To bring this thread to an end, the day has finally arrived and tomorrow I go to Hong Kong to get my whole D80 kit...whoohoo!!!
After a month or so of scouring reviews and going backwards and forwards between what camera to get I finally ended up settling on the D80 with the much famed 18-200mm VR lens and stuck to it and I know it's the right decision. Sure, there'll be some crap pictures to begin with, but I know the camera can deliver, it's just down to me to get used to it and master it. It's sure gonna be a lot of fun practicing, although frustrating too but we'll see.
Thanks to everyone for your advice and tips and when I come back I'll let you know how I got on with it and you can be the judges when you see the pics. There's going to be some challenging situations for me as a beginner with going dolphin watching and shooting the HK skyline at night during the laser light display so it should be interesting!
Wish me luck