1639 cover

We hit the big time this week with Major Leagues in for our Time Off Magazine – “The Guide” section cover shoot this week and also duck out for a relaxing Sunday afternoon at the Powerhouse with the lovely ladies of The Madisons.

This week also signifies some what an end of an era, Time Off will be getting a face lift of sorts and a renaming as it becomes part of the mothership. You may have noticed for awhile The Music website has hosted all

Check it all out in this week’s issue #1639 and keep your peepers peeled for the arrival of the new and improved edition next week!

Get it FREE from all the usual street press outlets or read current and back issues online @ Time Off magazine – Brisbane

The Madisons @ The Powerhouse

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The Tourism boys leave the “Where the bloody hell are ya?”‘s at home for our Time Off Magazine – “The Guide” section cover shoot this week.

Check them out in this week’s issue #1638.

Get it FREE from all the usual street press outlets or read current and back issues online @ Time Off magazine – Brisbane

1637 cover

This week we slip into something a little more comfortable with Slip-on Stereo saudering in for our Time Off Magazine – “The Guide” section cover shoot.

Check them out in this week’s issue #1637.

Get it FREE from all the usual street press outlets or read current and back issues online @ Time Off magazine – Brisbane

1636 cover

Local rockers, Electric Horse ride the lightning into our Time Off Magazine – “The Guide” section cover shoot photo this week.

Check them out in this week’s issue #1636.

Get it FREE from all the usual street press outlets or read current and back issues online @ Time Off magazine – Brisbane

1635 cover

We’ve got a real case of Beauty and the Beasts this week with super songstress Bec Laughton gracing our shoot for Time Off Magazine‘s – “The Guide” section cover and the growling beasts are in the form of some live gig coverage with Fear Factory who performed their Demanufacture album in its chainsawing entirity.

Read about them both in this week’s issue #1635.

Get it FREE from all the usual street press outlets or read current and back issues online @ Time Off magazine – Brisbane

More Fear Factory @ The Tivoli photos below..

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1634 cover

Award winning folksters, Miss Elm swander in for our Time Off Magazine – “The Guide” section cover shoot photo this week.

Check them out in this week’s issue #1634.

Get it FREE from all the usual street press outlets or read current and back issues online @ Time Off magazine – Brisbane

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1632 cover

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Moshi moshi! You’ve probably noiticed we’ve been quiet for the last couple weeks, that’s because we were off on another trip to the land of endless Ramen and gashapon! Reviews and photos will come (after I get through the ones from Hawaii!) from our many stops including the Tokyo International Toy Expo, Studio Ghibli Museum, Universal Studios Japan, Zoorasia, the Osaka Aquairum and a whole host of shopping spots so stay tuned! In the meantime….

While we were away the Time Off magazine machine kept rolling on with bands from our Time Off Magazine – “The Guide” section cover shoot photos. Holding down the fort were – RVLR, Ironside, Multiple Man.

Read about them in their respecitve issues #1631, 1632, 1633.

Get it FREE from all the usual street press outlets or read current and back issues online @ Time Off magazine – Brisbane

Liliuokalani Japanese Gardens

Liliuokalani Japanese Gardens

If Oahu was the Gold Coast then The Big Island (TBI) would probably be Ballina. Its a lot less developed but still has plenty of small towns with general amenities and sealed roads to the majority of the popular sites.

Ideally you’d want at least a couple days to hire a car and explore the sights at your own pace, if you’re planning on any hikes then its definitely the way to go. If however you’re on a bit of tight schedule then taking a tour is actually not a bad choice to make.

Normally we would steer clear of tours, mainly because of the restrictions of being locked into what they want to show you and for the time they allow, not to mention its always cheaper to just “go yourself”, however, after doing the sums with the flights and car hire for the day it worked out to be not much more for the tour, plus the fact you get to sleep while being chauffeured around = priceless.

After a bit of research we settled on Discovery Hawaii tours for their pretty much flawless track record and… it was well worth it. Not just for the ease of everything but the knowledge and humour of the guide and his effort to make the experience as enjoyable as possible, even going to the extent of switching destinations so our group wouldn’t clash with other groups, which was very welcomed not just for a better experience at the sights but also for getting a photo minus the tourist clutter.

