See you in 2019 Australia!

Our last week in Queensland was fun filled with a highlight of our trip a 5-hour whale watch adventure with my Dad and the kids out to the ocean right next to Moreton Island. It was such a beautiful day with the sun shining and the temperature was around 23 degrees – just perfect! I made a video using my new Nikon camera as I couldn’t capture the whale action as it was too slow and I am still a newbie with the settings. The video worked a treat as the lens can zoom in and out effortlessly.

The whale watch high-speed luxury catamaran was a dream on the water and the added bonus is getting a lovely lunch of salad and fresh prawns with fruit for dessert. We paid for coffee at $5 and water for $4 but I had a stash of snacks for the kids which was a good idea as they were hungry within seconds when they got on the boat. The views were just stunning and to see Moreton Island again in all its sandy glory bought back so many memories of camping over there and the big one spending Schoolies over there with my year 12 schoolmates.

I was on a mission to photograph the flying foxes for a friend of mine here in the States, she absolutely loves them on her Instagram feed and shows me the most beautiful pics of the little rescue foxes. This camp of foxes is found at the Redcliffe Botanic Gardens right across the road from my school friends house. I was in awe of how many there were and how active they are during the day – apparently, the males are super frisky all the time and harassing the females when they are trying to rest! I was pretty excited to get some cute pics too of these little fellas who are a keystone protected species in Australia as they are pollinators of the native flora.

Plus the lunar eclipse was happening the morning we were leaving so we did not get up to see it, my camera caught some close-ups of the moon before the cloud came in. The backyard had the grevilleas in bloom and the honeyeaters and lorikeets visited every day. Each week we kept our Taco Tuesday tradition going until we left the country Saturday morning.

And my friend M came to visit, we spent a lot of time together in our 20s and had a blast at all the clubs dancing away. Now we just catch up and drink fancy lattes. I enjoyed a matcha latte and M enjoyed the beet latte. The lunch I had at Soul Harvest Wholefoods was divine with 3 salads and a vegan pumpkin coconut pattie with a mango chutney – such a wholesome feast for lunch.

Soon came time for our last walk along the beach, we cherished our time together taking in the sights and feeling the fresh air and watching the water gently roll onto the sand. I did not realise how lucky I was to grow up with such a beautiful environment close by.

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Then as we flew off on a 27-degree day it was time to go back on the 13-hour journey back to San Francisco. We nearly missed the plane due to logistics with the Sydney airport bus transfer and then security finding some water in my daughter’s backpack so I had to stand there and drink it. Mind you by now I was busting to go to the toilet! Anyway, we finally got through the drama and made it to the flight QF73 and there we were on the plane about to have lunch. The time passed quickly as I caught up on my readings for University and watched a couple of films and my husband’s recommendation Search Party which was fine to pass the time. Secretly I was wanting to miss the plane and stay in Australia, I was not ready to come back to California. Now I am back it is OK as I have a lot of studies to catch up on to keep me busy and out of pining for Melbourne and to be back with my family. Until we move back – know that we love you and miss you. The countdown begins with around 10 months to go!!

From Melbourne to the Sunshine Coast

At the end of the week, we moved into the second leg of our Australia trip 2018! After a week of enjoying the chilly winter weather in Melbourne and catching up with friends, it was time to go our separate ways. We said our farewells as a family at Tullamarine airport my hubby flew back to the Bay and I headed up to Brisbane to spend a week with my sister and nephew at the Sunshine Coast.

For one of our first outings at the coast, the children enjoyed Wildlife HQ interacting with Australian native animals, they especially loved the free range kangas, emus and wallabies. My new point and shoot came in handy and I managed to get some beautiful pics and I found this super cool pic of a mama and baby koala – sweet!

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Wildlife HQ was the perfect size to take little kids with each area marked out neatly to allow an easy trek through the animals. The South-American area was super cool with the tamarin monkeys going nutzo in their enclosures – these cotton top tamarins were chilling in the afternoon sun.

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Like a bunch of old gentlemen, these emperor tamarins were sitting in their enclosure chatting away.

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There were two friendly mini horses and we all loved this guys hairdo!

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The rooster was hilarious with his constant crowing all day and indeed he was certainly a very handsome guy!

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Other friends we were allowed to pet were the Wallabies and pademelons, super soft and cute.

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Ash really enjoyed patting the emus, I had no idea how huge they were and at least these guys were very friendly.

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At Wildlife HQ there are animal encounters and for the kids, we decided to do a group koala pic as our sitter just loved koalas. Missy was the holder of the koala and she said it was the weight of a baby.

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Ash’s fave animal the meerkat in action.

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An animal I had never seen before from South East Asia reminded me of a cat lazing out there in the sunshine.

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Koalas were definitely our highlight even though they only stay awake 2 hours of the day and the rest of the time they are sleeping after they enjoy their feast of eucalyptus leaves.

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On entry you have the option to feed the animals and buy a bag of feed for around $1, the animals know and they know the sound of the bag and will happily come to you for a small fest of hay.

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For our first day in Queensland, we enjoyed a beautiful sunny day with the kids at the ocean and where the kids loved wave jumping between the flags.

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We travelled to Chambers island for lunch and enjoyed low tide on the Maroochydore river, catching a glimpse of some wildlife – the amazing pelican.

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We were sad to say our farewell to Melbourne on Saturday after all the fun we had with friends and food. This beauty was the on the ceiling of our Air BnB.

