Page Two of Australia 2000 and 2002...Enjoy!

koalaCentral Coast NSW

You can get to the Central Coast in an hour or so. From either the Cumberland or Pacific Highway, get on
to the Sydney-Newcastle Freeway at Wahroonga. This will take you on a fast clip north through forested
national parks and across the Hawkesbury River. Take your time and detour to find hidden, remote beaches,
vast lakes of glass, inviting lagoons and sleepy port towns.
port stephens
Port Stephens
A crystal clear, pollution free waterway that is about two and a half times the size of Sydney Harbour.
The largest coastal sand dune system in Australia with a resident population of 150 bottlenose dolphins.
There are whale watch cruises, 4 wheel driving, surfing, quad biking and sand boarding. Port Stephens
is a blue water paradise and dolphin capital of Australia.

Hunter Valley
The enticing wineries in this beautiful wine country, two hours north of Sydney, offers activities such as wine
tasting (Aussie wine is GOOD), tandem skydiving, hot air ballooning, horseriding, fishing and action aerobatics.

The Northern Coast NSW
Fields of sugar cane, sub tropical rainforests, deep winding rivers, excellent fishing, unbelievable, unspoiled,
uncrowded beaches, tranquil villages, rugged mountain ranges, five breathtaking World Heritage listed
National Parks, banana plantations and the central complex of a volcano some 20 million years old!

byron bay
Byron Bay
Byron Bay, towards the top of NSW and Australia's most easterly point, is without question one of Australia's
most beautiful beach hang-outs. Inhabited by an eclectic population of surfies, beautiful people, new-age hippies,
ferals, the rich and famous and plenty of international travelers all basking in the glorious sunshine.

It's not hard to see why people are so magnetized to come here. It is a world class surf beach, with a distinctly
alternative and warm local charm, dolphins, whales, turtles and stingrays playing in the bay and a vivacious nightlife.
The outdoor activites are bountiful; swimming, sunbaking, kayaking, hang-gliding, scuba diving, rock climbing and
surfing, to mention a few. The surrounding hinterland boasts subtropical rainforest and lakes to explore and trek
through. I loved the atmosphere and the outdoor lifestyle - one of my favorite places.

The Byron Bay lighthouse, standing watch over the town at Cape Byron on the NSW north coast, was built in 1901
and is said to be one of the most powerful in the southern hemisphere. Take a walk around it and watch the hang
gliders as they sail over your head and the tiny wild goats munching away on the rocky cliff sides.

So far, the locals have fiercely protected their eden from modern development. There is no Mackas in Byron, nor
will there be one anytime soon, but you can buy vegetarian food, crystals and very brightly colored clothes. A full
hour massage costs next to nothing or experience total relaxation in a floatation tank. In fact Byron is so easy going
that Aussies get their dole money cut off automatically if they move there. So far this has not proved to be a deterrent!

A relaxed and easygoing friendliness permeates the town, perhaps enhanced by the large amount of yoga, meditation
and re-birthing the locals so embrace. Summer time, winter time, the livin' is easy and carefree. A local shop owner even
found me a husband so I could stay forever. Alas!... I had to leave and continue north. I WILL be back. No worries!

Mt. Warning
West of Byron Bay lies spectacular Mount Warning, the first place in Australia to be kissed by sunlight. Elevated
high above coastline, Mt Warning has a truly amazing 360 degree view of NSW and northwards into Queensland.
You can see the Great Dividing Range that separates the East Coast from the inland, several sparkling lakes, Byron Bay,
the Gold Coast and the dense lush hinterland. It took me 3 hours to hike up and back the 4.4km trail and I was knackered
for the next 24 hrs but it was extremely worth it. The people you will meet as you trek through this sub tropical rain forest,
are from all over the world with great stories to exchange. You need to leave early in the morning (I started the climb at 8am),
so as to beat the heat and any weather conditions or failing light. Take plenty of water too.

