Travel through Australia at 2008: Sydney, Ayers Rock, Cairns, Darwin and Kakadu
What are you going to find in this article?
We booked the trip with Catai, and everything has to be said, everything went perfectly, we did not have a single problem of anything. Getting there was a bit heavy, we left Bilbao a Monday at 12 in the morning, and after passing through Madrid, London (4 hours waiting in Heathrow) and Bangkok, we finally arrived at Sydney Wednesday at 7 in the morning. 22 horitas from London, yes, flying with Qantas (Australian airline), takes the trip quite well. Two-story plane, with a screen on the seat with movies, games, radio, etc… just for you. Of course, nothing at all in Spanish. The good thing is that they give you food and drink at all hours, it's amazing. I give you a summary of what can be done and seen by Sydney. We were only 3 days, something totally insufficient to see this great city. If you want to see the center of the city in a quick plan, there is a monorail that takes you for 4 dollars.
First Day In Sydney
We arrived at the hotel The Grace 7.30 in the morning, which is very close to the area of the Opera House and the bay. Next to the hotel is the shopping center Queen Victoria with a great variety of stores where to make all kinds of purchases. The hotel is 4 stars, has its own gym, cafeteria, own restaurant, the rooms are quite large and in general all the hotel staff is quite nice. That is, if there is one thing that Australians take to the limit is punctuality.
We went out to the street to the 8 in the morning after having a coffee (by the way, it is quite bad in general throughout Australia), to climb the Sydney Tower from which to see the whole city. We took a combo entry for the tower and the aquarium, so it's cheaper, about 46 dollars per person. The Tower reaches a height of 305 meters and it takes a few 40 seconds going up in the elevator. The entrance also includes the show OzTrek, which is a tour in 3D through Australia. For the more lively you can take a walk around the outside of the tower (you go with a monitor and a harness just in case).
The tower is open from Sunday to Friday of 9: 00 am until 10: 30 pm and Saturdays from 9: 00 am until 11: 30 pm
Next to the hotel you will find Hyde Park (emulating the one in London), where the Catholic Cathedral of St. Mary is located. Near here we can find the library of Sydney and the Royal Botanic Gardens.
From the park we headed towards the Royal Botanic Gardens, through which we can direct our steps towards the bay. Here you can find all kinds of plant species as well as something very curious: the bats that inhabit the trees. Yes, just like here we can find birds, there it is normal to find bats by day hanging in the trees. Most curious. From the bottom of the gardens, there is a walkway that takes you to the emblem building of Sydney, the Opera House.
After, walk through the lower part of the gardens until the Opera House. From the opera, you can see perfectly the Harbour Bridge, very characteristic element of Sydney Bay. Declared in 2007 as World Heritage, it was designed by the Danish architect Jørn Utzon in 1957 and inaugurated in 1973. Theater, ballet, opera or musical productions are performed in the building. It is home to the Opera Australia company, the Sydney Theater Company and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. It is managed by the Opera House Trust, a public body under the supervision of the art ministry of New South Wales. You can visit daily from the 9 in the morning.
With this we had for the whole morning, so I had to go eat. For this, we took a ferry from the bay and went to Manly(It is one of the two most important beaches in Sydney, along with that of Bondi). It costs about $ 6, and is the fastest way to go to certain places on the coast. In this beach one can bathe without any problem in terms of possible "bugs" in the water. Almost on the beach there is a promenade where you can find a lot of places to eat and very varied.
Back, we visited the Aquarius (It's one of the most important in the world). There you can see all kinds of marine fauna, especially rays, sharks, turtles and crocodiles. For the more daring, you can take a swim with the sharks. Calculate that the "bugs" are about 3-4 meters. The aquarium is open from 9 am to 10 pm You should pay attention to the time at which the different species that live there are fed, since it is worth seeing (especially the sharks). If you go with the international hostel card (YHA) they will give you a discount between 30 and 50%.
With all this, we got the 6 in the afternoon, and we went to the hotel to sleep. Yes, to sleep, the time change is tremendous when you travel so far, and we could not take it anymore.
Second Day In Sydney
Today we have to visit the city on an organized tour with a guide who speaks Spanish. The visit to the city is done by bus stopping at the places where possible. They happen to pick us up at the hotel at the 07: 20, so get up early !!!
