Posts Tagged ‘Australia’

Darwin’s tropical parliment

Darwin’s Parliament House is home to the Northern Territory Legislature and is one of the city’s more striking pieces of architecture. Opening in August of 1994 this building has been designed to suit Darwin’s tropical and sometimes harsh environment. The huge facade screens up to 8-% of the direct sunlight to the interior of the building and specially selected interior features including Tasmanian timbers and special fittings also help keep the building suitable for the many office workers and ‘most importantly’ the politicians. The building is open for self guided tours most days and there are guided tours certain times of the year. School tours are very popular and are a great way for the young to understand how and why the parliament operates. The building overlooks the beautiful Darwin Harbor and is located on land which was once occupied by the Larrakia Aboriginal People. To the west of the parliamentary building is Speaker’s Green which is a very popular place for weddings in Darwin. Just about every weekend you will see newly weds having their photographs taken or taking part in their ceremony. Towards the southern end of the green you will find Government House which amazingly survived both the bombing of Darwin in World War II and the horrific Cyclone Tracy of Christmas Day 1974. The lush gardens and tropical architecture make this one of the jewels of Darwin.

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Sydney’s Bona fide, Electrified, Monorail


Sydney is not only home to the Harbor Bridge, the Opera House and what is probably the world’s most beautiful waterfront city, it also boasts a monorail  The monorail links the entertainment districts of Darling Harbor and China town with the shopping and business precincts of the city. The loop  is elevated above the city streets offering a great way to get around and a different perspective on this amazing city. The monorail is ran by the city’s Metro Transport and operates from around 7 am until 10 pm in the evening. There are  eight stops along the 12 minute loop and a monorail usually comes past each station within about five minutes.  The monorail system commenced operation in 1988 in what at the time was a fairly controversial project, but over the 20 plus years of service the monorail has become a familiar and much loved form of transport around Australia’ s largest city taking thousands of passengers every day.

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Fun on Sydney Harbor


After the Sydney Harbor Bridge and Opera House, Sydney’s Luna Park would have to be the third most famous icon on Sydney Harbour. dating back to 1935 the theme park has had a somewhat chequered, troubled and sometimes tragic existence but remains one of Sydney’s most loved places.  Today the park is home to quiet a few heritage buildings and some fun amusement rides, including a historic carousel and 35 metre high Ferris wheel. Luna Park plays hosts to plenty of events during the year, including private functions and music festivals, it has also played host to major TV events like the MTV Australia Music Awards a few years back.  The park is a favourite weekends and in particular school holidays, admission is free and you only pay for the rides and attractions. Make sure when visiting to take your camera on the Ferris wheel the views of Sydney harbor are just sensational. Read the rest of this entry »

Kakadu National Park


What a Croc

Yellow Water in Australia’s remote Kakadu National Park is a huge land-locked billabong and attracts thousands of visitors every year for its unique and beautiful native flora and fauna, with many coming especially to see the salt water crocodile in its natural habitat. The park is also home to millions of migratory birds including jacana, egrets, jabiru, sea eagles, magpie geese to name a few. The best way to see the natural environment is to join one of the many boat cruises up the billabong for a close encounter with nature. Daybreak and sunset are the most spectacular times and best for seeing the wildlife. Yellow Water is close to Jabiru and is about a 3-4 hour drive east of Darwin along the Kakadu Highway. Regular tourist services operate from Darwin to the park. Read the rest of this entry »

Australia to NZ without a passport


There have been more calls for a common border between New Zealand and Australia, this time from discount airline Jetstar. By removing customs and immigration between the two countries the flights will be classed as a domestic and not an international flight, Jetstar see this is an opportunity to fly to cheaper airports like it does at Avalon outside Melbourne. The savings can run up to $60 per flight of costs that can be written off and its this that tourism body’s and even Australian Prime Minister Keven Rudd have been counting on to boost tourism between the two countries. There’s probably a few details to sort out before anything happens (both countries have learnt their lessons on quarantine with rabbits and possums)  but things are looking promising enough that one day a weekend in Sydney is as easy as a weekend in Auckland. Read the rest of this entry »

