Australia Day Twenty Two. A Farewell To Melbourne And Australia, And A Long Journey Home.

I was up before the sun on my last morning in Melbourne, and Australia. I wished I had more time to explore this vast and beautiful country but I began my long journey home on a mid morning flight and I only had time for one more walk.  I left the hotel in darkness and walked the commercial area along the highway. I was  looking  for a residential  neighborhood since I really didn’t get to walk much out here in the suburbs.  Melbourne morning february 25 -2

I walked about a quarter mile when I found a road leading from the highway and followed it into a residential development. It appeared from the service trucks and modest cars parked along the townhouses that it was a middle class development. A few of the residents were up and looked like they were to  going to their jobs.  It was like so many residential developments I had seen across  United States. Melbourne morning february 25 -3

I walked through the development  until I  reached a fence and dead end. The development abutted a shopping center along the highway. I headed the other way and found a walkway to a park. As I entered the park the full moon broke through the clouds and I found  a small pond where I  listened to the exotic birds chattering in the early dawn. Melbourne morning february 25 -29

I walked along the homes of the development and noticed that graffiti was just as popular in suburban Melbourne as it is in cities in the United States. Melbourne morning february 25 -20

I continued my walk through the park and crossed a dried up creek to the other side of the pond. I enjoyed watching the birds flying above the water in the full moon light. melbourne morning -5

The sun was rising behind the clouds in the east and I knew I had to get to my room and finish packing.  I reflected on the lives of the folks living in this development, so different, yet so alike my life in the United States, knowing we share that same moon and sun even though we are on opposite sides of our planet. I realized that we do live in a very small world after all.  Here is a link to some more photographs from my last walk in Australia. morning -4

I walked back to the hotel, showered, packed and rode a shuttle to the airport driven by one of my new friends from the hotel staff. We had a nice chat about living in  the suburbs of Australia. I was dropped off at the international terminal and quickly checked my luggage and made it to my gate, stopping to pick up some last minute souvenirs including these  famous Australian treats tim tams, chocolate covered biscuits.  Melbourne flight home february 25 -32

I had breakfast before I  boarded my plane and settled into my window seat for the fourteen hour flight to Los Angeles. I was a little apprehensive about the long flight on my journey to Australia because of some back and hip problems.Having had,no problems,  I was actually looking forward to the flight so I could reflect on  my adventures and the many beautiful place I saw on my trip.

I spent the first few hours watching, one last time, the landscapes of Australia pass far below our plane. Soon we were over the Pacific Ocean, and clouds appeared below us  so I did some reading,  watched a few movies and dozed off a few times  on my flight to Los Angeles.  We flew into yesterday as we crossed the international date line near the equator. Melbourne flight home february 25 -12

We were served a nice breakfast as e flew into the rising sun as we neared the United States. Soon , I saw  a few islands off the California coast and then the sprawling city of Los Angeles  spread out below us.   I loved Australia but it was good to be back on the ground in the United States. Unfortunately, another delay.

The American Airlines plane from Philadelphia was again delayed an hour and I knew I would not make my connecting flight to the the Scranton Wilkes Barre flight. Well , I wasn’t happy but traveling means expecting the unexpected. Our plane finally arrived and I was off on another five hour flight to the east coast.  I had a window seat again and enjoyed the barren, desert  landscapes of the American southwest .Melbourne flight home february 25 -6

We passed the sun again and  flew into darkness as we approached my favorite city, the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia. I did miss my flight to Scranton Wilkes Barre so I had a few hours wait until the next flight.  I found a place to eat and read the local Philadelphia papers, catching up on my favorite sports teams. I finally boarded my last flight on my journey home, a short twenty five minute flight to Avoca. As we flew north I noticed that there was snow on the mountains reminding me it was still Winter in the Northern Hemisphere.Melbourne flight home february 25 -17

I arrived in Avoca around 10 p.m. and met my nephew Charlie  who drove me the last  thirty five mile  leg of my  long journey home, that started almost a full day earlier 11,000 miles away on the other side of the planet.  I was exhausted when I got home, and it was good to sleep in my own bed again, but I was already planning my next trip, the jungles of Africa in October. I  enjoyed sharing my trip and, was glad to have you along, and I hope you enjoyed it too. I can’t wait until we leave for Africa. Here is a link to some more photographs taken on my long journey home. flight home february 25 -34


We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” — Jawaharal Nehru 






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Australia Day Twenty One: Melbourne Afternoon Walk

It was now  sunny and  very hot in Melbourne as I crossed the scenic Yarra River and entered  the gardens and  parks of  the Kings Domain and the Royal Botanical Gardens. As you may know from reading my earlier post about my visits to Sydney, Adelaide, Perth and Hobart,  one of my favorite places to visit in a city is the botanical gardens.Melbourne Botanical gardens -1

I was glad to enter the gardens and get under the shade of the large, old trees. I walked the paths lined with exotic plants and flowers from Australia and around the world.Melbourne Botanical gardens -42

The trees and shrubs were beautiful and so were the many birds that inhabited the woods, ponds and wetlands of the gardens. I saw, and heard so many new  species of birds including the unique call of the Australian bellbird, a member of the honeyeater family.  There were many water birds roaming the grassy areas adjacent to the ponds and the trees had many of species of birds fluttering about. Here is a link to some of the birds I encountered in the Botanical Gardens. Botanical gardens -25

I spent a couple of hour exploring the many paths and walkways. The gardens were crowded with folks of all ages, with most of them, because of the hot weather, sitting,  laying or picnicking near the lakes at the center of the gardensMelbourne Botanical gardens -20