We started the visit through the neighborhood The Rocks, it is the historic district of Sydney. The Rocks is the place where the first European settlement of Australia took place in 1788. With approximately 33 galleries, museums and art institutions, The Rocks is packed with an attractive range of Aboriginal and modern works of art and sculptures, photographs, glass works, ceramics and textiles. From here you can reach the Harbor Bridge by walking and passing under it.
We continue the visit towards Kings Cross. This is the so-called Sydney red light district, where you can find two very different visions depending on whether you visit it at night or during the day. During the day it is a quiet neighborhood where you can go for a walk and do all kinds of shopping, but when the night comes this neighborhood is transformed and you can find all kinds of pubs and walking areas.
Then we were allowed to stroll along the most famous beach in Sydney, Bondi, beach which is one of the busiest, especially by surfers. It should be noted that 300 meters from the beach there is a network that protects people from the entry of jellyfish, sharks and all kinds of "bugs". Of course, this network is removed one month a year, so it is convenient to find out when it is on and when it is not.
After the walk on the beach, it's time to go to eat, and what better way to do it than on a catamaran walking along the Sydney coast. Yes, the time to eat, as always when you leave Spain is the 12.30. How hard it is to get used to this schedule. The food, based on meat, pasta and some other seafood (prawns and oysters).
After arriving at port, and late in the afternoon, we went to see the Harbour Bridge. To reach it, you can access walking from The Rocks, there are signs that indicate how to get to the bridge. It is very typical of there to do climbing on the bridge, it only costs about 200 Australian dollars. It is not an escalation as it sounds, but there is a path that takes you to the top of the bridge, but you have to go with a harness to avoid possible falls. If you do not want to pay, you can always walk down the bridge at the bottom.
Well, today and to finish the visit to the city we went around the building Queen Victoria, 4-storey shopping center, with dozens, if dozens of stores. The best of all this that to the left of the building and to the right there are two other shopping centers, and all three are connected by tunnels so that you do not have to go out to the street to go from one to the other. This way it is easier to leave the money to you. This is something curious, there is a weekly charge, especially on Thursdays, and that day the stores close later (around nine o'clock). The rest of the days for 8 - 8.30 everything is closed.
Well, second day and today we go to bed at the 9. It seems that we are already adapting to the Australian schedule little by little.
Third Day In Sydney
The midway between Sydney and the Blue Mountains is Featherdale Park (about 40 minutes from Sydney), a place where you can enjoy Australian wildlife. There we can find crocodiles, koalas, kangaroos, etc ... Even if you can see the Tasmanian devil. At the entrance of the park you can buy food to feed the kangaroos, they are so funny. The park can be visited every day from 9:00 a.m. to 17:00 p.m.
After visiting the park, we arrived at the Blue Mountains. They are so called because there is always a bluish haze caused by the rays of light they give on the oil droplets scattered on the trees. The highlight of this park is the rock formation known as the three sisters, three rocks of similar appearance that stand out from the rest of the mountains. You can take a walk through the park to see the different species of plants and trees. To go down to the promenade, you can do well in a train or funicular. I advise the little train, it's like going on the roller coaster. The entrance fee is about 20 Australian dollars. If you want, you can see the park from a cable car (from here you can see the waterfalls very well). There is a buffet restaurant in the park for those who want to stay for lunch. This has a rotating platform so that while you eat, you go around so you can see the entire natural park.
After lunch, we returned to Sydney, between the distance and the traffic jam to enter, we arrived in the middle of the afternoon, time to take a shower and go out to dinner and have a drink in the most "naughty" area, Darling Harbor. It is located very close to the bay, and the dinners are not very expensive (about 20 - 20 dollars) for the port area. Of course, the food based on pasta and meat, very little variety with fish. After a drink, be very careful with what you order, for 2 for cokes and 2 heineken they charged us $ 28. Yes, drinking is quite expensive in Sydney. We had finally gotten used to the Australian schedule.
The next day we left for our next destination: Ayers Rock.
Visiting Ayers Rock
We left Sydney at 10 in the morning to go on a tour of Uluru, and 2 hours and a half later we landed in Ayers Rock. There is a free minibus that can take you to the hotels. The airport is not exactly the biggest in the place, there is only one runway to land and it is "pocket". In any case, it is not that much more is needed, considering that in several hundred kilometers around, there are only 4 hotels, The Uluru and the Olga Mountains. Tip: near the 4 hotels there is a small shopping center where you can make a purchase and a couple of places to eat. They are quite cheaper than hotels and are generally good. We stayed at the hotel Desert GardensIt's not bad, but rather simple. Very clean, and with a pool in case you want to bathe.
