Paul & Marie's Backpacking Adventure Itinerary

February 2004 - February 2005

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Updated photos will appear on from time to time





Brief summary of plans  - see on route, reality, "Don't get me out of here" email  for actual outcomel!!!

21 Feb 04

Europe to South America

London Heathrow

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Eight & a half weeks planned in South America travelling within Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru & just touching on Brazil when we view the Iguassu falls from the Brazilian side. Two organised tours have been booked. The first (23 days) takes us through the Patagonia region of Chile/Argentina. In short (& quoted from the trip dossier) this trip will allow us to appreciate all aspects of the outdoors & challenging hiking beneath a backdrop of mountains & glaciers to experience the wonders of one of the most untouched & breathtaking parts of the world! A few of the listed sights include Lake Llanquihue, Osorno Volcano, views of the 'Hornes of Paine', hiking & ice climbing on Grey Glacier, Laguna de Los Tres & Laguna Torre for views of Fitzroy & Chalten (3441m/11289ft), Tierra del Fuego, the southernmost town on earth & a cruise on the Beagle Channel. The second (24 days) takes us from Argentina, through Bolivia to Peru. Some of our trip includes travelling to fringes of the Atacama desert, altitudes of 4,400m, moon valley, Uyuni salt flats, La Paz, Puno, Lake Titicaca, Cuzco, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Pisac & the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Trips planned by us on our own include Iguassu Falls, Colca Canyon & flights over the Nazca Lines to name a few. Download the escorted groups brochure at for pictures of some of the places we'll be visiting!

21 April 04

South America

Santiago, Chile

Easter Island, Pacific Ocean

One wonderful week planned on Easter Island, the remotest inhabited island in the world. After a 5 1/2 hour flight from Santiago we shall spend our time relaxing after our energetic trekking/sightseeing of the rest of our chosen time in South America. There will be secluded beaches, extinct volcanoes & of course stone heads to view while we cycle around the 15 by 8 mile island stopping for picnic lunches & dips in the sea! Visit for more info. PS Don't forget its Marie's birthday on 26th. I'm sure emails conveying birthday wishes would be welcomed & greatly appreciated!!!

29 April 04

South America to Australia

Easter Island, Pacific Ocean

Christchurch, New Zealand

Six weeks planned in New Zealand. Current plan is to hire a car for the duration. We're starting on the South Island & plan to sample all the sights & experiences NZ has to offer! We don't have a detailed itinerary yet ......that will reveal itself after we finish reading our NZ guide book (thanks to Helen & Dylan) whilst keeping the boredom at bay on our 18 hour plane journey from Easter Island to Christchurch! However, without reference to names & places our activities are sure to encompass the following: lots of hiking (called tramping in NZ) within many of the scenic national parks, wildlife spotting ......kiwis (flightless birds not natives), takahe (think prehistoric purple chickens), yellow eyed penguins, dolphins, fur seals & whales season permitting, waterfall viewing, kayaking, vineyard walks & wine tasting (well rude not to), strolling along beautiful beaches, volcanic scenery, hot thermal springs & to re-affirm both our fear of heights a trip up Sky Tower (328m) for a stunning 360 degree view of Auckland's surroundings!

14 June 04


Auckland, New Zealand

Brisbane, Australia

Eleven weeks planned in Oz. We'll be visiting all the main attractions & then some over the first nine weeks. The last two weeks will be spent enjoying the company of Marie's grandparents & family south of Perth in Western Australia. We're starting in Brisbane & making our own way up the coast via Fraser & the Whitsunday Islands. We fly from there to Cairns where we'll visit Port Douglas, Daintree, Cape Tribulation, The Atherton Tablelands & do a 5 day PADI diving course on the Great Barrier Reef. We then fly down to Sydney for some of the obvious sights such as the Opera House, climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge (yes still checking we're scared of heights), Bondi beach, Blue Mountains, more vineyards & wine tasting in the Hunter Valley before we continue south via coach to Melbourne & Adelaide seeing the sights as we go. From Adelaide the plan is to take a 20 hour train ride on the Ghan (a down under equivalent to the Orient Express) to Alice Springs. From there we'll take a coach to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park home of Ulura (Ayers Rock to you & me). After a couple of days soaking up the atmosphere we head out & on to Darwin in the Northern Territory. Here we plan to see Katherine Gorge in the Nitmiluk National Park & do some bushwalking & four wheel drive safari trips within Kakadu National Park as a minimum. From Darwin its time to head southwest towards our final destination just outside Perth. However, before we reach Perth we'll have seen the delights of Broome, Denham, Shark Bay, Monkey Mia, Coral Bay & Wave Rock to name but a few.


Australia to Asia

Perth, Australia

Tokyo, Japan

Ten full days in Japan. Current plans are to spend a few days in Tokyo, see the Imperial Palace, sleep in a perspex tube hotel (if our Western length will fit!), go to Fuji-san to get close to Mount Fuji & Hakone for its hot springs & beauty. Ride on the bullet trains, visit Hiroshima & the Peace Memorial park, eat sushi, head out to Nikko to visit the Tosh-gu-shrine, visit a sake brewery (again rude not to indulge oneself) & generally absorb the Japanese culture on visits to art galleries & museums.

