Days 9/10: “Over and Out” -the Great Barrier Reef

What we planned:

It’s fair to group two days as one, since the object was the same, though the vehicles were different. Day 9 is Easter Sunday, and that is lift-off for our helicopter tour OVER the Great Barrier Reef. Day 10, a big Aussie holiday as well for Easter Monday, is our day to get OUT onto the reef in a boat, something everyone seems to agree is a must do.

We also knew that Sunday morning is Market Day in Port Douglas, where we can see local crafts, artists, and collectors of all things Australian.

What we saw … was incredible! Continue reading Days 9/10: “Over and Out” -the Great Barrier Reef

Day 8: Cultural Mystery Tour

What we planned:

Just outside Cairns is an Aboriginal Cultural Center named Tjapukai. The Aborigine people, as you may know, are the original inhabitants of the continent. The white man pushed them aside when settling and expanding in this land (sound familiar?).

We are taking the opportunity to see a few young people descended from the Tjapukai nation of Aborigines demonstrate and discuss the life of their people. I’m going to give you the best guide to pronouncing their name that I can, but keep in mind that I’m having loads of trouble saying Cairns as CANS! I think you say Tjapukai as:

  • cha’ – pook – EYE  – – with the accent on the last syllable but some emphasis as well on the first syllable

Now you can speak aboriginal!

What we saw and did: Continue reading Day 8: Cultural Mystery Tour

Day 7: What’s in Cairns?

What we planned:

Off we go toward the Great Barrier Reef. Day 7 is primarily a travel day with an early pickup from the Melbourne hotel and an early afternoon arrival in Cairns. That’s pronounced CANS in Australia, just like tin “cans.” This city that I thought was 30,000 people is now told to me as having a population around 100,000. Either being true, that makes it the biggest city in north “Queensland,” our second of three Australian states that will be visited.

Cairns is a one-night layover convenient to the tour attraction we have booked for Day 8. It’s a major hub for the Reef and a seaside port.

What we saw and did: Continue reading Day 7: What’s in Cairns?

Day 5: The Great Ocean Road tour

What we planned for this day:

City sights are stimulating, but today it’s time to hit the road. Not just any road, but one so respected it’s literally termed “The Great Ocean Road.” We didn’t need much encouragement to see ocean frontage, despite plenty of opportunities of that ilk at our later down-under destinations.

What we saw this day: Continue reading Day 5: The Great Ocean Road tour

Day 4: Melbourne – our first tour

Being introduced to someone you don’t know? Start with the outward appearance and later find the veins that provide their pulse. Such is our planned exploration of our new friend Melbourne.

What we planned:

Day 3 was our arrival in Melbourne and a chance to absorb her look, followed by this day of getting more intimate with our first planned tour, which promised we would discover “Hidden Secrets.”

After the mid-morning-to-early-afternoon tour, we might grab grub and make our way to the second sports-related palace we visit on our own time, the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

There will be time and energy to dine at a Melbourne restaurant this evening. The challenge will be to choose just one. Continue reading Day 4: Melbourne – our first tour

Day 3: Melbourne – Getting Settled

We arrived at 8:20am Australia Eastern Standard Time on Monday as planned. It took an hour to get through the airport, being processed through lines for immigration, collecting our luggage, and another long line for customs. All went smoothly, and a driver named Ram met us outside baggage claim. His ride was a true limo, so we arrived in style, riding the white cloud from the suburban airport until we could see the tall buildings of the CBD (Central Business District) and sweep to our hotel just two blocks from the south bank of the Yarra River. Continue reading Day 3: Melbourne – Getting Settled

Day 2: There is no Day 2!

Is this time TRAVEL? No, it is travel TIME. Owing to our long flight across the international date line, we never experience the second calendar day of our trip.

What I am trying to explain is this: When our plane flight takes off from Los Angeles, it’s Day 1 on the calendar in the U.S.A., and when we land it is Day 3 on the calendar in Australia. Continue reading Day 2: There is no Day 2!