Australia/New Zealand -
here to go to Part II, starting March 1, 2008)
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01 Hello fellow travel
This is the beginning of a long trip to Australia and New Zealand.
There will be 12 of us later on. TomD and TomO have arrived first.
Later on we will be joined by Carl, Joel, Elaine, Rick, Levonne, Pat, Rod,
Blanche, Nancy and Marv. At this point, I don't believe my sister
Barbara and mother Roberta will be able to join us as planned.
TomD and TomO left San Francisco for Sydney on
Wednesday, February 6th at 10:30 pm. Tom D was lucky enough to the
chauffeured to the airport; TomO, being green friendly, took BART.
In any event, checking in was a breeze. Thanks to drugs (sleeping
pills) we were lucky enough to get around 8 hours of sleep on the
flight. 14 hours later we arrived in Sydney, Friday February 8th
around 8 am. (lost a day somewhere ? hmmmm..).
Since TomO had a connecting flight to Melbourne at 9:00 am (TomD
9:30), we were rushed through customs and bussed to the domestic
terminal for our flight. Took a limo into town to our hotel along
new freeways, everything here looks new. Our Travelodge Hotel is
centrally located on the newly refurbished Southbank, half blocks
from the Yarra River surrounded by new high rises and lots of
restaurants. Feeling well rested (Australia time only 5 hours
later), we crossed the foot bridge over the river to the city
center. While Melbourne truly is one of the most pedestrian
friendly cities in the world, nevertheless, you must remember to
look to the right when crossing the street (funny, they do drive on
the wrong side of street here). 2005
This city is beautiful, the architecture stunning, new buildings
integrated into this historic skyline and landscape of parks and
Victorian buildings. Bought Sim cards for our cell phones and
explored the town. That evening after dinner, strolled along the
Yarra River esplanade. Since this being Chinese New Year's, there
were many food venders and also a Chinese Dragon performance. On
Saturday we working our way to the Queen Victoria Market, a true
cultural icon full of hundreds of shops selling everything from food
to shoes; TomO bought an authentic kangaroo hat.
On Sunday, we walked south along the Yarra River about 5 miles
through the Kings Domain and the Royal Botanical Gardens. Had lunch
at the Prahran Market and listened to jazz. On Monday, we took the
free City Circle Tram (historic old Melbourne trams)to the Victoria
Harbor for breakfast. This is the newest development area full of
high-rises condominiums and restaurants. Spent the rest of the day
meandering around, watching the street actors perform. Hello fellow
Have a great trip. It was good seeing
Carl when he was here. Understand he will join you along the way
... or is my senior mind failing me again? Sorry your mom won't make it on the
trip. I know you were looking forward to that. Hugs and aloha, Ruth
How great that you're driving from
Melbourne to Adelaide. We were in Melbourne in January (2007) and
had a great time. I drove the Great Ocean Road on a prior trip and
it's a treat. Have never been to Adelaide though. Are you going to
the Barrossa Valley? Will be curious to hear your impressions when
I'm assuming your
not going as far as Perth (where my sister lives)--but let me know
if you are. Also let me know if you're going to Wellington, NZ.
Our best friends live there and they are excellent tour guides and
very friendly! I'm sure they'd love to meet you for coffee!
Thank you Tom for including me with your
travelogue. Very interesting and fun to see your trip in progress!
Thank you to Rod and Pat for giving you my e-mail address! Sure
hope your mom is doing OK! Blessings on your trip!
Thanks for the update........ you lucky
stiffs Dave and Barbara
What a great setting with all the bridges
and walks beside the river. (That would be a model for Portland to
emulate.) I was hoping to see a picture ofthe kangaroo hat -
kangaroo skin? --- Muriel and Allen
Love your travelogue and beautiful
pictures. Thanks for including me. Was out to Smyrna tonight and
several had been to see Roberta. She's a tough and delightful
lady. I hope to grow up to be like her,because she's "Younger Than
Springtime" Jean E.
Wow, thanks for the photos! Looks so
clean and beautiful (and warm) there! --- Dan D.
Lovely pictures! You all do look as if
you're having a wonderful time in that warm SUMMER weather!
A late 'Happy Birthday' to Elaine and
Rod, and send my best wishes to Roberta! So sorry to hear of her
surgery. I'll bet she's mad as all get-out that she couldn't go on
the trip with you! Love, Nancy D.
Dear Tom: Thanks for emails and
pictures. We plan to be there next year so appreciate the
preview. All is well here. Busy fighting the election battles. So
will look for more tales of our adventures. Love Harry and Peter
Thanks for the pictures and trip details.
I just love a trip even if it is from my computer in the freezing
weather. I am glad to hear that Roberta is out of pain. Karen
Hi Tom How lovely to hear
from you - we are on a world cruise on the Amsterdam we just left
Melbourne today - small small world..keep in touch will write more
later... Hugs Frank & Mike
Great pictures! Enjoying your trip
through Victoria, too. don a.
Tom, you mentioned staying home and
nursing your colddrat. I would seriously warn you about
picking up strange and stray animals during your travels. They
probably have all sorts of nasty parasites and germs:-) --
Thanks for the trip update and pictures.
