Gail Shelton spoke to the Kiwanis club Monday, February 10, 2020 about her trip to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. There were 15 in her group and they were gone 16 days and were on 11 different flights. They saw the east coast of Australia beginning with flying into Melbourne in the south. It was summer here so it was winter there. Melbourne is a very European looking city and it was cold and windy. They went farther south to Phillip Island where it was extremely cold. They went to see some rare penguins (blue in color and small), only found here. The penguins are protected and the tourists sit on bleachers to see them come out at night. No cameras are allowed because the penguins could lose their way because of the flashes.
Next they flew to Cairns which was tropical and had beaches. It is also the home of the Great Barrier Reef. You travel 90 minutes on a boat over choppy water to get to the reef. There is a platform over the reef that just has anchors holding it in place because nothing can be attached to the reef. The group was able to swim, snorkel, and snubaing. In Cairns there is a large Aboriginal center (native Australians). They attended ceremonies and ate native food.
Next they flew to Sydney which is a big beautiful city. No one has guns there and it was very safe to go everywhere. They toured the Opera House. There was a contest to design the Opera House and the person who won was not a building so then they had to find someone who could build it. It took several years to construct. Some of their group crossed over the bridge. It takes 3 hours and takes you over the traffic. You cannot take anything with you because it might fall into the traffic below. It is a very intense climb going up and down ladders and for safety reasons you are tethered.
They went to Bondi Beach. It was in the 50s and there were surfers. There was also an ice skating rink at the beach. The Featherdale Wildlife Zoo and Preserve was another place they visited. They saw kangaroos, wallabies, koalas and other native animals. The koalas are marsupials and only eat eucalyptus. They sleep about 22 hours a day.
Then it was on to New Zealand flying into Queenstown on the South Island. It is a ski town. There is a steamship that goes out to a sheep station and back every day. They saw a sheep shearing demonstration and how the dogs work the sheep. There is a mountain range called the Remarkables and Mirror Lake in which you can see the reflection of the mountains. And there were also waterfalls. Then they flew to Auckland which is a very modern city on the North Island. Here they went on the Hobbitt Tour which is the outside shells still on the sheep ranch where it was filmed. The son of the man who owned the ranch and allowed the filming has kept them up and they are now a tourist destination.
Then they flew to Fiji before heading home.
Gail’s next trip is in July and she along with her group are going to 4 locations in Ireland.
Article provided by Kiwanis Club