January 28th, 2018,State Library of Queensland, it is pouring water outside so good timing for another update on our last weeks of travel in Australia.
The library is really a great place to work on the blog. When I want to take a break there is a coffee house next door and several museums to visit for free. The library only closes on 4 holidays in the year.
Flashback: On January 6th we drove from Sydney to the Blue Mountains, another UNESCO World Heritage Park. They are called Blue Mountains because they are always surrounded by a blue haze which is caused by the many tiny eucalyptus oil droplets in the air. There are 90 kinds of eucalyptus in the park.
On our first stop in the Blue Mountains we decided to go to the Walls lookout, about a 1 hour walk. We really were amazed how beautiful this was and no one around :-).
The Three Sisters, at Echo Point are carved out of sandstone. We walked to the tiny platform on the leftmost sister, on her bossom if you want to call it like this.
The ancient aboriginal legend tells the tale of three sisters – ‘Meehni’, ‘Wimlah’ and Gunnedoo’. These three enchanting girls lived in the heart of the Jamison Valley as part of the Katoomba tribe. Yet the girls were young and their hearts were captured by three brothers from a neighbouring tribe. However the law of the land forbid the girls from following their desires and marrying outside their own people. The brothers decided to capture the girls and carry them away to be wed, a major battle started as the two tribes clashed. An elderly witchdoctor from the Katoomba tribe feared for the safety of the beautiful sisters and cast a spell to turn them to stone to keep them safe from harm. Yet during the raging battle the witchdoctor was killed and unable to reverse the spell.
On our walk to the High Tops in the Warrumbungles.
We hiked one of the best walks in NSW in the Warrumbungles, the Breadknife and High Tops walk. The scenery was incredible, and you can see me in the foreground. the walk featured 800 stairs, and was 20 km long.
Entering the Warrumbungles NP (aboriginal word for “crooked mountain”). The white dome is the Siding Spring Observatory.
View from our camping spot in the Warrumbungles, definitely one of the best campgrounds (See video Stefan in later post)!
My favourite Australian bird, the kookaburra. We woke up every morning with his incredible “laugh” and in the evening he alerted us when it was time to start dinner :-). In the YouTube video below you can hear his incredible laugh. The Kookaburra is a type of Kingfisher.
The Warrumbungles experienced a forest fire in 2013. Slowly but surely nature is recovering, but because all koalas died in the fire, they have not been spotted yet.
An Australian Eastern Water dragon bathing in the sun.
Grand Canyon walk in the Blue Mountains. We descended into a canyon, and at the end made the climb back up to the ridge top.
We enjoyed Canberra with the beautiful National Gallery, the Portrait Gallery, the Library, the Parliament and the War Memorial. I personally liked the special exhibition on David Hockney in the National Gallery.
The Aboriginal Memorial is an installation of 200 hollow log ceremonial coffins in the National Gallery. It was created by 43 artists for the Bicentenary of Australia which marked the 200 years of European settlement.
The Australia War Memorial opened in 1941. We went to the Last Post at closing and spent the next day a couple hours in the museum. You can easily spend the day there, it is huge.
A work of Alex Seton, “As of today”, 41 sculpted marble flags with halyard to commemorate the Australian soldiers who have lost their lives while serving in Afghanistan.
National Gallery: “Blue Poles” from Jackson Pollock, painted in 1952.
An installation from James Turrell “Within without” in the sculpture garden of the National Gallery.
The Parliament House of Australia.Construction began in 1981 and was finished in 1988. Although elections can be called early, every 3 years the full House of Representatives and half of the Senate is dissolved and is up for reelection.
The Coat of Arms of Australia on top of the parliament building. The kangaroo and emu were chosen as part of the emblem not only because they are endemic and well-known Australian animals but also because they can not move backward and thus represent a nation “moving forward”.
A short walk in Hill End, goldtown country. During the goldrush between 1850-1870 about 8000 people lived here. Today there are only 80 people left.
We did the lookout walk in Kanangra-Boyd National Park but a thick pack of clouds made it impossible to see a thing. Stefan is standing at the cliff edge.
