I got on an Australian tour which was carried out by Hankyu Travel Agency last week, from Feb.15 to Feb.22.
We visited three places in Australia, Cairns, Ayers Rock Resort and Sydney, where all have been designated World Heritage Site. In each place we stayed two nights and spent two days, so it was pretty slow itinerary.
We left Japan at 9:15 p.m. and arrived at Cairns at 5:50 in the next morning.
We got on Kuranda Rail Way for Kyuranda Village, following the Barron River. On our way up to the village, the train came to a halt at Barron Fall Station near the end of line. We got off here for a while. A spectacular view of the Barron Fall could be seen, where the Barron River dropped 280 meters towards the costal plain.
From Kyuranda Village we went to the RainForeStaition (RFS) from where we went into the nearby tropical rainforest, riding on an amphibious vehicle called "Army Dukw". We saw some endemic special creatures. We came back to RainForeStaition where we could touch the native Aboriginal culture, traditional dancing, playing the wooden instrument, a kind of big pipe, and throwing boomerangs and spears. We turned back to Cairns with the Kyuranda Sky Way, a kind of gondola lift.
The third day (Feb.17) we enjoyed cruising of Great Barrier Reef in the sea. We took a boat from Cairns and sailed to Green Island. We rode on a glass bottom boat and saw beautiful corals and tropical fishes through the glass floor.
After lunch on the boat, I borrowed a snorkeling gear and swam in the coral reef sea. I looked into the clear blue water and saw a lot of tropical fishes swimming among the coral reef. It was the most exciting experience I had ever seen.
The forth day (Feb.18) in the morning we boarded a plane for Ayers Rock Resort.
We arrived there 11:05 in the morning and moved by a special bus to the foot of Kata Tjuta, known as the Olgas. It consisted of 36 rounded red domes. The highest peak was 546 meters above the desert floor. We took a bush walking, following the Walpa Gorge for about one hour. We moved to Ulure, known as Ayes Rock and took a stroll to Mutitjulu waterhole.
We were back to the resort after looking at the sunset. At night we got on the night tour to watch stars in the sky of the Southern Hemisphere.
The fifth day (Feb.19) after looking at the sunrise of Uluru and we moved to the foot of the huge rock to climb to the summit. But unfortunately the entrance gate was closed due to strong wind at the top. Instead we took a short walk, known as Mala walk. We saw rock arts painting in the cave.
I realized during summer months from December to February there are few chances to climb the summit because most of the days can be too hot, more than 40 degree centigrade. If the temperature of the next day is forecasted to be more than 36 degree centigrade, the gate is opened only during from 5 to 8 o'clock in the morning.
In the afternoon we got free time and took a rest and enjoyed swimming in the hotel. I met an Australian couples at the swimming pool. I asked him how to spend two hours at night to the best advantage. He recommended me to go to Sydney tower and Sydney Aquarium instead of getting on the night cursing boat.
The sixth day (Feb.20) we headed for Sydney on 12:30 flight. It brought us to Sydney at 5:00 in the evening. After the dinner in the hotel, I went to Sydney Tower on foot and enjoyed the wonderful night view of Sydney. The entrance fee was 27 dollars for each, including the experience of virtual reality about Australian nature in the small theater.
The seventh day (Feb.21), last day in Australia, we had a sightseeing of Sydney region. In the morning we went to Blue Mountain National Park. At Elizabeth Lookout in Katoomba we enjoyed the view of the Three Sisters, giant rock towers.
We took Scenic Railway like a roller coaster and went down to the bottom in the valley. We walked in the rainforest for 20 minutes and came to the bottom station of the cableway from where we went back up to the top station.
We were back to Sydney in the afternoon and look around the city, Mrs. Macquaries point, Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. At last we stopped by a duty free shop.
If someone wanted, an option tour of night cursing boat could be available. But no one wanted.
Instead I got on Sydney monorail and look around the down town. We got off near the bay and went to the Sydney Aquarium. The entrance fee was 27 dollars a person. It took about one and a half hour to look around all. I saw lots of tropical fishes swimming around in a huge glass water pool. It reminded me very much of Great Barrier Reef. Unfortunately I didn't take a look at platypus. It was sleeping at night.
The eighth day (Feb.22) we left Sydney at 10:25 in the morning on a direct flight to Narita and arrived at Narita at 6:30 in the evening.