The weatherman promised us a weekend without rain. Should get up
to 50 - 54 degrees. --- Bob
Hi Looks like you are having fun on
your trip. Glad your mother never got to go or you all would have
had to pay the price. We understand all is going well for her. Time
to get back on her feet. --- Keith and Aunt Anna Lou
This is the
beginning of a long trip to Australia and New Zealand. There will
be 12 of us later on. TomD and TomO have arrived first. Now our
group has grown to include Joel, Elaine, Rick, Levonne, Pat, Rod,
Melbourne: Australia/ New Zealand01: Oceania 2008
Sunday, February 10, an auspicious day (Elaine and Rod?s birthdays),
Rick & Levonne Gano, Joel & Elaine Daniels, Rod & Patricia Bullard
and Blanche Kober, left Portland for a looong flight to Melbourne,
Australia via Los Angeles. The plan was to join up with Tom Daniels
& Tom O'Reilly who had come several days earlier. The day turned
out to be more hectic than leaving usually is since Joel and Tom?s
mother Roberta went in for emergency surgery. Fortunately in this
day of instant communication, all could be kept abreast of her
condition. We learned in Los Angeles that Roberta was out of the
operating room and already awake without the pain.
It takes us 15 hours to get across the Pacific and it was dark most
of the way?endless night. We did the best we could to get some
sleep because we were to land mid-day and had sightseeing to do.
Elaine and Rod were sorry that we didn?t leave on the 9th so that
they could just skip becoming a year older. In the blink of any eye
a day disappears. Aside from losing a day, Melbourne in the state
of Victoria, is only 5 hours behind us, or rather 1day and 19 hrs
ahead?I give up! It works for me to say that when it is noon here
it is 5 p.m. at home.
We are staying at a very nice hotel on the Southbank of the Yarra
River just across a footbridge from the train station and central
downtown area, very convenient to everything. There are many new
buildings and the architecture is stunning, varied like we've seen
in Chicago and fanciful like we were shown in Dusseldorf, lots of
primary colors, geometric and fluid shapes and varied materials. In
some ways it feels like New York, but more laid back and friendly
very pedestrian oriented provided you look to the right rather than
the left when you start to cross the street. The central business
district has an antique circular trolley line that gives a
continuous narrated tour and best of all is free.
The temperature is a perfect 70 at the moment although February it
is their August. It feels really great to all of us who have been
experiencing a cold and stormy winter. We were glad to go out
walking as soon as we were dropped off at the hotel. We got some
money exchanged and had our pick of many outdoor restaurants for
lunch. After that we rode the trolley around back toward the
hotel. This evening we went out for some dinner along the riverbank
which has recently been developed with restaurants, theatres, and
even a huge casino. While we walked along the river, teams were
rowing and lots of people were out enjoying the twilight of the
We are a little nervous tonight since tomorrow we begin a 5 day
excursion driving to Adelaide, about 400 miles. We know it will be
a bit of a challenge since Australians drive on the wrong side of
the road. It is ameliorated by the fact that drivers sit on the
wrong side of the car. We have been provided with good maps and an
itinerary with many things to see and do. You will be hearing more
about this later.
I'm enjoying your trip too! Hi to all.
thanks for sending your travel journals!
what fun! --- Ginger R.
Hi Dear Tom, I hope you are feeling
better, there is nothing worst when you are in a trip and you get
sick. I had a cold last week also, but I am 100 % okay. Somebody
has to work around this house. The photos are just beautiful but I
am still waiting for the safeguard in Speedos. Say hello to Tom O.
and all my love to you, Renato F.
Ocean Road: Melbourne to Adelaide
Last night we were all able to get a good amount of sleep so we were
hot to trot early this morning. Tom and Tom new about a reasonable
place to get breakfast?either American or Aussie. There wasn't too
much difference between the two.
Afterward, some of us were ready to take off on a hike to pick up
our cars at Hertz, about 25 min. away. They had two 8-passenger
vans and we decided that would work very well. After going back to
the hotel to pick up our luggage, we were ready to head out of
town?on the left side of the street, mind turns, we would be
comfortable. I believe that was a slight exaggeration, but one the
whole we got along fine. One just has to remember that most of the
car is to the left of you rather than the right. Rick and I drove
and others in the car were careful to chant ?keep to the left,
whenever there was a turn.
Our travel agency with the assistance of brother Richard, have a 5
night, 4 day driving tour from Melbourne to Adelaide on the coast to
the west. The motels, hotels are already booked and all we have to
do is get a little over 100 miles each day. We left about noon and
in a few blocks were on the motorway heading for the Princess
Expressway to Geelong and Tanquay, the surfing capital of Victoria.
We found a quaint little place for lunch?I believe it?s called
?Subway? or something like that. At least it?s quick and
predictable. We were quick to point out if they made any mistakes.
We stopped at some beaches to watch the surfers and get some
pictures. From there it was on to Angelsea and South View where
the great ocean road starts. I was built, hacked out of the cliffs
with hand tools and wheelbarrows , by returning servicemen from
World War I as a memorial for the war. It is very beautiful, twisty
and slow, reminding us of the old Columbia River Highway and Highway
one in California. Being from Oregon and Calif., we were not quite
as impressed as some might be, but enjoyed it none-the-less. There
were many turnouts for slowpokes like us and many, many viewpoints.
We stopped at a beautiful lighthouse at Split Point.
