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Manly Beach The olgas Mount Warning

 

Australia

Our trip to Australia began in Sydney. Arrived on a beautiful sunny morning, dumped our stuff and immediately went out to check out the city. At 7 am Sydney was just coming to life. Strolled through Hyde Park and the botanical gardens down to Mrs. Macquaries point for stunning views of the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. Next day - another gorgeous one was spent at Manly Beach getting over jet lag and lolling about in the sun.
Day 3 (rainy) was spent at the Australian Museum where there was a fantastic and informative exhibition of Australian Aboriginal (Koori) history and culture. For me this was one of the most interesting aspects of our visit to Sydney. Until this point I hadn't realised quite how badly the original inhabitants of Australia were (and still are in many cases) treated by White settlers. It was a real eye opener. The stories of the "stolen generations" of aboriginal children forcibly separated from their families were heart rending.

I was also totally fascinated by the stories of the "dreamtime" and the traditional ways of the Koori people. For more about the dreamtime visit
http://www.dreamtime.net.au/storylist.htm (link opens in new browser window)

After a couple more days in Sydney sampling the sights and visiting many of the bars on Oxford Street, it was off to the Red Centre for a night checking out the awesome sunset and sunrise over Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (The Olgas). A visit to the cultural centre is a must. Climbing the rock a no no. I was horrified by the number of people who went ahead and climbed the rock against the wishes of the Anangu people, the Aboriginal traditional owners of the area. There is no need to climb - the rock is a sacred place for them. There are plenty of walks to do around the base and lots to see without trampling over sacred land.

After our whistlestop tour of Uluru and Kata Tjuta, it was a three hour flight back to Sydney. With my nose glued to the airplane window the whole, time I started to get a bit of an impression of how vast Australia is. From Sydney it was another flight to Coolangatta and off up to my friend Deb's place, fondly known as Stoney Chute resort near Nimbin New South Wales.

The name "Nimbin" is derived from the Bundjalung word "Nmbngee" which means small, old, wise man. For the Bundjalung people of the area, Nimbin was / is a place of pilgrimage and Nimbin Rocks are a sacred men's site.
The area around Nimbin is now known as the "Alternative" capital of Australia. Nimbin "town" itself consists of the main street with lots of colourful murals painted on the buildings. There's the HEMP embassy which is a bit of a tourist puller and worth a visit, a few other shops, a pub and a small hospital. I was well impressed by the selection of chocolate bars at the "Emporium" grocery store (hey, I'm a chocoholic - chocolate impresses me!).

At Stoney Chute we had two and a half weeks of pure relaxation. We arrived at night. Nothing could have prepared me for the awesome views of the surrounding mountains and rain forests of the Border Ranges the following morning. Wallabies skipping about the garden, colourful rainbow lorikeets flying about, beautiful flowers and plants. Over the next couple of weeks we met loads of really nice people. We had fun at the Nimbin Mardi Grass festival, drives and walks through the nearby National Parks and other local places of interest. Spent a wonderful day at Byron bay - had a great massage then spent the rest of the afternoon lying on the beach. In the evening a moonlight walk up to the lighthouse and then a really nice meal.

All too soon it was time to return home which we did via Brisbane. A visit to Corrumbin animal sanctuary on the way gave us a chance to get in close to some of Australia's wildlife.
All in all the time spent in Australia was fab. So much to see so little time...
More excuses to return to explore the bits we'd missed this time round.

 

 

Click on a picture to enlarge it and get a short description of the place

photo manly beach
Manly Beach

 

 

photo Kata Tjuta
Kata Tjuta

 

photo Mount Warning
Mount Warning

 

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