Week Eight-The Great Barrier Reef

 I had anticipated our trip to the Great Barrier Reef for weeks & it was finally going to happen. My husband would say I am somewhat obsessed with snorkeling & yes I guess he is right on that. I am not sure what it is that I find so compelling especially for a gal from the prairies.
The sea is so filled with life & movement, an enchanting world! The Great Barrier Reef is like no other & there are many corals that can only be found here. It was a rainbow of color & the clams were as big as boulders. It is so difficult to capture its real beauty with an underwater camera while watching for sharks! So it was a day to remember & cherish as we packed our bags to return home. Australia thanks for the memories that will last a lifetime.Big Fish!

Mushroom Coral

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Under the Sea.

Under the Sea.

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Daydream Island

Our second excursion was a day trip to Daydream & Hamilton Islands. I loved the laid back, relaxed pace at Daydream Island. After taking a short stroll around the hotel & pools we made our way to a little cove to snorkle. Here the beach & ocean floor was covered with broken coral leading out to a reef.
On this little island live the Prosepine Rock Kangaroos that don’t seem to mind visitors. As you can see at this time of year you have to wear stinger or wet suits to prevent being stung by the jelly fish or marine stingers as they call them, October- May is the stinger season.
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Week-Seven-Airlie Beach

Fortunately the sun was shining & the seas were calm for our week at Airlie Beach & The Whitsunday Islands. Our apartment was nestled next to the rainforest at the top of a hill. We had a good work-out each time we made our way in to town & back but the views from our windows were our reward.
Airlie Beach was our base for boat trips through the Whitsundays & out to The Great Barrier Reef. In this part of Australia they have the wet & the dry season, so visiting in the wet season is risky. We caught a window of clear days with rain during the night. The humidity was often between 80-90% but we adjusted & the bonus was shedding a few pounds. Our trip to the islands is booked as well as the reef- so excited!

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Rainforests & Water.

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Morning Visitors

Airlie Beach

Airlie Beach

Looking out to the Whitsundays.

Looking out to the Whitsundays.

Beautiful Mornings.

Beautiful Mornings.

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Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

From Airlie Beach.

From Airlie Beach.

Summit Apartments

Summit Apartments

Week Six- The Gold Coast
Luckily we had a few days of nice weather on the Gold Coast. It is a surfers paradise with miles of great surfing beaches, Bill was ready for some body surfing. The ocean was too rough to go in the first few days so we rented bikes & rode for miles along the bike paths south of Surfers Paradise. It was beautiful with quiet bays, parks & funky towns.
The rain started so we switched gears to the amusement parks to wait out the rain. Unfortunately it wasn’t going to clear for days, summer is the rainy season in this part of Australia. Our biggest regret was we missed seeing a special young lady from Saskatoon living in Brisbane. After much debate we changed our flights & headed north to the Whitsundays & the Great Barrier Reef.
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Week Five- Melbourne

Who knew we would be joining half a million crazy, music loving folks at St.Kilda Fest. The final day was just after our arrival & it was more entertaining by the hour. Musicians, bands, dancers & street performers spread over a dozen blocks along the ocean. The Australians do love to party!
The following two days we rode the tram in to the city & started with a walking tour, our favorite way to see a city. Melbourne is arranged in districts with an arts, sports, shopping, fashion, central business & garden precincts. With theater, festivals & a busy sporting calendar it is easy to see why this city has earned a reputation as a leader in hosting events.
What we found unique were the cafes at every turn, even in the laneways. There is something for every taste. The city was a buzz with people in the parks & gardens & along the Yarra River.
On our second day we visited the Queen Victoria Market, an historic landmark for more than a century. This vibrant inner- city market is spread over two city blocks & has produce, seafood & every trinket you could want. Leaving the market we took the tram to see some of the neighboring areas before heading back to St. Kilda.

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St. Kilda looking north to Melbourne.

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In the arts precint.

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Melbourne Cricket Grounds.

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Along the Yarra River.

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Queen Victoria Market.

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Leaving Melbourne.

Week Five- Melbourne & St. Kilda

Leaving the Great Ocean Road Coastline we looped back towards Melbourne. Unfortunately the GPS sent us to a suburb north& east instead of St.Kilda to the south & west of Melbourne. It could have had something to do with the person putting in the address which was not Bill! Soooo after an hour of working our way south in traffic we found our apartment in St. Kilda. We chose to stay away from the city center & take the trams in whenever we chose. 

St.Kilda is where people come to play on weekends with beaches, an esplanade with amusement park ,markets ,clubs, cafes & bistros. At the end of the pier a breakwater is home to a colony of blue penguins. While we were visiting it was moulting season for the little penguins so they stay amongst the boulders instead of their usual days in the sea fishing. You can see they are fluffy & a little pudgy but after their moult they will be sleek & shiny once again. Fortunately there are volunteers that keep the humans at a distance & the camera flashes turned off.The Blue Penguins.  

Great Ocean Road- Day Three

After staying overnight in Port Campbell our third day on the Great Ocean Road was just a 60 km. drive. This coastline is also known as Shipwreck Coast for good reason. As a former shipping route unfortunately some ships inevitably came to grief in its notoriously wild seas.

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The Arch

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London Bridge

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Bay of Islands

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Kangaroos & Koalas

I love to take photos & had to find some kangaroos in the wild before we left Australia.We spotted these kangaroos outside of Princetown & heaps more( that’s what they would say here) Koalas near Cape Otway.