S: Australia-June 2011
FC: Australia June 2011
1: Distances to Remember Plane... CID to ORD-196 mi (0:45) ORD to LAX-1744 mi (4ish) LAX to SYD-7488mi (14:30) Total Air Miles-9429 mi Car... Sydney to Brisbane-929 km (11:40) Brisbane to Hervey Bay-299 km (3:40) Hervey Bay to Beerwah-221 km (2:48) Beerwah to Brisbane-76 km (1:00) Brisbane to Lamington National Park-complicated | Australia-Fun Facts to Note | Geographically, the US is larger, but Australia is approximately the same size as the contiguous states. The population of the US is very much larger than Australia's. Australia has 20.8 million people compared to the US population of 299.1 million. (The state of California alone has 37.3 million people.) | Australia consists of 6 states. Canberra is the capital city for Australia. Brisbane is the capital city for the state of Queensland. Brisbane is the third most populous city in Australia trailing after Sydney and Melbourne. | June is considered to be winter in Australia with the highs reaching 68-72 F and the lows dropping to 45-50 F where we visited. | Currency Exchange 1 AUD = 1.03-1.08 USD
2: Cedar Rapids airport, all ready to go. Troy checks on the flights as we have already experienced our first delay. | We survived our 14.5 hour flight from LosAngeles to Sydney. Now if we could just get off this plane. | Hyundai iMax The rental car we became very familiar with.
3: Originally, we were to fly from Sydney to Brisbane but our flight was canceled due to the volcanic ash cloud. So we were blessed with seeing a lot of countryside during our approximate 12 hour drive.
4: Our drive through Sydney. The Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbor Bridge. | Note the direction of traffic and side of road being used. Yep, driving on the left side of the road. All the round abouts made it even more exciting.
5: Australian countryside during our many hours on the road. | Sydney to Brisbane 929 km = 577 miles 11 hours and 40 minutes via iMax
6: Lunch in Hervey Bay before heading out to Fraser Island
7: Kangaroo Sighting
8: World Heritage-listed Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world, stretching over 123 kilometres in length and 22 kilometres at its widest point. The islandâ€™s highest dune is 244 metres, but most rise to between 100 and 200 metres above sea level. Drilling shows the sand extends to 100 metres below sea level in places. Most of the sand is made up of grains of quartz (silica) with less than two per cent being other minerals such as the heavy minerals ilmenite, rutile and zircon. Fraser Island has been formed over hundreds of thousands of years as winds, waves and ocean currents have carried sands from the eastern river systems of Australia out to the continental shelf, and in towards the land again in a zigzag pattern, to form a string of sand islands along the Queensland coast. | Fraser Island | We stayed at the Kingfisher Bay Resort on Fraser Island. Our transportation to and from the island was their ferry service.
9: Ferry ride to the island. | Meet our travel mates! The Weber Family- Larry, Ben, Miechelle, and Michael.
10: A walk on the beach at Sunset
11: Screw Pine Tree
13: Sunset from Fraser Island
14: We rented a 4-wheel drive vehicle to take a self tour of the island. Driving on all sand wasn't as easy as it may seem. Most roads were one lane and you or the oncoming vehicle would have to reverse until there was a place to pull over and allow a pass.
15: We drove across the island from the Kingfisher Bay Resort to the eastern beach. It was beautiful. The beach was our highway. We drove up and down it to visit various points of interest.
17: The dingo population on the island is regarded as the most pure strain of dingoes remaining in eastern Australia. There are numerous signs to warn how dangerous they are and to leave them be. As you can see this one that visited us on the beach was pretty laid back.
18: The Pinnacles are examples of where the sand has been stained over thousands of years due to the sand conglomerating with clay. Hematite, the mineral pigment responsible for the staining acts like cement. This allow the steeper cliffs of colored sand to form.
