Clearly Portia’s wedding was the highlight of the holiday but the whole 3 weeks were so jam-packed that this post really contains the highlights of the highlights. I haven’t even included the little train ride through the Sydney Botanic Gardens or the morning spent chatting with Portia and Anna-Maria in the Chinese Gardens at Darling Harbour.
Before I even I arrived, I decided that despite my various ‘limitations’, I’d really go for it on this trip – and I did. No lie-ins, no rest days. I pushed myself and found I could do a lot more than I imagined, socially as well as physically. None of it would have been possible however, without the support of my friends. They mean the world to me and I would never have got to experience Australia without them.
Soon after I arrived, Jin (Portia’s partner, now husband) took me by ferry to a tour of Sydney Opera House. I loved the building and found its history fascinating.
Our mate Tina G organised our 3 night stay at Emu Apartments in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in the Northern Territory. The day we arrived, she had arranged for us to have ‘Dinner Under the Stars’ with a talk through the night sky and a walk around the Field of Lights: a light installation which sadly could not be captured effectively by camera. It was a magical experience from start to finish.
Not only did we see Uluru at sunrise and sunset on the same day, but we did a tour of the rock itelf. Some of the aborignal stories the guide shared can only be told at Uluru and they had me enthralled.
Tina booked us on a hike of nearby Kata Tjuta – a landmark made up of 36 huge domed rocks. I had a couple of stumbles but I survived! Without her knowledge of the area, we might have missed out on this wonder.
Next Portia and I flew to Cairns, Queensland and I got to meet Portia’s wonderful Auntie Tracey. We took a Quicksilver boat excursion to the outer Great Barrier Reef. I had not intended to snorkel out in the deep sea, but I did. We also took the semi-submersible for a closer look at the coral.
We drove nearly 9 hours from Cairns to Airlie Beach where we stayed at a lovely Airbnb apartment. We spent our one full day on an Ocean Rafting adventure into the Whitsunday Islands. Here I got to see the most stunning beaches and snorkel as close as it gets to the colourful coral which comes down from the beach at Border Island.
Spending a few days with my friend Natalie – an ex-blogger who now lives in Sydney – was a highlight in itself. I felt happy just being in her company. We visited some of the city’s many beautiful beaches. My favourite was Palm Beach where they film the TV show Home and Away.
Like many tourists visiting Australia, I really wanted to meet a kangaroo and a koala. I got to do both and see a lot more native animals at Featherdale Wildlife Park.
Finally, it was a thrill to experience Turbo Trivia live. It was impressive to see Portia in full performance mode, entertaining the players while keeping the quiz on track. She makes it look effortless but I know how much work it takes behind the scenes.
The real incentive for me to spend around 21 hours on planes to get to Australia was the people that live there. Spending time with the friends I had already made and making new ones is what made it super special. Everything else was the most fabulous bonus ever.
Have you visited Australia? What should I do on my next visit?
23 responses to “Australia Trip Highlights – Photo Essay”
What a whirlwind! You really did pack in so many fun adventures. I absolutely loved travelling with you & Portia to the red centre, thank you for your company – it made the trip that much more magical. Thanks for the post Tara – made me smile. Missing you heaps.
xxxxx Tina G
I loved travelling with you too, Tina and can’t wait to do it again one of these days. A road trip to Adelaide and Melbourne, right? 🙂
Woo Hoo! NOBODY packs that much into a 3 week holiday Tara. You were indomitable. So much fun.
That was only a taste of what we have to offer Down Under. So much more to see.
Tasmania, Swimming with the dolphins at Monkey Mia and Whale Sharks at Ningaloo Reef, Broome, the Daintree, every major city has an Art Gallery chock full of Aussie stuff.
LOVE the pics. He He he Breathtaking Portia Turbo! He He He
Really looking forward to seeing more. You got me off to a great start.
Just hearing those Aussie place names makes me want to visit them.
There is only one Portia Turbo!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Darl, you even visited Austral !!