First Day At Ayers Rock
Upon arrival at the hotel and after checking in, we went to see the Olga Mountains, the only existing rock formation in this area of Australia. Here we begin to notice more heat, 32 graditos to be finishing the autumn, and we feel one of the few unpleasant elements of our trip: the flies, which are usually a bit heavy. After visiting the mountains, we waited a little to see the sunset, which is really beautiful, worth seeing, and we returned to the hotel. We took the opportunity to dine in the mall that is very close and we went early to bed, since the next day we had to see the sunrise in the uluru.
Second Day At Ayers Rock
Well, today we had to see the uluru at dawn, so we hit a madrugon (at the 5) and headed towards the rock to wait to see how the sun came out. 50 arrived minutes before sunrise, luckily you get a chair, coffee and cookies to hold the guy. I thought it would be cold, but it goes, it was pretty good with a jacket. IT DESERVES THE PENANCE to see this, it is incredible how it changes color as the sun rises. After sunrise, we went to visit the base of the stone (2,4km). For the most lively, you can climb to the top of the monolith, that is, as long as there is no wind or more than 36 degrees of temperature. In the summer here the 50 degrees are reached, and the amount of existing flies is totally unbearable. In fact, in the hotels they sell mosquito nets for the face.
In the afternoon, we had a special dinner: Sounds of Silence. They put a small restaurant in the middle of a dune and a local touches the diggeridoo, typical instrument of the aborigines there. It is a buffet dinner, based on kangaroo, crocodile and several typical meats there. Later, and in total silence, one of the waiters tells the story of how the ancient navigators used the stars to navigate. They have a strong influence on the fact that the polar star is not seen from this hemisphere, which complicated the subject much more.
The next day we left for our next destination: Cairns.
A Cairns we arrived in the early afternoon from Ayers Rock, 2 internal flight hours with Qantas. As always, the flight with Qantas is phenomenal. Cairns is a fairly tropical area, and as is typical of these sites, we were surprised at the arrival of a rather important storm. Cairns is what they call the gateway to the barrier reef, from here there are hundreds of offers of boats that go to the barrier or helicopter flights. It has an area called the Esplanada, where there are TENNIS of places to dine or eat. A problem that Cairns has is that there is no beach area, since saltwater crocodiles usually live around, there are signs everywhere indicating this, so an artificial pool has been built. We stayed at the hotel Novotel Oasis Resort. The hotel is really very good and very central, highly recommended.
First Day In Cairns
Today is a good day to take advantage of one of the tours in the great Coral barrier. We got up at the 6 in the morning to get closer to the port. We went on a catamaran to an island of the barrier reef, Michaelmas Cay, is one of the hundreds of islands that make up the barrier reef. After two and a half hours of traveling, we reached the island. That day we were unlucky that it rained, but still, we enjoyed the fish and corals. We didn't dive, we did snorkel, but it was enough to see corals, turtles, and rays. Before snorkeling, they put us in a small "submarine" and took a 30-minute walk under the sea, enjoying the views. After snorkeling, we ate on the catamaran, and after another two and a half hours we arrived back in Cairns. As we arrived mid-afternoon, we had just enough time to change and go out to enjoy the beach bars in the area of the esplanade, where is the whole environment.
Second Day In Cairns
As always, play early. Today it's time to catch a bus to go around Cairns. After half an hour of bus, we arrived to the park Rainforest Habitat, where you can see a lot of Australian fauna, again it's time to see kangaroos, koalas, crocodiles, etc ... For 2 dollars we can buy food to give to the kangaroos (they like it very much). Then we go to Port Douglas (another half hour), from which we raised the area Mossman. Here is the tropical forest, worth seeing in all its extension.
We can see all kinds of plants and vegetation typical of the Australian tropical zone. From here we go for a boat ride through the Daintree river. The river is totally infested with crocodiles, so it is not advisable to bathe. They take you in a boat, from which the guide goes looking for the crocodiles, which are mainly on the shore, to see them as best as possible. The trip takes about an hour, after which we go to eat towards Cape Tribulation. It is a totally spectacular beach, with the small inconvenience that if you want to swim, you have to be careful with the jellyfish.