20: The Maheno - is the most famous of Fraser Island's wrecks and has become a landmark attraction. Built in 1905, the SS Maheno was one of the first turbine-driven steamers. She plied a regular route between Sydney and Auckland until she was commissioned as a hospital ship in Europe during World War I. She also served in the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. In 1935, she and her sister ship the Oonah were sold to Japan for scrap. The rudders of the boats were removed and they were being towed to Japan. When they reached Queensland Waters, a cyclonic storm snapped the tow chain and the Maheno drifted helplessly onto Fraser Island's ocean beach. During World War II the wreck was used for air force target practice and the Z Force Special Unit used her to practice with limpet mines prior to the raid on Singapore Harbor.
21: It was cold!
22: Eli Creek is the largest creek on the east coast of the island with a flow of 80 million liters per day.
23: Troy takes over the wheel.
24: Fraser Island has over 100 freshwater lakes, as well as the second highest concentration of lakes in Australia after Tasmania. The freshwater lakes on Fraser Island are some of the cleanest lakes in the world. Lake McKenzie which is located inland from the small town of Eurong is a perched lake sitting on top of compact sand and vegetable matter 100 meters (330 ft) above sea level. Lake McKenzie has an area of 150 hectares and is just over 5 meters (16 ft) in depth. The beach sand of Lake McKenzie is nearly pure silica.
25: Lake McKenzie
26: Another Beautiful Sunset
27: Kingfisher Bay Resort | View from our balcony | Walkway to our room | Banksia
29: Kingfisher Bay Resort - Fraser Island
30: Hiking the Beerillbee Trail on Fraser Island Overlook to Ocean | BEERILLBEE TRAIL Track Distance: 2km one-way to Lookout; 30 minutes Grade: Moderate fitness required Walk to the right of the Village Store past the fuel bowsers, up the bitumen road exit to the sand track on your left marked Beerillbee Trail / Lake McKenzie / Dundonga Circuit. The track follows the fire control line for 360metres before dividing. Turn left following the Beerillbee Trail signs uphill to a small hiking trail on the left, which weaves its way up hill to a bitumen road. Cross this road diagonally to the left onto a wide sand track, which will take you to the Lookout. Turn right at the Lookout and descend to Dundonga Creek and return to the Jetty via the beach.
31: Mangrove Tree Forest Our hike took us down to the beach where a forest of mangrove trees had developed. The mangrove tree is a small almost shrub-like tree which grows in the sand and salt water of tidal areas. There were little shoots of mangrove trees everywhere as seen left.
35: Someone had made this little "hut". We got a picture in honor of the TV show LOST.
36: Getting ready to leave the island | Kingfisher Bay Resort Lodge from ferry | Ferry ride back to Hervey Bay | Saying goodbye to Fraser Island | Dolphin fin
37: Hervey Bay | Emeraldene Inn & Eco-Lodge | Tapas Restaurant | Weber's Room | Friendly visitor Weber's bathroom
38: Our flight to Lady Elliot Island via a small plane seating 10 people.
39: Lady Elliot Island is the most southern island on the Great Barrier Reef.
40: We reef-walked in the lagoon, took a glass bottom boat ride from Coral Gardens to the Second Reef, snorkeled among the second reef and then again in the lagoon. | Lady Elliot Island
41: Reef Walking | Wet Suits
42: Glass Bottom Boat Ride
44: The beach and walk ways on the island were made up of coral bits.
45: Snorkeling in the lagoon
46: One more trip in an even smaller plane back to the mainland.
47: Lady Elliot Island is the southern-most coral cay of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. The island lies 46 nautical miles (85 km; 53 mi) north-east of Bundaberg and covers an area of approximately 40 hectares (99 acres). The island is home to a small eco resort and an airstrip, which is serviced daily by flights from Bundaberg, Hervey Bay, Maroochydore, Brisbane and the Gold Coast. The island is particularly renowned for its scuba diving and snorkeling. Lady Elliot Island is located within the 'Green Zone' of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park which is the highest possible classification designated by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Marine National Park Green Zones protect the biodiversity within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park by protecting important breeding and nursery areas such as seagrass beds, mangrove communities, deepwater shoals and reefs.
