Posted by: Anna | August 17, 2011

Australia Wrap Up

If Australia weren’t so expensive that I couldn’t afford to find housing and so far that I would never see my family, I would love to stay for months, or maybe longer. The sun shines almost every day, the people are easygoing and friendly, and activities of all kinds would keep me entertained. As it stands, I loved my two weeks holiday. I’m sure I’ll be back some day.

We also traveled (most of) our time in Australia with my parents, which gave us new, enthusiastic eyes to remember the novelty of driving on the left, or strange makes of cars (thanks to Jack, who pointed them out to us), and many other cool things about traveling in another country that we were not appreciating as much as we did when we started. It’s easy to overlook the diversity in a foreign place when all we see is foreign places, some more foreign than others. It was like a shot of energy to hear them exclaim over all the interesting things in Australia — just what we needed to cure our too many places, many months (almost ten!) on the road travel blues. They wake up every day full of excitement and ideas to completely fill the day exploring and experiencing. It’s been awesome.

This time I decided to let each person share their favorite three experiences in Australia, so we can record the different opinions (and don’t we all have different opinions!).

Sally (Mom):
1. Fish Market
2. Great Barrier Reef
“So iconic – I’ve always wanted to see it, even though it was also a disappointment”
3. First meat pie in Cairns

Jerry (Dad):
1. Shrimp on the Barbie

Yum, shrimp on the barbie our first night together!

2. Sydney Opera House

3. Luxury at the Meriton World Tower

Living in the lap of luxury at the Meriton World Tower - check out the view behind them!

Jack (my brother):
1. J-Ten, the Japanese restaurant from Best Eating Day
2. Opera House, a Sydney icon

Jack playing it cool in front of the Opera House.

3. Relaxing at the beach in Cairns

1. Kuranda, getting up close and personal with kangaroos and a koala

So cute!

2. Discovering the meat pie – mmmmmm.
3. Reef Teach – better than diving the reef

1. Sydney Fish Market

2. Surprising Mom and Dad at the airport
Although we arrived about four days ahead of my family, I felt like the Australia part of our trip really started when they arrived. We originally planned to do a diving trip the day they arrived and meet them in the afternoon at the hotel. After we figured out that my Mom and Brother could go out on the same boat with us to do a snorkel trip on the Great Barrier Reef, we decided to postpone our Great Barrier Reef day trip and surprise them at the airport. As an adult I so rarely get that kid-on-Christmas-morning feeling that wishes really do come true that when I stood at the airport arrivals terminal waiting for them to walk through that doorway, I felt literally bursting with joy. I know it made me the happiest of all.

It was funny to watch them walk through – they didn’t see us (because they weren’t looking for us), and my mom and Jack strode toward the (wrong) baggage claim and waited impatiently until I snuck up and surprised them. Tommy caught my dad and welcomed him to Australia. Jack looked taken aback and my mom was so confused and excited, but not more than me. Then we had a whole day in front of us to spend together, followed by many more. I have missed my family, and I was thrilled to have the chance to spend so much time with them, relaxing and discovering Australia and New Zealand.

3. View from the Sydney apartment
Playing cards and watching the sunset, or looking out over the sparkling water in the Sydney Harbor when I opened my eyes in the morning, or being mesmerized by the twinkling night lights of the city from every direction of floor to ceiling windows in our downtown 68th floor apartment was an experience I will never forget. The apartment was so cool; I loved the views.

This was the sunset view every day. Who wouldn't love this?

4. As the writer, I’m allowed to add a fourth. I got to hold a koala at Kuranda, and it was awesome. Koala are sooooo cute – the perfect teddy bear. They don’t smell so great, so when I have a pet koala, I’m going to give it frequent baths.

And of course, some Haiku.

Sun and city life
Fresh sashimi for breakfast
Fun family times


Wine and meat pies – yum
Opera House is so moving
Like fish market best.

Easy Australia
The only challenge for us
is paying for things.



  1. As I said in my guest blog, this was the trip of a lifetime. Anna and Tommy may have gotten the benefit of our fresh eyes but we got the benefit of their seasoned travelers’ ways and wisdom. They were quick to ask directions or urge us not to do the whole “Monday is Lisbon” type of approach to travel. That helped us avoid just filling our days with activities while risking missing the everyday vibe of the city or town we were visiting.

    Anna and Tommy have such a light heartedness about traveling that is infectious. They have already had hordes of bigger setbacks than we could have ever encountered in our trip. So we didn’t sweat the small stuff thanks to them. Their creative thriftiness was helpful too. Some of our best evenings on the trip were meals eaten in and playing Hearts.

    Mostly though I just enjoyed them. I have missed my Anna a lot. I just loved spending all that time with her. I enjoyed Tommy so much too. He is such a fun loving guy and so easy to be around. He makes even the most mundane activities a contest or something to laugh about. I am so proud of the relationship they have. The complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses and appreciate each other. They are truly a team.

  2. Anna, I’m glad your family has breathed new life into your travel experiences. You guys have made so much of such an amazing opportunity, and I’m glad it’s only gotten better now that maybe you and Tommy are a little wary.

    My life couldn’t be any more different. Keith and I just bought a house. We’re in the corporate every day. We’re yearning to get away.

    So I live vicariously through your blog. It’s my respite during my lunch hour or when I just need a break. You and Tommy have appreciated your experience the whole way through, which has made reading this extra special. Keep up the great work! Love and miss y’all! And Schiltterbahn misses you too. 😉

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