Social Media | 2015 | Australia

Australia 2015

Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3
Narration by Susan Sloan
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Photo and Video:

Australia Trip Week Two, March 31- April 7, 2015

Click on "day" links to see photo albums on Flickr!

In late March early April we went to Australia...

Day 8 - March 31, 2015 Tuesday
Today began with a very short flight from Adelaide to Kangaroo Island on a small Regional Express plane. Our guide Scott met us at the airport and our adventure began. Our small group tour ended up being just us, we were incredibly lucky to get a private tour with an island native.

The island is unspoiled and gorgeous. So many birds everywhere - in the morning we saw a Crimson Rosella. We were surrounded by dense bush as we drove through the island toward Flinders Chase National Park. The ocean views were stunning. We made a mid-morning stop for a cuppa served in the bush with homemade snacks. The first animal we saw up close was a Wallabie! We headed to a beautiful spot on the coast with unusual, natural granite rock formations called ‘The Remarkable Rocks’. At Cape du Couedic we got to see a fur seal colony with Australian and New Zealand seals and walk among an interesting combination of sand dunes and bush. And to top it off was an amazing grotto called Admirals Arch.

Scott took us to a lovely lunch spot in the bush. As he prepared our picnic feast, we strolled through at a trail in the surrounding bush and Steve spotted a Koala! While we enjoyed our wonderful lunch of local sheep cheese and homemade foods, two Wallabies were right beside our table lounging peacefully, amazing.

Next we went on a bush walk to a pond where we were trying to spot the rare platypus. Instead we spotted a turtle which is unusual. Then back on the road we spotted our first Echidna, a really unusual, pretty rare animal. As we drove along we saw sheep and many kangaroos.

Finally late afternoon we arrived at our B&B for the night, Wanderers Rest, with an unimpressive room but a nice view in American River. We had dinner down the hill at Mercures where Sue sampled the local King George Whitefish. A nice ending to a fabulous day.
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Day 9 - April 1, 2015, Wednesday
We woke to a beautiful sunrise this morning over the American River. Our tour guide Scott arrived early to take us on another private tour to explore more of Kangaroo Island. We saw lots of Pelicans and Black Swans on the American River. We went to Pennington Bay where we saw beautiful ocean views and watched surfers. He took us off-road to a lot of hidden gems where we saw many Kangaroos and spotted a Koala.

Next we headed to Seal Bay. This is a unique place with huge sand dunes and a beautiful ocean setting. Seals were everywhere - in the dunes, playing on the beach, and of course in the water. We were lucky to be here during pupping season so we saw lots of adorable, playful, fur seal pups. Continuing on we saw a pretty bird, the New Holland Honeyeater. Our lunch today was at another lovely spot in the bush on a farm. On a trail there, Sue spotted a Koala! Scott grilled the local specialty, King George Whitefish. After lunch we spotted another Koala on the side of the road on a farmer’s land. He was happy to let us on his property to get a closer look. Next we saw a Kangaroo mom and Joey. The Joey was feeding and mom had a bulge in her lower pouch. It was a beautiful sight seeing them hop off together.

Next we went to Stokes bay. We walked through pretty, cave-like rocks to a beach. We met a group of cyclists here who were touring and then it started to pour rain. After that we decided to stay dry so Scott took us on a tour of Kingscote and the Bay of Shoals at the east end of the island where most people live. At the end of our wonderful day, he took us to the airport for our short flight back to Adelaide. We checked back into the Majestic Hotel and had an early night to prep for our dreadfully early flight in the morning to our next destination, Hamilton Island.
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Day 10 - April 2, 2015, Thursday
Today began with a wake up call at 4:30 a.m. (ouch!) for an early flight from Adelaide to Sydney, and then a flight from Sydney to Hamilton Island in the Whitsunday Islands in Queensland. As we flew over Queensland we saw gorgeous views of coral reefs in all shapes in sizes, our first glimpses of the Great Barrier Reef!

