Posts tagged ‘backpacking’

April 24, 2016

Visit to St Kilda

A few days ago I decided to go the seaside so I caught a tram to St Kilda. Within about half an hour, we’d arrived at St Kilda Road. I disembarked from the tram and walked for about ten minutes towards the beach.

Along the way I passed a selection of quirky cafe’s, restaurants, bars and shops. Soon there was a glimmer of pale blue on the horizon: I was almost there!

I crossed the road and found myself near St Kilda Pier which jutted out into the ocean dotted with boats, ships and yachts from a golden sand beach.

I spotted fishermen wetting their lines, black swans, seagulls and in the distance, Luna Park complete with wooden rollercoaster.

I walked along the pier and saw an old fashioned kiosk in white and yellow at the end selling food and drinks. Its large windows peered at the sea and views of Melbourne from a seaside perspective.

I read the information signs about the pier’s history. Then I walked along a pathway with rocks at the edges.

Here at sunset you might be able to spot a fairy penguin or a water rat! Then I walked back along the pier, crossed the road and took the tram home. 20160423_134556

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April 23, 2016

Exploring the Gardens

Yesterday I caught a tram in the Free Tram Zone (yes they actually let you ride for free in a certain area) to Federation Square and looked at the shops. Then I bought pizza for lunch, gourmet chocolates and a nutella donut for lunch along with a newspaper and headed over a bridge across the river to Alexandra Gardens.

I got a lovely view of Melbourne from the bridge. On the riverbank on the other side I sat beside a tree on some grass in the sunshine and watched the elegant black swans go about their business which included walking up to me to check if I had any food.

Unfortunately by this time I had eaten my lunch but human food is probably not too good for swans anyway. Some swans had tags around their necks and legs. After finishing reading my newspaper and watching the Yarra River go by I headed to Queen Victoria Gardens.

Sure enough there was a towering statue of the monarch in the middle of a rose garden filled with red, pink, white and yellow heavily scented blooms. I wandered near a domed structure and spied a water nymph statue in a pool of water.

I wandered past Maple trees shedding their star shaped leaves coloured yellow and orange. They crunched under my feet as I walked by.

Soon I was in Kings Domain and I spotted the Shrine of Remembrance commemorating Australians who served in World War One. I saw a TV presenter and a cameraman on the path filming probably as Anzac Day is on Monday.

I walked up the path to the shrine, past large bushy green trees, past a huge statue of a group of men and the eternal flame and around the building. I saw statues of huge angels.

I entered the shrine and looked around the perimeter. There were books in glass cases and flags around hanging from the ceiling including the Australian flag. From the roof a circle of sunlight streamed down through a skylight.

Then I ascended stairs to a balcony at the top of the shrine. From here I saw sweeping views of Melbourne and even a glimpse of blue with a ship-perhaps St Kilda?

I took my photographs of the city, descended the steps and took a tram home.

April 22, 2016

The Penguin Parade

Yesterday I hopped on a pre-booked tour bus to a place called Moonlit Wildlife Sanctuary. There I walked around and visited a selection of Australian animals including native birds including a corella, dingoes, koalas, a wombat, wallabies, an emu, kangaroos and quolls. We then had a delicious lunch which was included in our tour price. I had chicken sausages, potato salad, salad and bread. It was filling and delicious.20160421_113111

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Then we headed to a koala conservation place and looked at koalas in gum trees.20160421_160307

After that we drove to Churchill Island on the Mornington Peninsula and parked at a farm there. There we walked through a historic homestead and cottages, beautiful gardens including a kitchen garden, a stable and a blacksmith’s workshop.

We watched a sheep get sheared and a Border Collie called Billy round up sheep. I saw a peacock, turkey, pigs, a cart horse, guinea pigs, a rabbit and a friendly sulphur crested cockatoo called George who said “Hello George” and cocked his head from side to side.

Back onto the bus and onto the most anticipated event of the day-the Penguin Parade on Phillip Island! We walked around and took photos of the beautiful island before being brought to the entrance to the penguin viewing area. We showed our penguin viewing tickets and walked over the threshold.

I had a dinner of chicken schnitzel with chips, salad and gravy with a Pepsi and a gingerbread biscuit. Then as the sky darkened and penguin time drew near, I walked along the boardwalk past the penguin burrows and took a seat facing the sea.

Soon enough groups of little fairy penguins emerged out of the sea and waddled onto the shore and to their burrows in front of an enthralled audience. It was absolutely magical.

September 13, 2015

Weekend in Cairns

I spent the weekend living it up in Cairns. On Friday night I went for a drink at the Wool Shed which had a beautiful wooden polished floor and gorgeous shiny furniture. It had a very cool atmosphere. Then I was off to Gilligan’s for some dancing. I entered Gilligan’s, had a drink and watched some live music play.Then it was off to the dance floor and time to shake my body to some cool beats.

