Andrew, Dave, Elizabeth, and the airplane we rode
We hired a local pilot to fly us and a friend around the Coromandel Peninsula one afternoon. It was amazing seeing from the air all the places we’ve driven and/or walked, as well as seeing some places I’ve never been.
“Keep your eyes on the road, Amber!”
The flight took 1.2 hours and cost each of us $96.00 (about US$82.00). Our pilot, Amber Drummond, met us at Thames Air Strip, and we took off on our adventure. She wants Continue reading
Posted in Life in New Zealand, Living in New Zealand, New Zealand North Island, New Zealand tourism, New Zealand's Coromandel Peninsula, Thames in New Zealand, Whakatete Bay in New Zealand
Tagged Cathedral Cove New Zealand, Coromandel Harbour, Historic Villas in New Zealand, Thames Air Strip Airport, The Pinnacles Kauaeranga Valley New Zealand
Today is my birthday, and I just received my passport back with my permanent resident visa. I’m in! I’m a permanent resident of New Zealand. And in three more years, I’ll apply for citizenship and be a true kiwi (even though I call myself “kiwi” already).
Andrew and I are both very surprised at how quickly the permanent resident visa was approved. We only just sent in the paperwork Continue reading
From Cairns, we caught a pre-dawn flight to Sydney for our last day and night in Australia. There’s much to see and do in Sydney besides the world-famous icons of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. Still, those two constructions are beautiful to behold in person. So, we visited them.
Sydney Tower (click to enlarge)
Our first walkabout, though, was over to the Sydney Tower for a look out over the city. The tower was only a few blocks Continue reading
Holding a koala at Kuranda Rainforest
We visited the Kuranda Rainforest on our second big day in Cairns. This was a wonderful place, though it is a bit expensive. There is so much to see and do here, though, that we think it is well worth the cost.
Kuranda Scenic Railway at waterfall bridge
There are basically three ways to get from Cairns to the Kuranda Rainforest: Continue reading
Our boat for the day
The first big thing we did in Cairns was a full day trip to the Great Barrier Reef, at Frankland Islands, to be specific. It was a wonderful time, very interesting and exciting, though the day seemed far too short. The boat ride out to the reef and islands took about 45 minutes, first along a wide river and finally out through the surf and into the ocean. The sea was calm for the entire day.
Frankland Islands in background
When we arrived at Frankland Islands and we all offloaded from the boat, our guide went over Continue reading
View of Ayers Rock from Kata Tjuta (click to enlarge)
Most people in New Zealand seem to think that Uluru (aka Ayers Rock) is near Alice Springs, but in actuality, it is more than 460 kilometres (nearly 300 miles) away. It takes over six hours to drive from Alice Springs to Ayers Rock, even at 130 km/hour (80 mph) on some stretches. It really is an all day drive, but it is interesting and there are places to stop and things to see along the way.
Kata Tjuta from the back side (the side one first sees)
Another misconception is that Uluru (the local name for Ayers Rock) is all one smooth solid piece, when it actually is quite variable and Continue reading
Panoramic looking east from Alice Springs' Anzac Hill
Our first stop in Alice Springs (after checking into our motel) was Anzac Hill, 234 steps from bottom to top. There is a 360° view from up there, and it’s a great introduction to the area. At the top, we discovered that there is also a road that goes up the back side, in case Continue reading
Sea Lions surf the waves to come back to shore
Whereas our first day covered
- immature male sea lions fighting over a female
the eastern half of Kangaroo Island, our second day, we headed to the western side of Kangarooo Island. We began our second day at Seal Bay, the A$32 guided tour ($15 unguided) admission to which is included in the Kangaroo Island Tour Pass. The guided tour is very interesting, as the guide is both well informed and dedicated. He pointed out many things during the walk to the beach and continued the narration at the beach for awhile. Then, he let people answer questions, which was also interesting.
- inside Kelly Hills Cave
interesting striations in Kelly Hill Caves formations
At Kelly Hill Caves, also included in the Tour Pass Continue reading
From Melbourne, we flew to Adelaide, picked up our 4WD rental car, and drove to the ferry to Kangaroo Island. The ferry to Kangaroo Island (the only way to get there other than by private boat or plane) takes about 45 minutes and costs AU$47 (online) in each direction. If the water is calm (a rather rare event), the trip is quite enjoyable, but when the sea is rough, the boat bounces all over the place, on all three axes. During our return trip, even Andrew wasn’t feeling well.
But Kangaroo Island is worth the discomfort, bad as it can sometimes be. The place is wonderful. There are animals Continue reading
Posted in Australia Holiday Vacation
Tagged Clifford's Honey Farm on Kangaroo Island Australia, Couch Surfing, Echidna on Kangaroo Island Australia, Emu Ridge Eucalyptus Farm on Kangaroo Island, Italian Ligurian Bees on Kangaroo Island, Kangaroo Island Ferry, Kangaroo Island Parks Pass, Kangaroo Island South Australia, Kangaroo Island's Prospect Hill, Matthew Finders discovered Kangaroo Island in 1802, Pennington Bay on Kangaroo Island, Port Willoughby Lighthouse, TIger Snake on Kangaroo Island
- Melbourne, Australia (click to enlarge)
Our second stay during our Australia holiday was Melbourne, the second most populous city in Australia and home to the world’s largest tram system. We were quite excited as we drove into the city, with all its tall skyscrapers and interesting architecture.
- St. Kilda Pavilion
Our first stop was St. Kilda for a look at the world’s smallest penguin. We’ve tried several places several times during Continue reading