Fortunately, every 10 meters, there are a few bottles of vinegar to throw in case you get bitten by the jellyfish. That's right, then to the hospital running to be seen. We had buffet lunch in a little hotel that is located on the beach of Cape Tribulation. After filling the gut, we went up to the Alexandra viewpoint, from which you can perfectly see the Australian coast. This was the last point of the day, so we headed to Cairns (1.5 bus hours) to go to change, and go out to give a vueltilla and dinner, of course, to the area of the esplanade.
From here to the day we went to our next destination: Darwin
Visiting Darwin and Kakadu
After another two hours of travel from Cairns, we landed in Darwin. Being the northern area, we found 32 degrees, and that was finishing the fall. In the same Darwin did not give us time just to be, so we can not advise on many things to do, especially there are many offers to go to see parks with attractions with crocodiles and visits to the park Kakadu, which is where the movie Crocodile Dundee was shot. Kakadu is about two hours by bus from Darwin. In Darwin we stayed in the hotel Mantra Esplanade (Beware there are two mantras hotels). The hotel is fine, and very close to the bars and restaurants area, perfectly recommended. In Kakadú we stayed at the Gagudju Crocodile, very simple, with a mini pool, but hey, it is not that much more is needed inside the park. As a curiosity, this hotel seen from the air has the shape of a crocodile.
First Day In Darwin
We arrive at Darwin in the afternoon, approximately at the 15: 00. Taking advantage of it being Sunday, we went to the beach of Mindil, where his flea market is very famous (sunset market) and his putting of sol. The market is open on Thursdays from 5 to 10 and on Sundays from 4 to 9. Okay, there are a lot of bars where you can eat and drink, as well as a few shops where you can buy all sorts of things. At sunset, it is worthwhile to relax on the beach watching the sunset. To get there, it's best to take minibuses that for 3 dollars make tours of the hotels. You just have to tell them the hotel and they will take you and bring you. They spend more or less every half hour. After this, the night came and we went to dinner, for it, the best thing is the Mitchell street, where there are enough places to choose from.
The next day we had a good bus wait, we were going to Kakadu.
Second Day In Kakadu
Departure from Darwin to the 6.30 in the morning. We got up early since it took us a long time to arrive kakadu an hour and a half. It is a really huge nature reserve. We begin by visiting some of the places where the aborigines made their paintings, and then they took us to a gazebo from where to enjoy the view of the extensive park. This took us almost all the morning, so, taking into account the Australian schedule, we went to eat at one, buffet style food (nothing good by the way), and then continue with the tour of the park. We took a small boat to walk through the Yellow Waters (one hour), where we could enjoy the park's fauna, as well as, of course, the crocodiles that inhabit these waters.
As this did not seem sufficient, the guide offered to take a plane to be able to see Kakadu from the air for the modest price of 200 $ per person. And of course, since you're there, why not do it? Well, it was good, one hour of plane and without any mishap. Of course, I would not pay for the flight again, but it's an interesting thing. From here we already finished the tour of the park and we went to the hotel that was inside the park, since we stayed to sleep there that night.
Tip: if you stay to sleep in the park, the hotel is fine, but know that there is NOTHING TO DO. There is only the option of the hotel pool and a walk around the exteriors.
Third Day In Kakadu
We woke up at the 8 in the morning to be able to continue touring the park, again it was time to see more paintings of the aborigines. Again and after seeing the paintings we were put on a high to contemplate the parche, specifically to an area where the scenes of Cocodrilo dundee. The view is impressive. All this is very good, but it is the same as we did the day before. There is an excursion that we did not do and that takes you to the Cataracts what's in the park, and you can even bathe in them. Whoever can take this trip, which surely is worth more. Later, and again, walk through the Alligator River to see the crocodiles (not another thing, but these bugs ...).
One hour walk along the river and again to eat at one, but this time in a picnic plan. Food was not great, really. After lunch, stop at a lookout to see birds and return to Darwin (it took 2 hours to return). Upon arriving at Darwin, we went to dinner at the Mitchell street, where there is everything, and in addition, several places to later be able to drink something. The glasses are not especially expensive, similar to Spain.
And here we ran out of Australia, the next day we took off from Darwin to return home.
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