Penguins come to Melbourne

majestic king penquins at Melbourne Aquarium

majestic king penguins at Melbourne Aquarium

Melbourne Australia is known for it’s Philip Island fairy penguins but now penguins from the Antarctic are finding their home in this great city. A magnificent new exhibit costing $28 million dollars has just opened at the Melbourne Aquarium featuring five king penguins and 13 very inquisitive gentoo penguins. Bred in captivity these majestic birds have been the biggest attraction these school holidays with thousands of families visiting the aquarium to enjoy these amazing creatures.  The enclosure is kept at Antarctic temperatures and is covered in shaved ice and snow there is also a huge pond where the penguins can dive and play. Visitors can view the penguins both on the snow and from a huge glass pane window on the pond.  The Melbourne Aquarium is the only place you can see either King or Gentoo penguins in Australia. The aquarium also features a very interesting Antarctic exhibition so visitors can not only see and learn about the penguins but learn a bit about this cold and mysterious southern continent. Read the rest of this entry »

A ride in the Wild West


Movieworld on Queensland’s Gold Coast is home the Wild West Falls Adventure taking visitors around a old mine site in a log boat. The attraction covers over 28,000 square metres and the huge rendered concrete and steel  Wild West Falls mountain stands 35 metres over the theme park. The boat ride takes visitors on a journey through the old mine, there is a ghost town, some gun shots, geysers and teetering rocks, there’s even an exploding bridge before heading into the mine shaft for a thrilling 20 metre plunge out the top of the mountain to the ponds below at a rocketing 80 km per hour.  The ride is one of Movieworld’s most popular with more than 1000 people being able to ride the boats every hour, and with Queensland’s great weather getting wet is half the fun.

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Great balls of fire!

Crown Casino Fireballs

Crown Casino Fireballs

Crown Casino in Melbourne is Australia’s largest entertainment precinct being home to the one of the world’s biggest gaming facilities, the city’s best restaurants, clubs, bars and exclusive shopping. Another huge attraction is the nightly fireball or Gas Brigades show which explode into the night sky every night between dusk and midnight (except for bad weather). The huge flames explode out of eight 10 metre high towers and the gas flame can reach sizes of 7 metres in diameter and are the largest ever created in the world all programed with a state of the art computer system.  Crown Casino is currently planning the biggest Australian hotel to accompany it’s already huge complex. The $300 million dollar project will feature another 658 rooms bringing the Casino’s rooms to more than 1600 and will feature new convention facilities, bars, restaurants and a huge new retail showcase. It is hoped the new wing will open in May of 2010 in time for the $140 million dollar refurbishment the Casino is currently undertaking. Read the rest of this entry »

Cooktown in Queensland’s far north

Cooktown- Far North Queensland

Cooktown- Far North Queensland

In June 1770 His Majesty’s Bark Endeavour in the charge of Captain Cook limped into a safe harbor on Australia’s vast Cape York Peninsula after reef damage, this harbor was to become Cooktown. Cooktown today is the northernmost town of the east coast of Australia being around 300 km north of Cairns and home to about 1600 people. The town grew to over 7000 during the gold rush in the 1870’s and during the 1940’s was an important base for the Second World War with some 20,000 Australian and American troops based around the township playing important roles in the Battle of the Coral Sea. Today the town is a popular tourist destination with the Lakefield National Park and Great Barrier Reef in easy reach and with the road now sealed from Cairns to Cooktown many more people are enjoying the laid back charm of this lovely tropical town. Cooktown is also an important a service centre for the residents in the remote regions of the far north.

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Bathurst Racing Museum


As today is Australia Day we thought we would feature a couple of Australian Icons over the next few days. Today’s story is the National Motor Racing Museum at Bathurst. Bathurst is the premier car racing event on the Australian calendar and it is where legends of the track are made. None other than the Peter Brock who’s car is featured on today’s photograph. The vehicle exhibits change regularly and is located next to the mountain’s circuit which is a public road on non race days. The ever changing display at the National Motor Racing Museum showcases an array of motorcycle and vehicles and car racing memorabilia from all over the country, especially featuring the ‘kings of the mountain’ Every October tens of thousands flock to the mountain to cheer on either Ford or Holden in the battle for the best V8 super car.

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