Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Broome part 6

One of the last things we did in Broome was go on a camel ride along the beach. We totally thought it would be trashy and touristy but it was so much fun!

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This is our camel Wun, showing us his lovely teeth:
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Here is Wun showing us his long eyelashes:
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Kendall and I with a spectacular sunset behind us:
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Seriously, this was much more fun that I ever thought it would be. I did have a sore bum for a few days afterwards because camels? They are not comfortable to ride. But really good fun!

Overall it was a great relaxing holiday. I read five books, lots of magazines, we played lots of music on the iPods, and didn't think about work once. Just the way it should be.

Soon I'll tell you about the next holiday we have planned. It's a doozy.

Broome part 5

One of the side trips we did in Broome was take a scenic flight over part of the Kimberley, to Koolan Island and Cape Leveque.

This is part of the Buccaneer Archipelago that we flew over: more than 1,000 islands and the King Sound.
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These are the Horizontal Waterfalls. When the tide comes in, two lakes behind the coast fill up through two narrow breaks in the rock. As the tide goes out again, the water level in the lakes is higher than the sea, so horizontal falls are created as the water seeks to escape.
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This is Koolan Island, a former iron ore mine operated by BHP. When BHP decided to close the mine back in the 1980's, they were told they had to return the island back to its natural state. Years later when another mining company took out a new mining lease, they found all the BHP mining equipment at the bottom of the flooded mine. BHP were fined millions of dollars for their laziness.
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This is the beach at Cape Leveque. It's a very nice place that has a small eco tourism venture owned by the local Aboriginal groups in the area.
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On the way home flying along the coast we saw Humpback Whales, Sea Turtles, Manta Rays and Dugongs. It was totally awesome.

Broome part 4

These gorgeous smelling frangipani flowers are everywhere in Broome. These were in the courtyard outside our room, next to our private pool.
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Here's a Boab Tree; you see them everywhere in northern Australia. They store water in their fat bottoms for times when there is no water to be found.
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And this is the resort pool at night. Sorry it's a bit fuzzy, I must have knocked the focus off as I was setting up the tripod. But you get the general idea: stunning.
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The resort was very nice but they had only officially opened the week before we arrived and they were still sorting their systems out, I think. Everyone was lovely but the service at times was a bit slow. I'd still recommend it to you; it was a very nice place to be.

Broome part 3

This is the world famous Cable Beach.
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It's a very nice beach :)
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What amazed me more than anything about Broome, though, was the fact that cars and four wheel drive vehicles are allowed to drive onto the beach. Not a very good way to keep it clean.

We found this little fella half buried in the sand right at the edge of the water, so I made Kendall dig him up for me to get a photo. I don't think he was overly pleased about it either.
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Broome part 2

Have you ever wondered why the middle of Australia is referred to as the Red Centre? Here are a few shots from the plane over Alice Springs to explain that to you.

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Here's a shot of the Olgas (Kata Tjuta), also from the plane:
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Sorry it's a bit small but if you click on the photo it will take you to my Flickr photosream and you can see a larger version.

And here is Ayers Rock, also known as Uluru, taken from the plane. I was on a weird angle so it's not the best photo but it shows you how big it is, given you can see it clearly from 35,000 feet up in the air!
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And here is a dry waterway in the middle of Broome, showing you yet more red dirt. During the wet season, that would be a raging torrent of water.
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Monday, August 17, 2009

Broome part 1

Usually I break my posts up into days for each trip, but since for this holiday we stayed in one place and only did a few activities, I'm just going to post a few "Broome, part 1 (2, 3, 4, etc)" things. Today I have a rant, and a recommendation.

Because Broome is in the middle of nowhere (see map below - you can click to make it bigger), you don't have many choices in getting there. You can either fly with Qantas, or with Virgin Blue. If you choose Virgin Blue, you must go via Perth (totally not on the way). The distance from Melbourne to Broome is 4,996km. That's about 3,104 miles. A very long way. The distance from Melbourne to Perth is 3,456km (2,147 miles) and then from Perth to Broome is 2,233km (1,387 miles). You can understand why we chose to fly direct to Broome with Qantas.
There are several things wrong with this decision. Despite the fact we have a rule that for all flights over three hours we will consider going business class, we chose to fly economy. The reason for this? Business class flights to Broome (on the ONLY direct flight for the week) were more than it cost for our entire New Zealand holiday back in March. We simply could not justify the cost.

In retrospect, of course, we should have sucked it up and paid the extra 40 gazillion dollars because OH MY GOD it was awful. The stewards were rude. Every single thing they served us to eat contained nuts. I am allergic to nuts, as a lot of people are. Surely they could find me something else to eat? Just a simple cookie with no nuts in it? No, apparently not, I should have ordered that IN ADVANCE. If I'd known IN ADVANCE that I was going to be poisoned, I wouldn't have flown with Qantas in the first place.

My recommendation? Take an extra day on either side of your trip and go via Perth. It's a lovely city and you'll feel much better. Also go with Virgin Blue, not Qantas.