Sunday, June 30, 2013

Maria's Aussie Pics!

This trip was so much fun and I'm so glad I was able to experience it with so many great people! The most memorable part of the journey for me was almost being left at LAX. If you haven't heard this story, feel free to ask! I definitely want to return and explore more of Melbourne because it was my favorite city that we visited. I enjoyed the museums in Canberra, and couldn't believe admission was free! I could spend days upon days in them and still not see everything. Listening to the Mahler Chamber Orchestra was absolutely amazing and that English Horn solo, c' mon!  
Leaving for Melbourne at the Auckland airport
St. Patrick's Catherdral

Shrine of Rememberance
View from Eureka Tower (Sports Stadiums)
Eureka Tower

Melbourne Central Station

UJE playing at Dizzy's Jazz Club, Bairnsdale
                                         Reception with Mayor at Bairnsdale Corporate Offices

Entrance to Royal Cave

Inside Royal Cave

Kangaroo in his natural habitat

Canberra at night

Catered dinner at hotel. Yummy!

Waterfront at Canberra Exhibition Centre

Australian War Memorial, main chamber

Aboriginal art, National Gallery

Bondi Beach, Sydney

Sydney Opera House

Before Mahler Chamber Orchestra performed

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Melanie's Favorite Photos

Fireworks in Darling Harbor, Sydney

St. Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne

Our wonderful host family in Bairnsdale

Australian War Memorial, Canberra

Amy makes some friends at the Healesville Sanctuary

Yay playground breaks!

Wildlife with a view in Canberra
The Royal Cave

Cooking kangaroo steak...what an adventure!

The clarinet section made it to Sydney!


Sydney Harbor spelled the weird British way

Bondi Beach, Sydney

On the Eureka Deck in Melbourne 


I would so fit right in at the Olympics. 

Our fearless leader at his best

Double piggy-back in Melbourne! 

St. Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Australia Pictures

Memorable Pictures

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the trip! In no specific order, just how they appeared in my computer.

 This was one of my favorite activities in Melbourne.  This is a picture of the tallest building in Melbourne.  We went up to the top of it (88 floors I believe) to the Eureka Skydeck.  It was really cool seeing the city like that.  I would say it competes with the view from the Space Needle.  Actually, it was better.  The facility up at the Eureka Skydeck was really nice too, I quite enjoyed being up there!
 This is the view from the Eureka Skydeck.  I loved looking out over the cityscape.
 This is the plane that took us to Melbourne! We all got a great laugh out of the fact that hobbits carried us out of Middle Earth to our destination!
 This is from St. Paul's Cathedral in Melbourne.  It was a beautiful cathedral.  I was testing out how my iPad took pictures, and after I took this one I knew that it was good for taking pictures.  From that point on, I only took pictures with my iPhone or iPad.  My digital camera that I've had for a few years wasn't cutting it anymore.  Even though I got made fun of a few times for taking pictures with an iPad, it took some good pictures, and that's what matters anyway.
 This is a koala from the Healsville Sanctuary.  Even though we all showed up exhausted and jet lagged, seeing majestic animals such as this koala really perked up our spirits and made for an incredible first day in Australia.  It's not often that you can see animals like this, and I know I truly cherished the nature that we were privileged to see while traveling the country.
 We found this sign in Melbourne and thought it was hilarious.  Often time a lot of us were searching for wifi to check in with families or post some pictures to Facebook.  Ironically enough, this place had terrible wifi, so I gave up looking after going in there.  To be honest, the break from using my phone was really nice.  Since I turned off all the data and kept it on airplane mode, I only had to charge my phone once in about three or four days.
 St. Mary's Catholic Church in Bairnsdale.  This Church was very pretty inside and out! The paintings inside were beautiful and really caught me off guard.   I didn't expect a church in a small town to be so beautiful.
 Koala bear on our walk around Raymond Island, Bairnsdale. They like to hide in the trees away from sight, but we became talented at scouting them out after seeing a few of them.
 Most of us found this sign really amusing.  It's strange to see koalas in the wild (especially on Raymond Island, since it is a very suburban like area).  This sign also gave us another warning as we had been exposed to the urban legend of Drop Bears.
 This was a view that our courier, Robert, woke us all up on the bus to see on our way to the Fairy Caves.  It was sure worth it.  We rounded a corner and a burst of "ooohs" and "ahhhs" and "WOW" came from the bus.  I for one would like to build my house on one of those hills someday.  I would never tire of this view.
 From inside the Royal Cave at the Fairy Caves.  This was really a beautiful place.  I enjoy caves very much, and this one was certainly one of the best I've ever seen.  Our guide said that the stalactites and stalagmites grow at a very slow pace (I believe 1 mm per 100 years).  This cave is therefore millions of years old!
 Another picture from the Royal Cave.  It was amazing how close we could get to the walls in some cases.  Often times we were pressed up in awkward positions around the cave trying to take pictures.  Since I am short, it was easy for me!
 The red color is accounted for by the iron in the rock to be carried through the limestone! I appreciated how natural these caves are and essentially pictures could be taken without flash!
This is a joey we found outside of the caves.  It was SO adorable.  I got pretty close to it, about 5 feet! This particular one was not shy to cameras either.  It put on a show for us as he shimmied and appeared to dance in front of us.  Eventually its mother came and they hopped off together.  It was an incredible sight for sure.