It was cool today, probably in the sixties and a little misty at
times with some rain. We?re planning on a little more heat later
on. We arrived in Apollo Bay in late afternoon and found our place
to stay was very comfortable and laid back. No credit card
required, no passports needed and the hosts were very helpful with
our itinerary for tomorrow. They thought we ought to go to see
Australia?s Redwood forest for instance. He has been to the west
coast of the US. The rest have gone out to dinner, but I elected to
stay in to nurse a cold?drat. I hope they bring me back a little
morsel. I have been drinking tea and eating bikkies. Thanks to
Nancy, I had some lemon drops to suck on today.
We are anxious to see animals. At one curve in the road today, I
decided to pull off and let a car pass. Low and behold a lot of
cars had stopped and were looking up in a tree. We ran over and got
some good pictures of a mother Koala and a baby. We saw others as
we pulled away. The flora is very much like California with the
Eucalyptus, oleander, and hibiscus. Victoria, the state we?re in,
has had a years-long drought which causes water rationing and can
cause devastating fires.
An editorial: We have yet to see one police car, but everyone obeys
the speed limit. We understand there are cameras everywhere and the
fines are steep. We were warned at the car rental that many a
tourist adventure is impacted by speeding. It is truly amazing to
me. I can drive I-5 from Woodburn to California and seldom see an
officer. People speed like crazy. Let?s either abolish speed
limits or get serious about enforcement!!! (This is Joel speaking
perhaps he?s a little cranky this evening.)
We continue to hear good reports about Mom. Sorry we can't be there
to help. Maybe we can assist by sending messages and pictures to
give her something to think about.
Ocean Road: Appolo Bay to Port Fairy
Day two of our motor
We left Apollo Bay and drove inland to a place where there is a
treetop walk through a rain forest. It seemed like it had rained
and was decidedly on the cool side. Although we were careful to
watch our steps since the snake-warning signs were out, we weren't
too concerned since it was so cool. The information about this
attraction indicated that it was an easy walk accessible to anyone,
however as we began a fairly steep descent in the canyon, we
realized that there was a little more to it. The walk-way itself is
a very gradual climb with guard rails that seemed very secure. Soon
we were on the top of the trees in a beautiful pristine setting. We
heard a lot of birds, but they remained elusive. Tom O managed to
get a picture of a colorful parrot. The trees are all so different
from what we have at home. Although most of them are not deciduous
such as eucalyptus, few if any look like conifers. We thought that
by the time we walked back out, we had gone about 3 miles. Someone
told us we should go up this graveled road for 10 km. to see a
redwood plantation, we decided not to. There has been lots of
logging through the years, but I think there is more emphasis now on
conservation. We saw reforested areas and eucalyptus plantations.
We were told that all the wood chips go to China.
Soon it was back to the coast to the new visitor?s centre at the
site of the Twelve Apostles (actually 11 since one of them collapsed
several years ago.) At one time it was called the sow and piglets,
but that was thought to be too coarse. There is a spectacular
walkway along the promontory with spectacular views. They were
formed by millennia of erosion until just the stacked columns
remain. They would look in place in the SW US. From there it was
on to Port Fairy for the night. Our rooms were in an old building
that had been renovated?very nice. Tom and Tom had a suite that was
fully equipped. We went to the hotel next door for Valentine?s Day
dinner--cuisine and good company.
The temperature along the coast here is about the same as Oregon
and much of the scenery is about the same. We are told that it is
always about 40 degrees cooler than the interior. Melbourne, like
San Francisco, can have 4 seasons in one day.
No doubt Judas was the one that
collapsed. --- Muriel and Allen
Joel and Elaine and all, Your letters and
descriptions are great. No, No do not stop.
I was so very sorry and upset about
Roberta, but only thankful that it didn't happen after you were
aboard.I was away over the three day holiday and not back home have
not been able to connect with her. Have been told and given the
number for her at Marquis and assured she is there but must just
catch a time when she is out of the room.
I'll continue trying later today.I'm
so pleased your trip is going so well and do hope you get over your
colds and stay well. I did not know there was a Portland
Australia. --- Love, Barbara C
Tom - thanks for getting me on the list.
How do you make the pictures bigger so you can really see them? I
click on them and nothing happens. What are the temperatures there?
Will I need sweaters or a coat? Carl
Of course not!!! I don't want to be removed from your e-mail list!
Just have one question: How do you -ever- find the time to send such
detailed e-mails/pictures while on vacation and with a cold???
I will be on my way to Spain on Apr. 2nd through June 3! Hope
to be able to find a cheap flight to Amsterdam to visit my friend.
She just turned 94...and don't want to miss visiting her once more.
Other than that, I will spend time with family in Seville (and will
go watch and enjoy Seville's famous April Fair of which I am sure
I've spoken to you about in the past.
Also hope to go to Barcelona for maybe five days. Then, on the last
leg of my trip, I will land in Madrid and will also make attempts to
go to Logrońo to see the wife of a very good friend I had from my
days in the Spanish Army way back in the early '60's. He passed away
early this month of prostate cancer...same age as me!
Hope you are doing much, much better with the $$$ than I will be
doing in Europe. It is really a shame what 'the powers that be' are
doing to this country!
Anyway, thanks for the pictures and have fun! ---
Tom- What is a "blowhole" in
this context? Normally, the word makes me think of a whale. Is it
some kind of geyser? Keep on truckin'. Dick
I was told that there were only 7 left. We never
did see more than 7. Who knows where the rest are. Glad you are
enjoying yourself. --- Carol S.
Thanks for all your updates Tom, I love
the Pictures of the boxing Kangoroos. Wish I was there.
