Most are handheld HDR.
The sunrise .. the tide is out.
I became quite fond of their beers. Australian beer is almost as good as Canadian beer. Almost.
The tide goes out in the afternoon providing excellent access to the reef system off the beach. You walk in ankle deep water for 300m and then make your way out to the system. The wind and waves will determine the visibility. On boxing day we spent a couple hours snorkelling with excellent visibility. I was swimming with my Canon G12 and an underwater case.
The coral is beautiful.
I have no idea what type of fish this is but the camouflage was very impressive.
There were a few jellyfish so you had be careful. Most people were not wearing a stinger suit.
I happened upon this huge sea turtle grazing. No one else was around so I just hung out for 30 minutes swimming beside him/her and snapping shots. They are such magnificent creatures.
He/she was not bothered at all.
The turtle was over a meter long. Beautiful.
We spent our Christmas Day on Whitehaven Beach lazing on the beautiful white sand and swimming in the ocean. They handed out stinger suits for everyone to ensure that no one got stung.
I did not see any jellyfish, but these little fellows caught my attention. I have no idea what they are and they look like a plant, but clearly swim and are beautiful.
We didn’t get to the head of the river that feeds into the beach. They dropped us on the other end and it is a 7km walk. Would have loved to see that area.
We had dinner at the yacht club. While the meal was not that great, the venue was spectacular with beautiful views.
The harbour area of Hamilton Island is beautiful at night.
The handheld HDRs were a little tough with the shutter speeds slowing.
One thing I did not catch was the bats. On one night they covered the sky on a full moon –another reminder of “always carry your camera”.
Our first couple of days were rather spotty, filled with rain. As a big fan of Trip Advisor, I had planned using the tool and had a list of options. One of our first “rainy day” actions was to head up to Passage Peak, the highest point on the island. A 3KM hike in on and off again rain is very do-able when it is 27C out.
The view from the top.
View of the hotel area.
The vegetation goes from very lush to dry brown.
We also went to Target Sports, which is a range. I grew up in Alberta shooting. My boys had never shot a gun. They did very well.
And we stopped off at the Wildlife Park to see the koalas. I have never seen or touched a koala. We all took a turn holding “Elvis”. Their fur feels matted and wiry, and his “hug” very soft. Beautiful animal.
As I mentioned it was raining. Here is how a Koala weathers out the rain.
I found this fellow’s eyes piercing. He just stared right at me. I wonder what he was thinking?
As the rain stopped, this fellow came out of his sleep.
And a mother brought out her baby for a swing.
The island does not have a weeks worth of activities but it was good for a few days. Luckily, the sun came out.
For Christmas week we headed up the coast to Hamilton Island, just off the great barrier reef. Here is my simple take on Hamilton Island after much back and forth trying to get the straight goods around tourism in Australia:
But …. the one thing people need to be aware of is that Australia beaches are not like other beaches (see my other posts). Australia is a dangerous place with strong currents, different threats and with several different types of jellyfish kicking around including the Irukandji that can put you in the hospital for 3 days of excruciating pain – you need to be careful.
This isn’t Grand Cayman. I think that if my goal was to head to a beach only – it would be to Thailand or somewhere like that, not Australia. Once you accept that vacationing in Australia is an “adventure”, then you enjoy what is around you.
A few shots of Hamilton Island. The view from our balcony was spectacular.
The cockatiels were very friendly and inquisitive. They are said to have the intelligence of a 3 year old. They were definitely looking for food.
They were also quite comfortable around us.
A few more views from our room at the Reef.