Well, it happened. We hoped it would happen, and it did. We had our first guests from Canada come visit. Despite the concerns discussed in this post, (mostly that Australia is too far for most people), Dan’s parents made the trip and we had eight awesome, adventure-packed days with them! I think we saw and did it all.
For weeks in advance, Dan was planning what he wanted his parents to see – sites, landmarks, beaches, experiences, animals etc. And I think we did it all in eight days.
Here’s what we did (with a few pictures thrown in for good measure).
Day 1: They flew overnight from LA and landed at 5:30AM. They had no difficulty with their visitor visa, or customs or biosecurity. They were REMARKABLY fresh off the plane so tune in next week for their tips for beating jet lag.
First we brought them to our place and gave them the (30 second) grand tour. (We have a very little place). Then they unloaded all the goodies they brought us!!
An inventory of the goodies they brought us? Ok!
- Three sticks of Tom’s Natural Deodorant – Calendula scented
- Two tubes of Crest Toothpaste (I don’t like the Aussie toothpaste, more on that another time).
- 15 boxes of KD (HALLELUJAH!!!! – sidenote, I made one for breakfast the next day).
- Two soap dispensing dishwasher wands, with 8 refill sponges
- Kernels dill pickle popcorn seasoning
Then we were off to the first of many beaches! The first day we hit two beaches on Bribie Island (Woorim and Bongaree, if you’re curious).
Then we had an early night, because the Campbells were tired. And rightfully so. They had, after all, just travelled over 15000 kms.
We drove up to the Sunshine Coast to begin hunting for Kangaroos. We were told a group of roos resides on the Sunshine Coast University campus, so we went there, but did not see any kangas. They must have been in class. We did however, stop in Mooloolah Park for a little walk and found two large kangaroos in the trees. They were far away, but it was still special, because you never forget your first.
We ate lunch at the first of three pig-themed restaurants (the Hog’s Breath Cafe, followed by the Pig ‘n Whistle, and finally the Three Pigs Tavern).
After lunch we spent the day at the nearby Mooloolaba Beach, where we were gently reminded by a roving unit of lifeguards to only swim in the flagged areas. We were boogie boarding pretty close to shore, but he informed us that we were swimming right by a powerful rip and they’d already done six rescues there that morning. Say no more sir!
That evening, we took Ian out for his birthday to Outback Steakhouse (where we learned with disappointment it isn’t even an Aussie chain – its American). Then on the way home we showed Ian and Evelyn the local bats. Evelyn, who is very scared of bats asked us how big they are. “Think a chihuahua with black wings”. She was still shocked to see the size (and number) of bats flapping around in the night sky.
We were very surprised to learn that they are actually considered flying foxes (or bats), and they do not use echo-location to fly (like their North American micro-bat counterparts), nor do they eat insects. They exclusively eat fruit. So – I’m not sure why they fly around at night. Perhaps for fun. Or to meet other bats. Anyway – we’re still learning about the amazing animals here.
We took our guests to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary here in Brisbane. It is the top rated attraction in the city. They were wowed by all sorts of Aussie animals!
We went to a second animal sanctuary in as many days. The Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary (to which we’d been before) was as amazing as ever.
After Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, we drove down to the New South Wales border. It was the furthest south on the Earth they had ever been. Also it was a gorgeous view of the sea.
We started early and went to Dan’s school. He gave us a tour of the hanger, showed us the planes and choppers they work on, the workshop and we also met his teacher. It was a cool experience!
Our first full day on North Stradbroke Island started out with a nice (short) drive down to Amity Point. (Jaws fans may notice that the town where much of Jaws takes place is called Amity Island, and there were signs on the waters edge that said higher than normal shark activity is common in these waters). Anyway – at Amity Point there is a short pier, with a staircase that goes down to the water (see Day 7 for photo). Rumour has it that if you tap your hand on the water, a dolphin will appear. No word of a lie – that is absolutely true. We saw a dolphin.
We were determined to come back the following day and swim with said dolphin. After Amity, we went back to Cylinder Beach (our favourite spot) and went surfing. Evelyn braved the bounding main and came in up to her armpits!
As the afternoon wore on, the clouds grew darker and in the end it was a race to the car before the downpour started.
We went back to Amity point to go find this dolphin. The bottom of the staircase below is where you can allegedly find dolphins.
After snorkelling, we got a better look at the dolphin(s).
On our last day on the island, we did probably the best boardwalk-walk I’ve ever done. Or could ever do. On this walk we saw kangaroos, a pod of dolphins, sea turtles, manta rays and birds galore!
As we were killing time, waiting for our ferry ride off the island, we stopped by Myora Springs. The springs themselves were closed, but Ian spotted something in the tree. He was sure it was a koala. I thought the odds of there being a koala in the one random tree we stopped beside on the highway would be astronomical. But once we got the photos home, and blown up – I owed Ian a big apology! He HAD spotted a koala!
So. In conclusion. To all our family left back home. Pack your bags. We’ve set the bar pretty high.