Cairns: Great Barrier Reef – Tick (part 2)

And the journey continues….

Day 4, we decided to walk around Port Douglas and see what this fuss is about. I found it to be like a resort town that is very touristy and expensive. if you are young or young at heart just do a day trip and tick it off the list. 😉 Every night was like fine dining when all we wanted was a simple burger and a drink. :/ But the town itself was beautiful, full of blue and white.Port douglad esplanade

Port douglas

Port douglas

The marina was especially amazing with white yachts and boats with a frame full of blue water and clear blue sky. Cafes and shops around on timber decks looking onto the marina.

Port douglas marina

Reef cruises

reef cruises

Port douglas station

Then we headed back to Cairns with a little stop over at Palm Cove. Another little tourist town full of activity.

Palm cove

Palm cove pier

Day 6 was our big day. Woke up early morning and walked to the Cairns marina watching the sun rise above us, lined up and got into our ride to the Great Barrier Reef. After some fruits and coffee we were on our way. It was sunny and a lovely day so I was wearing shades and after about half hour of messy hair, flying dresses and splashes of water I took the shades away and looked behind us. The view took my break away!! We were in the middle of the ocean and the COLOUR of the ocean was AMAAAAZING!! it was such a deep blue and was sooooo beautiful.

We were closing up on the reef and the colours were even more amazing. I was so excited. 🙂 We stopped right in the middle of the ocean and it was time to jump in. It was our first time and so we were really nervous. But with life jackets on we jumped in and came face to face with a barracuda! Turn out he was a friendly one that comes everyday when the boat stops. 🙂 But it was still weird staring at each other underwater! 🙂 Unfortunately I didn’t have an underwater camera to show you the size and colours of the fish that swam around us and with us.

Great barrier reef

After a good hour in the water it was lunch time with a buffet of prawns, smoked salmon, chicken, salads and bread. So yum especially in the middle of nowhere. 🙂 And we were off to location number 2. This time it was a sand cay, another part of the reef. We were taken to the cay by a glass bottom boat and we all got to stand in the middle of nowhere and swim slowly into the water where there are corals and fish everywhere. We snorkelled the *&^% out of snorkelling! :)) We saw a nemo, a sting ray and so many fishes and their little caves and homes and all sort of corals. It was amazing and I’d happily spend every day just doing that.

Great Barrier reef

Sand clays in great barrier reef

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Cairns: Exploring Rainforests – Tick (part 1)

This time off we go to Cairns in far north Queesland. Cairns was full of things. You name it, they have it. From jumping off planes to jumping off towers, swimming with the fishies to swimming in a man made lagoon pool, cruising through some oldest rainforests to swinging from tree to tree, they have it all.

Cairns is bustling with tourists from all over the world and the heart of the town has so much to offer. The esplanade, the marina, amazing night markets and good food. But as always if you want to explore you should hire a car and just drive everywhere. Which was what we did.

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Road trip! Day 1 we went ‘fall hunting’. It was raining and gloomy but we braved the weather and drove south from cairns to Milla Milla Falls which was so calm with crystal clear water and nobody around. Perfect place to jump in we thought. But the water was freezing cold so unfortunately we didn’t. The circuit has two more falls, Zillie and Ellinjaa but we only saw Zillie as it was cold and wet and started raining again. With a bit of disappointment we came back to Cairns.

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cairns road trips milla milla falls zillie falls

Day 2, we were off to Port Douglas. The drive was beautiful with acres and acres of sugar cane fields and then beaches. We did few stopovers as we do always and it was just us and the nature, AMAZING!

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We did an interesting stop over at a Hartley’s Crocodile adventures. They have a farm that provides croc skin to Louis Voutton! Sad really. Also we met ‘Paul’ the giant cattle eating 4.6m resident croc. He was scary!

Crocodile skin

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And another secluded beach.

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Day 3, we had big plans for this day. It started off with a trip to Mosman Gorge, popular swimming hole set amongst lush green tress. This time even though the water was still freezing we jumped in. 🙂

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Mosman Gorge walking track Mosman Gorge walking track Mosman Gorge and the rainforest swimming in mosman gorge

Then only the real drive began, to Daintree and Cape tribulation. Daintree rainforest is the largest in Australia and one of the oldest in the world. We got to drive through it, sometime with the rainforest on one side and the beach on the other. An experience like no other. We drove up to Cape tribulation, which is located within the Daintree National Park and the furthest point you can drive without a 4WD. Cape tribulation is also known as the place where the reef meets the rainforest, the one and only in the world! We watched the sunset at Cape Tribulation and called it a day. 🙂

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The best is yet to come. Great Barrier Reef! (jumping up and down with excitement) 🙂 That’s my next post as I didn’t want to bombard you with photos.

