Arriving at Narita

Australia - Part 1

Postby Michael » Sat May 16, 2015 1:26 pm

Being in Japan, which is right next to Australia (on the map anyway - turned out it is a 9 hour flight, baka gaijin) we headed down there during Golden Week. I gave a talk at the University of Western Sydney, and we then visited with Robyn's family and took a quick 3800 km road trip!

Driving into Sydney for the first time.
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Had a great couple of days visiting; this is Darling Harbour.
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There was a zoo there, which we checked out just in case we didn't see all the Australian wildlife in their natural habitat.
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After picking up our campervan, we heading out on the road with no clear plan for destinations or directions, we just wanted to see as much as possible in the time we had. If we had an 8 track of "The Way" by Fastball we'd have played it!
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Checking the radar, bad weather was heading north, so we went south. Turned out to be a good idea, and the skies were nice for our first visits to a beach in Australia. This is Alex at Depot Beach in Murramarange National Park, our first nights stay.
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The beaches in Australia were awesome, very reminiscent of California.
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Our first Australian selfie.
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So we are more Jeep/tent people, but the campervan wasn't bad, bigger inside than some of the hotels we stayed in in Japan.
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And we could drive well past sundown.
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The second night we stayed near Cape Conran, to put us at the starting point of the Great Ocean road in the morning. The route lived up to its name, with some spectacular scenery.
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The kids loved the beach most of all.
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Toward the end of the Great Ocean road are the 12 Apostles, rock formations off the shore which have survived against the forces of erosion. We almost didn't go to see them, again not having planned much of this we were about to turn north and decided to go a little further. Glad we did. We got there just before the sun went down and it started to rain.
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It will take a while to sort through the pictures I took here alone.
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A wrong turn further down the road lead to this viewpoint.
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And one of my favorite portraits of Alex and Anna.
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In Part 2 - turning north toward the Outback.
Michael
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Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Dec 10, 2013 10:43 pm

Australia - Part 2

Postby Michael » Thu May 21, 2015 12:59 pm

Couldn't resist a few more shots from the Great Ocean Road, this time panorama's, so zoom out to see it all.
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And one more selfie.
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So that night we planned to stay in a park in Enfield National Forest, in the middle of nowhere with no facilities but the battery in the campervan had been performing well, and it's not like there is a lack of shelter or food if something goes wrong. The place we picked was Misery Creek - with a name like that we just had to stay there. The drive in was down a long dirt road, with some tight and steep switchbacks. We made it in fine, but as the winds picked up to almost a gale, and the rain started, we started thinking that the reasonably good dirt road would soon be a mud bath. After some deliberation and watching the barometer on the GPS, we decided to wait out the storm rather than try and make it back out in the dark - worked out well, we had a comfortable night in the van and the road was not too bad in the morning. Control minus again to see it all.
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OK, so getting on the road we headed up north, which brought us toward the edge of the Outback.
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We didn't have the time to really head into the desert part, but at least we skirted the edge. Still green here.
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And finally some red soil.
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In panorama...
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From there we headed inland toward Dubbo, and stayed in a trailer park this time.
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It was easy to forget that it was autumn there, until we saw trees like this.
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The next night we stayed in the New England National Forest, which was part of the rainforests.
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The next morning we took a hike along Eagle's Nest Trail, which had some of the best views of the mountains we saw on the trip.
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From there you descend into the temperate rainforest area, which was really nice, but a long climb out.
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After the hike we headed toward the coast, on Waterfall Way. Just to show one we saw, this is in Ebor.
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The surprising part of this was the lack of any public safety measures like you would see in North America - I shot those pictures from the rock on the far right at the top of the falls!
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Our final night on the road was in a full service park, to get the van ready to go back. We did see quite a few birds there, including Rainbow Lorikeets
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And a Kookaburra, the bird that makes that classic jungle sound.
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Next up - final part of the Australia trip, including the Jenolan Caves.
Michael
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Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Dec 10, 2013 10:43 pm

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