19 April 2015

Chinese New Year Parade


This year, Clara and I made it to China Town in Sydney for the Chinese New Year Parade.  During the parade, fireworks went off on the building directly behind us, lighting the night sky.  The particulate from the fireworks was heavy after a while.

To see over  the crowd, Clara stood on a pole
 (next to a passed out guy) 


Fireworks (and smoke)
One of the longer Dragons in the Parade



Chinese New Year - Year of the Sheep
Which is perfect for the Sheep Shearers of Australia!

The parade was on a Sunday night in Sydney, so we had to hurry home to get ready for our week.  

26 March 2015

Great Barrier Reef - Naturally Amazing

This post is WAY overdue.

Our best excursion on our Hamilton Island trip was Great Barrier Reef with Cruise Whitsundays.

I really wanted a full snorkeling experience, so we decided to go to the Outer Great Barrier Reef.  I had resisted going to Reefworld because it seemed so "packaged".  It was the best trip we went on.

Going through the Whitsundays Passage to GBR
We were collected from Hamilton Island and went through the scenic Whit Sunday Islands - taking a different journey each way.


At Reefworld, Zoe, Clara, Neo and I put on complimentary wet suits, flippers, and our own masks and snorkels.  Snorkels and masks were available, but we chose to bring our own.  Neo and Zoe each grabbed a "noodle" to assist with swimming.  I had my GoPro camera to film our underwater adventure (see You Tube videos).  The snorkeling area was well marked with guide ropes to grab onto and rest areas to catch your breath.


Meanwhile, Tristan and Dave made their way over to the Helipad for an amazing Helicopter ride. Tristan made a video of his trip, including a view of the famous Heart Reef.  Tristan was in the Co-pilot seat of the helicopter.



Neo decided not to go snorkeling at the last minute and spent a lot of time in the underwater observatory.  We all went on the semi-submersible submarine - which was cool and a guided tour.
Clara snorkeling

Neo and Zoe in Underwater Viewing Area



Lunch was delicious and filling.  An excellent day out - and really made the grade for snorkeling!  

13 November 2014

G20 Summit in Brisbane, Queensland Australia

Well, the G20 Summit is taking place this weekend in Brisbane, Queensland - just up the coast from us.  It's been really interesting seeing the dignitaries arriving and the excitement building for this historic event.  The entire city is in lock-down.  Police from NZ, and every state and territory from Australia are on duty.  The media centre that was built to house the incoming media is the size of 2 football fields.

Whether any agreements will be made is anyone's guess.  What I do know for sure is it will be Hot! The forecast high for Brisbane on Saturday is 35C (95F) and 37C (99F) on Sunday.


Neo captures what will no doubt be going on @ the G20 Summit in his routine on the trampoline.

27 October 2014

Whitehaven Beach and Chalkies

Water Sports boat holds 22 passengers
We joined Hamilton Island Water Sports for a boat ride tour of the Whitsunday Islands.   It was a calm day, with mostly sunny skies - only about 20% clouds.  Reef Ryder is a fast boat, and Neo was ducking under a towel to avoid the wind.  I was in the front row with Zoe and Neo.  Dave, Clara and Tristan were in the 2nd row of seats.

Kids ready to snorkel @ Chalkies Beach
We traveled around Hamilton Island from the Marina through the Whitsundays Channel.  First we passed Dent Island, which is where the Hamilton Island Golf Club is located.  The Captain informed us it's a world class golf course and no expense was spared to create it.

We have witnessed tidal rips from top of One Tree Hill.  Today, we rode through the rip between Whitsunday Island and Fritzlan Island.
Fish on Chalkies.  Visibility wasn't very good.

Whitsundays Island (L) Fitzalan Island (C) Hamilton Island (R) .
Rockface on Whitsunday Island.
Our first stop was Chalkies Beach on Haselwood Island.  Chalkies Beach is just across from Whitehaven Beach.  The fringing reef of the Great Barrier Reef is in the Whitsunday Islands.  White sand of Chalkies Beach is the same as on Whitehaven Beach.  Everyone went in for a snorkel, including Dave.  The visibility wasn't very good.  The Captain explained there had been recent storms that had stirred up the sediment. We had 45 minutes to snorkel, and the time was gone quickly. There were reports of a sea turtle.