9 Sep 04


Fukuoka, Japan

Beijing, China

Four weeks planned in China. We start a three week organised tour on our arrival in Beijing. It includes the obvious sights in & around Beijing, the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, the Summer Palace & a day trip out to a remote section of the Great Wall. In Xi'an we'll see the Great Mosque & the Terracotta Warriors. We spend a number of days in the Tibetan grasslands staying within monasteries & following the Tibetan way of life. We visit Songpan, camp amid awesome mountain scenery & trek through gorges & Tibetan villages. In Chengdu we visit the Panda Sanctuary & in Yangshuo we spend a couple of days travelling around the countryside on bicycles. In Hong Kong we leave the tour group and plan to spend time just feeling the buzz of the city and exploring the sights for a couple of days before we head off to Macau by ferry to marvel at the wonderful Portuguese architecture of the many old churches there. 

6 Oct 04


Hong Kong, China

Hanoi, Vietnam

We fly into Hanoi, Vietnam on 6 October & fly out of Bangkok, Thailand on 14 December. During our 10 weeks between flights we plan to travel overland from Vietnam via Laos & Cambodia into Thailand. The how has not yet been decided but some of the must see places to go on route are. In Vietnam we'll start off in Hanoi & work our way south to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). Along the way some of our exploits will include seeing Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum, visiting Cat Ba Island National Park, cruising along Halong Bay, a ride on the Reunification Express (termed an historic train....I guess that means old!), visiting the World Heritage site of Hoi An, floating along the Mekong Delta & absorbing the vibrancy of Saigon. Laos will include barge trips down the Mekong River, visits to Pak Beng, Pak Ou caves, Vientiane, Luang Prabang, a climb of Mount Phousi, temple worshipping & generally absorbing the culture & colour of this foreign land. What else would we be going to see in Cambodia but the Khmer ruins of the temples of Angkor Wat. We'll visit Phnom Penh, the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, Siem Reap, the floating villages on Tonle Sap Lake & much more. In Thailand our senses will be overloaded once more as we discover the delights of Chiang Mai, go on hilltribe treks, elephant rides, visit the bridge over the River Kwai, discover & relax on fabulous beaches, find ourselves great hideaways within the beautiful national parks, live the madness of Bangkok, indulge in Thai massage & much more!



Bangkok, Thailand

Columbo, Sri Lanka

Two weeks is all we have in Sri Lanka. We believe it is possible to get a feel for the place in such a short time & so does the guide book we have that suggests a number of two week rail/road itineraries!! After arriving in Columbo & seeing what the city has to offer we shall take in The Cultural Triangle, the points of the triangle being the three ancient cities of Kandy to the south, Anuradhapura to the north and Polonnaruwa to the north east. Five of the seven world heritage sites can be found within this triangle. After that we're off to the beautiful hill country, destination Haputale or Banadarawela, by train through the lush vegetation & dramatic scenery of the tea fields. As the trains slow on the steep & winding tracks we will be able to reach out & pluck the leaves ourselves!  The train climbs past tea gardens & woodlands, under steep cliffs & alongside plunging hillsides to valleys of paddy below. Wow!  From here we make our way to the Ruhuna National Park at Yala for a jeep safari. All sorts of weird & wonderful birds can be spotted in the park along with elephants, leopards, bears etc. From here we make our way to the coast to sample the Indian Ocean of a number of beach resorts such as Matara and Hikkaduwa before heading back to Columbo and our flight to India.

To be confirmed


Columbo, Sri Lanka

Southern India, arrival point to be confirmed

Seven weeks are planned in India & Nepal. We expect nothing less than an overwhelming assault on our senses! We start in the south flying in from Sri Lanka & plan to work our way up to Deli via Nepal by air, train or bus. We are in no doubt that each form of transport will be an experience! There is so much to do & see in this varied country that we haven't got very far on a detailed itinerary yet......& why should we, it is over 10 months away!!! However, we plan to compare the very different south from the north, in terms of temples, religion and colour. We'll do the obvious trips to Delhi, Agra, Khajuraho, Varanasi & the holy Ganges in the north & much more in between. Nepal's plans include Kathmandu, a scenic light aircraft flight past the big mountain (!!!!!), hiking & trekking in & around the national parks in Daman & whatever else appeals at the time!   Marie has her birthday on Easter Island, Paul celebrates his in India or Nepal on the 29th January.


Asia to Europe

Delhi, India

London Heathrow

Not sure how many days planned back home before we leave the good old UK again. We're already considering a skiing trip on our return before Mr Barnard goes back to work to keep his unemployed young lady in idle luxury at the European standards she had grown accustomed to before their trip! If anyone does organise a skiing trip for around the middle of Feb next year please keep us posted while we're on route if you wouldn't mind us tagging along.