Here are the pictures and videos I took from the Australia portion of my 2013 Pacific Rim trip. Pictures are below; click on any of them to start a full-screen slideshow of all of them. Below them are the videos; click a video to start it. (Note: there appears to be a bug in the way WordPress associates captions with pictures, in that the caption from the previous picture in a slideshow is sometimes incorrectly repeated in the current one. For pictures for which that’s the case, I’ve added a (correct) description under the (incorrect) caption.)
Australian currency. Almost every other developed country has more colorful currency than the US does.
A subway connects Sydney Airport to downtown Sydney, so this subway exit was my first open-air exposure to the city.
The bedroom portion of my Sydney hotel room. The windows looked out on a brick wall 5 feet away; if I craned my neck I could see past it to a quad. :)
The living room portion of my Sydney hotel room.
My first stop in Sydney was its Opera House, but to get there I had to go through the Royal Botanic Gardens & the Domain, connected parks in Sydney. This was the awesome sign that greeted me at its entrance. :)
Shrubbery at the Royal Botanic Gardens.
The Domain, 34 hectares of open space just east of the Sydney CBD.
The Sydney CBD, as seen from the Domain. The beauty of each seemed to complement the other.
My first clear view of the Sydney Opera House.
Sydney Cove, from the steps of the Sydney Opera House, off camera to the right. The CBD is to the left (south) of the Cove, a popular spot for cruise, tour, and ferry ships.
A plaque honoring Joseph Cahill, who authorized the Sydney Opera House, and Jørn Utzon, who designed it.
The Sydney Harbor Bridge, as seen from the Opera House entrance. The dots along the arch of the bridge are people, on the 3.5 hour, $200-350-per person climb to its top. :)
An enclosed lookout area at the northern edge of the Opera House.
A hallway in the Sydney Opera House. It’s interior is as architecturally dazzling as its exterior.
Sydney certainly has a green thumb; this is a garden at the city’s Government House.
The official residence of the Governor of New South Wales, Sydney’s equivalent to a US state. It was just as sumptuous inside, but photography there wasn’t allowed, alas.
Exterior of the Hyde Park Barracks. Australia’s first European use was by Britain, to house its convicts; this was one of their first stops when they reached the continent.
The Hyde Park Barracks was built in 1819, and served over the years as a barracks, prison, immigration depot, asylum, and government office. This room shows some of the architectural strata from those various uses.
Hammocks for new convict arrivals at the Hyde Park Barracks.
We were invited to lie in one of the hammocks at the Hyde Park Barracks, so…I did. :)
Sydney’s Hyde Park, the oldest public parkland in Australia. In the center is the Archibald Fountain, commemorating Australia’s contribution to WWI.
One of the fig tree-lined avenues in Hyde Park.
Hyde Park with the ANZAC War Memorial in the background, and Lake of Reflections in the foreground.
Interior of the ANZAC (Australia and New Zealand Army Corps, a WWI military corps) memorial, Sydney’s main military commemorative monument.
Hyde Park’s Lake of Reflections, in front of the ANZAC Memorial. Non-native poplars flank the Lake, symbolizing the French locales in which Australians fought during WWI.
An Australian White Ibis at the Lake of Reflections. I didn’t use a zoom here; these birds were totally fearless.
The main front of St. Mary’s Cathedral, seat of the Archbishop of Sydney.
A side view of St. Mary’s Cathedral, at 350 ft the longest church in Australia.
Looking out from Sydney Tower, the city’s tourist/observation/dining tower. This is the view from the Eye, its observation deck, at 820 ft above ground, here looking west.
One of the entrances to Sydney’s Chinatown. Never have I seen so many Chinese restaurants in one place. I went there looking for a good place to eat; needless to say I found one. :)
The entrance court of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney’s main art gallery.
One of the exhibition halls of the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
Pukumani poles at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, marking Tiwi burial sites.
An exhibition hall at the Australian Museum, Sydney’s natural/Australian history museum, and also its oldest.
The Australian Museum’s full-scale model of a diprotodon, the largest marsupial known. Extinct now, they are thought to have grown to 10 ft in length, weighing up to 6200 lb!
Part of the dinosaur exhibition at the Australian Museum.
The Skeletons section of Sydney’s Australian Museum.
What museum skeleton exhibit would be complete without one of a human, in his native habitat? :) (Australian Museum)
The Powerhouse Museum is Sydney’s main science/technology museum; this is its Boulton and Watt steam engine, the oldest surviving rotative steam engine in existence.
The Powerhouse Museum’s Locomotive No. 1, which hauled the first passenger train in New South Wales.
An F-1 rocket engine, used in the first stage of the Apollo program’s Saturn V rocket. At 19 ft tall, and providing 1.5 *million* pounds of thrust, it’s the most powerful single-chamber liquid-fueled rocket engine ever developed.
The airplanes of the Transport exhibit in the Powerhouse Museum.
The Powerhouse Museum’s 1914 Bleriot monoplane. This particular plane was the first to deliver airmail in Australia.
A Beechcraft Queenair B80 at the Powerhouse Museum. This particular one was New South Wales’ first air ambulance.
A Catalina Frigate Bird II at the Powerhouse Museum. This particular aircraft was used to establish the Sydney-Chile air route.
Between attractions this evening I sat down at the Circular Quay (the tourist/market/dining area between Sydney Cove and its CBD), and enjoyed the wonderful evening. This is the view of the Sydney Opera House from where I was sitting.
The Sydney Harbor Bridge at dusk, from the Circular Quay.
One of the telescopes at Sydney Observatory. Originally a working observatory, encroaching light pollution from Sydney forced its conversion to a (totally awesome) museum.
This day I took a ferry from downtown Sydney to its zoo. This was the view of the Sydney Opera House from the ferry, looking east.
