First City - Sydney
Cool looking Opera House and Bridge - make for great photos.
The Bridge Climb is a must do - really! Fantastic!
The city itself wasn't all that impressive IMHO. It's a big city with a lot of people who always seemed to be in a big hurry. There are also a lot of very pushy tourists from a few certain countries who seemed to outnumber the Aussies in some places.
An early morning jog from The Rocks, past the Opera House and out to Mrs. McQuaries Chair was fabulous. The best photos of the Opera House and Bridge should be taken at sunrise, when you can get that sunrise glow on both. At midday the sun is too harsh.
A day trip to the Blue Mountains was a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Unfortunately I discovered that rude teenagers on trains exist in Australia just like in the U.S. Too bad for both countries - I weep for the future.
Darling Harbor is worth a visit. The aquarium and Maritime Museum are both worth seeing.
The Manly ferry is an inexpensive way to get a great harbor cruise. I did it twice, once at sunset, and got some fabulous photos. I will post a few on a new thread when I have them uploaded to Flickr. I took 2,500 photos and haven't sorted through them yet.
The Taronga Zoo is awesome, but construction made it a bit difficult to get around parts of it.
Hang on to your bags or they may disappear at a bus stop
Bondi Beach is nothing special.
Second City - Cairns
Apparently I had to suffer with "unseasonal" weather, according to the locals. Usually weather in early October is wonderful but I had three days of wind, two of which also came with rain.
I went to the reef twice, first day was with Ocean Freedom. I'd recommend this company to anyone - they were fabulous. Too bad it was so darn windy - the reef was clouded with all the sand kicked up and the swells tossed me around a LOT.
Day Two I took a tour with Australian Day Tours to Kuranda on the scenic railway, to the Rainforestation, and back on the skyrail (cable car). Did I mention the weather was horrible? I was in the clouds for most of the ride back and it started to pour in mid-afternoon as well. At least the Rainforestation was just cloudy and not rainy. It was a bit touristy with an awful Aboriginal Dance show. The Koalas and Kangaroos were cute though. I'd give the Rainforestation a miss if I ever go back though and just spend my extra time in Kuranda. I did like the train ride and cable car (would have been great in nice weather).
The next day it was back to the reef on Ocean Free. This was a sailboat and (did I mention it was windy) we had a very rough ride out to the fishes. I (and another girl) was quite seasick by the time we got there. This was the day I'd chosen to do my first ever SCUBA dive and let me tell you, seasickness and SCUBA do not mix. I could only stay down for about 15 minutes when my stomach had had enough. I didn't really recover until I got over to Green Island, a fabulous beach spot but unfortunately it just poured rain while I was there. The crew of the Ocean Freedom and Ocean Free were great though and I'd sail with them again.
Third City - Brisbane
I arrived around noon and immediately hopped on the train to Surfers Paradise. I was on a mission to get a Hard Rock Cafe pin and I did just that, then walked down to the beach. You guessed it, it was pouring rain and the beach was deserted with red flags and warning signs up and down the beach. The waves looked pretty awesome - pro surfers would have loved it.
The next day I took a city tour, a trip to the Dandenong mountains, and a tour to the Koala Sanctuary. I LOVED the Koala sanctuary. I just think Koalas are the cutest things and this was where I chose to get my photo taken with one of them. I just had a wonderful afternoon here and I finally started to see some sunshine again.
My last day I went to the Tangalooma Resort which was OK. I went snorkeling at the Tangalooma wrecks, trying in vain to make up for my poor GBR experience. The water was really cold and there weren't as many fishes as I would have liked to see but it was still a nice time. I spent a little time on the beach and then headed back to the city.
Fourth City - Melbourne
I saved the best for last. I'm not sure why, but I didn't expect much out of Melbourne. Boy was I surprised. I LOVED it!!!! The people were SO friendly. The city was easy to get around, either walking or on the trams. There was so much to see and do. My hotel was the best ever (Hotel Windsor).
The day trips were incredible. I spent one day on a bus trip to the Great Ocean Road which I decided was one of the three most beautiful places on the planet. The penguin parade was well worth the long drive I think - I loved being so close to them.
Unfortunately my cursed weather continued and my Yarra Valley hot air balloon ride was canceled so I can't comment on that.
On my last day I ran in the Melbourne half marathon and had the best weather of the whole trip. Go figure!
So, if I had to do it all over again I'd visit the same cities but spend less time in Sydney and more time in Cairns. My time in Brisbane was enough I think, and Melbourne was my favorite.
139 Nights at Sea and Counting
7/1997 Carnival Jubilee - Mexican Riviera
12/2004 Empress of the Seas - Southern Caribbean Photos
12/2007 Sovereign of the Seas - Bahamas Photos
4/2008 Carnival Destiny - Southern Caribbean
4/2010 Serenade of the Seas - Southern Caribbean
9/2010 Majesty of the Seas - Bahamas Photos
1/2011 Ruby Princess - Eastern Caribbean Photos
2/2011 Navigator of the Seas - Cozumel Photos
8/2011 Star Princess - Eastern Mediterranean/Greek Isles Photos
4/2012 Jewel of the Seas - Western Caribbean
4/2012 Caribbean Princess - Southern Caribbean
3/2013 Monarch of the Seas (farewell cruise) - Bahamas Photos
11/2013 Caribbean Princess - Western Caribbean Photos
1/2014 Jewel of the Seas - Southern Caribbean Photos
1/2014 Allure of the Seas - Western Caribbean Photos
4/2015 Serenade of the Seas - New Orleans to Boston repo
10/2015 Serenade of the Seas - Quebec to Ft. Lauderdale Snowbird Migration
4/2016 Regal Princess - Western Caribbean
5/2016 Coral Princess - Alaska
2/2017 Coral Princess - Panama Canal
4/2017 Liberty of the Seas - Western Caribbean
4/2018 Radiance of the Seas - New Zealand
Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.