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Australia Total Solar Eclipse

rstephens’s Travelogue

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In November 2012, I was with Alson Wong on the TravelQuest International solar eclipse trip to Australia. We arrived in Sydney then toured the downtown region, had a harbor cruise and went to the Sydney Observatory. While downtown, we saw the motorcade for Prince Charles and Duchess Carmella who were on a goodwill tour of Australia. Later that night, four of us walked down to the harbor and the Sydney Opera House where a dinner and reception were being held for them. We got inside the Opera House and were tempted to go up to the bar and order a drink. But figuring that TQ would not want to bail us out, we beat a hasty retreat.

The next day we went to the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, where we toured the Rain Forrest and bought some aboriginal art. We wrapped the day up with a reception at the Australian Museum.

On November 11, we flew to Port Douglas where we stayed for five nights. The next day we had a tour of the Daintree River and the Daintree Rainforest.  On the 13th we went to the Agincourt Ribbon Reefs where we spent the afternoon snorkeling and exploring the reef. Alson and I took a helicopter ride for a wide view of the reef. A YouTube video of some of the tour sights is here: https://youtu.be/fndo-6G1ulU

The eclipse occurred on November 14, and the day started with a very early bus ride to Wetherby Station, a large cattle ranch located inland (watch where you step!). The coastal clouds keep endangering our view as they crept over the intervening ridge. With the Sun only 13.5° above the horizon, it was a close call. Fortunately, the clouds parted just before 2nd Contact. Here is a YouTube video of Eclipse Day: https://youtu.be/54SVhSM44xE

On our final day in Australia, we rode the scenic train to Kuranda Station, where we got to see many exotic birds, crocodiles, and other animals. We rode the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway back down.

Alson and I left the following day for a quick trip to New Zealand on our way home. We stayed in Queenstown and got to see the Remarkables and many other local sights. A YouTube video of that trip including a wild Jetboat ride we took can be found here: https://youtu.be/sAOovM2HAr0