Sydney to Singapore

Today was consumed by my 8 hour flight to Singapore.  These last 100 days in Australia and New Zealand have been so wonderful, but I’m very excited to see something different and have new experiences.  Plus it means I’m starting to move towards home which is nice.

My plane windows were actually clean for once, so I snapped some pics as we got closer to Singapore.  I’ve never seen so many islands before (or caught the sun setting from a plane), so I thought it was really cool to see.  I have no idea which countries are here, but I was glad to have had a window seat.

Sydney

When I arrived in Sydney from Adelaide, I went to my most favourite spot – Circular Quay feat. the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge.

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Janetta and I met for one last dinner, and other than that it was a low key day.  I was saving all my excitement for my second day! The only thing I had left on my Sydney bucket list was to complete the Congee to Bondi Beach Coastal Walk, a coastal cliff walk spanning about 6km.

I picked the perfect time to do it – there was a breeze and the sun was only shining directly on me for a few small parts.  I can’t imagine doing the walk in the middle of summer! You can start at Bondi or Congee beach, but after speaking with Sydney friends, I decided I’d start at Congee.

Next up was Gordon’s Bay.

The trail continued to Clovelly Beach, which even had it’s own little swimming pool.

The next part of the path was damaged by storms in June 2016, so it now detours through Waverly Cemetery, perhaps the most stunning cemetery I’ve ever seen.

And then we were back to beaches, starting with Bronte Beach.

Tamarama Beach was next.

It touched briefly on Mackenzies Bay.

And then I arrived in Bondi Beach and the Icebergs pool (which was being overrun by the ocean)!  It was hard to believe this was the same beach that was completely covered by people in January, but I guess only the hardcore beach fans are out in the fall.

On my last day in Sydney I intended to go see an opera!  However, the only one on was playing in an uncovered outdoor theatre and it was raining.  So I had an early night in preparation for my flight tomorrow instead.

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Barossa Valley

Today was my one organized day trip in Adelaide. South Australia is known for its wine, so I figured I’d have to head to the Barossa Valley and try it out for myself. The view from the drive was lovely.

Our first stop was to Te Aro Winery, but we stayed inside the cellar door for the tasting, so no pictures. Our next stop was to Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop.  Maggie is a big name here, so the Australian’s on board were very excited to be going to her shop. There were many samples inside, and a beautiful pond with turtles and ducks outside, so I quite enjoyed the stop.

We headed to Lambert Estates next for lunch and our next tasting.

We stopped at a lookout for a great view of the valley.

Our last winery of the day, Pindarie, was the best – the best wine and the best view.  The perfect end to a great day!

Glenelg

I got into Adelaide yesterday afternoon, and made a quick visit to the cinemas to watch Beauty & The Beast (it was fantastic). So today I got up bright and early and headed down to Glenelg on the tram, a nearby seaside town. It was cute, but had clearly become very touristy over the last few years.

That afternoon I wandered around Adelaide’s main strip, Rundle Mall, and got some good window shopping done.

 

Kings Canyon

Our last day in the outback definitely felt the longest! We woke up at 4 am, and got to Kings Canyon at 6 am. The plan was to hike the canyon, which is about 6 km/3.5 hours.  Because of the heat, the track closes at 10, so we had to get an early start.

When we started I didn’t know if I’d make it, because the hardest part is conveniently at the beginning, but once you make it past the accurately named ‘steep climb’ it gets much easier.  We started before sun rise, meaning we had a wonderful view of the sun rise from the canyon itself around 7.

The next quarter of the hike continued along the canyon.

The half way point is the Garden of Eden.

The last half was all downhill so when a lot quicker! It stayed along the canyon for a little, and then moved inwards and offered new terrain and new views.

By the time we finished I felt like a full day had passed, since we started so early!  We slowly started making our way back to Alice Springs, but we had one last stop – a camel ride!

Australia has the largest population of wild camels in the world.  It’s the perfect temperature for them, and the outback has plenty of trees for them to rest under. We had a quick camel ride around a short field, but as I’ve never ridden a horse or other animal I decided I had to give this a try.  We walked up one end and ran down the other, and I swear it felt like a roller coaster ride.

We got back to Alice Springs around 5 and I was excited to go see some of the shops, as I hadn’t had time before we left.  However, it’s Sunday so everything closed early. The shopping area did seem lovely though, with the trees all lit up at night.

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I’m off to Adelaide tomorrow, and looking forward for some cooler weather!

The Olgas and the Valley of the Winds

We got up nice and early this morning (4:30!) to beat the crowds and be first in line to watch the sunset.  It was a good idea, as there were 4 rows of people behind me when we left, but it was hard getting up.

And then we went for a 3 hour walk in the Olgas and the Valley of the Winds. It gets so hot in the middle of the day that the path closes at 11, so we had to be done by then.

After camel burgers for lunch, we had another dip in the pool then made our way to our second camp site near Kings Canyon where we got to relax for a little! Then it was kangaroo for dinner and an astronomy lesson.  You can see the stars and milky way so clearly here, it’s the most unbelievable sight of all! And I had an early night’s sleep, as we had to get up at 4 am the next morning.

Ayers Rock

I had been excited to explore Australia’s red center for some time! I purposefully put it towards the end of my time in Australia in hopes for cooler weather.  Usually at this time of the year its 25 degrees, but we got lucky and it was 41.  It’s not humid but when it’s that hot I still can’t handle it.

Our day today focused around Ayers Rock (also known as Uluru), a large rock in the middle of the outback. The land belongs to the Aboriginal people, who have many stories about it.  Our guide told us some, but I actually got heat exhaustion today, so most of the stories went in one ear and out the other.  It was pretty cool to see though, on the flat landscape.

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We went on a 45 minute walk around part of the base (which is where I was first sick, which was lots of fun).

Thankfully our camp had a very cold pool, so that helped cool us off before we prepared dinner.  Our camp had a great lookout over Ayers Rock and the Olgas, so we headed up there for sunset.  The wonderful thing is that we were the only group there – everyone else heads to where we started at Uluru this morning.  We watched the cars drive back once the sun went down, and there were so many! It would have been so crowded, whereas we just had the 22 of us enjoying the space.

And that was day one! I wish I had a picture of our camping gear, but of course we only had it out when it was dark.  Because we didn’t sleep in tents, instead we used swags. Basically it is a sleeping bag for your sleeping bag, with a thin mattress inside. Your head is out in the air.  Thankfully I was so tired from being sick, that I fell asleep no issue, and didn’t worry about the spiders, snakes or scorpions that could come by when I was sleeping and kill me.

Here’s the promotional picture of the swag, to give you an idea.

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