Saturday, April 25, 2015

V - Visiting Family and Friends

Welcome to our tour of Australia. During the month of April we are going to visit our favourite spots in Australia. Come join us on our walkabout through the land down under.













Today we are doing double duty linking up with the A-Z Challenge and with Melinda for the Saturday Snapshots.
  
Source
Before we get started on today's post I wanted to share that today is a very important holiday in Australia and New Zealand. April 25th is known as ANZAC Day and is the day that we take a few moments to remember the sacrifices that many have made to defend our countries and those of our allies. Today is even more special as it is the 100 year anniversary of the first landing of our troops in WWI at Gallipoli beach. I blogged about this a couple of years ago so Click here to read that post. Lest we forget.

Yesterday the tour stopped in the heart of the outback. Click here if you missed that post. Today we see some of my family and friends.

When we visit Australia we usually go for about a month as there is always so many of my childhood friends and family that we want to see. We only make it to Australia every 5 or 6 years and this is normally the only time I get to see them so its important to see as many of them every time we visit. We don't get to spend a lot of time with everyone but its always great to catch up. 

 On our last trip to Australia in 2013 we attended my baby sister Shellie's wedding. This was the first time that most of my cousins, aunts and uncles had been together in close to 20 years as we live in several different states. It was great that we could be part of this celebration and was a good way to catch up with everyone in one place.


Me with my Aunty Joy and Uncle George. They live close to my sister so I was able to spend a little extra time with them on our last visit.
 
If you live away from your family how often do you get to go home to visit family and how far do you have to travel to get there? What did you blog about today?

Friday, April 24, 2015

U - Uluru

Welcome to our tour of Australia. During the month of April we are going to visit our favourite spots in Australia. Come join us on our walkabout through the land down under.


Yesterday we got a bird's eye view of Sydney. Click here if you missed that post. Today we head to the outback to see the world's largest monolith.

Uluru stands over 1000ft above the desert floor and is one of the most popular attractions in the desert. Made of sandstone it is considered to be the largest monolith in the world. Visitors are able to climb to the top of the rock (weather permitting) or walk around the base of the rock. Climbing to the top gives you a birds eye view of the surrounding area and the walk around the base of the rock is a unique experience in itself. Uluru is a good distance from any major city but if you are able to fit it into your itinerary it is well worth the trip.
 What I loved: Uluru was so much more than I expected. It towers over you and the historical significance to the native people is special. We only got a few hours to explore the rock on our trip but you could easily spend a few days here. My only regret is that we didn't get enough time to explore it fully as every corner is something different.
Cost - Prices are in Australian Dollars
$25.00 for adults ($20 USD) for a 3 day pass to the national park.
More Info: Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. visitor info
Address: Uluru, NT (Click link for map)

* I visited Uluru in 1994 as part of a 2 week high school field trip. If you want to read more about that trip here is part 1 and part 2.

 Uluru at sunrise. The campsite where this photo was taken is about 15k/10 miles from Uluru.

People climbing the rock.

View of the surrounding desert from the top of Uluru.

Some of the rock is smooth and some is quite gouged and rough.

Even though it wasn't cold it gets quite windy up here which makes it chilly. At one point we hid in a hole at the top of the rock to escape some strong gusts.

At the end of the rock is a guest book and monument. The urban legend that many are told is that there is a coke machine at the top of the rock and that you should bring a few dollars for a drink after a long climb. Many haven fallen for this urban legend including a few of my friends that I told prior to the climb.

After the climb I took a walk around the base of the rock. Around every corner was something new and each formation had a story or meaning behind it. This one was called the brain.

 This one was called the mouth. Many of the names and story are traditional stories from the native aboriginal tribes.

These cracks symbolised a battle between two spirits. The big crack is the death blow. Reading the stories as I went around the rock was fascinating.

Getting There.
Uluru is isolated and a 5-6 hour drive from the nearest town.
Car: Uluru is 450km/280 miles from the nearest large town, Alice Springs. From Alice Springs it is about a 5-6 hour drive. It is a 18 hour drive to the nearest capital city, Adeliade and close to 30 hours to Sydney.
Air: Ayers Rock Airport is the closest airport and is about 20 minutes from Uluru. Alice Springs Airport is the closest main airport and is a 5-6 hour drive.
Train: The Ghan stops at Alice Springs which is the closest station. From there it is a 5-6 hour drive.
Bus: There is coach service from Adelaide or Darwin to Alice Springs. From Alice Springs there are bus services that will take you to Uluru.

