Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Gorgeous country!

Danny's brother and his family live in Melbourne, and his cousins and their families live in Sydney. We spent 4 days with the cousins in Sydney (Phil, Jenny, Stephen and Jason) and the rest of the time with his brother, Frank, and with his wife Janette and their daughters Heather and Laura.

Began the trip in Melbourne...Melbourne Botanic Gardens, Melbourne downtown walk with lots of outdoor markets.

With Frank, Janette and Heather we went to Wilson's Promontory National Park and spent 3 nights in a chalet and went to the beaches, and for walks...
The wildlife we saw there: Rosella Birds (and many other kinds of birds), kangaroos, wallaby, koala (we saw it on a rain forest walk and it was growling and walking under the boardwalk (looking for a mate?).

After Wilson's Prom we continued on to Phillip Island and spent one night there. We saw the nightly Penguin Parade and it was unusually mild with no wind which made it quite pleasant. We also stopped at the Nobbies, a stunning spot which was at the time filled with seagull chicks. I won't mention the FLIES!

Frank, Danny, Shug and I took the coastal touring route to Sydney which is about 600 miles, leaving Monday morning and arriving in Sydney Wednesday night. We spent Monday night in Lakes Entrance where the 90 mile beach begins, and the next night in Narooma which has beautiful beaches. We went to the Golf Club where you can register for one days membership and includes a Tab for horse race betting - the highlight of Shug's trip! As we ate in the club's dining room overlooking the ocean we saw humpback whales. The younger ones were breeching.
We detoured from the coastal route to the Southern Highlands area which is lovely. I wanted to see the area where the movie 'Babe' was filmed, but saw no 'Babe' related tourism.

We spend Wednesday - Saturday nights in Sydney with Danny's cousin Phil, wife Jenny, and their sons Stephen and Jason. We also spent time with Phil's brother and sister, Linda and Ray. On the first day we toured Sydney harbour seeing the famous opera house, the Rocks area, walking across the bridge, and going to the top of the Sydney Tower.

The next day we planned to do the Spit to Manly walk, but it was pouring rain (unusual for Sydney). So we took the bus instead. By early afternoon the sky was clear and it was sunny and warmer. After spending time in the Manly Beach area we took the ferry back to Sydney.

The next day also started out with rain so we changed plans and drove to the Blue Mountains. Again the rain stopped by noon and the sun came out, getting quite hot. We visited the 3 Sisters and took a cable car across the mountains.

On the way back to Melbourne we did the trip in two days, spending a night in Gundagai and stopping at a couple of tourist attractions - Ned Kelly memorabilia (a famous 19th century outlaw) adn the Ettamogah Pub.

After returning to Melbourne we set out on an overnight trip to the Great Ocean Road on the south coast. Our final destination on the road was seeing the 12 Apostles - tall rock structures in the sea.

We spent the night in Port Campbell at holiday apartments next to a beach. Port Campbell is a very small town and I was surprised to see 3 vegetarian options on the menu at the Craypot Bistro. My meal was excellent.

It is difficult to find vegetarian options in Australia. Since I'm a pescatarian fish became my dinner staple while there.

We will most definitely go back for visit!