I walked around the perimeter of the gardens exploring the many exotic plants from all over Australia and the rest of the world.  I especially loved the water lily gardens. Again, I wish I had more time to enjoy these beautiful gardens but it was around noon now and I was getting hungry.Melbourne Botanical gardens -49

I walked to the Old Observatory  near the main entrance to the Botanical Gardens and found a lovely Vietnamese restaurant the Jardin Tan. It was crowded but I was able to get a seat and enjoyed an interesting, but delicious , fish dish with a number of side dishes. It was a very good meal and although I was tired, from my long morning walk in the hot sun., I was rested and refreshed enough to continue my exploration of Melbourne. Here is a link to some more photographs I took on my walk through the Botanical Gardens.. flight home february 25 -28

I left the Botanical Gardens and I saw  immediately, and was  drawn to the colossal Shrine of Remembrance. This impressive structure was built to honor the Australian soldiers who fought, and died in World War One.Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance -10

I walked the many steps to the main hall honoring the fallen soldiers. The hall was somber and quite and I  spent some time reading the inscriptions and reflecting on the young men who traveled ti the other end of the earth to fight for their country.  I wondered if any of them may have encountered my grandfather who was a ‘doughboy’ in this great conflict.Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance -23

I then  climbed to the observation level to take in a spectacular view of the city of Melbourne.Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance -19

I visited the Shrine’s museum and visitor center before  left this impressive monument. I passed the eternal flame before  I descended the steps  back to the green lawns and grounds of the King’s Domain.

It was a hot day and this park was also filled with crowds of people either enjoying the sun or shade. I walked down to the beautiful Queen Victoria Gardens area of the park. Along the way  I passed many statues honoring the famous men and women prominent in Melbourne history.  Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance -43

The garden were  enchanting and  imagined how they would appear during the other seasons of the year.  I left the park and again crossed the  Yarra river across from  the train station at Flinders Street.  Here is a link to some more photographs from my visit to the  Shrine of  Remembrance and the King’s Domain. Shrine of Remembrance -54

It was hot and I was tired but i wanted to explore some of the shopping and commercial areas of downtown Melbourne so I just walked aimlessly up and down the congested streets in the heart of Melbourne. Melbourne afternoon walk -11

I love walking the streets of large cities and I observed  the many types of people, tourists, shoppers, office workers, and students rushing the crowded streets of the city.

I continued my walk and found myself in  the Chinatown of Melbourne. It seems there is a Chinatown in every major city and I love exploring the shops and grocery stores with all of the fresh and exotic produce. Melbourne afternoon walk -17

I had now walked almost ten miles, and although I wanted to keep exploring the streets of Melbourne,  the heat got to me and I decided to head back to the hotel.  since I was returning home the next day and had to pack. I made my way back to the Flinders Street Station and took the train and bus back to my hotel. Here is a link to some more photographs from my walk through the streets of Melbourne. afternoon walk -3

It was late afternoon now so I showered, finished packing and decided to eat dinner  at the hotel restaurant.. I got to know the friendly staff quite well at the hotel and they recommended the home cooking at their restaurant. They were right I had a wholesome meal of fresh salmon, mashed potatoes and a vegetable. On my way back to my room I had twenty dollars in Australian money left over from money  I had just exchanged to get some coins for souvenirs. There were slot machines in the hotel, and I decided to give them a try. I don’t gamble a lot but when I do, I usually win, and I did! I won three hundred dollars!  Not bad for five minutes of work. I cashed in my winnings, headed to my room, finished packing and fell asleep almost instantly, recalling the wonderful day I spent exploring Melbourne. Melbourne flight home february 25 -30

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
Augustine of Hippo




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Australia Day Twenty One: A Morning In Melbourne

Because of my  long day visiting the penguins, I slept in a bit on my last  full day in Australia.  I missed the sunrise, something I rarely do while traveling.  I awoke hungry,  since I didn’t get a chance to eat the night before, and  I had a quick breakfast at the hotel.  I again had a discussion about the vegemite, and once again had the local folks trying to give it another try. I politely passed. I did not have a good first experience in Sydney.  Sorry mates. Yuck!Melbourne bus and train -2

I then walked to the bus station to begin my journey into Melbourne on public transportation.  I  had a nice chat with some of the folks waiting for the bus.Melbourne bus and train -8

It was a short ride through the residential areas near the hotel to the train station at Watergardens. I joined the crowd of commuters waiting for the train downtown. It was the same scene I have seen in so many cities in the United States and other countries I have visited.   We were pretty much at the end of the train system so there were still seats available. However, he train car became more crowded at every stop on our way into Melbourne. It was packed like a can of sardines when   we reached  the main station downtown on Flinders Street.Melbourne bus and train -12

I exited at this beautiful old train station and walked into the hustle and bustle of downtown Melbourne.  I was now familiar with the public transportation network, and boarded a   trams for a short ride to the Fitzroy Gardens section of the city.  Here is a link to some more photographs from my ride into  Melbourne. bus and train -19

I walked through the tree  lined paths and flower gardens of Fitzroy Gardens and made my way to the Conservatory. This building, built in the Spanish Missionary style houses a variety of displays of flowers throughout the year. Tuberous begonias were now on display  and the building was filled with their many beautiful colors. I spent some time enjoying the flowers in this delightful place. Here is a link to more photographs of the Conservatory. conservatory -10

I continued my way through the paths of Fitzroy Gardens and walked under the many large trees until I made my way to Cook’s Cottage. The house was built in 1755 by the parents of the famous explorer Captain John Cook.  The cottage was taken down, transported to Australia, and reconstructed there in the 1930’sMelbourne Cook's Cottage -13

