Friday, November 28

Sydney, Australia

(see map) trin: We stayed in Sydney's Potts Point, an ideal location for visiting the sights. While we hit the main points of interest, we spent a majority of our time just walking around the city, window shopping and lounging at cafes & restaurants. I have to admit that we are starting to lose steam and are looking forward to our homecoming.

The famous Coca Cola sign at Kings Cross which is an iconic landmark in Sydney, similar to the Hollywood Sign or Billboards in Time Square.

The first day we set out on foot towards Woolloomooloo Bay.

From there we move onto the Royal Botanical Gardens.

The gardens are extensive and we spent most of the morning wandering around which I thoroughly enjoyed. I have to give Mike credit. He has been a good sport while visiting all the botanical gardens on our trip. When the lunch hour rolled around he was off the hook. Joggers flooded the foot paths and we moved onto the famous Opera House.

Some of the 1,056,006 glossy tiles that cover the Opera House roof.

Although there was a sign saying do not climb, the ten-year-old in Mike could not resist. After several attempts we captured his jump on film and took off before we got kicked out.

That afternoon we walked through a few more neighborhoods: The Rocks, Central Sydney and Darling Harbour.

The following day we took a Sydney Harbor Cruise. 

The Prime Minister's house. We were surprised by the location (right on the harbor) and the general lack of security. Very different from our White House.

After the cruise we took public transport to the Sydney Fish Market where we bought some fresh sushi and a bottle of wine which we enjoyed on the picnic tables along the water. In Australia it was common to see people drinking a glass of wine or beer with lunch. Having entered the work force post the three martini lunch, we prudishly found this a little shocking.

Following our leisurely lunch we walked through the bohemian neighborhood, Glebe where I got my hair cut. Nothing big. Just a trim.

It was an unconventional Thanksgiving Day which we wrapped up with dinner at street side cafe.

The following day it was really stormy out. So, we skipped Bondi Beach and the zoo. Instead, we took the day off and watched movies. The only thing missing was the turkey day leftovers. Feeling lazy that evening we took a long walk back to The Rocks for a pint at the highly recommended Lord Nelson's Brewery.

Wednesday, November 26

Happy Thanksgiving from Down Under

If we were ever going to be homesick, today is the day. We love turkey, mashed potatoes & gravy and spending time with family.


At the same time, we are having a blast down here. New posts coming soon. Miss you all. 


Mike & Trin 


Tuesday, November 25

Whitsunday Islands & Fraser Island

(see map) trin: We had heard lots of good things about the Whitsunday Islands but we had also been warned it is quite expensive. To mitigate the cost we decided to make use of our camping gear and stay on Hook Island one of the outer islands. 

We had a stop over at Whitehaven Beach, the most beautiful beach on Whitsundays Islands.

The beach is made of silica sand and contains no minerals. Because of this it never heats up or burns your feet. We took advantage and threw around the frisbee.

The main reason we chose Hook Island was the offshore snorkeling. The campsites we stayed at were part of Hook Island Resort. We didn't get the Castaway feeling we had originally hoped for but the convenience of transportation and facilities won out.

Stinger-Suit-Man.  Swimming in the ocean required donning a lightweight lycra bodysuit to protect us from box and irukandji jellyfish.

The view from the island was beautiful and the wildlife was also entertaining. If not, a little scary. I was reading at the campsite when two crazy looking birds and a giant lizard had a stand off right in front of me. It went on for quite a while until Mike walked back from the beach and broke them up.

Making pasta in the campers' kitchen. A giant goanna lizard resided just outside the door hoping for a bit of food. He managed to give us a fright a couple times.

Transportation - I thought it would be interesting to give everyone an idea of how we get around. Here's a breakdown of our trip from Hook Island to Fraser Island. Please note, not all of our travel days are this grueling.

3pm - Ocean Rafting: We waited several hours for our scheduled transport which never showed. Eventually, the resort radioed the Ocean Rafting boats when they came into range. We wrapped our backpacks in plastic garbage bags and boarded one of the rafts. The seas were rough so we had an exciting but bumpy ride back to Airlie Beach.

