Figured I'd give a little timeline for the places we went in Australia.
Oct. 28 thru Nov. 1: Sydney
Nov. 2 thru Nov. 9: Port Douglas, Queensland (Stayed at the 'I-Can't-Actually- Afford-This-Condo-But-I'm-Here-Anyway' Condo.)
Nov. 10 thru Nov. 18: Tasmania (Yes, there really are Tasmanian Devils)
-10 - Hobart (Tassie's largest city at 120,000)
-11 - Port Arthur (Largest remaining ruins of convict settlements in Tassie.)
-12 - Bicheno (Not pronounced Be-Kaino or even Bitch-Eno.)
-13,14 - Launceston (Lawn-Ses-ton)
-15 - Devonport (Hi, I'm in Devonport. But we stayed at The biggest hotel in town. . . sweet.)
-16,17 - Hobart (What? Ho-Bart again? That guy got around.)
-18 - Richmond (And here I thought Bicheno was small.)
So, when last checked I believe I was upset at the good people of Sydney for taking my money in exchange for playing witness to one of the worst tourist abominations in the known world. (Seriously, we should compile a list of the worst tourist traps in the world 'cause OzTrek would top mine.) 'Nuf o' that, though.
/>Is this pillar really holding up this rock? It's be a lot cooler if it was a stripper pole or something instead. I'm just sayin'.
Our second day in Sydney we took the city to task and truly put it under foot. We walked pretty much all of the botanical gardens, saw the Opera House and then hoofed it back through downtown. I guess it doesn't sound like a lot but look at a map of Sydney and you'll know why our dogs were barkin'. The botanical gardens are pretty spectacular and there were many, many good pictures to be had. There was also a metric ton of fowl-life in the gardens along with about six-thousand bats that were trying to sleep in the heat. (The bats are destroying many of the trees in the gardens but they're protected and the city can't figure out how to move them. Nice to know that governments all over the world have stupid problems.) One part of the gardens takes you directly to the Opera House so we went with the flow and came upon that magnificent, clambake inspiring structure. I love that building and feel that the best view of it is actually from the water. We didn't bother with a tour because the inside is notoriously unimpressive and right now it's being redesigned by Jorn Utzon's son (Utzon is the Dane who designed the house and apparently his son is getting help from his dad and remodeling the inside of each venue to fit the original plans). Something to look forward to on my next visit.
On Sunday the bros and I ditched Pops (with his permission, of course) and took a train out to the Blue Mountains. Supposed to be a nice set of mountains with good hikes and what-not but we were completely rained out and ended up sitting in a pub all day, drinking beer and playing cribbage. Good times. If I remember right we went to the Sydney Aquarium later on this day. The aquarium was good fun and I particularly enjoyed the faster-than-lightning (in the water) penguins and the crackpipe platypuses. . . there's a word you don't use in everyday conversation. Seriously though, I think the aquarium puts something in the platypuses food to give them that little extra oomph for the entertainment value.
The nexy day we had an appointment to climb Sydney Harbour Bridge for Pops' sixtieth birthday. The climb was excellent but the prep was a little ridiculous. They make a huge production by putting everyone in these matching jumpsuits, harnesses (really just a belt) and radios, and before that you go through a metal detector to make sure you're clean 'cause they can't take the chance of anything falling onto the bridge below. It makes sense but one of the obvious benefits for the tour company is that you can't take your camera so you are forced to buy their pictures which cost an undogly amount. (Stop me if I'm wrong but don't all cameras come with a little strap that could be attached to your belt or something?) All that aside, it was a good climb and an awesome way to see the harbour and the Opera House from another angle.
This picture wasn't taken from the bridge but rather from one of the decorative pylons on the South end of the bridge that you can climb to the top of. After the climb we grabbed a little lunch (mostly in liquid format) and took a ferry back to Darling Harbour. I can't remember anything being too special about the meals we had so aside from Pops being obsessed with meat pies (simple pot-pies, really) the food wasn't the big story for us in Sydney. Don't get me wrong, I know there are a ton of good restaurants in Sydney but for some reason we didn't start spending big money on meals till later in the trip.
(This is better. Strippers of the world. . . UNITE!)
The next morning we flew from Sydney to Cairns and rented a car to get us up to Port Douglas. Next up was the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest.
Oh yeah, if you would like to see more photos from this trip feel free to click on the Flickr add to your right.