Porcupyn's Blog

June 19, 2017

The Great Ocean Drive – Part 2

Filed under: Family,Travel — Porcupyn @ 5:19 am

The plan for the day was to drive up to Warrnambool or Port Fairy, and find a place to stay at Warrnambool on the way back. However, as I didn’t really get a clear idea of how far we might be able to travel that first day – not knowing how much time we would want to spend at the attractions along the way and driving conditions – we decided to play it by ear once we got to the evening.

As it was, by the time it was early afternoon, we were just about at Apollo Bay. I had looked at the maps and decided that I wanted to take some extra time near the Cape Otway peninsula to check out the Koalas as well as the Johanna Beach. When we reached here, it was about 3 pm. At one location along the drive, the scenery was reminiscent of that near Grand Canyon (north rim). The trees looked like they had been devastated by some supernatural event.

Because of fellow travellers who had pulled off the road in Cape Otway, we were able to spot a couple of Koalas up in Eucalyptus trees, one chomping on leaves and the other fast asleep. We were short of time, so we had to pass on other local attractions such as a lighthouse and a couple of waterfalls (this was near Apollo Bay) that required about an hour’s hike.

Johanna Beach we did get to visit. Any other time, it would have been the ideal time to spend an entire day as the surf was great, the sand soft and the beach slope very gradual. However, the water was likely going to be too cold for our liking and, per my estimate, even Port Campbell (and the Twelve Apostles) was still a good couple of hours away based on our speed thus far, so we had to get on with our drive.

Our next stop was at Gibson’s Steps which is a unique feature just east of the Twelve Apostles. Steps have been created for visitors to climb down to the beachline right next to the cliff so folks could enjoy the scenery at sea level. By this time, the sun was setting. I wanted to get some photos of the sunset from the beach, but in our hurry, Baab and I lost our way and kept going along the Great Ocean Road walking trail instead of heading to the beach. Because we lost those precious minutes, by the time we backtracked our way to the parking lot, the sun had already set for the day.

Waves - on the way to Apollo Bay

Waves – on the way to Apollo Bay

Seals at Apollo Bay

Seals at Apollo Bay

This answers one of my questions about what folks do when they spend a week or two along the Great Ocean Road - we did not have time for any of these, though I had half a mind to go have a look at those waterfalls

This answers one of my questions about what folks do when they spend a week or two along the Great Ocean Road – we did not have time for any of these, though I had half a mind to go have a look at those waterfalls

Official starting point of the Great Ocean Walk!

Official starting point of the Great Ocean Walk!

Figurines near Apollo Bay Visitors Centre

Figurines near Apollo Bay Visitors Centre

The Pacific/Indian Ocean at a distance (I originally had the misconception that this is the Pacific Ocean - look at a map. I wonder what the Aussies call this ocean?)

The Pacific/Indian Ocean at a distance (I originally had the misconception that this is the Pacific Ocean – look at a map. I wonder what the Aussies call this ocean?)

Of the three Koalas we came across, this was the only one up and about ... and eating

Of the three Koalas we came across, this was the only one up and about … and eating

In Cape Otway, the scenery reminded me of the drive along the Northern Rim of the Grand Canyon a few years back

In Cape Otway, the scenery reminded me of the drive along the Northern Rim of the Grand Canyon a few years back

That is more like it - a typical koala sleeps about 20 hours a day

That is more like it – a typical koala sleeps about 20 hours a day

Koala #3, also fast asleep

Koala #3, also fast asleep

What're you guys staring at? Move on along!! If you want to stare at sheep, go to New Zealand

What’re you guys staring at? Move on along!! If you want to stare at sheep, go to New Zealand

A languid, bucolic scene in the Australian countryside (Cape Otway)

A languid, bucolic scene in the Australian countryside (Cape Otway)

Getting close to Johanna Beach

Getting close to Johanna Beach

Another overlook of Johanna Beach

Another overlook of Johanna Beach

Johanna Beach

Johanna Beach

More waves

More waves

Loved the waves there ...

Loved the waves there …

 .. and the easy, gradual slope ...

.. and the easy, gradual slope …

... and the milky white foamy water

… and the milky white foamy water

In the meantime, the moon had made its appearance ...

