As much as I had eaten, it wasn’t my full stomach that kept me planted in my seat. The sun was dipping out of the sky at the end of a beautiful day. The humidity in the air was dense and thick. Dark, sprawling clouds spread across the glowing sky. A breeze kicked up and rain felt inevitable. Cockatoos and kookaburras squabbled in the trees, like arguing monkeys. No, there wasn’t much reason to hurry inside. Not much reason at all.
After holding a rather sleepy koala at Brisbane’s Koala Sanctuary, I made my way to the kangaroo pen. In a large fenced off area, kangaroos and emus roamed about munching on pellets.
I filled my pockets with hundreds of the little pellets and set forth to make friends with my new marsupial friends. It didn’t take long to lure a few bouncy kangaroos to my side. As they slobbered a meal out of my food filled hand, I used my free one to pat heads and scratch backs.
Another item checked off of my Australian bucket list.
The Blue Mountains in Australia are one of my favourite places. Millions of years ago they were towering mountains but, over time, they were crushed by wind and rain, leaving only the valleys behind. The mountains derive their name from the vapour emitted from the millions of eucalyptus trees, that when seen from a distance appears blue.
Relaxing on Craft’s Wall, deep in the wilderness of the Kanangra Walls trek, we enjoyed a lunch and soaked our sore feet in the warm pools of water.
- The Blue Mountains (Are Actually Blue) (fearlessadventure.wordpress.com)
- Australia’s Hanging Rock (jessesharratt.wordpress.com)
- The Blue Mountains (adventuresofa20something.com)
I woke up early to catch the ferry to Rottnest Island, a small island off the coast of Western Australia. I had heard tales about how beautiful it was and I wanted to test their authenticity. After a leisurely 25 minute ferry ride, I arrived on the island. I went directly to a rental shop where I grabbed a bike and snorkel gear. I found a very detailed map and my plan was to bike around the whole island and snorkel at all of the best sites.
The sun was scorching and as I pedalled along sweat poured faster than I could wipe it off. I soon realized I was going to have to stop for a lot of snorkel breaks, this seemed like a perfectly acceptable solution.
Around each corner I found beautiful vistas, turquoise waters with colourful fish and lots of little quokkas. (Quokkas are small marsupials, about the size of a house cat and very friendly) All in all it was a beautiful day.
- Rottnest Island: A sunkissed gem in the Indian Ocean (jetaimejourneysbyjess.wordpress.com)
- Day 59 Rottnest Island (pedsholidayblog.wordpress.com)
- Rottnest Island (briancalcutt.wordpress.com)
It was my first weekend in Sydney when my friend picked me up to go to Bondi beach. We drove to the beach with the tunes cranked and windows open. It was a beautiful hot summer day. After hanging out on the beach and body surfing the waves, we grabbed some fish and chips and headed home. As we turned onto my street, my friend squealed to a halt. Now, I want to believe that he shouted “Crikey mate!” but I know that’s not true. But he had seen something. We got out of the car and there on the road was a big lizard. This was my first lizard encounter in Australia, and definitely not my last. He told me that it was called a blue-tongued lizard. I foolishly asked why. Seconds later I had my answer and the mystery was no more. Sherlock Holmes at your service.
- Last Impressions of Sydney (thelittlebackpacker.com)
As the sun set over the Indian Ocean, I walked along Cottesloe Beach in Western Australia. It was so hot that people kept running in long after the sun had left on its journey to bring beautiful sunsets and sunrises to rest of the world.
In Australia’s Parliament building in Canberra, a man moves along on his way to work, rushed by the ticking of time. In Stephen Hawking’s The Grand Design he asserts that we have a lot to learn when it comes to time. In the past, he says, we used to look at the Earth as flat. Then over time we found it to be round. He says the same is true with time. Now, we see it as linear, always moving forward, always putting the past behind us. But someday, we will collectively agree that it too is a sphere, with no end and no beginning.
It was a beautiful early summer day when I paddled down the Lane Cover river to Cockatoo Island. An old convict prison and then shipyard, it now sits in Sydney harbour as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Relaxing in a small cafe with a cold beer, you get a spectacular view of the Harbour Bridge, making it the perfect place to chill after a long paddle.
- Cockatoo Island (lidiyajosifova.wordpress.com)
Walking along the Noosa beach in Queensland, Australia I watched people enjoying the ocean. There are few things I appreciate more than water. The connection you develop by embracing a constantly ebbing, flowing, changing and dynamic surface teaches you to do the same. The flexibility of water and it’s serenity should be reflected in our own lives. After all, it’s what we’re made of.
- Eumundi & Doonan (fmdxing.wordpress.com)
Cycling along the Burramoko Ridge in Australia’s Blue Mountains is fantastic. The mountains derive their name from the thick blue haze that fills the valley, emitted from thousands of eucalyptus trees.
I arrived at Hanging Rock and climbed down the path to head out to the tip, on that sliver of rock. On the way out, I had to jump over a gap of about 3 feet, with a view hundreds of meters down to the bottom of the valley.
I made it to the end and stood there, feeling the wind sway me back and forth. I felt the pounding of my heart, excited by not knowing if the next gust would throw me off. I decided that sitting was a better option and slid down to the tip of the rock and dangled my feet over. It’s a good thing I am very tall, genetic predisposition to vertigo.
I only think of this today, because of the news I woke up to. Tony Abbott, the scourge of Australia, has been elected their new leader. Coming from Canada, I can commiserate over disappointing leadership with Harper in charge. Undoubtedly, a lot of Australians will be waking up today and feeling like they are peering off the edge of Hanging Rock, into the great unknown.
However, I hold onto hope. America needed a Bush era before Obama could win, right?
Disclaimer: The verdict is still out for deliberation on Obama.