In Austalia: Uluru

Going to Uluru was a really cool experience! If you are travelling all the way to Australia on holiday going to the red centre is a must! When I was there is 2008 there were 5 resorts that you could stay in and we stayed in the Desert Gardens Hotel. PhoebeGill081229674-1

So before I get in to the wonders of Ayers Rock I must tell you that although my pictures look all sunny and wonderful…do you remember that Hurricane Billy I mentioned before, well he was in full swing, it rained every day we were there, torrential rain!

Also please note that Ayers Rock has a lot of bugs, there are different plagues of various creatures that come with the seasons, we just missed the locusts and when we where there, December time, there were giant moths and Christmas stink bugs.

When I say a plague, I mean a disgustingly large amount of bugs everywhere, even in the hotel. The stink bugs would be crawling up the back of chairs, on peoples backs and scurrying around the floor. As the name suggests, if you step on them, the smell is rotten so just ignore them, they are harmless. Moths were on every sign, painting, flat surface you can think of. It is even worse at night. Believe me when I say, it can get really bad, the lights are crawling with every bug you can think of and the lights are in the centre of the paths as you go to your room. Quite off putting. It’s not somewhere I could stay for very long. I would be a shaking mess in the corner. Right, now that that’s out of the way let me get on with the wonder that is Uluru!

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This beautiful sandstone rock in the middle of the Outback is beautiful! It is quite fascinating, think of an Iceberg, most of this rock is underground, we can just see the top. It is 348 meters tall and just under 10km walk around. PhoebeGill081229609-1

The natural erosion is beautiful! Above is the barrel, it is absolutely gorgeous! A big thing I noticed is that in the pictures of Ayres rock it is round, relatively flat and big but in person it is all different heights and bumpy. It also looked like quite a doable hike. I liked that it wasn’t like the postcards I had seen so many times over, I found that it was more interesting and engaging! TIP: buy a net hat. The flies are everywhere and they get in your ears. Buy one, it doesn’t matter how unattractive it is, it is more unattractive twitching and swatting as you try to shoo away the flies. PhoebeGill081229618-2

There are a couple of things I didn’t like about this tour I took, apologies I don’t have any information on what tour I took so you can know before you go but the first thing was that I didn’t like the way the guide used the Indigenous Australians as part of the tour.

About halfway through, two women joined the tour in order for us to get a better understanding of Aboriginal history and culture. Our guide would tell us what happened and their history but looking back as a 23 year old woman who has learnt a little bit more about the world, if I was there now I would want the white man to stop talking and for the people that were shoved into ‘our society’ (ie. into inadequate housing, with little help) to educate us. I still have a very primitive understanding of their history, (one of my favourite films is Rabbit Proof Fence, I recommend you watch it) which I must rectify. Getting back to my point, it felt that these two women were asked to come out in the blistering heat to stand around, answer a couple of questions and then be used for photos. I purposefully didn’t take a photo and I am very glad my 16 year old self refused to use these women. I understand that this interaction benefits both parties in some way but I don’t think of these two women as tourist attractions, they are human beings.

The more I travel and the older I get, the more I don’t always want to hear what someone who has learnt the information from a book, has to say on the matter. If possible I want real accounts, real people, real stories.
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The other, less major thing I didn’t like is that we didn’t go to a lookout point in order to see the rock from a distance. I got my photos, which are terrible, from the bus window.

Anyway, I want to finish this post by saying that my trip was definitely worth it. It is a beautiful, other worldly part of Australia. Couldn’t recommend it enough and am so glad I got the opportunity to see this wonder! Have you been to Ayers Rock? Do you want to go?

Happy Travels!

In Sydney: Taronga Zoo

It was Christmas day 2008 and we woke up in a hotel room and it felt really damn weird. The sun had finally decided to show up and was scorching. My family were wondering what we would do on Christmas day away from home so I chimed in, I wanted to go to Taronga Zoo. I like zoos, I know the stuff people have against them and I understand but I still love learning about animals.
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The ferry trip over was fun, when we docked we could see the sky safari. I love cable cars, any opportunity to go on one I will take it! The ride is included in the ticket price.PhoebeGill081224125-2

Inside the entrance are the Koalas. They sleep a lot. There are opportunities to hold them for a small fee. I do hear they smell though. PhoebeGill081225310-3

There are lots of creatures in the park, when you are on the walkways don’t forget to look over the fence because thats where I saw this beautiful crane! PhoebeGill081225319-4

It’s is an amazing zoo for interactions. There are 5 animals you can visit and experience, each for an extra fee. There is a really cool (free) Kangaroo and Wallaby walk through where you are just wandering with these adorable (yet terrifying) marsupials. Wallabies were just there at my feet, I wanted to pet them but I didn’t, which I regret. PhoebeGill081225349-5

There are some amazing birds around the zoo. Definitely keep your eyes peeled, I spotted this amazing Purple Crowned Pigeon.  PhoebeGill081225372-6 More free things in the zoo are the zoo talks and demonstrations. I went to the bird show, the arena area looks over to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, really really nice. There were birds of pray and other exotic birds. The show is only 15 minutes long but it was really engaging and interesting.
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Although the zoo is quite expensive, it’s about €20 for an adult but there is loads to see and experience. I would definitely go back because there is so much more to see! Have you been to Taronga? Let me know your experience!

Happy Travels!

In Australia: Sydney Harbour

The waterfront in Sydney is a really nice place to be, busy, but nice. There are lots of tourists in this spot for a good reason. This area is where you get to see Sydney’s main attractions and where you can catch a ferry. We got two ferries, one to Taronga Zoo and one to Darling Harbour. PhoebeGill081224090-1

It was a great way to see the city from a different perspective, to get shots of the Sydney Opera House from all angles. It should be noted at this point, that Hurricane Billy was passing by Australia so the skies were not the classic sunny Aussie weather we were expecting.  PhoebeGill081224131-2

I have said it before but I really love boats. It really is such a fun way to travel.PhoebeGill081224137-3

Sydney Opera House is practically on every postcard for Sydney. We were all pretty excited to see it but in reality, it was a little underwhelming. I know that sounds terrible but I thought it would be bigger and cleaner. PhoebeGill081225306-4

There is a a great walk that runs along the edge around Sydney Harbour. It has a nice vibe, everyone is relaxing in the sun or taking a stroll. PhoebeGill081225307-5

Have you been to Sydney? If I go back I want to walk up Sydney Harbour Bridge, definitely!

Happy Travels!

In Australia: The Best View

In Australia: The Best View

I love take off and landing when flying! It is so much fun and there is nothing like descending into a new country. I love looking out the window as we get nearer and nearer the ground, looking at the view often going from rural to urban within seconds.

One of the best views I have ever seen out of a plane window was Sydney, Australia. You know all the iconic features you seen of postcards of Sydney?

Well they are all there, right as you fly in.

It’s very rare to see a city’s highlights as you come into land and I thought it was amazing.

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Happy Travels!