In the meantime, the moon had made its appearance …

... when we reached the first of the (not really) Twelve Apostles

… when we reached the first of the (not really) Twelve Apostles

After walking down Gibson's Steps, a view from the beach level

After walking down Gibson’s Steps, a view from the beach level

That is how far below the beach is at this point

That is how far below the beach is at this point

June 12, 2017

The Great Ocean Drive (Part 1)

Filed under: Family,Travel — Porcupyn @ 6:20 am

Though we did have a few sprinkles on our way on the Great Ocean Road, we were OK for the most part as the clouds disappeared within the first hour and the sun came out for the whole rest of the day. But let’s start from the beginning:

In the morning, after a quick breakfast, we decided to take a walk down to the beach. It took us a couple of missed turns and about 30 minutes to get to the beach. Though the beach was nice and the weather was not too cold, there were not too many people around (maybe because it was a weekday) at the beach. After a few minutes, we decided to head back to get ready and leave, as the views would probably be better along the road.

Beach near Torquay

Beach near Torquay

Torquay vegetation

Torquay vegetation

In about an hour, we were on our way and on the Great Ocean Road. Immediately, we were struck by the similarity between this road and the Pacific Coast Highway in California. Not only the road, but the ocean was similar. I wondered if Pacific was really a misnomer for the ocean, based on the size of waves it generated on the shoreline.

On the B100 (aka Great Ocean Road), finally!

On the B100 (aka Great Ocean Road), finally!

Our first stop was Bells Beach, which is apparently very famous for its surfers, which we were unaware of. However, once we got there, we saw a few people running up to the surf in their black gear, undeterred by the cloudy skies which – at that moment – were drizzling just a bit. As we stood by the beachside though, the sun came out and we even caught a rainbow.

At Bells Beach

At Bells Beach

At Bells Beach

At Bells Beach

A rainbow - at Bells Beach

A rainbow – at Bells Beach

I had brought the Lonely Planet Guide to Australia with me, which informed me that we would be able to sight a few kangaroos at a local golf course. As local animal sightings were a key attraction of Australia for us, we took a slight detour to the golf course and came upon a few of the marsupials having fun.

Kangaroo at a golf course (hat tip: Lonely Planet Guide)

Kangaroo at a golf course (hat tip: Lonely Planet Guide)

Another of the beautiful beaches

Another of the beautiful beaches

While the land varied between cliffs and beaches, the relentless waves on the Ocean were constant

While the land varied between cliffs and beaches, the relentless waves on the Ocean were constant

Our next halt was at Aireys inlet where we got photos of the lighthouse and took advantage of the restrooms.

Lighthouse at Aireys Inlet

Lighthouse at Aireys Inlet

Area map

Area map

GOR Touring Map

GOR Touring Map

Big Hill on the map

Big Hill on the map

I'm assuming this is the Big Hill

I’m assuming this is the Big Hill

Every few kilometres, we stopped by the roadside to admire the natural beauty of the area. The cliffs provided a good contrast to the beach and the waves.

More waves

More waves

A gentle reminder, in case you'd forgotten!

A gentle reminder, in case you’d forgotten!

More wave action

More wave action

Melbourne – first impressions

Filed under: Family,Travel — Porcupyn @ 5:52 am

Once we landed in Melbourne and got our luggage in hand, we had to figure out where to catch our ride to get to Sixt East Coast car rentals. The emailed instructions required us to call them. Though I was able to locate a payphone here, for some reason, my credit card did not register. So, we were in the same predicament as in Cairns. After some walking around to see if I could locate a common pickup area, I decided to see if there was an information booth where I could request the use of their phone.

After walking around for a couple of minutes in vain, I decided to ask a lady manning at a jewelry store (I believe that’s what it was) one level above the ground level if she could tell me where it was. Instead, she offered to let me use her phone to call the rental agency. I learned that the East Coast car rental van was right outside and about to depart within a minute or so. So, we immediately went out of the terminal and within a couple of minutes, we were on our way.

We got a nice Toyota Camry for the two day rental. While talking wit the agent, I learned that he was based in Geelong, the neighbouring suburb from Torquay. He informed me that the traffic at this time of the day would be minimal, though during rush hours, it would be a pain (as in all big cities). I definitely did not envy his commute! He did give us some advice about picking up some groceries as well as something to eat at the local mall, which he said would close in less than an hour.

Sim we immediately went to the Mall. It was a nicely sized complex anchored – among others – by a K-Mart (no kidding!), but most of the stores had either already closed or were in the process of closing. We were able to find a grocery store in the complex, however, and quickly made some essential purchases for the next couple of days. Prices were relatively high compared to the USA, but not by much. In our favour, the US dollar had staged a recovery with respect to the Aussie dollar over the last year.

