The Five Star Vagabond

Super travel tips, all road tested by David Herd. I'm an Australian guy who moved to Thailand in 2011 & still travel the world as often as possible.


Sydney 1982 flying high enjoying life

Please note, this is not part of my Travel Blog. It’s part of my personal history, check it out if you wish.

Sydney 1982 flying high enjoying life, was a very good year for me, as were many others. I intend to publish posts on the years I remember most vividly, & there have been quite a few. The header shows the view I had from my apartment at 112 Wrights Rd Drummoyne in Sydney, where I lived from 1979 to 1984. With my white Mercedes Sports in the garage, my Bertram 25 moored out front, plus my very own liquor store in Sydenham, some good friends and a string of beautiful girlfriends, life was very close to perfect.

The boat

Sydney 1982 flying high enjoying life

I had the perfect mooring right outside my apartment, we had so much fun on Sydney harbor visiting all the great beaches & restaurants.

The car

Sydney 1982 flying high enjoying life

My beautiful Mercedes Sports was the ultimate chick magnet.

The babes

Sydney 1982 flying high enjoying life

 As I said earlier, my life was as close to perfect as you could get.

Lets begin on New Years Eve 1981

Sydney 1982 flying high enjoying life

One of the best NYEs of my life, we overloaded my boat with 16 people and headed off to a seafood restaurant at “the Spit” for dinner before heading to the Opera House for the incredible fireworks. My girlfriend for the night was the gorgeous one in the middle, very unusual that I can’t remember her name.

New Year’s Eve 1981, the Great Escape.

It was like we were caught in a Beirut bomb zone with huge sky rockets peppering the overloaded boat, causing some of my friends to dive overboard in the middle of the harbor to escape the carnage.

Let’s backtrack to the start of our adventure, it was NYE 1981 and 15 of my friends boarded my Bertram 25 and headed for a seafood restaurant near the “Spit bridge” on Middle Harbor in Sydney. Onboard were some of my best friends, Wolf Wottke, Harley Bradstreet, George McEwan & Graham “Biff” LaRoche from Melbourne and 6 or 7 gorgeous girls. My boat was licensed to carry around 10 or 12 people however it was New Year’s Eve so who really cared?

We moored on the edge of the sand at the rear of the restaurant and at 8.30 pm sat down and ordered a feast. Here is where things started to go wrong, we hadn’t factored in the NYE crowd and the food was very slow to arrive, in fact it was after 11 pm by the time the waiter started to serve our meal. By then we were well along the road to intoxication as we had started drinking late afternoon at my apartment in Drummoyne.

As the Sydney fireworks were due to start at midnight we decided to pack up most of the food and head for the Sydney Opera house to watch the spectacular event.

We faced our second problem re-boarding the boat as the tide had come in and the boat was now floating 30 meters from the shore. Our only option was to wade out carrying the boxed up food in water almost up to our backside. The good news was our nice view of the girls hiking up their skirts waist high, which endorses the phrase that every cloud has a silver lining.

Now “Biff” was a huge man as the name implies, & Harley was almost a midget, sometimes we would cruelly refer to him as an ariel photograph of as human being.  So with Harley clutching a cardboard box filled with oysters “Biff” tucked him under his arm and carried him towards the boat.

I’m not sure why “Biff” dropped him, when only 2 meters from the boat, perhaps Harley wriggled or maybe “Biff” was feeling the effects of too many beers. Anyhow Harley briefly disappeared underwater along with the box of precious oysters, which I’m please to say we did recover.

Harley was our own human disaster area, if something was going to go wrong he was usually at the center of things, in fact it was Harley who coined the memorable phrase “anyone can have a bad decade”.

By the time we all got on board it was around 11.30 pm and is was a good 30 minute journey to the Opera House so I gave the boat full throttle and sped toward the Harbour Bridge.

We arrived in record time about 11.55 and I was weaving through the 1500 or so boats like a drunken sailor, which of course I was, searching for a spot to anchor that was not too close to any of the hundreds of spectator craft.  Hallelujah, what seemed to be a minor miracle unfolded before my eyes. A clear circle of water right in the middle of all the boats, so naturally I gave out a cheer and dropped the anchor just as the first fireworks explosion sounded right above us.

Elation quickly turned to fear as huge smoking wooden rods started raining down upon us. As I said at the start It was like we were caught in a Beirut bomb zone with huge sky rockets peppering the overloaded boat causing some of my friends, in particular Harley, to dive overboard in the middle of the harbor to escape the carnage. In the middle of the mayhem & panic it suddenly occurred to me we were smack bang in the middle of the fireworks “drop zone” which the water police had cleared in readiness for the show before retreating out of danger themselves.

I sprang into action like a drunken super hero and pulled up the anchor in record time, then fled the danger zone. No mean feat as my boat lacked an electric winch, so I had to manually pull the damn thing up by hand while standing on the bow.

