We visited my cousin John and his family in the city of Cairns, which is located in the northern part of Queensland, Australia.  During our stay in 2000, the Olympic torch was making its way around the country and we managed to see it carried into Cairns.  This was quite an event as most of the people living there flooded the streets to take a look.

A specially designed 2000 Olympic torch was carried over the Great Barrier Reef

A special torch was made that could be used underwater and the torch bearer, donned in scuba gear, swam across a section of the Great Barrier Reef.  Tap on the thumbnail to the left to see the full sized photo.  This photograph was from the local newspaper.

We signed up for an Eco-tour to observe some of the exotic animals native to Queensland.  That evening the most amazing moment for me was seeing a duck-billed platypus in the wild.  As the sun was setting, we were lucky enough to spot a few more of these small animals, at just over a foot in length, foraging in a secluded river.  The platypus is an unusual mammal since eggs are laid instead of bearing live young, even though the newborns are fed milk like all mammals.  It even has a bill similar to a duck as well as webbed feet.  We had to be very quiet approaching and standing near the riverbank, where we watched these small animals come to the surface for air.  Later that night, our guide spotted a tree kangaroo, which has an interesting adaptation over its ground dwelling cousins by having a prehensile tail.  It is believed that this evolutionary adaptation from ground hopping to tree dwelling kangaroo occurred due to the abundant food supply in the forest canopy.

Being near the Great Barrier Reef, we signed up for a three day dive boat tour.  This was an amazing experience and a highlight of our Australia trip.  Tap on the button below to see our Australia dive photographs.

Australia Dive Photos

 

Tap on a thumbnail image below to see the full sized photo.

These kangaroos were spotted not in the wild, but at the Wild World Zoo

Cousin John is enjoying feeding the kangaroos at Wild World

A tree kangaroo was looking at us during our Queensland wildlife tour

A huge cane toad discovered in cousin John’s backyard

A fantastic view of a Queensland beach

A duck-billed platypus came up for air as it was foraging in a stream

Huge flying foxes were hanging from a tree within the city of Cairns

My cousin’s son James was happy to hold the Olympic torch in Cairns