What a great place to begin and end our 'down under' travels!
The Sydney Opera House is an iconic Australian landmark, featuring a roofline that resembles the sails of a yacht. It was opened by Queen Elizabeth in 1973 and is a Unesco World Heritage Site. Unfortunately, we did not take in any performances. But we had ice-cream cones on the steps!
Another famous landmark in Sydney is the Harbour Bridge...a grand old bridge, also known as the Coathanger that connects the business district with the north shore.
Climbing the bridge is legal and even encouraged. Bridge climbs happen daily and take 3.5 hours to reach the top. Apparently the view is fantastic from up there, but that was not enough to entice us to scale the 1332 steps. The oldest climber to date is Mrs. Chris Muller who climbed the bridge on her 100th birthday.
We stayed at a lovely hotel right on Darling Harbour and never ran out of things to see and do.
Since our visit also coincided with the Chinese New Year, we saw lots of soaring pink pigs.
Apparently one cannot visit Sydney without checking out Bondi Beach.
We never even got sand between our toes...but we enjoyed watching the surfers for awhile.
About 1.5 hours from Sydney are the Blue Mountains...
...with the iconic Three Sisters, a huge rock formation in Katoomba.
We rode the scenic Skyway gondola across Jamison Valley with fantastic views of Katoomba Falls and surrounding peaks.
We visited Manly, a sea-side suberb of Sydney...
...and watched the dark clouds rolling in. And then we learned that our afternoon flight to the Gold Coast was cancelled due to the high winds. Instead we found ourselves re-routed to Canberra. We had not intended to visit Australia's capital but we did! They have a lovely, quiet airport. Eventually we arrived at the Gold Coast.
We spent three nights at Surfer's Paradise...in a room with a view. From there we did day trips to Brisbane and beyond.
Brisbane is a lovely city. We so enjoyed our tours with guides that had a wealth of knowledge wherever we went.
The Brisbane Botanical Gardens were lovely...
...as was the area around South Bank Parkland.
The trees od Australia are so different than the trees in my neighbourhood. Most are evergreen...shedding their bark rather than their leaves. Gum trees, fig trees, banyan trees, palm trees and sausage trees.
Let me introduce you to a few of the animals we saw in Australia. The Australia Zoo (of The Crocodile Hunter fame) is on the Sunshine Coast north of Brisbane.
And crocodiles. In action!
And sleepy koalas hanging around in the trees.
It was a great place to meet all the native animals of Australia...
...as well as those imported from Africa. Terri Irwin (Steve Irwin's widow) is still the owner of Australia Zoo. Our visit there was time well spent!
We spent the last day of our vacation at the Gold Coast with absolutely no agenda.
After four weeks of traveling and touring we we ready for a day at the pool with a good book.
It was the perfect finale to our time at the Gold Coast.
My next post will cover our time in the Australian Outback. Did I mention it was HOT?
Thanks for joining me on our travels.