Visited: Exmouth Cape Range National Park, moving southwards towards Perth we visited Coral Bay, Tourquoise Bay, Carnarvon, Shark Bay, Nanga Bay, Monkey Mia, Kalbarry National Park, Pink Lakes, Nambung National Park, the Pinnacles desert; Perth; Tasmania with Hobart, Swansea, Bicheno, Lauceston, Stanley, Boat Harbour, Strahan, Queentown and Sydney.

Visited: Exmouth Cape Range National Park, moving southwards towards Perth we visited Coral Bay, Tourquoise Bay, Carnarvon, Shark Bay, Nanga Bay, Monkey Mia, Kalbarry National Park, Pink Lakes, Nambung National Park, the Pinnacles desert; Perth; Tasmania with Hobart, Swansea, Bicheno, Lauceston, Stanley, Boat Harbour, Strahan, Queentown and Sydney.

Cairns: Visit the rainforest with Skyrail and return by Kuranda Scenic Railway

After the long flight we arrived in Cairns. Unfortunately, we found that the rainy season had already begun.

Rainforest

Rainforest

Cirns – Australia

We visited the Rainforest, flying it over with the Skyrail, and arrived in Kuranda where we had our first contacts with Aboriginal people who were selling their handmade products.
We returned to Cairns with the historical train, the Kuranda Scenic Railway.

Kuranda Railway

Kuranda Railway

Cairns – Australia

Cairns: Wild World visit the animals of Australia

The following day, in a torrential rain, we visited the Wild World where we could admire typical animals of Australia: koalas, kangaroos, kookaburras, emus, cassowaries, wallabies, snakes. Not to mention the wide variety of birds and parrots, as well as crocodiles.

Wild World - Parrot

Wild World - Parrot

Cairns – Australia

 

Wild World - Crocodile

Wild World - Crocodile

Cairns – Australia

Cairns: Daintree River, Rainforest and Cape Tribulation

We arrived at the Daintree River which we sailed thus admiring baby crocodiles, snakes coiled around the branches of a tree, sea eagles, blue and black butterflies (called Ulinqs) and beautiful yellow flowers unknown to us.
Before arriving in Cape Tribulation, where we had booked our hotel from Italy, we walked along a path with road-signs in the rainforest and went up at a height of more than 20 meters.
Along the road we noticed rivulets of water crossing the asphalt; there are no bridges, it’s the asphalt which creates a depression in those places where the rainwater drops downstream.
The rain became more and more insistent and, when we went to bed, it was pouring. The rain went on pouring down all night.

Daintree River

Daintree River

Cairns – Australia

Cape Tribulation: flooded roads

In my life I have never seen such an intense rain.
The next morning we were ready to return to Cairns but they warned us that the road was closed due to flooding.
We succeeded to leave at 14:00 with a bus, leaving there our rented car.
The rainwater was so high that we stopped in a bar for nearly two hours. Then the water went down and we could pass.
We arrived in Cairns at 20.30. Six hours and a half to cover 130 km!
Rainforest and flooding

Rainforest and flooding

Cape Tribulation – Australia

Cairns: Coral Reef with Ocean Spirit

The next morning we took the Ocean Spirit catamaran for a cruise to the Great Barrier Reef.
The weather was always bad and rainy so the snorkelling, although beautiful, was completely devoid of colour (the valves were beautiful and immense, more than a meter) and the following bath was characterized by a strange sensation of pain on our back due to the strong rain.
On the other hand on the catamaran they prepared a buffet of fish…very inviting.

Coral Reef

Coral Reef

Cairns – Australia

North Territory: Adelaide River Crossing, in the Kakadu National Park

By plane we moved from Queensland to Darwin, the capital of North Territory. Darwin is a modern city (but anonymous) rebuilt after the Christmas of 1974 when it was destroyed by Cyclone Tracy.
In Darwin we found a very hot and damp climate, almost unbearable.
We started the tour of Kakadu, and only after an hour, we arrived on the banks of the Adelaide River Crossing.
We made a tour with specially equipped boats: there were large windows with huge and thick sheets of glass in the bottom whereas, in the upper part, there was the possibility to see the employees who, with long reeds, offered great steaks to crocodiles.
In fact, we came here to see the crocodiles called “saltwater crocodiles”, even longer than 7 meters, famous for jumping out of the water.
We arrived at Cooinda, near the Yellow River, and booked a flight for the following day.

