North America, Australia and Oceania · 15 Days · 39 Moments · February 2017

Lynne & Del's OAT trip to Australia

4 March 2017

Today is our last day in Sydney. We got started a bit later today and when we got to the Darling Harbour to go to the sea aquarium the line was quite long. We need to be back at the hotel by 4:30 to leave for our farewell dinner from Australia. We stopped for pizza at a restaurant called Casa and we will try to figure the best way back to our hotel.

3 March 2017

More pictures of the Sydney Opera House. The glass windows are angled to help keep the direct sun out but their also tinted with gold to soften the light as well. We decided to see if we could see a show. We bought tickets to see The Young Russians playing with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. What an amazing night of music!
We went to the Eastern suburbs of Sydney on our way to Bondi beach. After lunch we are going to an opal center. After that we will tour the Sydney Opera house.
We did a quick stop at the original government house and the entrance to the botanical garden where we came upon some school girls on a field trip.
We continue to tour Sydney amidst the rain showers. We saw the Darling Harbour, the Sydney Harbour bridge. It took 8 years to build with 4000 men building it. We are stopping right across from the Sydney Opera House.
Today we tour Sydney. It's gray and rainy off/on but comfortable. First we looked over the Harbour and the opera house. Then we went to St Mary's built in the 1809's.

2 March 2017

It's a rainy day today in Cairns. So glad we had such nice weather for our two days here. Today we fly to Sydney. It's a 3 hour flight. Tonight we will have a group dinner.

1 March 2017

Today we are going to the world's oldest rainforest, Daintree Rainforest. Has the largest number of marsupials found anywhere. It has 30 feet of rain in some areas. This is a World Heritage Site. Our 5th one. Melbourne, Adelaide, Uluru, Great Barrier Reef, and now Daintree Rain Forest. This a private tour where mostly only OAT tours do. As we left the reserve we saw a Cassowary which is not a very frequent event.
After lunch we stopping at an overlook showing the Daintree river meeting the ocean, crossed the river by barge again and stopped to look at an historic church.
We stopped at a small hotel in the rainforest where they had sandwiches ready for us. We went on a river trip hoping to see crocodiles along the mangrove forests. None today.

28 February 2017

Today we head to the Great Barrier Reed on a Qucksilver catamaran. We will go out to a HUGE dick where elk snorkel, have a buffet lunch, snuba, observation windows, submersible boat. What an AMAZING day. I wish I had pictures to show but I don't think they'd not do justice to all the colors. Between all the variety of fish and the corals and their colors it was fantastic. We went snorkeling twice and did the boat where you sit in a deeper level with a window. A gal told us the names of the difference fish and corals.

27 February 2017

After lunch we are going to The School of Air. We then will fly Qantas to Cairns in the northern Queensland rainforest part of Australia. We will be driving to Port Douglas staying at the Sea Temple.
Today we are going to the Purple House for Aboriginal health. They care for people with kidney disease and need dialysis. They have several areas in Northern Australia where they can get assistance. Nurses live in many of these remote areas to help.
This morning Barry and Sarah and us walked to the botanic harden. We saw several kangaroos and some blue/green parrots.

26 February 2017

We went to the first telegraph station in Alice Springs. There was the station master's house, the sleeping area for telegrapher, school for children, etc.
Last night after we arrived at our hotel we gathered our laundry and went to the hotel laundromat. We got our clothes cleaned by 9:30 pm. Long day from sunrise to a 5 hour drive to finally getting to bed. Today some of us chose not to do the optional tour and slept in. Had breakfast about 8:00am and then sat out by the pool for a while before getting on the bus to get into town. After lunch in our own we will meet up with the others and go to tour first the Royal Fling Doctors Service then the historic telegraph office.

25 February 2017

As we drove into Alice Springs we went to a lookout honoring ANZAC soldiers. The two flags represent Australia and the Northern Territory.
On our bus ride to Alice Springs we stopped for lunch at Curtain Springs cattle ranch. Over 1 million acres. We had sandwiches and some cake. The yellow bird is a mynah and looking for leftovers. We also saw in the distance Table Top mesa. We stopped at a ranch where there were camels to ride as well as emus and alpacas. Too hot to ride!
Our las stop before leaving for Alice Springs is the cultural center.
As we leave this area we took another walk. The Mala walk.
This morning we will do sunrise at Uluru. After sunrise we walked on trails about Uluru. We saw cave drawings and a water hole.
Last night we watched the sun set on Uluru. I bought a painting by an Anangu woman.

