Electronic toilets and deadly dingos

So we are down to three more nights in Australia. So far so good. This trip has been a brilliant experience. I thought it might be useful mid tour to give you my thoughts so far.

Taipei, Taiwan

A fantasic place. Despite the jet lag messing us around I enjoyed the city.

Our hotel, located in the business end of town was great. Evidence of a tech society was everywhere. Even our room toilet was connected to the mains. I didn’t want to risk a surprise by pressing a button, but I think one of them involved shooting water up at speed…..Oh and the heated toilet seat was a nice touch.

I was equally impressed and disappointed by the tech hardware available. Not surprisingly, MSi and Asus were everywhere for sale. The Eee PCs were popular – along with similar MSi UMPCs. There were some genuinely exciting new model desktops available – such as the new touch screen Asus desktop. A clear copy of the iMac form factor, it ran Windows XP. No idea if it will launch in Europe – but I was impressed. The price point was good too – around £450.

On the negative side I was disappointed by the prices for tech. Given that fifty percent of all laptops are manufactured in Taiwan I was expecting bargains. Sure, you expect ‘tourist inflation’ in the markets – but the prices were all listed in the shops. An Eee PC, running XP, for example came in around £300. That’s roughly equal to UK retail prices.

There were no official Apple stores in Taipei (which I knew anyway). There were a couple of Apple authorized retail shops. Prices were equal to, if not higher than the UK.

Interestingly, iPhone 3G’s were available for sale everywhere. I’m guessing they are all grey imports from either China or Australia. They are not officially available in Taiwan yet.

Hervey Bay and Fraser island, Australia

Put simply stunning. We drove up from Brisbane (450kms or so). Had one night in Hervey Bay, one night on Fraser island (under canvas) and a final night back in Hervey Bay.

Our accomodation in the Bay was a self catering two bed apartment. Stunning modern finish and a small garden. Great stuff.

Fraser island made the holiday. If anyone is planning a vacation to the east coast, Fraser is a must. It’s the single biggest sand island in the world. We had a two day wilderness tour. We were taken to the island on a ferry and met our specially adapted bus. We visiting the bulk of the island, visiting several of its unique ecosystems from rainforests, transitional forests through to sand dunes, lakes and beaches that stretched out for miles.

We also saw several dingos and learnt all about the history of the incredible island via our excellent guide, Alex.

I’ve posted a whole bunch of pics on my flickr accout. Honestly, words cannot describe this place. An entire diverse island built on sand……stunning.

Goldcoast, Surfers paradise

We drove down to the Gold coast (500kms ish). Just a short over night visit. Turned out to be just the right amount of time for me. Basically a ‘costa’ style coastal stretch with high rise buildings along the coast. Out visit also co-insided with thousands of ‘schoolies’ partying hard in the town. I won’t miss this place.

Sydney

A short flight took us down the coast to Sydney. I have to say, I loved this place.

Given this is a tech blog I did have an agenda for visiting……the brand new Apple store on George Street. Located in the heart of the CBD the store was beautiful.

Spent an hour or so in there. And to make things even better, they had their discount day when we were there. Managed to pick up a bargain Kingston Power-charger for my iPhone along with a discounted iPhone dock. Fantastic.

Oh and apart from the Apple store, there was lots to see. We were based on the north side of the city and had stunning views of Sydney bridge and the opera house (which is actally not that impressive to be honest – smaller than I thought)

Melborne

Flew down this afternoon. We are here for three nights to catch up with friends and catch our onward flight to Mauritius. So far so good. Much colder than I expected. Only expected to reach 20c tomorrow.

Well that’s all for now. I am enjoying the break and I hope my Tweets are well received. Incidently, for a vacation like this, Twitter is a great way to communicate. Can’t praise it enough.