Have you ever been to Uluru or something similar? What are you blogging about today?

We love to hear your thoughts and comments! Please leave a comment and we will return the favour and visit you too!






Thursday, April 23, 2015

T - Tower, Sydney Tower

Welcome to our tour of Australia. During the month of April we are going to visit our favourite spots in Australia. Come join us on our walkabout through the land down under.

Yesterday we visited one of Newcastle's best beaches. Click here if you missed that post. Today we head to Sydney tower to get a bird's eye view of the city.

Sydney Tower is located in the heart of the city and provides visitors with a birds eye view of the city. There are two restaurants and an observation deck in the upper part of the tower. Each of them offer a great view of the city but the observation deck is the most economical option. For the brave there is now the option of walking on a glass bottom viewing platform and getting a direct view of the city 268m/880ft below.
What I Loved: It was a great way to see the layout of the city and see where each of the landmarks were in relation to each other. It was a great way to start our visit to Sydney and was well worth the money. It was not at all crowded and there was ample room to walk around and take photos.

Cost - Prices are in Australian Dollars
$18.55 for adults ($14 USD) for the observation deck.
There are several other packages that include the Skywalk and other attractions in Sydney.
More Info: Sydney Tower Eye Website. Tickets and other info
Address: 100 Market Street, Sydney NSW (Click link for map)

 Sydney Tower from Hyde Park.

You could even mail a postcard or letter from the observation deck if you wanted.

View of the city centre and the Harbour Bridge from Sydney Tower. Can you see the Opera House hiding between the buildings?

View towards the Pacific and harbour entrance. The small strip of land in the top left is Manly (our M post)

 Part of Hyde Park (our H post) and St. Mary's Cathedral.

The other half of Hyde Park including the ANZAC memorial.

Sydney Football Stadium (the one with the curvy roof) and the Sydney Cricket ground to the right. This is where the MLB season started in 2014 between the Dodgers and Diamondbacks.

Sydney Airport is the clear area near the bay.

Top down view of the Queen Victoria Building.

Darling Harbour and the ANZAC bridge behind it. We saw part of this area in our O post. 

Getting There.
Car: The tower is located in the city centre. There is limited parking near the tower for guests. Special parking rates apply for visitors to the tower.
Air: Sydney Airport is the closest airport and is about 20 minutes from the tower.
Train: St James  is the closest stop and is a 5-10 minute walk from the tower.
Bus: Several buses stop close to the tower.

Have you ever been in a tower like this or a tall building? Which is your favourite? What are you blogging about today?

We love to hear your thoughts and comments! Please leave a comment and we will return the favour and visit you too!


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

S - Stockton Beach

Welcome to our tour of Australia. During the month of April we are going to visit our favourite spots in Australia. Come join us on our walkabout through the land down under.


Yesterday's post was about going to the footy game. Click here if you missed that post. Today we head a few miles north to Stockton Beach.

We have showcased a lot of beaches during our A-Z challenge but this one is so unique it needed to be included. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people in Newcastle, the Hunter Valley, Central Coast and the Sydney area who have been affected by the wild storms over the last few days.

Stockton Beach is located just north of Newcastle and has miles of sandy dunes. It is the perfect place to go driving on the beach. The beach stretches for over 30km/20 miles and due to the dunes being shifted by the winds each trip is a little bit different. It is also the site of a ship wreck and you may find other unusual things on your visit.
What I Loved: The dunes were huge and it was an adventure to see what was over the next dune. The beach was much wider than any beach I had ever been to and this gave it a much more spacious feel.

Cost: Prices are in Australian Dollars
Access to the beach is free. Permits are required to drive on the beach. Annual passes are $30 per vehicle ($24 USD) and a 3 day pass is $10 ($8 USD). Click here to get more info on passes
More Info:  
Stockton Beach: Learn more about the beach.
Address: Stockton Beach (Click link for map)

The beach is much wider than any other beach I have ever been to.
 

You can see the city centre in the background.
 
but look the other way and it is nothing but sand and surf.
 
The wind shapes the dunes and sometimes leaves ripples like this.
 
Shipwreck near the beach.
 
Some of the dunes are pretty tall and provide a panoramic view.
 
We made it to the top on our first try. We watched a few other people attempt it and they weren't always successful.