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Our wanderings around Albert Park in the chilly weather I took my camera out to capture the wildlife around the place and found this rainbow lorikeet with its buddy in a tree hole nest.

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I love the magpies but I think it was a bit of a close call to be near them as they can attack if they are nesting, whew lucky for me check out that pointy beak!

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These lovelies are corellas and were digging about in the grass looking for their lunch.

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I always love to find the Moreton Bay fig trees as they are perfect photography specimens and the best trees to climb.

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On our walk we spied a flock of cockatoos and ended up finding them enjoying a feast by the golf course – this was shot across the road from where these birds were feasting.

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The wind was relentless the day we went for a walk around the lake the swan was battling the waves.

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The kids were all rugged up and thank goodness for my pussy hat to save the day.

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On taco Tuesday my friends came over so we went for a walk down to the beach and stayed until sunset and it was brilliant. Melbourne beaches in winter are stunning and completely empty except for the dog walkers.

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The girls enjoyed their time in the cold making a sandcastle on the deserted beach. All in all our time in Melbourne was so much fun and we now have a projected timeline for our house plan with the next stage of advertising to the neighbours and then the design finishes of the interiors and then to tender out to a builder! Proposed start of the project will be February 2019 with an estimated 8-month build. So I am feeling good and will be getting ready to leave to the USA mid-year 2019 and I am so happy to be getting out of there. Being home in Australia I am so grounded really feel it is time to come back home!

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Going home… back to Reddo!

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Our temporary home – the Air BnB house with a big back yard

Strange how when you grow up somewhere and then you revisit everything seems so different and familiar at the same time. I finally went back to the house I grew up in after about 8 years and the feeling of coming back home with memories from way back when come fleeting into your mind. I spent so much of my time outside enjoying the back yard with my sister and just like my son (in the pic below) riding my bike around the house for hours on end with the cat in my bike basket. Another favorite memory was rollerskating underneath the house on the newly poured concrete listening to my little tape player – in my own mind creating a rollerdrome at home. I love remembering super cute things like that rather then the time when I set the back yard aluminum shed on fire! What a way to learn about experimenting with fire, lucky for me the hose was close by. Afterwards I think we lost out privileges to the space as somewhere to hang out – I was OK about it, as it was full of spiders anyway!

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Riding around the back yard – what I used to do as kid

Visiting my parents cat was interesting too as he has no idea who we are as we have only met him a couple of times in his lifetime. The kids enjoyed patting him as he is super furry and very soft. I used to love when he gets shaved in the summer time to keep cool. He has only his tail, face and boots left and the rest of his body is furless, it is a very funny sight!

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Yeti the Himalayan Persian being friendly?!?

The excitement that has hit this little seaside town of Redcliffe was the opening of the Bee Gees memorial by the beach. It looked very cool with this great history of the Bee Gees and their connection to Redcliffe where they hung out before becoming famous. I love the Saturday Night Fever era on the dance floor!

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Checking out the Bee Gees in action

Super fun pics and fashions from my fave time with the Bee Gees!

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I love the captions for these pics and the golden suits!

We all took a wander down to the beach front shopping center as we used to call it and checked out the many cafes that have sprung up since the last time I checked it out. Everything is looking new and improved with lots of interesting shops to check out including a pop up shop where some department store used to be. There are always lots of $2 shops everywhere you go here with so much stuff that you wonder where does it all go in the end?!? I found a great little juice bar with my sister with a great looking food called the Kashmir Cafe that I will be checking out again.

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I found my chicks name ‘Ruby’

We also went to a place where we hung out & fed the ducks crusts of bread, when we were kids – not good at all & we did not know any better at the time!? Still we know better now… I took the kids and they really enjoyed seeing some new wildlife & I impressed the kids with my bird knowledge 🙂 I loved seeing the refurbished pond, the bridges & the lotus leaves and taking a good walk around to see the changes.

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A cormorant hanging out its wings

The trees were just beautiful I am used to seeing the giant redwoods and a great sign of being home is the flora and fauna. So when I saw these ghost gums, the kids enjoyed checking them out too.

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The kiddos and a ghost gum or two

The highlight was the new, fancy jetty with the whale watching boat ready to go out for the season. Check it out below – back in the day the railings were few and far between on a wooden jetty where you could see the water beneath your feet, now this great set up for fishermen and tourists, go Reddo!

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Taking a walk down the jetty – no jetty jumping today!

Going home – the UCSC Arboretum

A pink flower complete with ants
Bottlebrush seeds – a favourite from my home garden

A protea – the bees just love these!

Poker flowers from Western Australia

We have had a taste of spring of late and we enjoyed a whole weekend of sunshine on the first weekend in March. As we had been busy on the weekends doing house and garden stuff we took a day trip to the UCSC Arboretum for their annual hummingbird day. What a splendid day it was with the sun shining it’s warmth down on us while we wandered the gardens looking for the elusive hummingbird. I can understand the disappearance of the hummingbirds as the day got hotter I enjoyed a bit of shade myself as well.

So the kids ended up making their own hummingbirds and we used them as props in the photos 🙂 The highlight of the day was the collection of plants here – they are from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. It was like walking around at home in Australia except there were many flowers that I had only seen in books and it was just wonderful to see them in a garden in California growing profusely. The bees just love the flowers too and we all want to keep the bees happy pollinating away! So many flowers that I had never seen before as they grow on the West coast of Australia. I am from the East coast and there were so many familiar flowers that I had grown up with, I loved being there and I am looking forward to going back again one day. There are more pictures of the photoshoot here