This is me filming the Harbour Bridge from the Botanical Gardens.
After a long flight from the Netherlands to Austria and from Austria to Sidney, we arrived in Australia the country we were so curious about. By bus we went to Kings Cross. A neighbourhood with plenty of hostels and hotels. From shabbie dorms till luxury hotels. After we checked in we went for a short walk. After a while we stood in front of the Opera House with the Harbour Bridge on the background. We stayed in Sidney for 6 days. Things we went to see were:
Circular Quay where you can wander through the nice little streets of The Rocks, and chill on a terras with a cool drink.
Darling Harbour, with it's National Maritime Museum, and Sidney Aquarium. In the aquarium you can see underwater life in Sidney Harbour, the ocean and the Great Barrier Reef in 2 huge floating tanks.
The skyline of Sidney seen from the northern shore.
In the tanks there's a tunnel (145 metres) you can walk through.
Paddy's Market, one of the oldest and most crowded markets of Sidney. You can buy stuff like vegetables, fruit, flowers, souveniers as well as second hand goods.
China Town, with lots of restaurants, veggy's and herbs. And of course its traditional looks.
Royal Botanic Gardens, this 30 acres large area is situated at the edge of the harbour. This beautiful park round Farm Cove is very nice for a walk.
Kings Cross, Darlinghurst and Paddington, both are crowded neighbourhoods with lots of bars. Darlinghurst is known for its Mardy Gras Festival held each year in march. In Paddington people gather every saturday at the Paddington bazar and also the pubs and bars are very crowded this day.
The Blue Mountains
By train we went to the Blue Mountains and arrived at Katoomba.
The Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains.
This is the largest village in the parks area. The journey by train was very nice and so was the scenery. It was very cold in the mountains but after buying a sweatshirt we went into the park. By little train we went to Echo Point. From here you have a nice view at mount Solitary and the most famous sight of the region The Three Sisters. After a short walk to the rocks you'll reach the Giant Staircase a hiking path to the Leura Forest a beautiful rainforest. Where the path ends the rainforest begins. The scenic Skyway is a sort of gondola leaving every 10 minutes and hanging 200 meters above the forest's floor. Mayke didn't like it and was very glad to have her both feet on the ground again. After this ride we took another spectacular ride, the scenic railway. With the steepest railway in the world we reached the forest floor. After we left the ride we walked in to the rainforest. Beautiful surroundings with lots of wildlife and the typical sounds and noices of the forrest.
The rainforest in the Blue Mountains seen from the scenic skyway.
After staying in Sydney for 6 days we took a plane to Brisbane, where we had to pick up our campervan. The Brisbane River cuts the city in half ,so by boat is the best way to explore it. The River Cat is a sort of ferry going from shore to shore (hop on hop off). In Brisbane we visited, Central Brisbane with its nice shops and buildings and the South Bank Parklands, a 16 acre large park with a laguna and forest. On the second day in Brisbane we picked up our campervan and left Brisbane on our way to Airlie Beach in the north.
We drove to Northhampton and searched a suitable campside. Along the road we saw a lot of parkingareas with barbies (bbq's). Push the button and you can grill your steak!! Wow, very nice cooking your lunch on a parkinglot. When we left the next day our van broke down. A rearwheel broke of and left us stranded in the middle of nowhere. A bit further on we noticed a public phone boot with broken windows and branches with leaves growing in it. This doesn't look good!! But when we picked up the phone it worked!! We dailed a toll free number from the insurance and help got on its way. After a few hours we were towed away to a small village called Marlborough. Here we had a good meal in the local supermarket (french fries with a huge steak) and relaxed a bit. The lady from the supermarket asked us if we wanted to swim and handed us the key of the local pool. She asked us not to open up for the locals because officially the pool wasn't opened yet.
The skyline of Brisbane.
But for us she made an exeption.
Mick the huge humphead wrasse.
After a day our van was repared and again we got on our way. When we arrived in Airlie Beach we found a nice campground called the Whitsunday Wanderers Resort. From here we went diving the Great Barrier Reef. For me this was the first dive in the sea. I just finished my open water in the Netherlands specially for this trip. The next day we went out on the ocean and stopped at Hayman Island. We got of the boat in a smaller rubber boat and went to the shore. From Hayman Island we made a shore dive into the sea. Under water we met Mick a huge humphead wrasse with big lips (like Mick Jagger). The dive was very nice and so I finished my first dive at sea. The next day we boarded on a big yacht and went to the Bait Reef a reef 60 kilometres off shore.
