Thursday, May 24, 2018

Days 12, 13 and 14; Melbourne and Goodbye Australia

So, I've realized that looking at my last post, I'm getting tired of posting each day, I really should just do this while I am on vacation then it will be fresh in my mind. Next time; for the rest of this vacation I'm just going to combine it all together!  We did do a lot of stuff, so it will be a bit long but not so bad.

Day 12,
Tash and I took one last morning walk along the beach before we jumped on a plane and flew to Melbourne. We arrived there a little later in the day but we did go over to the Australian Open Tennis place, that was the thing Dad wanted to do in Melbourne.

We walked on the courts and actually found a few official Australian open tennis balls too.

Day 13,

We actually got to see Melbourne in the light and it was cool. It had a lot of old timey building mixed in with very new hip ones. Examples:

Also, fun fact, in some areas of Melbourne, it is legal to graffiti the walls, hence the first picture in this blog.

We went on a walking tour of Melbourne which took us down cool renovated alleys that were filled with food vendors. Arcades which is like indoor strip malls, one of which had this massive mosaic floor which was crazy impressive!
We also explored the Goal (pronounced Jail and means Jail) which help Ned Kelly, Australia's most infamous outlaw, kinda a robin hood character, cause he would always burn the mortgages when he stole from the banks. It was interesting walking through there and just seeing the jail cells. We even went through a Jail experience where they booked us and put us in Jail for like 15 minutes.

The Jail experience kinda put us in an awkward situation timing wise.  We needed to get to a beach where fairy penguins would be going on parade for us and with it being two hours away we were afraid we might miss it. So we might have sped a bit, but not to worry, we made it and jusst in time too. We got to watch a bunch of miniature penguins come out of the ocean and go to their homes on the beach. They were so cute, no need to worry!

Day 14
Our first activity of our last day in Australia was to explore the Rippon Lea Mansion. It's one of the older homes built during the gold rush like in the 1820's. It was a cool home to walk around in and the grounds were beautiful too.
Near the front door their were stain glass of influential characters in history, I didn't know any of them except Sir Francis Drake...and I only knew him because I played Uncharted. Yeah, video games can teach you stuff!
We then jumped in the car and drove the Great Ocean Road. At least part of it, we hit a chocolate factory along the way and made a detour.

We got to do chocolate tasting and yes, we bought a lot of chocolate. We continued down the road for a bit but couldn't do the whole run cause we had to get to the airport so we could get back home.

All in all, this was a jam packed trip full of life goals accomplishments and exciting stories. I loved being with my parents, even though they were slowing down, and I loved being with my sister who I'm sure was losing patiences with our ineptitudes. I feel like it was a great vacation, it had it's ups and downs but worth every second. Tasha put a lot of work into organizing and keeping us on schedule and my dad was a trooper dealing with the crazy opposite roads and even crazier GPSs, and mom had patience with our impatience and mood swings.

I loved Australia! Adventure is Out there!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Day 11; beach and nothing much else happening.... there is a picture of a koala

 This day was sunday,we decided to go to the first hour of church then call it a day. Well we thought it started at 10am, nope it started at 9am. So we just went to the last two hours of church and called it good.

The rest of the day was spent on the beach and the markets. We did catch a street dancing competition which was cool but we didn't take any pictures of it.
I realize that there really wasn't much to write about today, so here is a picture of our awesome view from our hotel and a koala. 

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Day 10; Gold Coast and beach time

So we got to the Gold Coast the night before and really couldn't see the extent of the beach at night but the morning allowed us to see the full glory of the coast line!
So Tash and I went on a four mile walk along the coast and it just stretched on and on. We decided that we should bag some of the plans to drive out to see some waterfalls and just have a day at the beach, which partly was because we wanted a break from travel; and mainly because the GPS was a piece of crap. :)

That's my mom and dad and Tasha relaxing on the beach.

Then the clouds rolled in and we had to call our beach day cause we could read what was about to happen. Downpour! Thankfully our hotel had a luke-warm tub (instead of a hot). We relaxed in there till the rain let up then we got dressed and walked down to the local mini Golf place.

Yep we played mini-golf!
It was me and Tash against Dad and Mom.... we lost. Tash did really good, I didn't do too bad but still worse than I should have and of Course Dad did great.
We played two games, an inside course and an outside course. Inside was a dino one and outside was outside. Can't remember the theme. But it had a croc that jumps out at you :)

We finished our games and headed to our next activity. The Outback Spectacular!

This was a horse show that also fed you dinner. They gave you hats at the start and had a bit of a music concert to watch while they were getting the tables ready.
They started you off with a cream pumpkin soup then we had steak and chicken, and beans and ended with an apple pie. Very tasty.
The show had mainly horses, but then they also had relay races and campfires with ghost stories and a circus act.
A little of everything, we weren't allowed to take pictures during the show but it was a ton of fun.