Take some "AirBourne" for your Cold,
great stuff. Drive save, Love Trudy D.
Ocean Road: Port Fairy to Gampians
Day three of the
We awoke and found a place for some breakfast before driving on to
Portland, the only harbor between Melbourne and Adelaide. It has
about 12,000 people and is has a large aluminum smelter and a dry
dock. They were working on refurbishing a large oil platform which
is due to be completed soon. Restrooms can be a problem in this
county, but we have found that the visitors centers are excellent
resources. The clerks are knowledgeable and there are always good
facilities. We were advised to drive a little further out to see
the blowholes and petrified trees. I have been suffering from a
severe cold+ since I arrived and spent most of the stops in the
car. This is someone who never get s a cold after becoming immune
after all those years in the classroom. I?ll blame it on the air in
the plane. Finally I'm much better today.
All of the men registered their licenses with the car agency so we
can take turns driving. We have gotten used to being on the other
side. The hazard is looking the other way when crossing the street.
After Portland, it was time to head inland to go to the Grampian
Mountains national park. We stopped in Hamilton for lunch and as I
looked out the window, I realized it was just as Bill Bryson said in
his book about Australia. It was as if we had stepped into a
time-warp and were back in the 50?s. Many of the older women were
wearing print house dresses and the only aberration along the street
was a Subway. Across the street was Mildred?s dress shop or the
Dutch Door. The hardware store was next door. There were several
banks and various other businesses. We didn't see any strip malls
to speak of. (Today in another similar town we drove past a huge
croquet club full of people in the 110 degree sun and had a hard
time finding something cold since most everything closed at noon.)
Our stop for the night was Halls Gap and the drive up was between
two ranges of mountains. They looked a lot like mountains in New
Hampshire & Vermont, I thought, not Oregon-California ones. They
are old and worn down. So far the only kangaroos we had seen were
dead on the road and we almost thought they were a myth. When we
got to our cabins, the manager said to wait until it got cooler, and
we would see plenty. Droppings like sheep produce were all over
confirming what he said. Lo and behold, out them came and hopped
and ambled around the grounds. Two even put on a brief boxing
exhibition. We also heard lots of ruckus from birds and determined
that there were small colorful parrots and big white cockatoos among
What gorgeous scenery, with the
blue ocean in the background of your pictures!
Loved the kangaroos, especially that boxing
I recently saw a PBS show
called "Parrots in the Land of Oz" (a name for Aust.) about the
parrots of Australia. Eons ago the country was predominately rain
forest and the parrots came. The different types were all beautiful
and behaved in different ways. One macaw learned to gnaw a branch
into a digging tool. When you return home you should look for it.
06 Halls Gap / Gampians to Connawarra
We awoke to a kangaroo just outside the
window, the last we would see for awhile. Just down the road is a
nearly new Aboriginal Cultural center that wasn?t to be missed. The
architecture is evocative of the elements of a traditional life
which focused on tribal groups of complex familial relationships.
We have been hearing a lot about the indigenous people of this land
since just after we landed, Australia observed a Day of
Forgiveness. This was for the program lasting up to the 1980?s
where aboriginal children were abducted from their families by the
government and placed with white families. The justification was
that they would have a much better chance in life. The children
were told that their parents had died or didn't want them anymore.
We heard about occasions where the social workers would come and
have a big party for the local children then load them into vans and
Previous governments have refused to have a day to apologize, but
the new PM Rudd has come on like gangbusters and made this one of
his first acts. He also announced creation of a ?war cabinet?
including the opposition leader to fly together to an Aboriginal
area and work out a plan for getting the services that are needed.
Life expectancy is 20 years less than for other Australians, for
example. Apparently this caught the opposing leader by surprise,
but he was hardly in a position to say he didn't want to do that.
Needless-to-say, someone dug up some dirt on the new PM a few days
later. Could it be payback? Here when new elections are called,
the campaign takes about 6 weeks and it?s over (like England &
Canada.) How would it be???
The drive on through the Grampian Range was on a slow curvy road,
but very beautiful. Soon we were out on a flat plane rivaling
Kansas or the Pampas of Argentina. We crossed into South Australia
from Victoria and the speed limit is 110?kilometers, that is, about
68 MPH. It was like driving from Burns to Winnemucca, though, as we
met very few cars. The towns are few and far between. Another
first: We turned our clocks back one half hour.
As we drove along, we began a discussion about the interesting
different things we find in Australian culture compared to
American. Ordering a cup of coffee can be a challenge. In a caf?at
home, we would just ask for coffee and maybe we would be asked if we
wanted room for cream. Here the sizes are short, long and mug; then
is it black or white, frothed milk like a latte, or cream which is
so thick you almost have to spoon it out of a very small pitcher? I
am learning to ask for long black. Many places will have a full
brekkie and it might be Aussie, American or Canadian. When some of
us were having museli usually with lots of rolled oats, dried fruit,
with or without yoghurt and Rick was having an Aussie with ham &
eggs, the waiter came by and said: ?Here?s the real man here! The
rest of you are sissies.? I didn't think he was joking. I?d take
him more seriously if he didn't refer to breakfast as brekkie.
?Would Timmy like his widdle brekkie now??
Australians like their meat and potatoes. They could relate to
Brazilians & Argentines. The old joke is that a tourist was going
around Australia and once again there was the usual. He wistfully
asked the waitress if there might be some vegetables, salad or
fruit. She shouted to the cook: ?What does he think this is?
