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Posts: 11
Registered: ‎09-29-2011

Australia

 

We flew from Tampa to Dallas Thursday evening September 17th, boarded a 16 hour south-westbound flight over the Pacific Ocean(crossing the international dateline and equator), and landed in Sydney Saturday morning. One more flight (after clearing customs) and we were at our hotel in Cairns 34 hours after leaving home.   A dip in the pool and some fresh clothes then we strolled the esplanade; sampling local beer, kangaroo and crocodile at Outback Jack’s. Sunday started slow adjusting to the 14 hour time difference with breakfast in bed and coffee on the balcony. At noon we went by helicopter to the Great Barrier Reef, had lunch on Norman’s Reef pontoon, took a semi-submersible ride, and snorkeled before a high-speed catamaran brought us back to shore; the air temperature was 82 and the water 77 with no jellyfish this time of year. Monday we rode the scenic railway to Kuranda Village in the rainforest where we toured a butterfly sanctuary, bird aviary and koala garden; had lunch (emu burger) and souvenir shopped; and then returned to town on a skyrail gondola over the treetops. Tuesday we flew back to Sydney and checked in, then walked down to the harbor and original city in the Rocks district where we had a few drinks at Lord Nelson’s Brewery (est. 1841), and enjoyed a fine dinner upstairs. Wednesday morning (first day of spring in the southern hemisphere) we walked to the National Maritime Museum at Darling Harbor and toured a replica of Captain Cook’s ship Endeavour; took a harbor ferry under the bridge to the Circular Quay and saw the musical Anything Goes at Sydney Opera House; and strolled the Royal Botanic Garden on our way to the hotel. Thursday we went by train 2 hours to Katoomba in the Blue Mountains for lunch and sightseeing; the weather was cooler and drier than Sydney’s scattered showers and 60s. Back in town we spent a rainy night in the hotel’s Marble Bar (est. 1893) with live music, drinks and pizza. Friday was open for shopping, relaxing and packing for the 28 hour trip home on Saturday.

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