Thursday, 1 June 2017

Day 2. Victoria, Great Ocean Road

Great Ocean Road named because it was built after the Great war mainly by army veterans. It has some very interesting rock structures on the coast, and is home to Victoria's temperate rainforest. They only get 2000mm of rain a year in this area so it looks very different to a west coast rainforest, there are ferns (which must have some adaptations to survive) but no mosses or lichens visible. There are no photo's as we didn't stop here.

Twelve apostles
Razor ridge
Limestone structures on the Great Ocean Road, quite special especially the stalactites in an outdoor cave on a beach.

Day 1 Melbourne

A video from the aboriginal first people's exhibition. It was so pretty, I missed the sign explaining what it was about but it was so lovely I included it.
My favourite part of the museum was the bug exhibition it was so cool I forgot to take any pictures except this one that made me laugh. Next to it was a display on anti venom so you know swings and roundabouts.
Royal Exhibition Building and a massive fountain outside it.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Day 3, Blue Mountains and Jenolan caves

Day 2 was a long day travelling out of Sydney and into the blue mountains.

Three Sisters

The Mountains have a blue tinge due to the amount of eucalyptus trees there. They are Sandstone mountains and the lower layers wear away faster than the tops so the lower layers erode and this causes an overhang and the tops fall down which is why they are all vertical cliffs. Not sure how true this is but it's a great story. The bush here is truly vast and I can see how people get lost here and die.

Making friends
Blue lake outside Jenolan Caves saw bubbles from platypus but no platypus.
Jenolan Caves used to use lots of coloured lights, they've kept some of them as a blast from the past.
I did the Lucas Cave tour lots of steps but there were decent hand rails. The caves were massive so big in one case they hold weddings in it.
Jenolan Caves
Limestone caves produce some amazing stalactites and Stalagmites.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Day 2. Sydney - it's all getting a bit botanical

The Wollemi Pine is the weirdest plant. It was re-discovered relatively recently and is a living fossil. The Sydney Botanic garden has at least 2 of them. The trees only relatives are found in the fossil record of both South Africa and Australia. They are trying to make sure as many of these plants make it outside of Australia and in the Sydney area. The sent plants to many botanic gardens in the world. There are only 16 ish trees in the wild so they are trying to make sure that if there was a natural disaster then the trees will be protected.
Wollemi pine

description here

description here

This is a bottle brush plant (Banksia spinulosa) and it has a unique and interesting way to survive forest fires. The seeds are a dark black colour, they are really hard and difficult to crack. So difficult in fact it takes the heat of a forest fire to open the nuts. The seed shell stays dormant for many years sometimes, it takes the heat of a forest fire to open it up. The seed will then grow and regenerate.
The next few plants are weird but less exciting in their ways of surviving a forest fire most will burn and their roots survive or their cores are protected and they spring back up in a forest fire.

This plant has a gum in it that can be used for glue
This is a Queensland bottle tree. (Brachychiton rupestris)

Devil seeds, see the devil head.
Castanospermum australe this is the seed pod of this plant and the seed. I've taken a photo of the seeds as this is a very toxic plant. It's seeds killed lots of European settlers, when they saw the aborigines eating the seeds they assumed they were safe. What they didn't know was the aboriginal people soaked the seeds in running water to leech the toxic substance then roasted them.

The library of New South Wales. This is the old part of the library. 
This is a sculpture called Yininmadyemi it represents Aboriginal  and Torres Strait islanders that have fought for Australia. The fallen shells represent the soldiers that died and the upright shells represent the soldiers that survived. The soldiers that survived thought they would return as equals put were not. This was exemplified when I went to the parliament house and found out they were celebrating 50 years of a referendum in which aboriginal people were given the same rights under law as white Europeans. It's great that this happened but I'm surprised it took so long, considering the Waitangi treaty was signed in the 1800's.
Sydney's Vivid festival


Sunday, 28 May 2017

Day 1 Sydney

So today was a big long day. It started off by wandering around the old colonial area of Sydney. Then I joined a free walking tour of Sydney (the ones with the orange shirts). It was really interesting and spent a lot of time talking about the history of early Australia. I found out quite a few interesting things, like the governor general Macquarie really liked naming things after himself or his wife. That there are a lot of explorers statues in Sydney, and it reminded me of Terry Pritchett idea that in the discworld they have to rename the explorers society to the trespassers society as all the places they had "discovered" already had people living in them.
Then I went to Manly beach and discovered that there was a food and wine festival going on. It was good to hear live music but it was so crowded I have to say I didn't really last very long.
the view from the quay in Sydney
largest vertical garden in the southern hemisphere at Sydney botanic gardens

fountain in Hyde park

the donuts, there are apparently a matching set in

this monument is at the Rocks the old part of town and the less posh part. Named the Rocks as it was built on rocks. This was where the poor people had to live.