We notice differences in traffic signs: Give Way instead of Yield,
Check Station rather than Weigh Station, overtake not pass with
care. They are very serious about traffic offenses especially
drunk driving. The limit is .05 and the fine huge. The hotel clerk
commented to us that to get to one restaurant he recommended, we
would need to drive to so we would have to think about it if we were
going to drink.
All along the way are warning signs: ?Fatigue is Fatal?, ?Drive to
Arrive?, ?For Safety sake, Take a Break?, ?Survive this Drive?,
?Stay Awake, Take a Break? and so on. One billboard over the
freeway with a big picture of an accident scene said, ?The last
thing to go through her head was her boyfriend. Buckle up.?
Our stay was the Chardonnay Lodge right in the middle of a large
vineyard in South Australia?s wine country in an area called
Coonawarra. We had a chance to go for wine and cheese tasting with
even a buffalo cheddar (water buffalo) and sheep?s milk yoghurt.
There are lots of dairies, too, in this area and we went by a
processing plant that looked like Tillamook. It was closed for the
day unfortunately. At dinner the hostess came over and talked to us
about local history. She walked back with us back to our rooms and
pointed out the Southern Cross in the bright night sky.
Here are some photos:
Kangaroo steak with
noodles? ---- Muriel and Allen
| 07 Connawarra to Adelaide
excursion from Melbourne ended as we arrived in Adelaide, about 245
miles from the wine country located on the coast of the state of
South Australia. After we had completed most of the drive, we
stopped at the small town of Hahndorf settled by Germans in the mid
19th century. Many old stone buildings survive and it has become a
tourist haunt. We had lunch German style before driving on. The
only true freeways in Australia are near the cities and for the last
30 miles or so, we had unimpeded driving. We had good maps, and
suddenly the freeway ended and we were on the wide boulevards of a
grand old city planned in the European style. We easily found our
way to the hotel, offloaded our luggage and returned the cars.
Adelaide is the capital of South Australia and has about 1.1 million
people out of a total of 1.6 for the entire state. That helps
explain the phenomena we noticed of the towns harkening back to an
earlier time. Many of them have died like in middle America, and
those that thrive are not of a population that would attract big box
stores and mini mall development. Wall mart is just not going to go
The founder of Adelaide, came to this area in 1836 with a plan for a
city and once the site was chosen, it was implemented. His plan
called for a city that was 1 mile square with wide boulevards where
canons could be turned around and all this surrounded by a wide
strip of parkland, also for defensive purposes. The center is a
square dedicated to Queen Victoria and the name of the city is after
the wife of William IV of England whose name was Adelaide. He was
the king at the time of the founding and his niece Victoria became
the Queen at his death.
Our group did various things the full day we had here. Some of us
took a city tour and others shopped. My cold is making the rounds
and several spent some time in bed. Our hotel was on Frome street
which surprised us a little since South Australia had never been a
penal colony. It was very modern and comfortable.
The weather has turned very hot and while we were there Adelaide had
the highest temp of any of the major areas in Australia, 39 degrees
Celsius or a little over 100. It is very dry. We understand that a
cyclone is bearing down on the NW coast and that the NE has had a
deluge of rain. One city, McKay, had several feet in one day.
We love to listen to Australians talk. Almost every vowel has a
different sound. It took a while to realizethat McKai was really
McKay and that the man meant caned when he talked about being canned
by the headmaster when he was in school. One of our stops will be
Cairns and it is pronounced like Cannes in France. ?R?s? are given
short shrift. Melbourne comes out like Melbunn. Often they will
say to us ?no worries,? meaning we shouldn't have any trouble. We
hear ?would you like a bikkie with your coffee? A biscuit or
Then it was off to the airport to fly to our next stop, Uluru (Ayres
Rock), via Alice Springs.
Click here to see some photos:
Dear Tom, Joel, Elaine,
I have been following your trip with great enthusiasm. We did about
the same thing last Feb, but didn't drive all the way to Adelaide.
We flew from Melbourne to Adelaide--3 days, most in old city, winery
tour and Kangaroo Island. Then flew to Darwin--spent 3 days
there--then took Ghan (train) S to Alice Springs--3 days including
Ayer's Rock--finally back to Melbourne. We had spent a week in
Tasmania first. It was incredibly hot in Adelaide last year.
You are seeing some things we saw, but lots more I'd say. We stayed
at the same place in Alice Springs I believe. It is really fun for
me to follow you and enjoy your pictures. I couldn't get the last
one to show on my screen.
Colleen left last night at 11:15 for Melbourne and on to Hobart.
She's found a ride to Launceston, but had to go to Hobart for an
interview before getting back to work on Monday morning. She has 3
huge boxes extra plus the usual luggage of two bags and a carry-on.
She's looking forward to meeting you in Hobart next weekend.
bronze pig is great! --- Muriel and Allen
Thanks for the message.... have
just read your last three installments and loved every
minute of it! I am very much the vicarious traveler.
Cairns is very different from
Uluru, that's for sure. Be sure and take the Daintree River
Cruise. Looking forward to catching up when you return.
Lets have lunch when youre home!
We did have dinner with Carl (at
our friends Steve and John's in Lafayette) We were really
glad to get re-acquainted and hope to have everyone over to
our house as soon as we have a dining room again! --- Barry
|08 Ayers Rock - Uluru
We were picked up at the Adelaide hotel and taken to the airport.
