Because my trip to Australia was so incredible, I delayed two months to write about it. I’m still absorbing everything that happened. Since I was a young child, I have wanted to visit Australia. Crocodile Dundee and Steve Irwin were the two television personalities who first introduced me to the Australian accent. Over the years, I have read stories and spoken with many Australians who have described the beauty and adventure that can be found there. My urge to travel was further piqued by the experiences and photos of two cousins of mine who were born and raised in California but now reside in Australia and are wed to Australians.

Australia was exciting; there were several amazing beach days and wildlife encounters, and there was never a dull moment. The family spent ten days traveling the east coast of Queensland and New South Wales, spending three days in Cairns, three days in Brisbane/Gold Coast by plane, one day driving from Gold Coast to Sydney, and three full days in Sydney before taking a flight back to California. We loved EVERY SECOND of it. I took a ton of photos, but I’m only presenting the highlights today.

australia trip

For the duration of our trip to Australia, we leased a car. After spending a week in New Zealand traveling there, we became accustomed to driving on the left side of the road. We set out on a boat journey to the Great Barrier Reef as part of our first adventure from Port Douglas. #bucketlist

Although we were unable to enter the deep water because we lack scuba certification, snorkeling was fantastic nonetheless. We spotted huge sea turtles, little reef sharks, an abundance of fish and coral, as well as a deadly sea snake, yikes! But spending the day at the beach and in the water was exciting.

cairns ferry
cairns water adventures
cairns boat
snorkeling great barrier reef
matt great barrier reef

We stayed in a two-bedroom apartment on Trinity Beach when we were in Cairns; however, because jellyfish (stingers) are present in the sea in November, they had netted off a swimming area just beyond our unit.

A lot of vacation villas may be found at the modest coastal resort of Trinity Beach. These are two photos I took with my phone while the family slept because I simply can’t sleep in on a beach vacation; I have to get up early and feel the sand between my toes! It was convenient to everything and had a beautiful ocean view. I spent every morning walking the coast with my coffee in hand.

trinity beach
view of ocean

The following day, we traveled 20 minutes up the road to Hartleys Crocodile Adventures , which is at the top of our list of favorite locations. Absolutely amazing. You may get VERY near to the wildlife at Hartleys, an outdoor preserve.

Can I just take a moment to explain that I am absolutely terrified of crocodiles? I suppose you as well. Since there was only a fence between you from the saltwater and freshwater crocodiles at Hartleys, I couldn’t believe how close you could approach. They have a lagoon with a boat that is similar to the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland, but crikey, the crocs around the boat are REAL .

While waiting in line to see the tame animal habitats, we watched two croc shows. The first was a feeding where we learned all about their biology and natural habitat. The second show showed us how crocs lurk beneath the murky water before JUMPING out, OH MY GOD. Finally, they demonstrated the underwater death roll during the attack show. You can watch this one on You Tube for a similar demonstration. Wow.

croc feed 4
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There were lots of adorable animals at Hartley’s that you didn’t have to be afraid of—you were even permitted to pet them! Koalas, wallabies, kangaroos, and more. We developed feelings for a friendly water dragon that loitered outside the cafe; I admired the design on his scaly skin. It was the nicest animal environment I’ve ever gone to since I could get so close to so many species.

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I die in these following two stances.

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Visit the Kuranda Village in the rainforest, which is on on the list of must-do activities in Cairns. The two most common methods to arrive to Kuranda Hamlet are by train and gondola, but we didn’t want to invest the money or time, so we drove our car to the top and explored the village on foot. In addition to a shopping paradise where you can buy things created in Australia, there is an animal environment where you can see crocs, touch kangaroos, and hold koalas.

The Butterfly Sanctuary, located in a stunning conservatory with thousands of fluttering butterflies and tropical greenery, was the highlight (it reminded me so much of this one in Niagara Falls ).

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