Saturday, April 26, 2014

Visions from Australia (heavy on photos)

Grab a cup of coffee or tea, and get comfortable.  This is going to be a long post.

Our tour began in Melbourne, the second largest city in Australia.  Here is the Yarra River, which flows right through the city.

Look at the wonderful old building, the Flinders Street Railway Station.  Besides serving as a very busy train station, it is a popular meeting place for the locals.  When someone tells you to "meet me under the clocks", he is referring to the clocks above the main entrance.

The next photos are of places that most tourists probably don't see because they are "off the beaten path" in East Melbourne.  Some of the oldest houses in Melbourne are in this part of town.

I love the ironwork on these buildings.

This church was in the same neighborhood.

We later learned that this church has been converted into apartments.  I would love to have seen the inside of the building.  After returning home, I Googled  "Melbourne church converted into apartments", and this is what I found.

I don't remember where we saw this Norfolk Island Pine.  I thought it would make a marvelous photo.  The tree was enormous.  You might be able to get an idea of its tremendous size by looking at the person who is partially covered up by it.

One of the highlights of the trip was the chance to go snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef.  (This was going to be only my third time snorkeling, the last time being in 1992.)  I think the boat ride to the reef was about an hour in each direction.  Unfortunately, the water was very rough both ways.  Despite having taken Dramamine and ginger tablets, I was pretty sick both coming and going.  In fact, when we got to the large platform shown in the photo below, I was so wiped out from being sick that I didn't even go in the water.

These two photos of the platform were actually taken as we were leaving since I didn't feel up to taking any photos as we approached it.

At least Tom was able to go snorkeling.

Another place we visited was the Kuranda Rain Forest.  Since it was lightly raining, our photos are a bit hazy.  If interested, you can see a video of the ride we took at the Skyrail Cableway's website.   (You might want to mute the volume on your computer.)

We stayed in a lodge located between the Great Barrier Reef and the Kuranda Rain Forest.  Our cabin was nestled among trees and was a short distance from the beach.  We frequently saw wallabies in the morning and late afternoon.

Next we were off to Ayers Rock (also called Uluru).  Uluru is sacred to the Anangu, who are the native people of the area. 

Uluru is made from sandstone.  It stands 1,142 feet high and has a circumference of 5.8 miles.   Wow! It is certainly quite a rock!!

The area around Uluru is notorious for the number of flies.  They are so bad that we were given nets to wear, and boy did we need them!  As bad as the flies were when we were there just a couple of weeks ago, I was surprised to see that William and Kate (the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) weren't wearing nets when they were recently there.  They didn't take baby George, though, so perhaps they knew something about the area.  One of the funny things I saw in the area was a young lady at the pool at our hotel wearing a bikini and a fly net.

I'll wrap up this blog post with photos from Sydney.  Unfortunately the weather was dreary most of the time we were there, so our photos are not the best.

Many of you will recognize the Sydney Bridge and the Opera  House.

The Sydney Bridge is the largest single span arch bridge in  the world.

Tom decided to climb it.  Since I'm afraid of heights, I opted not to go.  The climbers are harnessed at all times, and items such as caps and eyeglasses are securely fastened to them.  No cameras or phones are allowed on the climb.  I think that is to protect the traffic below from climbers dropping items.

After the climb, the climbers were allowed to take photos at a lower level.  In the first photo, you can see climbers (dressed in blue) on their way to the top of the bridge.

Here is Tom at the lower level.  I love seeing the Opera House in the background.

And here is the view he saw at the lower level.  I can only imagine how magnificent the view he must have had at the top of the bridge.

Here is a view of the Opera House from the water.

And here are some close-ups of the outside of the  building.

So until next time....


Jackie said...

The angle of the photo showing everyone climbing the bridge made my head swirl. I can see why you elected to keep two feet on the ground!

It looks like an amazing trip. I can't imagine seeing wallabies out and about!

Annette-California said...

The photos of the ironwork's remind me of New Orleans:) Stunning photos! that water looked so ruff that I am surprised they let anyone go in the water to snorkel. Ugg so sorry you got ill. I didn't know you got to see Ayers Rock! How cool! And yes I saw the photos of the royals on their recent visit. You look lovely in your hat:) What an amazing trip!
love Annette

samplerlover said...

It looks like you and Tom really enjoyed you stay with us :). Some wonderful photos there.

Last year my DH and I travelled down down to Melbourne for a few days and that Church was on the corner from where we stayed. Its amazing isn't it.

I don't know if this is true, but I once heard the reason why there are so many Norfolk Island Pine Trees along the Coast of Australia is because the trees grow tall and straight and they used them on the sailing ships when there masts broke.

Vickie said...

Such an interesting trip and post. Thank you for sharing!

Angie said...

Ellen, I so enjoyed the pictures! Thank you for sharing! Was this trip on your bucket list?
I have always loved the idea of living in a church. Those apartments are beautiful.

Melissa said...

What a great bit of armchair travel for me. Thanks for sharing the photos, Ellen!

geeky Heather said...

Just a fantastic trip!! I'm so sorry you weren't able to snorkel! I'm also incredibly jealous of you getting to see all those wee wallabies!!!