We flew on a Boieng 737 to Alice Springs where we had a 3 hour
layover. TomO and I took a taxi into the town of 30,000. The road
took us through a cut in the hills and emptied us into a modest town
of 1 story, tin-roofed buildings. We walked through the outdoor
Todd Shopping Center where we found a bank, tourist shop, lunch and
toilets. Then it was time to return back to the airport
The Boeing 717 flight to Ayers Rock was about 40 minutes. A bus
took us to our hotel, the Desert Gardens, and we had about 5 minutes
to assemble for our sunset tour of Urulu (the native name of the
rock). The resort here is owned by one company and there are 4 or 5
different hotels. Joe and I stayed in one called Sails in the
Desert when we were here in 1987.
This tour took us to the Aboriginal Culture Center, the Mutitjulu
watering hole, cave of paintings and the sunset viewing spot. Our
native guide was Sarah who spoke in her language which another guide
translated into English. There is a huge myth explaining Uluru
which involves snakes and we could see the coiled snake and the
places there the snake was lashed at with the digging stick (long
cracks in the rocks).
The next day, TomO and I took a helicopter ride over Uluru and
neighboring rock formations called Kata Tjuta (The Olgas). It was
exhilarating to see this from a height. The desert does look green
although water is very scarce. We saw 4 camels on the way back.
These animals were set free after they were no longer needed and now
outnumber the humans who live in the New Territories.
Food here is expensive. The first night we ate at a fixed price
restaurant where you ordered 2 or 3 courses ($44 and $51). Last
night we ate at a BBQ restaurant where you picked out your meat
(beef, kangaroo, lamb, chicken, prawns, vegi-burger) and took it to
grills and cooked it yourself. You then had a nice vegetable and
salad bar to use. A vegi-burger dinner was about $15. A Scotch
Fillet (skirt steak? ? ?) was about $26. A glass of beer was $3.70
Here are some pictures of Ayers Rock
are wonderful. I appreciate the travel log. I only was in Sydney
and drove to Canberra. Beautiful scenery. --- Lois Ann
you really know how to get around. --- Carol S.
09 Cairns – Day One
Yesterday was one of those “hurry up and wait
days as we flew from Ayers Rock Northeast to Cairns high up on the
eastern coast of Australia. The Ayers Rock airport is very tiny
with only a half dozen flights per day, but it seemed to have a full
complement of security including a drug-sniffing dog. Apparently
there is some very potent stuff to smoke out in these parts, and
they were after it. It was about a two hour flight and gradually
the vegetation turned from dark red brown desert to lush tropical
green. Cairns is a city of about 120,000 or so, and is the gateway to the Great
Barrier Reef, an expanse of coral about the size of Texas. Central
Australia is very dry with low humidity. Cairns is just the
opposite. They have had lots of rain, but it has turned off for us
although there are lots of clouds. It is their rainy season and we
shouldn’t be surprised. Sugar cane is a big crop and we could see
it as we flew in.
We arose early this morning to catch a
transport to take us to the dock where we boarded a catamaran for an
hour’s journey to Green Island, a resort and national park on the
coral. We had about five hours there including a ride in a
glass-bottom boat where we saw lots of tropical fish. When the
guide threw in a handful of fish food, there was a feeding frenzy on
the surface. We could see various types of coral and huge clams.
We were out a little further than any of us would have been
After we had a buffet lunch, several donned
swimming attire and went out to snorkel. The equipment was
available to us and the hotel had sent towels. Some of us were just
too lazy to change, and took advantage of the board walks through
the tropical vegetation that formed a canopy. There were lots of
Chinese and Japanese out for the day. There is a small hotel on
this tiny island which we understood was very expensive.
Little flightless birds were everywhere and our
lunch was served in a screened-off area to keep them out of our
All of our encounters with Australians have
been very cordial and they are very efficient. The buses leave
exactly on time and requests are usually answered with “yip.”
Here are some photos of Kens ... I mean
Thank you for all the
wonderful and informative emails. I hope you are all feeling better
by now. Jan and Mike S.
10 Cairns – Day
We were up early
again today to be ready for our transfer to Freshwater Station to
begin our day’s activities. First was time for coffee and a look
through the gift shop at this old fashioned railroad station. We
boarded the Karunda Scenic Railway and began the one and one-half
hour climb up to Karunda a small town up in the hills of the rain
forest. There were fifteen tunnels and numerous trestles carrying
us from sea level up to 700m (2200 ft) above sea level. The views
were breathtaking and there was one stop so we could get out and
view Barron Gorge (Din Din) where the area gets a substantial amount
of water power.
We had about 2
hours to wander around Karunda, a quaint touristy town with charming
shops, art galleries, and eateries. A favourite was mango
smoothies, and you could get scones (scawns) with jam and cream to
go with your tea. It was a little cooler at this elevation and the
breezes were welcome.
Then it was time
to go board the Skyrail rainforest gondolas to begin a descent. It
was about forty minutes above the tops of the jungle in little green
four passenger cars. It was incredibly breathtaking and there were
two stops, one to view the gorge from the other side and the other
for a rainforest walk+. Soon we were down to the station
at Tjapukai, an Aboriginal cultural center. They had a big show for
us complete with dancing, boomerang and didgeridoo demonstrations,
and two film presentations, the latter about the horrible treatment
of these proud people by European settlers. We needed to be
reminded, but it was painful knowing we did similar things to our
indigenous peoples. There was a lot of pride evident in this center
and we were glad it was part of the day’s tour.