I stayed at the base overnight in a caravan park/retreat which was a tiny garden of paradise, set on 287 acres of lush green
rainforest. Night entertainment consisted of three cable tv films watched on sofas lined up, side by side under the stars. It
reminded me of the open air theatre in one of my all time favorite Aussie films, "Welcome To Woop Woop"  I awakened
to wallabies hopping around on the lawn, a river singing nearby, parrots and cockatoos in the trees and foliage, and the local
ducks welcoming the rising sun. This is a place I plan to stay at again because of the beauty and the lovely, hospitable
people who run it. The countryside here is gorgeous.

If you want more of a nightlife, there is a town nearby with plenty of most excellent
fresh food sources and of course several pubs and hotels to socialize and mix.

The Tweed Valley River with Mt. Warning in the background.
The alternative culture and lifestyle in Byron Bay is nothing compared to the drug capital of Oz, Nimbin, "which shines
through a thick haze of acidic ganjah smoke as a beacon to altered states of mind". Just up the road from Mt. Warning,
it was once a remote drop out haven for greenies, hippies, free love and their overheated Kombi vans. Most of the fun
in Nimbin is in the surrounding countryside in the form of eco-raves and back to nature dance and trance events. If you
receive an offer to visit one of the local's home's, do so. They have built incredible places in the forest that you need
to see to believe.

Population 3.2 million

The Sunshine State, a tropical paradise with rainforests, crocodiles, deadly jellyfish, the greatest reef in the world,
world class scuba diving, exotic incredible adventures, home to the Aborigines for thousands of years, balmy days
and romantic starry nights. As a child i dreamt of visiting this magical place and sure enough, I competely fell in
love with Northern Queensland.

The Bruce Highway connects Brisbane to Cairns, approx. 1,700 kilometers. Travel by train? The Queenslander,
Brisbane to Cairns or Spirit Of The Outback, Brisbane to Rockhampton and Longreach. Airplane? Cairns,
Townsville and Brisbane have international airports.

Rainy Morning At Surfers Paradise
There are about 30 kms of golden sand stretching from the eastern Queensland/New South Wales border in the south,
to Broadbeach, Surfers Paradise and the Stradbroke islands in the north. The terms Gold Coast or Surfers (short for
Surfers Paradise) are used interchangeably. However, this strip of golden land is really the Gold Coast and Surfers
Paradise is just one of the towns (lively and exuberant), which dot the shoreline of the Pacific coast. The beach
(photo above), is the widest and longest i've ever seen, truly magnificent and similar to Miami Beach, Florida.

The Gold Coast has a cosmopolitan air and the lifestyle is easy. Numerous restaurants, nightclubs, hotels and leisure
complexes line the coastal strip and inland waterways. I had brekky at THE best Hard Rock Cafe I've visited (9 so
far including Las Vegas, Hawaii, Sydney and Tokyo). The shopping area is abundant and thriving. Visit Jupiters,
the countries largest casino. The number of theme parks?...enough to fill a holidaymaker's entire week.

Remember "The Birds" by Alfred Hitchcock? - Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.

*Disneyland style Dreamworld,  *Movie World (like Universal Studios L.A.)
*Sea World and *Wet n'Wild.


Brissy, the 3rd largest city in Australia and the capital of Queensland, has a sub-tropical climate with the Brisbane
River snaking its way through the banklands of parks, skyscrapers and suburbs. If it wasn't for the river, winding
its way 340km down from the Brisbane Valley to the aquatic playground of Moreton, this city would not be so fun
and pretty, but one rolling, condensed metropolis of old and new architecture, with each building in competition to
overshadow the other. However, this city is one of the most favorite and beloved in Australia due to its location and
climate, where outdoor dining and coffee shops are a way of life.

Brisbane natives are multi-cultural and extremely friendly. The centre of their city life revolves around the river banks
with ongoing activities, restaurants and transportation. The food here is superb, plentiful and inexpensive. What to do?
Enjoy a romantic dinner cruise on the Brisbane River or ride on a high speed City Cat.  Explore the lovely riverside
Botanical gardens, stroll along Kangaroo Point underneath the Story Bridge, gamble and play at The Treasury Casino
and shop at the riverside markets held every Sunday for wonderful local handicrafts.

koalaFYI: During the week, most restaurants close by 10pm and the city is pretty quiet.
If you want more action at night, The Gold Coast is only one hour south.