You really did experience quite a few highlights and then The Wedding of the year xxx
Super amazing Aussie adventure Tara, I hope you got to sleep in your journey home xxxx🤩
How could I forget to mention Austral??! So much fun to meet more of your family and see where you live, Anna Maria.
I got some fitful sleep on the plane but still going to bed at 9pm and waking at 5am which isn’t ideal. All worth it though.
Wow Tara you have made me dizzy just reading your wonderful story of the great whirlwind trip to Australia. Come back soon, it was wonderful meeting you and I miss you already, Much love, Aunt T xxx
Lovely to see you here, Auntie Tracey! Thanks for looking after me so well when we came up to Cairns. I won’t forget it. Miss you too.
Your Portia made this trip so full of amazing adventures. I’ll be forever grateful.
What a fantastic trip. And thank you for sharing it.
It really was Francesca. Thanks for reading.
Oh my goodness, that all looks so amazing! I so agree that it is the people that make it worth it in the end, even though Australia has so much to draw tourists in by itself. That top pic isn’t you standing against a back drop of The Blue Ridge Mountains by any chance? You did say you packed in more than you can report on, and there really were so many highlights as you say. It also looks warm for winter so that was a bonus. When I saw the koala, I immediately had a flashback to the one I met in Canberra in a zoo. Also fast asleep but you would think it had been drugged it was so groggy! It is funny that yours was too, as it became a standing joke between my then BF and me that it is nigh on impossible to meet a koala who will keep its eyes open even long enough to have its photo taken.
I had a month in Oz in the early 90s, but only in NSW, so didn’t get to see nearly enough, even though my mum is from there, and there are places all over I would have liked to have seen connected to her. It is a great country, and the light is just wonderful, I do vividly remember that. And the feeling of health and wellbeing, and the fantastic foodie culture. Speaking of which, did you get to eat any nice mango? Inquiring minds need to know…
How did I not know your mum was from Australia?!
That top pic is me at the Blue Mountains in front of the Three Sisters. Really stunning.
There is something very special about the light, I particularly noticed it in Sydney.
No mango or fruit generally as I didn’t want to risk getting poorly on holiday.
I wonder if koalas are nocturnal?!
Blue Mountains. I added a ridge, sorry! Have stood in that very spot. Will have a photo somewhere. Oh, to be 34 again. 😉 Mother was born in Fremantle and also lived in Broome and Portia’s very suburb! Though apparently it was very swampy then. Almost 100 years ago, fancy that.
Wow that’s fascinating, V.
Looks like you had a wonderful time, Tara. Enjoyed looking at all your pics, including the non-drugged koala bear.
Thanks, R! Portia really did push the boat out for me.
I would have very much liked to spend some more time with Victor the Koala 🙂
What a fabulous vacation Tara! I am so happy that you got to go to Portia and Jin’s wedding and that you also were able to tour around. Stunning pictures! You all look gorgeous and happy. Sandra xo
I consider myself extremely lucky, Sandra.
Very happy times!
What a wonderful trip you had! I can’t believe how much you did while there.
I would love to see Australia one day but I’m afraid that the flight is too long for me. But we’ll see – maybe one day if my back behaves… 🙂
I heard that kangaroos are mean… How was the one you met?
I really hope you can make it over one day, Undina. Start saving for Business Class!
I’m sure that was the reason there were only baby kangaroos in the petting section 🙂 They were surprisingly gentle with me though someone else said one knocked the beaker out of their hand.
I keep coming back and reading this Tara. It all seems like a magical dream now.
Jin and I are thinking you should meet us in South Korea next please. We should be able to give you a real sense of it in 7 or 8 nights. Seoul, Busan, Temples, Seaside and maybe even get out to some of the islands.
Portia, I love that you are re-reading this! I showed it to a friend yesterday so she could see all the pics. It does almost feel like this most amazing dream now but we did it.
Yes, totally up for meeting you and Jin in South Korea next time.
Pingback: Vintage Mini Reviews – Bal a Versailles, Paris and Magie Noire | A Bottled Rose