A Travellerspoint blog

Day 14

Syndey Opera House and University of Sydney

Our morning started with a tour of the Sydney Opera House. It was beautiful inside. We learned that it was expected to take 3 years to build at 7 million dollars. However, it took 14 years to build and over $100 million. The original architect had a falling out with the government 7 years into the project and quit. However, he has recently been working with the Opera House on updates (he is 90 years old now). He actually has never seen the completed Opera House because he is unable to make the flight to Sydney from Europe due to his poor health.
Sydney Opera House

Colleen overlooking the bridge from the Opera House

Sydney Opera House between the different halls

Inside the Sydney Opera House

View of the opposite hall from inside one of the opera house halls

Alan spoke today at the University of Sydney. We had lunch with 6 faculty and graduate students before his talk. I walked around campus. Alan made some good international connections.

University of Sydney

Alan at the University of Sydney

Alan in front of the university quad building

Tonight we are going to the Sydney Opera house to see Bubble. This production combines dance and acrobats into a show. It is in one of the smaller theaters and should be a great time. Tomorrow our shuttle picks us up for the airport at 6:30am for our long flight back to the US. Thanks for reading our blog and catching up on our adventures down under.

Overlooking the Opera House and Harbour Bridge

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Day 13


We left the Thistle Hill Bed and Breakfast after another picture of Chloe.
Colleen and Chloe on the deck of the bed and breakfast

We drove to Sydney where we returned the car. City driving on the left hand side of the road with many one way streets was quite challenging but Alan did a great job…no scratches!
Driving over the Sydney Harbor Bridge

This afternoon we walked to the Circular Quay and had lunch at Doyle’s. It had great food and the most outstanding view.
Beautiful lunch spot

Lunch spot...Opera House in the background

After lunch we walked to the lookout point in one of the towers of the Sydney Harbor Bridge. It was a beautiful day so the views were wonderful.
Overlooking downtown Sydney

Looking at the Sydney Harbor Bridge from one of the bridge towers

Overlooking the Sydney Opera House

Tonight we went on a sunset harbor cruise. It was neat to see the city light up. Tomorrow we are going on a tour of the Opera House. Alan is also speaking at the University of Sydney. We have one more night in Australia and then fly home on Friday morning.

Sydney Opera House at Sunset

Alan and the Opera House during the sunset cruise

Sydney at night

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Day 12

Hunter Valley Wine Region

We flew from Cairns over the Great Barrier Reef on our way to Sydney. It was beautiful to see all the different reefs. We learned that the Great Barrier Reef is comprised of 3,000 different reefs.
Great Barrier Reef from the air

When we landed in Sydney, it was rainy and cold…especially after leaving sunny and 80. We rented a car and drove to the Hunter Valley wine region (about 2 ½ hours from Sydney). As we arrived at the bed and breakfast, the resident kangaroo, Chloe, greeted us at the door.
Chloe the Kangaroo greeting us at the door of our B&B

Chloe was found by the previous home owners as a joey in her dead mother’s pouch. She was raised by humans so is very docile and very dependent on the home owners. We continued to see Chloe as we came and went from the bed and breakfast.
Alan In front of our bed and breakfast

During the day, we went to 5 different wineries. It was very slow as it is the winter in the middle of the week, so we were able to chat with the staff at each of the wineries. It was fun to hear their stories and learn more about Australia. For lunch we enjoyed a cheese and wine lunch after a cheese tasting…very fun. We ended our day at a great restaurant called Robert’s in a quaint cottage on a vineyard.

Colleen at the Wyndham Winery

Alan and the vines

Hunter Valley Winery

Wine tasting

Cabernet vines in the Hunter Valley

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Day 9-11

Port Douglas Beaches and Daintree Rainforest

After visiting the Great Barrier Reef, we stayed in Port Douglas, 5 houses down from the beach.
This is where we stayed in Port Douglas... The Dream Catcher

On our first day there, we visited the Daintree Rainforest.

In the Daintree Rainforest

Megan and Colleen on the suspension bridge in the Rainforest

Overlooking the ocean on our way to the Daintree Rainforest

On the beach coming back from the rainforest

The Daintree rainforest was beautiful and very green. We hiked through the trees along a river. During the day, we went on a crocodile tour. We were very fortunate to see some action. We saw a female crocodile resting on the beach and a huge male crocodile named Fat Albert in the water. As Fat Albert went past the female, she hissed at him and lifted up her head. It was a sign of submission but it sure didn’t look that way. We followed Fat Albert as he crawled up on to the beach. He was huge! We were very happy to not be swimming in that river.

Fat Albert on the beach

Alan and Colleen on the Croc tour

Fat Albert warning the other boats to not come too close

The next day we enjoyed the beautiful beaches of Port Douglas. You cannot see any of the accommodations from the beach so it looked so isolated and pristine.

Mark and Alan on the beach in Port Douglas

We went to the Sunday market and drank sugar cane juice and found some jewelry for me. The market overlooked the beautiful coast line. It was definitely hard to leave this beautiful area of Australia.
Beaches of Port Douglas

Mark and Alan playing baseball on the beach

Overlooking Port Douglas' beautiful beaches

Today we are heading to the Hunter Valley wine area about 2 hours outside of Sydney. Our trip ends with two days in Sydney. Hopefully we’ll have internet access to be able to share more pictures.

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Day 6-8

Great Barrier Reef

We spent the night on the Great Barrier Reef on the Ocean Quest dive boat. Alan and I went scuba diving and Mark and Megan snorkeled.

Our liveaboard dive boat

Megan, Mark and Alan getting ready to snorkel

Alan and I did 5 dives including one night dive. We initially had a dive master dive with us but then felt comfortable to do our dives without one.
Diving in the Great Barrier Reef

During the day dives we saw clownfish, string rays, lion fish, sea cucumbers, parrotfish and many more beautiful fish. The best part was knelling on the ocean floor as a big sea turtle swam over our heads. DSC_9121.jpg
Holding a Sea Cucumber

Posing with "Nemo"

We also did a night dive. It was a little intimidating jumping into the black water when we saw sharks off the boat. At least they were the non-man eating kind of sharks but it still was scary. In the water, we saw the sharks circling over head. It was a very different and intense way to dive. IMG_6772.jpg
Getting ready for the night dive

During the trip, Alan and I both feel like we have become better divers. It was amazing.

On the boat together

We had a great time sleeping overnight on the Great Barrier Reef. Next, off to the beach!

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