Speaking of groups, Discovery is one of the few companies that still do small groups around 20-30 ppl on a smaller bus rather than a “cost effective” approach with large coaches. The thought of travelling around and waiting for double the amount of ppl to do the most basic things like getting on and off the bus is something I’m glad we didn’t have to experience!

Anyway, enough of that, on with the tour!

Sour weather brewing on the flight over

Sour weather brewing on the flight over


Travel Tip: The tour makes a stop at the start of the day at a local convenience store for everyone to grab water and supplies for the day. There is a lunch stop at the golf course but other than that, no other stops for food or water so you will need to stock up. If you have dietary requirements or want to avoid paying convenience store prices then pack all your food before hand for the WHOLE day. We arrived back at the airport early evening with about 15min to spare before the flight where there was only a small news agent store open, with no actual meals as such so keep those muesli bars handy.

The specific tour we chose was the One day Hawaii Volcano Eco-Adventure Tour which covered the following stops:

– Hilo Town & Rainbow Falls
– Historic Banyan Drive
– Queen Lydia Liliuokalani Gardens
– Kilauea Iki Overlook
– Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
– National Park Visitors Center
– Kilauea Volcanic Steam Vents
– Jaggar Museum & Gift Shop
– National Park Admission
– Thurston Lava Tube
– Big Island Black Sand Beach
– No-Host Lunch at Local Restaurant
– Halema’uma’u Crater Overlook
– Volcanic Activity of Mount Kilauea

The actual sequence of stops varies depending on your driver, if yours is clued in like ours, he’ll know to leap frog some of the stops and return later if there are too many other tours at the one spot. The highlights in the order we travelled were:

Black Sand Beach – Small bay area just outside of Hilo. At first it looks like its just rich soil but on closer inspection you’ll see that it’s a rather coarse gravelly sand from the remnants of volcanic rock.
Photo tip: this bay sort of area has a lot of nooks with jagged rocks that would make for some great photos at sunrise/sunset. Unfortunately not a luxury we could afford being on a guided tour.

Travel Tip: Watch out for muddy areas in the grass or off paths, sulphur and who knows what else mixes with the sloppy stuff which will leave your shoes with an eu de canine faeces aroma = a very nauseating bus ride to the next stop!

Hilo – Basically like any other small coastal town, not really much to see, though the anecdotes from the guide were more than entertaining. (Not so) fun fact, the town has been wiped out completely due to natural disasters in the ‘40s and ‘60s, they’ve since rebuilt the town from scratch but further inland and now with some parkland as a buffer. As part of the rebuild, they kept the look and architecture of the original town.

Banyan Tree Drive

Banyan Tree Drive

Rainbow Falls – As far as falls go this was nothing special, not helped by the top down look out position and not enough time to venture down the bottom, even tho it wasn’t very tall. It would definitely be more impressive after some heavy rains.

Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls


Liliuokalani Japanese Gardens
– One of those spots that you’d love to have in your backyard for a weekend chill out or bbq spot. Interesting floral, landscaping and traditional Japanese features such as pargodas, arch bridges and ornaments.

Liliuokalani Japanese Gardens

Liliuokalani Japanese Gardens

19th hole Golf Club lunch – a little bit fancy dining with the plaid sweater vest brigade but the food was good and our guide showed off his multiple talents and surprised us with songs on an acoustic guitar!

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Volcano National Park – this is the school excursion part of the trip, we got a run down of volcano basics with a large model of the Hawaiian islands at the front of the information center then were ushered into a theatre for a screening of a short documentary on the history and formation of volcanoes as well as a finger shaking warning to be careful while out on the rocks and cliff faces. The short of it, bring proper sturdy shoes. A decent pair of runners will work but anything less like cutesy flats or slipons just wont cut it, in fact what will be cut is your feet.. into A MILLION PIECES!!!! Ok maybe not, but the dry lava and shards of rock are jagged and very sharp, which is why they wont even let you in to the park if you’re wearing thongs, sandals or none closed in shoes.

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After the show we had the option of taking a short hike through the steam fields or getting a lift with the bus to the next stop, a lookout point. As unpleasant as it sounds to be walking through scrub billowing with sulphur and steam (they recommended anyone with respiratory problems or pregnant women to avoid it) it was worth the short 20-30min walk to see where the earth has opened up and was cutting the proverbial cheese.

