Chris and I spent a wonderful month in Australia. Many of the things we did, and the sights we saw, we knew about before we travelled here. The lovely Sydney Opera House, the Harbor Bridge, Bondi Beach. Visiting friends in Adelaide and Melbourne. Seeing the outback and Uluru, and of course diving in the Great Barrier Reef. But so much more! The convict sites that tell the history of settling Australia, the free parks and museums, camping….
Once we disembarked from our repositioning cruise and started talking to people and tour guides, we saw so much more of Australia. After a few days in Sydney, we rented a camper van for a month and started off. We visited the Blue Mountains, named for the blue haze that arises from the eucalyptus oil catching dust particles. Very pretty (and fresh smelling!). We visited the fashionable parts of Melbourne with my friend and local Melanie, trying new eateries and going for walks around St Kilda. The Great Ocean Road, along Shipwreck Coast, was incredible. The effects of wind and waves on sandstone cliffs is beautiful. There are more than 1200 ships under those waves!
We visited our friends Ben and Jo in Adelaide, that we had met in Galapagos over our Christmas break, and staying at their house and tried some Vegemite. Ben took us to visit the fairy penguins, feed kangaroos, and hug koalas. Jo took us to four wineries to sample southern Australia’s wines, and we had a lovely picnic. While we were there we actually saw a koala in a tree in their front yard- a sight that they assured us they had NEVER seen before (koalas usually do not come too close to towns).
We drove out into the outback, staying a night in an old opal mine in the mining town of Coober Pedy. Then we made it to Uluru, the ancient red rock in the center of Australia. A very sacred place for the aboriginals. We stayed in Alice Springs for a couple of days, then headed east to Cairns. We stopped off at a place called Devil’s Marbles along the way and played around on the huge boulders. We watched the stars, the eclipse, the full moon, and the international space station from the moon roof in our campervan. Sleeping in the outback is awesome.
Before settling in at Cairns, we went to the Daintree National rainforest….. The oldest rainforest in the world. This place has a staggering abundance of animals and plants that are found nowhere else. We did some driving bits, some walking bits, and a crocodile-spotting cruise. No beach time, because of the crocs and the jellyfish.
Finally, Cairns. This place is like spring break year round. Fire dancers! Pools! Nightclubs! Concerts! Our hostel is a bit wild. But for three days we went on a live aboard dive trip to the reef, and loved every minute of it. We saw massive turtles, heaps of fish, about a dozen sharks, and my personal favorite, the Maori Wrasse- it’s called that because the markings on the fish look like tribal tattoos. And they’re huge! Like four feet long. Friendly, and curious about us humans.
So…… Now we leave Australia, headed to New Zealand. Check back in 3 or 4 weeks for details!