Shortly, we were on our way to Torquay. The road was great, and the weather was just perfect. It was a breeze driving skirting around Melbourne – we were essentially driving from north Melbourne to the southwest (in Kuranda, we had met folks from down here, who had said that it would be nice driving near the airport, but Melbourne CBD would be a hassle). Thanks to Baab’s GPS directions, we were able to locate our Airbnb without any issues once again. The ride took right about two hours. Though our host was not around to greet us, the keys for the house were right where they were supposed to be.

By this time, the weather had gotten a bit chilly. Australia being in the Southern hemisphere, the Melbourne area was decided colder than Sydney. We were able to turn on the heating element in the house and warm ourselves. As we turned in, I was a bit apprehensive about what tomorrow would bring because the weather forecasts were predicting rain along the Great Ocean Road.

June 8, 2017

Kuranda, Cairns to Melbourne

Filed under: Family,Travel — Porcupyn @ 6:03 am

Next day dawned cloudy – we had a bit of drizzle the previous evening as well. We had had a great evening at Steve’s lodge, which was really huge. Steve and his dog Frankie were very welcoming and both Katya and Baab enjoyed playing with Frankie. She followed the kids around inside and outside the house.

The kids and I walked down a bit to the Barron river, which flows right below the lodge. Frankie followed us there. After enjoying the scenery for a few minutes, we went right back up to the lodge for breakfast.

Following breakfast, we knew that we had a couple of hours to spare before we needed to head back to return our rental car, after which we had allowed ourselves a couple of hours for our flight to Melbourne. So we consulted with Steve as to what we could do in the meantime. He suggested that we go to see the Barron Falls which was just about 10 minutes from his lodge.

Along we went to find Barron Falls. It was, as Steve said, a very short drive. Once we parked, we saw a family with two small kids who were looking around in wonder in the parking lot. From the parking lot, there was a rainforest walking trail that we needed to go on to get to Barron Falls viewing area. Along the trail were markers and educational boards that kids and we appreciated reading. In a few minutes, we got to a clearing, and heard the sounds of … an approaching train?!!

Sure enough, it was a train! I walked fast along the rest of the trail and saw what appeared to be a station – Barron Falls – and, rounding a corner, the train! In my research of the area, I had glossed over this area as I had not thought that we would have any extra time to do anything fun. After returning, I learned that the train comes all the way from Cairns and continues on to the Kuranda CBD area; besides that there is a skyway aerial tram as well – some folks do both as a round-trip from Cairns. While we had observed the aerial tram while driving up the previous evening, we had not really figured out what its origin and destination points were.

Once the train stopped, out poured the tourists – and we appeared as locals! Opposite to the train platform was the mountainside with the Barron Falls. Though it was not the peak water flow of the river, the Falls were still very nice to watch. After the train left, we stood there for a few minutes enjoying the scenery, then returned back to the car through the trail.

After a quick stop back at Grand Barron Lodge to say bye to Steve, we got back onto the Highway to return to Cairns. On the way back, at an overlook, we took a few photos with Cairns and the Pacific Ocean as the backdrop. Upon returning the car at the rental agency, we got back on the shuttle bus to Cairns Airport, checked in our bags and were on board shortly. It was getting dark by this time, so we couldn’t really appreciate the scenery on take off.

The flight to Melbourne took just over three hours. The plan was to get another rental car there, and drive down to a coastal town Torquay which is located close to the beginning of the Great Ocean Road. We had Airbnb reserved for the overnight stay there.

Kuranda

Kuranda

Din Din (Barron Falls)

Din Din (Barron Falls)

Engine of Cairns-Kuranda scenic train

Engine of Cairns-Kuranda scenic train

Kuranda Scenic Railway

Kuranda Scenic Railway

View of Cairns Airport

View of Cairns Airport

Dropping bags off with JetStar

Dropping bags off with JetStar

At Melbourne Airport

At Melbourne Airport

June 6, 2017

Wet in Cairns

Filed under: Family,Travel — Porcupyn @ 8:30 am

The next morning, our first full day in Australia, it was raining by the time we stepped out, right about six am packing everything back into the car. We were not planning to return to that Airnb, instead driving straight to Kuranda from the wharf. Though the wharf was not too far, our unfamiliarity with the roads coupled with rain and the left-side driving resulted in us taking more time than necessary to get there. When we got there and parked in the closest public parking spot which is located under Shangri-La hotel (the name of which I’ve forgotten and need to google).

