My wife and I went to Australia in February 2015. It was a very short trip of only 12 days, but very memorable. Our itinerary took us from Delhi to Sydney via Singapore. The first leg was a little shorter than the second one, which took us to the South Eastern tip of Australia. We were there for 3 nights and the highlight of the visit was a walk across the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge. Surprisingly both the Bridge and the Opera House were very close to our hotel.
View from the Harbor bridge with the Opera House in the background.
We did not even get over our jetlag. Unpack, shower, light lunch and the picture above is taken early afternoon of the day we arrived. We arrived at the hotel at around 10am, and the picture above was taken at around 2pm.
Sydney has fresh air like you would not believe. For a traveler who calls New Delhi home, it felt wonderful. And unlike we are used to in India, very few crowds, no trash on the roads, no noise or air pollution. Bliss!
We are big on seafood and ate that every evening at cafes and one star rated restaurant. The next day we were taken on a guided tour through downtown and the Opera House. It was a private tour, arranged by our travel agent. The Opera House is spectacular in its architecture as well as its interior. The ambience of the theater is hard to describe, but you could almost hear Opera Singers belting out numbers from La Traviata.
Standing in front of the Sydney Opera House
Most of the rest of the tour was a walking discovery of the city. We did some shopping, we ate at different places, and just walked. We did have a couple of guided tours in a car, but the best part was the walking. Although it was the Australian summer, so far down south it did not feel that hot. I think the maximum temperature did not go beyond the high 20s Celsius. Easy to handle for someone living in a city where summer maximums go up to the mid to high 40s Celsius.
Cairns: The Great Barrier reef:
This was a strange interlude during this trip. We flew from Sydney to Cairns, which is on the North East Coast of the Island Nation. The weather was warmer and more humid. We had a longish drive to a little township, the name of which I forget now. It was nothing more than a glorified village, with hardly any eating places outside the hotel. The hotel itself was nothing to write home about.
The next morning we were picked up in a minibus with a bunch of other people and driven to a coast town. We were discharged at the harbour and boarded a motorized boat, that also had a sailing rig. We sailed to an island some 90 minutes away by boat, where we disembarked. My wife and I both donned snorkeling gear and accompanied a guide for a beautiful trip under the surface of the water. The flora underwater was breathtaking. After some time, we re-boarded the boat and sailed/motored back to the mainland through a spectacular storm. Although it was scary for us, the pilot of the boat was least bothered. On disembarking at the mainland, we had a coffee and visited a tourist shop and bought memorabilia, including T Shirts and caps.
After a 2 day stay, we flew to Melbourne.
We spent 4 glorious days in Melbourne. While it is hard to remember the exact sequence of events, we packed in a lot in those 4 nights. Amongst the highlights were:
1. A walking tour of the city with a Professor of History from the University of Melbourne.
2. A formal (suit and tie for me) dinner aboard a fancy tram restaurant, which traveled the streets of Melbourne while we enjoyed the food and wine
3. A day spent, including lunch with a family in a typical Australian farm. This including seeing sheep being sheared, Kangaroos hopping around and a whole host of other delights.
With the Australian family at their farmhouse outside Melbourne
4. An evening spent at the Penguin Parade, where we saw Penguins come out of th3e water at the end of the day and waddle over to their habitats for the night. The sight was glorious.
5. An evening of room service watching India beat Pakistan (yet again) in the World Cup match being played in Adelaide.
I am sure I have missed a few things in this account of Melbourne.
Reluctantly, we boarded a flight for Perth to spend 2 days before we returned to New Delhi via Singapore.
We spent 2 relaxed days in Perth, basically walking around the city centre. The only other highlight was to visit a Wildlife Park where there were Kangaroos whom we could feed with our own hands. There were varieties of animals there including a Wombat (whom we held in our hands), Pythons, Koalas, Tasmanian Devils, Emus and many other creatures we had never seen before. I know we saw all of these animals, but now, come to think of it, we did visit at least 3 Wildlife Parks, including one in Sydney and one in Melbourne, so these animals may have been seen at different place. Yes, feeding the Kangaroos was in Perth for sure.
Roma feeding a baby Kangaroo at the Wildlife Park in Perth.
Two days later, with a heavy heart, we boarded a Singapore Airlines flight back to Delhi via Singapore.