I remember learning about his travels in grade school and had just  I visited the site of his first landing in Australia on Bruny Island in Tasmania. I learned a lot about this famous explorer and also about life in 18th century England. I loved the  traditional English flower and vegetable  gardens  in the rear of the cottage.Melbourne Cook's Cottage -1

I continued my walk through Fitzroy Gardens, visiting some of the many fountains, monuments and gardens it is famous for, including  this miniature Victorian village.Melbourne Cook's Cottage -34

I wish I had more time, there was still so much to see,  but I wanted to see more of Melbourne and so I walked the tree and flower lined path out of the gardens and made my way , by short walk, to the sports stadium complex. Here is a link to some more photographs of my visit to Fitzroy Gardens.Melbourne Cook's Cottage -35

I neared the famous MCG (Melbourne Cricket Grounds) site  of  the 1956 Olympics and home of Australian cricket and football.  This impressive stadium was surrounded by larger than life size statues of famous stars of both of these sports.Melbourne Cricket and tennis stadiums -7

Not being familiar with either sport, I didn’t recognize any of these men, but I am sure they were the heroes of many of the older  folks living in Melbourne.Melbourne Cricket and tennis stadiums -1

I really wanted to learn more about these sports, and wanted to take the tour of the stadium, but I didn’t have time.  I continued on my walk, and a short distance away, I came to  the famous tennis stadiums, including the Rod Laver arena. This is the main venue for the Australian Open  which is held here in Melbourne every January.Melbourne Cricket and tennis stadiums -24

During my walk the sun came out and it got pretty hot out. I decided it was time to cross the bridge over the beautiful Yarra River and head to the trees and gardens of the Botanical Gardens on the other side. Here is a link to some more photographs of my walk around the cricket and tennis stadiums. Cricket and tennis stadiums -26


“In merging nature and culture the most successful cities combine such universal needs as maintaining or restoring contact with the cycles of nature, with specific, local characteristics.”
Sally A. Kitt Chappell,


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Australia Day: Twenty Phillip Island – The Penguin Parade

After leaving the Art Gallery, I found the bus waiting for the approximately 2 hour ride to Phillip Island, home of a large colony of little penguins, also called blue or fairy penguins. Having been fortunate enough to visit Antarctica and the Galapagos Islands, I have already seen, and photographed  emperor, king, chinstrap, adelie, macaroni,  rockhopper, galapagos, gentoo and  magellanic penguins. I was this close to this smallest species of penguins so I felt I had to see them.Phillip Island bus ride -4

The weather outside turned cloudy and looked like there were storms in the area but we missed them on our bus ride out of Melbourne. We quickly drove through the suburbs and into the more rural areas. Our bus driver kept us entertained with a lot of information about the regions we drove passed, and kept us laughing with his wit and jokes. Phillip Island bus ride -5

As we drove further south we found  ranches and farms  and large areas of wetlands. I enjoyed seeing the homes and small towns we passed wondering about the folks living their lives in an area so distant and different than the one I grew up in. The rain held off and it was a nice ride to the island. Here is a link to some more photographs from my ride to Phillip Island. Island bus ride -19

It was still cloudy and windy when we crossed the bridge onto the island but there were also some patches of blue sky indicating the storms were ending. Phillip Island-4

We took a quick tour of the island before we made our way to the penguin sanctuary. I was disappointed when I was told by our driver that we could not take photographs of the penguins on the beach as they came ashore. I really wanted to share this experience with my blog and Facebook viewers. As we drove we did see a number of wallabies peeking out form the grass and brush. Phillip Island-9

And we were also lucky to see this echidna crawling across the road and into the grass.Phillip Island-5

We stopped at an overlook and had some time to take in the spectacular rocky shoreline form the cliffs above. The surf was rough from the wind and full moon and it made for a wonderful experience. Phillip Island-18

I enjoyed watching the seagulls soaring below us, looking for a late day meal. Here is a link to some more photographs of the seagulls on Phillips Island. 5-1

On our way to the visitor center the  driver saw some little penguins, still in their burrows, and he stopped to let us take some photographs since we were outside of the restricted area. What a beautiful animal. It was molting season for the birds and these two must have lost their features and were unable to make the daily journey to the ocean to feed. It was very fortunate sighting for our group and I got my little penguin photograph!little penguin-1

We entered the visitor center and I viewed some of the many exhibits. I purchased a VIP package which allowed us a private meeting with one of the rangers, where we had a little snack, as we learned about the penguins and the sanctuary.Phillip Island-30

We then walked to the viewing center overlooking the beach where we joined the rangers waiting to count the penguins as the returned from their day of feeding in the ocean.  What a truly amazing experience. We watched through binoculars as the first brave penguins left the ocean under the cover of darkness. They formed groups at the water’s edge, and waited cautiously, for the first in the group to make the dash over the open sand and to the safety of the rocks and shrubs in the cliffs  where they make their burrows. Wave after wave waddled ashore.. It was both comical and awe inspiring. Phillip Island-38

We left the ranger overlook station and made our way closer to the beach where we saw lines of penguins noisily  making their way to their burrows.  We passed some of the lower nests and burrows and watched the penguins squawking loudly to call their mates to the nest and to protect it from intruding penguins. It was an amazing scene.  And, as the full moon peeked through the clouds, we watched more waves of penguins  running up from the ocean in the moonlight. . What a magical night. My only regret was not being able to take photographs or videos and sharing it with my family and friends. We had  about an hour observing the penguins as they returned to their  burrows until we had to return to our bus for the long ride home. Here is a link to some more photographs from my visit to Phillip Island. Island-37

