Thursday the 26th in Melbourne-last full day here

 

Dave and I went for coffee first at All Press-a lovely coffee shop and coffee roaster in Collingwood.

From there we went to the Heide Museum of Modern Art, established by John and Sidney Reed who were patrons of the arts here in the mid to late 1900’s. The land which houses the museum was a dairy farm, and the Reeds purchased it to create a haven for artists as well as the museum buildings for exhibits. There are 3 buildings for the exhibits and beautiful grounds for walking which include an outdoor sculpture garden.One featured artist was American, Diane Arbus, a photographer, whose pictures focus on marginalized people in the U.S. from the 1930’s through the 1970’s. I found that to be so interesting!

The Reeds assisted mostly Australian artists, some of whom lived and created their art on the premises.

I loved the fact that they were cat lovers and had a cattery of 3 Siamese cats!

We ate a nice lunch at the cafe’ there.

Looking forward to dinner out with Leah and Dave tonight!

In closing the word portion of my blog, I want to thank my sons and their partners again for this amazing trip-John and Andrea, and Dave and Leah. Thank you Dave and Leah , too,for being such wonderful hosts! Also, thank you to my readers who followed this blog of the trip! And to all my medical team and caregivers who helped me last year so that I could actually make such a trip as well as to all my friends who have given such wonderful support. Also to my cats sitters, Linda and Jess, who provided such great care of Portia who was quite ill just before I left. And to John and Dave’s Dad who checked on Portia and also took me to the bus terminal for my departure to Australia. Bows of deep gratitude to you all!

IMG_1015Dave this morning at All Press coffee shop.

IMG_1016entryway to Heide

IMG_1019inside Heide Museum

IMG_1020part of outdoor sculpture gardens

IMG_1025beehives on the property

IMG_1029sculpture

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IMG_1030Part of the tiled mantelpiece which was in the Reed’s home. Note the cats!

IMG_1027famous fallen oak on the property still livingIMG_1033On the way back to Dave’s home, we stopped at the Fairfield Boat House (on the Yarra river)  where people can rent boats to go out on the river. See the narrow bridge-Dave says he bikes over it at times!!IMG_1036The Fairfield Boat House

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday the 25th in Australia-Anzac Day

Today is a national holiday-ANZAC (Australia-New Zealand Army Corps Day) to mark the participation of Australians and New Zealanders  in the world wars. Much like Memorial Day in the States, veterans are honored by ceremonies and parades. It starts with a dawn service, but we slept late and did not get to that. The streets were quiet but we saw many families at parks where they were picnicking. Also, the cafe’s were full. Today, we stayed in Melbourne and welcomed Dave and Leah’s dog, Rusty, back after he had been at a kennel and then a dog-sitter’s. He was very excited especially to see Dave although quite unsure about me!!

 

IMG_1007Dave and Leah getting Rusty from the dog walker at Yarra Bend Park.

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IMG_1014Australian football field in Edinburgh Park in the Fitzroy section of the city.

IMG_2702Edinburgh Park where we saw many families enjoying the holiday.IMG_2704We stopped for ice cream at Billy Van Creamy, an ice cream shop near the park. Dave had  a hot cross bun scoop and a vanilla bean scoop. I had a salted caramel scoop. (I must have gained weight since I have been here!!)

 

Tuesday the 24-The Great Ocean Road

Today after having coffee and taking Leah to work, Dave and I went down the Great Ocean Road which is approximately 2 hours south of Melbourne. The panorama was lovely, and, although the ocean setting (the Southern Ocean) reminded me a bit of the ocean settings with beaches at the Daintree Rainforest, the vegetation on the Great Ocean Road was quite different. It was comprised of scrub brush and eucalyptus trees. The road was very winding. Dave did a wonderful job driving. I was fascinated with the volcanic rock formations in the water and will post pictures. On the way back we drove through the Great Otway National Park-a eucalyptus forest. I found this to be so beautiful and loved the eucalyptus aroma perfuming the air there.

I will be posting pictures soon after I sort through them! I took so many!

Very exciting is that this week is Dave and Leah’s 10th anniversary! So happy for them!

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Dave and Leah in front of a favorite coffee shop before we go to the Great Ocean Road.

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Leah in front of the corporate headquarters of David Jones in Melbourne, where she works.

