SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA


(Australia Flag)


(Map of Australia)

All of the images below are thumbnails and can be clicked on for a larger image.

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 27, 2006:

I drove from Las Vegas to Los Angeles late Wednesday morning.
My Qantas Airways flight to Sydney, Australia left LAX at 10:30pm.

Qantas 747-400ER
Thursday, December 28 did not exist as I lost that day
crossing the international dateline on the 15 hour flight.


MY TREK DOWN UNDER VIDEO
3 minute video of my journey from Las Vegas to Sydney.
Click on the player below to watch the video.



FRIDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2006:

My flight landed at the Sydney International Airport at 8:15am.
I arrived at my hotel, the Swissotel at 10:00am.
The hotel under the Sydney Tower was conveniently located right in the center of the city.
Swissotel under Sydney Tower

After getting settled at my accommodations I walked all around the city.
I spent a lot of time around the harbour viewing the iconic
Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House.
Sydney Harbour BridgeSydney Opera HouseSydney skyline from Bridge Pylon

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA: MY FIRST DAY IN THE CITY VIDEO
10 minute video of Sydney, Australia on my day of arrival.
Click on the İYouTube player below to watch the video.

MY DAILY EMAIL SENT ON FRIDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2006
Hello Everyone!

The last time we talked I was in Las Vegas. On Wednesday I didn't do much except drive to Los Angeles. It was about a five hour drive. It was a very windy day, had a couple of sand storms crossing the desert. Had dinner in Los Angeles before making my way to the airport. Flight left pretty much on time at 10:30pm although it took him damn near an hour to finally get in the air after leaving the gate.

It was a very smooth but long flight, about 15 hours. Arrived in Sydney at 8:15am Friday morning, 2 days later then when I Left since we crossed the international date line on the way down. The shuttle service I hired to take me to my hotel was there right on time to greet me and I arrived at my hotel by 10:00am. I have a very nice hotel right in the center of town. My room looks out on the Centerpoint Tower which is right across the street. After getting settled in I hit the streets of Sydney. I walked through Hyde Park and the Royale Botanical Gardens as I made my way down to the harbor and the Opera House. I walked along the harbor past Circular Quay and over to the Harbor Bridge. The attached photo was taken from the top of one of the bridge pylons on the Harbor Bridge. On the way back from the bridge I walked through The Rocks and then back to my hotel. I wanted to continue the walk through Darling Harbor but it was clouding up pretty good and figured I better get back. It is raining now as I write this. It was a nice afternoon up until about 4:00, sunny and about 75 degrees.



The forecast doesn't look very good for the next several days. It is supposed to rain all through New Years weekend and into next week. You can see them setting things up for the big fireworks display on the Harbor Bridge on New Year's Eve. I had planned to go to the Blue Mountains tomorrow, but if it's going to rain all day I don't know.

Things sure are expensive here. I bought 4 bananas for a reasonable $4.95. I sure hope they are extra good bananas.

I will write more later,

Tim



SATURDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2006:

It was a two hour trip by train on City Rail to Katoomba and the Blue Mountains.
I arrived in Katoomba at 10:30am and road the Hop-On, Hop-Off Explorer Bus to Scenic World.
Downtown KatoombaScenic World Entrance

I road all the attractions at Scenic World: Skyway, Railway and Cableway.
In my opinion this is a lot of equipment to view what can be seen better for free at Echo Point.
The Railway and Cableway are said to be "the steepest in the known world."
SkywayRailwayCableway

It wasn't a very nice day.
It never rained, but it was hazy and mostly cloudy with only a few peaks of sun.
First two pictures are from Echo Point & The Three Sisters
and the latter from bush walks extending from there.
Echo PointThree SistersBlue Mountains Bush Walk

BLUE MOUNTAINS VIDEO
4 minute movie filmed at Scenic World and Echo Point in the Blue Mountains of Australia.
Click on the İYouTube player below to watch the video.

After returning from the Blue Mountains I spent the evening at Darling Harbour
which is chronicled in the video below.

DARLING HARBOUR VIDEO
8 minute video of my evening at Darling Harbour.
Click on the player below to watch the video.

