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During our visit in the coastal town 1770 we bumped into an Australian couple, Marianne and Graeme, who were also visiting that day.  They shared some of their travel stories about Greece and Egypt and soon were on their way. 
     Days later, when we were returning along the coast, we decided to stop at a town called Noosa Heads.  While we were at a picnic area, guess who we bump into?  That's right, Marianne and Graeme.  This time we are in their hometown and after a few words, they invited us to dinner the following day.  We exchanged information, saying that we might take them up on their offer if our plans change.  HereOur original plan had been to . . .


 
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     We went to see some dolphins that we heard about through a German couple that we met in 1770.  We waded knee deep while the dolphins swam around about a metre in front of me, they were waiting for their morning breakfast.  There were two dolphins, the first dolphin I saw had scars all over his back and I was wondering aloud how it happened.  The volunteer told me it was from territorial fights with other male dolphins and that the scars were actually more attractive to the female dolphins. 
     We weren't allowed to feed them until . . .


 
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We drove most of the day until we got to Bundeburg, the sugar cane capital of Australia.  We bought some soft drinks made with cane sugar and they had really interesting bottles.  At the local i-site we got a tip to go see some sea turtles laying eggs.  It was the beginning of the turtle egg laying season so we bought some tickets to view them at night.  We arrived at dark where we went to an education centre to learn about the turtles and wait until a turtle came to shore to lay their eggs.  The guides kept telling us that turtles are wild animals and that they will arrive when they are ready and not at any specific time.  So we had to wait and wait, read and re-read and see a . . .

 
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This is the glass-bottomed pontoon boat that ferried us to Lady Musgrave Island
Today I had the expereince of a lifetime. We got on our boat and rode out to Lady Musgrave Island. It was a far ride out, it was the first time in my life I had ever been so far out to sea that you could see a full horizon with no land anywhere in view. Just beutiful blue sky and and gorgeous cyan ocean for three hunded and sixty degrees.

    After we landed at Lady Musgrave, Dad, Allegra and I went to shore onto the Island Itself. The sand was the whitest I had seen in my life. I learned later that . . .


 
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     We drove through Brisbane and started our drive north towards the Great Barrier Reef region.   It is getting super hot the further north we travel and time is sadly but surely running out.  My intention is to find out how far north we must drive in order to have the opportunity to see the Coral Reefs of Australia.  When we get to a town called Gympie, I stop at the information site and ask the volunteer how much farther I would need to drive before we can enjoy the reef and she gave us two options; drive to a town called Seventeen Seventy (1770) where one operator provides day tours or drive to a larger town called Rockhampton where there are a few more tours to choose from.  Driving to Cairns (the main Hub for coral reef expeditions) simply was not an option at this point and time in our trip, it was just too . . .

 
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While travelling north on our way to Brisbane, I finally found the contact number for Gena, one of Allegra's friends that she met on Bowen Island and who is now living in Port MacQuarie.  We were about a day away from Port MacQuarie and I stop to call Gena's family.  Ray, Gena's Dad, answers and I say, "Do you remember me?" (we only met and visited once while they were on Bowen) and Ray kindly says that he does.  With very short notice Ray and I arrange a time to drop in on his family the next day.  When we arrived . . .

 
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Today we went to the Australian Reptile Park.  The first exhibit we went to was a snake and spider exhibit which caused me to make a mental note that I would always put shoes on when walking in the scrub instead of wearing flip flops.  The spider wasn`t that cool but the snake exhibit was.  We got to see all snakes of different colours and a couple of giant snakes that could crush you and the Taipan, the world`s deadliest snake, native to Australia.  It was so hot I had to run my hat under the tap and put it on my head and . . .

 
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One of the first things we noticed when we arrived in the greater Sydney area were these beautiful purple blossoms.  It is the JACARANDA tree that is responsible for such picturesque sight.  The Sydney area is dotted with these trees and we were fortunate to be visiting the area during the Australian Spring when they are in full blossom.  Apparantly the Jacaranda tree is native to the tropical and subtropical regions of South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean and have been introduced to Australia.  I guess this is one of the few good news stories of introducing foreign species to the continent of Australia because they are absolutely magnificent when in full blossom!!!
John


 
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We have arrived in Canberra and spent the day touring the new parliament building which was built in 1986 and then spent the afternoon touring the War Memorial Museum which was fantastic.  Its bizarre Birch, Allegra and I have yet to explore our nations capital yet here we are learning so much about Australia and their history.  After our long day we drove a little way out of town and found a pullout off a country road and set ourselves up for the night.  Early the next morning I drove the van back into town to a beautiful picnic site in the capital which was by a lake.   We were getting ourselves organized and Carolyn had the back hatch up boiling some water for our morning coffees when she . . .

 
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Here I am in front of the iconic ``Coat Hanger`` Bridge in Sydney
Today we took the subway into downtown Sydney.  Some very nice person left three half used week long passes for transit and kids under twelve rode free so we all got to take the train and ferry for free.  When we got downtown we walked to the "Rocks" where we bought some mangos and had a picnic.  We explored this area a little which was made up of tiny allyways.  Then we took a ferry (for free) over to Manley beach which is at the entrance to Sydney harbour.  Manley is on a thin long peninsula where . . .