The Sydney Opera House, north view, from the ferry.
Sydney Harbor, looking east toward an approximately 1 mile-wide peninsula containing Sydney suburbs. Beyond that peninsula is the Pacific Ocean.
The ferry that took me from downton Sydney to its Taronga Zoo.
One of the main walkways of the Taronga Zoo. I loved the juxtapositions in this scene: aerial tram and city skyline and dense foliage and people, all together.
Koalas at the Taronga Zoo.
Crocodiles at the Taronga Zoo. Why yes, I *was* happy there was a fence between them and me. :)
Taronga Zoo waterfowl (I’m not sure of the species), mugging for the camera. :)
A Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroo at Taronga Zoo. This species of kangaroo actually does live in trees.
A sleepy kangaroo at Taronga Zoo. :) Many exhibits were like this, with no fences between the animals and humans.
Downtown Sydney, on the ferry returning from the zoo.
The ground floor of Sydney’s Custom House has a partial glass floor, with this highly detailed model of the city’s CBD under it.
I couldn’t visit Australia without at least trying vegemite. :) I wasn’t impressed, though; sour, salty, and bitter, I only took one bite, and had to throw the rest away.
The second part of my Australia trip was in Cairns, 1200 miles north of Sydney, in order to scuba dive at the Great Barrier Reef, considered the world’s best diving location. This was my hotel room there.
Originally a mining town, Cairns is now mostly devoted to tourism and vacationing.
The Cairns Marina, departure point for my scuba dive excursion.
The deck of our scuba dive boat, on the way to the Great Barrier Reef.
The view from the bridge of our Great Barrier Reef dive boat.
There are structures permanently moored at the Great Barrier Reef, to allow repeated diving/snorkling/etc. This was one of those.
A permanently-moored boat at the Great Barrier reef. Some vacation packages included multi-day stays on these boats.
A particularly photoworthy coral/fish seascape at the Great Barrier Reef.
The white corrugated coral in the center of this Great Barrier Reef photo is a leather mushroom coral.
A massive (and beautiful) Great Barrier Reef coral cliff.
I believe this is a colony of pillar coral. Corals are actually really difficult to identify; many species look similar, and corals can resemble other sets of species (like sponges).
I believe the long, thin green stalks in this Great Barrier Reef picture are seaweed, but I’m unable to verify that. Anyone know for sure?
A sea slug at the Great Barrier Reef. I had time to set up this shot; my subject wasn’t moving quickly. :)
Cairns, from our dive boat.
Seaplane tours of the Great Barrier Reef are popular in Cairns; this was one of the planes.
Our Great Barrier Reef scuba dive boat.
This picturesque walkway connects downtown Cairns and its marina.
The Cairns Esplanade Lagoon, a wide, shallow, public pool just west of the city’s marina.
Freshwater Station, the starting point of the Kuranda Scenic Railway portion of my Cairns rainforest tour. The train was originally used for mining camp support.
Interior of my Kuranda Scenic Railway car, built around 1910, and refurbished in the 1930’s.
A picturesque waterfall, from my Kuranda Scenic Raillway car.
Barron Falls, in the Barron Gorge National Park, from the Kuranda Scenic Railway.
Originally a stop on the Kuranda Scenic Railway, Kuranda village is now a tourist destination. One of its attractions is the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, the largest of its kind in Australia. This is part of its main aviary.
A closeup of butterflies in the main aviary of the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary.
A flower feast for the butterflies at the main aviary in the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary. :)
One of the pupa rooms in the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary.
After the Butterfly Sanctuary was Rainforestation Nature Park. Some of its animals could roam around with the humans, but thankfully not this one: cassowaries have dagger-like claws up to 5 inches long on their feet, and they’re known for kicking.
Lace monitors at Rainforestation.
Papuan Frogmouths at Rainforestation, known for their froglike bills.
Rainforest trees at Rainforestation. Though this part of Australia has a tropical climate, it was autumn, so the temperature even here was in the 70’s and comfortable.
The view from my passenger seat in our Duck; that’s the driver in the right half of the picture. On the left side is swamp; we were flloating, with no ground contact, by this time.
We got to see what we looked like when we passed another Duck on the same Rainforestation tour.
This was the deepest into the rainforest we went; the view here gives a good idea of just how lush this area actually is.
The last portion of the rainforest tour was a 4.7 mile cableway ride back to Cairns, which provided a fascinating aerial perspective to the rainforest I’d seen from the ground.
There were two transfer stations in the Skyrail trip; the first was at Barron Falls. This was from its eastern edge; I had seen the falls from the west side on the way up via the Kuranda Scenic Railway.
Another view of Barron Falls, this time showing an area a bit more upstream than that of the previous shot.
The second Skyrail stop was Red Peak Station, which had a boardwalk through the rainforest.
A panoramic view of the rainforest from Skyrail’s Red Peak station, at 1788 ft above sea level its highest point. Takeaway? The rainforest (officially, Wet Tropics of Queensland) is massive, at almost 3500 square miles.
The Skyrail’s last stop was Cairns; this is the view of the cableway’s final descent. In the foreground is the eastern edge of the rainforest, with Cairns in the middleground, and Pacific Ocean in the background.
On descent back to Cairns via the Skyrail, I saw something I had no idea even existed: a cable waterski park, where visitors can grab overhead lines to ski around an oval watery track.
This is a regular sharps box, but in a place I hadn’t seen one before: an international (Cairns) airport. What a great idea; if people are going to use IV drugs, at least they can put their needles here and not underfoot.
I’d read about the Dyson Airblade, and its impressive ability to dry hands in 10 seconds using little electricity. I can’t speak directly to its energy consumption, but the dry time is completely accurate. :)
My last picture in Australia, at the Cairns airport. Next stop, Japan!