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Posts Tagged ‘Australia’

Finally we got to see kangaroos in Kuranda.  Not only did we get to see them but we got to feed them and touch them and be chased by them.  They are very docile and petting them feels a little like petting a German Shepherd. Tony has the pictures of me feeding them because he took them with his camera so if I get those from him, I can post them some time in the future.

3 Kangas!

These three kangaroos were off by themselves, kind of like they were too good to be with the rest of the gang.  The one in the upper part of the photo is the biggest one of the entire group.  There were probably about 60 of them running all over the place.

This is the same group as above, from a different angle.

Tony petting one of the kangas.

This particular roo did not want us to stop petting or feeding him.  When we stopped, he would go after us.  He seemed to be quite interested in our camera bags!

Kanga and wallaby with Tony.

With his right hand he is feeding a wallaby (about half the size of the kangas) and with his left hand he is feeding the same kangaroo from above who insisted on being fed when Tony started feeding the wallaby!

Standing kanga

Same kanga!  He posed for me.  I tell you, he sure was an attention grabber!

Lots of lounging kangaroos.

This is the group of kangas that we spent most of our time with.  The little one standing near the middle of the photograph is a wallaby.  When Tony was feeding them, the wallaby got a little agressive and bit Tony.  Tony called out “Ouch!  He bit me!”  and the kangaroo we had been feeding that you saw in the pictures, ran over and slapped the wallaby with his paw and chased him away.  Then he stayed to be petted and fed!  Tony’s protector is the one in the uppermost left hand of this picture above.

Red kangaroo

Above is a red kangaroo.  They are not as friendly as the other kangas.  They were in a separate area and while they could roam freely, they pretty much stayed together in an area that was less accessible to the park attendees.  This was above appeared to be shy but did stop long enough for me to take a picture.

 

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One of the other things Tony and I really wanted to do was to go to the rain forest in the mountains next to Cairns (pronounced Canz by locals).  Tony found a way to maximize the experience.  We booked a trip on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway from outside of Cairns to the top of the mountain in Kuranda.  It’s a gondola that you ride.  It hangs on a cable, high above the ground!  (I actually discovered I was afraid of heights on this trip!)  It takes an hour and a half to get to the top.  Once we were at the top we participated in some activities and this is where the German Tucker Sausage House was located.  Then when we were done, we took the trip back home via the scenic railroad (thank goodness we didn’t have to take the skyrail back because I don’t think I would have gotten back on!)

One note:  It was sad to see a lot of dying, drying, brown trees on the way up the mountain and once we were at the top.  We were told by locals that there has been very little rain the past few years, even here in the rain forest.

One the way up, via the skyrail, we had a beautiful view of Cairns and the ocean which is really not the ocean but the Trinity Inlet and the Coral Sea beyond.  The day was crystal clear.  By the time we reached Kuranda the temperatures were in the upper 80s.

On the way up, Cairns in background.

 

Oncoming gondola

Over the river. Note lush plant life!

Near Barron Falls Overlook

Above rainforest looking down.

Once at the top of the mountain in Kuranda, we got off of the cableway and were greeted by the lush tropical rainforest!

Kuranda, Skyrail Station

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A Lot Of Croc–Australia

I haven’t written much about the food we had while in Australia but I have to spend a few words here to accompany some pictures.

We really wanted to have crocodile and kangaroo before leaving.  We hadn’t seen it in Melbourne or in Port Campbell so when we were in Cairns, we made it a point to really look for it.  We found a couple of restaurants that had it on the menu but it is really, really expensive (about $50 for each of us) so we kept looking.  One evening as we walked by one of the restaurants that we knew served it, I noticed that the evening’s specials included A Taste Of Australia and a crocodile dish.  It was a lot less expensive than the non special price.  We probably didn’t get as large a portion as we might have if we had gotten it from their regular menu, but both came with rice and my crocodile plate came with veggies, too.  The special included wine, a real bonus!  Tony had the Taste of Australia which included a skewer of kangaroo (the dark meet in the center), one of emu (hiding under the kangaroo), and a nice size fillet of barramundi (a fish native to the area).  I had a plate with just the crocodile.  Neither of us was disappointed!  Everythign was absolutely declicious.  The crocodile (my plate) was prepared with some kind of mint and was quite tender.  The kangaroo on Tony’s plate was fixed with teriyaki sauce.  The emu was barbecued and the barramundi was absolutely delicious and kind of melted in the mouth.

