Days 9 and 10
The weather was snowy and overcast, so we went shopping at the outlet stores instead. What was meant to be a half day trip turned into a full day workout for the wallet.
Day 7 was a slow day, giving us the chance to catch up on our blog posts. Three of us were woken by a 15 second, 4.5 earthquake. The other three slept. Later on that day we wandered down our local streets, caught a train to Castro, walked up to the gold fire hydrant, which marks the point where the edge of the devastating 1906 fire that started after a huge earthquake.
Day 8 saw us get up early to fly to Salt lake City and then catch a shuttle to Park City.
Can’t wait to go skiing. 😀
Once we got settled in we went out for dinner at a great burger place for Dad’s birthday. The burgers were huge, but they were worth every delicious bite. For dessert we had gigantic milkshakes, with one even coming with a donut on top.
Today we tried to get to Sausalito to go and see the red woods but it started so we flagged that idea. After a look around the ferry plaza we headed to the California Acadamy Of Sciences. Grace loved the Pteradon exhibit while Daryl and Emelia liked the three story rainforest. I liked the colourful frogs and Baz liked the camouflage insects which where hard to find.
Today we collected our bikes again and went for a ride around town and Golden Gate Park. On the way we stopped for ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s on the corner of Haight and Ashbury. This is where the hippie movement began in the 60’s.
We returned our bikes, then went for lunch at an Italian restaurant own by Francis Ford Coppola. Zoetrope was a very cool place with lots of film memorabilia on the walls and a really cool bathroom tap! Then we wandered back to the bus, doing a bit of window shopping on Market Street along the way.
New Years day began with brunch at the Truck New Years Resolution. There was a wide variety available and we chose four different things to share. All of them where delicious. Emelia’s favourite was the Mint Oreo mini donuts but also I liked the pulled pork tacos. We missed the live band as they were just starting to play as we left.
From there we pick up our rental bikes to bike the Golden Gate Bridge. This was awesome as we got lots of pictures of the bridge and the surrounding area.
On the way back, we stopped for pizza at a little place on the outskirts of Sausalito. We all thought it was the best pizza we’d ever had.
We began the day with a cable car ride up California street, the oldest cable car line in San Francisco.
Then we went to the Fairmont Hotel to see the gingerbread house they built in the lobby. Each individual brick is made from gingerbread cemented together with icing. It was impressive but not what we thought it would be as it was really the facade of the building.
Next stop was the Exploratorium. This was a hands on science museum, which was great but, as you can see from the photo, it was exhausting. The activities where all hands on and fun but we really needed a break and go back another day.
At the end of the night we climbed the hill to see the New Year in watching the fireworks being let off over the San Francisco Bay.
After arriving before we left on the 29th, we spent the day navigating the train and bus system to find our house, then we got settled and walked to the supermarket.
The next day we were real tourists. We began at Fisherman’s wharf checking out the souvenier stores. Lunch was clam chowder in a sour bread bowl which was delicious. Then we stroled down to pier 33 where we caught the ferry to Alcatraz. It was the quietest museum I had ever been to because everyone was wearing headphones for the audio tour. Dad said it was much better doing it with the audio tour then with out as last time he didn’t use the audio tour. We learned about some the infamous criminals held there like Machine Gun Kelly, Al Capone and the Birdman of Alcatraz. The cells where small and bare. At times it must of been torturous to hear the city so close but being so far away. We finished off the day with dinner at Bubba Gumps.
We continued our quest to follow in the footsteps of Captain Cook while in Queensland. Mum insisted on going to the town of 1770 because she was fascinated by the idea that a town could be named by numbers, not words. Turns out, it was where Captain Cook first stepped foot in Queensland. We went to a cairn that marked the beach he stepped on to, then walked down to the beach and stood where he stood. Mum thought it was pretty cool. Grace thinks it might be where he landed after he got a hole in his ship when he hit the Great Barrier Reef. Further down the coast at Emu Park, we visited a monument to Captain Cook called the Singing Sail. It is designed to whistle when the wind blows. The pipes have lots of different holes in them that the wind blows over and through. It sounded pretty eerie, almost like the sails on an old sailing ship. You had to be quite close to it to be able to hear it.
On our way back to Brisbane, we stopped in Tin-Can Bay. There’s not much there – it wasn’t even as big as Dargaville. We went there for one reason only – to hand feed some wild dolphins. Every day, Indo-Humpback dolphins come into the harbour to be fed. Because they are wild, they never know exactly how many will turn up but there are always at least 2.
The male dolphin had been in a shark attack and was nursed back to health by the volunteers so he is always there. He is the alpha male in the pod. The female that was there the day we were is the ‘Mary Poppins’ of the pod. She looks after all the calves and keeps them away from humans and the pod until they are old enough to look after themselves.
While we were near Rockhampton, Dad was feeling homesick so we decided to go to a farm, only this one was different from ours. On this farm, you were surrounded by water and animals that were difficult to see. Koorana was a crocodile farm. They farm salt water crocodiles in the same way we farm sheep and cattle. When they ‘harvest’ their crocs, they get about $18 a kg for the meat BUT they get $22 a cm for the skin, so, unlike cattle, the meat is a by-product – it’s the skin that makes the money. It was awesome to see how the crocodiles were able to hide in water that was knee deep. They could also jump quite high when it came to feeding time. If you see a croc, you shouldn’t climb a tree. Crocs can go for 3-12 months without food so it will sit at the bottom and wait for you. We all got to hold a baby croc. You might think they would feel hard and bony but they are actually very soft, especially the feet and underbelly. The underbelly is the best quality skin, too. The backstrap is full of bones – each bump is actually skin covered bone. When they had their ‘grand opening’ in the 1980’s, they had 3 crocs and only 5 people turned up. Now they have 4 000 crocs and people going through every day.