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A heron at Aireys Inlet on the Great Ocean Road

IMG_0975Dave overlooking the Ocean at Cape Split. The volcanic ash formations are in the background and were formed millions of years ago.

IMG_0976We hiked up to the Cape Split Lighthouse and  had a snack in a tea room there.IMG_0973

Another view of the lighthouse.

IMG_0980outside at the tearoomIMG_0978A closer view of the iconic rock.

IMG_0989Pastoral scene along the Great Ocean Road

IMG_0986Driving along the curves on the road!!

IMG_2682Vista from Great Ocean Road

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Tumeric latte’ at a cafe’ in Lorne

IMG_0992Eucalyptus forest in the National Park on the way back.IMG_0995

 

IMG_1003Dave giving Leah a big anniversary bouquet when we picked her up.

Monday the 23-return to Melbourne

Today we got up early as we had to get to the airport in Cairns for our flight back to Melbourne.

Another beautiful day! When we got to Melbourne it was about 78 degrees F but not as humid as Port Douglas.

Today I am posting some pictures of the interior of the cottage, which was very charming.

Below is a picture of Dave with the car he rented for our trip to Port Douglas. This was just outside the Fisherman’s Cottage, where we stayed.

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Below is a picture of Dave cooking Kale and garlic at the cottage where we stayed:

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Below is the cottage living room. I loved the artistic touches throughout. I am blogging here in this photo.

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Below: Another picture showing the cottage -this is part of the kitchen. I was doing some yoga lunges while Dave was cooking kale.( lol)

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Sunday -Earth Day-April 22 at the Great Barrier Reef

Today we took a day-long trip to the outer Great Barrier Reef-a ribbon of coral reef called the Agincourt Reef. It is about 30 kilometers from shore, and it took an hour and a half to get there. Skies were sunny and clear. Fortunately, the ocean swells were not too great.

We were served tea and coffee on board just before our voyage began. After we landed at the station-a large pontoon- the crew set out a big buffet lunch with many offerings of salads and hot entrees. This was available all day as part of out fare.

We could participate in various activities offered: snorkeling, scuba diving, a semi-submersible boat tour of the reef and helicopter rides over the area. We chose the semi-submersible ride and the snorkeling adventure. For the snorkeling experience, we had a guide who led us well-beyond where the pontoon was into some gorgeous areas of the reef.  I just adored seeing all the coral and multi-colored fish as well as two large (and very endangered) sea turtles – a 20-30 year-old Green Turtle, and HawksbillTurtle . The guides were well-versed in climate issues and strongly encouraged us to reduce our carbon footprint. (I was very thrilled with that).

Below are some pictures we took. Dave took most of the underwater ones when we were on the semi-submersible boat.

What an amazing experience! I am filled  with gratitude for my sons who made all this possible and for the Earth.IMG_0951

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Preparing to board

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Where we are headed-Port Douglas to the outer reef.

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Boat interior -lower level.

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Onboard the semi-submersible sub.

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And here we go for our hour and a quarter reef snorkeling adventure! We wore lycra suits to protect ourselves from the sun. It was truly gorgeous -we did not have an underwater camera to capture the beauty. unfortunately. My first time snorkeling!! David had been before and was very encouraging to his Mom!

Saturday the 21st in Port Douglas

Today we spent the day in Port Douglas where we relaxed and also went on a river cruise on the Lady Douglas. David had hoped to see a crocodile in the wild, and on the cruise, we were fortunate to see one that was 70 years old and 5 meters in length. He was sunning himself among some mangrove tree roots. I would not like to come really close to him, though, as he would definitely attack!! Glad for the safety of the boat!

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Outdoor dining at our Air B&B.

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Our river boat. The guide provided a running commentary as we moved along the river and brought us near the crocodile.

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Here is the crocodile!!

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The wire-haired Jack Russell that belonged to the boat owners and accompanied us on the river cruise.

 

Friday the 20th in the Daintree Rain Forest

Today we decided to go a bit further north into the forest to Cape Tribulation, another World Heritage Site for the Daintree Rain Forest.

The weather again was beautiful, hot, and humid, and we drove along a curving road through the forest gradually ascending under a beautiful canopy of ancient plants. I was fascinated to learn that the Daintree is the world’s oldest rainforest (thought to be about 180 million years old). The Amazon is 7 million years old.

