Pictures of Australia

I have been to Australia three times on vacation. It was a place I had always wanted to visit but to which I could never get anyone to send me. Fortunately, the places they do send me provide an ample supply of frequent flyer miles. So when I finally sent myself I was able to travel in style. The pictures you see here are a small sampling of the hundreds I took during my first two visits in 1992 and 1994.

I've divided the content into a few categories for easier navigation:
* Natural Wonders
* Unnatural Wonders
* Flora & Fauna
You can find some much better pictures from my 2001 trip on my Australian travel pages, as well as pictures from a lot of other places I've been.

Natural Wonders

The Three Sisters, in the Blue Mountains outside Sydney. There's a lovely legend about the place that involves an aboriginal shaman, his three daughters and a magic bone.

Looking out toward the Blue Mountains. The mountains get their name from the eucalyptus trees that cover the area. The trees release so much eucalyptus oil that from a distance everything takes on a blue haze. The oil is also the reason why forest fires are such a hazard out here.

This was taken from a place called Stanwell Tops, south of Sydney. I remember being told that the town down below was Wollongong. But I've now been reliably informed that that's wrong. It's actually Stanwell Park, which is a suburb of Wollongong. Which was a shame once, since Wollongong was the name of a modem maker back in the early days of my obsession with computers. And Stanwell Park isn't the name of anything, aside from the town in the picture. Still, who remembers Wollongong the modem any more?

A view from the Kuranda Scenic Railway, on the way from Cairns up to Kuranda in the Atherton Tablelands. The route involves fifteen tunnels and forty bridges and was a major piece of engineering less than a century ago.

Uluru, also known as Ayer's Rock, in the Red Center of Australia. Normally a dull brown, it turns a glowing orange when the sun catches it at dawn and dusk. Uluru stands in the middle of a flat, barren plain that runs for hundreds of miles.

And the other kind

Distinctive architecture in Sydney and Brisbane. Several tour guides pointed out that Australia has more MacDonald's per capita than anywhere else in the world. Ignoring for the moment the question of whether this is something to take pride in, I still thought that this was among the best looking MacDonald's I've ever encountered.

A bit of fractured history. This is Cook's Cottage, which now resides in a Melbourne park. The exhibit at the cottage talks about the life of Captain James Cook, who commanded HMS Endeavor to the discovery of Australia. (At least if you ignore the Dutch who found it first. Or the Aboriginals who never knew it was missing...) But Cook never lived here. The cottage was Cook's father's, built after Cook had left to join the Royal Navy. Funny how the exhibit neglects to mention that.

A view of Brisbane from Kangaroo Point on the eastern shore of the Brisbane River. Brisbane is quite a change after visiting Sydney and Melbourne, not just because of the subtropical climate but also because of its vast area. I'm told that Brisbane is one of the largest cities in the world in terms of the land within the city limits.

Traveling in style in the Kuranda rainforest near Cairns (quaintly pronounced Cans by the locals) in Far North Queensland. A genuine WWII-era amphibious duck, just the thing for those seriously washed out roads. In case you're curious, I took this picture from an identical vehicle which was sitting in an equivalent amount of water.

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Comments to: Hank Shiffman, Mountain View, California