A half hour later at the same spot, the sun was slowly chasing the clouds away.
Stefan and his team of followers :-).
A baby-kangaroo, called a “Joey”, peeping to see what the world is like. Baby kangaroos are born weighing less than a sugar cube. By the time it is about 8 months the mother is ready for it to leave the pouch.
Beautiful sandstone caves in the Pilliga Nature Reserve.
The seeping water dissolves the softer rock leaving a colorful and varied wall pattern.
The caves harbor aboriginal rock drawings of emu tracks and hand patterns.
Point Danger in Coolangatta with Brisbane on the horizon and many surfers waiting for the perfect wave. The point was so named by Captain Cook because of the many surrounding reefs.
The point danger Lighthouse also marks the border between the states of New South Wales (S) and Queensland (N). There is a 1 hour time difference between the two and the border runs along a street lined with bars. Makes for a double new years eve celebration with minimal travel!
Lamington NP in the Green Mountains. I have not been able to find the name of this beautiful flower.
Wild birds such as these King Parrots and the Crimson Rosella know when and where there is some food to be had. O’Reilley Green Mountains NP.
This Regent Bowerbird (female) had an eye on our breakfast. She tried to get away with a slice of bread, but it was too heavy.
The yellow robin is small in stature, but lovely to look at.
On our walk in the park, we spotted a Wonga Pigeon, and saw a quickly dissapearing Lyrebird (no photo). As long as you are not too quick or loud, there is a good chance that they ignore the photographer.
We had blue skies when we visited Brisbane for the fireworks on Australia Day (january 26th)
Remembering the arrival of the first fleet of English settlers with a musical fireworks. The weather was warm and lots of people came to celebrate. Sitting next to my loved one (Stefan) at the banks of the Brisbane river with this beautiful display I again felt very fortunate! 🙂
Waiting for our flight to Vietnam we are looking forward to new adventures and a different culture😀.
Today, January 25th 2018 we are in a suburb of Brisbane getting ready to end our stay in Australia and leave for Vietnam (29th). Tomorrow is Australia day, the national day of Australia. It marks the arrival of the First Fleet of British ships in Port Jackson in 1788 and the raising of the British flag in Sydney Cove.
Flashback, on our last day in Victor Harbour, we made a beautiful sculpture walk (Wanderlust) on Granite Island. The combination of art and nature with blue skies is really top. You can visit the island by crossing a causeway or taking a horse-drawn tram (we walked).
Peter Lundberg, USA, Adam and Eve
Keizo Ushio, Japan, Oushi Zokei 2017
Britt Mikkelsen, WA, Ocean Lace
Greg Johns, SA, Horizon Figure. In the rear the causeway.
On our way to Cape Jervis we stayed at Deep Creek Conservation Park and walked a part of the Heysen Trail. With its 1200km, The Heysen trail is one of the longest walking trail in Australia. We walked about 20km of it…
View of the coast along the Fleurieu Peninsula taken from the Tapanappa lookout at Deep Creek Conservation Park.
On our walk of the Heysen trail we finally saw a short beaked echidna. The echidna has a long snout and special tongue to catch insets really quickly. It is one of only two (the platypus is the other one) egg laying mammals. They lay one egg a year and the young stay 7 weeks in it’s pouch and till 6 months in the burrow of the mother. After 6 months they are on their own.The male is only around for the mating. Figures.
The beautiful Austral gras or Xanthorrhoea is endemic to Australia.
Stefan on our walk on the Heysen Trail.
One of the roads in Deep Creek conservation park.
Our first view after our arrival on Kangaroo Island. Kangaroo island is the 3rd largest island of Australia.
KIngscotte, Kangaroo Island, where the pelicans are waiting to be fed.
The Australian Pelican is a medium size pelican but their pink bill is enormous and the longest of any living bird. It mainly eats fish.
A quick walk on Kangaroo Island in the Kelly Hill Conservation Park before meeting with Katie, Karel and the girls.
Meeting with friends is like a celebration. We got some local oysters and Australian bubbles to celebrate. It was wonderful to meet again in a special place.
