at Ballarat overnight.
Monday 21st August 1995
We set off early in the morning for Warnambool passing through Darlington and Ellerslie. Stopping on route at Hopkins Falls and having a gave of footie as well as seeing the falls. Sadly it was renamed as Doug did have a fall and badly grazed himself. We called in at Warnambool hospital to have him patched up. He was in a bit of pain but we went to see if we could see any southern right whales nearby at Logan’s beech from the viewing platform, we saw a Mum and cub, wonderful. We stayed overnight in a motel here.
Tuesday 22nd August 1995
Today we left Warnambool and started travelling along the absolutely world class Great Ocean Road coming off the Princes Highway where we could travel along the roads edging the Bass Straits and see some of the truly sublime scenery and sandstone rock stacks that edge this coast. We saw amongst others The Grotto, Loch Ard Gorge, where we and the boys descended much of the available staircases to the viewing platforms, great views, London Bridge ,which in fairness over the years we have visited “has fallen down” with a huge chunk eroding away into the sea, however in 1995 it was all in one piece and of course the truly magnificent 12 Apostles. In 1995 it was not so touristy, so we were able to pull the car up right near by and had the whole view to ourselves, truly magnificent. After the 12 apostles we went onto Melba Gully where we chose our guest house. The chap who ran it took us along with torches later in the evening into the rainforest gully nearby to see the glow worms, magical stuff, and something we all remember to this day.
Wednesday 23rd August 1995
Packed up early from the guest house and said goodbye to the incredibly kind owner who had taken us down into the Gully last night to see the glow worms. We returned to the Gully and walked up to Anne’s Cascades along Madsen’s track, how appropriately named are those falls. It did feel like we were in a rainforest. It was only about an 8-minute walk, but you seriously thought you were on a different continent, maybe the Brazilian rain forests, not that we have been there. After that we travelled further along the Great Ocean Road through Johanna, Glenaire, the Great Otway National Park (we returned in 2017 to look for koala’s there) and Marengo before stopping at Apollo Bay briefly. Quite a touristy town but with a fab beach. From Otway to Torquay , the eastern end it is called the Surf coast. From Otway back to Warnambool , the western end, it is called the shipwreck coast. We saw Lorne and stopped at Moggs creek to see some of the amazing exclusive residences that were architect designed overlooking the Great Ocean Road and the Surf coast. We then went onto Torquay. In 2008 when we went onto Torquay and were lucky enough to see one of the car rally old vehicles just going under the Eastern wooden arch and Keef managed to snap it. It is also a monument to the soldiers who built the whole of the Great Ocean Road. At Torquay we went down to the beach to watc