Face(s) of autumn…

I am sure by now you all have heard enough of me saying how much I love Autumn. 🙂 I love it! I get so distracted while driving every time, it’s absurd! 🙂 and so since I am experimenting with portraits these days I thought this would be a great time to get some images from inside my head and on to a camera. here goes.

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Tasmania: the ‘island of inspiration’ is a hop step and a jump away…

One fine day we decided to visit Tasmania. For those of you who don’t know where or what that is, let me brief you a bit. Tasmania is one of the seven states of Australia and is an island. It is located south of the main island and is considered the 26th largest island in the world (thanks Wikipedia). However as it is detached from the main island of Australia it is not highly populated. Picture this. Tasmania is one and a half times bigger than Sri Lanka BUT the population is only 0.4% of the population of Sri Lanka! Now that tells me two things. One, how densely populated Sri Lanka is (my my we have too many people). Two, how calm, peaceful and unpolluted Tasmania is.

Hobart

Our trip was short and the weather was bad. We hardly covered the untouched wilderness of the beautiful Tasmania but however we packed as much as we can for the one day of sunshine we had. We landed in Hobart (Capital & the most populous city in Tasmania) on a cold misty morning and the much awaited drive up Mount wellington was almost ruined by the rain, mist and wind. But we decided to go to the top anyway even though we couldn’t see the beautiful view everyone talked about. It was freezing and we were not prepared for that. 🙂 The rest of the day was spent walking in Hobart in the rain, enjoying some good food and taking in the Tasmania style of life. (Very laid back to what we get in Melbourne)

top of mount wellingtontasman peninsulamarinachurch hobartstained glassfooddessert

Day two forecast was the same with cloudy skies and rain but we woke up to sunshine and clear skies! Someone was definitely looking out for us! 😉 We were out on the streets in a heartbeat and decided to drive to the Tasman peninsula. What a breathtaking and amazing experience it was!! Everywhere you look its trees and water and an endless supply of clear blue skies and it was all ours to enjoy! 🙂

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We made a detour as we were feeling adventurous and ended up in a place called Lewisham. It has to be one of the most beautiful places I have seen. Clear blue water, blue sky and no one around.

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There, we met a friend too. I have a massive love affair with horses and this one didn’t disappoint. He saw us and even though there was a fence, he came to us when we called. It was the cutest moment ever! 🙂

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Then we set off towards Port Arthur stopping to see the famous Tessellated Pavement, Eaglehawk Neck and finally the Port Arthur Historic Site.

Tessellated PavementTesselated Pavementport arthur historic sites

Another detour and this time we ended up at a white sand beach! 🙂

off the beaten trackDSC_7198white sand beach

Then we decided to find our way in to the Tasman National park and the ‘Remarkable Cave’ which was said to be the shape of Tasmania and what do you know, it was!!. 🙂 The vastness was breathtaking and it was just us and the sorroundings. It was surely one of the most memorable visits.

Tasman Nationa ParkTasman national ParkTasman national ParkTasman national ParkRemarkable caveRemarkable cave

We decided to end the day by going to Richmond and seeing the oldest bridge in Australia. It was one full day of adventure and was simply amazing!!

oldest bridge in australia

On our last day we went to the Salamanca Market. It is on every Saturday and consists of close to 300 stalls of amazing goodies and is a wonderful experience to walk through.

salamanca market salamanca marketsalamanca market salamanca marketsalamanca market salamanca marketsalamanca market

 

 

A bit of ‘Rush Hour’ zooing….

After being in Melbourne for more than 5 years I went to the zoo for the first time last week. Unfortunately we didn’t have much time before the animals were going to call it a day so we walked really fast and tried to see our favourites.

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These two Otters were among the most interesting. They were so fast to keep up with and all of a sudden they decided to do a little dance for us. It was too fast I could only capture a blurry moment of it. But I still think it was super cool of them. 🙂

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If you live in Australia and seen the Meerkat advertisement you too will love these little creatures! 🙂

meerkatmeerkat

I love big cats! Tigers, leopards, cheetahs, you name it I love them. But unfortunately we couldn’t see the tigers as they were resting inside their little houses at the time and so was the snow leopard. But for some luck the snow leopard decided to come out and give me a brief chance to say hi to him and take a quick photo. Thank you handsome! 🙂

snow leopardsnow leopard

And then we have the lions! They were literally bringing the house down with their roaring so we followed the sound and found some lazy but adorable lions, just chilling on the ground.

