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Australia in 8 Days

on 06/25/2015 in Australia

Australia in 8 Days     

Are you short on time but would like to visit 3 of Australia’s great cities? I had the pleasure to do so just recently and would highly recommend it to everyone.

I arrived in Melbourne, a lovely city with its tree-lined boulevards, historical buildings, manicured parks and outdoor cafes. This is a place to enjoy a multitude of sporting events, especially Aussie Rules Football.  Melbourne has a fantastic nightlife with lots of trendy clubs and bars. Shop till you drop at the colourful Victorian Market or the many upscale boutiques.  And Eat!  Melbourne is truly a melting pot of cultures and every type of food imaginable is available here.  Melbourne makes a great base for exploration and one of my highlights was a Savannah Walkabout in a nearby National Park.  I was able to see Koala Bears in their natural habitat, followed by a Bush Walk through an open range sanctuary of Wild Kangaroo.  What an introduction to the country!   With extra time, I would have added a visit to see the Penguin Parade on Phillip Island or driven the Great Ocean Road.  

But it was off to Cairns, in Australia’s Tropical North and to fulfill a dream of snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef.  I booked a cruise on Quicksilver’s high speed Catamaran to the outer Barrier Reef, and enjoyed an afternoon of snorkelling the beautiful coral gardens. It was simply outstanding.

Another spectacular day was spent gliding over the rainforests in the Skyrail Cable Car, visiting the quaint village of Kuranda, famous for its arts, crafts and aboriginal artefacts and touring by Amphibious Army Ducks deep into the rainforests, via land and water.  I later enjoyed a “Dreamtime Walk”, learning to throw a boomerang, play a didgeridoo and watch the aboriginal dancers perform.  A pretty amazing day but my highlight was to hold and cuddle a Koala Bear at the Koala Wildlife Park.  Queensland is the only state in Australia that allows visitors to hold a Koala, so if you wish to do so, be sure to include Kuranda in your itinerary.     Cairns went all too quickly and had more time been available, I would spend a few days in the Whitsunday Islands, soaking up the sun and snorkelling the reefs right off the beaches.

But the much anticipated visit to Sydney was next and I could not wait to see it.  Sydney ranks as one of the world’s best cities and it’s easy to see why.  It’s blessed of course with that magnificent waterfront around Circular Quay where the Sydney Opera House sits perched on its tip.  I enjoyed a tour of the interior and marvelled at this miracle of architecture.  Afterwards, I walked around Sydney’s historic Rocks district with its old buildings, side walk cafes, pubs and boutiques.  And to finish off the afternoon, I relaxed on board the MV Sydney 2000 for a Harbour Cruise taking me past the Opera House, famous homes of the rich and famous, the Taronga Zoo, and Darling Harbour.  What a lovely introduction to Sydney.  My second day was one of the most exciting as I did the Sydney Bridge Climb!  This was exhilarating and no wonder it ranks as a top 10 Adrenaline Rush Experience.     On my last day in Sydney I took a full day tour out to the Blue Mountains National Park.   Located 50km from Sydney, the Blue Eucalyptus Forests contain beautiful canyons, waterfalls and rock formations.  The area offers excellent hiking, cave exploration, and farm visits to see Kangaroo and Koala.  

My visit to Australia was over all too quickly but I will plan to return soon.   One cannot dispute its outstanding cities and sights, but most memorable are its friendly people and their great hospitality.

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