Chany's Trip to Australia 2006

2006 January 30 - February 22

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Australia Map - Places Visited

This map shows the places in Australia that I visited:
  • Sydney
  • Coffs Harbour
  • Byron Bay
  • Brisbane
  • Noosa Heads
  • Arlie Beach
  • Cairns
  • Ayers Rock
  • Melbourne


Sydney is the capital city of the state of New South Wales, Australia. Opened in 1973, the Sydney Opera House is the iconic symbol of the city.
The original iconic landmark of Sydney is the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Opened in 1932, the steel cantilever bridge spans 500 meters, connecting Sydney to it's northern suburbs. Along its length, it features four railroad tracks, a highway, and two pedestrian walkways.
Located in an eastern suburb of Sydney is the white sand Bondi Beach. 'Bondi' or 'Boondi' is an Aboriginal word meaning water breaking over rocks or noise of water breaking over rocks. I had a lot of fun being hammered by the big waves.
To get to the Taronga Zoo Sydney, we took a ferry to get there. We got a great view of Sydney from the harbour.
Taronga Zoo, located on the north side of Sydney Harbour, was opened in 1916. The zoo spans 28 hectares, housing more than 2600 animals. Among the animals are the Little Penguins. Also known as Fairy Penguins, they are the smallest species of penguin, averaging a height of 33 cm and weighing 1.5 km.
Aldabra Giant Tortoises at the Taronga Zoo Sydney.
Their names are Lance and Esmerelda. Lance is 50 years old and Esmerelda is thought to be about 88 years old. These tortoises can live to be around 200 years old!
Meerkats are found in southern Africa. Here we have typical meerkat behaviour, where one meerkat is sitting up looking out for danger while the other meerkats relax and sunbathe.
Our abode in Sydney was The Original Backpackers Hostel, located in the Kings Cross precinct of Sydney. The dormitory we stayed in did not have air conditioning, so it was several sweaty nights of sleep.

Coffs Harbour

A tourist attraction located throughout Australia are the display of "large" representations of objects. The 15 meter long Big Banana is located at Coffs Harbour.
Our abode in Coffs Harbour was the Aussitel Backpackers. Coffs Harbour is located 540 km north of Sydney.

Byron Bay

Here I am at the most easterly point of Australia, Cape Byron. It is located approximately 3 km east of the town of Byron Bay, New South Wales.
Built at the turn of the 19th century to protect ships passing along the coast, the Cape Byron Lighthouse is located on the most easterly point of the Australian mainland.
In Byron Bay, we stayed at the Holiday Village Backpackers. The dorm we stayed in was so hot and humid (no air conditioning) that I considered going down to the beach and sleep there (where it was cooler). It was a couple of sweaty sleeps in the dorm.


In Brisbane, we stayed at the Palace Backpackers Hostel. It was originally built in 1910-11 for the Salvation Army as a temperance hotel. This hostel had air conditioning, so it was nice to finally have a cool nights sleep.

Noosa Heads

There were all sorts of animals that visited Halse Lodge at Noosa Heads. These colourful birds frequented the lodge, looking for food from the guests.
The Australian Bush Turkey is a mound building bird found near the coast in Eastern Australia. There were a few hanging around Halse Lodge.
I visited the Australia Zoo, made famous by the "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin. Here I am with a wallaby (small kangaroo) at the zoo. Note the wallaby (a marsupial) has a Joey (baby wallaby) in her pouch. They had exhibits that allowed you to get up close with the animals.
Of course, one of the main features of the Australia Zoo is the Crocodile show. They demonstrated how the crocodiles are attracted by the noise the prey makes on the shores of the pond. Fascinating.
The zoo allows you to get up and close with a koala. The koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) is an arboreal herbivorous marsupial native to Australia. Koalas typically inhabit open eucalypt woodlands, and the leaves of these trees make up most of their diet. The koala lives in the trees, and only descends to the ground to move to another tree, walking on all fours.
Wombats are short-legged, muscular quadrupedal marsupials that are native to Australia. They are about 1 m (40 in) in length with small, stubby tails and weigh between 20 and 35 kg (44 and 77 lb). Wombats dig extensive burrow systems with their rodent-like front teeth and powerful claws. I found this wombat wandering around the zoo.
The second largest living bird in the world, by height, is the Emu. Emus are soft-feathered, brown, flightless birds with long necks and legs, and can reach up to 1.9 metres (6.2 ft) in height. Emus can travel great distances, and when necessary can sprint at 50 km/h (31 mph). This emu was taking it easy at the zoo.
Only in Australia, there's a street sign warning drivers to take it easy, as koalas live in the area.
Our accomodations in Noosa Heads was the Halse Lodge. This heritage building has been around since the 1920s. Various wildlife will come and visit guests here.