6pm - Night Bus: After a quick shower in Airlie Beach we hurried to the station and boarded the Greyhound Bus to Hervey Bay. - I love the night bus... this is sarcasm.

6am - Walking in the Hervey Bay Suburbs: After the twelve hour bus ride we walked past all the big box stores en route to the Safari Jeep rental location.

10am - Fraser Island Ferry: The jeep now loaded with supplies and groceries, we boarded the ferry and rested on the top deck.

11am - Fraser Island: We made it!

People explore Fraser Island in 4WD vehicles. Many younger travelers get put into groups of ten or twelve and then head out in large Range Rovers to become new best friends. Mike and I opted for our own smaller vehicle. So, we could go at our own pace.

Maybe the dingo ate your baby?

The large Wungul Sandblow near our first campsite.

I love dogs but I was a little scared to leave the dingo fenced camping grounds. There are signs everywhere saying things like: Be Dingo Safe or Don't Leave Your Children Unattended

75 Mile Beach was practically deserted once the tides came up and driving on the beach had ceased for the day.  

Dinner time. Car camping was fun. With an ice chest and stove our culinary options were infinite.

The view from Indian Head. The water was so clear that we could see turtles and a giant ray in the water below.

A stream crossing. Our little Suzuki was one of the smallest vehicles out there and it did alright on the beach and in the streams. We did manage to get it bogged when we tried to head inland on the softer sand but with the help of some other jeepers (who we happened to be blocking) dug ourselves out.

SS Maheno washed ashore in 1935 where it still sits today.

Climbing another sandblow. Two kilometers seems a lot longer when walking on sand.

Lake Wabby, the oasis at the end of the dunes.

We finished the second day inland at Lake McKenzie. The crystal clear water has no minerals and very little plant or fish life. Its also leaves your skin and hair nice and soft.

That night we camped in the forest and headed back on the ferry in the morning. We really loved Fraser Island and both agreed it was one the highlights of our time in Australia.

Thursday, November 20

Northern Queensland Coast

(see map) trin: After saying goodbye to our friends in Cairns, we rented a car and headed north to Cape Tribulation, where the Great Barrier meets the shore and the hills are covered with ancient rain forests.

On the drive up there are beautiful beaches everywhere but due to jellyfish and crocodiles, swimming is highly discouraged.

There are also warning signs for Cassowaries, giant prehistoric like birds. If they wanted to, they could kill you. A little scary when hiking in their natural territory.

The rain forest canopy in Daintree National Park.

I know we are all suppose the love the rain forest and I do. But, I have come to realize that I just don't like hiking in it. Its hot and sticky. There are vines and stumps to trip on. Unlike our house plants, all the palms have thorns. Not to mention, the numerous bugs and spiders.

Tarzan - Ahahh...

Mike hanging around.

A pit stop at the Mossman Gorge. I love swimming in the river and sitting on a hot rock in the sun. It instantly takes me back to my teens.

On our way down the coast we stayed in Port Douglas, a chic chic tourist town.  At the marina, we enjoyed the sunset over a bucket of shrimp.

Other than that, we didn't really do much. Mike planned out the remainder of our time in Australia.  I read by the pool and we strolled around the town like good tourists.

Its long beach is mostly deserted with the exception of the immediate area around the stinger net which keep the potentially deadly jellyfish out.

Wading out, it feels a bit like a kiddie pool.

Between Cairns and Port Douglas is Trinity Beach. 

Mike cruising on the other side. After all the long drives in Australia, he's now comfortable on the left side but fears he'll be messed up when we get home.

We continued south to Airlie Beach, the starting point for visits out to the Whitsunday Islands. There is an awesome free lagoon where families and backpackers lounge along side one another.

I was impressed by all the parks and facilities in Australia. Everything is really well maintained and clean which is great for me.