Adelaide River Crossing - crocodile

Adelaide River Crossing - crocodile

Australia

Kakadu National Park: Nourlangie Rock

The heat was unbearable both for the high level of humidity and for the incredible quantity of flies.
We were surrounded by flies while we visited the famous rock paintings of Nourlangie Rock; they are well known especially the figure that shows the human anatomy defined “X-ray art”. And among these ancient artifacts we saw a lizard with a “prehistoric” ridge!
Nourlangie Rock

Nourlangie Rock

Australia

Kakadu National Park: Yellow Water

The next morning we left Yellow Water for a boat ride on the swamps.
The boat sailed slowly and quietly (it had an electric motor) on the waters of the swamp among mangroves, a green floating field called “the grass of the buffalos”, a large quantity of white and red water lilies and a lot of birds.

Kakadu National Park - Yellow River

Kakadu National Park - Yellow River

Australia

We saw the ibis with black beak and black legs, a variety of cormorants with their necks bent into a snake-like position , kingfishers, sea eagles, black kites, ducks of all kinds, fish jumping over the water, thousands of flying foxes (bats) with furry muzzle, hanging upside down on trees.
It was one of the most beautiful experiences I had in Australia.

Kakadu National Park - Yellow River

Kakadu National Park - Yellow River

Australia

Kakadu National Park: Twin and Jim Jim waterfalls

Because of flooded roads we had to see the Twin and Jim Jim waterfalls from above so we took a shaking plane and we flew over the Kakadu National Park.
Kakadu National Park - Jim Jim waterfall

Kakadu National Park - Jim Jim waterfall

Australia

Nitmiluk National Park: Khaterine Gorge

We left Kakadu to go towards the town of Khaterine from which we started to visit the Nitmiluk National Park: the main attraction consists in going up nearby the river overcoming the rapids of Khaterine Gorge.

Nitmiluk National Park - Khaterine Gorge

Nitmiluk National Park - Khaterine Gorge

Australia

We suffered a lot for the high temperature and the high percentage of humidity.
Going upstream was interesting for the spectacular gorge through which the river flows. Moreover there was a big presence of animals: snake cormorants, sea eagles, crows, birds and several freshwater crocodiles. These crocodiles do not attack man and are not longer than one an half meter.
We went beyond the rapids getting down the boat, we continued on foot and then took the boat that was upstream from the rapid.
A couple of times we had to go up the side of the mountain and reached small lakes with attractive waterfalls.
In the afternoon we visited the Cutta Cutta caves, fifteen meters deep, and we were fascinated by the roots of the trees which go down even 25 meters into the bowels of the earth in search of water.

Nitmiluk National Park - Khaterine Gorge

Nitmiluk National Park - Khaterine Gorge

Australia

Lichfield National Park and Darwin city

The following day, returning to Darwin, we visited the Lichfield National Park with numerous waterfalls (Florence Falls, Wangi, Buley Rockhole are the most important), gorges and deep pools of water.

Lichfield National Park

Lichfield National Park

Australia

During our frugal meal several different birds came to visit us. Two of them were of stunning beauty: they were kookaburra with blue feathers on the body and orange on the tail.
Leaving the park, we visited the Magnetic Termite Mounds.

Termite mounds - Lichfield National Park

Termite mounds - Lichfield National Park

Australia

They are very big and have the characteristic of having a very thin wall.
Termites in fact expose this thin wall to the sun in order to control the temperature.

Kookaburra - Lichfield National Park

Kookaburra - Lichfield National Park

Australia

Just before arriving in Darwin, our attention was attracted by a very big truck which was carrying three trailers.
The main attraction in Darwin is the Aquascene where the fish are accustomed to eat stale bread from the hands of visitors.

Ayers Rock (Uluru)

After considerable delays in connecting flights, we arrived at Ayers Rock at sunset and we could admire the monolith of Uluru (“Holy Mountain” in aboriginal language).

Ayers Rock (Uluru)

Ayers Rock (Uluru)

Australia

 

Ayers Rock (Uluru)

Ayers Rock (Uluru)

Australia

The monolith has different colours depending on the light. Moreover, the red earth and the colour of the grass, changing from yellow to green, make the view even more exciting.
It was an wonderful sight and we fell so in love with the place (Uluru and the Olgas Mountains (Kata Tjuta in Aboriginal corresponding to “many heads”) that, despite the high cost, we decided to make a flight with the helicopter at sunset. Our money was well spent.

