Samstag, 17. März 2012

Day 39 to 45 - Tasmania

Hasting Caves
Don't I look intelligent?
Port Arthur
After Andi went home I visited Tasmania. Tasmania is the largest island of the Australian Commonwealth, located 240km south of the Australian mainland with a population of about 500.000 people. Because of it's natural beauty and landscape Tasmania is often compared to New Zealand. My first stop was Hobart, which is the largest city and also the second oldest town in Australia (Sydney is the oldest). Hobart is a city with alot of restaurant located in old houses near the marina. After I spent one day there I did a day tour to the Hasting Caves and to the "End of the Road" which is the most southern point on a street in Australia. On my third day I started a 3 day tour along the east coast with a nice tour group (many greetings to all) and a perfect tour guide (thanks John!). Day 1 was our cultural day, Port Arthur was the main target. Port Arthur was a convict which was well known for it's harsh seperate prison system. Any contact between prisoners has been prevented.
We also went to an wildlife park to see tasmanian devils and we feed some kangaroos. On our second day we had no luck and so we saw some highlights like "Wineglass Bay" only under bad weather conditions. The third day was my personal highlight by visiting the "Bay of fires". The Bay of Fires - white beaches, deep blue water and red rocks. The tour ended in Launceston where I stayed for another night before I went to Melbourne. In Launceston I did some sightseeing, walked to the Cataract Gorge and visited the monkeys in the city park. Tasmania is a real nice place to visit, totally different to the mainland of Australia, so don't miss it.
Bay of fires

Tasmanian Devil

Dienstag, 6. März 2012

Day 32 to 38 - Cairns, Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest

Port Douglas
Cairns is a lively town full of backpackers, it seems that the city would not exist without backpackers and especially without the Great Barrier Reef - Cairns is the main spot for tours to the reef. Let's start with our trip to the reef. We went with a boat to the Upolu Reef which is part of the Great Barrier Reef, on our first stop we did an intro dive for about half an hour and down to 8m. We saw alot of colourful fishes, turtles and other marine life. We saw three huge, more than 1,5m long fishes, really close.
After we had lunch on the boat we head up for the second stop on another area of the reef where we snorkeled.
Great Barrier Reef
Cairns Marina

On our snorkeling tour we saw clownfishes (Nemo), stingrays and much more. At the afternoon we were lucky and saw a yellow shark from the boat. At all it was an amazing day with experience what we wont miss.

Can you see it?
Rainforest lake
The target for our next day was another world heritage site - The Daintree Rainforest in North Queensland
The day began with rain and we had a long way to go to our first stop, a rivercruise on the Daintree river. We had to drove on a street though mountains and rainforest. Andi (he drove) recognised that it was very slippery, like driving on an icy road in Austria in winter. Only some time later a car in front of us slipped off the road and crashed into the wall beside the road. We stopped to help the woman who drove the car. Andi was not able to walk with his shoes on the street, that was the moment we really recognised how slippery it was. The woman was not injured and the car was just a little bit damaged but she was not able to get out of the ditch. Andi and me pushed the car back and we managed to get it back to the road. After this was done and the woman was happy we all proceed with our drive very carefully.
Crocodile on the Daintree River

Arrived on the Daintree river we started our boat cruise to see some crocodiles, there are many living in this river up to 5m long. Only a short time after leaving the boat station we saw the first one. It was about a year old and 1m long. On our cruise we saw two other the second was about 1,5m and short before we returned we saw on with about 3m, really incredible.
Crocodile warning on the walking track
Cassowary warning

After crossing the river with a ferry we drove along the street to the north where the Daintree rainforest begins. After we saw already a subtropical rainforest in the south of Australia our first impression in the tropical Daintree was "This is a real rainforest!". It was like we expected and like we knew it from pictures and from TV. Hopefully you can get a feeling of it, when you have a look on the pictures. We did some walks through the rainforest, saw some "interesting" insects and enjoyed the sunshine which came at the late morning. We would highly recommend to go to the Daintree rainforest if you are in Cairns, it's for sure worth a visit.
Beautiful scenery on the way to the Daintree
We left Cairns last saturday to go back to Sydney. After a last weekend in Sydney together it was time to say goodbye. Andi went home to Austria on sunday and I went to Tasmania where I will stay for one week.
Andi have a good trip home and enjoy the time back in Austria with real good bread and all the other things which we missed in Australia.

Freitag, 2. März 2012

Day 25 to 32 - East Coast Brisbane to Cairns

Brisbane Skyline
Here we are now, after a one and a half hour flight we arrived in Brisbane where we stayed for one night. We were impressed because we didn't expected that Brisbane is so cool. It's a lively city with a lot of bars and restaurants. If you want to have a nice view on the skyline go to Story Bridge in Fortitude Valley, that's amazing at sunset.

