Welcome to my Australia page. I figured that since I was over in New Zealand, Australia was just a hop, skip and a jump away, and I would probably never live that close to it again in my life. So I had to go!

I hit a few different places during my trip. I started out by going to Cairns, and travelling on a wonderful dive boat for 6 days through the Great Barrier reef. I then went to Sydney for a couple of days, up to the Blue Mountains and hiking for a couple of days, and back to Sydney for a day before I flew back to really cold Christchurch.

Here are some pictures of different things and different places, as well as some thoughts on my dive trip for anyone who may be considering going on a dive trip one of these days.

Cairns and environs

A day and a half in Cairns. I have to admit I didn't find it that interesting of a town. Pretty much all you can do there is shop. But it's nice and tropical, and I also went up to Karunda to see the butterfly sanctuary, and that was nice since I love butterflies!
Any non-underwater photos of the dive trip are also in this collection, so look here for some pictures of the vessel, the crew, and the other guests.

Diving on the Great Barrier Reef

Here I break down our dives into different dive sites, as I was able to try and reconstruct from the times the pictures were taken. These mostly aren't pictures I have taken. On the boat, they had a digital camera you could sign out for, and most people signed out for it at least once. Generally, there is a picture of a person out of the water signifying a change in cameraperson.

Favorite photos. These are my favorite photos from all the dive sites. Not necessarily due to image quality, but just to what they show.

  The Cod Hole. We did two dives here. One for orientation on the reef, and one for a Cod Feed where you got up close and personal with a giant potato cod. On one of my turns, he knocked me hard in the face! (Location Map)
Swimming with Dwarf Minke Whales. Perhaps my favorite part of the dive trip wasn't the diving. We had two chances to swim with dwarf minke whales. They are very curious creatures, and several times I had one swim within about 6 feet of me. When you're that close to something so large and majestic, you forget everything else in the world.
Pixie Pinnacle. One of the top two dive sites I think we went to, and my overall favorite. There were a huge number and variety of fish here since it's a pinnacle out in the middle of "nowhere" relative to the rest of the reef (essentially a fish oasis.) (Location Map)
Banjavo. I spent most of this dive looking at details. In these pictures you'll find giant clams and a crown of thorns.
Fantasia. Fantasia is a coral fest. There were huge coral formations here, as well as the normal complement of fish! (Location Map)
Just Questions. (So named because the dive masters hadn't ever dived there, so during the briefing there were just questions, no answers.) A few coral pictures, and an underwater picture of yours truly.
Jayenems. This was a great little bommie. I saw all sorts of fish here, and there was a nice little cave that caused me to get all sorts of microscopic coral barbs stuck in my fingers. I also had my fingers cleaned by a set of cleaner shrimp!
Clam garden. Home of the giant, giant clams. Also some nice coral gardens.
Steve's Bommie. The #2 dive site we went to, IMHO. Lots of pictures on this one since three different divers took out the camera on three dives. There's a great picture of a sea turtle, unicorn fish, some lion fish, and all sorts of other creatures. (Location Map)
Comments on the Nimrod, and Great Barrier Reef diving. Diving on the Great Barrier Reef is one of those things that was on my "list of things to do before I die". Here are my impressions and thoughts on what it was like, and also my thoughts on the dive operation aboard the Nimrod.

Sydney and the Blue Mountains

Two and a half days in Sydney. Sydney is great for a large city, but it's a large city. I did all the things a tourist should do (took pictures of the harbor bridge, and the opera house), but enjoyed most travelling around on the trains and ferries. I went out to the Olympic part, an interesting comparison to the one in Munich.
Two days in The Blue Mountains. Great hiking through forests with periodic waterfalls to keep one happy.

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