We were in Australia most of the month of June, the occasion for the trip our youngest son's wedding in Brisbane, where he married an Australian girl who will be returning with him to lived in the States.
We left for Australia on Monday, June 6, and arrived on Wednesday, June 8. We flew from Vancouver to Tokyo to Sydney and then on to Cairns and were weary of traveling when we finally arrived. My wife and I stayed in Cairns for two nights while waiting for other family members to arrive. We stayed in a youth hostel there and spent the afternoon of our first day exploring the area around Cairns and walking the esplanade. We would later return to Cairns for a few hours before flying to Brisbane, and these are the photos I took in that area.
I took a few photos in Vancouver before we left (we flew on Japan Airlines) and then a few more in Sydney when we arrived there on the morning of the 8th. Later we would spend a few days in Sydney and would fly out of Sydney and back to Vancouver.
This is the Youth Hostel in Cairns where we stayed for two nights, a very comfortable place.
That first day in Cairns we checked in at our hostel and then drove up the Kennedy Highway to a lookout from which we could see the Cairns airport and surrounding area. We would come that way two more times to explore the Atherton Tablelands, but on this occasion our time was limited.
That same afternoon we drove up the lower end of Barron Gorge to see the waterfalls there but were disappointed by the lack of hiking. Surprise Creek was beautiful but there was little water at the lower end of the gorge, probably due to the fact that much of the water is diverted to a power station. Several days after we would see the upper end of the gorge and the falls there, but we did little more than drive up and drive back this time.
In Barron gorge we saw our first fig tree with its buttresses and our first staghorn or elkhorn fern. My wife took some photos of these, but I was too tired at that point to get our of the car.
Back in Cairns we walked the esplanade, as we would do again with other family members ten days later. We saw several of Australia's native orchids there but none in bloom. The orchid pictured is Dockrillia teretifolia.
The outstanding thing about the esplanade was the number of new birds we saw. Everything was new but the birds were especially interesting since it was the beginning of winter and wildflowers and orchids were few. I've done my best to identify the birds, but am probably wrong on some of them.
Australian White Ibis