4 bottles of bubbly, 3 suitcases, the heaviest plate of homemade cookies known to mankind, a hydrangea bouquet, and a couple of train tickets-we were off to Shepparton for the Holidays with the loveliest Aussie family around. Whether it was chicken and champagne for brekky or the massive afternoon barbies (and more champagne), we were never without food. And we love us some food.
We spent boxing day having a nap in front of the cricket match and attempting to catch a few yabbies- activities we clearly lack the patients for. Thankfully, Godrey saved the day with a tour around the Kiwi fields-nothing quite like the Victoria Bushland.
We hope you missed us as much as we missed you on our first Christmas away from home in 24 years! (we won't mention the 80+ degree weather)
Melbs has been good to me, but Sydney has my heart. Bondi Beach is the spot, with it's laid back, sweet disposition and the most beautiful beaches I've ever seen! I haven't seen the Mallen clan for years, amazing it took us a trip across the world to reunite for one epic weekend...frisbee on the beach, drunken dance moves, breathtaking coastal walks, stunning graffitti art, and the famous Sydney Opera House.
Ah, some things never change, the 330 to the 303! This weekend went too fast but was a good reminder of what is to come, I don't plan at stopping at all!
Thanks to mum for making it happen!
peace and love-
well after 11 months in the land down under we have finally seen a 'roo that wasn't roadkill or served up rare. absolutely the cutest creatures we've had the chance to cuddle up to-they'll hold your hand right before ripping the bag of feed to shreds, open the gift shop door and have a browse inside, and unsuspectingly wait for you in the loo. koalas could not care less about who's giving them a pat as long as they have a paw full of eucalyptus. patrick the wombat was too lazy to even open his little wombat eyes, and the tassie devils apparently have a bite 10x stronger than a doberman but we would put one in our carry-on no questions asked. if you ever happen to be in victoria, the ballarat wildlife park should be top of your list.
we've been so busy with all of our visitors lately its hard to narrow things down to a single post. this weeks most notable adventure was to the Yarra Valley and it's 70+ wineries- beating out sangria-filled night markets and boating in the port phillip bay for its place on the blog. We visited a few heavy-hitters including the prestigious Domaine Chandon and De Bortoli, and the equally impressive boutique cellars Millers Dixons Creek Estate and Mandala. no one left empty handed (greg wins 'tourist of the day' award for the case of chandon and the handmade cheese tray he took home). we're planning on writing a thank you card for the massive hangover that followed us back to the city, but we will absolutely be heading back soon. possibly weekly. now it's off to the kitchen to watch jeanne hyde attempt to prepare thanksgiving dinner with an oven thats measured in celsius. pure gold. let the holiday season begin!
we celebrated the 150th running of the Melbourne Cup with 100,000 other revelers and a case of champagne for breakfast. it's no surprise that one of us didnt see 'Americain' win it all (she was being helped to a cab by a very nice security guard), but found the winning ticket in her bag some 6 hours later. the rest of us cashed in on our winnings and miraculously made it home from flemington racecourse in time for fish and chips and a late afternoon nap. there also might have been a few USA chants and the singing of the national anthem while waiting for the train. i really have no idea why people find americans abroad so obnoxious?
From the moment we saw the massive bottle of jameson painted on the building we knew it was meant to be. 3 bedrooms and the beach for a backyard was all it took for us to sign our lives away. So much more room for activities (and international visitors).
We had our first yank visitor last month- Mr. Santilli spent his 4th of July jetlagged in Melbourne like any good patriot should. Kels was in the States and Ory was not participating in the blog so her details shall not be revealed, so Tony and I headed North.
First stop: Sydney. Victorians say the only good thing out of Sydney is the road to Melbourne, and I’m sure there is a bit of truth to that- but the harbour is gorgeous even on a rainy day. The cafes, opera house, harbour bridge, and royal botanical gardens are all worth seeing. The nightlife is apparently world class, but after dedicating 5 years of my life to Athens Ohio my standards are pretty high.
