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After leaving New Zealand I traveled onward to Sydney, Australia where I spent the better part of a week visiting the the various sites around the city. In retrospect a whole week in Sydney was probably too much (in case you are traveling there), but it was fun none the less, met a bunch of people and had a great time. During my time in Sydney I visited the Blue Mountains, went to a "Tchaikovsky Spectacular" symphony performance at Opera House, visited Manly and Bondi beaches, and the Aboriginal Arts center.

Sydney Harbor Bridge and Opera House from ferry to Manly Beach.

Manly beach

My gnome as in Emelie (Jaimie, first of I don't know how many)

Halloween celebration in Sydney. (Myself, Sari & Minttu)

Bondi Beach

Bondi beach is pretty much straight east of the city. It's an intermediate to advanced surf location with a rocky cliff area to the south that contains an excellent footpath. The town is pretty expensive, but there is a nice vibe. I spent one night here at Indy's backpacker hostel (which I wouldn't recommend, top recommendation in my lonely planet) before going back to Sydney.

Bondi beach

Bondi beach pool

If your tank gets too old, you can always convert it into a patio. This is one of the art pieces on display along the cliff walk near Bondi Beach.

Blue Mountains

Day trip with Oz Experience to the Blue Mountains and Featherdale Animal Reserve.

The Blue Mountains

The Three Sisters and surrounding Blue Mountains.

Holding a baby wallaby from the Featherdale Animal Reserve.


Cairns & Cape Tribulation

Cairns beach lagoon. Cairns has no beach so they built this for the tourists to swim in.

After about a week in Sydney I flew up to Cairns where I started my long journey back down the east coast of Australia. Only takes 58 hours by bus. Cape Tribulation is north of Cairns, known for it's beautiful beaches, unique tropical forest, and being the only place in Australia where the reef and the tropical forest meet.
While I was there I spent a lot of time walking up and down the beautiful beaches. I ended up walking all the way up to the other hostel where some of the people from my bus trip were staying. A few beers later it was getting pretty dark so I ended up crashing there for the night. However, the next morning when I woke up to go back to my hostel I noticed after walking along the beach for about 20 minutes that the creek that I had easily crossed coming up was now a river and quite deep. Keep in mind that we were in stinger season, meaning there are deadly box jellyfish in the ocean and because the weather was warmer the crocodiles would be staying in the water, unseen. Of course the only other way around was to go all the way back to the hostel and walk down the main road, which would probably have taken two hours of walking and I'd be late for checkout so I decided to take my chances with the stingers and the crocs. I started walking into the water and got up to my waist when I remembered what the guide had told me about how the crocs liked to hang out where the fresh water and salt water mix. Not exactly the thought I wanted to be having at that particular moment, and then it also occured to me that the beach was completely deserted and there would be no one to help me should something happen. So I lunged forward as fast as I could and the water continued to get deeper around me, all the way up to my navel. Finally, I reached the other side and with a sigh of relief continued down the beach to my hostel.

Called Cape tribulation, because of Cpt. Hooks trials and tribulations in the area.

Mission Beach

After leaving Cairns I headed for Mission beach to go reef diving and relax for a couple of days. Mission beach is pretty laid back, not much to do except enjoy the beach and go out to the reef.
Mission beach at sunset.

Diving on the great barrier reef off of Mission Beach.

Airlie Beach & Whitsunday Sailing

While you could probably skip Airlie beach (high priced touristy town), it is the starting point for sailing trips in the Whitsunday islands, one of the true highlights of my trip. It was so nice to be out on the ocean, feeling the waves gently rock the boat as you sit around drinking red wine and talking or playing cards. It reminded me of Sea Scouts and how much I miss being on the water, with the slight smell of diesel in the air and the joy of being able to go wherever you want. This part of the trip also had some of the most spectacular scenery, including Tongue Bay, Whitehaven beach, Blue Pearl Bay, and so many other beautiful places.

Our ship was the Maxi sailing yacht Samurai and was home to 18 people and 3 crew for three days and two nights out amongst the Whitsunday islands.

Oh captain my captain. Captain Simon piloting the Samurai away from Airlie Beach.

Tongue beach looking towards the Samurai.

Our fearless vessel, the Samurai.

Whitehaven beach is known for it's pure white sand and spectacular views. At one time the Japanese wanted to mine the beach for silicon to make computer chips out of, but after a public outcry those plans were stopped and today Whitehaven is a World Heritage listed area.
Whitehaven beach and surrounding islands.

Even god loves Whitehaven beach.

Fraser Island

Fraser Island is an island 123km in length and almost completely made out of sand. It is a favorite place for four-wheel driving and a popular destination for backpackers. Since it seemed liked everyone I'd talk to up until then had been there and seemed to really enjoy it I thought I'd give it a try. It turned out to be a great adventure and a lot of fun.

Getting off the ferry at Fraser island

Cooking dinner for the troops.

We've reached the beach.

The crew from left to right: Zoe, Me, Clair, Mark, Hailish, Theresa, Patricia, Marieke & Ola.

Look, it's a dingo. Well, a dingo butt anyway.

