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).
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…
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.
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 :-).
December 18th 2017, we are at the Victor Harbour library while it is warm (30Celsius) and rainy outside. Great to update our blog and post some pictures. In the mean time the Victor Harbour City Band arrived and is playing Christmas songs. (see our Christmas Greetings).
We arrived in Melbourne on November 27, 2017 after a 5 hour flight from Noumea. No time difference, no jet lag! We picked up our camper van near the airport, did some food shopping and were off to our first campground just outside Melbourne.
We spent 3 days in Melbourne before travelling to the Great Ocean Road, in the direction of Adelaide. Melbourne is Australia’s second largest city with a population of about 4.5 million people. We found it to be a delightful city. Plenty of nice restaurants, a lot of “green” places and nice museums.
We visited the Ian Potter Centre and the Heide Museum of Modern Art with its sculpture garden.
Great Ocean Road was built between 1919 and 1932, right after WWI. The road was to be a Memorial for the soldiers who died in WWI but also a way to employ the returned soldiers. More than 3000 soldiers carved the road with picks and shovels along Australia’s most rugged and densly forested coastline. They were helped by the jobless during the Great Depression.
Koalas are not bears but marsupials. They are mostly found in eucalyptus trees (also called gum trees) as the leaves make up most of their diet. Because this diet has limited nutritional and caloric content the koala sleeps about 20 hours a day. They were heavily hunted for their fur in the beginning of the 20th century and are therefore still listed as “vulnerable”. The biggest threat to their existence now is destruction of their habitat for agriculture and urbanisation.
While we were in the Grampians we also visited the Brambuk Aboriginal Cultural Centre. Here we learned how the immigrants (Europeans) treated the aboriginals. The stories are horrible. Land was seized and children were taken away from their families till the 1960’s because the government thought they could give them a better education. The missionaries wanted the aboriginals to dress like Europeans, sing English songs and play European games. Not a beautiful page in Australian history.
The Naracoorte limestone caves are the only UNESCO heritage site in South Australia and definitely worth a visit. This was a perfect reflection of stalagtites in the water below.
On thursday we take the ferry to Kangaroo Island where we will spend Christmas with our friends Katie and Karel and kids. New year eve we will be in Sydney.