After all the hurrying around, we were very early here (better that than late for sure!), so we got to cool our heals and worry about the rainy weather. I had emailed Compass Cruises a while back to find out what the chances of cancellation were and had been informed that the weather was usually good that time of the year and we should not have any issues. WRONG!

By the time the check-in time for the cruise neared, we walked out to the wharf to the area where we were supposed to board the boat. The walkway was a bit slick with the rain – luckily, none of us had a fall. Right around 7:45 or so, the folks started letting us board. And immediately they warned us that the seas were a bit rough that day (30 knots they said, I believe) and if we wished, they would be willing to rebook us for a future trip. We obviously were S.O.L.; however there were a couple of passengers who took them up on their offer. Had I known what was in store for us, I might have cancelled as well (or maybe not, as we were not going to get our money back anyway!).

The plan was to have coffee/tea before the boat left, then the crew would prepare lunch that we would have on the way out once we were docked. We would be taken to two different barrier reef sites to snorkel (Baab, Katya, and I planned to do this activity) and scuba dive (those who wanted to do this were not permitted to fly within 24 hours – so we had not purchased this option).

When the boat got underway, it was a very friendly and festive atmosphere in spite of the gloomy weather. The clouds were hanging so low that we could barely see the mountains surrounding Cairns. The sheltered harbour area was also seeing some wave action, though nothing to be worried about. The crew informed us that we might be better off if we took some motion-sickness tablets that they could sell to us. Just like most of the passengers, we declined to do so (how naive!!).

Fifteen minutes into the trip, it was obvious that the boomnetting was not going to happen. The boat was lurching up and down with the waves. We were all staggering around like drunk sailors. However, with a hint of the sun and beautiful scenery all around us, it was fun to stand out on the open deck.

Half an hour in, passengers started to experience the seasickness. Crew started passing around barf bags. I was still a brave “not out” batsman and was so proud of my seaworthiness. Fifteen minutes later, my cookie crumbled. I felt a really weird feeling in the stomach and burp – out it came. I put my barf bag to good use.

Soon after this, we anchored at the first spot. By this time, the lack of sunshine and the winds that were gusting around made us all cold. The crew informed us that it was time for us to get into our snorkeling (or Scuba) gear to go out and jump off the boat. They were even handing out swim noodles [in hindsight, I don’t remember if there were any kids on the boat other than ours. Most other passengers were staying in Cairns for a few days at least, not just the one like us] to help us with the rough weather. Though the crew said that getting in the water would help tide over the seasickness, I had to sadly decline – I was in no position to go swimming, clean bowled by the weather now! Katya was not interested either. So, Baab was our sole representative in the water.

After a few minutes anchored at this first site, I staggered out to the deck and emptied out once again – this time onto the sea. Guess what? That was a good decision, as I got to see fish, small and large, competing with one another to lap up the past contents of my stomach!!

Once I came back in, I must’ve appeared very sick indeed. I lurched to an empty seat and set my butt down. I barely got up for the rest of the trip. Baab declined to snorkel at the second snorkelling site as well.

By the time we got back to the wharf, it was about five pm. We felt sorry for the crew who had to slug it out in the bad weather and because we could not enjoy the trip as much as they would’ve wanted us to.

Now, one of the reasons we had planned to visit Cairns first was so that I could get used to driving on the left side of the road in a smaller less-trafficked community before venturing to drive in the Melbourne area and on the Great Ocean Road. Thankfully, though I was still a bit woozy from the seasickness, the drive to Kuranda from Cairns was exactly what I needed to get my bearings straight. The road was nice and scenic and there were not a whole lot of cars that time of the day, even though it was the rush hour there as well. A few kilometers from Cairns, the road to Kuranda left the main north south highway and started climbing into the mountains. This was good for me because a) the speed limits were lower and b) there was only one lane per direction.

By the time we got to our destination (thanks to Baab’s smartphone which he had stored the Kuranda map on), night had descended upon us though it was still only around 6:30 pm. Steve’s Airbnb – the Grand Barron Lodge – in Kuranda was like heaven when compared to the one we had stayed the previous night. Steve himself, an expat from the US, was a great host who was really helpful to us that evening – and the next morning as well. His dog Frankie was so adorable. Katya and Baab enjoyed playing with her, as did I. If there is one thing I miss the most about Australia, it is staying at Steve’s place.