The Victoria Bridge, links the city with South Brisbane & South Bank, which is fast becoming Brisbane's showcase and
is the redeveloped site of Brisbane's Expo '88. Here you will find The Performing Arts Complex, The State Library,
The Art Gallery, The Museum & the new Imax Theatre, all in close proximity. Nearby is the Brisbane Convention &
Exhibition Centre. A highlight of  South Bank Parklands is Australia's only inner city beach, created to beat the summer
humidity and heat, and to entertain local families and visitors.

More to do and see...
One of the grandest buildings, is the City Hall, in which you are able to go up the clock tower in a lift,
which actually goes inside the clock, to a lookout, above the clock.

Queen Street Mall
Located at the intersection of Albert Street, it has been revamped to show off  Queenslands tropical foliage, with
a glass covered walkway designed to become a waterfall in the summer downpours. Well worth a visit. Underneath
the Mall, is a bus tunnel and station.

Don't miss raiding the Brunswick Street market: A huge variety of stalls and produce, with countless thrift and
specialty stores within staggering distance the morning after an evening of ample nightlife and crawling the pub scene.

The Zoo (for laid-back hip), Rick's (cool hip) and The Press Club (seriously hip), all clustered in Fortitude Valley.
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, which is 11 kilometers southwest of Brisbane city centre.

Australian Woolshed
For a glimpse of the Aussie outback in the city, visit the Australian Woolshed at Ferny Grove. Watch the performing
rams, sheep shearing and sheepdogs at work. Bottle-feed lambs, milk a cow, or visit the native animal sanctuary. You
can even join in a bush dance.

Mt. Coot-tha
Drive up to this spectacular viewing point of Brisbane, Moreton Bay and The Dividing Ranges. Have a bite to eat or
a cuppa at The Summit Restaurant or Kuta Cafe. Located only ten minutes from Brisbane in Mt. Coot-tha Forest Park,
about 3,500 hectares, part of the Brisbane Forest Park, a 28,500 hectares nature reserve. Here you will also find the
Brisbane Planetarium and Brisbane Botanic Gardens which are the largest tropical and subtropical gardens in Australia,
spanning 52 hectares.


The Sunshine Coast
90kms north of Brisbane

Out in Moreton Bay, off Moreton Island, at Tangalooma, a number of old ships & boats have been sunk to form
an artificial reef for fish. The boats are in about 10 meters of water & are great for divers and snorklers. Once you
get to the island, you can easily swim out from shore.

Great camp sites and places to stay. Named 'The beautiful place' by the Aborigines.

Super restaurants and beaches. The finishing line for the annual yacht race in April from Sydney - Party time!
A maze of residential venice style canals.

Maroochydore -Fab shopping center, the region's business center.

The drive to Noosa is lovely, just 90 minutes north of Brisbane.
Combining the charm of a seaside holiday village with the sophistication of an international destination,
this special place is relaxed, cosmopolitan and outstandingly beautiful.

Travel a few kms inland to the lush hinterland and the under estimated glory of
The Glass Mountains, an ancient volcanic mountain range.

Fraser Island and Coast
The world's largest sand island. Pretty and lots of fun: beaches, cliffs, gorges, freshwater lakes,
and tropical rainforest. Visitors can camp or stay in one of the island resorts.

The largest multi-cargo port in Queensland. An ideal touring base with plentiful accommodation,
and restaurants with fresh reef fish and their famous mud crabs. Fish and dive all day.

A balmy tropical climate with plenty of tree lined streets, parks and gorgeous, lush Botanical gardens.
The most boring drive is just north, where you journey for hours and see nothing! Just a straight road.

horse dunk
Dunk Island
koalaCentral Tropical Queensland
Mackay Region
Stunning tropical beauty, secluded beaches, sugar cane district, great fishing and diving and some of the most
beautiful rainforests in Australia. Snorkel the reef or see it thru a glass bottomed boat. Cruise to uninhabited
islands or visit Brampton, Lindeman or Hamilton.

The Whitsunday Islands
are beautiful!!! Paradise, for serious romantics, nature lovers, sun worshippers and yacht relaxation lovers only!
A group of more than 74 islands which create an idyllic, natural playground of breathtaking, sweet intoxication.
Read  The Whitsunday Times on line.

