h1

Sydney and Cairns Australia

March 1, 2015

2/23 – Bob got us to the Auckland Airport about 6:15am for our 8am flight to Sydney on Virgin Australia Airlines.  It was terrible, they had only two agents and by the time we got to the counter we had only 30 minutes to get on the plan.  But, they had finished accepting luggage and we had to take ours to a different location.  The first location they told us to go to was incorrect.  By the time we got to the right one and then went through security, we had five minutes to run to the gate.  You can picture Helen with her knee brace, backpack and picture (about 18″ x 24″) and me with my backpack, boarding papers and hiking stick running for the plane!  We were the last ones on before they closed the gate!

Our problems persisted when we landed.   Had difficulty finding the location of our pre-paid Airport Shuttle and when we did we had to wait an hour!  Long story short, it took us two hours to get to our hotel.

We stayed at the Sydney Harbor YHA.  It’s a “youth” hostel in a super location called “The Rocks.”  We had a basic but nice room ensuite (meaning with toilet/sink/shower). It was built on steel pylons to preserve excavation sites underneath – it is called the “Big Dig.”

DSCN2028.1

View down from 3rd floor

DSCN2031

Artifacts

DSCN2034

 

DSCN2036

Dropped off our bags and headed for Circular Quay to catch our Captain Cook Ferry to Fort Denison.  We had to hustle to catch the 2:15 boat. City views from the ferry –

DSCN1939

 

DSCN1940

 

DSCN1945

Fort Denison is a small island in Sydney Harbor that has an interesting history. It was formerly called Pinch Island and was used to house convicts. The Martello Tower was completed in 1857.

DSCN2101

The island is part of the Sydney Harbor National Park

DSCN1951

 

DSCN1953

Tour boat passing Fort Denison

DSCN1967

Had a fast-food fish dinner at the Quay and then took a lovely walk through the large and well maintained Royal Botanical Gardens.

DSCN1976

 

DSCN1975

 

DSCN1981

 

DSCN2009

Some of the park birds

DSCN1987

 

 

DSCN1990

 

DSCN2005

Continued our walk south through the Domain Precinct to Saint Mary’s Cathedral

DSCN2013

 

DSCN2025

Archibald Fountain in Hyde Park

DSCN2023

 

DSCN2019

We were impressed to see dozens of running groups of all ages and fitness levels running through the streets and parks.

DSCN2017

 

DSCN2021

 

2/24 – Youth Hostel is orange – had breakfast at the gym across the street

DSCN2052

I had considered doing the Bridge Climb of the Harbor Bridge – see photos

DSCN2037

 

DSCN2038.1

But it cost about $260 per person, I’d rather climb a mountain – and it’s free!

DSCN2038

We chose to walk across the bridge

DSCN2044

It was the world’s widest long-span bridge when it was finished in 1932 and is still one of the longest in the world

DSCN2046

Though it was cloudy, there were many good views going and returning

DSCN2045

This is the sailing ship we saw yesterday from Denison Island. It may be the “James Craig” that does a 6 hr Harbor tour twice a month

DSCN2047

After walking the bridge, we went through the Argyle Cut (cut through the rock by convicts 1830-1850) to tour the Sydney Observatory.

DSCN2055

 

DSCN2056

It was built in the 1850’s and overlooks Miller Point.  It has an interesting collection of old star gazing and time determination apparatus.  It also includes Aboriginal sky story videos. This is a model of the HMS Endeavor that was the Royal Navy research vessel captained by James Cook on his first voyage of discovery to Australia and New Zealand, 1769-1771.

DSCN2064

The Garrison Church (Anglican 1848), Sydney’s oldest, is lower right

DSCN2060

Bird of Paradise flowers

DSCN2066

 

DSCN2068

Walked through The Rocks District including The Rocks Discovery Museum – which has four chronological rooms: Warrane (pre-1788 with native Gadigal people), Colony (1788-1820), Port (1820-1900) and Transformation (1900 to present).  Picture of “The Rocks” from Campbells Cove –

DSCN2078

Yes it does!

DSCN2081

Dawes Point Park under the south end of the Harbor Bridge.

DSCN2085

Had a salad and Kaibab lunch, took a rest and headed over to the Opera House at 4pm. This was our only “dress-up” day during our six week trip.

DSCN2086Toured the Opera House from 5 to 6.  There are five auditoriums where dance, concerts, opera and theatre are staged.

DSCN2094

 

DSCN2092

This is the largest auditorium – the Concert Hall

DSCN2100

The Opera House is on Bennelong Point

DSCN2098

View of Circular Quay and Ferry Terminal from Opera House

DSCN2103

Had pre-ordered a Tasting Table at the Opera Kitchen and ate that overlooking the Harbor from 6 to 6:45. Two of everything – small hamburger and chicken sandwich, French fries and potato chips, oysters, salmon, shrimp, three dumplings, sushi, pickles, – had to constantly shoo the sea gulls away!

DSCN2106

Attended the opera Faust from 7 to 10:30 in the Joan Sutherland Theatre – it was excellent. This picture of the Harbor Bridge was taken during intermission.

