Page 8 of flagamma Travel Blog Posts

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Rotorua March 31st 2015

Finally going to get caught up. long ride here yesterday. Took about 6 hours, but we had some fun stops. First of all i was amazed how quickly the street department personnel got the barriers down. There when I went to bed at 10:30, gone by 7 am. We made a few stops including Happy Houses. lunch and finally a shop for hokey-pokey ice cream. It reminded me a lot of our butter brickle, but the chips were less crunchy. The town we stopped in used to be one of those drive-through towns. We all know what they are, places that do not stick out much and you are through in the blink of an eye. Well, some smart entrepreneur decided to make use of left over corrugated metal sheets and make sculptures on top of ... read more

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Auckland March 31st 2015

Run out of room fast on these. Anyway, to finish the day in Auckland, we got to go on our own until dinner. Four of us decided to visit Sealife and aquarium in town (tongue in cheek on the in town part). Bus dropped us off ansmthe first thing we got to see was a replica of Scott's Antartic expedition with a video showing them getting stuck in the ice and the ship splintering as the ice crushed it in. They build a large hut right there on top of the ice and waited five months for a thaw to go for help. Actual food cans, clothing and other things like a printing press were exhibited. The video was saved from being dunked in the icy waters and actually showed ship cracking apart. Then came the ... read more

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Auckland March 31st 2015

Very long trip to Auckland after an early rising. First the plane was delayed over 40 minutes, then a three hour flight and time jumping ahead two hours. My biological clock gears are just spinning wackily. Arrived at hotel close to six pm, tour guide ready to get us moving after a long day. Short walk down to the harbor for a nice dinner (get the picture about food?) then a leisurely stroll down to see where two of the America's cup sailboats were moored. What a lot of work in competitive sailing! Think everyone went to bed right after that, I know I did. Woke up this morning to find the street outside our hotel barricaded. Turns out there was a triathlon going to be held on that really rainy day. Did I tell you ... read more

Oceania » Australia March 30th 2015

Last one for tonight. Almost 10:30 here in NZ. Anyway back to Sydney and the Opera House. On our private tour we heard all about how it was built on sight, how the original architect was fired when it took so much longer and so much more money (and I do mean tens and tens of millions). A local company was hired to finish it, and he went back to Denmark. They used his plans, but he never got back to see it. Got to go into the Opera section where they were setting up for Madame Butterfly. four of our group planned to go to that. It is beautifully appointed, but much smaller than most opera houses, so all sets are kept below the stage and hoisted up instead of from the sides. They had ... read more

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Sydney March 30th 2015

Finally almost caught up. Great wifi in this place so plan to get quite a few out. So, anyway, back to Sydney, I finally made it. Got there late in the afternoon, took a short walking tour of Sydney and then dinner at the Crown Hotel across from the Vibe Hotel. Feel like all we do is fly, ride in coaches, walk and eat- emphasis on the eat. Sydney is a unique city, really lovely. First full day we took a coach tour around the city; checking out the Harbor Bridge and Operal House from afar and traveling through the oldest part of the city where the convicts and soldiers lived. From there we drove down to the headland and walked to the spot where convicts chipped a chair facing the sea out of the granite ... read more

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Port Douglas March 30th 2015

Rose at 5:30 this morning for a sunrise walk on the 4 Mile beach, right behind the Temple Spa Hotel. After breakfast back on the coach for a trip to the Daintree Rain Forest, the oldest documented rain forest in the world. Passed field after field of sugar cane. Australia is a big exporter of sugar cane, no high fructose corn syrup here. Bet my daughter and family would love that. Went to a private tour, owner has been there over 25 years and they have 140 acres or more. Her place has both tropical and semi- tropical areas. Louise, our guide, said she wanted to see a cassowary, one of the oldest flightless birds. The one who found us was about 5 ft tall, a male, with a hollow hard crest on his head, a ... read more

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Great Barrier Reef March 30th 2015

Took a lovely catamaran called Quicksilver to the GBR today. Boat actually was silver colored, up close it looked like burnished aircraft aluminum. Really could have used a bunch of bosun'mates giving it a good polish thought. Salt water does a number on it. Anyway, the 17 of us joined approximately 200 others for an hour and a half ride to a permanently anchored pontoon. Once there I joined several of my traveling partners on a semi-submersible ride to check out the reef. Did the same thing in at Grand Cayman with Carol Lantz a few years ago. Beautiful colored corals in oranges, reds, blues, and purples. Took a bunch of photos but unfortunately underwater colors do not translate well on film shot through glass. Saw a sea turtle, giant clam and a bunch of fish. ... read more

Oceania » Australia » Northern Territory » Kata Tjuta March 29th 2015

After we left Uluru, we headed to Kata Tjuta, or the Olga Mts. about 70 kilometers away. Named the Olga Mts by Europeans, in the 90's the government returned it to it's aboriginal name and hyphenated it along with the Olgas. There is a major difference between Uluru and the KJ's, Uluru is sandstone which heaved up at a 90 Angle and extends 5 - 6 kilometers below the surface, and KJ is conglomerate which eroded into large rounded domes. Both of them developed millions of years ago when underwater mountains appeared as water levels went down leaving two alluvial fans. THe water rose again, and when it receded, it eroded the mountains. The conglomerate, being heavier, washed into the first fan. The smaller rocks and pebbles slipped into the second fan. As the mountains kept ... read more

Oceania » Australia » Northern Territory » Uluru March 29th 2015

Finally get to write about Uluru (Ayers Rock). Really long coach ride from Alice Springs to the Outback Pioneer Resort, 450 K or over 200 miles across the Northern Territory. Took a really long time to get there. Had a Happy House (rest stop) where some of the group climbed a red sand dune. Another short (ha) two hours later we stopped for lunch at a cattle station. The place was so big it even had it's own Mesa topped mountain. Guide called it a false Uluru because from the vantage point of the road, it looked like what we all expected Uluru to look klike. The grandfather of the family had built a bower house when he first arrived there and had turned it into a restaurant in order to cash in on the tourist ... read more

Oceania » Australia » Northern Territory » Alice Springs March 26th 2015

Being off line so much is messing me up. Back to Alice Springs. Just going to give you the highlights. Lovely resort, cool pool despite 100 degree temps. Skipped first tour to do laundry, swim and shop downtown, which is ten minutes away by foot. Then off to an aboriginal school where I dropped off two-thirds of the school supplies I brought. My suitcase thanked me for it. We got to read to the kids and have lunch. Reminded me of the migrant workers when I was young, they never seemed to have enough clothes. Most of the kids, even in fourth grade can not read. No one at home can help them, sometimes when they come they bring a family member who sits in the back of the room all day just listening. Off to ... read more

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