MY DAILY EMAIL SENT ON SATURDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2006
Hello again everyone,

It wasn't a very pretty day today, but it didn't rain and we did have a few peaks of sun. Temps are nice though, mid 70s. Today I traveled to the Blue Mountains, which is a two hour train ride from Sydney. I arrived in the town of Katoomba around 10:30am and spent the day exploring the Blue Mountains. I visited Scenic World where I Rode on "the steepest cable car in the known world," their words, not mine. I also road their skyway and railway. A lot of equipment to view what can be seen better for free a couple steps down the road. The attached photo is of the famous Three Sisters from Echo Point. I also did a lot of walking along the cliffs on their bush walks. I arrived back in Sydney about 6:00 this evening.



Everyone have a Happy New Year!

Tim



SUNDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2006:

I began New Year's Eve by walking over to Darling Harbor and catching a Matilda Ferry to the Taronga Zoo.
Darling HarborCircular QuaySydney Harbor

What makes the Sydney Zoo special is the fantastic setting.
Built right on the Sydney Harbour overlooking the city.
WallobeeKoala BearGoats with a view

TARONGA ZOO VIDEO
5 minute video of Sydney's Taronga Zoo.
Click on the İYouTube player below to watch the video.

It was back on the Matilda Ferry after the zoo
making a stop at Luna Park on the way back to Darling Harbor.
Ferry in Sydney HarborLuna ParkOpera House through span of Harbour Bridge

HARBOUR CRUISE VIDEO
4 minute video of my cruise around Sydney's harbour.
Click on the İYouTube player below to watch the video.

MY DAILY EMAIL SENT ON SUNDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2006
Hello again everyone,

Last evening after I wrote you after returning from the Blue Mountains, I spent the evening over at Darling Harbor. Just a short walk from my hotel. It's a tourist area full of hotels, restaurants and shops all surrounding this pretty harbor.

This morning I took a harbor cruise. Reports of this weekend being a wash out were greatly exaggerated. It is beautiful today. Lots of clouds around but still way more than enough sun to roast my poor bald head. On the cruise we went in a circle all around the harbor making a number of stops at various places. I got off for a while at the zoo. The animals in this zoo sure have a nice view as it looks out on Sydney and the harbor. It was back on the boat after the zoo and back to Darling Harbor. There are a lot of boats on the harbor today getting into position to see the big fireworks display tonight.

Had an hour to kill after the cruise before heading to the airport for my Antarctica flight. I'll be ringing in the new year about 10,000 feet above the Ross Ice Shelf on Antarctica. This will be 16 hours before the new year gets to you folks back in Indiana. Will get back into Sydney about 6:00am New Year's Day it about a 12-13 hour flight.

Today's attached picture is a panorama of the Sydney skyline, Opera House and Harbour Bridge which was taken from my cruise this morning.



Happy New Year!

Tim

ANTARCTICA SCENIC FLIGHT


Antarctica has no official flag as it is not a nation nor is it ruled by a single government or body.
The Antarctic Treaty Organization has no flag, either.
However, several unofficial designs have been proposed.


(Antarctica Map)


Antarctica is Earth's southernmost continent, overlying the South Pole.
It is situated in the Antarctica region of the southern hemisphere, almost
entirely south of the Antarctic Circle, and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean.
At 5.4 million square miles in area it is the fifth-largest continent.
On average, Antarctica is the coldest, driest and windiest continent,
and has the highest average elevation of all the continents.
Antarctica is considered a desert,
with annual precipitation of only 8 inches along the coast and far less inland.
There are no permanent human residents, but anywhere from 1000 to 5000 people reside
at the various research stations scattered across the continent throughout the year.
Only cold-adapted plants and animals survive here,
including penguins, seals, mosses, lichen, and many types of algae.

After returning from my morning activities it was time
to head for the airport for my flight to Antarctica.
Fellow passenger Christy poses with a penquin at gate 7 as we waited to board our Qantas 747.
Plenty of leg room at seat 1A as we fly over the Great Southern Ocean prior to arriving at the Continent.
Qantas 747-400 operating as flight #QF2901Christy & penquin at Gate 7Me in seat 1A over Great Southern Ocean

There was great excitement as we flew over the Antarctic coast
and saw huge massive icebergs floating out to sea.
icebergs and the coast of AntarcticaAntarcticaAntarctica

Captain Dennis lowered the plane to around 10,000 feet
and we flew figure eights over the continent for four hours.
AntarcticaAntarcticaAntarctica

In the first picture below the mountain behind the huge massive glacier is Mount Melbourne.
In the last picture below you can see the two ice runways of one of the bases on Antarctica.
Mount MelbourneAntarcticaIce Runways of base



MONDAY, JANUARY 1, 2007:

We toasted champagne at midnight,
the band played Auld Lang Syne & the flight continued over the ice until 2:00am.
First Class CabinBand entertains the 14 first class passengersMidnight sun over Antarctica

Words can't describe this experience.
AntarcticaAntarcticaAntarctica

After over 12 hours in the air we returned to where we started as the sun rose over Sydney.
AntarcticaAntarcticaSydney, Australia

ANTARCTICA NEW YEAR FLIGHT VIDEO
22 minute video of my scenic flight over Antarctica.
Click on the İYouTube player below to watch the video.