I watched the full moon peek in and out of the clouds on the ride back to Melbourne.  I was dropped off at the Art Gallery and now had to make it back to my hotel in Taylors Lakes. I had not public transportation, and even though the woman said it  would be easy I debated taking the train and bus or a taxi cab. I decided on the train and made my way to the Flinders Street Station. I enjoyed walking the almost empty streets of Melbourne under the light of the full moon.  Melbourne night -11

I found the station to be very tourist friendly and easily found my train to Watergardens. I sat back and enjoyed some “people watching” on the half hour train ride.Melbourne flight home february 25 -26

When I arrived at my stop, it was after midnight, I found out the public buses were no longer running and so I had to take a short cab ride to my hotel. I spent a few minutes outside enjoying the full moon before returned to my room. It was a long day and I quickly was asleep, dreaming of the magical penguin parade on Phillip Island. Here is a link to some photographs from my walk and ride to the hotel. night -14


“… Once a penguin finds its perfect other penguin, they stay together pretty much forever.”
Anna Staniszewski,

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Australia Day Twenty: Farewell To Tasmania And On To Melbourne

I woke up early my last day in Hobart to take one last walk along the harbour I had come to love.  I was hoping to see a sunrise but was disappointed because of the  clouds in  the eastern  sky.  It still was a reflective walk on the piers and docks of this quiet town. I roamed about for a half hour   and I was rewarded with some nice scenes of sunlit clouds on Mt. Wellington and the surrounding hills as I made my way back to the hotel. Here is a link to some more photographs from my morning walk. morning walk -19

I quickly packed, and didn’t have time for breakfast, so, after a short drive to the airport by shuttle, I had a cup of coffee and a pastry at the airport. I was early and had some time to take in the activity of the travelers at the gate. It was a short flight to Melbourne, about an hour of flying time, and I enjoyed watching the  changing landscape of Tasmania from my window seat.Melbourne flight -4

We didn’t fly over the unspoiled wilderness areas for which Tasmania is famous but they could be seen in the distance. We did fly over ranches and farms until we reached the shores of the ocean. Once over the Australian mainland, the ground was again the reddish brown I had come accustomed to on my travels the past three weeks. The suburbs and skyline of Melbourne came into view and we were shortly on the ground. Here is a link to some photographs from my flight to Melbourne. flight -20

I left the airport but I wasn’t going into Melbourne. I ran out of time while planning my trip and  wasn’t able to plan much about my visit to Melbourne.  I booked a hotel in the suburbs, just to make sure I’d have a room, and was going to change it when I was in Australia. .In Hobart I realized how far from the city it wa, and tried to book a room downtown.  I tried almost  every descent  hotel   in the city but found not a room available. I was told there was a convention in town. So I was staying at my original hotel, the Quality Hotel, in Taylor Lakes.Melbourne hotel and city walk -1

I saw from my taxi ride from the airport I was on the far outskirts of suburban Melbourne. It reminded my of a fast growing town in the United States. like Las Vegas, where the town follows the highways out of the city. First there is an exit on the new highway , then gas stations, then fast food restaurants and malls and finally cookie cutter residential developments.Melbourne hotel and city walk -5

I got to my hotel around noon and was greeted by a most friendly staff. I explained to them I was traveling form United States and wanted to stay nearer the city but was stuck out here. . They explained the train and bus schedule to me. I asked if there was anything to see or do in Taylor Lakes and they told me shopping at the mall. A typical suburb. I did not travel eleven thousand miles to shop,  so, after stowing my camera gear and luggage, I decided to head into  downtown Melbourne. Melbourne hotel and city walk -3

I was about 20 miles from the downtown Melbourne, and the folks at the hotel told me it may be best to take a cab to the train station at Watergardens and take the train to the city. I hired a cab to take me to the Watergardens train station but he persuaded me that it would be quicker to get to central Melbourne by taxi. He was not telling me the truth.  We drove a major  highway into the city and I wasn’t able to see much of city. Melbourne hotel and city walk -9

I had not researched the sights of  Melbourn like I did the other cities I visited in Australia. I had no idea what the downtown looked like so I got out near the Southern Cross Train Station and found a visitor center.  A nice woman at the center not only was helpful in advising me on the sights of the city but she explained the public transportation system to me, showed me how to take the trains and buses back to my hotel and told me I could get a two day pass to ride all the trains, buses and trams in Melbourne for ten dollars.  I paid forty five dollars for my one way cab ride into the city. She also told me that, if at all possible, I should the penguin parade on Phillip Island.  She said the bus left late in the afternoon and it was a two hour ride. Well, I thought, I was this close, why not. Melbourne hotel and city walk -11

I left the station and took a tram to Federation Square where I could purchase tickets for the penguin parade. I  was once again surprised with the crowds and traffic in the city.  The trams were easy to ride and I got off at my destination. After purchasing my tickets I had to get something to eat, It was almost 1:00p.m. now and I was hungry. The woman at the ticket booth suggested one of the many restaurants in the famous and unique Degraves Alley. Melbourne hotel and city walk -24

I made my way through the busy crowds of downtown Melbourne and found Degraves Alley. This narrow street was filled with all types of shops and restaurants selling every kind of food imaginable.  And they all were just about filled to capacity.Melbourne hotel and city walk -35

I had a nice lunch outside and continued to explore this interesting alley. I found the walls on the buildings at the end of the alley were covered in graffiti art. Here is a link to some more photographs of my ride into the city and walk through the downtown  hotel and city walk -40

I still had a couple of hours to kill so I walked through the streets for a bit and found myself at the impressive St. Paul’s Cathedral. I took some time exploring this beautiful church. Here is a link to some more photographs of the Cathedral. St Paul's -32

After I visited the Cathedral I continued my walk but storms clouds appeared in the sky so I decided to head to the National Gallery of Victoria located on Foundation Square near where I would meet my bus.Melbourne gallery -18

I only had about an hour to explore the many exhibits and it just wasn’t enough time. I photographed many of the wonderful works of art, and I would again like to thank both the art gallery and the artists for allowing me to share these wonderful exhibits. After my short visit to the Art gallery I  found my bus waiting outside for my trip to Phillip Island and the penguin parade.Here is a link to some of the many beautiful works of art I saw at the Gallery. gallery -25


“There’s something about arriving in new cities, wandering empty streets with no destination. I will never lose the love for the arriving, but I’m born to leave.”
― Charlotte Eriksson,

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Australia Day Nineteen: Tasmania Bruny Island – Beaches, Oysters And Chocolate.

