Wednesday, November 17, 2010

wrapping up our Aussie adventure!

We've been home for a month now after our 5 weeks in Australia, but I still want to do one last post about our adventures there.

After our week in Western Australia we came back to Sydney and then went up to a beautiful little beach town called Avoca for 5 days. (About an hour north or Sydney) We were there with my cousin Cherry, her husband Brent and kids, staying at my uncle's family's beach house. The house is perched up on top of a rocky bluff looking out over the ocean, the beach and the town. From there we watched dolphins, humpback whales with their babies, surfers....stunning absolutely magical place.

The kids had so much fun playing in the waves, boogy boarding, building sand castles... Zara even got a surf lesson from Brent. She was thrilled to catch a couple of waves on her knees!

From Avoca, we drove a few hours further north and ended up at a beautiful spot called Pacific Palms. We stayed in a lovely beach house across from Boomerang Beach. We had fun exploring that area. We spent a day at Seal Rocks, walked up to the lighthouse, admired the amazing views and had fun beach combing on the incredibly gorgeous beaches.

We found some whale baleen on the interesting to see it up close and get a better idea of how the whales use it to filter out their food.

The Australian coast is so beautiful. We just saw little bits of it, but every corner we went around, there was another lovely beach!

I love Bella's rainbow skirt! So colorful on a grey day! (Oh, but she brings color into our lives in so many ways... not just with her skirt!)

We all fell in love with the Kookabura's in Australia. The first night we were there, Thor was terrified by their call (or laugh). It's VERY loud and very different than anything he'd heard before....he thought it was some crazy goblin hiding in the bushes. The next day we went for a bush walk and saw lots of them and heard them calling. He realized then that they were nothing to be afraid of, and rather quite facinating.

We were always thrilled to see one in our travels and usually stopped to watch and listen. Such beautiful, cheeky little creatures!

The other animal we completely fell in love with was the koala. On our way back down to Sydney we stopped at the Australian Reptile Park and we spent at least an hour watching these amazing animals. There were alligators, crocs, birds, lizards, kangaroos and wallabies, tasmanian devils, wombats, a platypus, spiders and more. But where were we? Glued to the koala habitats! There were 3 mamas with their babies, and they weren't just sleeping. (like all the others we'd seen!) They were climbing around, the babes were nursing and the mamas were eating.

The park staff came with fresh gum leaves for the koalas while we were there. This sweet mama jumped down out of the tree and paced back and forth rather impatiently, waiting for her share.

How could we not be enraptured by her and her babe? Does it get any cuter than these two? Oh my!

While I was mesmerized by these two, Zara listened to a very interesting talk on the koalas. She learned all sorts of neat things about them, but the one thing that sticks in her mind is this little tidbit: when baby koalas start to wean they can't start eating the gum leaves right away - the leaves are too strong for their tummies. So the babies eat their mom's poo instead which gives them the predigested gum leaves and helps prepare their digestive systems for the fresh leaves. Isn't that interesting? And aren't you glad I shared that little fact?!?!

Thor liked the wombats.

This bandana was a gift from Daddy... he thought it was pretty cool!

And then before we knew it our time was almost up! We spent the last few days in Sydney with Pete and Marti, and Cherry and kids. One afternoon we took a ferry from Manly Beach into the city. We watched an aboriginal guy playing his digeridoo to a wicked bass beat. The kids were groovin'! We got pizza and sat and ate near the water, watching boats come and go. Then is started to pour rain so we ran for shelter, bought some incredibly yummy gelato, and enjoyed the ferry ride back. We got to see this beautiful building one last time. I love the Sydney Opera House!

And then, it was time to come home. We had very mixed feelings about that! We had such an amazing time there and were in the travelling rhythm. Part of me felt like we could just keep going. But we came home. Zara and I had tears in our eyes as we taxied down the runway in Sydney. It was a very special trip. It felt so wonderful to share that beautiful country with my kids especially with them being the exact ages I was when I visited there as a child. I felt like we'd come full circle somehow.

14 hours after leaving Sydney, we arrived in Vancouver...tired and jetlagged, but happy to be back safely. The sun was shining on the North Shore mountains and the sky was clear blue - a lovely welcome home!

These 3 little world travellers were a joy to travel with.

We will DEFINITELY be doing that again!