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At the top, the over look of Halema’uma’u shows a huge crater of the no doubt once active volcano. Now reduced to a smaller crater within the crater, it might not seem as impressive but with the plumes of sulphur clouds coming from it, enough to completely obscure visibility on the road passed it, one can only imagine the potential of that sleeping giant and imminent doom it could bring! Sorry, still channelling my Pierce Brosnan.

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Afternoon rainstorm moving in from the left

Afternoon rainstorm moving in from the left

Thurston Lava Tubes – As impressive as some of the other sights were, this took the number one spot for us. A short 10min hike takes you to a series of tunnels where lava has carved its way through the mountain side forming tubes like some sort of prehistoric water park.

Photo tip: the tubes are very dimly lit, ideally you’d want a tripod but setting one up will completely block the path way which is 2-3 people wide in most parts. A monopod might suffice if you can dodge the other tourists, otherwise you will just have to crank the iso and steady that twitchy hand. These shots were taken at f3.2 1/15 to 1/25 at ISO12800

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Kilauea Iki – is one of the most active volcanoes on the island but was rather quiet when we were there. What we did see however was the path of destruction it had left from its eruptions over the years. Lava flows, miles wide, has run from the top of the mountain down kilometres to the sea and as seen in the doco film, the lava tends to be brittle after hitting the water which eventually causes whole cliff shelves to just break away and fall into the ocean. These have left dramatic cliff faces and rock formations.

Rather ironically in the path of destruction from lava and all kinds of other toxic gases and chemicals, this most easterly point bears the winds of some of the most cleanest air in the world. So much so that it is used as a benchmark for measuring air clairity. Savour it, especially if you’re flying on to LA!

Another natural phenomenon that you will witness just about anywhere on the islands multiple times of day is rainbows. Yep, with all that sea spray the colourful light refractions are plentiful. Double rainbows are just as common and even triples can be viewed around coastal areas.

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Jaggar Museum – cue Rolling Stones joke. This was the last stop which, while small, still housed plenty of information on volcanoes from art work, to vintage scientific equipment, historic moments and live seismograph readings. There’s also a lookout for Kilauea Iki.

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All in all, it was a fun filled day and a refreshing change to be chauffeured around, the guide was informative and funny and knew when to keep quiet for everyone to take in the view or to have a nap on the afternoon stretch. While tipping was not encouraged unlike…well any other American service, we had no problem giving him a generous one at the end. Hopefully he’ll use it to buy some new jokes! Lol, kidding John, you’re ALL right!

Next we rejoin…err ourselves amidst some frantic retailing in Honolulu shopping – part b

Hawaii 2012 part #1 – Arrival
Hawaii 2012 part #2 – Waikiki
Hawaii 2012 part #3 – Honolulu shopping – Part A
Hawaii 2012 part #4 – The Big Island – Volcano tour
Hawaii 2012 part #5 – Shopping Honolulu – part B
Hawaii 2012 part #6 – Tattoo Honolulu / Boardshorts: A Perfect Fit art exhibits
Hawaii 2012 part #7 – Pearl City area
Hawaii 2012 part #8 – Swap meets and Made in Hawaii festival
Hawaii 2012 part #9 – Cook offs and Car shows
Hawaii 2012 part #10 – North shore
Hawaii 2012 part #11 – Windward shore and Sealife Park
Hawaii 2012 part #12 – Chief’s Luau at Sealife Park
Hawaii 2012 part #13 – South shore – Diamondhead crater, Hanauma bay

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Aerials brought a furry friend in for our Time Off Magazine – “The Guide” section cover shoot this week….no we don’t mean their guitarist :p

Read about them in this week’s issue #1630.

We also popped out for some Ghetto Cocktails at The Grates’ Southside Tea Room as part of their first birthday celebrations. Check out the fun and frivolity over at The Good Guide.

Get it FREE from all the usual street press outlets or read current and back issues online @ Time Off magazine – Brisbane

1629 cover

The Sunburys were in for our Time Off Magazine – “The Guide” section cover shoot this week.

Read about them in this week’s issue #1629.

Get it FREE from all the usual street press outlets or read current and back issues online @ Time Off magazine – Brisbane

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