 

Ayers Rock (Uluru)

Ayers Rock (Uluru)

Australia

The Olgas (Kata Tjuta): Olga Gorge and Valley of the winds

The following day, early in the morning to avoid the high temperatures, we went to visit the Olgas.

The Olgas (Kata Tjuta)

The Olgas (Kata Tjuta)

Australia

Innanzi tutto ci inoltriamo nell’Olga Gorge, una spettacolare gola tra due enormi cupole.

The Olgas (Kata Tjuta)

The Olgas (Kata Tjuta)

Australia

First of all, we entered the Olga Gorge, a spectacular gorge between two huge domes.
The heat was mitigated by a strong wind, so we decided to go further within the mountains, we passed an asperity and found ourselves in the Valley of the Winds.
In addition to different flowers and animals, we saw a tree whose flowers are similar to those of our mimosa. Despite the wind, the heat was high and we decided to go back even considering a lot of signs that reminded us how dehydration comes suddenly.
In the evening we enjoyed the view of the stars in the sky as we had not seen for decades.
The Uluru can be climbed and climbing is facilitated by a chain with which you can help yourself.
I climbed up two hundred metres, more for the reason I wanted to take some shots and pictures than for my ambition to be a climber. But it was an huge effort even because the temperature was of 45 degrees.

Exmouth: Cape Range National Park

Coming from Ayers Rock, we slept in Perth and were ready to reach Exmouth the following morning.
The next day we joined a guided tour to visit Cape Range National Park.
The first part of the park is made of limestone, with coral sediments rich in different shades of colour.
There was a sparse and low vegetation and we began to see expanses of Spinifex, yellow bushes of dry and thorny grass.
Then we entered the Bush characterized by red sand, Spinifex and banksia, a typical plant with huge yellow flowers.
At snack time we were surrounded by emus ready to eat whatever we launched them.

Bush - Cape Range Park

Bush - Cape Range Park

Australia

After visiting the park museum, we arrived at Osprey Bay for a swim in the sea, in the midst of corals and colourful fish, as well as turtles and small sharks.
We went towards the southern part of the park where, on a boat, we went up the Yardie Creek.
In addition to the typical wildlife we saw rock-wallabies; they are the smallest kangaroos in the world with a tuft of white hair on their muzzle and chest.
We went for another bathe in Tourquoise Bay where the water assumes colours ranging from emerald green to an intense turquoise blue. We still saw corals and fish and had tea and cake.

Osprey Bay - Cape Range Park

Osprey Bay - Cape Range Park

Australia

Towards Perth: Coral Bay and the “blowholes” of Carnarvon

The next morning we started the journey back to Perth: we had to travel more than 2.500 km!
The sea at Coral Bay was wonderful. We could not miss a swim in deep water where the coral concretions were much more larger. We were impressed by the mountains of staghorn corals with their light blue or purple ends. Other concretions were flat and open, they looked like leaves, all embroidered.

Coral Bay

Coral Bay

Australia
We made a stop in the town of Carnarvon to see the blowholes. They are water columns that are generated when the waves strongly enter the holes in the sandstone formations.
Blowholes

Blowholes

Australia

Towards Perth: Hamelin and Shell Beach

In the afternoon, we made a very long journey crossing the Tropic of Capricorn and arrived to Hamelin Pool, the Marine Nature reserve with the group of stromatolites most famous in the world.
Stromatolites are rock formations constituted by layers of calcareous material deposited by the large growth of colonies of microbes. They are the oldest form of life in the world: 3.5 billion years!
Nearby there was Shell Beach, stretching for over 60 km, made up of tiny shells up to 10 metres deep . And locals build houses with bricks made of pressed shells.
For our part, we just wrote MERRY CHRISTMAS with shells.
Our hotel was located in Carnarvon, in Nanga Bay, one of the most beautiful places in the area.

Hamelin Pool - Stromatolites

Hamelin Pool - Stromatolites

Australia

Towards Perth: the dolphins of Monkey Mia

The next morning we went to Monkey Mia, the beach made famous by the dolphins because at 8:00, every morning, they come up to the shore to take the food which bathers offer them.

