Friday, Dec 2: This morning we awoke to find ourselves in Geraldton, WA. That’s what I love about cruising – unpack once and we get to call a floating 5-star hotel “home”, with ever changing views!
This was our only tender port, so we had to get a ticket and wait our turn for the tender boat. It only took about 15 minutes to reach the shore. So off we went for a look around town. Little did I know that the day would not go according to plan.
Perched on a pristine coastline, Geraldton boasts gorgeous beaches, a thriving multicultural and Aboriginal community, a friendly country vibe and impressive cultural and architectural heritage. Added to all that, it is only a 4-1/2 hour drive from Perth. Unlike our previous visit, we were very impressed with the number of volunteers who met the ship and welcomed us.
Dome of Souls
The waiting woman
Symbolic grave marker
We decided to visit the HMAS Sydney II Memorial again and this time there were volunteers there to explain how the dome-shaped memorial stands in remembrance of the tragic sinking of this vessel in November 1941 after an encounter with the German raider Kormoran. The 645 metal seagulls represent the fallen crew. Interestingly, on 16 March 2008 the final resting place of the ship and her crew was located 112 nautical miles off Steep Point, the most westerly point of the Western Australian coastline.
We also visited the ornate St Francis Cathedral, designed in 1915 which took 23 years to complete. It is made from local Geraldton stone and quite impressive on the inside.
On the way back to the tender in the afternoon I had an unexpectedly close encounter with the boardwalk. I think that deserves a post of its own!
Thursday, 1 Dec: So sorry to see our cruise coming to an end. (We say this every time!)
Our last port will be Geraldton tomorrow and then we will disembark the following morning. So time to start packing and say goodbye to our friends from the UK, Jane and Ian, who will be making their way back home. Love you guys! We have had a lot of fun.
Smooth sailing (as usual) and we have had a very relaxing time. The staff have been fantastic and the food has been amazing. New mattresses and beds also added to our comfort. It’s not easy to get back to reality!
Tuesday, Nov 29: This morning we arrived in the very remote town of Broome – home to the pearl farming industry. Weather was hot and humid. Like most parts of Australia’s tropics, Broome has two seasons, a dry season that runs from April through November and a wet season starting about now.
There is no actual cruise terminal, so everyone was taken from the ship via free bus shuttles to the town which was located a few kilometres away.
It is a compact little town, discovered in 1688, with a lot of history going back to 1861 with the discovery of pearl oysters. Chinatown is the name of the main shopping area. Once it was noodle houses, opium dens and boarding houses. These days, food, fashion and expensive jewellery shops. The Sun Pictures – the oldest operating outdoor picture theatre gardens in the world. Quirky buildings and story boards giving the history of the town and the many nationalities who came here in search of the pearl.
The local people were very friendly and welcoming and we learnt all about how pearls are formed and the sad history of the hundreds of Japanese divers who drowned and the aboriginal women who were captured and sold and forced into diving, some even when pregnant. This town has quite a history!
Saturday, Nov 26: Darwin Is one of Australia’s northernmost cities, the capital of the Northern Territory – and very humid today, as we made our way into town. Last time we were here we did a lot of walking, but the heat hit us as we left the air con behind and we decided to get on the shuttle bus instead.
We have both been to Darwin numerous times, so we just had a stroll around the shopping mall and had our usual glass of Top End beer.
After we purchased our shuttle bus tickets, we discovered a “hop on hop off” bus which would have taken us to two museums and an art gallery that we haven’t seen yet.
We will no doubt be back in the future, so that will be something new to do next time!
Friday, Nov 18: We boarded the Sun Princess this afternoon and set sail late in the day for our trip to Western Australia. It feels like home to be on board again.
Sailing down the Brisbane river to make our way under the Gateway Bridge
Here is our room. Small entry and bathroom not shown. This is an ocean view room with an obstructed view. So you get a window but the lifeboat is obstructing it, which is fine with us, at least you get some light coming in.
Looking forward to two sea days as we make our way up the Great Barrier Reef.