Monday, December 24, 2007

Uluru - Australia

The Place: In the Red Centre of Australia, Ayers Rock (Uluru) stands 348km high and 9.4km in circumference.
Some features: Spent an afternoon exploring the rock from its base. Saw it change colour from red to gold at sun set. Woke up at 4.30am to observe the rock at sunrise. Just as amazing was the colours of the sky and land, with bright greens, reds, whites and yellows all around.

Kata Tjutu - Australia

The Place: 43 km from Uluru, Kata Tjuta (meaning 'many heads') rises more than 500m out of the ground. It's a collection of more than 36 heads and is considered sacred to the Anangu people who are the traditional owners of this land. Unlike Uluru which is sandstone, these structures are formed from conglomerate rock.
Some features: Spent the day walking different routes in some areas of these incredible outcrops, inluding the 7.4km Valley of the Winds walk which took us right inbetween these looming domes, showing us a great view of the flat and vast outback. Waited for sunset and was lucky enough to see a rainbow stretching out over the heads.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sydney Beaches - Australia

The Beaches: Spent the day just chilling on Bondi beach with Ilse after her arrival. It's is a great hangout for surfing backpackers. Arriving there immediately puts you in holiday mode where you can just chill on the beach or go for beer and a burger at beachfront cafe.
Played some frisbee and tried out a boomerang on Palm beach with Ilse, Nick and Lindsay. Spent a day on the beaches of Manly.
Strange Observation: The Aussie's seem to take Christmas to a whole new level! There are stuffed Santa's hanging from balconies, climbing the walls of houses, and riding motorbikes on the road sides. Dressing up as Santa is popular too, as evidenced by the Santa party in the Manly beach surf pavilion - pictured above.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sydney - Australia

The Place: What was almost a splash landing, touched down on the mini peninsula runway strip of Sydney airport after 24 hrs from London via Singapore.
Some features: Great to see that a major city can be as relaxed as Sydney. Met Nick and stayed at his place right on the waters edge. From there, getting into the city was a 10 minute ferry trip almost directly from his door step to the cities edge.
Had a great time seeing the activities around the harbour bridge and opera house - including the Scots college's +-50 strong, marching rendition of Walzing Matilda on a bagpipes & drums, and two aborigines playing traditional music on their didgeridoo and sticks mixed with electro phunk.
From the botanical gardens you get an amazing view of the opera house and bridge, with bats and cockatoo's that fly freely around the park.
Met a phillipino third order apostelic nun in a boomerang shop. After a lengthy chat she kindly went to fetch her veil for me to take a picture of her.
Visited the Taronga zoo to get a good look at some aussie animals. The zoo was a huge highlight with great bird shows, brilliant views of the city and funky wildlife including wombats, wallabies, potoroos, gliders, tasmanian devils, and the duck-billed platypus.
Strange observation: Watching a game of chess in the city park is wierd when the guy dominating the game is dressed in dirty clothes and is shouting obscenities to his park mates (also playing chess).