A Travellerspoint blog

This blog is published chronologically. Go straight to the most recent post.

July 18

Brisbane Australia

-17 °C

This was going to be another family day, this time spend with Huey’s other sister. This time we caught a bus and WOW, what a bus ride that was! The streets in the neighborhood that they lived in were crazy! Up and down and twists and turns! Like you see on TV when they show the streets of San Francisco…it was surreal! Fun too! The homes are all up on ‘stilts’ because it gets so hot in Brisbane in the summer the space below keeps the home cooler. We got off at our stop and only had to walk about 5min down the road to get to their place. We were welcomed with open arms and got to meet all of the family again. We had another AMAZING home cooked meal, sat around and heard stories from the ‘good old days’ and got to look at some old pictures. Then they took us for a ride to see the old house that Jim grew up in and his old school. The homes in this area were absolutely beautiful. Obviously worth a lot of money. They told us stories about poisonous spiders and such things in Australia and how children learn about them growing up. When we got back to the house, the two little ones took us out to the garage to try to find us one of the spiders! I couldn’t believe how brave they were!! We didn’t find any live ones, just some of the casings, or skins that they shed. It was pretty gross, but really cool. Another say goodbye and we caught the bus back to the hotel. It was an amazing 2 days spent with the relatives on the other side of the world, and I hope we get to go back and see them again.

Posted by pixcee 08:55 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

July 19

Brisbane / Beerwah Australia

-17 °C

Today we were headed to the Australia Zoo – Home of Steve Irwin, The Crocodile Hunter!!! I was most excited about this since I am a big fan of his and I love zoos. We had to catch the train up as far as Noosa then take a bus to the Zoo. Once we got on the bus, it was like a regular bus that kept stopping to pick up and drop off people at all these little stops in small, random places. These places were BEAUTIFUL. It was all countryside, with lots of orchards along the way. There was one stop, just near the zoo called Beerwah. It was a quaint little town from the looks of it, and in the distance loomed the Glass House Mountains. It absolutely caught my eye. I really wish I could have gotten off the bus there and explored. I will definitely get back there one day, because it looked like the sort of place that I would love to live. The pictures don’t do it justice.

The zoo was fabulous! The best zoo we’d stopped at so far. Big & very clean. We didn’t get to see Steve Irwin because he was away at the time, but we did get to see a croc show and that was pretty cool. We also got to go inside another fenced in area and pet the kangaroos and wallabies which was really neat in itself! The babies were the cutest. One mother had a Joey in her pouch and it was big. She kept pushing it out of her so that she could bend over and eat, and the Joey kept trying to crawl back in! It was adorable. We spent the whole day there, just wandering around and looking at all the animals. We also got to see a croc show that afternoon. Where the zoo guy goes into the croc pen to tease and taunt the giant crocodiles with a dead chicken to get them to jump out of the water. It was pretty cool. There was this one croc that was all white and just lay in the same spot for hours with its mouth open. It must be some way to cool itself…I’m not really sure!

Posted by pixcee 08:56 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

July 20

Brisbane Australia

-17 °C

This morning we got up early and had to head out to some government office to that has records of births, deaths & marriages. Huey had to get a hold of a death certificate for his mother to bring back to Canada for something. We got that and then just wandered around the waterfront for the rest of the morning and afternoon. We decided that we were going to book a dinner cruise for that evening. We got our tickets for the boat cruise then decided that while we waited we would do one of the daytime tours as well as hit the Brisbane Botanical Gardens while we waited for the tour to depart. It was the warmest day that we’d had on our trip so far and we were able to take off our jackets while we wandered through along the paths. The gardens were busy with people walking with other people or pets, people playing Frisbee or just laying around on the grass reading or sleeping. It was relaxing and felt so nice to just roam in the sunshine. We found out that there was a bus tour that cruised around the city then headed to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary & Mount Coot-tha so we decided to try that. We boarded the bus and the driver introduced himself. He was the best tour guide we’d had so far. He was funny and told stories and joked and really made the tour very interesting. He told us a story about an author that has written a book about Australia and I was instantly hooked. I made a mental note of the name and ended up buying most of his books when we got home! Anyway, Brisbane is a beautiful city. The koala sanctuary was nice. We got to pet & feed kangaroos and wallabies again. I even got to have my picture taken holding a koala! I was standing in line, waiting for my turn, very excited to hold a real koala! I walked up to the girl who was holding it for me to take and the smell hit me instantly! It STUNK!  I didn’t realize how bad those things smell! It almost pooped on me and would have if the girl hadn’t noticed that it was going to and took it away from me quickly. When it was done, I took it back. It cuddled up to me, practically half asleep and before I was ready the girl took the picture. I gave the lil thing back to the girl and walked back to my group, who met me with squinty faces from the smell that clung to my sweater the rest of the day. That was ok though; I got a nice big picture of it and a great story to tell everyone back home.

