There seems to be a lot of beards in Queensland. Love it.
Fertile Atherton Tablelands
Other great things about Queensland include Cassowaries, rainforests, strangler figs and Ulysses Butterflies.
Bad things about Queensland include poor coffee making skills and stingers. When it’s 35 degrees out and you can’t go in the ocean because jellyfish will eat you alive, it’s a bummer.
The elusive Casswary
If you find yourself in Cairns, take a couple days to drive up to Cape Tribulation. Just driving on the twisty road is adventure enough! But then you also get lush, green forests, crocodiles, and cassowaries. For some reason there were very few tourists around when we were there. It wasn’t like we thought it would be…it’s not developed at all. Just a few caravan parks. It really makes you feel like you’re in the wilderness.
On your way back to Cairns, stop for a dip at the Mossman Gorge. The water is chilly, but the view is worth is.
A drive through the Atherton Tablelands is also a must. Magnificent landscapes. I also recommend Paronella Park, which I thought was going to be a huge tourist trap for Japanese Anime Fans. It turned out to be a beautiful fairy-tale forest complex with a lot of local history.
Cairns itself was nice, but nothing too note worthy. The lagoon is a nice alternative to the ocean, which leads to certain death (stingers).
All it took was a week for me to fall in love with Tasmania. Although we only saw Hobart and the area around it, I feel that we got a good taste for the state. It reminded me a lot of Halifax as a city; small, coastal and cheery.
Out of all the markets we visited in Australia, the Salamanca market in Hobart wasby far the best. Bustling with people and buskers, it had rows and rows of stalls with a good variety and quality artisan work. If you’re there on a Saturday it’s a must!
Port Authur was also a favourite. It’s an old penial colony shut down in the 1870s. I know what you’re thinking…the whole country was a penal colony, right? Right, but they weren’t actually in prison. They were given land to work and were basically free but they weren’t allowed to go back to Britain. Port Aurthur was where you went if you re-offended after being sent to Australia. A lot of history there. At one point it even held Canadian political prisoners. Cool.
Solitary confinment at Port Arthur
We visited two beautiful national parks, Mt. Field and Freycinet. Mt. Field has the famous and beautiful Russell falls and Freycinet has Wineglass Bay…one of the top 10 beaches in the world. I’m sure the others are in New Zealand…more on that later.
And, of course, we saw some Tasmanian Devils. So cute! They’re currnetly endagnered due to a facial cancer that’s spread through biting. They’re trying to breed resistant populations so if you’re in Tasmania try to donate to the cause! There’s donation bins at all the wildfile parks and such.
Honey Bee huddle at Nationals
Well we’ve gotten to do some more traveling lately after being stationary for a while. The Australian Ultimate Championships just took place in Perth, Western Australia. Did you know it’s the most isolated capital city in the world? (So said one of our guides…I have not actually checked this fact)
I definitely recommend that you make the effort to get there if you’re in Australia. Basically, Australia seems to be mostly concentrated on the East Coast, so I imagine most travelers don’t make it over to the west. If it hadn’t been for the frisbee tournament we probably wouldn’t have made the trip.
We actually didn’t see the city hardly at all. We took a 3 day trip
to the South, going as far as Wapole, where we did the tree top canopy walk, which was a delight for the botanist in the group. We also climbed the bicentenial tree, 75 high. The way up is via a ladder made of re bars stuck into the side of the tree. Totally worth it but also totally insane. This tree ladder would not but legal in Canada. There were also some wineries on the way and the really cool Ngligi cave.
Look up…look waaaaaaay up (Bicentennial Tree)
We spent a day going north to the Pinnicles Desert. It was pretty cool but if you have limited time I might skip it.
And finally we spent a night and 2 days on Rottnest Island. Loved it! Could have stayed longer. It’s a great place to relax, ride around on a bike and meet the local ‘critters’ as Brad calls them (actually called Quokkas). Also, if going and you’re not rich, BYO food. There are minimal places to eat, which surprised us; and that allows them to jack the prices. $16.50 for fish and chips? Ouch.
In summary, it was a great trip. I would have loved to have had the time/money to head up the coast to Broome and other lovely sounding places. But ‘dems the breaks!
Brad and I did a day tour of the Great Ocean Road the other weekend with Go West. We saw a lot! It was a pretty fast paced tour, not a lot of time to get out and explore areas. However, if you have a limited timeline, as in only one day, we were pretty happy with it.
The coast was amazingly beautiful, as you can see from a picture of the twelve apostles I took. There are crazy crazy rock formations. These were just some of the many we saw.
There was also a short trek through a beautiful rainforest. It’s hard to believe there is a rainforest in an area as dry as this. There were lots of amazing tree ferns and craggy, monster looking trees.
If you have time I highly reccommend taking 2-3 days to see the Great Ocean Road, but if you only want to spare a day, Go West was pretty good. Our guide could have used a few more jokes, but you can’t win them all!
Biking on French Island
The hottest week in a hundred years. At least that’s what 7 News said. But they kinda seem like Fox News. Nonetheless, it was freakin’ hot last week. Over 40 for 4 days in a row I think. When you walked outside it felt like you were in a slow cooker.
So here I am in Melbourne. Got a flat off Flatmate Finders. Got a mattress and two desks off Gumtree (like Craigslist or Kijiji) and Ebay. These are good resources if you’re moving here on a budget or temporarily, both of which I am. If you try to get your own apartment you have to go through a real estate agent. Things aren’t done directly through landlords. And you need resumes and references…the market is tough here. So if you don’t have any Australia credit history…well it just seemed a bit much for us. We’re sharing with a lovely roomie (I mean flatmate) and I never had to talk to a real estate agent once. It was the first place we looked at, in an awesome neighbourhood just outside the downtown (or CBD – central business district), and it has a dishwasher. I guess we stuck in our thumb and pulled out a plum (I’m pretty sure that was a really lame thing to say, but I like it so it stays).
An interesting note on Australia…no pennies. Everything is rounded up or down to the nearest 5 cents. It’s lovely. Paper money is actually plastic money with a little see-through window, just like the money in Romania I was so impressed with two years ago. They don’t rip, you can wash them in your jeans pockets til the cows come home (what is with me and lame sayings today!), and you can peek through the see-through window. It’s also lovely.
I know there’s been some discussion in Canada about axing the penny. It’s been said that it costs more than a cent to make one penny. Aren’t we looking for ways to cut corners in this economic downturn? Hmm…it seems so logical. But what about the sentiment…find a penny pick it up and all that jazz. Well I think sentiment needs to take a back seat to practicality. *BTW Happy late birthday penny. It turned 100 last year.*
Have fun in the snow/slush/rain Canada. I’ll make sure to keep updating you on the sun and warm in Melbourne.