The next day I walked down to the Esplanade and looked at the markets. There were many exciting and interesting wares on offer. Then I spent the rest of the day relaxing on a towel by the lagoon. I’d brought a book so was reading that in the gorgeous sunshine. It was a bit breezy but the breeze was cool and refreshing. I went into the lagoon and began swimming around. It was wonderful to cool off from the tropical sun. Back on my towel again I gazed at the blue lagoon and out at the sea. The silver fish statues gleamed in the sun. The palm tree fronds rustled in the breeze. I could not be any more relaxed. September 2 048 September 2 050 September 2 051 September 2 053

September 13, 2015

Exploring a Historic Village

I drove to Herberton to explore the Historic Village I’d read about in tourism brochures. I entered, bought my ticket, was given a map and stepped out into the village. It felt like I had stepped back in time. I wandered along paths people of this historic mining village from 1880 would have wandered along many years ago. I tried to imagine them in their old fashioned clothes going about their daily lives.

I wandered inside and past a lot of places: a post office, a mechanic, a bank, a dress salon, a toy store, a grocery store, a school, a cottage and a fancy white house with a beautiful verandah surrounding it. The coach house was amazing. Each building had so many fascinating objects inside, it was astounding. Statues and figures wearing costumes of the time gave us a feel of what it would have looked like with people of the time inside. September 2 028 - Copy September 2 029 September 2 030 September 2 031 - Copy September 2 032 September 2 033 - Copy September 2 034 - Copy September 2 036 - Copy September 2 037 - Copy September 2 038 September 2 039 September 2 040 September 2 041 September 2 043 September 2 044 September 2 045 September 2 046 September 2 050 September 2 051 September 2 052 September 2 053 September 2 054 September 2 056 September 2 057 September 2 058 September 2 060

September 13, 2015

Josephine Falls

The next attraction was within driving distance of the Babinda Boulders: Josephine Falls. I used my GPS and followed the signs again, parked the car and I was there. I read the signs reminding people to be careful around the waterfall. I began walking up the path. It was flat but pretty uphill. I walked along it for about 600m, past the surrounding vegetation. I love the dark green, lush rainforests of the wet tropics: they are absolutely beautiful.

Soon I was at the waterfall! I walked down some stairs, left my things on a rock and walked across the rocks at the base of the falls. I gazed up at the huge amount of water gushing down to the rocks below. This place was pure magic-no wonder I’d heard it was a place people fell in love at. September 2015 761 September 2015 763 September 2015 764 September 2015 767

September 13, 2015

Journey to Paronella Park

I went on a journey to a place called Paronella Park. I had never been anywhere like this before so it sounded really mysterious and exciting. It was an interesting drive to get there past banana plantations and rolling green grasslands and over railway crossings. I bought my ticket, entered and waited for the next tour to begin which I was told would begin soon.September 2015 701 September 2015 703September 2015 714 - CopySeptember 2015 715 - CopySeptember 2015 716 - CopySeptember 2015 718 - CopySeptember 2015 722 - CopySeptember 2015 724 - CopySeptember 2015 726 - CopySeptember 2015 727 - CopySeptember 2015 729 - CopySeptember 2015 735 - CopySeptember 2015 736 - CopySeptember 2015 740 - CopySeptember 2015 747 - CopySeptember 2015 750 - CopySeptember 2015 752 - CopySeptember 2015 753 - Copy

I sat on a chair on the verandah outside and waited with other travellers. I saw international tourists and families all eager to explore this place like me. Soon our guide arrived dressed in the green Paronella Park uniform and sporting a beard. He gave us each a map of the park and directed us to follow him.

Our guide guided us through the park, stopping at numerous locations for us to appreciate the beauty and take some photographs. We stopped at a water feature, the Tunnel of Love and at waterfalls. The first waterfall was small but beautiful. The second one was magnificent. A bridge crossed its top and water cascaded down into the big green pool below. I could not resist photographing the beauty. Our guide bid us farewell under some tall trees for us to explore the park ourselves.

I made my way over to the turtle feeding area. We had all been given fish food for the fish and turtles which had been included in our ticket price. The freshwater turtles clambered over and beside each other to get the fish food. This brought back memories of when my family travelled up to Cairns and stayed at a caravan park in the area. There there were freshwater turtles.

I wandered through the many paths winding through the rainforest of the park and took lots of great photos. Eventually I made my way back to my favourite waterfall with the bridge across it. I sat at a stone bench, marvelled at the view and just listened to the sound of the water cascading down. It was very peaceful. Then I walked up the stairs and crossed the bridge across the waterfall! I had to get my courage up to do this as I’m not a big fan of heights. I walked across the bridge and back again. I left the park awestruck at my experience there.

September 3, 2015

Snorkelling on Green Island

My mum and I caught the boat to Green Island from Cairns. We had our photos taken before entering. On board we received tea and coffee. We took a seat with a table near the centre of the boat then away we went out to Green Island! The last time I’d been on Green Island was when I was about 8 years old and my parents had taken my two brothers and I four wheel driving to Cape York and back. We had stayed at a caravan park in Cairns and saw freshwater turtles! When I was 8 I remember wearing a green and purple sarong with star fish prints on it. I remember snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef and seeing clown fish, parrot fish and so on. I also remember getting startled by a moray eel peering out from behind a rock and kicked myself ferociously back into shore.