Well back to Bruny Island, for those of you who had seen an earlier post about my afternoon on Bruny Island. I had some issues on my blog website and lost the first post. So I am again reflecting on my wonderful afternoon on the island from memory.  I ended my last post  at the lighthouse at the southern end of the island. We headed north on the island, past Cloudy Bay and along the western shoreline.Tasmania Bruny Island hotel and beach -5

We made our way to Sunset Bay, where we stopped at Hotel Bruny for lunch.  I had two bowl of a most delicious seafood chowder, the first bowl, however, I wore, more than ate. I spilled it all over myself and my camera. Thankfully, the staff were so very helpful in getting me cleaned up. I was still worried, when I left, that I may attract seagulls because I sure smelled fishy.Tasmania Bruny Island hotel and beach -7

After lunch we had some time to spend beautiful sunset beach. I enjoyed walking along this remote shoreline, looking for  seashells, and watching the birds fly overhead.  Here is a link to some more photographs from our visit to Hotel Bruny. Bruny Island bird -1

We then proceeded again to the narrow neck or isthmus that separates the southern and northern portions of Bruny Island.   We were told by our guide that their are little penguin colonies here. We didn’t see any since they spend their days searching for fish in the ocean.  some of us climbed the wooden steps of the Truganini lookout and took in the spectacular 360 degree view. It was well worth the long climb. Here is a link to some more photographs taken at the “neck”. Island The neck -56

We made our way north again, enjoying the scenery, and learning so much about the history of the island and it’s people. Even though I was very full from a great lunch was looking forward to sampling the local fresh oysters at the Get Shucked oyster farm. They were harvested only a few hours earlier and they surely were some of the best oysters I ever ate. Here is a link to some more photos from our visit to the oyster farm. Island Get shucked oyster -7

We continued our journey north to the ferry passing farm and ranch land and learning so much about this wonderful island.Bruny Island drive to ferry -5

At the ferry stop we had a short wait for the ferry and I roamed the countryside. It had cleared and it had become a fine late summer day.  It was hard to believe it was Winter back home. As I enjoyed the pleasant afternoon sunshine  I spotted this beautiful eagle soaring overhead.Bruny Island drive to ferry -7

We again crossed the waters of the D’ Entrecasteaux Channel and landed near the town of Kettering where we had one more stop to make, the Nutpatch Nougat chocolate shop. This famous shop makes the finest chocolate products and we learned a lot about the process, from the harvesting of the cacao beans, something I knew about from my visit to Ecuador, to the purchase of the finest chocolate from Belgium, and finally the preparation here in Tasmania. We also got to sample some of the wonderful finished product. Bruny Island drive to ferry -2

Before boarding our bus for the ride back to Hobart, our group, and guide Steve posed for this photograph,  strangers in the morning but now friends, after sharing a great day exploring Bruny Island.  It was a great experience and I would  highly recommend Bruny Island safaris and especially our knowledgeable guide Steve. Bruny Island drive to ferry -12

I was the last to be dropped off so I again enjoyed the ride through the streets of Hobart, taking in the everyday, day ending routine of the residents who live on the other side of the planet from me.  I got to my room and worked on editing my photographs for a bit until I had a late dinner on the Hobart docks. I enjoyed my last walk in this exotic town. Here is a link to some more photographs from our visit to the Nutpatch Nougat shop and our ride back to Hobart.\Bruny Island drive to ferry -8


“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other places, other lives, other souls.” – Anais Nin



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Australia Day Nineteen: It Does Rain In Australia: Still A Great Morning On Bruny Island, Including A Sighting Of The Rare White Wallaby.

Sorry, no post for a few days, but lot of catching up to do. So back to my Australia trip and my visit to Tasmania. I woke up early the day after my visit to the Bonorong wildlife sanctuary and left my hotels for my tour to Bruny Island.   I found out it does rain in the Southern Hemisphere. I had not experienced rain since a brief shower while at Bondi Beach. No rain for two weeks. Not a drop. But it was cloudy and a light rain was falling in Hobart. So I returned to my room and got out the waterproof gear.Tasmania Bruny Island  ferry ride -3

I walked the few blocks to where the bus would pick me up and actually enjoyed seeing the harbour in the rain. It reminded me more of what the first explorers and sailors may have experienced when they first  arrived in  this  then remote area of our planet.Tasmania Bruny Island  ferry ride -4

I  was the first passenger to join the tour on Bruny Island Safaris and got to see a lot of the neighborhoods and side streets of Hobart as we drove through the town and picked up the other ten folks in our group.Tasmania Bruny Island Ferry ride-2

We left the city and,  again,  quickly drove into the  more rural and wooded areas of the suburbs. We arrived in the little town of Kettering and waited to board a ferry to Bruny Island. We had a short wait for the ferry and I enjoyed roaming around the marina in the small bay.  We boarded the ferry and  crossed over to Bruny Island.  The rain had stopped and we had a nice ride even seeing a seal in the distance. Here is a link to some more photographs of our ride to Bruny Island. Bruny Island Ferry ride-28

Once on the Island our informative guide Steve gave us a lot of information on the plants, animals, people and history of  Bruny Island. As a resident of the southern part of the island he provided us with many interesting insights about life on the island. We drove a short distance and stopped at the delightful little Bruny Island Cheese store. in addition to learning a lot about the making of cheese we got to sample some of their wonderful cheese.  it was delicious.Tasmania Bruny cheese store and berry farm -4

We continued southward on the island learning more about the geology and history until we made it to Adventure Bay. We stopped at the Berry farm for a nice breakfast and had some time to explore the bay. Here is a link to some photographs of the cheese store and berry farm.

