Friday, October 3, 2014

Australian Road Trip, Day 1 - Dubbo

There are several things we would like to do before we leave Australia to move back to the US - whenever that might happen.  We are aware that there probably isn't heaps of time left, and we want to make the most of our remaining time in this beautiful part of the word.  One of the things at the top of our list was the Great Ocean Road, considered to be one of the best drives in the world, and with good reason.  However, we didn't want to fly in and out, so we decided to make a big loop around the south-eastern portion of the country, a journey that would be 4,363 km (2712 m) long.

One of the stops we wanted to do was Dubbo, NSW, so we could take the kids to the Taronga Western Plains Zoo.  It was such a different experience - the animals aren't in cages, but openly roam with moats in between you and the animals.  Also, you are able to rent bikes, so we did and had a lovely 5km bike around.  The bikes weren't in the best condition, so if you are able to take your own I would recommend that option.  You had to really work to break - harder than pedalling up the hills.  Still, it was a really enjoyable way to visit the animals.

The boys on their pushies

The unfortunate part of the biking was that it is currently Magpie swooping season.  Sounds ridiculous, but it's true.  Bri and I were both swooped.  Brian even made sure that we stayed away from the bird that swooped him, but apparently I wasn't quite far enough away.  I really dislike birds to begin with and I screamed like a girl.  Glad it was us and not the boys!

Each exhibit had bike racks to park at and then you could walk a few steps to get a good view of the animals.  I think the giraffes were my favourites.  They were not a bit shy and came right up to us.

I loved his colours.  I had my long-range lens
on and no time to switch, so it's not all
of him.

The poor giraffe even was swooped by a Magpie as we watched!

I enjoyed the tower overlooking the African plains, it gave you a real sense of how much space the animals had.

We also enjoyed watching the hippo swim.  It wouldn't surface much of it's body, but I've never seen anything quite like it.  You'd watch the bubbles move and would wait for his head to pop out of the water.

Coming up....

There he is!

There was a baby black Rhino that was fairly recently born, but the mother kept shielding it from us.  I got a bit of the baby in this picture.

The mum's head is in the way

And the Meerkats.  Wills loves them.  I'm not sure why so much.  I mean, they are cute, but he often is popping up around us imitating a meerkat. 


See the similarities?

I could put up a million more pictures, but it would probably get boring.  We left early in the afternoon, because we had our longest single drive of the trip coming up - 8 hours to Broken Hill, NSW.  

Off we went into the Outback, where the scenery completely changed.  It was lots of straight road, roos and goats on the side of the road, and not much else.  It is mind-boggling to me how unpopulated the centre of the country truly is.  Almost everyone lives on the coast.  On that drive, I think we went through 3 towns, to put it loosely.  We went for 3 hours without seeing anything.  I can't fathom driving from Northern Kentucky down I-75 to Tennessee and not going through any city at all!

Really, really straight.  But how
stunning are the clouds?

But you know what a flat horizon and no city lights means?  An incredible sunset.

For a really long time.

The sunset happened at 6:30pm.  We made it to Broken Hill around 8:00, and it had only been truly dark for about 15 minutes.  

We checked into our hotel, slept hard, and were ready to explore Broken Hill the next day!

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