Well, we have been back for awhile from our most excellent adventure in Australia. Our trip really did surpass all expectations and we had such a wonderful time. As with other trips, I have put together a note of the highlights of our trip. Please feel free to read at your leisure or just delete. Part of the reason I like putting together this kind of email is that it allows me to relive our trip a bit. We spent a good part of yesterday looking at our pictures and it was so fun to remind ourselves of all the good times we had. I would like to share them with you so
We started our trip on the evening of Saturday, September 27 and were lucky to be upgraded on the flight so flew executive class overseas. What a treat. Our first stop was…
Sydney – We landed at 8 in the morning after a long flight. However, our room was ready for us so after a quick unpack and a wash we were gone for the day. Nothing like hitting the ground running to minimize jet lag. Sydney was a wonderful city and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves here. We had a few things planned but here our time was mostly just about hanging out and wandering the streets. The highlights of this city included climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge at sunset; a tour of the opera house where we actually were able to watch an opera rehearsal for a bit; “cruising like a local” on a small boat around Sydney Harbour which also included a quick dip in the harbour (brrrrrrrrrrrr); and a ferry ride to Manly Beach and swimming in the surf.
In Sydney we stayed at a fabulous hotel situated in Circular Quay; each night we sat on our balcony both before and after dinner overlooking the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House just people watching and of course sipping on wine. Each night we discovered a new and better restaurant. But finally on the following Saturday morning we had to move on, so flew to our next destination…
Kangaroo Island – This is the place where we encountered the incredible wildlife of Australia. The name of this island says it all. Over the two days we were here we saw tons of kangaroos and wallabies jumping around, tracked koalas in the trees, watched the fairy penguins one evening, walked among the seals on the beach and took in some incredible landscapes. We had two days of touring with a great guide who cooked us lunch both days which of course included some great Australian wines.
On this island we stayed at a wonderful bed and breakfast. We sure ate well here!! Our host Lynn cooked us the most amazing breakfasts and dinners. The first morning was a spread like you can’t even imagine – fluffy pancakes, fresh scones, homemade jam and a hot granola fruit bake. After we ate all that she then came out and said are you ready for the hot breakfast? Despite being full, Brendan and Bryan couldn’t resist the eggs benedict with salmon. The next morning we were ready when she offered the eggs florentine. Dinners were even better and each night we had a choice of some amazing dishes and great wines. The appetizer the first night was marinated kangaroo. Bryan had it and liked it; Brendan and I tried a bite but we were not fans.
We left Kangaroo Island at the end of the second day and flew to Adelaide for the night and left early the next morning to fly to Cairns. One night was definitely enough in Adelaide.
After landing in Cairns we boarded a four-seater plane (just the pilot and us) to fly to our next destination, the Daintree Rainforest. This 25 minute flight along the coast and over the Great Barrier Reef was definitely one of the most memorable moments of our trip. The views were absolutely spectacular!!! And landing on the short grass runway was quite fun, not to mention bumpy.
Daintree – We stayed in a tree house resort near the edge of the Daintree River. A great place where we were able to hang around and relax, as well as tour a bit. Our first tour was out to the Great Barrier Reef. It was a one and a half hour boat trip to get to our first reef location. I accomplished a “life to-do” and went scuba diving for the first time in my life. Scuba diving in the reef is one of the most amazing things I have ever done and definitely something I will never forget. The underwater world is so different – the neat coral, the bright fish – it all surrounds you and you can’t help but be in awe. The fish don’t move and you are able to swim right through them. At times it is a little creepy, but only a little, mostly it is incredible. I was able to do two dives that day and it is something I will never forget. Brendan and Bryan also enjoyed the reef and went snorkling throughout the day. A great day.
Another tour a few days later was in the rainforest itself. A fun day walking through the immense trees and vegetation, cruising along the rives in the hopes of spotting a crocodile (no luck), walking along the beach where “rainforest meets the reef”. This is also the trip where Brendan tried crocodile for lunch and licked an ant’s butt which he, of course, thought was the funniest thing ever.
Other days of our four days at the resort were swimming or just hanging out on our balcony chatting and sipping wine. The balcony had a very relaxing hammock which made for a perfect early morning place to read. One day we went what we thought would be a short hike which turned out to be about four hours however that time also included just hanging out at a swimming hole at the bottom of some rapids we discovered. Very cool. We enjoyed our time here but after four days, it was time to move on to . . .
Palm Cove – From the rainforest we then moved onto Palm Cove, a small beach town about 20 minutes north of Cairns. This was yet another fantastic location. We stayed in a neat place which once again had a wonderful balcony where each night we could sit and relax, play games and drink wine (notice the theme yet?). Our first night we discovered an amazing restaurant with the best food and wine so far. Bryan only had one night with us here as he had to head back home the evening of our second day. A sad moment. However Brendan and I played some games that night to get our minds off of things and in the end had a great time.
The next day Brendan and I went on our second trip out to the reef. It was raining this day and the wind was strong. The trip out to the reef was VERY rocky and literally half of the people on the boat were sick on the way out but luckily Brendan and I had our sea legs and more importantly, our sea stomachs. Another cool day of snorkeling on the reef. Once again the underwater world was incredible – Brendan and I saw colorful fish, bright coral and some huge clams among other things. Our last days in Palm Cove were all about relaxing some more (the other theme of our trip). But finally it was time to leave so we got on a plane to . . .
Uluru (Ayers Rock) – Flying over Uluru just started to give us an idea of how amazing this area in the centre of Australia really is. After spending the afternoon at the other resort’s pool (bigger and nicer than ours) we went to the Sounds of Silence dinner. An amazing evening – started by watching the sun set over Uluru and Kata Tjuta sipping on champagne, next was a good dinner followed by an astronomer telling us many stories about the stars in the sky. Afterwards we were able to look through his telescopes and could see the craters on the moon,
Venus and Jupiter and four of its moons. Very cool.
Other highlights in Uluru included a sunset tour and walking through Kata Tjuta then waking up early the next morning to watch the sun rise. What made our sun rise tour extra fun was that we were on camels!! Crazy!! We finished the day by going on a private tour for just Brendan and I to Ulura. Our guide was amazing and we learned so many neat things about this big orange rock. It is very hard to describe the feeling of standing next to this rock. You feel so small and so much in awe yet appreciate the world around you. I found it quite moving. But then it was finally time to go . . .
Last night in Sydney – we finally landed in Sydney early evening and while it would have been easy to just crash, Brendan and I decided to make the most of our last night so headed out to dinner. We went to Doyle’s on the beach and even though it was no where near our hotel, definitely worth the trip. A wonderful last meal. We enjoyed each other’s company and remembered the highlights of our last three weeks. One of best meals.
The next morning it was finally time to head home but of course not before having one more glass of sparkling wine in the lounge at the airport. Nothing like a glass of wine at 8 in the morning!!! I love this country.
Kirsten, Bryan and Brendan
Traveled to Australia September 2008