The Coast with the Most! Australia is one of the most beautiful places on the planet; there is so much to do, but it’s also one of the best backpacking trails in the entire world. The east coast of Australia provides so many of the key touchstones of this wonderful country, that you want to take a long time to truly get a worthwhile experience. The east coast of Australia is one of those places you can go back to again and again, but if you only plan on heading there once, you need to know some of the highlights of the east coast, the coast with the most, regardless of how you are traveling. I like to start in Sydney![Read more…] about The Coast With The Most! Exploring The East Coast Of Australia
Enchanted Places you Cannot Miss!
The world is filled with enchanted places– places that you not only see, but feel in your soul. In a world that’s overflowing with technology and responsibility, taking the time to visit these places is restorative and even life-changing.
When it comes to the world’s most beautiful landscapes, pictures don’t do them justice. You need to see them with your own eyes and feel them with your heart. Here are some of those destinations that you won’t want to miss.
Having always wanted to go to Tasmania, I was very happy to receive a request to publish 4 Awesome Things to do in Tasmania! I’m hanging on every word, and trying to plan when I can go! Tasmania is an isolated island state off Australia’s southern coast, and is known for its vast, rugged wilderness areas, largely protected within parks and reserves. Sounds like a perfect vacation, doesn’t it?[Read more…] about 4 Awesome Things to Do in Tasmania!
One of the most exciting events to look forward to on the Great Barrier Reef in July are Dwarf Minke Whales! As the name says, for a baleen whale they are rather small, growing to a maximum of 8 meters, or 24 ft, and on the endangered list, thank you Japan for slaughtering Minkes illegally every year. The ones I saw this year, off of the Spirit of Freedom, were not that large, but it was a thrill to see them. Sadly, I only had a few seconds to enjoy a close, eye to eye encounter. A few times we “snorkeled” (we were hanging onto a rope) in order to see them, and on the day whales came close, an event on board shut the encounter down.
A woman onboard who was also on the rope, had breathing issues. I’m still not sure what happened, whether she had a panic attack or a seizure, but she had a health incident and the crew got us all out of the water. I was the last person on the rope, so I was lucky enough to have a short encounter with two whales, a mum and a calf, but it did not last long enough. I was face to face with them, no more than 6 feet away, but I had to get out of the water so the boat could take off for Lizard Island so she could be airlifted to Cairns. The story had a happy ending, she was stable by the time we got to Lizard Island, thank goodness. But the whale story certainly was cut short! The crew was very professional and dealt with the emergency quickly and well.
After the airlift, the boat headed for famous Cod Hole. The dive site is famous for large (and I mean LARGE) Potato Cods who will come close to divers. The dive master feeds them to get them to hang around. Sadly, I only saw one Potato Cod, but it was a very cool experience being face to face with that big boy (or girl!). All of us thoroughly enjoyed the spectacle!
I hope you all had a lovely Labor Day Weekend readers in the U S of A!
Today, I continue my journey on the Spirit of Freedom on the Great Barrier Reef! Our dive spots were the Ribbon Reefs at the far northern edge of the Great Barrier Reef, stretching for 50 miles along the continental shelf! These are famous dive sites for any level diver. The best time to dive this area is during the dry season, May to November. October through May is known as “the wet”. Water temps were around 78 degrees Farenheit, very comfortable yet still refreshing. During June/July you may see Dwarf Minke Whales! But that is for another post! For now, enjoy these awesome creatures from the Ribbon Reefs.
Check flights to Australia right now!
In June and July of 2016, I took an epic trip to Sydney, Australia, Bali and Komodo National Park in Indonesia, then I finished with a fantastic voyage on the Spirit of Freedom, a great dive boat experience in the Great Barrier Reef! But…I had to get from Komodo to the Great Barrier Reef….
Taking up where I left off, I had a most wonderful trip to Komodo National Park, and if you missed those blogs and photographs, I highly recommend you take a look at them! After disembarking in Labuan Bajo, Indonesia, most of the dive group and I made our way to the airport to catch a flight to Bali on the airline Garuda. Garuda Airlines is named after the great, mythical bird who served as the mount for the Hindu deity Vishnu. The airline was much nicer than I expected it to be. In fact, at the airport we were ushered into the VIP lounge and served coffee and delicacies. The china was particularly beautiful with its gold markings. (It was British…yes, I looked!)
The flight was calm and uneventful, and at the Bali airport I walked from the domestic terminal to the international to catch my Malaysia Airlines flight to Kuala Lumpur to connect to another Malaysia Airlines flight to Sydney to catch a Qantas flight to Cairns. Yes, a very long trip in a very large area of the planet. And to top it off, I thought my flight to Cairns was on the same day as my flight to Sydney. No such luck. It was for the next day. I’d already been traveling for 24 hours, and I needed to find a hotel near the airport.
Don’t ask me why, I have no earthly idea why, but I booked a cheapie hotel close to the airport. Why I didn’t return to the wonderful Stamford Sydney Airport is beyond me. I thought, oh save some money and stay at a smaller hotel. It was smaller, all right!
It looked okay on the internet. I can only say: do not stay at the Airport Hotel Sydney. It looked a lot better in photos than it did in person. The area was a bit sketchy, it seemed like, and the hotel even more so. There is a single door leading into a lobby which does not deserve to be called a lobby since it is so small and dingy. The guy who checked me in informed me that an American immigration officer told him “Americans are jerks” and he proceeded to tell me not to complain. I wasn’t complaining, just expressing a concern about my luggage because there was no lift in the hotel. He put me on the ground floor, and the first room he gave me was already occupied. Awkward! Seriously, not a good place. I went to bed, and got up hours and hours before my flight so I could go to the Qantas Business Class Lounge to shower and dress. Ah, Qantas has lovely lounges!
I relaxed in the lounge until time to head to Cairns which is in Queensland. My dive boat to the Ribbon Reefs, Spirit of Freedom, would leave from there. I checked into the fabulous Shangri-La Hotel at the Marina in Cairns. Ahhh. Luxury! Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor
The Shangri La was beautiful, and between the marina and the esplanade. It was heaven to sink into the comfy bed and flip on CNN! (I’m a diehard CNN fan, especially Anderson Cooper 360 and Wolf Blitzer’s Situation Room and Erin Burnett Out Front…you get the idea!) I got out my computer and put a status on my Facebook page, that I was in Cairns, finally! The next thing I know, I receive a message from my good friend Fin! Fin Out of Water is also a blogger, check out her Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/finoutofwater/?fref=ts. I met Fin on a Ray of Hope Expedition last year in the Yucatan. She is from New Zealand, a dive instructor and marine biologist.) So Fin, from Auckland, NZ, says she too is in Cairns! We were both so excited and made plans for dinner the next night! Talk about a funny thing…what are the odds that Tam from Dallas, Texas and Fin from NZ would be in Cairns, Australia at the same time?? Oh, how wonderful it was to see her! She is just one of the most wonderful people on the planet. So awesome to see you, Fin! It’s just funny…and serendipitous! Don’t you think so?