24 February 2017

After getting to our hotel Sails in the Desert we went to Kata Tjuta (Many Heads) mountains. This a a sacred men's site for the Anangu. With all the rain they have had over the last 15 months flowers not usually seen are blooming such as the blue pincushions and the pink/white Partakeelya. We then went to the rock monoliths. Next we headed to Uluru for the sunset.
Today we fly from Adelaide to Alice Springs and then will fly to Uluru.

23 February 2017

Yesterday we met an aboriginal man who told about the plight of his people. It was heart breaking to hear how they've been treated. There has been some improvements but very slow. We then walked to a museum and went to an Aboriginal display. We went to a market and had an Acai bowl for lunch. Some of us rode the tram to the beach. It was really windy but fun to go there. We came back and rested and then walked to the Fringe festival area where multiple shows are playing. We ate dinner there and enjoyed talking with the people. This was a nice day of relaxing.

22 February 2017

So many of the Australian animals up close and personal! Went to s home hosted dinner that evening.
So many of the Australian animals up close and personal! Went to a home hosted dinner that evening.
Today we fly to Adelaide on Qantas. From the airport we drove through Adelaide out to Mt. Lofty to the Cleland Animal Park.

21 February 2017

After lunch we went to the Olway rainforest. We then went to the 12 Apostles as well as the gorge and more views of the 12 Apostles. We are having dinner at Port Campbell that has no Port. We then drove back to Melbourne arriving about 10 pm. Long day but a GREAT day.
As we journeyed along the Ocean road we just had beautiful views of the straight. We stopped in Kennett River. Might see koala bears as well as birds. We fed birdseed to the King parrots and 4 koala bears with one small on moving on the limbs to eat the eucalyptus leaves. We stopped at a lookout to see from above the Ocean view. We stopped for lunch at Apollo Bay named for the whaling ship that used this as its port.
Today 8 of us are doing the Great Ocean Drive. We will begin with a coastal drive and then move inland for s bit and then go back to other coasts. We will travel almost 360 miles today. Our first stop is Torquay(key). We are going to Bells Beach where it's the world's longest running surf competition since 1956. This is on the Bass Straight. We stopped in Lorne. A seaside village where kids were learning to surf.

20 February 2017

The stadium for the AUSTRALIAN Open!!!
The old gaol began in 1831 and housed true criminal to vagrants such as women and children who were abandoned by their husbands seeking gold. The first floor was for everyone first coming in. If they behaved they moved up to the second floor where the room was bigger and you worked manual labor. If you didn't behave you were confined 23 out of 24 hours with one hour free. The rooms were built to keep out sounds and when you got out you wore a hood so you saw no one and no one saw you. On the third floor the rooms were bigger for those prisoners who were able to get along with others plus mothers and children together. The rooms slept up to eight. They hanged people on sight as well. 133 were killed here.
Today we are touring the city of Melbourne by bus. We are at the Botanical gardens where we will see an Aboriginal smoking ceremony. We then learned about some of the indigenous plants and trees in this area. We then went to the war memorial to remember all the fallen soldiers from Australia and New Zealand from WW I on. On the 11th day of November on the 11th hour a light of sunshine shines down on the headstone recognizing all the fallen soldiers. We then went to St Kilda where there is a bay for swimming and boating. We had fish and chips for lunch. We then are going to the old jail. We then rode the tram back to the hotel.

19 February 2017

Took a walk in Fitzroy Gardens. Went into a conservatory filled with mostly Begonias. We then walked to the tram area. The trams were begun after the gold rush days. They are iconic here as the cable cars are in San Francisco. We walked around the different shopping areas. Saw the China town area. Ate the Aussie pie for lunch. Went to the fresh market where we ate fresh bing cherries and saw the meat and fish market as well. When we got back to our hotel and went to our room I was shocked to see the hotel is just across from where the Australian Open is and the Rod Laver stadium. Wow!!!
We have just arrived at our OAT hotel in Melbourne, The Pullman Hotel. As we arrived by taxi the IAT group had just pulled in by bus from the airport. We met our OAT leader Liz and several of our fellow travelers. It's quite cool and off/on rain showers today I changed my clothing as we are going to walk around Melbourne this morning.

17 February 2017

Today we fly from Honolulu to Melbourne on Jest Star Dreamliner. BIG plane!

16 February 2017

We are flying tonight to Honolulu on Island Air. We see the top of Haleakala on Maui. We arrive in Honolulu and spend the night at the Castle Pacific Marina Inn for the night.