S: Australia and New Zealand - January 2009
1: Friday 1/16/2009 Leaving the FREEZING COLD Midwest for Summer in Australia! | Scott's carry on - all the necessities... beer coozies and books
2: 1/18/09 We arrived in Sydney on Sunday morning. It was 80 degrees and sunny! We took the CityRail to the Sydney Marriott at 36 College Street. The hotel is right across the street from beautiful Hyde Park. The park has over 580 trees!
3: Unpacked and took the bus to Circular Quay and onto a Ferry to Manly. Beautiful scenery, the Sydney Bridge, Harbor, Ocean! | Lunched next to the Beach! Summertime and the living is easy!
4: We took the Sydney Explorer around the city, walked through George Street Market. After a long day, we took a recommendation to go to BBQ King, a Korean restaurant "only 3 blocks" from our hotel. Instead, we ate at City BBQ, which we figured out AFTER we cooked our own food and didn't see any of the specials that had been recommended!
5: Monday 1/19/09 We took the Wonderbus Day Trip to the Blue Mountains. 1st Stop: Featherdale Wildlife Park
7: Beautiful Blue Mountains, Skyway ride,Three Sisters, and our guide, Rae.
8: We bought wine in Katoomba, ate lunch at a golf club. Photo op at Sydney Olympic Park. Took ferry back to Circular Quay. Dad, Scott and Katie had dinner at a fancy schmancy restaurant - mom slept!
9: Tuesday 1/20/09 Scott and Katie did the Sydney Harbor BridgeClimb first thing in the morning. Mom and Dad took a picture in front of the bridge at the time we were supposed to be on top. It was a very cool experience. Not scary, but a great view! Mom and Dad went to the Royal Botanical Gardens while we climbed.
10: Took Bondi Explorer to Bondi Beach. Coastal Cliff Walk to Watson's Bay and lunch overlooking the water. Dinner at Bill & Toni's Italian Restaurant.
12: Wednesday 1/21/09 Bondi Beach Icebergs Pool and Sydney Aquarium. Ron's hat saved! Rode the bus back with a surfboard. Ate dinner at I'm Angus Steakhouse at Corkle Bay Wharf.
14: Thursday 1/22/09 We rented a car and drove south on Grand Pacific Drive to Royal National Park. Scott & Katie went swimming at the inlet at Wattamolla. So pretty! We stopped at another beach that had crazy waves - we could barely go swimming!
15: Lunch in Coledale at RSL Club. Hamburger with the works! Beers at Five Islands Brewery in Wollongong. Stopped in Kiama, where Scott went swimming in the very cold water, while Mom and Dad went to Gerringong to do laundry. Appetizers @ Yianni's Cafe. Dinner in Wollongong at outdoor Greek restaurant!
16: Friday 1/23/09 Katie and Scott are off to NZ. We fly to Cairns. Dour taxi ride to Holiday Inn at the Esplanade. Took Dinner Cruise on Ocean Spirit IV. Beautiful night, lovely cruise! Ron asked captain about the Southern Cross.
17: Saturday 1/24/09 Big Cat Green Island Great Barrier Reef Cruise. Snorkeling, semi-sub,and glass bottom boat. Marine stingers make wet suit a good idea. Dinner at Rattle 'n Hum and lovely walk down the Esplanade to hotel. BEAUTIFUL!
18: Sunday 1/25/09 All day bus trip north to Daintree Rainforest. Discovery Centre walkway 23 meters high! Saw Cassowary and her baby in forest. Walked on Cape Tribulation beach. Wow! Mangrove are amazing. Lunch at the most spectactular spot.
21: Before returning to Cairns, last stop was at Mossman Gorge. It was a beautiful walk down to the Mossman River. No pictures though, batteries were done for the day!
22: Boat ride on the Daintree River. Saw exotic frog and crocodiles. Tour guide was a hoot! Last pic is of our guide for the bus trip, we had trouble with word fire!
23: Monday 1/26/09 Flew to Alice Springs, bought nets for hats, drove to Yulara. Stuart Hwy to Lasseter Hwy. Stayed at Outback Pioneer Hotel & Lodge. Mount Conner 2818 ft. above sea level.
24: Tuesday 1/27/09 Woke very early to view Uluru at sunrise. Beautiful morning, temperature still comfortable but it will get up to about 115 degrees today. Uluru is 348 meters above the plain & 863 above sea level. Uluru- Katatjuta National Park
25: Mutitjulu Water Hole. An unforgettable place.
26: Kata Tjuta or The Olgas. A group of more than 30 rounded red domes rising from the desert floor. Highest dome is 546 meters above plain, 1066 above sea level.
27: Wednesday 1/28/09 Left Yulara, drove the long straight road to Alice Springs. Saw many cattle and whirlwinds on the way. Spent the night at Crowne Plaza. Bojangles Saloon had webcam which brodacast us eating the local fare on the internet.
28: Thursday 1/29/09 Flew Quantas from Alice Springs to Sydney, arriving at 4:45 PM. Views of Australia from the plane were awesome. Katie and Scott arrived from NZ about same time. Finally had dinner at BBQ King! Never got up to Sydney Tower...no shirts, no shoes, no service!
29: FRIDAY 1/30/09 LAST DAY OF OUR TRIP! Took the wonderful ferry to Manly Beach.
30: Manly Beach is a memorable place. We swam, had lunch at Kelly's Beach Bar and shopped for souvenirs, all under a blue sky and summer breezes.
32: That evening we had tickets to "The Burlesque Hour...She's Back" at the Sydney Opera House in the Studio. Will we ever forget it! Naked people everywhere we looked. Stopped after the performance at an outdoor restaurant near the Opera House for dinner. GREAT FUN!
34: Sydney at night, what a glorious sight.
36: Saturday 1/31/09 Longest van ride ever to airport. As the plane lifted off at 3:15 PM, a single windsurfer escorted us down the runway. Goodbye Australia!
37: Our plane left Los Angeles and headed for Chicago. More cool views from a plane, this time in the USA. Katie and Scott took the plane to Columbus and we went on to Dayton. Sandy and Chris Stark picked us up and had our car free of snow and ice for us. BFF
41: Sights worth repeating. Things we won't forget!