Monkey Mia - Dolphins

Monkey Mia - Dolphins

Australia

The show was complemented by three wonderful pelicans which , regardless of the large crowd, were running on the beach; they seemed to be there just for our pictures.
At 9.00 we were already leaving.

Monkey Mia - Pelicans

Monkey Mia - Pelicans

Australia

Towards Perth: Kalbarri National Park (North)

We did not find any traffic so, just before 13:00, after 400 km, we were already within Kalbarri National Park.
We entered from the north part, the hinterland along the gorge where the Murchison River flows.

 

Kalbarri National Park Nord

Kalbarri National Park Nord

Australia

Along the road, first we met a fine example of a monitor lizard, then a “Banksia”, as big as a tree with yellow flowers that seemed candles, making it like a Christmas tree.
We decided to go straight to Hawk’s Head Lookout and crossed about 30 km to visit two other points. One was definitely nice: a rock formation that frames the panoramic view of the Murchison River, the Natures Window.
The town of Kalbarri (where we were going to stay) welcomed us with a large quantity of gray and pink parrots.

Kalbarri National Park Nord

Kalbarri National Park Nord

Australia

Towards Perth: Kalbarri National Park (South)

The next morning we visited the southern part of Kalbarri National Park, the side which faces the ocean.
There are several and interesting view points and each one has got a name: Red Bluff, Rainbow Valley, Pot Alley, Eagle Gorge, Natural Bridge.

Kalbarri National Park Sud

Kalbarri National Park Sud

Australia

 

Kalbarri National Park Sud

Kalbarri National Park Sud

Australia

Towards Perth: Pink Lakes, Nambung National Park (Pinnacles Desert)

During the day, we travelled many kilometers enjoying beautiful sights along the coast, admiring the Pink Lakes and, very tired, we finally arrived in Cervantes, near the Pinnacles Desert which is located within Nambung National Park.
Despite the fatigue and considering the beautiful sunset, we decided to go to visit the Pinnacles Desert immediately.
Unfortunately the sunlight was not enough. We had few opportunities to enjoy the long shadows of the evening.
The place was very nice and we decided, even if we had to get up early, to go back for a visit the next morning.
We were rewarded having a very clear sky and a fantastic light.
For almost two hours we walked in the desert trying not to miss any glimpse.

Nambung National Park (Pinnacles Desert)

Nambung National Park (Pinnacles Desert)

Australia

 

Pink Lakes

Pink Lakes

Australia

 

Nambung National Park (Pinnacles Desert)

Nambung National Park (Pinnacles Desert)

Australia

Città di Perth

We made a detour to New Norcia, a small town founded in 1845 by Spanish Benedictines who even nowadays take care of the cathedral and the two colleges.
At 15.00 we were already in Perth: we travelled 2520 km!
In the city we realized that it was CHRISTMAS time. Until that moment, due to the warm climate and the absence of references, we had forgotten it. And yet that day was the 23rd of December! Perth brought us back into reality.
We visited the city center among many Santa Claus and listening to many Christmas songs.
Yet we were sweaty and in shorts.
The city is modern with futuristic buildings and churches.
Its “modernity” was fascinating and it was beautiful, in the middle of flower beds, to see the real Christmas tree.

Perth

Perth

Australia

Tasmania: Hobart and Tasman Peninsula

Early in the morning we flew to Tasmania via Melbourne. In the afternoon we visited the center of Hobart, the harbor area and Salamanca Place.
We had dinner at Mures Restaurant, called the “fish temple”; we ate oysters and a plate of mixed fish, accompanied with fine local wine. It was a typical Christmas Eve dinner.
The next morning we began a very strange Christmas: we continued being tourists.
We left for the Tasman Peninsula towards Port Arthur.

Fort Arthur

Fort Arthur

Tasman Peninsula

On the side of the shore, there were bays and coves with small beaches, instead inland we could see cultivated hills, large cottages, pines and many grazing animals: cows, bulls, sheep and horses. It was a gentle and relaxing landscape reminiscent of Scotland.
We visited the penal colony of Fort Arthur, established in the mid-1800s.
At lunch we ate a slice of cake and at dinner a buffet in the restaurant of the Grand Chancellor Hotel: oysters, lobster, cooked and raw fish, as much as you wanted.
We were lucky enough to see an echidna and a “Tasmanian Devil”, though dead.

