S: New Zealand and Australia 2010
FC: Good times!
1: Day 2: Aug 16th 2010 Woke up and walked about the shore of Rotorua lake. Had coffee at shoreside cafe and then went to the Maori village. Was a lot likeYellowstone with hot pots, geysers, and hot water. Watched a nativedance show and then walked thru village. After went to check out gondola rides which appeared lame so we didn't go. Went and walked the downtown shops and ate at Hennessey's, an Irish pub. Had an ale or two with bangers and mash and then drove three hours back to Auckland. Stayed at holiday inn, and had dinner and drinks | Day 3: Aug 17th 2010 Woke up at holiday inn, showered, and drove to airport for flight toSydney. Ate subway in airport for lunch and flew at 1230. Flight was3.5 hours from Aukland, New Zealand to Sydney, Australia. Arrived in Sydney, went thru customs and rode train downtown. Stay at O'Malleys Bed & Breakfast, little quaint rooms atop an Irish pub. Had beer at pub and then caught cab to bay and took scenic boat tour of the bay Took lots of pics, sunset was beautiful. Walked back from bay and ate at a great little Italian spot. Had lasagna, it was great! Walked backto room downtown and called it a night | DDay 4: Aug 18th 2010 Started the day in Sydney at O'Malleys with breakfast. Rather lame breakfast at the bed and breakfast of cold cereal and toast. Tried out Vegemite, an Australian spread that tastes like beef bullion that had been boiled down into a paste. It was terrible! After breakfast packed up and made way to train station and got tickets to Blacktowne to see the Featherdale zoo. Saw koalas, wallabies, kangaroos, wombats, croc,dingos, peacock, taz devil, and many birds. Liked the wallabies the best. After caught the bus back to train station and caught train to Katoomba. In Katoomba stayed at a hostel literally across from the train station. Checked in and payed 90 bones for 3 ppl and then found a cab and went to Scenic World. There you rode a variety of trams and gondolas looking at the mountain range and famous Three Sisters formation. Afterward rode trolley back downtown and had a kangaroo burger for dinner and scones with jam and cream for dessert. Had a cup of coffee and Baileys which was the best part. Walked back to hostel/bar and had a few drinks before going to bed early in order to catch early train back to airport in Sydney. Happy birthday Dad! | Day 1: Aug 15th 2010 Happy birthday Lola- 2 years old. Flew from Lafayette to Houston, Houston to LA, LA to Aukland. LAX to Aukland, New Zealand 12.5 hours. Rented car with GPS and drove to Waitomo. Did Black water caving trip and saw glow worms in cave. Drove to Rotorua and stayed at Ledwich motel after eating Thai for dinner.
2: Day 5: Aug 19th 2010 Woke up at 0430 to catch train to Sydney airport at 0530. Train tickets to airport expensive- about $8 AUD to come all the way from Sydney to Katoomba....$20 AUD to return to Sydney airport. Flew from Sydney to Cairns arriving at ~1230 after a ~3 hour flight. Caught taxi to Dreamtime hostel and dropped off bags in room. Walked across street and walked up and down a touristy section of Cairns drinking Australian beers. Ate dinner on a meal voucher from the hostel- marginal at best but for the price (8$) it wasn't bad. Had an offshore style steak and salad with mashed potatoes. Wrapped up the night with a few beers at the Rattle 'N Hum. Day 6: Aug 20th 2010 Started the day with a shower and a shave so my mask will seal while diving. Left bags at hostel and got a lift from the hostel to the dock to catch the dive boat. Got to dock and loaded up on boat- had awesome breakfast sandwich with egg and bacon from the grill. Boat took us 2 hours out to another, larger boat where we stayed the night and dove from. Arrived and got stuff to room and went snorkeling. Snorkeling was a tease and I was ready dive!! Started diving after lunch was served. Went for 2 dives in the afternoon and a night dive. Night dive was awesome!! Much of the sea life comes alive after dark and there was lots of activity. Saw shark, octopus, turtle, and many fish. Made first dive with Shawn and Sarah and then did remaining dives with Stefan as he had no partner. Experienced diver, he was good. A software architect from Germany. Great guy. For dinner had chicken with a pesto sauce- food out here is great. After night dive, had a beer with Shawn and Stefan and watched about 6 sharks literally 3 yards off the port of the boat. A huge Queensland grouper(?) was also around- according to one of the crew he could eat one of the sharks should he choose- big sucker! Showered and went to bed- tired. Day 7: Aug 21th 2010 Woke at 0600 to a wake up call from boat crew for 0630 dive. Made dive with Stefan and saw a shark, octopus, turtle. Great dive- the dark to light morning transition is dramatic underwater. After dive ate breakfast, filled out dive log, and then went for mid morning dive at 0930. Saw a large eel about 6 feet long, barracuda, and an octopus. Had the final dive of the trip at 1030 and saw a lone shark and many fish. Ate lunch and were put back on the taxi boat to Cairns. Stopped at another reef for snorkeling and saw 3 octopus and a turtle that was friendly- came up and swam with you and you could 'pet' him. Made it back to Cairns and Stefan talked me into asking for a shuttle ride to Dreamtime which we got. Picked up our backpacks and walked 150 yards down the street to Ryan's Rest hostile. Got a single room and a double room and showered up to go eat. Went downtown and briefly watched a local parade before eating at the Hog's Breath Cafe. Ate a ton of good food and walked home. Went to bed early as needed to be up by 0330 to make shuttle ride to airport for flight/s home. Day 8: Aug 22th 2010 Woke at 0330 to Shawn's crazy phone alarm. Sounded like the ice cream man was coming thru the hostel at 150 decibels! Got packed and got on airport shuttle at 0350. We were first on the shuttle and ended up riding for 45 minutes before making it to the airport. Got to airport, checked backpacks, went they security and ate a scone and a coffee for breakfast. Loaded on the plane and flew Cairns to Sydney. In Sydney went thru customs and all that jazz and got on plane to LAX at 1015. Will be a long day- left Sydney at 1015 on August 22 and will arrive in LAX at 0645 on August 22nd. Flight is scheduled to be ~12.5 hour flight. Sleep pattern should be a royal mess upon arriving back in Lafayette. Got into LAX after about a 13 hour flight at ~ 0700 and went thru customs and caught plane to Houston at 0900.
4: New Zealand Countryside
5: Family Fun | Waitomo Caves
11: Lake Rotorua New Zealand
14: Tastes of New Zealand
19: Whakarewarewa, A Maori Villege
34: Featherdale Wildlife Park Doonside NSW
40: Katoomba and Blue Mountains
46: Cairns & Great Barrier Reef