I walked across the street to the Sydney Tower where I captured the photos below.
From atop Sydney TowerFrom atop Sydney TowerFrom atop Sydney Tower

MY NEW YEARS DAY IN SYDNEY VIDEO
6 minute video of the Sydney Tower and Manly Ferry.
Click on the İYouTube player below to watch the video.

MY DAILY EMAIL SENT ON MONDAY, JANUARY 1, 2007
I don't know where to begin to describe the experience of the last 24 hours. Flightseeing has been my favorite vacation activity since my first scenic flight in Alaska back in the summer of 2000. And to be able to do that from a first class seat of a Qantas 747-400 was truly an amazing experience.

The fun began even before we got on the plane. I met lots of interesting people from all over the world who have come to do this. It was interesting to talk to them and hear of the interesting places they were from and places they had traveled to.

Once on board I had the best seat on the plane, 1A. The people back in economy had to share one window with five people. I had three windows all to myself. There are only 14 seats in the first class section. Each seat comes with a smaller adjacent guest seat and when fully reclined they form a bed which was nice for the flight back from the ice at 2:00am. It was a four hour flight to and from the ice and we had four hours over the ice. On the flight down the food and booze was never ending. I'm going to have to do a lot of walking today to walk it all off. A brass band wandered the plane to entertain during the flight. The Captain came down from the flight deck on the way to the continent to personally greet each first class passenger. This was the 38th time Captain Dennis had flown the Antarctica flight. Along with him there were three other experienced captains in the cockpit so were really felt like we were in good hands. Also on the way down the Captain talked with scientists living in Antarctica via satellite phone.

On the way down there was almost total cloud cover all the way. They told us not to worry about that and we would not be disappointed once we got to the continent. They sure were right. Almost immediately after we saw the first icebergs floating away from the continent the skies cleared and you could see for hundreds of miles in all directions. No smog down here of course the visibility is endless. The Captain slowed the plane and descended to 8000-10,000 feet and flew figure eights over the continent for four hours. He said we set a record today for the most time spent over the ice.

The attached photo is the coast of Antarctica taken shortly before midnight. You can see the huge massive glacier flowing down between the mountain peaks. The snow covered cone shaped mountain in the back near the coast is Mount Melbourne. The sights were incredible. I'll get more pictures posted on the Internet after I get home.



The band played Auld Lang Syne at midnight and the flight continued over the ice until about 2:00am and then we flew back to Sydney.

I'm gonna catch a nap now. Have a happy New Year everyone!

Tim



TUESDAY, JANUARY 2, 2007:

I took Harbour Jet from Darling Harbor to Rose Bay where I took a scenic float plane flight.
Harbour Jet & Rose Bay SeaplanesSeaplane in flightBondi Beach

Fantasic views of Sydney from 1000 feet above the harbour.
Sydney HarbourSydney HarbourSydney Skyline

Later I took the ferry over to Manly and that night I got some night shots from Circular Quay.
Manly BeachOpera HouseHarbour Bridge



WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 3, 2007:

My original plans for Wednesday were canceled.
I visited the Sydney Aquarium and Wildlife World instead.
Sydney Aquarium

SYDNEY AQUARIUM & WILDLIFE WORLD VIDEO
9 minute video of Sydney Aquarium and Wildlife World.
Click on the İYouTube player below to watch the video.

MY DAILY EMAIL SENT WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 3, 2007
I don't know why they canceled my scenic flight for today, the weather is fine. I went to the aquarium and Wild Australia instead. The attached photo is from the aquarium. Since I had a little extra time today I did start posting some pictures on the web site.



I have an 8:30 flight to Hobart in the morning. I will write more from Tasmania.

Tim



THURSDAY, JANUARY 4, 2007:

After six great days in Sydney, I left town bound for Tasmania on Thursday morning.

KINGSFORD SMITH INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT VIDEO
9 minute video of Sydney's international airport.
Click on the İYouTube player below to watch the video.


Click above to continue to my next adventure, TASMANIA.

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