My plate of crocodile for dinner.

Taste of Australia

The next day we went to Kuranda (rainforest) and found a German sausage house that served emu sausage and crocodile sausage so we got to feast again!  Tony ordered the emu. I had the crocodile, shown below.  I thought their menu was interesting (see the “warning” on it below) so I’ve included some pictures of the menu.

Crocodile sausage

Menu from German Tucker Sausage House

Portion of menu from German Tucker Sausage House

Warning on men from German Tucker

 

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Here are more pictures of our day at the Great Barrier Reef:

Catamaran docked at pontoon at Morse Reef

Coral, taken through Underwater Theater window

Lots of little fishies!

And lots of bigger fishies!

Tony and I before boarding the catamaran

That’s all for today.  Not feeling great so off to bed.

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When we planned the trip, there were four main things that Tony wanted to do.  The first was to rent a car and go to the Twelve Apostles and Port Campbell.  We did that.  In Cairns, he wanted to go snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef and go to Kuranda in the rainforest.  So now that we were in Cairns, it was time to take on another of the things on his list: the Great Barrier Reef.

We left our hotel early to walk the mile to the harbor where we boarded the catamaran for our reserved trip.  It was a two hour catamaran trip out to Morse Reef where our catamaran docked at a pontoon for the day’s activities.  I cannot swim so I did not sign up for the snorkeling but there were other things to do, such as the Glass Bottom Boat and the Semi Submersible.  Tony can swim so he signed up for the snorkeling and went a step further and booked the advanced snorkeling trip during which they take a group of 4 or 5 at a time for a 40 minute adventure outside of the cordoned off area where everyone else goes snorkeling.  It was so wonderful for me to see him so excited about this activity.  This was, afterall, his trip.  I wanted to make sure that he got to do everything he wanted to do.  I didn’t want him to miss anything because I could not do it.

The water, the fish, and the coral, as seen through the glass of the semi submersible and the glass bottom boat were amazing.  I took way too many pictures to share here but I am posting a few below and will post more tomorrow.  Enjoy.  And yes, the water was really that color!

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Cairns–Australia

After five days in the Melbourne area, we went on to our next destination, Cairns.  Cairns is in Queensland, a two and a half  hour flight from Melbourne.  We left a cloudy Melbourne behind and headed for a tropical 80 degree paradise!  If you have ever been to Hawaii (maybe Kauai) you will have an idea of what Cairns is like, minus the hustle and bustle.  It’s a small town with a very laid back kind of life.  Things don’t get rolling in the morning until about 11.  Imagine us wanting breakfast at 9 and not really finding much in the way of food because it was too early!

The main tourist street is literally across the street from the beach with a park/bike/jog area between the street and the water.  It has a very large pier for a town that size, then again, it is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef so I guess it’s not surprising.  There is also a casino in town.  Yes, Tony and I visited there twice in our four day stay.

People are very friendly and helpful.  This goes for both locals and tourists.  The taxi drivers were very chatty and tend to drive very fast!  Most of the taxis we saw there are Prius models and for a Prius, they sure do move!

Just a couple of pictures below.  Tomorrow more, probably of our snorkeling trip to the Great Barrier Reef.

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The bay in Cairns from our hotel balcony.

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Cairns Harber at dusk

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St. Kilda–Australia

When Tony and I returned to Melbourne from Port Campbell, we stayed in South Yarra, a suburb of Melbourne.  We had read before leaving home about St. Kilda Beach.  It was supposed to be a neat area to go shop and eat and have a drink.  We took a tram to St. Kilda and although it was an overcast and windy day, we did find quite a few people in the shopping area.  The beach was deserted and Luna Park (amusement park) was closed for the season but the restaurants and shops were doing a brisk business.