Hamilton Island welcomed us with a torrential downpour. By the time we settled into our Bungalow and started exploring the island, the rain was gone and the sun was shining in typical tropical weather fashion. We walked through the resort, by the pretty, tropical flowers and plants, saw and listened to the abundant birds, went by the pools, to Catseye beach, and down the steep hill to the harbor.
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Day 11 - April 3, 2015, Friday
A day of leisure on the island. We had breakfast with the Koalas. Three darling Koalas are in trees at the breakfast buffet that is at the zoo across the street from our bungalow, loved it! We had a relaxing day on the island, enjoyed the beach and pool. We took out kayaks today, what a blast. And tried out our snorkeling masks in the pool. Heard lots of birdsong and saw many cockatoos, crows, and butterflies.
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Day 12 - April 4, 2015, Saturday
After our breakfast with the Koalas, we headed down to the harbor for our full day tour of the Whitsunday Islands on the Cruise Whitsundays boat. Since we were doing the full day tour, we got to sit in the cabin at the front of the boat with the captain, that was a kick. We had a really nice ride out to Whitehaven Beach. Before we disembarked, we got our box lunches and our first ever stinger suits.
Whitehaven Beach is a long, long beach with bright white sand made of silica. It’s stunning against the water and the bush, and has a different feel when you sink your feet into it. We got to spend time on the beach and then headed off to Hill Inlet. We switched from the large boat to a small boat that bounced through the water, that was fun.
At Hill Inlet our guide Josh led us on a hike through a pretty trail up to the lookout point. The views of the inlet are gorgeous with beautiful color, sandbars, and swirling waters coming together. After our time at Hill Inlet, we got back on our bouncy boat and motored across to Chalky Beach to snorkel. It was an experience getting suited up in the stinger suit and heading right from the beach into the water to snorkel. The snorkeling was good, saw some pretty coral and fish. Also enjoyed meeting Aussie’s from Sydney who were on the tour.
Then we got back onto our bouncy boat for another ride, this time back to Whitehaven Beach where we spent the rest of our afternoon. We found a nice shady spot in the bush to relax and enjoy the beauty of the beach, islands, and mountains.
Finally we got back onto the Cruise Whitsundays boat and sat up with the captain again on our return ride to Hamilton Island. We arrived back at the marina in time for happy hour at the Marina Tavern and enjoyed hanging out there with the great harbor views.
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Day 13 - April 5, 2015, Sunday
This morning we started to enjoy our last breakfast with the Koalas when a Magpie swooped down and attacked Steve’s breakfast plate. A startling experience.
We left Hamilton Island on a Quantas Link flight to Cairns. As we got closer to Cairns we saw beautiful views of the Great Barrier Reef from the plane. Our driver took us on a scenic drive up the Captain Cook highway to Port Douglas. We were happy to settle into our cozy apartment at Villa San Michelle right in the center of town.
After a yummy lunch at Little Larder we explored Port Douglas and got supplies at the supermarket and bottle shop. We enjoyed the Whileaway Café, a quaint bookstore coffee shop. We strolled down to the beach where we saw an interesting netted swim area. On the way back we stopped at a nice gelato place. Feeling at home here.
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Day 14 - April 6, 2015, Monday
Today started with a tropical downpour that finished before our tour started. We headed to Daintree Rainforest with our tour guide Matthew on a small group tour. First stop was Mossman, a small town on the way where we made a brief stop at a café. In about half an hour we were in the rainforest, a World Heritage National Park. We headed through the lush forest past the Mangrove trees to our first adventure on the Daintree River. We had an enjoyable ride on a river boat through the jungle looking for crocs, but didn’t spot any. To get back across the river, we were transported on a quaint cable ferry.
Next we went on a bush walk where we saw interesting lizards and bamboo and rattan trees. After that we went to a swimming hole in a remote location. We had a refreshing dip in the cool, clear river and sampled the unique fruits from the area. We also sampled Billy Tea made the traditional way in a huge tin (billy can) over a fire and swung in circles through the air before it was served.
Our next stop was for lunch, a wonderful spread of steak and salads in a rustic location. At the lunch spot was a fenced area with lots of Kangaroos and Wallabies where Sue got to feed and pet a Kangaroo! Next we stopped at Cape Tribulation Beach where the rainforest meets the Coral Sea and reef, a rare feat of nature. Our last stop in the Rainforest was at Daintree Ice Cream Factory where all the ice creams are made from fruit trees on the farm.
Back in Port Douglas we headed down to the Marina to scout out where to catch our boat in the morning. It was a great day and a great tour.
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