Don & Shelly's 2017-2018 Winter Trip travel blog

Sydney Harbour

Sydney Harbour - Opera House

Sydney - Queen Victoria Bldg - built in 1898, renovated in 1986

Aerial view of Sydney

Cairns - Great Barrier Reef

Cairns - Great Barrier Reef

Cairns - Great Barrier Reef - Turtle

Cairns - Rainforest Tour - Our train

Cairns - Rainforest Tour - Barron Falls

Cairns - Rainforest Tour

Cairns - Rainforest Tour - Kuranda Village - Rock Shop - Dinosaur...

Cairns - Rainforest Tour - Nature Park - holding a baby croc

Cairns - Rainforest Tour - Nature park holding a koala

Cairns - Rainforest Tour - rode in a Amphibious Army Duck

Cairns - Rainforest Tour - Pamagirri Aboriginal dancers

Cairns - Rainforest Tour - Nature Park - Koala

Cairns - Rainforest Tour - Rainforestation Nature Park - Shelly with wallaby

Cairns - Rainforest Tour - Rainforestation Nature Park - Don with wallaby

Cairns - Rainforest Tour - Nature Park - Kangaroo & baby

Cairns - Rainforest Tour - Rainforest

Cairns - Rainforest Tour - SkyRail - Karen, Diana, Bruce

Cairns - downtown - Bats in a tree (they were huge)

Cairns - Downtown - Bats

Ayers Rock Resort - a little friend on the sidewalk

Ayers Rock

Sunrise at Ayers Rock

Ayers Rock - Walpa Gorge at Kata Tjuta

Ayers Rock - Walpa Gorge at Kata Tjuta

Ayers Rock - Walpa Gorge at Kata Tjuta (Shelly & Diana)

Ayers Rock - Desert

Melbourne at night from our balcony

Melbourne - Our Wilderness Walkabout Tour

Melbourne - Wilderness

Melbourne - Wilderness tour - Koala in a tree

Melbourne - Wilderness - Tawny Frogmouth - It looks like a branch...

Melbourne - Wilderness tour - our lunch in a park

Melbourne - Wilderness tour - kangaroos in the wild

Melbourne - Wilderness Walkabout - Emu by a billabong

Melbourne - Wilderness Walkabout - Cape Barron Geese

Melbourne - Philips Island Tour - baby penguin

Melbourne - Philips Island Tour - Knobbies

Melbourne - Philips Island Tour - Knobbies

Melbourne - Philips Island Tour - Penguin Parade area

Melbourne - Philips Island Tour - Watching for the penguins


Merry Christmas

Well we have been home from our trip for 3 weeks and I am finally getting the last portion of our trip done which I have been working on since Dec 12th.

We flew from Cairns to Ayers Rock (welcome to the Outback) and what a change in scenery. It was flat (with the exception of the rock formations) and very desert like and HOT! There isn’t much here except the resort which had about 4 hotels and a few stores. Our first tour which was a Sounds of Silence dinner was cancelled due to thunderstorms. When Don asked what else could we do the answer was make reservations at one of the restaurants for dinner. The next morning we were up by 4am and we went on a tour to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park where we watched the sunrise. We then were taken to Kata Tjuta and the Walpa Gorge where we followed a walking trail through the gorge and between two of the largest domes of Kata Tjuta. It was a nice tour and we were back at the resort by 10 so we could check out and head to the airport for our flight to Sydney and then Melbourne. Our flight was delayed so we missed our connection in Sydney but we were able to get on another flight really quickly so it wasn’t to bad. We made it to Melbourne, another large city and made to our hotel by about 9:30pm. Our tour on Thursday (Nov 30th) was called Kangaroos and Koalas in the Wild. We were picked up about 8:15am and were driven outside of Melbourne about an hour. We then got to walkabout at the You Yangs Regional Park looking for wild animals. We seen a female koala and a glimpse of her baby, a male koala sleeping in a tree, wallaby, kangaroos, emu’s, and lots of birds. It was a terribly hot day of just over 100F (38C) and we were worn out by the end of the day but it was great seeing the animals in the wild instead of an zoo setting. Our guide was really knowledgeable and made sure we didn’t miss anything. On Friday was our last tour where we went to Philips Island which was our rainiest day of our trip. We went to the Maru Animal Park and seen more koalas and kangeroos and birds raining so it was a quick tour around. We then went an area of the coast called Nobbies where we got to enjoy some nice scenery and see where the Little Penguins lived. We went for supper in a town called Cowes and then returned to Summerland beach where we met our guide for our private tour of the penguin parade. She armed us with binoculars, headphones and a cushion and then took us around the Information Center and then out to our sitting area. We watched the penguins come onto the beach area in groups called rafts. They would then decide if it was safe enough to walk up the beach, over rocks and hills and onward to where their nests and maybe babies were. These poor little birds had a long hike to their homes. We were not allowed to take pictures. It was great watching them and we even seen some feeding their babies. Once 5 penguins crossed the beach we were only allowed to sit there and watch for 55 minutes. Walking back to the information center we were able to see many penguins and they would stop people to let the penguins get through. It was a great tour and we didn’t get back to Melbourne till about midnight. The next morning we were picked up and taken to the airport for the start of our trip home. We flew from Melbourne to Auckland (about 3 ½ hrs), then had a 5 hr wait until our flight from Auckland to Los Angeles (about 12 hrs), then a 4 hr wait for our flight from Los Angeles to Houston (about 3 hrs) and arrived in Houston at 11:00pm. We had a shuttle to our hotel where we had left the van. We got to our room at the hotel and Don looked out the window and what’s beside us but a large dog kennel and on the night stand is 1 set of earplugs. He went down and talked to the desk clerk but she assured him they don’t put the dogs out until 8:30am. I did hear some barking about 6:30 but they didn’t really bother us. We had our breakfast and left Houston and arrived back at Bentsen by about 5pm Sunday, Dec 3. It was a wonderful trip and the comment was made at some point that we left as friends and came back as family!!

The last 3 weeks have been trying to get over our “jet lag” and getting back into the swing of things at the park. Don is golfing 3 times a week and I have been busy in the kitchen. I haven’t had much time for quilting but my quilt from last year which our neighbor took home to hand quilt returned and looks fabulous. Lynn did a wonderful job so now I have to get the binding done before I start my next project which will be runners for the dressers and nightstands at home to match the quilt.

This morning we received some sad news from home when Jocelyn let us know that our friend Johnny Webster passed away during the night from cancer. He was our boss at the gas station and a real nice guy and will be missed by many!

So today was chuch, tonight the Christmas pageant and tomorrow is our Christmas Dinner at 12 and leftovers at 6. Will be a fun time with all our friends.

So to all of you we wish you a very safe and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Take care until next time!

Don and Shelly



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