The longest trip taken, four weeks, started on the South Island of New Zealand in Queenstown.  Then across to Australia starting with a couple of days in Sydney, followed by taking the three-day Indian-Pacific train across the country to Perth on the west coast.  Following that was a flight to Yulara in the middle of the country which is the access to Uluru (Ayers Rock) followed by five-hour bus to Alice Springs the main town of that region. Then flight to Cairns in the northeast of the country which is one of the gateways to the Great Barrier Reef. After that was a flight to Brisbane further south along the east coast followed by bus to Toowoomba west of Brisbane.  The Australia portion of the trip ended with a short stay on the Gold Coast south of Brisbane followed by stay in Brisbane that included the 1988 World Fair.  The trip ended with a couple of days in Auckland, on the North Island of New Zealand.

New Zealand - Queenstown; Milford Sound; Auckland

Queenstown is on the South Island in a scenic location on a lake with smaller mountains around it.  It is a summer and winter destination and on this trip was cold due to the winter time period.

 

Milford Sound is a fiord like location near the west coast northwest of Queenstown.  It is known for the long Milford Track hiking trail but also has boat tours.

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Australia - Sydney; Indian-Pacific Train; Perth; Yulara; Alice Springs; Cairns; Brisbane

Sydney; Indian-Pacific Train; Western Australia

This was the second visit to Sydney which is the second largest city in Australia and is located in New South Wales state.  A brief two day stay included a ferry crossing of the harbor to Manly Beach passing the famed Opera House on the way; and taking a bus out to Bondi Beach which is one of the most well known in Australia.  Departure from Sydney was made on the Indian-Pacific Train bound for across the country to Perth.

The Indian-Pacific Train that was taken travels in each direction between Sydney on the east coast and Perth on the west coast.  This trip was made from Sydney to Perth and lasted three days.  It is like train travel here in USA and so not high speed.  Leaving Sydney, the train goes through the Blue Mountains arriving the next morning in the small town of Broken Hill in the northwest corner of the state of New South Wales.  It continues to Adelaide in South Australia state where it arrives in the evening.  From there it goes through the middle part of the country much of which is called the Nullabor Plain stopping for a short while in an outpost called Cook which is truly in the middle of nowhere.  There is a stretch in the Nullabor Plain where the train track is prety much dead straight for about 800 miles and the only view out of the train is a treeless barren landscape.  Unfortunately the train then arrived late in the middle of night in the gold mining town of Kalgorlie which meant missing a scheduled stopover.  It arrived in Perth late the next morning.

Perth is the biggest city in the Western Australia state.  It seems isolated from the rest of the country and is actually closer in distance to a few Asian countries than to the east coast of Australia.  Perth itself does not appear to have much attraction but there is tour that was taken to Pinnacles National Park north of Perth which sometimes looks like it could be another planet.  South of Perth is the smaller city of Freemantle.  Again, it is not of much significance now but at the time of this trip it was the 1987 site of the America's Cup sailing races.

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Northern Territory - Yulara; Alice Springs

The small Yulara is located in the southwest corner of Northern Territory state.  It is not really a town but more of a tourist locale of hotels and shops to use as a base for tours to the nearby Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Katajuta (Olgas) rock formations.  Tours were made to both these locations and included a flight in a five passenger small plane over the area.  This area of the country is noticeable due to the reddish-brown soil that is predominate.

 

Five hours by bus northeast of Yulara is the town of Alice Springs that is the main one in the state although not a big city by any means.  There are other geologic sights outside of the town and two that were visited were Simpson's Gap and Standly Chasm.

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Queensland - Cairns; Brisbane

Cairns is located in the northeast part of Queensland state and is one of the gateways to the Great Barrier Reef.  It is a tropical area due to the location in the north of the country and so has pleasant warm climate.  Cairns is not a big city but has a tourist feel to it.  This trip included a visit to Green Island off the coast, and ride on the Kuranda Rail throught the countryside.

This was also the second visit to Brisbane which is the biggest city in Queensland state and is located on the southeast coast about an hour flight north of Sydney and an hour and half flight south of Cairns.  Well known locations for Australians, Gold Coast and Surfer's Paradise, are located south fo Brisbane while north of it is the Sunshine Coast.  This trip's stop in Brisbane cooincided with the 1988 World's Fair being held in Brisbane.

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