49: This is Bluey, a saltwater croc, who was rescued by Steve Irwin. He is approx. 10 feet long and 330 lbs. | Croc Feeding
50: Replica of an 8.2 m (26.9 ft) long salt water crocodile
51: Zoo Map
53: Tasmanian Devil named Rex | Dingo | Cassowary | Binturong | Wombat | Wallaby | Echidna | Kookaburra | Australian Favorites
55: The koalas were very cute! We were able to pet one koala, named Frankie. There are strict rules regarding Koala "cuddling" in Queensland (as most other states have outlawed koala cuddling). Only one koala is allowed to be on duty at a time for people to touch and interact with. The koala's shift shall only last for 30 minutes per day and they get every third day off. Troy is convinced that this is a result of the koala union that exists. | We were fortunate to catch a glimpse of this baby koala, called a joey, sleeping in the trees above us. | Frankie was very active when we were trying to pet her. They had just been given a fresh batch of eucalyptus. I like how she looks at Troy wondering why he is bothering her supper.
57: Kangaroos It was a lot of fun being able to feed, pet, and see all the baby joeys.
58: The New SouthEast Asia Area | Red Panda | A Brush with Fame | Terri & Bindi Irwin | Robert Irwin | Terri and Bindi Irwin graciously pause for a picture. Robert Irwin heading into a restricted area under construction for some dirt biking.
59: We loved the Australia Zoo. It was a great experience. The zoo was so clean and the plentiful staff were eager to educate you on the animals. We wished we would have had a little more time there to catch some more of the shows and history. We thought many times of our nephew, Isaac, as Steve Irwin is one of his heroes.
60: Buildings on the Gold Coast seen from our drive into the Mountains | Queenslander architecture is a modern term for the vernacular type of architecture of Queensland, Australia. The type developed in the 1840s and is still constructed today, displaying an evolution of local style. The Queenslander is suited to the sub-tropical climate of Queensland of high rainfall and mild to hot, humid climate with average summer temperatures in the range of 23-36 degrees Celsius (73-97 degrees Fahrenheit). | The raising of the main living spaces off the ground can be seen as both a stylistic and practical device. The vertical "stumps", initially of timber, allow the building to "float" above the terrain. Queenslanders all have this underfloor area that is used to cool the building through ventilation and also for protection of the main structure from termite attack and other pests. The stumps also help to overcome any variations in the terrain that would normally require earthworks to flatten for construction and allow for the natural flow of water across the terrain in the event of excessive rain and downpours.
61: Lamington is a national park in Queensland, Australia, lying on the Lamington Plateau of the McPherson Range on the Queensland/New South Wales border. From Southport on the Gold Coast the park is 85 km to the southwest and Brisbane is 110 km north. Lamington National Park is known for its natural beauty, rainforests, birdlife, ancient trees, waterfalls, walking tracks and mountain views. The park is part of the Shield Volcano Group of the World Heritage Site Gondwana Rainforests of Australia inscribed in 1986 and added to the Australian National Heritage List in 2007. The park is part of the Scenic Rim Important Bird Area, identified as such by BirdLife International because of its importance in the conservation of several species of threatened birds.
63: Cave Hike
64: Our drive into Lamington National Park was quite interesting. There were a lot of switch backs as seen on the GPS screen. The roads were very narrow. We also would randomly come across roaming cattle and blind turns which made it very exciting.
65: Lawn Bowling We came upon Lawn Bowling while driving through the mountains. We stopped to take a look. The players were very friendly and eager to tell us how to play. Bowls (also lawn bowls, variants include flat-green bowls and crown-green bowls) is a lawn game in which the objective is to roll slightly asymmetric balls so that they stop close to a smaller "jack" or "kitty". It is played on a pitch which may be flat (for "flat-green bowls") or convex or uneven (for "crown-green bowls"). It is normally played outdoors although there are some indoor venues and the surface is either natural grass, artificial turf, or cotula (in New Zealand). It is popular in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, Hong Kong and parts of the United States and more recently in Japan. It belongs to the boules sport family and is related to bocce and pétanque.