Getting There.
Car: Driving on the beach is limited to 4WD vehicles only. There is limited parking nearby if you wish to go onto the beach on foot. There is a petrol station a few kilometres from the entrance so you can reinflate your tires after driving on the beach. The beach is about a 30 minute drive from Newcastle.
Air: Newcastle Airport is the closest airport. (35 minute flight from Sydney) It is about a 10-15 minute drive from the airport.
Train: Newcastle station is the closest station and is about 30 minutes from the beach.


What is your favourite beach and why? What are you blogging about today?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

R - Rugby

Welcome to our tour of Australia. During the month of April we are going to visit our favourite spots in Australia. Come join us on our walkabout through the land down under.


Yesterday we spent looked at quaint old buildings in small town Australia. Click here if you missed that post. Today we head to the footy game.

Australians love their sports and going to the game to barrack for your team is a popular way to spend a day with family or friends. In the summer time it is cricket but in winter it is football. There are two different styles of football that are played, Australian Rules Football and Rugby. Rugby is more popular in New South Wales and Queensland and there are several stadiums where you can go to catch a game during the season (March to early September). Most of them are in Sydney but there are also teams in Newcastle, Canberra, Melbourne, Brisbane and a few others elsewhere. Tickets are relatively inexpensive when compared to U.S sports so its a fun way to enjoy the Australian sports culture.
What I Loved: I had never been to an NRL (Rugby's equivalent to the NFL) rugby match before and was on my list to do while in Australia. The Newcastle Knight's home stadium was not far from my sister's house so we decided it would be a good place to catch a game. The game was fast paced and there was never a dull moment. Even though the game had 2 overtimes it was over than less than 2 1/2 hours. We all had a great time and would love to see another game when we are in Australia again.
Cost: Prices are in Australian Dollars
Prices vary slightly from team to team but range from about $25 ($19 USD) for general admission to $50 ($38 USD) for a good seat along the 30-50 metre line.
More Info:  
NRL Website: Learn more about the teams, tickets and more.
Newcastle Knights: The Knights website.
Address: Hunter Stadium, New Lambton, NSW (Click link for map)

The national anthem being sung.

Visiting team running onto the field.

 Home team taking the field.

 The general admission area behind the goal posts are a great way to see the game cheap.

And the game is on!

Home team scores a try!

 Time for a scrum.

 The game is pretty much non stop from the time it starts. If you go off for a snack or a drink you could miss quite a bit of the game.

Getting There.
Car: There is limited parking in the stadium car park for $10. There is street parking nearby as well. The stadium is about 15 minutes from the city centre.
Air: Newcastle Airport is the closest airport. (35 minute flight from Sydney) It is about a 20-30 minute drive from the airport.
Train: Broadmeadow Station is the closest station and is about 1.5km/1 mile from the stadium.
Bus: There are several city bus stops near the stadium. Click here to get more info.

Have you ever been to a big sporting event? What are you blogging about today?



Monday, April 20, 2015

Q - Qaint small towns and buildings.

Welcome to our tour of Australia. During the month of April we are going to visit our favourite spots in Australia. Come join us on our walkabout through the land down under.


Last Saturday we showed you the nation's capital city Canbera. Click here if you missed that post. Today we check out some of the quaint small towns and buildings.

Australia is dotted with small towns and communities. Many have been there over 100 years and have some fascinating old buildings in the main street. Often we drive right by them as we go from one place or another but each has its own story. Thankfully many of them are still in good repair and are being well preserved for future generations.
What I Loved: The old buildings in the small towns all have a great history and have a definite Australian feel to them. They are different to the buildings in small towns in other parts of the world and I love them for their uniqueness. Since I moved away these old buildings are much more special and fascinating to me.

This small town of Morpeth is a popular destination and is just 2 hours north of Sydney.
 
Its main street is lined with old buildings and has many shops and eateries.
 
Most small towns have at least one pub that offers accommodations like this one in Manilla.
 
This building has seen better days.
 
Many small towns have main streets that look similar to this.
 
Even the Post Office in Bingara has a historical feel in many small towns.
 
The town hall in Bingara has a lovely historical feel to it as well.
 
Many of the pubs in small towns also offer meals and they are a good way to get a reasonably priced and filling meal.
 
The architecture on some of these buildings are wonderful. This old theatre has been restored and being used for performing arts, as a cinema and other functions.
 
 
Which building is your favourite? What are you blogging about today?
 
 


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