Australian Outback

Australia 2002!

Australia is a dream destination for many, but it became reality for me in late October of 2002.

After nearly a year of planning and saving, and planning some more, I could see Australia from the Boeing 747 speeding through the friendly skies 40,000 feet up and moving at 700 mph. Australia offers many types of landscapes, natural wonders, spectacular sites and unique wildlife. I just had to see them all. Well, 26,000 miles later, and 17 flights in 20 days of travel, the trip was complete. It was a draining experience and well worth every cent and effort.

From the cultural center of Sydney and the surrounding Blue Mountains, to the Red Center and top of Uluru, to the "top end" at Darwin and the magic of Kakadu National Park, to the Great Barrier Reef and the magnificent Heron Island, to the now famous Sunshine Coast and the Crocodile Hunterís Australia Zoo...I was there!

Arriving in Sydney on October 31, and spending the day at the Taronga Zoo, and then a night climb to the summit of the Sydney Harbor Bridge, on the outside of the span, was an opportunity that I just couldnít pass up and it made for a Halloween I will never forget. It was Spring down under and the perfect time for a visit.

A couple days later I traveled to the Red Center and climbed to the top of Uluru, formerly known as Ayerís Rock. It was a real accomplishment for me, and the entire desert surrounds of the Red Center was an environment that words cannot describe.

Ever wanted to silently cruise through a back water billabong along side giant salt water crocs and huge pink Lotus blossoms? How about travel down the Yellow River while crocs, being offered meat hanging from a bamboo stick practically fly out of the water to get a feed? How about checking out ancient Aboriginal cave art among the rock formations of the Kakadu escarpment, or chasing down and catching monitor lizards and Frill Dragons? I did it in and around Darwin and throughout the top end. It was as exciting as it sounds!

The following leg of the trip was a little "wetter". SCUBA classes in an algae filled lake in Iowa barely prepared me for diving the Great Barrier Reef, but it was awesome! Sea sickness couldnít even prevent this from being one of the great wildlife experiences of my life. Sitting on the Heron Island beach late one night as a Green Sea Turtle dug her nest an deposited her eggs in the sand was one of the most unforgettable evenings I have ever spent. It was remarkable. Did I mention how tan I was? I was very tan by then (no ozone protection you know).

Driving in Australia is a challenge for many reasons, but the fact that both the flow of traffic and the design of the cars is opposite of what we Americans are used to, complicates the situation more than a little. Regardless, I was able to drive up the Sunshine Coast from Brisbane to the Croc Hunterís home, Australia Zoo. Although the Croc Hunter himself was no where to be seen that day, other stars of the Animal Planet program, the crocodiles, were seen up close and in prime form snapping at keepers doing feeding demos and informing crowds of visitors about conservation and croc facts.

Australia was a great place to visit and digital technology allowed me to take even more pictures than I had taken in Brazil. The pictures and captions that follow really tell the story the best. Take a look. It will take a lot less time than the 14 hour flight from LA to Sydney! Enjoy...

Kevin Stalder, Owner/Operator
3371 Ubben Avenue
Ellsworth, IA 50075
(515) 836-4659

This site was last updated 07/24/10

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