Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Went to a land down under

Just got back from an amazing trip to Australia with Cousin Jimmy and his girlfriend Sandy. They've come back to Wellington with us for a few weeks, so all the trip planning and other random goofing around has kept me from updating you with our Aussie pics. 

We flew into Brisbane, then drove up the coast a few hours, took a charter flight out to Lady Elliot Island for a couple days, before driving 10 or so hours over a few days down to Sydney.

The weather was great and we crammed a lot of fun stuff into our short time there.

The highlight was on Lady Elliot Island, which is on the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef. Spent two days snorkeling and saw a shark, several big turtles, a sting ray (!) and a manta ray. Sandy got a minor sting from a jelly fish. 

Quite a rainbow. The trail led back behind this waterfall, so we had a chance to see underneath.

Standing in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. 

Jim and Sandy in front of Sydney's famous Opera House.

Look closely and you can see some big bats in this tree. We're in the botanical garden in Sydney, not far from the Opera House.

We visited this vineyard in honor of my mother-in-law Adena. They had some tasty wine and some excellent olives. 

The others did all the driving and navigating. I didn't have to do anything but relax in the back seat and help plan our next accommodation. 

We went on a fun little wine tour in the Hunter Valley. Our tour guide, whom we named "Doom and Gloom" Russell, was an interesting character. In between our lovely tastings, he told us stories about folks dying on wine tours and getting bit by poisonous snakes.

11 a.m.: Show up to the beach in Bargara. 
11:05 a.m.: The guys invent a new game, "hole tosser," with rocks and a hole in the sand. 
Next four hours: The play the same game while Sandy and I play in the water and soak up the rays.
Jake got friendly with the locals.

And so did Sandy. One of these had a little joey in its pouch, and we could see a little red hairless tail stick out, then a little red nose. 

In Bundaberg, we stopped to take a tour of its famous rum distillery. It was interesting and fun. As we left, Jake says "Now let's go get some Captain Morgan so I can wash this taste out of my mouth." 

Little charter plane we took held 10 people including our pilot.

Our favorite quote of the trip came from Nick, our tour guide on the Island, who said "no worries" after practically every sentence. "You'll want to watch out for a camouflage sea creature with 33 venomous tentacles on its back. If you happen to step on one, you'll be in excruciating pain. No worries, right this way...

This is a real, live manta ray just off the shoreline. Saw him from a boat.

The island had a grass runway through the middle, which we had to walk across each day to get to our favorite snorkeling beach.

Below's a slideshow of some of the beautiful sites and animals we saw while in Australia. 



Corey said...

OK....who got to pee on Sandy's foot after she was stung?

Brett said...

awesome pics guys, I really enjoyed them and now am looking forward to checking out Oz. I also look forward to hearing about the visit in more detail over some of our favourite (note the proper spelling) NZ beers.

Kathie Doosing said...

It is sooooo nice to see your web blog again. We still have slooow dial up at home. The pictures posted on here are fabulous!! Thanks for sharing your lives and experiences with us all. Brandon is talking about signing up for the MU New Zealand trip that goes over on Christmas Break. Our 35th aniversary is next year, so we are hoping he or Melissa will be over there for us to go visit. We got to go to Ireland to visit Melissa on our 30th, So I have High Hopes!!

Both Melissa and Brandon are with us tonight as we celebrate a late
4th with your parents. Melissa enjoyed seeing your wedding book, and I enjoyed it again!!! We all enjoyed the Pictures!!!


Kathie Doosing