By definition cruising provides a sampler of multiple destinations. Our time in Australia was a real sampler. The cruise on Explorer of the Seas ended in Sydney and our second cruise on Celebrity Solstice started a day later. Fortunately our friends Jeff and Kaye picked us up early on our arrival day and we had all of that plus most of a second day before we boarded. The cruise dock is right in the heart of Sydney so we had a walking tour of many of the city’s highlights including the Opera House, Circular Quay, Sydney Botanical Garden and the oldest part of the city. Crossing the magnificent harbor on the Harbor Bridge our friends took us to the interesting Q Station Sydney Harbour National Park on the North Head. Q Station was a quarantine holding and treatment area for immigrants for over 100 years. Kaye volunteers at the nearby cemetary where she researches the stories of those buried there. We learned a bit of Australian history. After many cool days at sea Sydney was hot. Our friends hosted us at their beautiful home on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific in the town of Dee Why. We watched Peregrine Falcons, whales and dolphins from their patio. After a great Bar-B-Q we walked Dee Why beach to Long Reef Point. We all rode together on the Manly Ferry to Circular Quay near our cruise port for a send off on our next cruise. Sure, we had just a short time in Sydney but we made the best of it. Big thanks to Jeff and Kaye.
Melbourne was the first stop on our second cruise on Celebrity Solstice. We chose to take a ship offered excursion to the Puffing Billy steam train which got un into some of the country surrounding this city of 4+ million. Dianne saw one wild kangaroo from the train. Overall we just got a taste of Australia but it was enough to whet our appetite for a return. It is a beautiful, huge country with friendly people and a good exchange rate.