Beautiful turquoise water of the Whitsunday Islands.
We were finally able to see Whitsunday Island upclose, after looking at it from Hamilton Island for this week.  Whitehaven Beach is on Whitsunday Island.


Fish in feeding frenzy at Neo's feet on Whitehaven Beach.






Mom and Zoe on Whitehaven Beach

24 October 2014

Hamilton Island Vacation

Resort Lookout is the 2nd tallest point on Hamilton Island. Clara took Neo to mini golf, while Zoe, Tristan, Dave and I trekked.  It's a steep climb to the top, but well worth it.  The views are spectacular.  While we were standing at the top, we witnessed a plane coming in to land at the airport. The tallest point is Passage Peak, with many stairs straight up to the top.  Clara climbed to Passage Peak later in the day.

We had opted to take the free shuttle from our holiday accommodation to the start of the trail.
Hamilton Island, Resort Lookout view

Dave and Zoe on Resort Lookout.
Past an 800m Steep Climb there's this sign.

Catherine enjoying a drink in the resort pool.
A cruise ship, with passengers from the US, Canada, and Australia, was visiting Hamilton Island for the day and riding the free shuttles.  Which made our return trip home tricky.  When the shuttle arrived, it was full, until 2 passengers got off then Dave and Tristan could get on and go home.  Zoe and I explored on foot.  We discovered the Resort Pools near Catseye Beach.  We shopped at the General Store.  We looked at other storefronts.  


Sunset over Dent Island, as viewed from One Tree Hill.
.

23 October 2014

Adorable Koala @ Wildlife Hamilton Island

Holiday to the Whitsunday Islands

The taxi collected us at 6:15am then train to Sydney Airport.  Morning breakfast after our security clearance and our flight was boarding.  Scheduled 9:50 departure time bacame 10:20 as we waited for connecting flight with 14 additional passengers.

As the plane came in to land, we could see the Whitsunday Island and the blue, blue ocean.  Dylan greeted us at the airport with our golf buggy.  Our luggage was stowed into a trailer attached to the golf buggy he drove.
Dylan @ our golf buggy

We're staying at Cooinda Gardens 1, a 4 bedroom townhouse on the North end of Hamilton Island. Our food order from Coles Online was waiting for us.  By 1pm we were unpacked and in the pool.   After lunch, I drove Tristan, Zoe and Neo in the buggy for a quick tour of the island.  Meanwhile, Clara explored using the free island shuttles.

Early the next morning, Dave and I climbed One Tree Hill to view the sunrise.  We saw a kangaroo dash away.  We heard amazing bird songs we're unfamiliar with.


Sunrise.  Dave @ One Tree Hill
Back at the house by 7am, the younger kids were up.  Zoe, Tristan, Neo and I enjoyed a buffet breakfast with the koalas @ Wildlife.  Tristan's breakfast sausage was snatched from his plate by a kookaburra in midflight!   This little Koala was so adorable.  He was one of 3 having his breakfast with us - and he was active.
Breakfast with this Adorable Koala 



06 October 2014

Stroms Lookout - Daley's Point - Tristan's 14th


Bouddi National Park
Rocky Point Trail
Stroms Lookout

Lighting Tristan's 14th Birthday Cake
I love these Spear Plants
During these school holidays, we bush walked on a couple of trails we haven't been on before.  One of these was the Rocky Point Trail to Stroms Lookout.
Snake on Rocky Trail

Spring Flowers on way to
Stroms Lookout

Tristan and Zoe
Looking out over Brisbane Water
and Pretty Beach
 Just as we started on the trail, there was a snake under our feet!  It was traveling as quickly as possible across the path.  By the time I had my camera out, it was moving into the grass.  The picture above, left is blurry.  The snake was a nice Rust color with good pattern.  Clara thought the tail had been lost.
View from Stroms Lookout
Hardys Bay and Pretty Beach

Pretty Beach and Wagstaffe
Ettalong Beach (Right Point) by sandbar
 Beautiful day, nice walk, awesome lookout.  We enjoyed the time together and in nature.

Zoe with Flannel Flowers on path

Cool Notch in Tree

Heart-shaped bark