 Panorama of sights around Canberra.  It was a beautiful city that I would love to spend more time in some day.
 Canberra has a lot of artwork and sculptures around the town.  This one illustrates the paths that Captain Cook and several other explorers took to get to Australia.  Some of them looked a little roundabout and ridiculous, but it was very cool nevertheless.
 This is parliament building! It was a very modern and recently designed building, but interesting too.  The inside looked as though it could have been filmed as the Ministry of Magic in the Harry Potter series.  We were granted the opportunity to sit in and watch the House of Representatives attempt to pass an important bill.  It was one of the last sit in days before the upcoming election also. The Prime Minister was rumored to be around too, but she never appeared in the chamber when the rest of us watched debates.
 This is the Australian War Memorial.  I honestly had no idea what to expect of this as we wandered around, but it was a very well done museum that honored the various wars that Australians participated in throughout their history.  I could have spent all day in here looking at exhibits.
 So, this sculpture kept us entertained for a lot longer than it should have.  The National Art Gallery was closed when we got there, so to kill time we went into the sculpture garden and everyone looked at their body types as modified by these cone...things...
 Friends at Darling Harbour.  It was a beautiful place in Sydney, and our hotel was just up the street from this area.  It makes for easy access to the ferry.  It was also where the Sydney Aquarium, Wax Museum, and Native Animal Sanctuary were located too.  We found light shows and fireworks galore in Darling Harbour as well as the Queen was celebrating her birthday that weekend too.
 Dancing birds in Darling Harbour! Sydney had lots of artwork around as well, it was very fun to view!
 Fireworks in Darling Harbour in celebration of the Queen's birthday. It was so fun to see the lights and all of the activities that would occur hourly during this time.

 Sydney Opera House! This was from Milson's Point on the opposite side of the Harbour.
 Hope Bales and myself in front of the opera house! We had to get our oboe section picture taken.
 Sydney by night! We were surprised with a dinner cruise on the harbour, which was a blast.  It was the perfect weekend to do it too since the entire town was lit up by night.
 Sydney Harbour bridge and the Opera House.  It was beautiful to be able to take the ferry and cruise around the Harbour all day.
 The famous opera house! We were surprised with tickets to see the Mahler Chamber Orchestra.  It was probably the most memorable moment of the entire trip.  They performed Beethoven's Violin Concerto in D and Schumann's Symphony No. 3.  For their encore, they performed the 2nd movement from the New World Symphony that did not leave a dry eye in the house.
Last, but not least, is a picture from Manly Beach on Manly Island.  The ocean was at least warmer than in the Pacific Northwest.  The sand was beautiful, and the shells very ornate and pretty.  It was a great way to spend the last day in Australia.

I had a great time in Australia.  I loved the people, cultures, and cities.  I can't wait for the time when I can go back and spend more time touring the country.  We got but a taste of the country, which Rob said would wet our appetite to some see more!! That was certainly the case.  Thank you PLU and ACFEA for arranging such a great trip for us!