At scenic Adventure bay we learned of the landing of the famous Captain Cook and his explorations of Australia and the south seas. I enjoyed the roaring of the waves on the shore, especially with the stormy clouds and wind.  Here is a link to some more photographs of scenic Adventure  Bay.  Tasmania Bruny Adventure bay-3

We again continued south crossing the narrow isthmus that separates the north and south portions of the island. Once on  the south island we  got off the main road and proceeded on a dirt road that traveled up and over the  forested mountains in the center of the south island. Tasmania Bruny mountain road -10

As we drove up, and while still on some farm land we were first treated to a group of wallabies that were in the fields along the road. It was a treat to see these wild animals peering at us from the bush as we drove by. Here are some more photographs of the wallabies. Bruny Island wallaby -2

And we received an even bigger surprise. We spotted a female white wallaby with a joey in her pouch! What a beautiful creature. We were lucky. our guide told us, due to construction in the area, sightings have been rare. We watched the remarkable animal for a while and, as we drove on encountered three more of this rare and beautiful animals. Our guide told us the record sightings in one day was six so we had a very good day. Here is a link to some more of the enchanting white wallabies. Bruny Island white wallaby-15

We continued on the dirt road through thick forests and learned a lot about the local trees, shrubs and plants from our guide. We also learned how some of the trees, being so tall were cut and sent to London to be used on the breakwater for the Thames river. I loved being in the forest and wished i could have spent a few days hiking and exploring these mountains. Here is a link to some more photographs of our ride through the mountains. Bruny mountain road -15

We again entered a paved road, and civilization as we drove past quaints farm houses and residents. We soon left these farms and again were in a hilly and wooded area as we approached the southern tip of the island, and the famous Bruny Lighthouse. Tasmania BrunyIsland Lighthouse-5

The Lighthouse, the fourth oldest in Australia, was built by convict labor in 1838. We were able to climb the winding stairs to the top and take in the fantastic views of the Southern ocean.   The ocean roared in the distance and,  far to the south, across open ocean, lay frigid Antarctica.I reflected on the many fearless sailors who braved this rough waters in search of wealth, homes, or adventure, and also the destitute convicts sentenced to a hasch life in the new colonies. Tasmania BrunyIsland Lighthouse-17

We got a chance to tour the museum, and the many artifacts left over from the folks who manned the lighthouse over the years,  and then headed back north  to continue our exploration of the island.   Here is a link to some more photographsof our visit to the lighthouse.



“Most of the southern hemisphere is unexplored. We had more exploration ships down there during Captain Cook’s time than now. It’s amazing.”

— Robert Ballard,Tasmania BrunyIsland Lighthouse-37





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Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary: Rescuing The Wildlife Of Tasmania And Australia. And Educating Us On It’s Continued Survival

I would much prefer to find, and photograph, the native wildlife in the countries I visit in their native habitat. . There is nothing like watching a penguin or elephant seal on a beach in Antarctica or a lion or elephant roaming the plains of Africa as free as the  day it was born. However, sometimes you don’t get that opportunity. Sometimes, because they just aren’t in your location during the short time when you visit. And secondly, some species are becoming rare and hard to find in the wild. Bonorong -13

I was delighted to see the wild kangaroos in the distance  near the Blue Mountains, the many species of birds in the botanical gardens I visited and, especially the playful seals off Rottnest Island.  I will treasure those memories. But I didn’t see a koala, emu or tasmanian devil during my travels through Australia.  This is why I look for wildlife sanctuaries in the countries I visit and was looking forward to my trip to Bonorong’Bonorong -14

After visiting Africa two years ago I came to realize animals were not created to be held captive. I could see the expressions of joy in the families  of elephants roaming the vast Serengeti plain, free to travel anywhere is search of food,  lions roaming the African plains or giraffes chomping on leaves,  as free as they day they were born.  I will no longer visit zoos.  Animals do not belong in these cages. The Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary is not a zoo. It is  a sanctuary for injured, ill or abandoned animals. I And what a wonderful sanctuary it is.Bonorong -9

Once again time was my enemy and I  only had two hours to spend in this haven for Australia’s wildlife. I learned from some of the exhibits and pamphlets that the sanctuary is funded completely by admissions and private contributions.  It’s hundreds of volunteers rescue hundreds of animals injured in encounters with motor vehicles. Tasmania, since it has so much wilderness areas also has more roadkills than anywhere else in the world. Many young “joeys”, still in their mothers pouches are orphaned and, would surely die, if not for the volunteers at  this safe haven, which also has it’s own animal hospital. Conservation is also emphasised at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. (Please right click on the red highlighted words for a link for more information about the sanctuary)Bonorong koala-20

I entered the sanctuary and after a short walk, opened a gate and was greeted by the sight of hundreds of kangaroos. It was amazing to be so close to these exotic animals.Bonorong kangaroo-31

