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.
My gnome as in Emelie (Jaimie, first of I don't know how many)
Halloween celebration in Sydney. (Myself, Sari & Minttu)
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 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.
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
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,
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.
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
Whitehaven beach and surrounding islands.
Even god loves Whitehaven beach.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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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