After leaving the Koala Sanctuary we headed to Mt Cooth-tha for the view of the city. It was really high and at the top was a little restaurant and ice cream store. We took a bunch of pictures of the city, which from this vantage point was stunning. I’m not a big city person, and I normally hate them, but I really loved this city. It was big and bustling and busy but so pretty and clean. I can easily see myself spending more time in that city. We barely even broke the surface of it too! Seeing it from the lookout, it was clear how much of the city that we were going to miss.

It was starting to get late and the tour was winding up. We didn’t have much time to get back to the hotel so we could change (I really needed to after that koala!) and then walk down to the waterfront to meet up with our dinner cruise. We made it with time to waste. The boat came and it was one of those old paddle boats with the big wheel on it! We got on and found a table and the cruise started. It was now dark and the lights of the city lit up the waterfront. I was a little worried because I had never been on a boat that big before and had certainly never eaten on a boat that big before and I didn’t know if my stomach could handle it. The dinner didn’t take long to start. It was a buffet style meal and we were to just help ourselves. The food was DELICIOUS! Roast beef, potatoes, veggies, deserts…Mmm Mmm Mmm! It was as close to home cooking as we’d had since we had gotten there. I loved it!

While we ate a DJ played a guitar and softly sang. Everyone started talking and we found out that Bonnie is really afraid of water! She hadn’t said anything when we bought our tickets for the cruise and just kind of sat there looking slightly scared. Of course, we all felt bad after that but we didn’t know. The mood was lightened when the DJ came over to our table with his microphone and serenaded her!! The whole table was roaring with laughter and Bonnie turned three shades of red. It definitely made everyone feel much better. After the meal had wrapped up the DJ started to play normal music from his little booth. The table behind us had a group of about 8 people and they had clearly all been drinking. They were loud and rowdy. The DJ played an ABBA song and their table went crazy! The women got up and started dancing like crazy. The DJ loved it and played like 4 more ABBA songs. The whole boat had their eyes on them and everyone was in giggles. JD and I wandered out onto the deck to walk around the boat and look at the lights. It was a cool night, but not cold. We were full. We had laughed a lot. It was the perfect way to end an already great day…..

Posted by pixcee 08:57 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

July 21

Brisbane Australia

-17 °C

Today was a pretty relaxing day. We had to be up early the next day to catch the train back to Sydney so we decided to keep it pretty low-key. We started off the morning wandering around again, back down to the waterfront and around the shopping center area. We were going to pick up souvenirs before we had to leave. I know that Jim went back to the hotel to drop off some of the things he had purchased and ran into some of the relatives while there. They came to find us at the shopping center and we spent a little more time with them. I have to be honest, I don’t really remember most of this day. There are a couple pictures of the things I DO remember but the rest I’m not so sure. We met up with some of the relatives by chance that afternoon and visited with them a bit in the shopping center. Apparently after that we headed to the City Hall Museum. This I can’t remember at all. I think that this is the afternoon that JD and I went back to the hotel on our own. I remember it being a beautiful day and not much happening…

Posted by pixcee 12:17 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

July 22

Brisbane / Sydney Austraila

-17 °C

This morning we got up and headed to the train station bright and early to catch the train back to Sydney. It was a long train ride, but I loved it because we got to see the whole countryside between Brissy and Sydney.

