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Australia & New Zealand 2003

Los Angeles - Sydney - Brisbane | Mackay - Hamilton Island | Cairns - Great Barrier Reef
Port Douglas | Darwin - Perth - Adelaide | Melbourne | New Zealand | Tasmania - Blue Mountains
Retrospection
(click any image to enlarge)

Port Douglas

We are staying at a resort that advertises "Tree Houses". A bit fanciful but nicely located at the edge of the rainforest. The cottage, in fact the whole area, was camp-like in that there were no contacts with the outside world (one TV in the main lodge).We got here late after a tour of the area. Clinton stayed here and was here on 9/11. The Australians have a relationship with the Americans because of our role in defending their Country during WWII. The fact that Clinton was here and is rumored to be going to buy a place in the area is big news. We ate supper and started early for a trip to the wet rain forest - made wetter because the rain continued on and off all day. The good news was that it seemed to chase off a lot of the tour buses. We have a private guide who was a bird watcher and made my hike memorable. The birds are plentiful and colorful, possibly the only thing on the continent that is not described as deadly. The trek was very interesting (touristy but not too much so - having no one else around and a private guide made all the difference).

We were treated to a picnic in the rainforest and then went on a river-ride through a mangrove swamp looking for crocodiles. Again, wind and rain made the trip rough but we did manage to see several small crocs and one about eight feet. Again, the bird-life was abundant and colorful. The crocodile in the picture (in the center just above the log) is as hard to spot as they are in real life.

Rained all night and so the rivers and streams were roaring. We went for a trip to Mossman Gorge. Lots of tourists but really not all that different from the rest of the trips to the rain forest. The Gorge was a torrent and impressive as it roared around boulders and rocks. One spot was a swimming hole, again with the tale of people losing their lives in the spot (an American tourist).

The Gorge was crossed by a swinging bridge. Very well constructed and although considerably higher than the one at Lost River, not anywhere near as scary. The whole experience was very park-like.

I had to include a picture of the narrow-gauge railroad that is used by the sugar cane farmers to ship the cut cane to the refineries. The cars take 10 ton of cut cane each to the mill and the raw product is 1 ton of sugar. The whole operation is done by huge combines and the fields are planted so that the crops ripen sequentially. Unfortunately, the market for raw sugar has dropped so that each 100 acres of sugar cane only yields a farmer $12,000. Consequently, many people in the area have one or more part-time jobs to make ends meet.

The last day in Cairns was completed with a drive through the countryside. The area is favored by celebrities (Clinton stayed there twice, the last time on (9/11). The area is picturesque and has amenities such as a world class golf course. The car we were being chauffeured around in was used to ferry the Queen of England last year. I couldn't notice any damage, however. The church behind the car is an early Catholic Church. A large portion of the country is Catholic - the convicts were Irish and have left a large colony across the land.

     

Los Angeles - Sydney - Brisbane | Mackay - Hamilton Island | Cairns - Great Barrier Reef
Port Douglas | Darwin - Perth - Adelaide | Melbourne | New Zealand | Tasmania - Blue Mountains
Retrospection


HOME  |  AUSTRALIA 2003  |  ACROSS AMERICA  |  IMPRESSIONS OF CHINA  |  VIETNAM  |  AFRICA  |  AROUND THE WORLD 2009  |  SOUTH AMERICA 2009  |  LEGENDARY CULTURES 2011
  |  TURKEY AND GREECE  |  CIRCLE THE ARCTIC