Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Queenstown, Otago, South Island, New Zealand

We flew across "the big ditch" or the Tasman Sea, from Sidney to Christchurch, New Zealand, and then took a coach to Queenstown.  We have enjoyed spectacular scenery here where "The Lord of the Rings" was filmed.  We enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Walter Peak with a Sheep shearing demo.  Although NewZealand is known for its sheep ranching and fine woolens, the dairy industry and wineries are also important to the New Zealand economy.  yesterday we took a coach to Fjiordlands National Park and toured Milford Sound with spectacular scenery  as well as bottle nose dolphins and NZ for seals.  One of my favorites was the Chasm hike through fern filled forests to a beautiful waterfall that has carved  the igneous rock.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Visited the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney and found many beautiful plants in bloom.  Took a tour of Darling Harbour and stopped at the Sydney Opera House for a tour,.  What a work of art this structure is!  Visited Bondi Beach and walked barefoot in the sand, wetting our toes in the Pacific Ocean.  Lots of surfers and swimmers, but a little cool for swimming.  Today we saw The Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains.  Tomorrow we fly to Christchurch, NewZealand.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Cairns, Queensland, Australia

Yesterday we took Sunlover Boat to Moore Reef, part of the Great Barrier Reef where we snorkeled  and saw many beautiful tropical fish, coral reef, and turtles.  Today we visited the tropical rainforest arriving by train in Kuranda.  We visited bird world where we saw many beautiful tropical birds.  The return trip by sky rail was fantastic.  We made a couple of stops where we walked in the tropical rainforest.  We then visited Tjapukai Aboriginal Culture Park where we learned about playing the didgeridoo, spear throwing and boomerangs.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Ayers Rock, Northern Territory, Australia

Arrived in Alice Springs yesterday and toured the old telegraph station, The School of the Air, and Flying Doctors.  We traveled from Alice Springs to Ulura where we visited the Olga's in Tata Tjuta national park and enjoyed a sunset viewing of Uluru.  Today we hiked to a waterhole at the base of Uluru where we saw pictographs and enjoyed the landscape.  We visited the aboriginal cultural center.  We enjoyed watching aboriginal women painting.  Their art has lots of dots which represents the spinifex grass from the air.  Flew from Ayers Rock to Cairns and could see the circular patterns represented in the aboriginal art.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Melbourne Australia

We  arrived in Melbourne on May seventh, via LA to Auckland, crossing the International Dateline and losing May sixth entirely.  We enjoyed a city tour visiting St Paul's church , the outdoor market, Little Italy  and Fitzroy Gardens.  In the afternoon we took a tour to Prince Phillip Island, following the Nobbies along the coast to see wallabys in the wild as the sun was setting .  The ocean breeze from the south was brisk with Antarctica only 2000 miles away.  We watched the Little Penguins come to shore and waddle up the beach to their burrows.  Yesterday we visited the Yarra Valey and the Dandenong Mountains where we saw cockatoos and lorikeets and walked  the Lyrebird trail in a temperate rainforest with tree ferns, a landscape right out of "Jurassic Park".  We saw kangaroos, wallabys, koalas and the Tasmanian devil at a rehabilitation facility as well.  Melbourne is a city of four million and has  a great deal of charm with some beautiful historic buildings and many modern ones.