Arlie Beach

I went scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef, near Arlie Beach. You cannot get more up close and personal than this with the Great Barrier Reef. The reef was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981.
Located on the north-east coast of Australia, the Great Barrier Reef contains the world’s largest collection of coral reefs, with 400 types of coral, 1,500 species of fish and 4,000 types of mollusc. The reef covers an area of 348,000 square kilometres and extending across a contiguous latitudinal range of 14 degrees. Here are some fish and coral at the Great Barrier Reef (picture taken with my disposable underwater camera).
To scuba dive at the Great Barrier Reef, there are diving platforms in place. A boat takes you out the platform, where you get fitted with the scuba gear and allows easy access to the reef.
At Arlie Beach, we stayed at the Arlie Beach YHA Hostel. We noticed the YHA hostels were pretty good and of consistent quality when it comes to facilities and cleanliness.


We made a stop in Cairns, with plans of swimming in the ocean. However, due to an abundance of box jellyfish (considered the most venomous marine animal in the world) in the local waters, the city authorities had closed the beaches, so we just hung around the Cairns Esplanade Lagoon pool, suntanning. Our abode in Cairns was the Cairns Central YHA.

Uluru / Ayers Rock

Uluru / Ayers Rock is a large monolith red sandstone formation in the southern part of the Northern Territory in Australia. It lies 335 km (208 mi) southwest of the nearest large town: Alice Springs. Uluru / Ayers Rock rises 1,142 feet (348 metres) above the surrounding desert plain, measuring 3.6 km long by 2.4 km wide.

I took this picture at sunset, where the rock takes on a reddish appearance.

Here I am at an Uluru / Ayers Rock viewpoint, and at it's base.

Uluru is sacred to the Pitjantjatjara, the Aboriginal people of the area, known as the Aṉangu. The area around the formation is home to an abundance of springs, waterholes, rock caves, and ancient paintings.
Located at the geographical center of Australia, Uluru / Ayers Rock is a major tourist attraction. This was the crowd at the Uluru / Ayers Rock sunset viewpoint we were at. There are also sunrise viewpoints.
Located approximately 30 km west of Uluru is Kata Tjuta / Mount Olga, a group of large, domed rock formations or bornhardts. The tallest dome is named Mount Olga and rises 546 meters above the surrounding desert. Kata Tjuta is considered sacred to the local Aboriginals.
I spotted this lizard outside our accomodations at the Lodge. We were located in the Australian Outback, so encounters with critters was not uncommon.
We stayed at the Outback Pioneer Hotel & Lodge, located just outside the Uluru - Kata Tjuta National Park. As well, we spent one night sleeping under the stars (no tent). It was very warm out, but there was a layer of cooler air up to approximately 30 cm above the desert floor that made sleeping somewhat comfortable. There was a great view of the stars and Milky Way.


Melbourne is the capital of the state of Victoria. Here's a view of downtown Melbourne at night.

Fish Scuptures on the Yarra River. These scuptures were an off site display for the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne (2006 March 15 - 26). There were 72 of these fish, each representing one of the competing nations in the Games. Technically, not all were fish as there were mammals represented (such as an Orca and dolphins).
Located south of Melbourne on Phillip Island is the Koala Conservation Reserve. Here, wild koalas roam freely in the reserve. I was able to spot this koala in a tree.
Phillip Island is home to the largest colony of Little Penguins in the world. The Phillip Island Penguin Parade set up viewing areas for watching the return of the Little Penguins to their nests at sunset. It was really neat seeing the penguins appear and waddle their way up to beach to their nests.
Located in the heart of downtown Melbourne, we stayed at the Flinders Backpackers hostel.

Sydney (Return)

The Sydney Chinatown is located in the southern part of Sydney's Central Business District.
Built in 1921, Sydney Central Station Clock Tower towers at 85 meters at the city's railway station.
Here's a view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House at night.
For our return to Sydney, we stayed at the Sydney Central YHA. As mentioned earlier, the YHA seems to have a good standard of quality for their hostels. The dorms had air conditioning, which was nice as Sydney was warm and humid.

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