Archive for August, 2010

Outback Adventure

The day after the Reef adventure, we went on a safari trip deep into the Australian Outback.

Our first stop was a lake and nature preserve.

Here is a picture of some emus standing by the side of the trail.

We stopped for lunch at an old mining town – mostly abandoned now.

The kids got to scavenge at an old marble quarry.

In the same area called Chillagoe, there was also an abandoned old ore and gold mine.

The highlight was the tour of an underground cavern filled with stalagmites (these grow from the floor – and might grow up) and stalactites (these drop from the roof – and have to hold on tight).

On the ride home, we stopped off at the world’s smallest train station in Petford.

We also stopped off at a coffee plantation and the kids got to play with a cockatoo.

The next stop was Port Douglas and the Sugar Cane factories.

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Great Barrier Reef Adventure

We took a two hour boat ride from the port in Cairns and arrived at the Great Barrier Reef.  This has been labeled as one of the 7 natural wonders of the world.  It is composed of 2900 reefs across 1600 miles on the north eastern coast of Australia.

We all started with a snorkel dive.  The reef is about 10-15 feet below and the visibility is excellent. We were at a reef called Norman Reef, one of the outermost reefs which is surrounded by deep water.

Here is a picture of Annika below.  After a short 10 minute snorkeling lesson, she was off on her own.

Here is one of a maori wrasse fish I was able to capture that swam up along side us.

After the snorkeling, me, Nikhil and Vikram went for a couple of scuba dives.

The boys took to the water like fish!  They scuba dived to 12-15m deep which took them to the bottom of the reef.  We saw turtles, giant clams, clownfish, an eel, sea cucumber and lots of other fish.

We picked a perfect sunny day for our dive.

We returned after a full day of snorkeling and diving.  The next day would take us on an adventure into the outback.

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Yorkey’s Knob Down Under

I arrived in Melbourne and after a day, we flew up to Cairns which is on the northern coast of Australia and is the entry to the Great Barrier Reef.

Unfortunately, United Airlines lost my bag.  It remained in San Francisco!  I finally received it four days into my trip.  I had to buy some new clothes but fortunately, the stores are very similar to the states – Target, Costco, etc.!  Their allowance for lost baggage is a measly $50 US which doesn’t go too far in Melbourne.

Anyway, after spending a couple of hours buying  some basic necessities, we went to Cardenia to check out the kangaroos and were not disappointed.  Our plans for Philipps Island had to be postponed due to all the coats being in my bag.

The next day, we caught a Virgin Blue flight to Cairns and checked into our apartment on the beach. The weather in Yorkey’s Knob was at least 40 degrees warmer 80-90+ the whole time.  Here is the view from our place – about 200M from the beach.

The water was warm – in the low 70’s.

During the summer months, the jelly fish are a problem and they have a first aid kit at the ready.    Who knew!

The next day, we took a boat to the Reef.  I’ll continue on the next post.

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Adventure in Melbourne

We just got back from our trip down under.  Anjali and the kids went out a week early and stayed at Madhura’s house.

Here are some pictures from Melbourne.  This first one is a park within walking distance from Madhura’s house.

This is a picture from Mount Dandenong.

Here is a picture with Keya.

Here is one of a parakeet eating spicy potato chips from Nikhil’s hand!

Here is one in Cardenia with some kangaroos behind the gang.

The kids in front of the James Cook historic cottage.

Here is one at the Melbourne Aquarium.

I’ll continue on another post.

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