Thursday, January 03, 2008

New Years Eve - Sydney

The Event: Together with Ilse, Nick, Frances, Paul and Karen found a spot early on in the day to witness Sydney's spectacular fireworks at the harbour bridge to bring in 2008! The lights of the city, boats and fireworks iluminating the water were incredible to see, and the festivities were amazing!

Monkey Mia - Western Australia

The Place: Our road trip took us as far up the west coast as Monkey Mia.
Some features: Viewing dolphins and pelicans up close on the beach. Spotting dugongs and visiting a pearl farm out at sea on a guided boat trip. Seeing more stromatolites just off a beach made up entirely of shells. The shells are so compressed that they used to cut bricks of shell out of the ground to use for building. Ate out in a restaurant in Denham close by made out of these shell bricks. Snorkelling 'The Gregories', one of many beautiful locations in the two large bays of Monkey Mia. While snorkeling swam over sting rays and got close to more dolphins that were swimming in the bay.
Strange Observation: The soft sand road to the snorkel spot made for some great 4x4 driving, with warnings to watch out for bilbies!

Lancelin - Western Australia

The Place: Set off from Perth on a road trip with Ilse, Nick and Darren. About 1.5 hrs up the west coast of Australia from Perth we stayed 3 nights in Lancelin at Lancelin Lodge.
Some features: This spot is a a wind/kite-surfer's haven, so we were in the company of many foreign (mainly German and English) tourists who had come here with that in mind. We all had a go at windsurfing the first afternoon, hiring our boards, with Darren and Ilse both trying for the first time. Next day with the wind died down we spent sandboarding followed by windsurfing (Nick kitesurfing) and that eve went for sundowners in the dunes. We spent evenings enjoying sundowners either overlooking the beach or on top of the dunes. This spot was really great - so we made sure to book a spot here for our return journey to Perth from Monkey Mia, affording us the opportunity for more great windsurfing!

Kalbarri - Western Australia

The Place: With destination Kalbarri in mind, an 8hr drive from Lancelin, Christmas day ended up being a continuous string of cool surprises.
Some features: After our first stop off at the Pinnacles which was planned, we then found numerous other cool places along the way, including a lake (Lake Thetis) containing stromatolites (living 'rocks' which are the oldest form of life on earth), a beach (Kangaroo point) where we swam with pelicans flying over our heads, the Natural bridge (see pic with Ilse) which is a feature that lies close to Kalbarri, and a sunset kangaroo chase (Nic and I had to do a little bit of bundu bashing before I finally got this shot of one of the 2 kangaroos we saw hopping about). A perfect ending to a brilliant day was Darren's gourmet Christmas meal of chicken, prawns, and beef all cooked to perfection in his secret recipe marinades.
The next day was spent snorkelling and playing frisbee before setting off for Monkey Mia.

The Pinnacles - Western Australia

The Place: Set off after an festive Christmas breakfast with the other winsurfing tourists at Lancelin Lodge to the Pinnacles on route to Kalbarri.
Some features: The Pinnacles are great to see, and whats also quite an experience (and a very Aussie one) is the intense heat and the amount of flies that surround you. At one time you might find 20 flies sitting on you, while some get right in your ears, crawl up your nose or sit on your eyes not to be deterred by the constant slapping of your hand on your face!