We didn’t get in till late that night and there’s really only one thing that sticks out in my head from that day. We arrived at the Sydney Station later in the evening and got off the train, thankful to be able to stretch and walk around. We gathered our bags and started to head out to call a cab to get back to our hotel, the Radisson again. As we were walking out, I noticed that along the side of the platform were some blankets and you could tell that there were people lying under them. Homeless people have always made me sad, but this was worse. It was a chilly night and they only had a big piece of cardboard under them on the concrete and one thin blanket over them. As I walked by I tried not to stare, but I heard a small wail come from under the blanket. The man adjusted the blanket over the woman and when I was raised I could see that she had a newborn baby lying on her chest wearing only a diaper. It broke my heart. I got very emotional right at that moment. I don’t know why they were sleeping in the subway but it was absolutely wrong that they had a tiny baby out there with them. I can’t imagine being a mother and not wanting to do absolutely anything to make sure that my child had clothing, food and a bed to sleep in. There would be no way that I would have a child, especially at that age, out in the streets on a cold winter night to sleep in a train station. It was really sad to see and really upset me…I was happy to get back to the hotel and have a nice hot bath and just let the ick of the day on the train just ooze off me. The next day was the last day that we were going to spend in Australia and we wanted to make sure that we made a day of it.

Posted by pixcee 12:22 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

July 23

Sydney Australia

-17 °C

We got up early again and all met in the lobby. Today we were just going to wander, pick up some last minute souvenirs and try to see some things that we hadn’t yet. We headed down to Darling Harbour and went through one of the malls there. We stopped for lunch at a restaurant there and Jim & Huey ordered a piece of pie and a beer. When the pie came it was the funniest thing. The meringue on the top of the pie was HUGE! Sarah snapped a picture just at the right moment because the look on their faces is sheer delight! JD and I had some spaghetti and then we continued on. We then we wanted to head over to the harbour bridge and walk across it. On the way we walked through some of the older parts of The Rocks that we hadn’t seen on the tour. There was one beautiful spot that looked very old. We spent a few minutes taking some pictures and looking around at a few of the shops that were there. You could almost feel the history coming from the area. It was really beautiful. I wish that I had taken more pictures of that area.

We headed up the street to the bridge and started the walk up. So we’re climbing the bridge and Bonnie is looking more and more uncomfortable as we’re starting to pass over the water. On top of that, I am very afraid of heights and I was feeling more and more uncomfortable as well. By the time we got to the first big pillar, I was very flustered and feeling very ill. JD, Jim Sarah & Huey decided that they wanted to climb up the stairs in the pillar to the first lookout. There was no way that I was doing that so I decided that I wanted to head back down because I didn’t like it up there much. Bonnie quickly decided that she wasn’t going to hang around up there either and wanted to head down with me. We walked down to a set of stairs that left the road that went over the bridge and sat and just chatted for about a half hour while the rest of them climbed the pillar and checked out the lookout. After that, we headed back to Sydney Harbour-front and did some more shopping, stopped at a few pretty tourist stores and just had a relaxing day together. JD and I decided to head back to the hotel a little early because I was feeling pretty tired. Jim, Bonnie, Sarah & Huey stayed to do some more wandering and JD and I headed back to pack up all our stuff and relax a bit before bed.

Posted by pixcee 13:05 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

July 24

Sydney Australia / San Francisco California / Toronto Ontario

-17 °C

We packed up all of our stuff and headed back to the airport. The flight home was a lot quicker than the flight there. Our layover this time was in San Francisco California and was only for a few short hours. Not enough time to do anything or see any of the city unfortunately. San Fran is a place I’ve always wanted to visit and take pics.

I was sad to be leaving but happy to be going home. I missed my family and I missed my kitties. It had definitely been an experience I will remember for the rest of my life. It has also given me a new love for a place that isn’t my home. I loved the country, the people, everything about it. I can’t wait for the day that I get to go back there! There’s so much more that I want to see and experience there. I want to take more pictures. A LOT more pictures. It was my first real trip and it’s made me want to take a million more. I’m definitely interested in spending more time in Australia doing I don’t even care what!

Posted by pixcee 13:58 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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