I’ve finally made the time to post some pictures of my travels in Australia with my Dad last November. Enjoy!
Our first stop after arriving in Sydney was Jervis Bay, a bay along the east coast of Australia said to have the whitest sand in the world!
One of the best things to do in this region is whale watching, especially during the time we were there. In summer, whales and their calves travel from the South Pacific down to Antarctica to feed. As we were in the area in November, this was the perfect time to spot some whale mothers with babies coming down along the coast of Australia!
In the area around Jervis Bay boat and ship building has been a major activity for thousands of years. The local Aboriginals used to make boats out of bark from old trees and Western immigrants continued this boatbuilding tradition by establishing shipbuilding companies in this area. There is a nice little museum in Huskisson (named after British politician and the first person to ever die in a railway incident William Huskisson) which houses an entire ferry inside, The Lady Denman, which was built in Huskisson but used at Sydney Harbour for 67 years (1912-1979)!
The Lady Denman could transport up to 500 passengers, which meant that for a Sydney ferry it was actually quite small. The biggest ferries could take as much as 2250 passengers.
The museum also displays some interesting objects related to the 19th-century whaling industry in the area. Sperm whales were mostly hunted for their oil, which could be used for lamps or in soaps and make-up. Furthermore, baleen whales were hunted for their bones which were used to make corsets. Whaling was phased out once petroleum was available, making whale oil worthless.
Of course, one of the coolest parts of travelling through Australia is the amazing wildlife! Kangaroos are probably the first animal that comes to mind, but Australia has many more fascinating animal species on offer! Everywhere we went we saw many beautiful parrots, such as the rainbow lorikeets below.
Besides all the animals we saw in the wild, we also visited two zoos. The first was Mogo Zoo, which we passed on our way from Jervis Bay down to Narooma. It was a lovely stop on our long drive, with their large number of primate species as well as red pandas (my favourite animal)!
Our main reason for driving to Narooma is the fact that you can take cruises from there to nearby Montague Island with its large colony of little penguins! Access to the island is restricted as it is a wildlife sanctuary. You can only access it for a limited amount of time on one of the daily cruises. The cruises leave from Narooma in the late afternoon, and arrive at the island just in time to see the penguins come back after sunset from a day of foraging in the water. For this reason, it was unfortunately impossible to take any pictures of them as it was too dark (and it would of course not be nice to the little guys to blind them with flashlights).
The island was originally named Barunguba by the local Aboriginal people. It is mythologically linked to two other islands: Gulaga and Najanuga. The traditional Aboriginal story is as follows:
‘Gulaga (Mount Dromedary) had two sons who left her to travel east. When they got to the sea she called to the younger son: ‘Come back, come back, my boy. You’re too young.’ The older son went on into the sea. He is Barunguba (Montague Island) while the younger son is Najanuga (Little Dromedary).’ (from Gulaga – A Report on the Cultural Significance of Mt Dromedary to Aboriginal People)
Our next stop was the Blue Mountains, a mountainous area west of Sydney. It is called the Blue Mountains, as due to the large density of eucalyptus trees in this area, eucalyptus oil evaporates into the air, causing the blue spectrum of the sunlight to propagate more. This gives the area a slightly blue-ish hue, as you can see on the pictures below. Its highest peaks are over 1km above sea level.
The Three Sisters is the most iconic rock formation of the Blue Mountains. According to Aboriginal mythology, these rocks are three sisters (Meehni, Wilma, and Gunnedoo) that were turned to stone. They had fallen in love with three brothers from another tribe, but were forbidden to marry them. The brothers decided to kidnap the sisters, which caused a tribal war. A local witch doctor turned the sisters into stone to keep them from harm, but was himself killed before getting the chance to undo the spell. Busloads of tourists come from Sydney every day to see the sisters. As such, we didn’t hang about this area for very long, instead opting to explore the rest of this vast mountain range, as this was much quieter and less touristy, while just as beautiful!
Before we went back to Sydney where my Dad had to teach a course, we spent a few days in a houseboat on the Hawkesbury River, which was very relaxing. There weren’t many people on the river, so we often had entire beaches to ourselves. My Dad entertained himself by fishing a lot as you can see below.
In my next post I will share some photos from Sydney, our final stop. Highlights include the amazing maritime museum (where they had a replica of James Cook’s ship the Endeavour!) and Taronga Zoo.