We moored safely out of harm’s way and assessed the damage, naturally Harley was the most wounded, soaking wet with minor burns on his arm, plus a few small cuts from the smashed champagne bottle he was holding when hit by the first rocket.

Well we settled down and watched the rest of the fireworks reliving the experience that would be told many times over in the coming years, our own personal “great escape”.

Later we motored along the Parramatta River to Habberfield to drop off some passengers, and finally returned “drunk as skunks” to Drummoyne at dawn. Later that day George, Biff & I on impulse flew to the Gold Coast to continue our New Year celebrations.

New Years Eve 1982, the party continues…..

Sydney 1982 flying high enjoying life

It seems 1982 was one continual never-ending party, here I am NYE in Sydney 1982 with Steve Bates, Helen Burke & Robyn Underwood.

Doyles restaurant & the Watson’s Bay hotel

Gorgeous girls Sydney 1980

Three or four times a week my boat & I would head for Doyles restaurant & the Watson’s Bay hotel at Watson’s Bay. This was our favourite destination for long drunken lunches.

Sydney 1982 flying high enjoying life with Helen Burke.

Sydney 1982 flying high enjoying life

Helen & I spent most of 1982 together after bumping into each other (having not been in contact for several years) at Melbas nightclub in Surfers Paradise on the evening of January the 1st, the night after my epic “great escape” on Sydney Harbour. 

I caught up with Helen again in 2014 at her home in Dromana where she produces excellent wine.

Grahame aka “Biff”, Kitty & Helen Burke.

Sydney 1982 flying high enjoying life

January 1982 and the party continued on the Gold Coast. The new sexy girl in the photo was “Kitty” a totally uninhibited Dutch girl who I knew from Sydney, but that’s another story. 🙂


Sydney 1982 flying high enjoying life

Without a doubt one of the sexiest most uninhibited women I have ever known.

I rest my case

Sydney 1982 flying high enjoying life

Biff is in heaven as you can see from the look on his face. 🙂

Lunch at Coolangatta

Sydney 1982 flying high enjoying life

This was at Oscars on the beach with Graham La Roche and crazy Polly, I forget the other guys name.

A very difficult achievement

Sydney 1982 flying high enjoying life

Here is Kitty, Di & Helen helping me achieve one of those very important difficult goals that I set myself during my younger years. Three ladies that I have bonked in one photo, that’s kind of like winning 3 Olympic gold medals, made more difficult when each of the three knew about the other two, priceless. 🙂

Kitty & her two sisters.

Sydney 1982 flying high enjoying life

Three happy beautiful Dutch girls.

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Good friends at my home in Drummoyne Sydney 1982

Sydney 1982 flying high enjoying life

Here is Graham LaRoche, George McEwan & Kitty’s two beautiful Dutch sisters in Sydney 1982.

Sydney 1982 flying high enjoying life with Helen & Teresa

Sydney 1982 flying high enjoying life

Helen Burke from Melbourne & Teresa Hamilton-Smith from Adelaide, oh oh! How can I not include the lovely Kitty? Make that my three favourite girls. 🙂

Well ladies, I have an idea


Say no more. 🙂

OK, check out these beautiful girls in Sydney 1982


Sydney 1982 flying high enjoying life Sydney 1982 flying high enjoying life

 Sandy & Teresa                                                     Beautiful Jenny

Sydney 1982 flying high enjoying life

 Sydney 1982 flying high enjoying life

The perfect day on the harbour with a boatload of beautiful ladies, Sydney 1982 flying high.

Here is a short video I took on NYE 2012 of the view from my condo at Drummoyne.

Home sweet home 1979 to 1985.

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David Herd & Vin Deveroux in Los Angeles.

Sydney 1982 flying high enjoying life

My friend Vinny picked me up at the airport in a Roller, then we headed straight to La Cage de Folles to meet Christeen Rudas a friend from Australia. 

Christine Rudas

Sydney 1982 flying high enjoying life

Christine was a hostess at La Cage de Folles.

Gorgeous Blonde at La Cage de Folles

Sydney 1982 flying high enjoying life

Apparently she was in a show called Hee Haw, the closest match I can find is Gunilla Hutton, the age would be about right but I’m not sure if that is really who she is.

La piece de resistance

Sydney 1982 flying high enjoying life

So here is my 15 minutes of fame I guess, lucky enough to meet Liberace and get a photo with him.

Old friend Ian Rich in Huntington beach

Sydney 1982 flying high enjoying life

For many years Ian ran a tennis ranch in Los Angeles, in fact I think he still does in 2016.

