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Published: February 22nd 2013
Sydney to Kangaroo Island
We arrived in Sydney early on Feb. 13 in time to see the sunrise and the Sydney Opera House coming to life. Unfortunately, our ship had to dock in Darling Harbor, under the Harbor Bridge and around the corner from Circular Quay where the Opera House is located. However, our tour with Karen took us out of the city and into the beautiful Aussie countryside across the Hawkesbury River to the Hunter Valley wine area. We visited three wineries and tasted some interesting wines, including a sparkling Riesling which we had never before tasted. Our wine supply is growing as we did buy a couple of bottles of Shiraz and Chardonnay. That night we returned in time for a barbeque on deck and, would you believe, a bottle of Aussie beer?
The next day we decided to wander about on our own and took the shuttle bus to Circular Quay where all the action seemed to be. Our intention was o go to the Saturday Arts and Crafts Market at the Rocks area. However, as we were almost there, the rain started and it really came down. We ducked into a bakery where we sat and had a cup of tea and a croissant until the rain eased a bit. The market, we were told, rather shuts down for a while at times like this, so we decided to head back to the shuttle and return to the ship. The overhangs on the buildings gave us some shelter and our small umbrella did the rest. On the way back we passed under the Harbor Bridge where we saw about a dozen people who were climbing the bridge. I don’t know if they were having fun or not, but they were not moving. We returned to the ship and a warm shower before lunch. Then, we found Karen and Brad who had also returned because of the rain and we spent the afternoon playing bridge.
The next day was a sea day before we arrived in Hobart, Tasmania. Our tour there took us to a wildlife refuge where they were helping wounded animals before returning them to the wild. That is, all except the Tasmanian Devil which is now an endangered species because a cancer is spreading to the animals in the wild, and these people along with other refuges are isolating these Devils and will not release them unless and until the disease is eradicated. They are trying to keep the species from becoming extinct. These animals are about the size of a raccoon with a pointy face and very sharp teeth. Their bite is said to be ten times stronger that a pit bull. They eat everything but plastic and vegetables. If they kill an animal, they will rip open its stomach and get rid of the vegetation before eating the whole animal, including the bones. We walked a large loop around the open areas of kangaroos and wallabies, to the enclosed areas of devils and wombats and various other creatures. We feed the ‘roos and wallabies, but not the others. Some of the ‘roos had their babies in their pouches. Then we went to Moorilla for lunch and a relaxing walk around the area before boarding the bus for our return.
The next day was a sea day where we sailed around the Australian Bight to Adelaide.
In Adelaide our tour started with a tour of the city and a stop at Tandanya, an aboriginal culture centre. We saw a demonstration of the didredoo beginning with the cutting down of the tree that has been eaten on the inside by termites and ending with a “musical” demonstration. We learned almost more about the didredoo than we really wanted to know. From there we headed to Hahndorf, a German settlement in the Adelaide Hills. This is a charming village with many cafes and shops. One of the more interesting shops is a leather shop. The floor of concrete is extremely uneven, but the place is very large and crammed with everything leather from coin purses to belts to hats to jackets and everything you can think of that is made of leather. Also, they serve a glass of port wine to everyone who enters. Of course there was an opal shop as well. We had a German lunch of sausage, warm potato salad, and a pretzel before leaving for Mt. Lofty and the Botanical Gardens. It was a nice day and beautiful sunny weather.
The next day we were on Kangaroo Island. The population of the whole island is about 5,000. Here, wine is coming into its own, and very good wine at that. Our first stop was a Eucalyptus oil production place. It is out in the country housed in a corrugated iron building that looked very old. Inside, we learned the wife helps in the store, the daughter paints award winning paintings, and the husband does photography, all of which is for sale. The neighbors sell their Rookery Wine there, too. They take the leaves of the tree and either boil or steam them to produce the oil and from that they send the oil out to make lotions and everything else of eucalyptus oil. Most of that oil is not made in Australia, but in China. This is one of a very few places that still go through the process. We did buy a bottle of Rookery Chardonnay. WE went to another place with a gorgeous view overlooking the sea. Two days before there had been a bush fire on the island and the smoke was still evident, just as the smoke from the Melbourne area fires is visible in Adelaide. Our guide said that lightening struck the dry brush and it just spread and was still burning in some places. We returned to the port and took the last tender back to the ship. Another interesting day spent in Australia.
Now we have two sea days before our arrival in Albany with two days coming up in Perth before heading for Indonesia.
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