Relaxing and enjoying the latest news from Belgium.
Somebody else wanted to join in the fun, a curious Tammar wallaby.
Stefan and Karel at Remarkable Rocks.
It took 500 million years for rain, wind, and pounding waves to create these granite boulders which are now part of the Flinders Chase National Park.
A koala on the move in the campground. They become active around dusk but it is still rare to see them walk around as they sleep about 20 hours in a day. Needless to say this one got a lot of attention.
Stefan and Karel enjoying time together.
A koala with her baby, it took some time to find them and we took too many pictures :-)). The koala baby stays in the pouch the first 6 to 7 months. The young koala are called “joeys” and are fully weaned when they are about one year old.
The Rosenberg goanna, a monitor lizard. It is the only goanna specie living on Kangaroo Island. They were once common in South Australia but their numbers have declined drastically and therefore they are listed as vulnerable. They can live 30 years. I almost stepped on this one during one of our walks.
Getting ready for Christmas Eve.
Christmas Eve on Kangaroo Island, chilly but cozy together.
On our way to Cape Willoughby Lighthouse, the first to be built in South Australia (1852).
The New Holland honeyeater rarely sits still but somehow I did manage to get his picture. They mostly feed on nectar but also eat fruits and insects.
Cape Willoughby with the beautifull orange colour of the lichen.
Back on the main land, the Cape Jervis Lighthouse.
We had 4 days to cover the 1400km to arrive in Sydney on time for the New Year’s Eve celebrations. We made a quick visit to Mungo National Park to see “the Walls of China” at sunset. Mungo is part of UNESCO world heritage.
Mungo National Park is important for the archaeological remains discovered in the park. The remains of Mungo Man, the oldest human remains discovered in Australia, and Mungo Lady, the oldest known human to have been ritually cremated. Mungo man, whose remains were discovered in 1974, is believed to have lived between 40,000 and 68,000 years ago during the Pleiostene period. They were buried on the shore of Lake Mungo, beneath the ‘Walls of China’.
The female red-rumped parrot.
The male red-rumped parrot. The characteristic red rump is only found on the male. There are roughly 375 parrot species in the world and 56 species can be found in Australia.
We made a stop in Hay, about midway between Adelaide and Sydney and visited the Shear Outback museum. Sheep shearing is still an important activity in rural Australia. We saw how a big merino sheep was sheared.
At the start of the wool industry in the early 19th century, sheep were shorn with blade shears, similar to garden clippers. The first authenticated daily tally (amount of sheep shorn in a single day) was 30 sheep in 1835. By 1892, this had increased to 321. This record was broken in 1950 using machine shears. Today, a professional shearer, also called “gun”shearer, can shear a sheep in less than 2 minutes. The record stands at 37.9 seconds. In 2015 shearers could earn about 280 AUD per 100 sheep. An experienced shearer can shear about 400 sheep a day. The world record for the most number of sheep shorn in a day stands at 731, held by a shearer from New Zealand.
A first glimpse of the Blue Mountains. We will return after our visit to Sydney.
Celebrating New Year’s Eve at Kerry’s apartment with view of Harbour Bridge. We were sooooo lucky to be in good company for a special evening.
The first minutes of 2018 ! We will never forget these New Year celebrations.
On Christmas day we walked Harbour Bridge and visited the famous Opera House. It is one of the most popular visitor attractions in Australia, more than eight million people visit the site annually. On 28 June 2007, the Sydney Opera House became a UNESCO world heritage site. Construction began in 1958 and was formally opened in 1973.
View from Harbour Bridge towards Sydney.
View from one of the pylons of Harbour Bridge. Construction started in 1923 and in 1932 the bridge was opened.
The nickname of the bridge is “the Coathanger”. The bridge carries rail, car, bicycle and pedestrian traffic.
We also made a quick visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia in Sydney.
After being 6 days in Sydney, spoiled by the luxury of a nice apartment in a great location we felt it was time to explore more of the Australian nature and put Skippy back to use. We still had about a month to get to Brisbane. To be continued in my next blog :-).