Morten and Susanne on the dunes.

Still got a long way to go on the tan.

Maheno shipwreck

Ola, Morten and Susanne on the beach at Indian Head.

Sunbathing at the champagne pools.

The champage pools on Fraser island.

On top of the dunes.

Seabird looking for the mornings meal.

Okay, maybe there was a little drinking that night.

What possessed us to get up at dawn I'll never know.

From the cliffs you could see sharks, sea turtles, and manta-rays.

Cliffs on Indian Head, at dawn, looking for sharks.

Indian Head looking inland.

Beautiful foliage.

The entire crew from both vehicles in crystal clear Lake McKenzie

Eli creek with 4WD backdrop. (I have no idea who the people are).

The sisters come to pay us a visit and say goodbye.


Noosa is a ritzy tourist trap south of Hervey Bay & Fraser Island and a good stop over for the night. While I was there I walked all the way to the Laguna lookout and took the following shot.

Sunset above Noosa

Back in Sydney

I headed back to Sydney after Noosa and arrived on the weekend of the Rugby World Cup finals. This made it impossible to find a room in the city. Thanks to my friends Sari and Minttu, whom I'd met on my first time in Sydney, and who had rented a room in Earlwood out in the suburbs, I had a place to stay for the next two nights instead of sleeping on the street. Of course it was the World Cup so we went out both nights and all I have to show for it are these lovely photographs.

I think it speaks for itself.

I might have been slightly inebriated at this point in the night, Three Wise Monkeys in Sydney


After a 12 hour bus ride, through astonishingly beautiful country, I arrived in Melbourne. Melbourne is right at the southern tip of Australia, which means it is the coolest year round giving it an almost Seattlesque feel. This very cosmopolitan city is divided by the Yarra river and contains the Royal Botanical gardens and Fitzroy gardens as well as some interesting gold rush history and a fun nightlife. Straight south of Melbourne is Tasmania, which I did not have enough time or money to go to and near by are the Great Ocean Road to the south west and the Great Dividing Range in the north.

Melbourne from the war memorial.

Arid garden within the Royal Botanical Gardens of Melbourne.

Great Ocean Road

Much of the Great Ocean Road reminded me of the California coast. It is scenic drive that takes you by some interesting rock formations (12 apostles), great beaches (Bell's beach from the movie Point Break is here), and beautiful temperate rainforests. On our way down we stopped off to check out the local wild life. The golf course below had become home to a great number of bouncing marsupials and for the golfers an added obstacle.

Golf anyone?

We stopped off for lunch and were inundated with parrots.


Temperate rainforest off of the Great Ocean Road.

Hobbit hole. Temperate rainforest in W.A.


The twelve apostles are limestone formations that form when the limestone is eaten away at it's base, but certain sections of the limestone happen to be stronger than others and are therefore more resilient to the erosion caused by the waves and remain to form these towering formations off the coast. Apparently these same types of rock formations also exist under the water and offer some spectacular diving.
View near the 12 apostles

Loch Ard Gorge near the Twelve Apostles

Another view near the Twelve Apostles

Western Australia

After a short 4 hour flight I arrived in Perth where I met up with Rachel (My uncle's wife's daughter). We spent a few days in Perth/Fremantle before renting a car and heading down south to Margaret River for some wine/cheese/beer tasting and to enjoy the beaches.
Sunset near Bunbury on the west coast of Australia, south of Perth.

Rachel walking among the strange rock formations on the beach at Bunbury.

Sunset fishing at Bunbury.

Beautiful waterfall on the Margaret River, in W.A.

I took over 400 photographs of Australia so the 61 above are only a fraction of the total. Australia offers some of the most stunning scenery I've seen so far on my trip. Unfortunately, I only had a month and never reached Uluru (Ayers Rock), Darwin, Adelaide, or any of the area north of Perth. The good and bad thing about Australia is that it is so big. Most people who have never been here don't realize that it is almost the same size as the US. Fortunately, it is really easy to get around with backpacker buses like Greyhound/Pioneer, alternative buses like Oz Experience or just flying via Virgin Blue/Qantas. Culturally Australia is a lot like the US, they are currently experiencing what can best be described as an identity crisis, however there are still a few differences and here are a few words you will undoubtedly use/hear when traveling in Australia that you don't hear in the US:

1. The Bush - Is the forest, or basically anywhere not on pavement.
2. Schooner - Is a glass of beer, usually smaller than a pint.
3. Midi - Is a tiny glass of beer. I guess less to get warm.
4. Ute - Is a car with a bed for hauling in the back, very popular but not very attractive.
5. Rubbish - Garbage
6. Pissed - Not pissed off, means drunk as a dog.
7. Pokie - Poker machines.
8. Piss - Beer.

I'm currently in Singapore after visiting Bali(see the next page for Bali) for a week and then I'm off to Vietnam on the 20th with a possible side-trip before then to Kuala Lampur after I get my passport back from the Vietnam embassy.
I great big hello to everyone back home and to those I've met so far on my trip, I hope you are all enjoying your travels just as much as I've benn enjoying mine.
Until next time ...
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