Friday, September 22, 2017

27 - Australia

In the "big" city of Sydney today.  (We flew from Cairns late last night).  Just one day here.

We looked it up - 21% of the Australian population lives in Sydney!  That just seems like a lot....I guess that explains why the rest of the country  that we've seen feels pretty sparsley  populated.

We made our way to the Sydney train (subway) station.

Very nice modern trains and the subway system was nice and clean.

Double decker cars - very quiet and comfy.

A short ride from our hotel near the airport to the "Circular Quay"  pronounced Circular Key.  Some of it underground and some of it above.

Beautiful harbor - the water was amazingly clean and clear.

Our obligatory "selfie" in front of the Sydney Opera House.  We tried one closer but the Opera House is just huge and you couldn't really see it in the background.

We spent an hour or so walking through the lovely botanical gardens adjoining the quay.

A couple walking the same path as us asked us to take their photo - and they obliged by taking ours!

Panorama of the quay.

We wandered round the city a bit - pretty old church.

City streets just like any other we've been in.

We stopped at a little streetside restaurant and I got some sushi.   Duane got some "normal" food from a nearby vendor.

 That's it for the day - we're heading out late tonight for Auckland, New Zealand.  Amazing how fast these 4 weeks have flown by!!!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

26 - Australia

More waterfalls today!!

Posing in front of a waterfall.

Trail view

Banana fields from a trail.

Another sugar cane train.

More scenery.

Swimming hole.

And the view out the window!!  Sydney tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

25 - Australia

Today was so much nicer than yesterday!!!  We woke up to beautiful sunny skies and clear air!  Driving was out in the countryside was just lovely.

Today we planned to see waterfalls....lots and lots of waterfalls....

The first one was Millaa Millaa - and it turned out to be just an in-town swimming park.  A little disappointing since I like to hike a while and be rewarded with a waterfall at the end!

But, there was a nice nature walk beside the park so it wasn't a total downer.

Driving south, our GPS took us on an unexpected road, but we rolled with it.  We've been on a few of these before - they are 2 way roads - you just driving in the middle until you see someone coming.  Then both of you move 1/2 way over into the dirt side road to pass.

Just lovely countryside.

I won't bore you with details - but we did see a LOT of waterfalls.  Some were more "public" like this one....but many required a mile or so hike.  Those were the ones I liked best!

This was a bit of a hike to "The Crater" - it's a 200' deep pool that was a "lava tube" many millennia ago.  This is as close as we could get without climbing gear!

I took this panorama with my cell phone - hope you can enlarge it and scroll from side to side.  It's just such a pretty view from the side of a hill.

More waterfalls.

These next two are different locations, though they look similar.

Another lovely panorama.  The pastures just went on and on!

And as we were approaching our stopping point for the night, we passed many banana fields....I looked up the bags - they are covering the bunches of bananas to prevent pests from bothering them.

That's all for today!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

24 -extra Australia

We're at a motel that has unlimited internet tonight, so I thought I'd upload these two short videos.

This is us driving down the mountain on Cape Tribulation Road.  Actually, it's Duane driving, me trying not to get car-sick!!  He's just having fun.

The video is in actual speed - remember it's left hand side of the road here!

And this is from Port Douglas at their local Sunday market.  All vendors are required to be local and at least 80% of their goods for sale must be made locally.   An Aboriginal man was playing the digeridoo in the middle of the market.   I gave him a few dollars, of course!

24 - Australia

It rained throughout the night....the first time that's happened here!  I felt sorry for the 10 or so folks camping in tents on the same grounds....I hope they were well prepared because it probably rained well over an inch during the night!

Across the river from the lodge is a herd of cows - really cool ones with a "hump".  Unfortunately, this morning none of the bulls were present.  We had seen them earlier and they have a very pronounced hump on their back.  I believe they are Brahman cattle.

I used the communal kitchen this morning to make us a nice breakfast!  Good fun!

We're headed southbound now to make a loop of the Atherton Tablelands.  It's a fertile plateau just inland on the East Coast of Australia.  It is at an altitude similar to Asheville and has a similar feel although more tropical.

We only drove about 100 miles today - misty and rainy for the most part.

We drove down a 10 mile gravel road to a waterfall and hike.   Lovely waterfall but a very twisty road up a very steep hill!!

It doesn't really show in this photo, but there is a thousand foot sheer dropoff behind us!  A group of rock climbers with their helmets and gear asked me to take a group photo of them - and they obliged by taking one of us!

Lovely little stream above the waterfall.

Hard to believe that's at 4000'  elevation and not in a mangrove swamp somewhere at sea level.

A "swimming hole" further upstream.  No takers on this cloudy rainy day.

We spotted this kangaroo or wallaby - still don't know how to tell the difference.  She had a joey with her (in the grass, not visible).

By mid-day it was really raining pretty we opted to forego a couple of other hikes.  It just isn't that much fun walking in the rain!

We did go see the Curtain Fig tree.  It was just a short boardwalk, so the poring rain didn't bother us all that much.  This thing is probably 4 stories high!  The strangled "host" tree is long rotted away.

And the last thing for the day was to try to see some platypus again.  There was a walk nearby that says they regularly see platypus.  It's a small stream - and you can see the dens in the mudbanks.

We did actually see a small platypus swimming by on top fo the water for about 2 seconds....then he submerged.  They are notoriously shy.....but it was neat to see one even briefly.

We walked over a cool little suspension bridge....and decided we'd had enough for the day.  When we got to our roadside motel, the innkeeper said that this was the first rain they'd had in months, so they were very happy to see it!