DSCN2118

Had a big cappuccino ice cream cone walking the mile back around the Quay to our room – our second ice cream of the evening!

 

2/25 – Same breakfast as yesterday, then Helen packed, did cross-stitch, sent messages and worked on re-packing the “Ship” painting that she bought in New Zealand. She is taking it as a carry-on, in addition to her suitcase, backpack and stitching bag – all the way back to the U.S. – 7 more flights!

Meanwhile, I did a fast walk through the city and the Royal Botanical Gardens to Mrs. Macquarie’s Point where I took this picture. The Danish architect modeled the Opera House on the “billowing white sails of a sea going yacht.” The locals think it looks more like the mating of two turtles.

DSCN2121

Mrs. Macquaries Chair

DSCN2128

 

DSCN2130

Nothing like having a little help with your stretching

DSCN2133

Nice map of the area

DSCN2147

Australian Navy troop transport (largest in the world) in Wooloomooloo Bay

DSCN2142

Navy yard

DSCN2144

Additional pictures from Royal Botanical Gardens

DSCN2148

 

DSCN2151

 

DSCN2153

 

DSCN2154

 

DSCN2156

 

DSCN2159

Sydney’s Finest –

DSCN2160

We were picked up by Air Bus Shuttle at 11:30, flew on Virgin Australia, landed in Cairns at 4:15pm and checked into the Bay Village Tropical Retreat

DSCN2165.1

Then walked the Esplanade along the ocean into downtown – watch out for crocodiles!

DSCN2162

Pelicans

DSCN2166

Our only kangaroo sighting

DSCN2167

We ate at the Splash Restaurant, then shared an ice cream and checked-out the sailboat we would be taking the next day in the Harbor.

 

2/26 – Shuttle picked us up at 7:20am and we boarded the “Ocean Free” (our sailboat) for our day cruise to The Great Barrier Reef

DSCN2170

Had pastries and coffee as the crew prepared the boat

DSCN2173

They were sold-out, meaning they had their maximum of 25 clients on board Leaving Cairns Harbor – the crew of four young men were very friendly and professional

DSCN2176

Helen was supposed to do two SCUBA dives but that was quickly reduced to one because we were taking a red eye to Guam that evening and you need at least twelve hours after a dive before you can safely fly. She then filled out her pre-dive form, listing among other things her meds.  They were not familiar with her cancer drug, so they called their standing physician to make sure there would be no dangerous interaction between her med and the compression of diving.  It took 4 hours before there was a response and unfortunately the decision was negative.  No one there was familiar with her cancer drug.  So, they said safety first, sorry no dive.

DSCN2178

It took 2 hours to motor out to the Great Barrier Reef off Green Island. The Ocean Free was a sailboat, however, due to time constraints and wind conditions, we did not sail – I was disappointed.

DSCN2181

After mooring at their company buoy, we were given snorkeling instruction and then set out for our first snorkeling adventure. OK, Wake-Up and Breath!

DSCN2196

There were a number of big fish that just swam around our boat looking for any scraps that would be thrown overboard.

DSCN2194

 

DSCN2195

Big fish – up close (in water)!

DSCN2197.2

 

DSCN2197.3

 

DSCN2236

 

DSCN2238

It was a good spot for fish and coral; however the morning was cloudy so we did not have good light for our underwater observations. Returning to boat –

DSCN2198

Had a nice lunch on board about noon

DSCN2202Then took the pontoon boat to the beach on Green Island.  Saw some turtles on the way there and back but I was not fast enough to get a picture

DSCN2203

Green Island is about one-third National Park and two-thirds resort

DSCN2210

 

DSCN2214

I took a nature trail while Helen stayed at the beach

DSCN2216

Bathing Beauties –

DSCN2221

 

DSCN2219

Hot/Humid – Perfect Day! – Hey, it’s February 26th!

DSCN2206

Returning to anchored Ocean Free

DSCN2229

After returning to the boat, we again snorkeled for about an hour. This time the sun was out and we had great conditions for swimming over the reef and spotting aquatic life.

DSCN2197.4

 

DSCN2197.5

 

DSCN2197.6

 

DSCN2237

 

DSCN2239

Clean-Up time

DSCN2199

They opened the jib sail on the way back to Cairns but it was not really sailing

DSCN2244

Disembarked about 4:30, freshened-up in our room and again walked into town for dinner. Lots to see along the walk, skate parks, childrens parks and wading pools, exercise courts, monuments, picnic areas, etc. All were being used as well as many walkers/joggers/runners on the boardwalk.

DSCN2165.2

 

DSCN2249

This time we both selected the Sesame Crusted Tuna from the Splash restaurant luncheon menu.  You were able to order from that menu any time before 6:30pm and the price was half that of the same meal for dinner. Again walked the almost two mile boardwalk back to our room – it was dark when we got there.

DSCN2256

We packed, were picked up by the airport shuttle at 10:45pm and took off at 1am for Guam

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: