Australia - 2008

 

We had vowed we would not suffer the long distance flight any more, but a persuasive daughter and a desire to visit this beautiful country again encouraged us to go once more. This time, we flew on Air Canada's new direct flight from Vancouver to Sydney, much preferable to the usual two-hop flight stopping in Honolulu at 1 am in the morning! We were fortunate to experience good weather for almost the entire 4 weeks, and managed to miss some stormy and wet weather as we moved around.

Sydney and the New Year

We celebrated the fireworks display in Sydney Harbour on board a tall ship, the James Craig.

Above Left:  Spectacular Fireworks in Sydney Harbour at 12:01 AM. January 1, 2008. We were able to view this display from the deck of a "tall ship", the James Craig.

Above right:  Another photo of the fireworks, it was loud, spectacular, and intense. In addition to the Bridge, which is the focus of the evening, there were additional fireworks surrounding the harbour

Left:  We stayed in this very nice apartment hotel in Port Douglas. The pool meandered throughout the hotel grounds and provided a pleasant escape from the humid weather.

Right:  Christmas dinner was just a little different, we barbequed steaks on a grill by the pool.

Left:  We boarded the ship at about 6 pm, and cruised the length and breadth of Sydney Harbour drinking and munching hors-d'oeuvres until midnight. We took this photo of the Sydney Opera House at about sunset.

To the Left: Gail and I waiting to board the James Craig seen in the background.


Below Left:  Paul and Tracy stand in front of the James Craig prior to our boarding. It is a refurbished "tall ship" and is used to train young people in the art of sailing as well as to take tourists out on the high seas for a "real" sail of up to a month in duration.


Below Right:  The Captain of the Ship at age 80 is one of the most famous sailors in Australia. When he speaks, everybody listens. There was little doubt who was in command during the evening, and when the paying customers were in his way, he barked at his First Officer to "clear the deck"!

Port Douglas. Queensland and the tropical north.

We returned to Port Douglas once more, located near Cairns in Queensland's tropical north. We repeated previous visits to the Great Barrier Reef, a wildlife zoo, took a walk through a rainforest, and generally loafed around in extremely warm weather. It is a very relaxed resort town with great restaurants and many sights to visit.

Above Left:  We cruised through a pond in the park, which is home for 30 or 40 crocodiles. We are of course protected by glass walls and able to approach the crocs quite closely while they are being fed chickens. The snap of their jaws is enough to suggest that one should not swim with the crocs!

Above Right:  One of the most unusual birds in the rain forest, the Cassowary. It grows to 2 metres high (6 ft.), is very aggressive bird, and completely fearless.

Left:  One of the main attractions at the Wildlife Park is the koala cage. It was sleep time when we arrived. I suppose one must use whatever means is available when you live in a tree.


Right:  Can you imagine a job like this? Feeding the crocs lunch! There must be a better way, like just throwing it at them. These are relatively small ones but there are a few there 5 to 6 metres long. The big ones are not fed by hand!

Above Left:  We paid another visit to the Great Barrier Reef in this great boat, the Aristocrat. We were served by an excellent crew, good food and enjoyed three terrific snorkel sites.

Above Right:  Gail and I on the way out to the reef. I could barely wait to snorkel, Gail could barely wait to watch!

Above Left:  Our visit to the rainforest consisted of following an elevated walkway from ground level to above the forest canopy. Portable handsets provide descriptions of the changing plant and animal life at various levels within the forest, which change continuously with elevation.

Above Right:  Gail and I on a platform above the rain forest Canopy and about 30 metres above ground. Don't I look good in a "dork" hat?

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