We stopped in Hawaii on the way home

Sydney 1982 flying high enjoying life

I went to L.A. for 2 months with Steve Bates then Helen joined us for the final 4 weeks. We drove to Vegas, Mount Mammoth, Lake Tahoe, San Francisco and down the coat to L.A. Helen & I also flew down to Puerto Vallarta for a few days.

Every time I hear this song I’m transported back to the Californian coast

April 1982, guess where I am?

Sydney 1982 flying high enjoying life

We drove from Vegas to SFC.

Dinner at Hyatt Fisherman’s Wharf SFC.

Sydney 1982 flying high enjoying life

Helen was never considered shy and introverted. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Thinking about my life in 1982 with all the babes, boats, gold chains & big hair, reminds me of another of my favourite songs from that year. Do yourself a favour & let Bertie take you back.

Bertie Higgins – "Key Largo" (Official Music Video)

Madison & Emma Aboud

Sydney 1982 flying high enjoying life

Emma was the daughter of my ex girlfriend Carol Aboud, here she is with my wonderful German Shepherd Madison.

Don Morris was CEO at Mojo Advertising

Sydney 1982 flying high enjoying life

Don was another good friend from Sydney 1982, we did a lot of boating together & drank a few cold beers.

Captain Peter (Hollywood) Hobbs & Liz De Crossan

Sydney 1982 flying high enjoying life

One thing I can say about Peter in Sydney 1982 he could always attract the good looking ladies. I’m probably being unkind, Liz as you can see was extremely beautiful.

Jenny Dale, another lovely lady

Sydney 1982 flying high enjoying life

I was lucky enough to have a little fling with this gorgeous lady.

Yolande, the Macleans girl

Sydney 1982 flying high enjoying life

Even in a poor quality photo she is still beautiful.

Check out the video.

Denny Collins & Peter Hesky

Sydney 1982 flying high enjoying life

Two good friends for the 70s & 80s.

Good friend Denny Collins, RIP.

Sydney 1982 flying high enjoying life

Denny was a great fellow, he sadly passed away after a long illness about 4 years ago.

Valli Kemp, beautiful big eyes.

Sydney 1982 flying high enjoying life

Valli was quite a well known Sydney model in those days.

Sydney 1982 flying high

Sydney 1982 flying high enjoying life

On the left is Wolfgang who was my best friend through the 70s and early 80s.

Can life get any better than this?

Sydney 1982 flying high enjoying life

I really doubt if there has been a better stage in my life than Sydney 1982 flying high enjoying life.

Sydney 1982 flying high enjoying life

As you can see Sydney 1982 was really a non stop party, those were the days my friend we thought they would never end. 🙂

Sing it for me Glenn.


 Here are some more posts to check out

         Life 2015                     Family history                   Life 1982

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  Adelaide 1972                 Iron Bar Freddy               Sydney 2006

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Thailand 2008                Gold Coast Babes               World trip 2003

Fun in Pattaya-116         92bfa275-a122-4078-9970-1e24188a5917        CopacabanabeachNov2003-124

             Great hotel room rates anywhere in the world if you book
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Seven deadly Songkran days

For a great room rate at the A-One hotel opposite the beach just book through THIS LINK.               


 Soi Cowboy                  Nana Plaza                    Patpong

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Click here for a flashback to my 2 great years in Adelaide


Author: David Herd

My history, particularly over the last 30 years is dominated by overseas travel. I sold my home in Australia October 20th 2011 and have have been living in Thailand since then. I don’t know where the time has gone? It seems like you go to sleep one night, wake up the next morning, and 20 years have flashed by. Not sure how many years I have left, however I have enjoyed a wonderful charmed life, and if it all ended today I would leave this world with no regrets. I was born in Sydney halfway through the last century, started my travels in the 60s with the usual U.K. Europe adventure at the age of 20, back to Australia and worked in Sydney, Melbourne & Adelaide in Sales & Marketing with multinational companies including Sanyo, Canon & Remington. Engaged to be married 3 times and never quite made it to the alter, finally realized by the mid 90s I was not cut out for "long term relationships" so I moved to the Gold Coast in Queensland in January 1987, worked for a couple of banks as a Financial Planner, I took a year off work in 1998 to travel and never went back to full time work again, after 25 fun filled years on the Coast I packed up and moved to Thailand. What is the purpose of this blog? Well I really want to use it to record my travel experiences & to display my photographs, give and receive travel tips, comment on places I visit, restaurants I eat in and use it to replace the autobiography I intended to write, apart from all that it helps me fill in my day. :) I moved to Thailand mainly because I wanted to keep travelling while my health allowed me to, there are huge advantages being closer to all the places I want to visit. Cost of living in Thailand is around 35% of the cost in Australia, plus flights are 50% cheaper because you are much closer to everywhere. ???? Consequently I am able to travel to many more places compared to living in Australia. Having said all that, it is & has always been my intention to return to Australia when my travelling is finished, I predict this will happen around 2021.

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