We flew into Cairns in the Far North Queensland from Sydney- they call it the gateway to the Barrier Reef, but there isn’t even a beach there (the mudflats up to the esplanade are known for bird watching but I mean really…bird watching?) If you ever fly into Cairns, do yourself a favor and have the rental car waiting at the air port-all the fun stuff is up north. Palm Cove is about 20 kilometers up the Captain James Cook highway (the british explorer who ran his ship “the endeavour” aground on the barrier reef in 1770- more on him later). Absolutely beautiful, in the rainforest and right on the beach, but like everywhere in far north Queensland-the water isn’t really for swimming. Stingers and crocs are everywhere.
From Palm Cove we headed North to Port Douglas where most of the ships launch for outer barrier reef dives. The coral dates back 18 million years, and there we were swimming in it alongside eels and minke whales. Cape Tribulation is situated in the Daintree National Forest (the worlds oldest rainforest), and is only accessible during the dry season. There is one road that goes through this part of Queensland, and it’s only paved part of the way. Cape Trib was renamed by our old friend Captain Cook- it was known as Kurangee by Aborigines for thousands of years. I can’t imagine how many bottles of rum he killed before he ran over the barrier reef and spent the next months living amongst the Aborigines. It’s like Jurassic park there. Crocs and Cassowarys have survived for millions of years, the rainforest plant life is 120 million years old. I can't even wrap my mind around that.
Mt. Sorrow is a rainforest hike that is described in local guides as “for persons of moderate fitness”. Tony and I thought it would be a perfect way to explore the rainforest. So did Daniel Nute, a British backpacker who in 1997 filled out the same bush hiker forms we did to help searchers in the event that you didn’t return. His body was never found. We limped out of the rainforest with leaches in our shoes and a new found respect for free climbers and jungle people.
Most of the land in far north is still reserved for Aborigines. A far cry from the Native American reservations the US so lovingly set aside for its Natives. To equally offend everyone however, as recently as the 1960’s, Queensland schools used textbooks that described Aborigines as “feral jungle creatures”. They weren’t even included in the national census. Civilization is so uncivilized. Captain cook detailed his time with the aborigines in his journals: “ They may appear to some to be the most wretched people on earth, but in reality they are far happier than we Europeans. They live in a tranquility which is not disturbed by the inequality of condition: the earth and the sea of their own accord furnish them with all things necessary for life…they seemed to set no value upon anything we gave them, nor would they ever part with anything of their own.” In no aboriginal language is there a word for “yesterday” or “tomorrow”. They just exist. And that’s pretty cool.
Hi blog, so we haven’t posted on you in 4 months- not at all surprising considering the 3 of us have never started and finished anything in a timely manor (at all). Its hard to believe 6 months has gone by since we boarded our VAustralia flight in LA. Looking back on it all its pretty crazy that we call this place home now.
Working full time has kept us insanely busy but we still make time for happy hour drinks and days at the zoo. Our little Kelsey flew back to the states last month for wedding season. We missed her dearly-it didn’t feel quite right ordering 2 shots of jameson instead of 3. Thank God she’s back safe and sound-if we’ve learned anything from Atlanta, Ory and Bridgette should not be left to their own devices in an unsuspecting city.
We have big future plans so stay tuned…
Also…ory will not be posted in any pictures until she agrees to participate in blog writing. Until then, we will post only daily proverbs from her
“OMG…TOILET PAPER?! COOL!”
The second birthday in Australia went off with more hitches than we can bear to say. For the record. do not show up to the Melbourne Cricket Ground for the Footy season opener with members club tickets and sandals on your feet. Sure they’ll let 3 people in front of you in with them on, but not you. Thankfully you can walk all the way back to the tram stop, take it back into the CBD and find a little asian shoe store still open at 8pm to buy yet another pair of flats and make it back in time to meet the birthday girl at the bar and catch the 2nd quarter of the game. Also- if you’re wearing your teams jumper (jersey), and you happen to be in the members club section, you’ll be the only one wearing one. dually noted. Since the Richmond Tigers lost, we had a great reason to blame our celebrations on- you can only imagine how much fun we had. A huge thank you to the O’Sullivans- we don’t know what we’d do without you! (we certainly wouldn’t have seats 3 rows behind the Richmond bench…oh ben cousins #32...)