The kangaroos are remarkably friendly and you are able to hand feed them with food provided by the sanctuary.   They were all so much alike yet different in their personalities. And after a while I was able to notice  the many differences, in the size of one’s ears, tail or paws.Bonorong kangaroo-33

There were old timers, content to lay in the warm Summer sun, young ones frolicking about and moms nursing their young. I spent what was way to short of a time but had to see the rest of the sanctuary. Here is a link to some more photographs of the many kangaroos I saw that afternoon. kangaroo-41

I left the kangaroo area and came face to face with these  large birds, the emus. It sure would take a lot of bird seed to keep this birds full. Again, I was able to get very close and observe these massive birds. I sure can see their relation to the dinosaur. Here is a link to some more photographs of the emus. emu-12

I next got to see the critter I most associated with Tasmania, the famous tasmanian devil. At first it appeared nothing  like the ferocious animal portrayed in Bugs Bunny cartoons. It actually was kind of cute resting in the sun.Tasmaninan Devil 12-1

However, once it got up and started pacing about it showed it’s true colors, and teeth, and showed us how this marsupial   got it’s name.  Unfortunately, a cancer has spread through the population, they are only found on the island of Tasmania, and there species is now endangered. Here is a link to some more photographs of the strange and exotic creature. Devil 16-1

I next came upon what I think is the most famous, and beloved of all of Australia’s many exotic animals the koala. And I can see why.  They sure do look cute. I learned, on my travels through Australia, that there are over seven  hundred different species of eucalyptus trees in Australia. I also learned that koalas only eat eucalyptus leaves. The problem for this remarkable creatures is that they only eat around six of the seven hundred of species. Not good for the koala which are limited to those areas where this species grow.Bonorong koala-12

There are no koalas in tasmania, nor any of the species of eucalyptus trees they eat, so all of their food must be flown in from the mainland. They are not a very energetic animal but I was lucky to have one of them make a move down the tree while I watched. The other fellow was content sleeping. Here is a link to some more photographs of the koalas. koala-8

There were a number of  different species of birds, most parrot like, in the sanctuary, and, although , I visited all of them, I didn’t have time to wait for them to get in good positions for photographs.  Here is a link to some of  the better photographs I was able to get of the birds. birds-10

I also visited the blue tongued lizards and waited patiently for them to show me their tongue. They weren’t co-operating but I did manage to at least get this photograph. Here is a link to some more photographs of the lizards blue tongued 3-1

And next  there was Randall, a three footed echidna or anteater. He lost a foot and couldn’t survive on his own in the wild.Bonorong echidna-2

Thankfully, someone brought him to the sanctuary and he is happy roaming it’s grounds looking for a meal. Here is a link to some more photographs of Randall. echidna-4

Finally I came to the wombats and this  baby that was rescued and brought to the sanctuary.  Thankfully, because of the many volunteers at the sanctuary this cute little creature has a chance to survive after the loss of it’s mother. Here is a link to some more photographs of the wombats. Wombat-4

Randall and this baby wombat’s stories  are the same as many other animals at this, and other sanctuaries around the world, not only do they save individual animals like the echidna, or the baby wombat, but they allow us to see these wonderful creatures up close. And familiarity with this beautiful creatures, who share this planet with us, and are just as much a part of it as we are, helps us understand  how perilous their situation is and teach us ways we can  help protect  them.  It is a good thing, both for us and the animals. Bonorong-10


“If we can teach people about wildlife, they will be touched. Share my wildlife with me. Because humans want to save things that they love.”
Steve Irwin






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Australia Day Eighteen: Tasmania Hobart A Walk Through Downtown And A Ride Through The Country.

I enjoyed my moonlit walk on Saturday night through  the docks of Hobart but payed the price on Sunday morning. I slept in and missed the sunrise, something I seldom do on my travels. I had nothing scheduled until a trip to the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary at 11;30 a.m so I decided to just roam through the streets of downtown Hobart. Roaming the streets of a foreign is one of my favorite activities, as you can probably tell by now.Tasmania Hobart downtown walk -4

I walked along the docks, past the town hall, some museums and parks. I wish I had more time to explore the parks and museums but  continued into the downtown area.  I came across a stately old Anglican church,  St. Davis’s Cathedral. I always enjoy exploring places of worship of all Faiths, and, it being Sunday I peeked in on a service that was being performed in the church. I stayed a bit and enjoyed a portion of that uplifting service.Tasmania Hobart downtown walk -18

I walked on and, once again, stumbled into  a bustling market.  the Farmgate Market on Elizabeth street.

It was smaller than the market at Salamanca Place but still had a wide variety of local produce and products, food, cloths and live entertainment. The  colors of the fresh fruits and vegetables looked so tantalizing in the morning sunshine. Here is a link to some more photographs I took at the Farmers market. Hobart farmers market -28

I continued aimlessly through the streets of Hobart, with no purpose other than to see what I could see.  I passed the usually  stuff found in every city, businesses, small and large, retail stores, small and large, churches, police and fire departments, restaurants, local and fast food, and yes even a McDonalds.  Here is a link to some more photographs of my walk through the streets of Hobart. downtown walk two -44

I also was on a mission, to find a place to exchange some United States currency into Australian money. It was Sunday and the businesses and banks were closed but I was told there might be a travel agency open in a mall where I could exchange currency on a Sunday. So I set out for, and found the mall, but, alas, it was closed. I still got to see some local supermarkets and retails stores. so it was not a wasted tripHobart downtown walk two -33

I roamed the streets for a little while but had to get back for a shower and breakfast before my tour to the wildlife sanctuary. Here is a link to some more photographs from my walk through Hobart. downtown walk two -6

