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June 24, 2006

The Great Barrier Reef

I've gone and done something I never really thought I would do. I took some lessons and became a certified diver. After spending two days in a pool and a classroom, 3 days living aboard a boat, and numerous underwater excursions into several locations along the Great Barrier Reef, I have been rewarded with a little card that states that I am a certified Adventure Diver. On June 20th I received my Open Water certification and the next day managed to take a small step up to the Adventure level. You might be asking yourself what this means... Basically, it means that I can jump into water with a fellow diver (and proper equipment, naturally) and swim around day or night as deep as 30 meters. I'm still a little surprised at this information. I'm also still a little shocked by exactly how beautiful the Great Barrier Reef actually is.

Not much more time to type as I have to get some sleep before I head out early tomorrow. I'm doing a tour of the rainforest and spending a night in Cape Tribulation. I’ll leave you with a few more photos of the ocean from the perspective I'm more accustomed to seeing it from.

June 15, 2006

Brisbane – Part II

Actually, I’m in Cairns (pronounced Caaannes. And no, I don’t know why it’s pronounced like that.). I’ve come to Cairns for sun, heat and relaxation. Relaxation I have, sun and heat… well, earlier I had a bit of that. Sadly it didn’t last long. I’ve heard it’s colder in than it has been in years, meaning that in the evening I had to change into jeans a carry around a light sweater. Since I can’t do the thing I came to do (tan), I thought I’d finish sharing my Brisbane experiences.

With a population on one and a half million, Brisbane is the 3rd largest city in Australia. It's was built to be a penal colony for Sydney’s more uncooperative convicts. Thankfully, today’s residents seem to have a much more relaxed attitude than their forefathers.

My second favourite activity in Brisbane was exploring the South Bank Parklands.

This photo of the downtown Brisbane was taken from the Southbank.

Brisbane is set in from the ocean due to a lack of fresh water and problems with unwelcoming aborigines (Hmmm… I wonder why they didn’t want the white folk around???). The Brisbane River is then the focal point of this city, and not only is it pretty it is also very functional becoming an important part of the public transportation system. Which brings me to my favourite Brissie activity, taking the CityCat Ferry.

There seems to be no shortage of sculptures living in the streets of Brisbane. My favourite is called simply "City Roos". Christopher Trotter made these cratures out of scrap metal.

Another not to be missed activity in Brisbane is the Roma Street Parklands. My guidebook claims that it is the biggest urban subtropical garden in the world. It certainly is pretty.

And so here I am in Cairns, contemplating learning to dive and wondering what treats this city will have in store. Here’s a taste for you:

June 14, 2006

G'Day Mate!!

Guess what??? I'm in Oz (sometimes knows as Australia). I flew out of Auckland on June 14th and after a few hours of non-stop cloud cover I was thrilled to peak out my window to catch my first glace of Australia.

The first city I chose to visit in Oz was Brisbane, Queensland (the Sunshine State... and yes I did come for the sunshine). I arrived just in time for another one of the Southern Hemisphere's spectacular buttery yellow sunset.

Tired as I was, for some reason I always think it's a good idea to sleep as little as possible before getting on a plane, I did manage to work up the energy to take some night photos. This is the Brisbane River. It snakes its way through the heart of the city and is one of the best spots in Brisbane to take a stroll. Victoria Bridge (below) seemed particularly photogenic to me.

Yesterday was my first day to explore the city and the Botanical Gardens presented itself as an excellent place to start.

I do have heaps more photos to share with you, but it is getting late, and I do have another flight to catch tomorrow. Which isn't really a problem, its the early check out and the bits I still want to see before I leave town.

Goodnight mates.

June 4, 2006

Sunday Stroll

Albert Park