Trip Report: Australia

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Australia is a country synonymous with endless sunshine, a laid-back lifestyle, and iconic scenery.  Its natural splendor captivates visitors with promises of grand adventures and its multicultural cities are bursting with a vibrant, youthful energy.  From the Outback to the Great Barrier Reef to the man-made Sydney Opera house, there was lots to do and see. It’s no wonder this country is one of the most popular travel destinations. Here is the cost breakdown of our trip to Australia: Continue reading

Victoria: Great Ocean Road

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It’s true what they say, that not all roads are created equal. The Great Ocean Road is billed as Australia’s most scenic drive and that’s not an exaggeration. When we were in Melbourne, we rented a car and started on this epic route, stopping along the way to visit the many iconic lookouts. Starting from Melbourne, it’s an easy drive along the dramatic Southern coastline winding around cliff tops, down to the beaches of Lorne famous for surfing, through the lush rainforest at Otway National Park, and ending at the magnificent Twelve Apostles. Along the way, we spotted koalas, kangaroos, and parakeets. Continue reading

Melbourne: Graffiti

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Unlike Sydney, Melbourne has fully embraced street art and it is very much a part of the city’s personality.  Melbourne is recognized as one of the leading street art capitals of the world, with it being an attraction for locals and visitors wanting to experience the city’s creative expression.  The city understands the importance of public art and how its art contributes to the vibrancy of urban culture.  The many mediums of street art include stencils, paste-ups and murals but not tagging which is considered vandalism and is illegal. The artwork in Melbourne is very progressive, in fact was early to embrace stencil art and is now considered the “stencil capital of the world”.

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Eating in Melbourne

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Now that I am back from Europe, it’s time to finish up the rest of the Australia posts – onward to Melbourne!  After spending a week at the beach and then melting in the outback, we were ready to go back to civilization.  Our first order of business was restaurant hopping. Melbourne is the hometown of Masterchef Australia, so it was no wonder that there were a lot of high caliber restaurants. We made the rounds and visited a few restaurants of chefs featured on the show.  We had only one day to try the food in Melbourne and I think we did a pretty good job fitting it all in our stomach. The day was basically sightseeing interspersed by eating and trying to digest the food as we walked to our next restaurant.

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Uluru: 24 Hours in the Outback

IMG_1339After a week at the beach, we were ready to head into the outback, to see Australia’s most recognizable natural landmark. Ayer’s Rock (Aboriginal name: Uluru) is a large sandstone rock formation rising out of the central Australian desert in the Northern Territories. The monolith has been around for millions of years and is considered sacred to the Anangu, the Aboriginal people in the area. Looking out the window as our plane descended, I could see Uluru dominating the red landscape in the distance.

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Cairns: Port Douglas

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In Australia, the more north you go, the hotter and more humid it gets.  Getting off the plane in Carins, we were immediately hit by a wave of thick hot air that just stuck to your skin and soaked your shirt. Our destination was a sleepy beach town near Cairns with a local population of less than 5,000 people.  Port Douglas has long been considered one the best towns in Australia, with it’s proximity to the Daintree rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef.  When we were there in December, it was during the off-season and the town was empty, so it was a perfect place to relax and rejuvenate.

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Cairns: Diving the Great Barrier Reef

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View of the reef from our plane

When we planned our trip to Australia, the number one, top thing we all wanted to do was go diving in the Great Barrier Reef, a living structure so massive it can be seen from outer space. The Great Barrier Reef stretches for more than 2,000 km off along the Queensland coastline in north-eastern Australia.  This rich and diverse ecosystem is made up of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands where the world’s largest collection of corals, colorful fish, and countless other species thrive. Continue reading

Cairns: Hiking Mossman Gorge

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After four relaxing days on Hamilton Island, we headed up the Queensland coast towards Cairns.  The further north we went, the hotter and more humid it got, temperatures can easily hit 38 C / 100 F in the summer. We rented a car and headed towards Port Douglas, a sleepy little beach town right on the coast. This region is a unique blend of sandy beaches and tropical rainforest.  The lush green forest gives way to to clear blue water, both only separated by a winding road.  As we were driving on the road to Port Douglas, we could not help but admire this distinctive landscape. 

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Whitsundays: Whitehaven Beach

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Close your eyes and imagine a tropical paradise. With fine white sand and clear blue water as far as the eye can see, Whitehaven is probably as close to paradise as you can get. I’ve been to my share of beautiful beaches, but nothing holds a candle to Whitehaven.  It’s no wonder that it’s considered one of the world’s most unspoiled and beautiful beaches.  The area is uninhabited and can only be accessed by boat or helicopter from the surrounding islands.

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