Sunday, September 25, 2011
Cairns, Australia is a lovely tourist town not far from the Great Barrier Reef and a number of other attractions. Named Trinity Bay by James Cook, it started out as a port for the discovery of gold not far away but that function was taken away when a quicker route to Port Douglas was discovered and it became an agricultural port. In World War II Carnes became a port for both Australian and Allied Forces and combat missions were sent out from Carnes to support the Battle of the Coral Sea. After the War it became the tourist town it is today.
Not far from an international airport, Carnes is full of seafood restaurants, Asian restaurants, souvenir shops, and tour agents as well as being surrounded by hotels and resorts. I had a lot of fun in this laid back town and took a trip up to Karianda, which I’ll talk about next week. I also watched a magic show at the casino, where I couldn’t take pictures, and visited the mini-zoo on top of the casino, where I took a lot of pictures I’ll show you in two weeks.
If you’re interested in what else you can do while in this charming beach town, here is the link to their tourist site. If you plan to go down to Australia, I highly recommend planning a few days in this relaxed tourist hub.
Saturday, September 17, 2011
The Gold Coast in Australia is a resort area known for long beaches and 6 amusement parks just a short train ride from Brisbane. However, if you plan to go to the Gold Coast from the major city, remember to start early in the morning.
We got to the Brisbane train station after noon and the attendants got us tickets for one of the three main cities on the Gold Coast and we got on the train. The trip was an hour by train and then a bus ride. After a half hour or more on the bus, it seemed like we were leaving the tourist area so we got off the bus and walked around. We found some pretty beaches and lots of homes and hotels but nothing interesting or worth the trip. When we looked at the bus schedule, we saw that the last bus out of the area we were in was six thirty and it was already after five in the evening. There was no way we would get to the famous Gold Coast in time to do anything and get back that night so we got a snack at a convenience store and headed back to Brisbane to find supper.
We found out later that the bus trip should have taken about or over an hour and passed an amusement park. We got off well before that and so I realize this post says very little about the actual famous area. If you want more information on the Gold Coast, here is the official website and here is the link to my Flickr page with more photos from the Gold Coast as I saw it.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Brisbane is the capital of Queensland, Australia and one of the largest cities on the continent.
The first night of my stay in Brisbane I stayed at an apartment hotel and that is the way to stay. The apartment had two bedrooms, two bathrooms, one with a washer and dryer in it, a living room area with couches, a TV, and a dining room table, and a kitchen area with dishes, a microwave, a small stove and nice refrigerator/freezer. Very nice for a night away from work with gorgeous views of Brisbane from a lot of floors up.
The next morning my friends that I shared the apartment with and I left the hotel room and wandered around town. The y wanted to find a place to eat kangaroo but we finally settled on going to a market held daily along the river. The market was fun, although the level of goods seemed more like a mall than a regular market. We decided to stop for lunch at a Mexican place and I had tacos and a chicken quesadilla near a stone statue of a carnival performer suspended in midair by cables.
After the market we decided to go see Transformers 3 in 3D at the local mall. It was a very good movie but I must admit that the 3D part was a bit overwhelming. I still prefer the old experience where the screen was flat and you just watched the good show. However, times are changing and I’ll have to adapt, even if the movie gave me a headache. After the movie my friends were still looking for kangaroo meat so we got in a cab to a cowboy style restaurant. There we found out that kangaroo meat is more of a get-it-when-available- meat than a seasonal or everyday meat so I had an awesome hamburger and they had beef and we went back to our beds on the ship.
I went out to the city a few more times for shopping and food before we left. One thing I was amazed at was that the country was based off of England many years ago but was more like the United States than my image of England now a day. Australia doesn’t seem to have a “native food” like most of the places I’ve been. They have Mexican places, French places, Thai places, Japanese and Chinese places, the typical fast food places like Starbucks and McDonalds, and almost everywhere has an alcohol menu (not counting the fast food places of course). It was amazing to basically be back in the States again for a little while, although I don’t know anyone that managed to stay inside their budget during our stay in Australia. Everything is slightly more expensive there and we could buy things like clothes that we can’t find to fit us in Asian countries. Trying to find pants that fit Western bodies in the stores designed for naturally skinny Asians is just painful.
Anyways, Brisbane was a lot of fun and I’m definitely hoping/planning to come back before I die and I highly recommend it. Next week I’ll write about my trip to the Gold Coast so come back soon.
If you want to see more of my photos from Brisbane, check out my Flickr gallery.
Monday, September 5, 2011
Noumea is the capital of New Caledonia, a French Island in the Pacific Ocean. Although hard to get to by plane, the small city is trying hard to become known in the tourist world and is occasionally a stop for cruise ships around Australia. Although it has gorgeous beaches, lots of water for boating or fishing, and some nice boutiques, I really don’t have much to say about the city besides that it has awesome food and lovely sunsets. If you want a panoramic view of the city from a hilltop, here’s a great view and it will show a good depiction of how small the island is. True, this is much smaller than the island I was on, it gives the impression of a small island with little on it. If you love a small town where you can sun on the beach or eat amazing food while looking over the ocean, you’ll love it here. If you go, just remember that money goes quick here as it is a tourist city and the dollar doesn’t have much value overseas.