Reflections of a Learning Journey and the Connections made along the way

Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Holidays Vs Travel

We all love holidays.  Although I have been overseas twice Thailand and New Zealand my favourite holidays have been in Australia.  We live in a breathtakingly beautiful country and have high living standards.  So why holiday overseas?

I think I have very different definitions of the terms holidays and travel.  Travel is about seeing the world, experiencing other cultures and learning about how others live.  On the other hand holidays are for fun and relaxation, not rushing around trying to see as much as possible and having cultural experiences.

I have taken so many photos and written so many journals whilst on holidays and travelling over many years.  But it is very rare that I look back on them.  So this section of my blog is going to be dedicated to collecting the best of my photos in one place so that they are easy to access and enjoy.

I expect this to be a long and ongoing process.  So far I have chronicled my holidays on the Great Ocean Walk, Port Douglas and Darwin which all took place in 2014 and 2015.  Lots of work to do!



We flew to Darwin on 11th April 2015. We arrived to a very hot beautiful day – about 33 degrees.  Our apartment was just beautiful and very well appointed with plenty of room for the 7 of us and with a fantastic view of the harbour.  After getting stuck in the lift we went out for dinner at the Tap.

On our first full day in Darwin we paid a visit to the Tourist Information Centre and then went to the WWIII oil tunnels which was really interesting.  They were built to store fuel underground to prevent attacks on the supplies but were never used.  Then went to the wave pool which was great fun. We also swam in the sea at the Waterfront followed by a lovely lunch at Il Lido.

Next day we caught the bus to the Art Gallery and museum. This was very interesting particularly the Cyclone Tracey exhibit. We saw the famous croc, Sweetheart, which died when they were trying to relocate her.  Another feature was the aboriginal art exhibition.  That evening we went on a sunset cruise which left from Stokes Hill Wharf aboard the Streeter Pearl Lugger with Chris and Tania. It was a lovely evening and we drank champagne and ate nibbles as we watched a beautiful sunset. When we got back we had dinner at The Jetty restaurant which was very good.

The Military Museum was also very interesting and the information about the bombing of Darwin was enlightening.  Darwin was first bombed on 19th February 1942, when the Post Office was destroyed and around 90 people died.  We had lunch at Cullen Bay at the Boatshed Cafe overlooking the Marina.  That evening we went to Moorish for dinner. We had delicious tapas and sangria.

We got up early next morning and went for a walk around the Boulevard.  The walk is well set out with war memorials and other interesting information.  We also walked down onto Lameroo Beach.  We did some exploring of  the shopping centre and had a drink at the Darwin Hotel.  Then we had lunch at the Deck Bar.  After lunch we went to Parliament House which also housed the library.  It is a wonderful building.  Apparently the tops of the pillars at the four corners of the building are styled after bomb tails as this was originally the site of the Post Office which was destroyed in the first air raid and there was a bomb found on the site when it was being excavated for the building of Parliament House.

On Day 6 we went on a Crocodile cruise on the Adelaide River and a tour of Litchfield National Park. Our first stop was the crocodile cruise and we were amazed at being able to get so close to the crocs. The tour guide threw out chicken fat which attracted hundreds of beautiful hawks of several species.  Then back onto the bus with Joey our guide.  He was great and made the tour very interesting.  We headed out to Litchfield National Park with a quick stop at Humpty Doo on the way.  The first stop was Florence Falls where we swam under the waterfall.  It was just amazing and very beautiful.  Then we headed to Wangi Falls which was also beautiful but closed to swimming as it can be inhabited by crocs in the wet season.  We had cold meat and salad sandwiches which were delicious given that it was nearly 2 o’clock.  The next stop was Buley Rockpools.  Lots of little cascading pools.  Swimming there was quite different to Florence Falls and we all felt we could have spent a lot longer there.  A quick stop at the Termite mounds before heading back to Fannie Bay for the sunset with champagne and prawns.  Overall it was a fantastic tour.

Our last day was very quiet which was lovely and we went back to Moorish for a farewell Sangria.  We bought seafood and cooked it ourselves and it was delicious to celebrate our last evening.  We all flew back to cold Victoria on 18th April after a wonderful family holiday.

Port Douglas

Our beautiful holiday in Port Douglas started on 2nd October 2014. Eric and I were up at 3:30am to catch 6:00am flight and landed at Cairns Airport at 9:20am to a beautiful warm day with temperature at 28 degrees.

Jeanette was our bus driver for the trip to Port Douglas. Our accommodation was at Oaks Lagoon Resort. The room was beautiful – very spacious, overlooking the pool.

We had lunch at Ramada Tree restaurant which was in the motel next door.   After catching the bus into town to do some shopping we went for walk to the beach. The ocean felt amazingly warm. After our walk we went for a swim in the beautiful pool at our motel.

On our second day we had a buffet breakfast at Ramada and then caught the bus to the Marina. We had coffee and cake overlooking the Marina. Did a bit of shopping and then header back for a swim at the Beach.  We then went for tapas and cocktails at the Beach Shark Bar and Grill. Eric had French martini and I had a mango daiquiri. Tapas was mushroom arancini balls and pork belly.

