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Australia 2000: [Sydney] [Great Barrier Reef] [Melbourne]

Friday, May 19, 2000: We arrived in Sydney at night after a long flight from Indianapolis via Chicago and Los Angeles, shown here. We're writing these captions four years later, so some of our vacation details have been lost. Also, we took very few photos on our tour, since we had not yet invested in a digital camera, so we've included scans of postcards and brochures, screen shots, and other photos to help tell the story.
Our luggage didn't arrive with us, so the nice folks at Qantas gave us each an emergency pack containing a t-shirt, a pair of sleep shorts, and toiletries to get by until our luggage arrived.
We checked into the ANA Hotel in downtown Sydney. Here's a photo of one of the rooms (taken from the back of the hotel postcard), but we were staying in a much larger corner room with a wraparound view of the harbor and Sydney Opera House below.

Saturday, May 20, 2000: We awoke early the next morning before sunrise.
Here's the same view as shown on the hotel postcard.
We enjoyed a room service breakfast while the sun rose over the harbor.
We took a full day tour of Sydney, stopping first at the Featherdale Wildlife Park.
We had a great time there, and we got stamps as we toured the zoo-like facility.
A wombat! Up close!
Here are some attractive pelicans.
We met this sleepy fellow.
Tom was able to pet one of his less-sleepy friends during feeding time. Eucalyptus leaves are delicious!
Things to do in Australia: 1. See kangaroos and koalas. Check!
A park worker fed fish to these adorable penguins.
How they feed this guy remains a mystery. Perhaps they toss in an American tourist a couple of times a week. After our visit, we picked up some souvenirs, including a tiny stuffed kangaroo, some bush tea, pencils, and postcards.
While heading back into town, we drove past the Olympic Village, which was nearing completion before the 2000 Summer Games a few months later. In the distance is one of the arenas. After our great experience in an Olympic city just prior to the games, we vowed to do the same thing in Athens four years later.
Next, we boarded a large cruise ship for a luncheon cruise of the harbor. Here's a photo of the boat we found online.
We now know what the locals mean by "diamond light" - the sunlight in Sydney is piercingly bright and beautiful.
The Sydney Opera House is a spectacular sight from all angles.
Next, we continued the coach part of our tour. We had a few minutes to get out and see Mrs. Macquarie's Chair, a famous landmark in the Rocks area.
We passed the beautiful buildings in the Darling Harbour complex, then through Kings Cross and Vaucluse.
Here is Tom on the Coastal Clifftop Walkway at Gap Park, with a view of North Head in the distance.
This is Bondi Beach. It was pretty deserted in late afternoon in May, but it was great to visit anyway. Olympic workers were constructing a beach volleyball venue at one end. It was after 5:30 PM when we got back to the hotel, so we opted to have room service dinner in our beautiful hotel room.

Sunday, May 21, 2000: One of Debbie's favorite movies is "The Bounty" with Mel Gibson and Anthony Hopkins, so we were very excited to find that the ship used in the film is moored in Sydney Harbor.
After sightseeing and shopping in the Rocks area, we took a brunch cruise of the harbor on the Bounty. It was a 1 1/2 hour cruise and we were served pastries and fruit.
The interior did not look at all like it did on the film, because it contained comfortable cabins, a modern galley, and restrooms, but the deck looked very familiar.
Since we took very few pictures, we've included some of the postcards we bought on the trip to help illustrate.

We also purchased some other souvenirs, including a Bounty bandana and a tiny ship-in-a-bottle.

Here are all kinds of interesting facts about the Bounty replica, so you can learn all about it.

Later that afternoon, we headed to the airport to catch a Qantas flight to Brisbane, then Townsville. We posed in a photo booth to create these excellent photo stickers. It was 9:30 PM by the time we arrived in Townsville.

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