S: Summer 2012 - Australia and New Zealand
BC: ARRIVED | United States of America | 13 JULY 2012
1: SYDNEY | AUSTRALIA | ARRIVED 22 June 2012 | is the most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. Sydney is located on Australia's south-east coast of the Tasman Sea.
2: Australian Museum
3: THE ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS A beautiful green haven in the middle of Sydney, the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust is the nation's oldest botanic garden. Mrs. Macquaries Chair, carved out of the rock, is one of the most iconic spots in Sydney with wonderful views across the Harbour. Above the chair is an inscription from 1816.
4: BONDI BEACH is one of Australia's most famous and well-known beaches. Roughly a kilometer long, it is located on the east coast of Australia and is a suburb to the city of Sydney.
6: THE SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE is a multi-venue performing arts centre. It was conceived and largely built by Danish architect Jrn Utzon, finally opening in 1973 after a long gestation, which started with Utzon's competition-winning design in 1957. While touring the Opera House, we heard the Sydney Symphony Orchestra rehearsing.
9: sydney harbor bridge | THE SYDNEY HARBOUR BRIDGE is one of the most recognizable symbols of Australia. The Bridge provides a frame for one of the most beautiful harbors in the world and holds a special place in the city's heart. The Sydney Harbor Bridge has connected the Sydney CBD with the North Shore of the harbor since it opened in 1932. It is the worlds largest (but not longest) steel-arch bridge. It was beaten in length, by New York’s Bayonne Bridge, which is 25 feet longer and opened just four months earlier. On major celebrations in Sydney history, like New Year’s Eve or the announcement of the Sydney Olympic Games, the Bridge has always been the focal point.
12: Elizabeth Bay House | Writers Walk | Cadman's Cottage | Hyde Park Barracks Museum | The Royal Mint
13: Sydney Olympic Park
14: Wild Life | Sydney
17: Nestled in Darling Harbour, the Chinese Garden of Friendship is like stepping into another world in the middle of the city. The garden brings together various elements and reflects traditional Chinese architecture. Key features like the Dragon Wall, various rock formations and sculptures surround the garden. We enjoyed delicious tea and scones on the patio by the pond while enjoying the sounds of running water and good conversation. | Chinese Garden of Friendship
20: THE GREAT BARRIER REEF is the largest coral reef system in the world. It can be seen from outer space and supports a variety of life including many endangered species.
21: The Skyrail Rainforest Cableway took us on an amazing experience over Australia’s World Heritage listed Tropical Rainforest canopy and deep into the forest to see sights like Barron Falls. Traveling down the hills on the Kuranda Scenic Railway, we saw pioneering history of the tropical north from the late 1800's and explored some of the great characters involved in the construction of the railway.
25: Holloways Beach
28: is located in the Southern Hemisphere and comprised of the North and South Islands as well as many other smaller islands. Located to the east of Australia, separated by the Tasman Sea, New Zealand was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. The Maori name for New Zealand is Aotearoa (often translated as "land of the long white cloud"). Maori people, art and culture are an important part of New Zealand's history and can be seen throughout the country. Although English is the predominate language, Maori is considered an official language in New Zealand. The country is also home to the Lord of the Rings films and the famous Hobbiton movie set, which we visited. | NEW ZEALAND | New Zealand | ARRIVED 2 July 2012
30: During our first day with the extended family we went to the Rotarua Skyline Gondola & Luge where we saw beautiful views of Rotarua and luged down a hillside.
31: Above is the Rotarua Blue Lake, which is turquoise blue from above due to reflection from white rhyolite and pumice bottom. Left is the Rotarua Green Lake. This lake is emerald green from above due to a shallow, sandy bottom.
32: Paradise Valley Springs
33: Sydney went riding for the day in the country side. While she was herding cattle, the family went to Paradise Valley Springs where we fed different types of animals and pet a lion cub.
34: Whakarewarewa Thermal Village is a living thermal village with geysers, bubbling mud pools, hot springs and Maori cultural experiences. We also saw traditional Maori performances too!
36: Orakei Korako Cave & Thermal Park While heading to Napier, we made a pit stop at beautiful Orakei Korako. At the park, we saw interesting formations like the "Golden Fleece," which is pictured above on the right.
38: Huka Falls | New Zealand
42: F A M I L Y
44: Farewell Australia and New Zealand. Until next time....