Remember how last year I was living in New Zealand? Well, on our way home from our sabbatical in New Zealand we made a tourist stop in Australia. Compared to New Zealand, Australia is a lot like America. There are big boring stretches of highway connecting crazy beautiful sites, box stores, hotel chains–so a lot like home with a few adorable differences–see kangaroos, wombats, etc.
We saw a lot of kangaroo road kill before seeing our first live kangaroo. Actually, we first saw a whole herd of kangaroo hop-running along side the highway. By the time we pulled off to take a photo we only found this guy checking us out. I get the impression kangaroos are to Australians what deer are to us–a pest, but none the less they were really fun to spot hopping along.
We didn’t see any wild wombats, but they quickly became one of our favorites.
If you think those bats look big in this photo you have no idea! I was taking the kids for a walk to a few museums and there was no way to avoid walking underneath them and they were huge!
The Blue Mountains.
This hike was called the Giant’s Stairway and it said there were over 800 steps. We tried to keep count for a bit, but the stairs were also very steep and fairly worn in places so I lost my concentration on counting.
Luckily once we did a hike at the bottom we connected with a place called Scenic World (where you can pay to take a gondola or a train down to the bottom), or you can just take the train back to the top like we did. The train was built in the 1880’s to carry coal and now is the steepest railway of it’s kind. It tilts 52 degrees.
This is the “more hiking” face from the kids.
Still–you gotta work hard for the good views.
After leaving the Blue Mountains we flew up the NE coast of Australia and got things started looking for crocs in the Daintree River.
Driving by sugarcane.
The start of our croc tour.
After croc spotting we were hoping to see the Cassowary bird, but despite numerous warnings the bird eluded us.
Such a tempting beach. Why no swimmers?
We took a ferry over to Magnetic Island. We picked this destination because it was supposed to be one of the best places to spot a koala in the wild.
This first thing we spotted was this very loud that liked to stand right outside our door.
Off to spot koalas. I didn’t take a picture of the next sign, but it was a warning about how the viper snake was very popular along this trail as well. So, taking this hike meant looking down before you step so as not to disturb one of the most poisonous snakes, and then looking carefully up to try to spot a koala.
Luckily we spotted one koala–and he/she was extra cute.
selfies with a wallaby. These guys were all over the place.
We did visit a small wild life sanctuary where the kids got to hold all sorts of Australian animals including a koala.
selfie with a koala. Notice a theme?
That snake is getting a little too cozy in his neck wrapping.
Fun bird watching.
Sydney has to be my current favorite city. Sorry NYC and Paris.
See those tiny tourists up there walking over the bridge? We didn’t do that.
Being tourists at the wax museum was actually more fun than I expected it would be.
I don’t think Sydney always puts on this type of show, but we happened to be there during the Vivid Light festival.
The famous Manly Beach. There was a shark off shore when we were there and they cleared all the surfers.
Right after this photo was taken the bird pooped on Jason. 😉
The Sydney Opera House all aglow for the festival.
One more of the opera house.
I will end things with our trip out to the Great Barrier Reef. We spent 3 hours on a boat over high seas where you couldn’t walk and you needed a hefty amount of ginger to keep your stomach calm. Despite all the rock and rolling to get there, once we got there things were nice and calm with water warm enough that you didn’t need a wet suit, but we thought they looked cool.
We tried a little underwater photography to moderate success.
So far away from everything.