Cairns is a most
interesting city, so different from other parts of the country. It
is very tropical lying on the 16th parallel south, closer to the
equator than Hawaii. It is very green with wonderful flowers and
plants. Most of the older houses are up on blocks at least three
feet above ground. We don’t know if that is because of insects,
high water, ventilation or all three. It certainly whets one’s
appetite for other northern places like Port Douglas and Darwin.
Tom --- I avidly read and
look forward to your trip reports and pictures - they are bringing
back so many pleasant memories - mainly of my big trip around the
entire continent. Too bad you didn't also hit Darwin - the big yawn
of the continent. I especially remembered all the places you went in
the Middle. Australia is a fascinating place, isn't it? No time for
boredom. I am sort of vicariously living your trip along with you.
--- David S.
great! Carol S.
there, Tom! Looks like you guys are having lots of fun!
Thanks for the pictures, I am really enjoying them (oh, and seething
Hugs from Tokyo, Aurelio (^_^)
Hi ... This is Carl. I have joined a group of travel friends who are
half way through a tour of Australia and New Zealand. They have been
"publishing" a travel diary of the places they've been to. They will
continue the journal for the rest of the trip which will consist of
the stay in Sydney, a 12 day cruise of Australia and New Zealand and
the end in Auckland. The travellers consist of me, Tom Daniels, Tom
O'Reilly, Joel and Elaine Daniels, Rick and Levonne Gano, Rod and
Pat Bullard, Blanche Kober, Marv and Nancy Abbe.
I'd like to have my friends included in this travelogue.
This afternoon I spent about 4 hours doing a bridge climb of the
Sydney Harbor Bridge - this involves an elaborate group climb on
catwalks and ladders to the top of the bridge with great views of
the city. It is considered the top tourist thing to do in Sydney -
quite an adventure. They could never to this on the Golden Gate or
11 Sydney, Australia
Probably no city in Australia is as well-known to Americans as
Sydney. We were up early for a 5:30 a.m. flight from Cairns to
Australias largest metropolis of over 4.5 million. Our three hour
flight took us right over the Blue Mountains and the harbor as we
landed. Carl Spiegleberg had flown in the day before and was
waiting for us at the baggage pickup for our transfer to the hotel.
The man with the red hat who was supposed to pick us up said that
our party of 12 had been cancelled, but since we had a voucher he
would take us anyway.
It was Sunday and the traffic wasnt too heavy so we could take city
streets rather than the expressway which meant we could see more of
the city on the way. The hotel is in a grand old building built
about the same year as the gothic looking home of the Chicago
Tribune. It was originally built as an office complex then was
commandeered during WWII and used by the Americans as their
headquarters in Australia. It is thought that Gen. MacArthur had
his headquarters in the basement while he was exiled from the
Philippines awaiting his return.
We were soon off exploring. Some of us walked down to the Circular
Quay between the iron bridge and the Opera House where the Queen
Victoria on its maiden voyage around the world was berthed. The QE
II was berthed nearby and she is on her last voyage 30 years to the
day after her first visit to Sydney. Thousands of people were out
to see the two ships cross in the harbor and exchange berths. We
were surprised it caused such a stir but it warranted a
commemorative spread in the newspaper this morning.
Nearby was a Saturday Market under the bridge and Elaine and I spent
some time there looking at all the special items for sale. It was a
beautiful cloudless day with a perfect temperature and we decided to
take a 2 hour harbor tour recommended to us earlier. Sydney has a
huge harbor that features hundreds of kilometers of coastline. All
the homes are colorful and many are very expensive. Russell Crowes
condo literally on the water which he purchased for Au$14 million
was pointed out.
As we docked, we noticed that the Four Seasons where Marv & Nancy
Abbe were staying was nearby and we decided to go and see if they
had arrived. They had and we visited a bit before making our way
back to our hotel and meeting for dinner. We walked a few blocks to
Darling Harbor where there was a open air pub that wasnt too
expensive and we could eat open air.
We have been suffering from sticker shock during most of our
Australia stay. Even though the Australian and American dollars are
close in exchange, that doesnt tell the whole story. We learned
today that a 15 year old working at McDonalds earns $8/hr AU, by the
time he is 18 he will earn $18/hr Au. No wonder the prices here are
high to us.
Rick and Levonne Gano were able to link up with and old friend of
Ricks mother who has spent much of her life here. They had dinner
and became reacquainted fifty years after Rick had last seen her.
Today we found many different things to do. Some of us went to the
Aquarium, a Wildlife exhibit and up the Sydney Tower, the highest
manmade structure on the continent. Carl did the bridge climb, a 3
hour experience of going up over the bridge with tether and all.
There is so much concern that something might fall on the roadway
that even your glasses are tied on and you are not allowed to take a
There are many malls in the office buildings with exclusive shops
and it is fun to go through them and look. The food courts may have
a McDonalds or Hungry Jack, as Burger King is called here, but for
each of those there are many others that are much different to us.
There is lots of fried food and always chips, but it is easy to get
a good salad. For breakfast this morning we found a great place
that had trays of yoghurt with different toppings like muesli and
various fruits including huge mangoes and passion fruit. You bought
it by size of container and they crammed in whatever varieties you
would like. For all this good food, the Aussies must do something
right since most of them are not overweight like so many of us
Here are some photos of
Elaine and Joel, Thank you for all the
letters and pictures, such a wonderful trip and to share it with us
is so thoughtful. Beautiful country and area of great interest. Beth
Hi Tom, Please keep me on the list!