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Catching the last glimpse of summer….

One good thing about Melbourne is that you have a few good beaches and waterfronts available during summer or whenever you want a change of scenery or a mini road trip.
This summer I was busy doing ‘nothing’ and didn’t go anywhere. So to change that I decided to go see Brighton Beach before it hits winter. Luckily for me we still have a few sunny days left. Brighton and Brighton beach is some of the nicer parts of Melbourne and when we got there it felt like California. (Never been to California but felt like it) 🙂 narrow straight road, on one side the beach and on the other holiday houses. Ah the life of the riches!
What’s special about here for me is the colourful little huts lining the beach. They are tiny but create great attraction and are so cute. You can apparently rent them if you want to spend a day at the beach. What was more interesting was, it turns out Brighton beach is the place for photo shoots for newlyweds and models. 🙂

sea shellsshadowsbrighton beachcloudscolours colours colourshuts in linecracksbackstagesunset photo credit – Ashan Dias

The magical autumn charm at its best…

Autumn is my favourite season and I love everything about it. The colour, how can anyone not like the colour? Beautiful yellows, burnt oranges and dark reds make it the most charming, happy time of the year. The weather, not too hot not too cold, just the way I like it. Yes it will get colder towards the end but we are not talking about that. 🙂

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Last autumn we decided to go to Mornington Peninsula. A beautiful region in Victoria, short drive from Melbourne or a lovely ferry ride from Geelong. It’s the wine country or so I like to think. Gorgeous beaches overlooking Port Philip Bay, acres and acres of wineries and good food AND the hot springs! Yup that’s where we headed on a slightly chilled autumn morning. Steaming hot natural springs, you can just immerse yourself in the water and fall asleep.

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Next day on our way home we decided to stop at The Enchanted Maze Garden and enchanted we were. It turned out to be the most beautiful, breathtaking place I have been to and with my love for autumn I didn’t want to leave. It felt like we just walked in to a fairy tale, massive orange coloured tree line with orange and red leaves EVERYWHERE like a carpet, black wrought iron tables and chairs covered with colourful leaves, a massive green maze with a Japanese water feature, random sculptures and little games, a charming cafe with homemade fudge (YUM) and sweets and shelves and shelves of candy in jars, colourful lollies and kids running everywhere. It was just amazing.

Here are a few photos to make you jealous (if you too like autumn) 🙂 and in a few weeks it will be autumn again and hopefully will be as beautiful as the last.

p.s – I am sorry I haven’t been able to read your posts lately as I have moved houses and still without internet. At my friends place it took me more than 3 hours to get this post up as it is sloooooow.

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Sydney: finally!!

It took us four years to cross the border from Victoria to New South Wales. I know, that’s sad. But we did it FINALLY!! It was a short trip and we barely covered the bustling metropolitan. But here are some sites that anybody going to Sydney SHOULD cover. Let the photos speak for this beautiful city….

Sydney Opera House

  

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Museum of Contemporary Art

  

          

The Rocks

Manly (Ferry Ride)

Streets & Around

Photo Credit – Ashan Dias

Deep fried thai goodness!

Lunch was first on our agenda while in Sydney and china town seemed like a short walk we decided to head off that way. After walking around in circles for about an hour to get to a place that was 15 minutes away we finally came to Satang Thai exclusive. It was busy but very clean and modern and smelled AMAZING. We got a fried fish and duck dish with steamed rice and when I saw the dishes I knew all
the trouble of finding it was well worth it. The food was amazing and portions were so big we had
leftovers for breakfast next morning. It was that good. 🙂

 

Geelong : The Beginning

In a way it all began here. Moving from Colombo, Sri Lanka to Geelong, Australia was not easy and sometimes even scary. Geelong was calm and quiet. From Colombo, where there are people on the streets chatting or eating food from road side cafe’s at midnight to Geelong, where roads are deserted and no place to get food after 8pm was sometimes too quiet. But one thing that took my breath away from the first time I saw to today, after four years, was the waterfront. It is where people come on weekends, where boats sway in the wind, where there are some beautiful pieces of architecture and urban landscape and of course some delicious food. To me, this is where Geelong lives…