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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Quick Turn Around in Sydney, Australia

Dear Family and Friends,

We were so excited to be pulling into the harbor in Sydney that we woke up to see the sights at 5:30am, as the ship approached the pier.

The Sydney opera house is located right across the harbor from where our ship docked. Seeing it, as we approached the harbor, was a magnificent sight.

The reason we were on our cruise for 30 days is because we were actually on two - two week cruises, back to back.

Our first cruise ended in Sydney, Australia. Most of the passengers were finished with their travel and disembarked, but there were many of us who were only half way through.

Chuck and I had a few hours in Sydney before the ship set sail again to circumnavigate New Zealand, filled with it's new passengers.

We ate breakfast on the ship in the Spa restaurant. You can see in the picture below that we had the perfect view.  You can see the opera house out the window.

We really didn't mind that we had only a few hours in Sydney at this time because when we returned to Sydney at the end of the cruise, we knew we were going to spend a week there.

For our short time in Sydney, we decided to take a ferry to Manly Beach.

It was about a 45 minute ferry ride to Manly. Everything was in easy walking distance which made this a great outing.

We did more shopping for t-shirts. (We bought t-shirts a lot because as it turns out it was much cheaper to buy souvenir shirts than to have laundry done on the ship.)

We made our way down to the beach.  Even though it was a Sunday, the beach was not crowded because of the overcast skies.  

When we saw this sign, I remembered the chips I saw in China.  Wonder who had the idea first?  

For lunch, we had some delicious fish and chips right on the beach.

Chuck found a barber and got a much needed hair cut.  
We couldn't tarry too long because we had to ferry back to the harbor and be on our ship for it's 5 pm departure.

As we left Sydney, I photographed her skyline in the setting sun.

We will have so much to discover about Sydney when we return.  


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Australia - Brisbane's Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Dear Family and Friends,

Holding a Koala was one of the things I wanted to do most while we were in Australia.

My wish was fulfilled at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane.

Not only did we see Koalas we saw many other animals native to Australia.

We were able to walk amongst many of the animals. This little girl is not one bit afraid of the Emu.

Neither was Chuck.  I love this picture.

This is a Dingo. He looks just like a dog to me. I have heard of Dingoes but was surprised to actually see one.

This is a Tasmanian Devil. He was all crunched up sleeping so I took a picture of the picture that was on his enclosure so you could see that he doesn't look at all like the cartoon character bearing his name.

This is an interesting bird native to Australia. It is a Tawny Frogmouth. Never heard of him before. He is a bird of prey and is nocturnal like an owl.

These two birds are Kookaburras. We used to sing about them sitting in a gum tree when I was in girl scouts.

A Kookaburra closeup.

This beautiful Australian native bird is a Pink Cockatoo.

It was wonderful seeing so many Australian animals and birds in one venue. I am so glad we chose this excursion.

As you can see, Koalas sleep al lot. Our guide told us it is because they eat the Eucalyptus tree leaves which has the effect on them as if they smoked pot.

Enjoy your sleep little one. 

In my next post I will share about our first time in Sydney.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Australia - Kuranda Rainforest Cableway and Scenic Railway

Dear Family and Friends,

Our first stop in Australia was in Darwin. We caught a taxi into town, shopped for some t-shirts and returned to the ship.  It was a very rainy day and I do not have any pictures.

Our next stop in Australia was Cairns. Chuck booked us on a tour to go to Kuranda. Kuranda is in the hills beyond Cairns. To get there, we went by cableway over the rainforest. There were stops along the way so that we could get out and hike in the rainforest.

Here is Chuck and two of our fellow passengers. 

As we lifted up we had a nice view of the city below and the ocean beyond.

Compared to the cableways in China, this one was slow and gradual.  Better yet, no low clouds, so we had a nice clear view.

When we came to our stop we got off and hiked through the rainforest.

After we finished our trek through the rainforest we got back on the cableway and continued our journey up to Kuranda.

Kuranda is an old town, established in 1888, that is today a rainforest tourist village and the head of the Kuranda Scenic Railway.

We only had about an hour and a half to look around because we were scheduled to depart on the scenic railway back down the mountain.  There is only one train, if we missed it, we would be stuck in Kuranda.

We stopped in an open air restaurant for lunch.

Right outside our table, I saw this strange looking bird on the ground. The waitress told us it is an Australian Brush Turkey. 

Chuck ordered a Kangaroo pie. It is a pie (somewhat like a chicken pot pie) that was made from ground kangaroo meat. Notice the kangaroo on the top of the pie.
He said it was okay, but I noticed he never ordered kangaroo again on our trip.

After lunch, we had to hurry to get on our train that would take us back down to Cairns. This train is as old as the town of Kuranda. In fact, Kuranda exists because of this train. Now it is only a tourist train.

It was fun riding in the old cars. 

We had a nice day exploring the rainforest of the area.

Next post I will share about our exciting experience holding a koala bear.


Monday, January 16, 2017

Lunch in Bali

Dear Family and Friends,

One of the down sides of taking a cruise is that when the ship comes to a port, it is only there for hours, not days. This means that you can usually do only one or two things. 

In Bali, we did shopping and had lunch. That is about all we had time for. 

Bali, Indonesia is a little pocket of Buddhism in a Muslim country. It is a very popular tourist destination.

We we arrived at the dock, we were greeted by these ladies.  

The guys were seated on the ground playing marimba type instruments.

Here is Chuck standing in front of the port building. Notice the sign behind him greeting us ship passengers. Considering all the shopping people do I imagine they are very happy to see us.

I took this picture of the umbrella because it reminded me of the movie "The King and I."

We grabbed a taxi and went to the outdoor tourist market. It is located right next to the beach.

Since I grew up with northwest Florida white sand beaches, this beach did not impress me that much. 

We were so busy shopping in the market that I forgot to take pictures. I did, however, take a picture of this banner. Good advice from Buddha.

After buying hats and trinkets, we went across the street to an open air restaurant for lunch.

Our adorable waiter.

The food was uniquely presented on on banana leaves in a bamboo tray. The rice even had a banana leaf cone hat. If you look at the picture closely you can see that I goggled up one stick of chicken satay before I remembered to take this picture.

An interesting sculpture inside the restaurant.

And here is a three tiered "King and I" umbrella on the back of an elephant.

After a nice lunch, it was back to the port for us. Here is Chuck turning in our unspent Indonesian money for US dollars. 

I am glad we had the opportunity to experience what we did, even if it was only for a few hours.

In the next post we will begin our stops in Australia.