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At entrance to Marlin Wharf


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Our boat - Compass Cruise


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The choppy churny sea


Choppy seas and low clouds

Checking into Cairns

Filed under: Family,Travel — Porcupyn @ 8:12 am

We had pre-purchased two window seats one per kid guessing/hoping that the airlines would seat the adults next to the kids; in addition, we had paid extra for 40 kg of luggage. The nice thing about JetStar is that the weight is not per piece, but by total luggage. So, we were able to check in Mrs. Porcupyn’s carry-on bag as well, to reduce stress to her bum ankle). Navigating the JetStar check-in area was a breeze, as was finding our departure gate in the relatively small Sydney domestic terminal. Instead of the normal jetways though, there were ramps – one in the front and one in the back – for the two entrances to the plane. Though it was a pain, somehow Mrs. Porcupyn managed to negotiate the steps and get on board the plane. Thankfully, the flight was pretty sparse and we were able to get three windows among us which was more than sufficient as everyone was wanting to get some rest on the flight.

If my memory serves me right, we left Sydney at about 2:30 pm and landed in Cairns at about 6 pm. It being winter in the southern hemisphere, though we could see the sunset as our JetStar plane was in the initial phase of descent while approaching the Cairns Airport to land, it was already dark once we were on the ground.

The plan for Cairns was to stay at two different Airbnbs – for the first night, a location that was very close to the wharf because we were slated to be leaving at 7:30 am to the Great Barrier Reef the next morning and, for the second night, one located farther from Cairns in a place called Kuranda which looked really really promising per the photos.

But before that, we had to get our rental car which we had reserved with Sixt Car Rentals. In all our hurry, we had never gotten a chance to purchase a local SIM card – but when we did purchase one upon landing in Cairns, it did not work with any of the three smartphones we had (later, we learned that our phones were probably still locked!). Not finding a counter for the rental agency in the terminal, I started to panic (OK, just a little bit!). Fortunately, the staff at the information booth were very helpful and allowed me to use their phone to make a phone call. We learned that we had to walk a little bit outside the terminal to get to the pick-up spot.

Soon, a pick-up vehicle stopped by. However, it said East Coast Car Rentals not Sixt. The driver assured me that they were one and the same. I was a bit apprehensive at this point, especially because I had seen lower prices for East Coast than for Sixt online while making our reservation, but had consciously avoided them because of their bad reviews. However, our driver was a pretty friendly guy and got us to the CBD location in about fifteen minutes. Per my understanding of the Cairns area map, at this point, I figured that our Airbnb for the night was about 15-minute walk (not on an injured ankle!) away, and the wharf – from there – was about 20-30 minutes as well.

But anyway, we got the car – a comfortable white Camry – and set off to find the Airbnb place. It took some searching and some backtracking, but we finally got there and were able to get inside even though the gate was locked thanks to other Airbnbers who were returning just then. That was fortunate as we did not have a working phone and – like we learned quickly – Australia shuts down for the night much earlier than the USA does.

While it was not really great accommodation, we were aware that Airbnbs are a hit-or-miss and we had been batting pretty good with them up until that point. So, we were not too upset. I did manage to get out and walk to the closest grocery store that was slated to close in 30 minutes to get something to eat as we had not had anything since lunch. Fortunately for me, though it was drizzling at this point, the rain did not really pick up.

But the next morning, we were not as lucky.

Sydney and travel to Cairns

Filed under: Family,Travel — Porcupyn @ 7:35 am

Upon landing in Sydney, I was a bit apprehensive:

– this was the first time I had gotten an Australian visa, and it was an online process with no way of independent verification other than an email that said that our request for a visa had been approved (i.e., no stamping on the passport); so, I was unsure of what we would do if we ran into any issues
– I had read and watched a few episodes of the Australian border agents in customs and immigration. Those were a bit scary, especially their looking into luggage for “contraband” article such as forbidden food products. Though I had done my homework well, there is always that anxiety until you pass the checkpoint!
– my friend was supposed to be picking us up at the airport to take us to his house for the day, and we didn’t really have a means to communicate with him, to let him know if we had arrived, whether we were getting delayed, etc.

Be that as it may, I knew that we could cross our bridges only when we got to them!

First up was the visa: I had all the passports with me, and the family lined up with me as well. The friendly agent asked me about the purpose and duration of our trip, scanned my passport, kept it aside, then scanned Mrs. Porcupyn’s and gave it back to me. This process repeated with kids’ passports, i.e., I got them back. She then re-scanned my passport, pressing it harder. No dice. Tried again moving it a bit to the edge of the machine. Still nothing doing. I wondered what could be going on. She then said that the rest of the family could go past, but that I needed to come with her for an additional procedure. After telling family to go to the luggage area, I meekly followed the agent to the holding area. She told me to wait a bit and went somewhere – with my passport. A few minutes later, she came back with another agent, who asked me a few questions about our trip as well. She told me to wait there as well, and then went back inside with my passport. After a few minutes, she came back and said that I was good to go. Apparently what was happening was that my passport had the information scrolling over to a new line because of my rather long name (not Porcupyn!). So, it was not being properly scanned by their machines. I am assuming that she had to manually enter the information for it to process properly.