We arrived at the jetty and disembarked the boat. On the jetty I just had to stop and marvel at the magnificent colours of the reef. It reminded me almost of the patterns on marble with the light and dark blue moulding into each other. Mum and I both gazed at the island filled with memories. We walked across the jetty and arrived on the island. We looked at a sign and started a walk around the island. There were lots of informative signs along the way. We stopped at a beach, put on our flippers, googles and snorkels and waded into the water. 10924592_1010039369014598_3057826199192453660_o11699014_1010041262347742_6646020479685271489_o11703472_1010039815681220_787805522075244596_o11717372_1010040099014525_4631474842065150504_o11722310_1010040689014466_8772595704002248902_o

Clown fish, parrot fish and other species swam peacefully around the coral. It was such a mesmerising experience-I could have done it for ages. I looked up every now and again to check I hadn’t strayed too far from the shoreline. After snorkelling we went to a nice restaurant on the island. I had a wonderful pink cocktail with pineapple. It was such a wonderful day.11222441_1010041429014392_6678020270764042787_o (2)

August 15, 2015

I’m in the Tropics!

Rachel

I’m back in Australia after my year in the UK. It’s great to be back! I actually think I experienced a bit of a culture clash from my own country which I’ve never experienced before.

My family lived on the South Island of New Zealand for a year when I was little. We were in a place called Sumner which isn’t far from Christchurch and has an esplanade, beach, “Rocky Island” (a rock near the shore which we kids pretended was our island) and a horse riding club. My brothers and I used to go there all the time and ride horses and donkeys on the beach and through the port hills. When we came back to Australia and moved to Queensland in 2002 I guess the culture and climate were different and a new adventure was beginning.

Growing up in Canberra my parents always took us out camping, bushwalking…

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July 7, 2015

A Trip to Port Douglas

Recently I went on a short holiday up to Port Douglas in Northern Queensland, Australia. I got my carry-on luggage and walked outside Cairns Airport. I clambered on my bus to Port Douglas. The bus driver cranked up the radio and I and fellow holiday-makers gazed out of the windows at the scenery unfolding around us. We drove along a relatively straight, wide road. Tall mountains rose up all around us. Sugar cane fields stretched out endlessly into the distance. The most beautiful part of the bus ride was along the coastline: I could see islands out to sea in the brilliant blue water. People disembarked to go to their hotels. We then came to my stop at a backpackers. The street was lined with trees. I got out of the bus, dropped off my carry-on luggage in the luggage room and went outside to explore. 

The town of Port Douglas was walking distance from the backpackers so no transport was required. I wore my thongs (flip flops for overseas readers) and walked off into the distance with my backpack. I looked into lots of interesting stores. I passed bookshops, clothes shops,  a bakery and so on. I did my grocery shopping and returned back to check in (as it was past 2 PM.)

The next day I booked a Great Barrier Reef Outer Reef snorkelling tour. This tour was for three different sites on the outer reef. The boat would stop off at each site for about an hour. They would also serve lunch and tea and coffee when the boat was stationary.

I wandered down to Four Mile Beach. Coconut palms fringed the sandy shore. Coming from the Gold Coast, it was different to see more of a wild-looking sort of beach. A broken-open coconut was lying on the sand near the rocks, its white flesh gleaming in the bright, hot sun. I wandered up the rocky headland on a small wooden path with steps.11221358_1002326923119176_5109364758988079387_o11707742_1000995856585616_283053117976710814_o
After ascending all of the steps I stood on the precipice and marvelled at the view. Mountains rose up in the distance and the beach and coconut palms stretched out endlessly. I descended the stairs and went for a beach walk. The water felt warm and the sand crunched beneath my feet, rich and cool. I walked back past the shops and looked in at the Port Douglas Markets. Many stalls were set up selling a myriad of wares. I also explored a nearby park with coconut palms facing the open water. I sat underneath the palms and listened to the palm fronds moving in the breeze. It was very relaxing.11698795_1003377366347465_1345009509944006348_o

Then came the day of the outer reef snorkelling. I walked down to the marina which wasn’t too far to go from where I was. Other tourists including from Spain and the US were there too. We all boarded the boat and headed out to the outer reef. The boat went up and down over the waves. After about an hour we were at the first reef we were to explore. We put on wetsuits, flippers, snorkels and goggles. We went into the reef and began to explore the underwater world that awaited us. Clown Fish in anemones, giant clams, corals, Parrotfish and a Maori Wrasse called “Angus” by the marine biologist and crew (because he was always around the same area) awaited us. We went to the second reef and continued to explore and the third. More and more was found beneath the surface each time.

SnorkellingCoralCoconutBoats The marine biologist told us all about what we were seeing on the ocean floor. After on the boat we were told about corals and other information. I left the tour knowing I had learned more about the reef and experienced Australia’s natural beauty-something young people are reminded to see. Boarding the plane back to the Gold Coast, I reflected on the relaxing holiday I had in Tropical North Queensland. Tropical Palm Trees