On the way back we stopped at costco, with the help of a combination of useless GPS and then me looking it up on my phone, cause I downloaded the map of the area. It was a fun adventure.
Adventure is out there :)

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Day 9; Australia Zoo

So I don't know about you but I grew up watching the Animal Planet channel and one of the main stars was Steve Irwin. I loved watching that guy jump on crocs and talk about wildlife. He had such an energy and passion for it, truly one of my childhood icons, and I got to fulfill a childhood dream by going to his park. The park his family owns and runs to this day.
We actually went during the time that the family was in LA accepting a star on the hollywood walk on behalf of Steve. Funny we flew out of LA while they were flying to LA.
 In anycase, this park was amazing. I would suggest to everyone who is going to Australia to put it on their itinerary. The park was well cared for and the animals seemed super content and active.
 Most zoos I've been to the animals seem a little lethargic, not here. They activily try to engage the animals and allow them activities to keep them occupied. My goodness they had wambats on leashes walking about and yeah, they were very hands on about their care for the animals.
 There were all the classics, wambats, crocs, gators, devils, koalas, ackidnas, Giant tortoises, and snakes, and cassawary, dingos; all natives to Australia.
 They also had a few not so locals, including tigers, lemurs, giraffes, rhinos, a bunch of awesome creatures. All a part of their outreach program and rehabilitation programs.
And we got to interact with them too. There was a Koala walk where they had an area where you could pet a Koala on his bum. It was so soft!
 They also had the paddock area where all the Kangaroos hung out and you could buy some Roo food to feed them. They were free roaming in the area and you just could walk up to them and feed and pet them.

 Most of them were pretty lazy, you kinda had to walk up to them and hold out your hand with food. They were super accustomed to people. So they were very relaxed almost complacent.
 To the point that some didn't even care if I had food, and would just hop away from me.

Then they had shows, where they few the crocs and it was awesome, they were getting in the water to get the croc to come near and try to attack them. It was a bit intense.

We also had a chance to pet and touch a tortoise, I don't have that picture but we got to, it was adorable.
This was one of my favorite days of the trip; and when we finally got home from the crazy drive (our GPS was a piece of crap) we found that our hotel was right next to the ocean. So I got to be lulled to sleep by ocean waves.

Adventure is out there.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Day 8; Brisbane and the best story of the trip

So this day made the trip that much more interesting. The day started off right, we were flying to Brisbane today but we had some time in the morning so we went to the Aboriginal Cultural center. Before we headed out we visited the beach right next to our hotel and I found a little toy dinosaur in the sand. A rare'll come back.

So we headed to the Aboriginal center, after stuffing our luggage in the too small rental. Two big luggage in the back and two carry-on and massive backpack in the center seat. It was tight but we fit in.
It was a cool place, the tour included a performance about their heritage, then they did traditional dances and played the didgeridoo.
The then brought us to a field where we got to throw a spear and a boomerang. I did pretty good, nearly killed the group standing behind me :)
Now let's start the fun story. At the beginning of the tour, they were doing native face painting, my sister and I jumped in line. She got some cute marks on her cheeks and the guy just put his fingers on my chin..... I looked like I had a beard.
It was fine while I was at the center, people would know I got it there but as soon as the tour was over I wanted it off asap. We had to get to the airport, so we didn't have much time. Tash said that I could wash it off at the rental place, but I wasn't sure if the rental car place would have a bathroom. We did stop at a gas station and I know that all gas stations have bathrooms; so I jump out of the car, wave at my Dad to let him know where the gas cap is and so he knows I was going in. I get the bathroom and I know that I had to be fast so I quickly wash my face, couldn't have been in there more than 5 minutes. I come out of the gas station and the car isn't in the spot where I left it... maybe they parked....nope. They left me, they were gone.

I go out to the street, maybe they'll see that I'm not there and they'll circle round to get me. I wait.... and wait .... nope. I reach into my pocket and realize I don't have my phone or my wallet, or my passport. All that was in my pocket was that stupid dinosaur, not much help.

I'm actually quite proud of myself, for not panicking. I figured the rental place had to be close and I possibly walk to it. I just had to be sure where it's at. There was a similar rental car filling up with gas and thankfully I remembered what the logo looked like and it was on the car. The guy had just finished paying for his gas and so I stopped him before he got in his car. I told him that my family had abandoned me and I just needed to know where the rental place was to catch up to them. He said he was heading there right then, and offered me a ride. I had a quick moment of thinking of the movie Taken and that I am not prepared to deal with a potential abduction..... but whatever. I said yes, and jumped in his car. He was a really cool guy, his name was Oscar and he was from Samoa. We got to the rental place, and I found my Dad standing on the sidewalk looking around perplexed, my sister was talking to the rental guys trying to get another car (they already turned in our car.) Our luggage was in the airport shuttle along with my Mom. And it became a running gag that I anytime I go to the bathroom I tell them not to leave me behind.

We catch our plane and fly to Brisbane. We get there late and we were hungry; so we head down to the boardwalk and get some burgers. Tasha got this soft-shell crab burger, it was weird.
After dinner, we caught a free ferry over to see the Temple, the boat took us along some really cool cliffs that people were climbing with ropes and stuff. It was crazy!
We got up to the temple, it was quite a little bit of a walk, but we got there and enjoyed the view.
We caught another ferry back but it was still a fair bit of walking and we were tired. but on the way back I heard something in the trees and when I looked up I saw a couple of adorable possums!
It was an intense day... Adventure is out there.