...Australia Photos (Aug 2000)...

As part of my PhD research I was able to travel to Australia a total of 4 times, Jan 1999, Feb 2000, Aug 2000 and Feb 2003. Here are some of the photos from my trip in Aug 2000.

I left London on the 11th Aug and travelled to Sydney via LA. I had travelled to Australia to use the Anglo Australian Telescope (AAT) at the Anglo Australian Observatory (AAO), located in the Warrumbungle National Park on Mount Woorat.

The Warrumbungle National Park

A view of the Warrumbungle National Park from the AAT site.

Telescope Domes at the AAO

A view of some of the other telescope domes on the Anglo Australian Observatory (AAO) site as seen from the walkway of the AAT.

The Warrumbungle National Park

The plane I flew!

I left Siding Spring and got a taxi into Coonabarabran. I got to the little airport where the plane was waiting. I met Brett, my pilot, and he asked if I wanted to sit in the co-pilot seat as there were no other passengers from Coona... I naturally jumped at the chance! Shortly after take-off, Brett looked over at me and casually asked if I wanted to 'have a go at flying'! I took the stick and listened to his instructions. I was given headings and altitudes to stick to and the occasional reference point on the landscape. I flew to Gunnedah and as we approached the airport I was told to circle around and line up with the runway. I think I did a reasonable job (for my first attempt!) and as we approached Brett wisely took over and brought us in. We were scheduled to pick up two passengers but they were not there, so after a short wait Brett taxied to the end of the runway, lined up, then said "when I give you a thumbs up, pull back on the stick and take-off". I took off and flew all the way to Sydney, following various instruction along the way. As we approached Sydney, air traffic control came over my headset and I started to follow their commands. We headed out over the Pacific and turned back on approach.

Sydney Airport

A view of Sydney's international airport as we came in to land. I can now officially say that I have piloted a plane on a scheduled flight when I was only supposed to be a passenger! This was without doubt the best flight I have ever (and probably will ever) have – I was buzzing for weeks!

Sydney Opera House

As seen from the approach to the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Sydney Opera House

As seen from the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Circular Quay

From the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge

The year before I had taken the "Harbour Bridge Experience" and walked along the top of the bridge to the flag poles at the centre, crossed over and walked back along the opposite side.

I flew from Sydney to Vancouver via San Francisco.