We had a delicious Porterhouse steak dinner with beer as the house special that night and paid only $15 each which is a bargain in Australia where most dinners out will set you back at least $30 each.  It was interesting to watch the restaurant.  In the U.S., the fire marshall would have been there to close them down or make them get rid of some of their customers.  It was so crowded that we actually had to wait for the restaurant staff to ask people to get up out of their chairs so we would have a path to the door.  And it happened anytime they were seating someone or someone wanted to leave.  The food was amazingly delicious and the beer was brewed locally so other than having to wait to get out of there, we had no complaints.

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The beach at St. Kilda

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Entrance to Luna Park

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Building that looks like reptile skin!

This building was pretty neat.  When you looked closely, the outside looked like reptile skin.

Beach folk atop St. Kilda hair salon!

The beach folk weren’t real but they sure looked real.  They made everyone do a double take!

 

 

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On our way from Melbourne to Port Campbell, via the Great Ocean Road, we came upon a couple of small, quaint towns.  One was Apollo Bay where we stopped for a potty break then decided we would eat there, too.  We found the bathrooms in next to the park in one of the Information Centers and while I waited for Tony, I walked around the park and explored.

Australia is really big on parks.  It seems like one can’t travel for more than a few blocks without finding a park.  They aren’t cookie cutter parks, either.  Each one is unique.  The one shown below showcased local materials and local artists.  We found a number of beautifully handmade park benches on which to sit and enjoy the deep blue skies.  I also was captivated by a mosaic drinking fountain (shown below).  It appeared to be made entirely of recycled glass and broken tiles.  The water came out the spout and any that wasn’t caught by the drinker’s mouth spiraled down the length of the fountain and into a drain at the bottom.  There were also a number of wooden sculptures, all pretty abstract and probably aboriginal in design.  One sculpture, much less abstract, was of local seals.  You’ll see that one below too.

It was truly a beautiful little town in which to enjoy lunch and even more, had we had the time.  If you’re ever in Australia on the Great Ocean Road, remember the name Apollo Bay.

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The bay at Apollo Bay.

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Some of the abstract sculptures.

A closer view of sculptures.

A closer view of sculptures.

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Handmade park bench uses local trees.

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Sculpture featuring local sealife!

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Spiral mosaic drinking fountain.

 

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On our way to Port Campbell, we came across a lighthouse.  At least we could see it in the distance so I asked Tony to stop so we could see if we could get a closer look.  We found a sign directing us to Split Point Lighthouse.  It had been very rainy during the day so the road, a dirt one, was quite muddy but we gave it a try anyway.  We made it to the parking lot, barely, without getting stuck in the mud and then we had to walk to the lighthouse.  It was probably a half mile walk which is not bad but remember that it was very muddy and it was sprinkling off and on and to top things off, it was extremely windy.

However, it was worth fighting the elements.  We got a beautiful look at the stormy ocean and skies.  Although the lighthouse has an observation deck which one can climb for an even more spectacular view, there was no way either of us was going to try to climb a narrow staircase to the top of the 111 foot lighthouse.

Here are some pictures I took.  If you click on the links above, you can see some pictures of what it looks like in sunny weather.

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Split Point Lighthouse against the cloudy sky.

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Pathway from lighthouse to ocean view.

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Tony on path from lighthouse to ocean side.

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View from lighthouse cliff.

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Stormy skies.

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Our destination when we left Melbourne was the Twelve Apostles just east of Port Campbell.  After driving through rain for half the day, we found some sun!  I’m sort of skipping lots of miles here but you’ll get to see those in the coming days.  I just needed to post something quickly so I don’t miss posting today!

We went here twice which accounts for the different shadows.  First we were there around 3 in the afternoon.  It was very crowded and difficult to find a spot from which to take a picture without a lot of other people getting in the way.  The travel books all said to go at dusk or dawn for the best lighting effects so we decided to go back at dusk so we drove on to our apartment/motel and rested a bit then headed back at dusk.  We were soooo glad we had gone back.  Not only was the light amazing, but there was hardly anyone else there!  I think the heavy whipping wind accounted for a lot of that plus if anyone was driving back to civilization (Melbourne) that night, they had to get moving because it takes about five to six hours in each direction!

In any case, here are some of the pictures.  More to come!

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Two of the twelve apostles, east of the larger group.

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Twelve Apostles, dusk

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And another angle of the Twelve Apostles at dusk.

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