66: They all share a common "strangling" growth habit that is found in many tropical forest species, particularly of the genus Ficus. This growth habit is an adaptation for growing in dark forests where the competition for light is intense. | An original support tree can sometimes die, so that the strangler fig becomes a "columnar tree" with a hollow central core. | Strangler fig is the common name for a number of tropical and subtropical plant species. | These plants begin life as epiphytes, when their seeds, often bird-dispersed, germinate in crevices atop other trees. These seedlings grow their roots downward and envelop the host tree while also growing upward to reach into the sunlight zone above the canopy.
67: Argyrodendron actinophyllum is a large rainforest tree. It is native to eastern Australia, where it is known as Black Booyong. The heartwood is coloured pink-brown. The most distinctive feature of Argyrodendron actinophyllum is that the trunks form large characteristic buttresses. | Black Booyong
68: Tree Top Walk | O'Reilly's Tree Top Walk allows you to walk through a canopy of flora and fauna to see flowering and fruiting trees and vines, the epiphytic orchids and ferns, and the birds and animals that inhabit the tree tops. The Tree Top Walk is only 300 meters from the Guesthouse via the Booyong Walk, a rainforest boardwalk that was built by the Green Mountains Natural History Association.
69: The Tree Top Walk, was the first of its kind in Australia, is 180 metres in length and is made up of 9 suspension bridges, with much of the walkway being 15 metres above the ground. Profiles depicting the rainforest flora close by have been placed along the walkway to assist visitors in identifying the plants in the immediate vicinity. The Tree Top Walk is a unique and innovative structure that gives visitors what can only be described as an exhilarating experience - a chance to observe life in the rainforest canopy at close range for the first time in their lives. I felt like we were walking over those bridges that collapse in the movies and we would soon be climbing up them using the slates as our latter. Lucky for us, they held up.
70: Two observation decks have been constructed in a Strangler Fig above the walk way, the highest one being 30 meters (approx 110 feet) above the ground. Access to the decks is by a ladder that is protected by wire screens. The decks allow a close look at the orchids and ferns growing on the tree, as well as the splendid view out over the rainforest canopy.
73: Troy's Outback Hat
76: Looking out over the valley from above the waterfalls
77: More unique rainforest trees
79: We took a moment to enjoy a beautiful stream.
80: Brisbane Brisbane is the capital and most populous city in the Australian state of Queensland and the third most populous city in Australia. The Brisbane central business district stands on the original European settlement and is situated inside a bend of the Brisbane River approximately 23 kilometres from its mouth at Moreton Bay. The metropolitan area extends in all directions along the floodplain of the Brisbane River valley between the bay and the Great Dividing Range. | City Cat | View of the shoreline while taking a City Cat ride on the river.
82: We tried our hand at lawn bowling. It was really fun!
83: The Botanic Gardens were located right across the street from our hotel.
84: The Wheel of Brisbane
85: The Wheel of Brisbane is a 197 ft tall transportable Ferris wheel installation erected as part of the 20th anniversary of World Expo '88 and the 150th anniversary of the State of Queensland 1859–2009 celebrations. It is located at the northern entrance to South Bank Parklands, the transformed World Expo '88 site by the Brisbane River. The ride opened in August 2008. It was initially scheduled to be an attraction of South Bank from 2008 to 2010 but has now been extended to remain until 2012. | The Convention Center, where Troy's conference was, is the white roof topped building.
86: View of the river from the Goodwill pedestrian and cyclist bridge
87: Rugby Stadium Suncorp Stadium is home to the Brisbane Broncos, QLD Reds, QLD Roar, Socceroos, and the Kangaroos. | Paddington Paddington is an inner suburb of Brisbane. As is common with other suburbs in the area, Paddington is located on a number of steep ridges and hills. It was originally settled in the 1860s. Many original and distinctive Queenslander homes can be found in the suburb. Houses are frequently built on stumps, owing to the steep nature of their blocks. We walked up to Paddington for lunch, site seeing and shopping. It was a nice change from downtown with a quieter small town feel. | Ella's Pink Lady (seen left page) Jessica Watson (born 18 May 1993) is an Australian sailor. In May 2010, she unofficially became the youngest person to sail non-stop and unassisted around the world, although her route did not meet World Sailing Speed Record Council criteria for circumnavigation of the globe. Watson departed from Sydney on 18 October 2009, heading eastbound over the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean. She returned to Sydney on 15 May 2010, three days before her 17th birthday. On 25 January 2011 she was named the 2011 Young Australian of the Year. In the months following the completion of Jessica's journey, there were questions about what would become of her boat, Ella's Pink Lady. In April 2011, after the state and federal governments jointly purchased the yacht for $300,000, it was announced that the Pink Lady would have a permanent exhibition at the Queensland Maritime Museum in Brisbane.