Airlie Beach
A palm fringed waterfront and impressive marina. There is a great backpacker haunt called
Bush Village with tons of partying and heaps of cruises going out to the barrier reef.

Dunk Island
Australia's largest tropical city. Fishing, diving and boating on the reef, are unrivaled here.
A major portal to Magnetic, Orpheus and Dunk Islands. See the world's largest walk thru living coral reef
aquarium at The Great Barrier Reef Wonderland. Shop at The Cotters Market on a Sunday, and swim at The
Rock Pool, safe year round from jellyfish. Explore the tropical gardens alongside the gorgeous sand beaches
or just do....nothing and ENJOY!

Stay at Dunk Island, a tropical rainforest island, internationally acclaimed for its spectacular
game fishing waters and unequaled beauty. Horseride, swim and bathe in the magic.

Bill Wood Photography of The Reef
The Great Barrier Reef
is truly AWESOME! The Great Barrier Reef extends 2000 kilometres all along the northern Queensland coast,
into Torres Strait, south of Papua New Guinea. It is the world's most extensive reef system and has been created
by living organisms. Most of the reef is believed to be 2 million years old although there are parts which are said
to be about 18 million years old. I will never forget my outrageous day of scuba diving on the outer reef.
The reef really is exactly like the photos and yes, you must be careful...a friend i was with got bitten and
had to have eighteen sutures (no it was not a shark).

koalaMagnificent Northern Tropical Queensland
Soooo much to do...and i did it, in 2002

Visit the Atherton Tablelands and view spectacular waterfalls, go whitewater rafting down the Baron River
(absolutely thrilling), experience the Aboriginal Tjapukai Cultural Park (i met the same handsome dancer the
Queen of England talked to), take a cable car to Kurunda (very hot here), soar in a hot-air ballon, bungee,
skydive, tour on a Harley, hang-glide, get scuba certified...Adventure and beauty beyond your wildest dreams!

A doorway to The Great Barrier Reef for serious scuba diving and snorkeling. Go party at The Woolshed
with the locals and the multitudes of international backpackers, or enjoy an outdoor concert.

Port Douglas
Port Douglas is a fabulous vibrant and lively small town with lots to do. Mingle with the rich and famous,
check out the Sunday market held in the park by the ocean, cruise out to the Great Barrier Reef, dine in one
of the numerous excellent restaurants, walk and sunbath on the pristine stunning 4 mile beach or laze in a
jacuzzi under the stars at one of the plentiful holiday apartments. I stayed in an absolutely gorgeous and
very romantic two bedroom whick looked out over the beautiful mountains and rainforest.
Note: Prices here are higher then elsewhere due to the prestige and location of Port Douglas.
Also, a must do is to have breakfast at the amazing wildlife sanctuary.

Cape Tribulation & Daintree National Park
WOW!!! Tropical rainforest, lush, remote, seductive, pulsating and alive - over 2 million years old!
Take a 4WD Safari (unforgettable experience), cruise the crocodile infested Daintree River (i swam in it
and visited a remote spectacular Aboriginal sacred waterfall), horseback ride along the white beaches and
through the rainforest and sugarcane fields (i'm passionate about horse-riding and so this was the first
thing i did - absolutely brilliant!), and try the local homemade ice-cream in Daintree before you leave
(truly delicious - many unusual flavours).

Where did I stay?
During my Northern Queensland trip in 2002, i stayed in a fantastic two bedroom apt overlooking
the ancient rainforest of Daintree and a brilliant youth hostel overnight in Cairns. In Sydney i stayed
in a penthouse at the casino and then a fabulous hotel overlooking Bondi Beach.

In 2000, i stayed with friends along the way and in family run, adorable, comfy, inexpensive roadside motels
and hotels. I paid 30 to 40 Aussie dollars and always had heating, a bathroom and a full kitchen, as well as
two beds and a teli. Often breakfast was offered too. No reservations are needed and rooms are plentiful to
choose from. In the Blue Mountains I shared communal bathroom and showers which was really fun!...
Lots of multi-national handsome backpackers and world travelers.

I hope you have enjoyed my journey. Cheers mate for stopping by!

Australia 2000 - NSW
Part One

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