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Outback Outings

Jan 11, 2017

Ok... so I knew Australia was big, but I have to admit that I had absolutely no conception of just how vast it is! For example, we flew into Perth, spent a couple of days cruising the Swan River to Fremantle and exploring the huge King's Park, then flew to Melbourne - an internal domestic flight lasting over five hours and spanning two time zones! It was the same distance as flying from London to New York!

Melbourne was just a big city with trams and a waterfront, so we soon escaped along the Great Ocean Road where there is a fantastic coastal walkway. The coast between Melbourne and Adelaide is a constant source of delight and there is some phenomenal walking - I'll be posting a few pictures on my Facebook page soon. We broke the journey at Aireys Inlet, Lavers Hill and Robe, then did another huge internal flight from Adelaide to Alice Springs where we hired a car to drive into the Red Centre.

What a drive! If anything, it made us appreciate the size of the country more than the flights! From Alice to Yulara was a six hour drive along a road that was dead straight for  much of the way. There were several 15 mile long sections that were dead straight, and the bush to either side of the road just stretched away to the horizon with little variation. 

The Base Walk of Uluru (previously called Ayers Rock) was stunningly beautifu, although it was also something of a feat of endurance - 15kms in 40 degree heat... and surprisingly humid - but well worth the effort. So, too, was the Rim Walk of King's Canyon - started pre-dawn in order to escape the worst of the heat. There was a massive thunderstorm the night before this walk, and a torrential downpour, which meant there was a lot of water in the Canyon. The waterfall and the Garden of Eden were particularly impressive and, according to locals, the water levels were the highest they had seen for about four years!

The journey back to Alice seemed to take forever (it was only seven hours solid driving!), and it was not much of a change the next day as we sat on a plane for four hours to get  to Cairns in Tropical Queensland. The rainforest here is dense and luxurious, but it is not the only attraction as the Great Barrier Reef is just off-shore. We visited the reef from Port Douglas on Boxing Day - another excursion that comes highly recommended.

Our final internal flight was to Sydney, where we arrived in time to witness the New Year's Eve festivities including the fantastic fireworks over the harbour, set against the background of the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. Seven tons of fireworks went up in smoke in a display that lasted just short of fifteen minutes. Amazing!

We are now in New Zealand, exploring the North Island... more of which soon!

Do visit my Facebook page where you can see photos of the trip so far. There's a link on the left of the home page of my website - or visit www.facebook.com/kwmountainactivities 



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