We started our first dive and went down to 12 meters where we landed in a group of Blacktip Reef sharks. They were smaller than I thought and we started observing them. Very nice!! When we went on we saw a sea turtle, awsome!! Our second dive was a drift dive. At first they said I couldn't join them because I just had my open water and advanced was required for a drift dive at 25 meters. But when we talked a while they let me join. Wowie awsome dive!! When we were drifting along the coral reef I turned and saw a huge manta ray approaching us, beautiful. A dive i'll never forget.
Me diving the Great Barrier Reef.
Eungella National Park
Our next stop was Eungella Park. We turned around in Airlie Beach and started driving south towards Sidney again. Eungella Park is situated along the coast of mid-Queensland. We drove up a mountain and found a campside behind a cottage with a spectacular view over the rainforest.
We parked our campervan under a Jacarandatree and went asking for some information. A bit further down the road there was a small pool. In this pool we saw a Platypus a strange looking animal with a beak like a duck. In the evening we bbq-ed with a view over the rainforest. After a good sleep we left the park and went to Finch Hatton Gorge a nice habitat for local wildlife. On our way to Hervey Bay we stopped at the Capricorn Caves and did a cave hike called the Cathedral Tour.
Our campervan parked under the Jacaranda tree in Eungella Park.
Hervey Bay & Frasier Island
In Hervey Bay we found a nice campground and we parked our campervan right at the beach. We went to the shark museum of Vic Hislop and wandered along the beach. In Hervey Bay you can check out the wales when they arrive here with their offspring.
The next day we went to Frasier Island, the largest sand island in the world. By bus we drove over the island. through rainforests and over the beach. We saw a wild Dingo and drove along Cathedrals, sanddunes with beautiful coloured sand. Next stop was Eli Creek, a spot where icecold water came out of the ground and slowely found its way to the sea. The moment the water came on the surface it had travelled for about 80 years they told us. At 75 mile beach you find the wreck of the Maheno, the only visible wreck of the island. The beach was also a landingstrip for smaller planes. We stepped into a Chesna and flew over the island. From above we saw a lake called Butterfly lake, in the shape of a butterfly. The flight was big fun and after the pilot checked out the beach for approaching cars he landed his plane on the sand. Great landing!! At last we walked through the Yidney Rainforest.
Mayke in Australia Zoo.
Noosa Heads & Beerwah
In Noosa Heads we went to Noosa National Park to spot some Koalas in the wild. After a while we saw a few high up in the trees. After this we drove to Beerwah. In Beerwah you'll find the Australia Zoo from the world famous Steve Irwin. In the zoo we saw a crocodile show with Steve's father as assisitent. It was nice walking through the park. After this experience we drove further to the Glass House Mountains. This is a group of 10 vulcanoes which arose 20 miljon years ago. Captain Cook named them because they reminded him of the glass ovens in "his" Yorkshire.
Byron Bay & Port Macquarie
Next stop hippie town Byron Bay.
With a lot of surfdudes and surf schools. The most easterly point of the mainland you'll find at Cape Byron. You can make a 3,5 kilometre long hike along the bay. Off shore in Byron Bay there's an underwater reserve called "Julian Rocks". Of course we had to dive here! We saw lots of Stingray, Pufferfish and some Wobbagong sharks. A day later we drove to Port Macquarie to look at the wild dolphins. By boat we saw them it was very nice. On the radio we heard that the Blue Mountains were on fire. When we arrived in Sidney the day after we saw the sky coloured black on the right side of the road. It was a frightening sight. We camped just outside Sidney and brought the campervan back the next day.
The lighthouse of Byron Bay.
Back in Sidney we took the train to the Olympic Village and visited the Aquatic Center where just before the dutch swimmers won a few golden medals.
Then we went to Bondi Beach the most famous beach from Sidney. We saw the shore line turn black from the ashes of the Blue Mountains which the wind brought back to sea. With a spectacular view of Sidney from the ANP Tower we ended our trip in Australia. See you again, we shall definately return!!!!!!!
Mayke at Noosa Heads.