Pictures from Australia during various trips in 2010 and 2012. Note that the circles indicate where I was.

* Cairns *
This was a very short trip. Here's the view from our hotel of the crowd gathering for the eclipse.
Even though it was a short trip, we did manage a snorkeling trip to the Great Barrier Reef. Here's the catamaran we took to the reef.
Here's a picture of the city of Cairns from the catamaran.
The first stop for the catamaran is Green Island, a protected island that many people like to visit as the island offers hiking, snorkeling, swimming, and has a resort. But, we heard the reef was better farther out.
First chore was a trip onboard the submersible. Here it is on another tour.
Here's a color-corrected picture of the coral on the reef.
What is amazing is that we were 45 miles offshore, yet the water was only a few feet deep in places and maybe 30 feet deep in others. No need for scuba diving here, snorkeling was all you needed. You can see the waves breaking on the reef in the distance.
We were not alone. Another company's scuba diving support boat had a catamaran tied to it.
As Cairns is in the tropical north, the hilly terrain was very lush.

* Sydney *
We arrived on Saturday and spent the day walking around the city center. Here's Harbour Bridge.
On Monday we walked down to Circular Quay and took a ferry boat to the Taronga Zoo, which is across the harbor from the Opera house. Obviously they have kangaroos (in big pens that you can would amongst them in).
Aside from many animals, the zoo also has Kuala Bears. They are cute.
This one looks like he had too much to drink.
On the way back from the zoo I took this picture of the Opera House from the ferry.
I also took this picture of Sydney's skyline (note the tower in the very left).
Across the Harbour Bridge is another built up area (appears to be the city's tech center). Also, note the little light house in the foreground.
Here are some apartments/condos right on the water front. Needless to say, Sydney is a really cool city.
Since our hotel was near many things (China town, Kings Cross, Oxford Street, Darling Harbour, Circular Quay and The Rocks) we walked about a lot. Along one of our many walks (walk abouts?) through the city center, was a stop at Sydney Tower (the tower in the very left of the above photo). From the tower one can get a panoramic view of the region. Here is the harbor looking towards the South Pacific.
Here is the view from the tower looking towards the Harbour Bridge.
Must be an Australian thing?
The conference dinner was held on this Mississippi River styled paddlewheel boat. The boat toured the harbor as we ate. Kind of ironic though. Travel to the other side of the world to eat dinner on a Mississippi River styled paddlewheel boat.

* Kiama *
On Sunday we took the train (great way to get around New South Wales) to Kiama (about a 2 hour ride). We wanted to visit the tropical forest there, but it was closed. So we went to the beach instead.
Here's the beach at Kiama. Very nice, but the water was a little too cold to swim in. We did manage to get sunburned though. But, I have no complaints. How often do you get sunburned in December? PS We did hike around the "rock" from the other beach.
Maybe it's because the ocean is so cool that these natural rock pools are so popular.

* Blue Mountains *
We also took a train (about a 2 hour ride) to the Blue Mountains. Once there you can but tickets to ride a hop-on hop-off tour bus and tickets to the cable cars. Here's the first cable car you ride (about 1000 feet about the valley floor).
After you cross the valley by cable car you get to the Lonely Rock area. From there you ride a 55 degree inclined train down to the valley floor (train runs between Lonely Rock and the cliff).
Once in the valley floor you can hike about. Here are some vines hanging from the trees. They are like giant rubber strands. I wanted to swing on them between trees (like Tarzan), but I figured I would either get hurt or arrested. So I didn't.
At the end of the hike you ride another cable back to the top.
Further along the cliff you run into the Three Sisters formation.
Once you reach the Three Sisters, you can take the stairs down to the valley floor (about 1000 feet down - yikes!). Or you can wimp out (like we did) and only climb down 100 or so feet to the bridge connecting to the Three Sisters formation.
Once of three waterfalls that drop from the cliff tops to the valley floor. Very cool.
Christmas in Australia.


Last Modification: November, 2012