Next day we caught the bus to the Marina for lunch at the Inlet seafood restaurant. Lovely tempura seafood with views over the ocean. More shopping and then went back to the court house hotel for a drink. That evening we took a sunset cruise onboard the Lady Douglas up the inlet. We saw a crocodile lazing in the mangroves and also a beautiful sea eagle which followed the boat to be fed a salmon frame.

We got up early the next day to go to the market and have breaky.  After a rest back at our motel we were picked up for our Mossman Gorge and Daintree tour.  Kim was our guide.  We went on a cruise on the Daintree River first where we saw 7 crocodiles ranging from a tiny little one less than a metre long to Scar Face who is thought to be about 50 years old and nearly 5 metres long.  Then we boarded the bus again for the trip to Mossman Gorge. We had Afternoon tea at the Mossman Visitor Information Centre managed by the indigenous people.  Then we had our first look at the rain forest.  There are apparently no eucalypts apparently but 100’s of other plant species.  We went for a swim at Mossman Gorge in the clearest water I have ever seen.  We took photo of the many fish swimming around with us. It was beautiful but very cold – only about 17 degrees.

On our last day, the Quicksilver coach picked us up at 9:30 to take us to the Marina for our snorkeling tour of Agincourt Reef.  It was a really big tour with about 300 people on the boat.  Eric went in the submersible and I went snorkelling.

Day 8 – Gables Car park – Twelve Apostles Visitor Centre

IMG_0418A big final day ahead today. About 18 kms to walk which is our biggest day yet. We started off at 8:00 and came to the beach access for Wreck Beach. There were 366 steps down to the beach and not wanting to wade through more soft sand we decided to stick to the track. Sorry to miss Wreck Beach. Maybe another trip?? We soon came to the Devils Kitchen campsite.

Then we headed off though some tall timber and then through tea tree forests again. A couple of wallabys sat on the path and watched us. They showed no fear and we actually had to move forward to get them to move away. We are still seeing many different types of plants. Soon we were up high on the cliffs and walking though low scrub. Stopped at a seat and noticed a small snake on the track. Turned out to be a plastic one but we were so jumpy from other sightings that we were quite freaked out by it. Even when we sure that it was plastic I had to hold Robyn’s hand to walk past it. Not a very funny joke

Came over a rise and had our first sighting of the twelve apostles. As we walked along the cliff tops we saw several views of them which were probable the best to be seen apart from from a helicopter. Met Eric at Gibson steps and walked the final few hundred metres to the Twelve Apostles Visitor Centre. We finished at 1:30. A fantastic sense of achievement to be finished. Home to our spa and glass of champagne. Terry arrived at about 7:30

Day 7 – Ryan’s Den Track to Gables Car Park

Day 7

Day 7

Left a bit later this morning at 10:15 as we thought we only had about 7 Kms to go. We started the day by retracing our steps on Ryan’s Den Track to rejoin the walk. We walked around over Ryan’s Den wondering what it actually is. Soon we we able to view it from the other side of the cliff. Two large caves in the sea wall. Very spectacular sight.

From there we continued on up a series of steps and mostly uphill. Then some quite comfortable walking through tall timber and tea tree dens. We saw our third snake. A tiger snake about 2 metres long. We had to wait quite a while for it to cross the track in front of us. We came out at a cow paddock and saw the sign that we still had 4.5 Kms to go! Very pleasant walking though so we made good time but still a lot later than we thought we would be at 2:10. Quite a miscalculation today as we probably ended up walking about 12kms.

Day 6 Johanna Beach to Ryan’s Den track

IMG_0317We woke to grey drizzly day which was quite a bit cooler. We got going early again wearing our rain coats and left Johanna Beach at 9:10. The start of the day was quite easy going over paddocks and through several gates. It was quite a climb but steady with lots of views back over Johanna Beach and our cottages. Then it started to get much harder with lots of narrow tracks and very steep ups and downs. One small section was almost vertical.


There was a small beach section when we crossed Melanesia River and saw more interesting rock formations. We ate blackberries again. They have been prevalent on a lot of the tracks.

We had to walk out to the Great Ocean Road to meet Eric today so we had to find Ryan’s Den Track. Amanda noticed a sign saying Management vehicles so we thought that might be the one but it wasn’t signposted and looked quite overgrown. So we walked on a bit further. Then decided to check the map and noticed the coordinates were marked. So we used the compass on the iPhone. This proved to be totally accurate. The track out was rocky and fairly steep but we arrived at Top of Ryans Den at 1:50 to wait for Eric.

Day 5 – Aire River to Johanna Beach

IMG_0273We were up early this morning so that we could leave by 9:30 so that we could get to Johanna Beach before high tide.
We started from Aire River. We passed a school group and also another couple.  That was the most people we had seen on the track so far.

I almost stepped on a brown snake!  It was quite large but fortunately moved very quickly out of the way.  Then within another couple of hundred metres we saw another one which we think was tiger snake.  It did not seem in a hurry so we just had to stand very still and wait until it headed back into the bush.  Very scary! We were quite jumpy for a while.

Lots of great views from lookouts today including Castle Cove. Also saw the first pink heath and lots of grass trees.
Finished the day with quite a long walk on Johanna beach through very soft sand again until we came to the Johanna River. The sand was much firmer walking along the banks of the River which ran along the back of the beach. We had to wade through the river before heading up the hill towards the campsite. We started to walk up to the cottages until Eric picked us up at 1:30