88: The South Bank Parklands are located at South Bank in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. The parkland, on the transformed site of Brisbane's World Expo 88, was officially opened to the public on 20 June 1992. The South Bank Parklands are located on the southern bank of the Brisbane River, at South Bank, directly opposite the City. The parklands are connected to the City by the Victoria Bridge at the northern end, and to Gardens Point by the Goodwill Bridge at the southern end.
89: The parklands consist of a mixture of rainforest, water, grassed areas and plazas as well as features such as the riverfront promenade, the Streets Beach, the Grand Arbour, the Suncorp Piazza, the Nepal Peace Pagoda, the Wheel of Brisbane, restaurants, shops and fountains. The parklands are also home to the Queensland Conservatorium. South Bank and its parklands are one of Brisbane's most important cultural precincts and they regularly host large scale festivals and events. Approximately 11,000,000 people visit South Bank Parklands each year.
90: Royal on the Park Our Hotel (#17 on map to right) | A picture of one of the art pieces on exhibit at the Queensland Art Gallery | Lipton Tea bike stations were all over town | We ate at some very nice restaurants. The seafood was a favorite among many and it was actually pretty good.
91: Story Bridge at night
92: Finally, after an amazing trip, we are headed to the airport (Ben is very sad)
93: Nice aerial view of Sydney from our plane. We spotted the Sydney Harbor Bridge and the Sydney Opera House.
94: Random | The Weber boys were intrigued by the "El Caminos"
95: LOST | A shout out for LOST. We survived our Sydney to LAX flight!
96: Angela's | Order of Favorites 1. Lady Elliot-Snorkeling 2. Australia Zoo-Koalas and Kangaroos 3. Sunsets on Fraser Island 4. Hiking in Lamington National Park 5. Lawn Bowling in Brisbane 6. We ate at a lot of GREAT restaurants | Funniest Moments -Ben watching rugby or lawn bowling and continually asking what the rules were and what was going on and I finally said "Ben, you know none of us know what is going on, right?" Apparently I am "punchy" when tired (according to Larry). -Ben running along side of the road to retrieve mystery hat and then running after the iMax to get back in -Ben touching a display in the Art Museum in Brisbane that resulted in a security guard calling him out on it -Seeing the window wipers come on when we went to turn. | Least Favorite Moments -Door window of 4 wheel drive vehicle rental was stuck down on our tour of Fraser Island and made for a windy and cold ride all day. -Getting the wet suit on and off during our snorkeling day. -My number ONE least favorite moment was definitely the last hour of our flight from LAX to ORD and the trip to the O'Hare Medical Clinic. I have never had an attack like I did that day- severe vertigo attack. It was awful and I wasn't back to normal for 72 hours.
97: Troy's | Top Experiences Snorkeling a. Seeing a nurse shark 50 yards away b. Swimming with the sea turtles Driving on the Sand Dunes of Fraser Island | Food Discoveries Favorite: Bundaberg Ginger Beer -a carbonated drink, that is flavored primarily with ginger and sweetened with sugar Least Favorite: Vegemite -a dark brown Australian food paste made from yeast extract. It is a spread for sandwiches, toast, crumpets and cracker biscuits, and filling for pastries. It is salty, slightly bitter, and malty – similar to beef bouillon. No one should eat this, ever! | Most Memorable Driving -driving on opposite side of the road with steering wheel on opposite side of car -window wipers and turn signals reverse side of wheel, brake and accelerator NOT reversed!