On countless occasions, we have spoken to people we meet on our travels overseas who have seen more of our country than we have. In conversation, we sheepishly confess that we haven’t seen the Great Ocean Road, Cairns, Broome or Uluru. And then more often than not the very same people have seen less of their home country than we have. Is it possibly because we forget the wonders we have in our own backyard or simply take it for granted that its not that far away and will always be there? For us, it is a little bit of both. We had this notion that we would travel further afield and do the “harder” trips while we are “young” and save the “easier” ones for when we get “older”. But its all relative and subjective so why delay what you really want to do because of such perceptions!
So rewind to the beginning of the year when we were thinking of a place to getaway, close enough to squeeze into 4 days but far enough for us to feel like we had a holiday. Flights directly to Yulara and 3 nights at Sails in the Desert were booked. Our review of the hotel can be found on TripAdvisor – link
Now fast forward to the end of April, we were on that Qantas flight flying towards the centre of Australia, eagerly peaking out the windows to sneak a peak of anything and there it was, or more like, there they were: Uluru and the Kata Tjuta sitting tall on the red desert sand. Earth so red that it was quite a sight.
The Sounds of Silence dinner (priced at $188 per head) is such a spectacular experience. It all starts with watching the sunset over Uluru and Kata Tjuta while enjoying a cultural Aboriginal dance before sitting down to a buffet dinner under the stars. The full moon decided to join us that night along with a sky-full of stars as the sounds of a didgeridoo were played.
In between, main and dessert, an astronomer dazzled us with information about the night sky and one of our biggest highlights was seeing Saturn and its rings in the high powered telescope that was set up. It was extraordinary! Moments like these when you get to meet other like-minded travellers adds to the experience. The food was delicious, with a good variety and the dessert spread deserves a mention.
View more photos of our trips at Photo Gallery.
Living in Sydney, it is not often (if ever) that you get to spot native Aussie animals in their habitats.
From Stanley, we booked a twilight tour to view platypus in the wild. And that we saw! We spotted two of them swimming in the wild, playful, coming up for air and then diving down again. They are nocturnal and apparently very shy so it is after the sun sets, they come out to play.
On the drive to Dismal Swamp, we did sadly see lots of animals that had been hit by cars including a Tasmania Devil. But the cutest thing we have seen was an echidna crossing the road. With his little legs, he was bumbling across the two lanes of traffic and crossed right in front of our car.
But it was in Cradle Mountain, on the night spotlight tour, that we saw much more. We saw wombats (14 to be exact) and can those wombats move. We saw brushtail possums, Bennet and Rufus wallabies. We saw baby possums and a baby wallaby bouncing into his mother’s pouch. It almost felt like what we were seeing was a performance. Right outside our room at Cradle Mountain Lodge, the wildlife can be seen. In the evenings, we saw wallabies bouncing through. This was nothing like we expected.
Walking with fairy penguins was also another treat. In Bicheno, we did the night tour to view the fairy penguins… And it is incredible to watch these flightless birds swim to shore after a long day at sea and waddle their way back to their homes, usually to their waiting babies. What blew us away was how close we could get. The penguins literally walk around us to get around. Awesome experience.
Never had we imagined that we would be able to witness these animals in the wild. People from overseas always tell us they would love to come to Australia and see our animals in the wild. And this is obviously the place to go – Tasmania is a wildlife wonderland!
Somehow a trip that started off with us going to Japan turned into a family holiday to Western Australia. Perth is a very flat and quiet city and has no traffic. We LOVE this city!
Rottnest Island is just off the coast near Fremantle, about a 25 minute ferry ride away. This is where we went for Day 1. On the way over, we were fortunate enough to see a humpback whale. swimming alongside the ferry. The ferry captain was wonderful enough to stop and let us spend a few minutes watching it. To get around Rottnes, there were a few options: buses that drive around the island in one direction, bicycles for hire or walking. The weather was perfect and the sun was out. Some of us went for a 3.3 km walk while the others pedalled. We all met up for lunch at Porpoise Bay on a secluded beaach. The water was crystal clear and the view was spectacular.
On Day 2, it was a long day on the road to Geraldton as we went via the Pinnacles. The roads although coastal are long, straight and narrow…. Even though a little bit out of the way, the Pinnacles were worthwhile to see. Its quite phenomenal seeing the big rocks (that almost look like termite mounds) sticking out of the desert sands!