Land Down Under
We’re going “down under” as we leave Estonia for the warmth and beauty of picturesque Australia. Mrs. Sip lived in the country for half a year and I was lucky to join her for six weeks. While together, we toured a fair portion of the country. There were numerous and diverse sites that we both fell in love with during our stay. Here are some of our favourites:
Home to the World’s Smallest Penguins, hundreds of tourists gather each day and brave the elements to watch the little flightless birds return from the water, like clockwork, to their burrows on Phillips Island. Sadly, but understandably, you’re not allowed to take photos of the tiny travelers, as flashes from cameras can blind them and cause them to become disoriented, get lost, and turn into easy prey for predators.
Great Barrier Reef
Cairns is home to the Great Barrier Reef and its impressive collection of coral formations. In some of the clearest, most stunning water I’ve ever been in, I did my first ever scuba dive and saw species of sea creatures I may never see up close again. We also snorkeled the area for a few hours and enjoyed the bathtub temperature of the ocean… plus, it’s always fun to perv on Mrs. Sip in the water!
Also while in Cairns, Mrs. Sip and I also toured the Daintree Rainforest, including a river cruise where we searched for legendary crocodiles and a hike through the tropical bush. The Daintree is home to an untold number of animal and plant species and you never really know what you’ll come across in your trek. Mrs. Sip was on edge about seeing any spiders, while I was ever-vigilant in avoiding snakes.
There are some animals you will only see in zoos and around Australia during your lifetime. We decided to combine the two by visiting one of the country’s nature reserves: the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. There, we viewed epically large crocodiles, fed kangaroos, and were attacked by parakeets and lorikeets. We even got our photos with a koala and all was well until it peed all over our friend!
This mystical mass of land is located in the Australian Outback and while I did not journey there for my own personal walkabout, Mrs. Sip made the trip. It takes between two to three hours to walk around Ayers Rock/Uluru and it’s also a wonderful spot to view sunrise and sunset each day. Interestingly, it’s said that if you take any rock from the site you will be cursed, leaving many trying to return “souvenirs” they’ve pick up from the World Heritage Site.
Sydney Opera House
Sydney was such a neat city (surprisingly clean and green) in its entirety, but perhaps its most famous landmark is the Opera House located in Sydney Harbour. Mrs. Sip and I did a Hop-On, Hop-Off bus tour of the iconic metropolis and spent a fair bit of time hanging out in the harbour. Tourists can even climb the Harbour Bridge for a spectacular viewing opportunity.
While I failed miserably at my attempt to learn surfing in Australia, the beaches around the country are a sight to behold. Surfer’s Paradise is where all the youngsters go to hang out and hang ten. If you’re not into the beach and ocean stuff, the area is also home to numerous dining and shopping options. If you choose to stick to the sand and water, be careful of disruptive visits by anything from jellyfish to sharks.
Australia: Moonlight Martini
- Muddle Blackberries
- 1.5 oz Shiraz/Syrah Wine
- 1.5 oz Raspberry Vodka
- Splash of Lemon Juice
- Dash of Simple Syrup
- Garnish with Blackberries
Australian wine is also a big deal and they are most famous for their Shiraz/Syrah grape variety, which was brought to the country from Europe by James Busby in the 1830’s. Speaking of Aussie wine, Mrs. Sip and I also thoroughly enjoyed the Barossa Valley wine tour we joined in Adelaide, specifically our meal of kangaroo cooked in… you guessed it: red wine!
Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
Given the World’s Smallest Penguins was one of my favourite Australian attractions, coming across the Little Penguin Shiraz Wine was almost too perfect to be true. Sadly, I didn’t have the Orange Vodka the recipe asked for, so I subbed in Raspberry Vodka with a splash of Triple Sec to get the orange flavour. The drink was pretty good and had a number of different notes to tease the taste buds!