Welcome to our New Zealand Travel Blog DownsideUP

This blog is dedicated to inform and inspire you on all things to do with New Zealand and Australia. Actually we write posts on anything that’s of interest in the South Pacific (our home) DownsideUP was started in 2008, so there is plenty of interesting content to inspire you to visit us Down Under.  

The Ghan -  A Classic Rail Journey through the Australian Red Centre.
Brent Narbey
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Brent Narbey

This iconic Australian passenger train 'The Ghan' took over one hundred years of planning, $1.3 billion in resources, and its path now stretches from Adelaide through Alice Springs and onto Darwin. It travels North to South through the center of Australia covering 2,979 kilometres (1846 miles) in 3 days Its been one hell of a journey, the project began construction in 1878 and was completed 126 years later,  `The Ghan' now crosses the continent twice a week offering accommodation options rivaling the best in the world.

Brent Narbey
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Brent Narbey

Ayers Rock, the Big Brother and a Devil of a Dingo
Brent Narbey
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Brent Narbey

Locally known as ‘The Rock’, Ayers Rock is a single stone, larger than an island, lies in the Great Western Desert close to the geographic center of Australia. It has another name, a name of towering antiquity, a name from before the ice ages and a name associated with the giant devil dingo, which some believe dwells somewhere on the crest of what the aborigines call “Uluru”.

Brent Narbey
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Brent Narbey

Fiji Fire Walkers
Brent Narbey
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Brent Narbey

On a recent dive trip to Fiji, staying on Beqa Island, we were fortunate enough to witness their legendary fire-walkers in action. From a distance it’s easy to theorize as to how it’s done, but after experimenting on one of the rocks, the blistering result left a burning question - what was their trick?  Many cultures from around the world participate in fire-walking - India, Sri Lanka, Japan, Bora Bora, Spain, Bulgaria, China, Tahiti, South Africa, Trinidad, Mauritius, Honolulu – to name a few.

Brent Narbey
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Brent Narbey

Rugby Vs Gridiron
Brent Narbey
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Brent Narbey

I visited Australia a decade or so ago; a rugby match was on the TV at a local pub. Being one of the few identified Americans in the establishment, it wasn’t too surprising that the topic of gridiron (NFL-style American football) eventually came up among my Aussie hosts. Despite my largely failed attempts to convince the crowd that gridiron was every bit as rough as rugby, all I could garner was at best total dismissal, and at worst contempt...

Brent Narbey
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Brent Narbey

Kava – More than just a Tonic for the People
Brent Narbey
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Brent Narbey

Cultivated and consumed by humans for well over 3000 years, Kava is still used today by a wide range of Pacific societies for medicinal, spiritual, and recreational purposes. The feelings of camaraderie that Kava drinking evokes have made it a symbol for peace and friendship in many island nations of the Pacific. Participating in a traditional Kava ceremony can be an insightful experience.

Brent Narbey
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Brent Narbey

We’ve Got Neds Head! - Thats Ned Kelly
Brent Narbey
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Brent Narbey

Nothing fuels the flames of the New Zealand and Australian ‘Trans Tasman Rivalry’ more than the Aussies taking claim to Kiwi icons. The Kiwi's gripe list is large and ranges from the pavlova (a desert), Phar Lap (a Horse), Split Enz (a Band) to the more recent icons of Russell Crowe and Oscar nominee Keisha Castle-Hughes. But now a great-granny from New Zealand may just have the ultimate bargaining chip to get them all back, because she says she's in possession of one of Australia's most sought after relics: Ned Kelly's skull. 

Brent Narbey
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Brent Narbey

Devils, Death Adders, Crocodiles and Tarantula... A Great Place for you and the Kids
Brent Narbey
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Brent Narbey

Looking for something interesting for the family to do while in Sydney? Just north of the city is a place worthy of a mention. Housing New South Wales largest crocodile, some ferocious Tasmanian devils, the continent’s most venomous snakes and lets not forget the Goliath bird-eating spiders - The Australian Reptile Park maybe of interest.

Brent Narbey
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Brent Narbey

Tourism or Tucker – The Plight of the Australian Camel.
Brent Narbey
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Brent Narbey

The Egyptians may have cornered the market on pyramids, but it is Australia that remains home to the world’s largest population of wild camels. In Western Australia these ‘ships of the desert’ roam the outback in herds up to 100-strong and the Australian Camel are reaching plague proportions.

Brent Narbey
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Brent Narbey

No Bubbles in the Bath ... Diving Australias Great Barrier Reef - The Alternatives
Brent Narbey
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Brent Narbey

Superlatives, Superlatives and more Superlatives! Yes we all know the Great Barrier Reef has nice diving, however it’s certainly not the be all and end all of diving in Australia.

Brent Narbey
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Brent Narbey

The Hollyford Man made of 'Whipcord and Horseshoe Nails' - a True New Zealand Hero.
Brent Narbey
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Brent Narbey

Most Kiwi's would stare at you blankly if asked who Davey Gunn of the Hollyford Valley was, but folk in New Zealand's deep south would look you hard in the eye and give you a slow nod.

Brent Narbey
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Brent Narbey

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