Looks like a great group and your commentary and photos are
terrific. I'm a friend of Carl's and this will help me keep an eye
on him. He looks pretty good up there on the bridge!
Enjoy and have a wonderful time! Fred B.
Hey Tom! So nice of you to include me on
your correspondents list. Interesting account of the traveling
bunch. Keep in touch and when are you going to be back at the Fromm,
where you and Tom and Carl are all missed. Say hello to all of them
for me. Saw Peggy, Harry, Robyn, Sam, John (who is a lot better),
David and Midge at school this week. Great bunch of Frommies.
12 Sydney - Our Last Day, Australia
Sydney-The Last Day
Our last day in Sydney involved a transfer from the hotel to the
cruise ship, the Sapphire Princess, docked where the Queen Victoria
had been on Sunday. It turned out that we were among the first to
arrive at the ship and we were aboard before noon. After a quick
bit, we disembarked to spend the day around the Circular Quay and
tour the Opera House.
We had an energetic young guide to whip us around and in the Opera
House for an hour. It is truly impossible to understand the
performance space without going inside. The symphony hall is one of
the large shells with a wooden structure completely surrounding the
hall. All surfaces are an Australian white birch, even the seats
and the floors are another hard wood. The sound is reflected from
the surfaces enabling the concertgoers to sit on all sides of the
orchestra. Rings are hanging from the ceiling over the orchestra so
that the sounds of the instruments are reflected back to the
performers so that they can hear themselves without a long lag
time. When we went in the orchestra was ending a rehearsal session
and going to break and we were able to hear a little of them.
The opera hall is all black to focus everyones attention to the
stage. They were switching the set from an opera they were
rehearsing earlier in the day to the Masked Ball that would be
performed that evening. There is an ambitious schedule of operas
and the sets are changed daily. It is expensive, $50-60 AU for
standing room. The space is too narrow and 60% of the orchestra is
under the stage so the plans are to begin a gigantic renovation in
the next several years.
We learned that the original architect of the hall ended up
resigning from the project midway through and went back to Denmark
never to return. He left no drawings for how it was to be
completed. He is now ninety and has been rehired to work on
renovations. His son, also an architect, visits the site. To do
the tour we had to walk up several hundred steps and some of the
impending changes involve handicap access.
The roof of the structure is covered with white and ecru tiles, over
a million, made in Italy. Some are polished and others dull to
create an interesting effect emulating a design the architect had
seen on a womans bathing suit.
There is also a theatre and altogether 5000 can be attending
performances at one time. The intermissions are staggered so that
the concessions wont be swamped.
After a little more walking around the area, we were ready to board
for sailing at 6 p.m. The Bullards and Abbes were on tours during
the day, but most of us were able to gather for dinner together. We
have found a large table that can accommodate us all, and it is a
time when we can all check in and report about the day. Some of us
were anxious to get to the laundry since we had been travelling for
two weeks and needed some clean clothes.
We were concerned initially that this might not be the right time to
come to Australia, the middle of their summer, and it would be too
hot. Aside from Uluru (Ayers Rock), it has been cool with
occasional rain that we have managed to avoid for the most part.
They say that this is unusual, but welcome. Sydneys reservoirs were
down to 30+% and there hasn't been much rain for 7 years. Now they
are back up to nearly 70%. A man in Melbourne told me that there
has definitely been a climate change. It used to be shorts from
October to May with many days in the 90s and 100s. Now thats no
longer true with just a few days over 90. I didn't know if he
thought that was good or not. There is a big concern here that the
effects of global warming on Australia will be profound. The Prime
Minister was urged this week by a new study to go faster with the
plans to cut emissions. So far, he is resisting.
We were so glad to hear half the world away that the mayor of
Arlington, Oregon has been recalled. It seemed to dominate CNN for
her brief moment of fame. Now we need only say, Were from Oregon,
you know that place where the..
Joel and all
Here are more photos:
Hi Carl and 2Toms- So glad to hear
from you. I have been wondering how the trip was going. I can't
believe the bridge climb is allowed. It wouldn't be in this country.
We are finally well after last week at Kath and Steve's. All of them
were under the weather. Somehow I didn't get it. It's Friday and
time for a beer. Cheers! Love, Aileen W.
I'd never heard of the bridge climb
before - how high is it? Our 2-year old grandson was very
enthusiastic about watching "Finding Nemo" last weekend. The
pictures of the aquarium fish and Sydney harbor brought it right
Gorgeous sunrise!! ... Muriel and Allen
Tom. Australia looks fantastic seems you
are having a great time, beautiful photos but I am still looking for
Speedos....where are they ? Love, Renato F.
TOM AND CARL - FASCINATING. WE MISS YOU
AT SCHOOL. PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE ME FROM YOUR TRAVEL LIST!!! HUGS TO
ALL - PEGGY M.
I loved the Opera House when I was there.
I appreciate all the photos and updates. It is like being there
again. I did not realize Carl was joining you. Say Hi to him for me.
Where are you cruising to? Carol S.
|Joel, I really liked the pictures of Carl
on the bridge climb. Thanks for sharing. Ron K.
here to go to Part II, starting March 1, 2008)
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