Thursday, June 28, 2007

G'day mate!

Well, our readers will no doubt be relieved to hear that we are alive and well (if exhausted)and in Sydney, Australia, after a five day camping expedition in Far North Queensland and a trip to the Great Barrier Reef. Our itinerary for the past several weeks had the ultimate aim of getting us deep into the Outback in time for a three-day Aboriginal Dance and Cultural Festival this past weekend. After a seven-hour overnight flight from Singapore and a five-and-a-half-hour drive (in an enormous campervan on the wrong side of the road!) north along the rainforest-edged coastline, we made it to Laura (not the person, the town where the festival was held) just as the sun was setting.

Once we'd gotten our fill of didgeridoo playing (as you do) and reluctantly come to terms with the fact that there would be neither waltzing nor dancers named Matilda, we drove back down south to the Atherton Tablelands, for some more rainforest trekking Ozzie-style. We spotted a number of waterfalls, a couple of platypi and a truly impressive fig tree, but alas no roos (woe) and thankfully no crocs (yay).

Truth be told, this was no culinary adventure - witchetty grubs were not on offer and we subsisted mostly on sandwiches and canned soup - but in Yungaburra we did enjoy one elegant meal of redclaw yabbies (crayfish, for those from Up Over) and sweet potato gnocchi, roasted pumpkin and avocado salad, and local roast beef with watercress, all washed down with an excellent Tasmanian Pinot Noir. It was our first anniversary, after all. One thing we have learned: the Ozzies love coffee (there are several plantations in Northern Queensland). At the dance festival, you could get a cappuccino but not a hot shower. We're still learning how to order (there's a whole independent system - "flat white" means coffee with milk, "short black" means espresso, etc.), but in the meantime, we're sucking down lattes like they're going out of style. (Which, of course, they are. Trends are circular; they ebb and flow; nothing is permanent; the moment is fleeting; carpe diem and so on.)

Our last adventure in Queensland was a day of snorkeling on the Norman and Hastings reefs. The winds were high and the water choppy, but we squeezed into our wetsuits and dove into the Pacific with gusto, only to be greeted warmly by a whole host of new brightly colored friends. Our readers will understand why we did not take any pictures of the incredible iridescent coral or the many schools of brilliant fish teeming around it; everyone knows what happens when you take your camera snorkeling and we're no dummies.

... but more pictures of our exciting adventures Down Under (so far) are available here:
... and, as promised, more pictures of our exciting adventure in Singapore are available here:

1 comment:

rowena said...

A trip Down Undah is a something my husband and I would like to do one day....we love outdoor expeditions like the this one!

If you've any helpful links to point us in the right direction, how did you go about planning this excursion? Everything sounded absolutely fabulous!