Archive for November, 2012

Day 22 – The Great Barrier Reef

Posted: November 23, 2012 in Travel

Days like this don’t come round very often. It took well over an hour on a fast boat for us to reach a pontoon at the Reef, which served as our base for the day. Various options such as a flat bottom boat and scuba diving were available but I chose just to snorkel and did so extensively. It came as a very pleasant surprise that I can still swim after so many year, but being able to see the beautiful tropical fish and the coral was an experience never to be forgotten and I did not want to emerge from the water when it was time. However, someone in the group claimed to have seen a shark, so it is just as well that I did emerge. Needless to say, I am beetroot red, but it doesn’t matter, it was a simply wonderful day!

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Day 21 – Sydney/Cairns

Posted: November 21, 2012 in Travel

Up at 5.30am to catch an early flight to Cairns. Had the afternoon free to explore Cairns but found very little worth exploring. I walked along the Boardwalk, but there is no beach as such, just a mud flat. Everything of interest here lies far out to sea, the town is just a base for tourists, a bit of a dump really, like the Gulf coast of Florida.

Day 20 – Sydney

Posted: November 21, 2012 in Travel

Having had a completely free day to roam anywhere and everywhere, in the evening, I had a very pleasant dinner on Circular key followed by a concert of Rachmaninov/Tchaikovsky in the Concert Hall of Sydney Opera House, Vladimir Ashkenazy conducting the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.


Day 19 – Sydney

Posted: November 20, 2012 in Travel

Starting at 8 am we headed off for an all day trip to the Blue Mountains. We had a beautiful walk through a deep valley, accessible only by train or cable car. Then, after lunch we headed for a Wild Life Park to see at close hand kangaroos, wallabies, emus, Tasmanian Devils, echidnas and, everyone’s favourites, koala bears. We got back into Sydney at 5 pm for a leisurely evening of doing not very much.


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Day 18 – Sydney

Posted: November 19, 2012 in Travel

We had a 3 hour City tour this morning, the weather was rather cloudy and it rained whilst we were at Bondi Beach most of the group is going on a Harbour cruise this afternoon, but I have splintered off with one other person who is currently doing the guided tour of the Opera House (which I have done before) where I am sitting to write this. Internet availability is getting worse, there is no wifi at all in the hotel here. The plan is that we will take the ferry to Manly, which will give us our Harbour cruise, have a meal there and return after dark, giving us the chance to see the Harbour by night.
The plan worked out but, unfortunately, whilst the weather remained clement in Sydney throughout, it was freezing, there was a gale blowing and it pored in Manly, omly 30 minues away.


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Day 17 – Canberra/Sydney

Posted: November 19, 2012 in Travel

The day began with a tour of the new Parliament building and then a longer visit to the very impressive War Memorial. Canberra is a beautifully designed city but rather sterile and I cannot imagine living there. I would die of boredom! Shortly after leaving Canberra, we stopped at a sheep farm, where we were given demonstrations of herding and shearing, followed by a barbecue lunch then the drive to Sydney, arriving at around 5.30.

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Day 16 – Melbourne/Canberra

Posted: November 17, 2012 in Travel

We set off at 7-30 am for the long journey to Canberra by road and, after a couple stops en route, arrived at around 4-30 pm. it was a pleasant journey through undulation countryside which reminded me of places in England such as the South Downs, apart from the dead kangaroos at the roadside. On arrival, we went straight to the National War Memorial in time for the daily closing ceremony. We then went to the top of Mount Ainslie for excellent panoramic views over the City. It is warmer here.

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