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Local family goes 'down under'

PUTNAM - A Putnam family has gone "down under."

Tom Bain, who is stationed in South Korea with the U.S. Army, recently took his wife Chris and their children Tommy and Caitlin to Australia and New Zealand.

"It is the summer time in the southern hemisphere, so this was a welcome break from the frigid temperatures of South Korea," Bain said. "This was an amazing trip on many accounts: scenery, friendly people, great accommodations, and relaxing atmosphere."

Their first stop was Sydney, Australia. They visited the Sydney Aquarium, the Sydney Tower, Sydney Harbor, the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbor Bridge, the 200 Sydney Olympic Park and Sydney's World Square.

Then it was off to the Blue Mountains west of Sydney.

"Our first stop on this trip was to a small game park where the kids were able to pet Koalas and Wallabies," Bain said. "They could also view Dingoes, Wombats, as well as birds and lizards of all shapes and sizes. It was an enjoyable experience and personal introduction to Australia's wildlife."

The Blue Mountains are Australia's green version of our Grand Canyon. The sides of the valley drop away for hundreds of feet before merging into the lush forest floor below.

A three-hour flight took the Bain family to Uluru in the Australian Outback.

"One of the biggest surprises of the desert was the proliferation of flies," Bain said. "Scores of flies would swarm you as you walked around the desert, making a fly net a must for keeping them at bay. They did not bite, but it is unsettling to feel them crawling over your skin seeking moisture. It is a wonder they survive in such a harsh environment."

The family then flew to Brisbane, rented a car and drove to Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast. This area is famous for its miles and miles of white beaches and surfing.

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