Next was the luggage: by the time I was sanctioned into Australia, family had collected the bags; however, there was a long line for bags to be checked. Though we didn’t have any goods that we thought would be prohibited, we didn’t want to take the chance of getting in trouble. So, we decided to go in the longer line where the officials check everything themselves regardless. And so it was that we had dogs sniffing our bags. That was kinda interesting. For one of the passengers a few people ahead of us, the dog sniffed the bag and just sat down right next to the bag. That passenger had some ‘splaining to do. Fortunately for him (or her, I forget if it was a he or a she), the explanation was a valid one and accepted. We passed without any incident. However, by now, it had been over an hour since we reached the customs area.

And so I was getting really worried about meeting our friend. Thankfully, as soon as we exited the baggage claim area, we saw him waiting for us. It was such a relief as I didn’t know what we would’ve done by ourselves. One thing is for sure – we probably would not have left the airport area, as our flight to Cairns was to leave in about seven hours or so.

Within a few minutes, we were all loaded up into his car; my jaw already dropping when I heard how much the parking costs were (though he refused to let me pay for it!), and in about half an hour, we were at his home by the Pacific Ocean. Apparently, during the migration season, they can see whales on the way north (or south, depending on the time of the year). After showering, we decided to walk off our jetlag by taking a stroll up to the beach.

Here, I need to mention that we were presented with the greatest weather ever – clear skies, temperature in the mid to upper 60s (that would be in the upper teens in degrees Celsius) and low humidity. We were already envious of our friends 🙂 [though we did learn later that we apparently did get the best of the Sydney weather – the day that we were returning to the USA, it was overcast and apparently rained the rest of the day as well as the next day]

At this point, Mrs. Porcupyn twisted her ankle at a portion of the sidewalk that was just a bit abnornally higher than the grass next to it. Though it was not serious (we did not know how bad it was then), she decided to opt out of walking down to the beach. So, it was just Baab, Katya, me, friend and his two kids who walked down. Later, we had a yummy breakfast spread that our hostess had prepared, after which we went on a ride to North Sydney, which was my friend’s favourite spot of the city.

It was a great feeling to drive on the Sydney Harbour Bridge right by the Opera House. We then parked on the other side of the bridge and walked down to Luna Park to take in the sights of the city from that side. Mrs. Porcupyn did not get to walk a lot, but she managed to take in the sights regardless.

After spending some time in this area, we got back in the car, went past The Spit, and the quaint suburb of Manly (there is more to come about Manly later), up to a spot called the Park Hill (according to Brother Google, it is technically Sydney Harbour National Park), a location that gives a great view of the Sydney CBD (which is how Australians/Indians refer to the downtown) and the ferries criss-crossing the bay. The weather being nice, we sat down in a grassy area for some time and took in the sights, the sun and the breeze. Winter in Sydney is not too bad, though it is quite Down Under!!

By this time, we needed to return, as our hostess had planned for us to have lunch before getting dropped off at the Sydney domestic airport. We had a great lunch, then were back in the airport to resume our journey to Cairns, where we planned to do boomnetting (a first for us, as we had never heard of anything like this before) with Compass Cruises.

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The Infamous Sidewalk

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Beach

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Sydney Opera House

Random photo - Sydney CBD

Random photo – Sydney CBD

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Red Bus

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Luna Park

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Carnival Cruiseship

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Sydney CBD

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Sydney Opera House from across the bay

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Bride getting ready

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Opera House (not so white)

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Park Hill entrance sign

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Hornby Lighthouse from Sydney National Park

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Sydney CBD from Sydney National Park

A Sydney Ferry Boat - as seen from North Head, Sydney (Manly area)

A Sydney Ferry Boat – as seen from North Head, Sydney (Manly area)

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Park Hill

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Quaint pedestrian warning sign in Manly

Sydney Domestic Airport - walking towards gate

Sydney Domestic Airport – walking towards gate

ANA

ANA

Waiting for our JetStar flight to Cairns

Waiting for our JetStar flight to Cairns

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