Saturday, March 29, 2008

Back in the Northwest

After 6 months of working and traveling we arrived back in the States Thursday March 27th. It's nice to be back, but strange too. We are looking forward to returning home to Bend and seeing family and friends. From the time we left in September and returned 2 days ago we managed to make 17 flights and rack up many miles in the air. We have enjoyed a lot of beautiful places from the snow and ice of Antarctica, to the Great Barrier Reef and monsoons in Cairns, to the heat of Sydney and Melbourne, and the endless beauty of Tasmania.

A Week in Tasmania

We spent our last week in Australia visiting our friends Corey & Cam at their home in Hobart, Tasmania. We met Corey at McMurdo where he works with one of the research ships.

Our first night in town we had a cookout at a park on the beach and played games of Patanque.
Every Saturday Hobart as a wonderful market on Salamanca St. Here are Cam & Kelly at the market.
Cam & Dave at the Salamanca Market
Eating ice cream after an afternoon of putt putt golf are Toomie, Dave, Cam, Sherrie & Travis. Toomie & Travis are neighbors of Cam & Corey and Sherrie is Corey's niece who is living with them will attending the University of Tasmania.
Hobart is a beautiful historic city. Many of the old buildings in the area have been restored like this Post Office in North Hobart.

A Week in Tasmania

Dave & Kelly on the top of Mt. Wellington overlooking the city of Hobart
The view from Mt. Wellington
Cam & Corey on Mt. Wellington hike
The view of Hobart from the top of Mt. Wellington

A Week in Tasmania

View of Hobart from the top of Mt. Wellington
View from the trail heading down Mt. Wellington
The beautiful rock formations on Mt. Wellington
The multicolored bark of the gum trees
The Organ Pipes on Mt. Wellington

A Week in Tasmania

Kelly on top of Mt. Grey with Cam & Corey
A Walloby at Mt. Fields National Park
Russell Falls at Mt. Fields National Park
Rain Forest Around Russell Falls

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Around Melbourne and Apollo Bay Australia

After Cairns we flew to Melbourne on March 8th and stayed with Dave's friends Lisa Keskinen & Paul Miller and their 16 month old son Marcus. Dave met Lisa in Nepal about 12 years ago and they have kept in touch and visited each other over the years. We stayed with them in Templestowe, a suburb of Melbourne for seven nights and also rented a house with them in Apollo Bay for three nights.

Apollo Bay is a quaint little town along the Great Ocean Road. The GOR, is a major tourist destination a few hours east of Melbourne. It's a beautiful drive along the coast with numerous stops to view the many beaches, rain forests and spectacular rock formations along the way.

While in Melbourne we took a lot of walks through Westerfold Park, which is right across the road from Paul & Lisa's house. It's a great place to spend an afternoon looking for local wildlife, although all we saw were kangaroos.

We also had record breaking temperatures to endure in Melbourne, with a few days reaching 100 degrees. Because of the heat we didn't get out to enjoy the city as much as we should have, but we did enjoy the times we were there.
A Kangaroo in Westerfold Park.
Boardwalk trail along the Yarra River in Templestowe.
A Rainbow Lorikeet in Westerfold Park

The Great Ocean Road

The 12 Apostles, the most famous stop along the Great Ocean Road
Loch Ard Gorge
The Bay of Islands
The Grotto
London Bridge, This feature used to have two arches, but the one on the left collapsed in 1996. There were two people trapped on the arch on the right, until a helpicopter could come rescure them.

Traveling the Great Ocean Road

Kelly walking along the beach at Gibson Steps
Dave & Kelly at Gibson Steps
Kelly at Wreck Beach
Another shot of The 12 Apostles
Dave & Kelly at The 12 Apostles

More Great Ocean Road Australia

Dave on the beach at Gibson Steps
Lookout Point at Moonlight Head
If you look real close you can see a Koala in the center of the picture clinging to a tree and another one to the left in a tree further back. We saw about 30 of them along this stretch of road.
A Koala at Kennett River
Another Koala at Kennett River

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Five Rainy Days in Cairns

After Mardi Gras, we flew to Cairns for a Tropical Recovery Tour we had booked with Above & Beyond Tours. We were so excited about the trip before hand, but little did we know that Cairns was in the midst of a Monsoon and that it would rain pretty much the whole trip.

The day after we arrived we did a snorkeling trip to the Great Barrier Reef and after that we spent most of the time in our room. We would occasionally get breaks in the weather where it would stop raining for an hour or two, or at least change from a downpour to a drizzle. We did take advantage of those times to get out and walk to town (45 minutes away) and one day we walked through the botanical gardens which were right behind our resort.

We were very happy with our room, which was a good thing, since we spent so much time there. We stayed at the Lakes Resort & Spa and ended up with a huge place. We had two bedrooms, a full kitchen, a living room & separate dining area and a nice sized deck.

Here are some pictures of the gardens and us on our deck.

Five Rainy Days in Cairns

Here's Dave after coming back in from snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef. We were so fortunate to have had a good enough break in the weather to actually get out to the reef. The tour had been cancelled some days due to the winds and rain. The day after our trip, Port Douglas, the town we went out of, had over two feet of rain in six hours.

We had a great trip though and saw some very colorful coral and fish and even a white tipped reef shark.
This was taken the day we were leaving. It was the first sunny day they had forcasted in three weeks.
Here's Kelly laying by the pool during a brief rain-free hour.
Here's Dave enjoying some rare sun time in the pool at the Lakes Resort.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Mardi Gras Parade

Saturday the 1st was the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade. It was the 30th anniversary of Mardi Gras, so there was a big turnout. There were over 10,000 people in the parade and it lasted nearly three hours.

People line up early in the day to get a seat on the street. We showed up about an hour before the parade and were able to get behind the people in front, so we considered ourselves luck.

Here are many pictures from the night starting with a shot of the crowd lining Oxford St.