The next day, when we left Brisbane, was our start for the roadtrip to Cairns along the east coast of Australia.

5,6km jetty in Lucinda
Our first destination on the trip was Rainbow Beach - it was raining
Fraser Island - stormy
Bundaburg - heavy rain
Gladstone - thunderstorms
Airlie Beach - just rain
Withsunday Islands - particullary rain
Townsville - flooded streets
Cairns - unbelieveable, some sunshine
Cassowary in Etty Bay
Etty Bay

This was our trip on the east coast but although the weather was not the best we had fun and did some tours on Fraser Island and the Whitsundays.
We saw wild cassowaries (very large flightless birds up to 2m tall) in Etty Bay and a more than 5km long jetty in Lucinda. Of course all of that is even nicer at good weather.

Shipwreck Fraser Island
Sailing on the Withsundays
Our 4WD Bus on Fraser

Since we are in Cairns we have more luck and we dived at the Great Barrier Reef and did a tour to the Daintree Rainforest north of Cairns. We will write about that in our next blog entry.

Dienstag, 21. Februar 2012

Day 21 to 24 - Sydney

Sydney at night
Darling Harbour
We arrived in THE city of Australia, in Sydney.
After we've checked in at our hostel we had a short walk through the neighbourhood.
We enjoyed the city, did some shopping and sightseeing.
A visit of Chinatown, Darling Harbour and of course the Opera House with Harbour Bridge is a must - so we did it.
In Chinatown we discovered a big market hall, in which you can buy whatever you need or not need.
We saw dentist accessories beneath dancing toy-dogs and food.
Batman - we know where he lives...
Cockatoo at the Botanic Garden

Darling Harbour is a nice place with alot of restaurants and bars and it is used as chill-out area for families.
Now to our personal highlight of Sydney, the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. It was amazing to see these two famous buildings in real life and not only at the internet or on television.

Bondi Beach
We came back at the evening to take some nice pictures after the sunset.
Unfortunately it was very windy but the result was good, so we have attached some samples for you.
After we've finished the photo tour it began to rain and we got wet but it was worth the trip.
Bondi Beach

We spent our last day at the Bondi Beach, where we both get a "little" bit tanned - we are red like a tomato.
Today we are flying to Brisbane, see you soon and take care!

 Many greetings from Sydney
 Andi & Gerd

Sydney Skyline

Sonntag, 19. Februar 2012

Day 18 to 20 - Blue Mountains National Park

Blue Mountains with the three sisters on the left
On day 18 the weather was not as good and we had a long distance to our next place where we want to stay so that we drove some houndred kilometres till Wollongong where we stayed for the night.
The day ended with a nice barbeque and nearly 1kg rumpsteak.

Now it was time going to the Blue Mountains, listed in the Unesco World Heritage list.
The name of the Blue Mountains comes from a fine mist of oil in the air exuded from the large eucalyptus trees in this area.
Our first stop was at a waterfall where we had a short walk through the forest to the top of the waterfall.
Afterwards we had another stop at the "Three Sisters", a famous rock formation within the Blue Mountains.
For our dinner we choose a kind of fast food pizzeria, so we ate pizza for the first time since we are abroad from Europe, and let's say - it's a different style of pizza.
Andi's waterfall :-)
On the next day it was time to go to Sydney which is about 80km away but befor we had some stops on interesting lookout points within the national park. On one of these lookouts, there was another big waterfall, Andi wants to go to the bottom of the waterfall. Gerd refused, so Andi went alone downstairs the slippery rocks.
Our camper on the left
The way down to the bottom was mentioned with one hour. Andi did the whole way down and back in 36 minutes. Andi was exhausted afterwards.
We continued our way to Sydney and finally we arrived there on friday afternoon after 1864 kilometres from Melbourne.

Samstag, 18. Februar 2012

Day 16 to 17 - Wilsons Promontory National Park

Wilsons Promontory
Wilsons Promontory National Park
Our 16th day in Australia began a little bit cloudy. Although we decided to go to our target for today, the Wilsons Promontory National Park.
Arrived at the park we went to the visitor centre to feed us with some information about the park. We got a walking plan from the area and so we decided to do a six kilometers walk.
We walked in an area which was affected by a bushfire 2009 and it is amazing to see how fast the nature regenerates.
Lakes Entrance
At the end we walked along the rainforest where we saw not so much birds as expected.
Now it was time to relax and what's better to relax as chilling on the beach.
The beach was not just a beach, the Squirky Beach, so the name, was one of the best we both ever saw - clearly water, snow white and not crowded.
Squirky Beach
Squirky Beach
Ninety Mile Beach
Over night we stayed on a campingground near the national park.
At the next morning we woke up early and went to Lakes Entrance, a lovely city and also the end of the Ninety Mile Beach - A narrow strip of sand stretching for more than 90 miles (150km).