Tasman Peninsula

Tasman Peninsula

Tasmania

Tasmania: Frycinet National Park, Hadspen and Launceston

The next day we began the tour of Tasmania. First we visited Frycinet National Park with spectacular rock formations of pink granite, called Hazards, then we climbed up to the lookout point on the Wineglass Bay.
We spent the night in Bicheno, a seaside resort, where we could see the penguins coming out of the sea to reach their burrows.
In the historical town of Hadspen we visited Entally House, the most beautiful Victorian house of Tasmania.
When we arrived in Launceston we went to visit the Cataract Gorge and Penny Royal World, a complex of ancient mills.

Penny Royal World

Penny Royal World

Lauceston – Tasmania

Tasmania: Devenport, Rocky Cape National Park, Stanley

The following day, passing near green pastures, we arrived at Devemport.
In Burnie we were fascinated by the beautiful view of Table Cape.
The afternoon was dedicated to visit the Sisters Beach, a beach of fine white sand 8 -km long within Rocky Cape National Park.

Henty Beach

Henty Beach

Tasmania

We arrived to Stanley with its unspoiled and beautiful landscape characterized by old Victorian houses of fishermen, a town of historical interest. We went up to the top of the Nut with the chairlift.
The next day we started to get back on the western side of Tasmania.
We crossed the Hellyer Gorge State Reserve, we stopped at Henty Beach to admire the sand dunes high up to 30 meters.

Stanley Nut

Stanley Nut

Tasmania

Tasmania: Harbour Macquarie, Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park, Hobart

In Stanley we made a motorboat ride on the Macquarie Harbour, its gulf is larger than the Italian Garda lake.
We visited Sarah Island which was a penal colony.
Before returning to Stanley through the Hell’s Gates we arrived in the open sea and experienced …. the ocean waves! The Hell’s Gates are so narrow not to let the ships pass through them.
For the night we went inland to Queenstown, a town once famous for its mines, now abandoned.
The landscape is desolate as the dust generated by mining activity has completely destroyed the vegetation.
After a few kilometers we entered the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The vegetation was thick and we walked a trail to see the impressive Nelson Falls.

Nelson Fall

Nelson Fall

Tasmania

A few kilometers further we entered the Cradle Mountain Park with its magnificent mountain sceneries, snow-capped peaks and lakes. And we stopped on the banks of its most famous lake, St. Claire Lake.
To celebrate Christmas there was a dry tree painted in yellow in the middle of a cut wheat field.

St. Claire Lake

St. Claire Lake

Tasmania

In Hobart we had time to go around in the halls of their most important trade fair, the Taste of Tasmania, where you can find the gastronomic specialties of the island.
And another nice surprise: In the harbour there were already moored the first boats of the “Sydney Hobart Yacht Race”.
The boats had arrived one day in advance due to the strong winds of those days.

Sydney

We arrived in Sydney the very 31st of December and celebrated the end of the year in the “Waterfront restaurant”.
We had an outdoor table just below the famous bridge and with views of the Opera House.
We could admire a spectacle of fireworks of incomparable beauty.
Most of the inhabitants of Sydney used to spend the night on boat, on the waters of the bay.
We got up late the first day of the year, in time for a tour in the city center.
Sydney

Sydney

Australia

Sydney: Queen Victoria Building and Botanic Garden

We continued visiting Sydney decorated, despite the heat, with Christmas trees.

Queen Victoria Building

Queen Victoria Building

Sydney

We visited the Queen Victoria Building department store and ended the day at the Botanic Garden where, in addition to plants, there is the chance to see some animals

Botanic Garden

Botanic Garden

Sydney

Sydney: Opera House, Double Bay and Manley Beach

We stayed in a modest BW located in the district of Double Bay.
We could reach the city center by sea in just 13 minutes.
In Sidney you can’t miss a visit to Sydney Aquarium, the views from the revolving Tower (to admire the beauty of the bay), a visit to the characteristic shopping center “Strand Arcade”, a visit to Manley beach not to mention a walk to Shell Beach.

Manley Beach

Manley Beach

Sydney

Finally, do not forget to spend a romantic evening in the Rocks district, with its narrow alleys and beautiful restaurants.
It is with the beautiful Opera House that I wish to greet that wonderful capital.

Opera House

Opera House

Sydney

Our trip to Australia was finished.
I confess that it was my second trip there, the first had been in 1987.
I’m ready to leave again tomorrow: Who comes with me?