After breakfast I walked over to my bus for my visit  to the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. It was a pleasant 45 minute ride through the Tasmanian countryside.  We left the city and soon found ourselves driving through,first, suburbia and then ranch and farm lands. We left some passengers off for a visit to  the historic town or Richmond, noted for it’s prison for English convicts.Drive to Bonorong-20

We continued our drive past sheep, and cattle ranches and a lot of vineyards, the grapes covered to protect them from the sun and birds.  It was a nice ride but I was excited when we arrived at the famous Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary. I was hoping to see some of Australia’s and Tasmania exotic animals up close. Here is a link to some more photographs from my ride to the sanctuary. to Bonorong-3

A city isn’t so unlike a person. They both have the marks to show they have many stories to tell. They see many faces. They tear things down and make new again.”
Rasmenia MassoudDrive to Bonorong-21



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Australia Day Seventeen: Hobart, Tasmania Part Two. Gardens, Mountains And The Moon.

Well I decided I had to do two posts on my first day in Hobart since there was just so much to see in this  beautiful city. After breakfast I  walked to the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens.  I have always loved, flowers, trees and plants and   always try and visit the local Botanical Gardens  on my travels.  I checked the maps briefly, knew it would be a nice walk,  and headed in the general direction of the Gardens. Botanical Gardens hike -2

As often  is the case, getting somewhere by foot is not as easy as it appears on a map. I walked along the street I thought would get me there but I ran into  a fence  and was   directed  to an underpass, past a water fountain and into a park.Botanical Gardens hike -3

I was a little unsure of which way to proceed so walked toward where I knew the Gardens would be, Unfortunately, the streets didn’t co-operate and I found myself asking for directions. Not always a good idea. A woman, with good intentions, I hope, sent me up a road that proceeded up a long hill. It was a nice walk, for awhile, with beautiful  views of the city and the surrounding mountains.Botanical Gardens hike -19

I walked past tennis courts, a soccer stadium and a track. There were also a lot of trees filled with squawking  green  parrot like birds. I continued walking but the cool air was warming up from the late summer sun and it was getting pretty hot  out. It is still summer down here, Botanical Gardens birds 2-1
Botanical Gardens hike -6 I knew I should have been at the Botanical Gardens by now, and, I looked for someone to ask where I was. It wasn’t good news, it seems I was led far from where I wanted to be. I wouldn’t have minded except I had booked a tour for 3:30 so didn’t have much time to be hiking all around Hobart. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike to the Botanical Gardens.

I eventually found the Botanical Gardens. However, I now had only about a half an hour to spend exploring these expansive grounds.Botanical Gardens -1

It was almost torture. There was so much to see and so little time to take it all in. Oriental ponds surrounded with exotic plants, fern gardens, rose gardens, North American trees and from all over the globe. .  Of course, I wanted to see it all but had to settle for a fleeting glance at the many exotice species of plants,trees and flowers. .  Botanical Gardens -13

I did make sure I got to the sub-antarctic room, a kept cold so as to allow species found only in the antarctic regions can live and thrive so far from their frozen home. It sure was cold inside but brought back memories of my visit to Antarctica. I left the gardens for the long walk to my hotel. Here is a link to some more photographs from my brief visit to the Botanical Gardens. Gardens -29

I only had time to get to my room, grab my ticket and head to catch my bus for a ride to the top of Mt. Wellington., the mountain that looms over Hobart and is so much a part of this delightful harbour town.  I had a problem at the bus, having been told I could pay with a credit card at the bus pickup. I was now told I couldn’t  and I had no Australian cash.  The first guide told me I wouldn’t be allowed to board the bus or take the tour. However, a second guide, who was going to take us up, took me into a visitor center where I was able to pay for the trip with my credit card. It was a very kind gesture on his part. We than proceeded up the long and winding road to the summit. Bus to Mt. Wellington-6

We first passed residential houses and drove through thick  eucalyptus forest. We learned of the devastating fire that occurred in 1967 burning hundreds of thousands of acres and killing 62 people. Bus to Mt. Wellington-7

We got glimpses  of the spectacular views that awaited us as we slowly made our way up the mountain. Finally,  we made it to the top and joined the scores of other tourists who came up for the fantastic view of the ocean and mountains. Here is a link to some more photographs of our journey up the mountains. to Mt. Wellington-18

We left our bus and had a forty five minutes to explore the summit. It was cloudy when we first arrived but the clouds broke and we were treated to the awesome vistas of the surrounding, seemingly, endless mountains, ocean and the town of Hobart far below us. Mt. Wellington-20

I took a walk to the overlook, then walked along the various trails on the summit taking in the different views the height of the mountain provided us.Mt. Wellington-2

It was chilly and windy up there and you could tell from the many wind blown shrubs and other plants growing among the many rock and boulders that were strewn atop the mountains summit. Here is a link to some more photographs from atop Mt. Wellington.

I wish we had more time but we returned to the bus for our long ride back to town, I returned to the hotel, showered and rested, before I had an early meal at the interesting Drunken Admiral tavern located near my hotel. The food was great as was the bar itself.  Mt. Wellington-14Hobart downtown walk two -1

The moon was nearly full that night, and although I was tired from a long day of sightseeing, I had to walk the docks under the moonlight taking in another perspective of this quaint and exotic harbour town on the edge of nowhere. It was another wonderful day in this remote part of the land “downunder”  Here is a link to some more photographs from my moonlight walk along the docks. moonlight walk-15


“Nothing can be compared to the new life that the discovery of another country provides for a thoughtful person. Although I am still the same I believe to have changed to the bones.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe,Hobart moonlight walk-18

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