We started with a visit to the Daintree Discovery Center, a leader in environmental work. There, we walked on an aerial walkway in the forest and climbed a tower to the top of the canopy ( about 76 feet high). We had audio guides to help us understand what we were seeing as we walked. I am totally in love with the rain forest!IMG_0893.JPG

on our way to Cape Tribulation-overlooking the rainforest with the Pacific Ocean in the distanceIMG_0907

Along the forest road are signs like this warning of cassowary crossings. These are very large birds which live on the forest floor and eat mainly fruit.

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David on the elevated walkway through the forest-this is mid-canopy.

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View from the top of the tower -overlooking the top of the rainforest canopy.

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One of the beautiful beaches on the Pacific in the Daintree. There were signs posted advising no swimming because of sting rays and crocodiles in the ocean.

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Just captured this lovely butterfly in the forest. We also saw a Mountain Blue butterfly there.IMG_0922

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Part of the mangrove swamp here.

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David enjoying gelato from the stand where we stopped on the way back to Port Douglas today. It was made with dairy and fruits unique to the rainforest.

 

 

Thursday the 19th in the Daintree Rainforest

Today was a beautiful day, and we set off for the Daintree Rainforest where we walked led by our guide,Tom, one of the aboriginal people from this area, the Kuku Yalanji. He told us that he had grown up in the forest here and provided many ways to experience the various uses of the plants in the Daintree. I was especially moved by his great respect for the spirits of the plants and animals in the area where we hiked. Before we entered the forest, we participated in a smoke ceremony – much like a Native American sage ceremony – in which we walked through smoke to purify ourselves for the spirits in the forest. And just prior to walking in some of the deeper sections, he called out to the animal and plant spirits to alert them to our presence. At the end of our walk, our guide had us thank these spirits for their kindness and hospitality.

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Above is a golden orb spider outside the World Heritage building.

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David and I after having participated in the smoke ceremony.

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Our guide displaying a shield from his tribe.

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David holding a sword from that tribe.

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Practicing with something like a boomerang!!

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The beautiful pathway in the forest for our “forest bathing.”

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Some of the forest vines which are used for baskets, etc.

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Meeting place for the tribe at this interesting rock formation. Tom explained that it is thought that the spirits are around these.

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Tom explaining about some of the plants and their uses.

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The pristine water flowing from higher up in the hills. It is the source of Port Douglas’ water supply.

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Another view of the water. It flows very quickly.

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Tom demonstrating a plant that compresses to a soap-like suds and can be used as cleanser.

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Paints made from various plants. We had fun painting ourselves with these!!

 

Wednesday the 18th-on the way to Port Douglas

Today we flew from Melbourne to Cairns where we will visit the Daintree rainforest and the Great Great Barrier Reef.

We flew over a section of the Outback which was very dry- looking and sparse before entering the lush, verdant oasis of the Cairns area. Temperatures here are in the 80’s!!

It is very humid-a typical tropical ecosystem on the Pacific Ocean. (Melbourne is on the Southern Ocean and is much cooler.)

Our Air B&B is so charming. I will post pictures of this later today as well as of a few sites on the drive from Cairns to Port Douglas where we are staying.

Before I continue writing future blogs, I must give credit to my son David who has been enormously helpful in uploading pictures when I have gotten stuck!! Thank you very much, Dave!!

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Lovely cloud formations as seen on our flight.

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Picture of Dave at a site overlooking the Pacific on our drive to Port DouglasIMG_0864

Dave in front of the door to the Air B&B. Called Fisherman’s Cottage, it is very charming.

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One of the lovely palms in front of Fisherman’s Cottage. I am unsure of the kind, but there are many of these in this area-very fan-like and full.IMG_0866

Part of the Port Douglas Port where there are a number of pleasure boats and boats to take people to various parts of The Great Barrier Reef.

 

 

 

Tuesday the 17th in Healesville, Australia

IMG_0821Today we did not go to the Great Ocean Road as planned, but we went to the Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary about 40 minutes outside Melbourne. I was so impressed with the sanctuary and also its commitment to biodiversity as well as to species preservation in the face of climate change.

Below are some of the Australian animals at the sanctuary:

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One of the emus

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an echidna

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the yellow-helmeted honeysucker flew at us and landed!!

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Kangaroos

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some pelicans-larger than ours in North America!!

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A koala

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One of the dingos. The woman is explaining about the history of dingos and their importance in Australia.