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Friday, August 27, 2010

More facts and a video from Australia Zoo

beware of swooping birds, wear helmet or have an umbrella…extreme razor scootering at the beachside skate parks. not a skateboarder to be seen.. we've seen backflips on these things people…bundy rum makes you go wild if consumed..late night shots with kam while we raged around the fire…5.3% for 10 years and get 3 month full pay or 6 month half pay "holidays"; 20 years and it doubles so that means half pay "holidays" year round…"holidays" mean vacation…401k's are compulsory or "mandatory" as well as voting…australians do not generally want any immigration especially from the "island people"…no worries all day every day…grilling on electric plate grills everywhere has taken awhile to adjust to, but we finally got it down.. there are birds chirping extremely loud at all hours of the day except 2-3am…some sounds like babies being beaten, some sound like car alarms, some sound like a fire truck..SO LOUD!!! We have yet to sleep past 5 am on our camping adventures…mikey and I had our first confrontation with an aussie couple, well actually the wife…. their kids were screaming next to our tent from 5-7 am….we exchanged words for 10 minutes and the lady actually told us to tell her kids to be quiet….almost got ugly for a sec.. water is so clear so you can see the sharks coming…the sunshine coast is an untapped jewel.. looks like california in the 60's.. huge cliffs with beautiful views on the water.. not many people and almost 0 condos on the beach..Australia Zoo is Awesome!! A koala does feel like its stuffed animal counterpart..sleeping indoors in not overrated…We are sick of paying $15 for a 6er… We experienced the true byron bay experienced during the drum circle last night……STAY TUNED and enjoy the animals!!…Tommy

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Day 5&6 Camping- Rainbow Beach and Inskip Point

Birds on Inskip Point

Day 5 in the tent! Rainbow Beach and Inskip Point were our next destinations following Agnus Waters. I can tell you that being on the road takes its toll on the car and the passengers. We are having a blast but setting up camp and breaking down every day is a workout in itself. The car is packed to the max. We scrape underneath the car every time we go over a speed bump or ditch.

The Falcon Packed to the MAX!

Rainbow Beach is known for its 72 colors of sand and its breath taking views of the sand cliffs. We thought we would be able to stay in a hostel taking a break from our tents. After checking our our choices we decided 2 sets of bunk beds in one room is not exactly "splurging" for 2 married couples. In the end, we resorted to the inexpensive tent camping. It was a weird camp site barricaded in between a wall and a row of palm trees. It provided a nice private night of camp to get some rest and recuperate from or snorkel adventures. We grilled some snapper for dinner from a Butcher, which was excellent. For breakfast we grilled some ham and eggs. Best breakfast yet!!

Our new friends Kate and Kamron suggested we camp in the National Park at Inskip Point for 5$ a person. Inskip point is located in Rainbow Beach in the Cooloola National Park. We checked it out and he was right! 5$ a person and we could have fires. Cheapest night yet! We found a nice spot where we had a great beach view of Fraser Island. You have to have a 4wd to get to Fraser, so though we could not make it over we were on the point enough to see the barges taking cars over and bring them back.

Fraser Island and the Barge

Rainbow Beach Sandcliffs

We took a nice stroll down the beach where we were able to see the Rainbow Beach Sand cliffs. Beautiful sight! When we returned our sight had been raided by the wild brush turkey. As we chased them away one had a plastic bag of our food around its ankle, one a pie bag on its beak, and they had even punctured a beer in the cooler looking for food. Crazy little things! We learned our lesson about no food out of the car.

Wild Brush Turkey- Watch Out!!

We made our fire and went to sleep early after watching the fire slowly burn and the southern cross light up the sky, Tomorrow we move on,



Saturday, August 21, 2010

Great Barrier Reef, Agnus Waters, and the Town of 1770

Hi, I know it has been a while since our last blog, but getting on the road has made it more difficult to access computers. We are in Nature now! After our few camp adventures on the way up we finally made it to our Great Barrier Reef destination, Agnes Waters and the Town of 1770. These twin towns are where Captain Cook first landed his vessel in Australia. Agnes Waters has a population of 1600 and the Town of 1770 a population of 52. We had a nice beachfront campsight for 2 days. We arrived there Monday, Snorkel Tour Tuesday, camp Tuesday night, and on the road again on Wednesday. It was much hotter and more humid up there which was great for our Great Barrier Reef adventure.

Our Lady Musgrave Spirit of 1770 boat trip left the dock promptly at 8:30am. We are proud to say we were the first ones to arrive and the first ones to board the ship! It was a good thing because we were able to sit upstairs, outside with fresh air and a great view for the 90 minute boat ride to Lady Musgrave Island and lagoon. The Humpback whales are in their migration season so the ride our was filled with cheers of "a whale," where we would all turn and watch a giant whale that weighs as much as the ship we were on jump completely out of the water and bridge over the air and back into the blue water. It was a truly amazing sight! They served coffee and tea when we arrived out at the Island and then we were free to get our snorkel gear and experience one of the 7 wonders of the world. The water was a little cooler than we expected, but all was forgotten as we saw the 350 species of fish and multicolored coral everywhere. The colors and the variety of the fish were breathtaking. We snorkeled for about an hour and a half and then lunch was served. It was a hot buffet consisting of 3 different pasta salads, a roast chicken, ham, a bread selection, fruit bowl, and prawns. Being on a rocky boat and snorkeling, I stayed safe with the roast chicken and bread.

Another aspect of the tour was riding a glass bottom pontoon boat over for a guided walking tour along Lady Musgrave Island. It was nice to be on dry stable land and warm up from our next snorkel. This island was discovered by a fisherman who was "whaling" (hunting whales) in the early 1800s. Lady Musgrave has 70 percent of the worlds population of Pisonia trees and the largest Pisonia forest in the world. The tour guide was very into these trees. We learned that they retain water and humidity in their roots and trunks which allows them to be able to grow anywhere from any position. For instance, one tree had fallen over and 10 different branches grew out of the fallen branch. Another root connected three different trees, proposing the question which tree grew first? She said you can put a cut stick or limb on the ground and it will root and become a tree! As we were walking along the shore back to our boat we got to see blacktop reef sharks chasing a school of fish. She assured us they are always in this one spot as the tide comes in and will not go after humans when their feeding supply is plentiful.

We arrived back on the ship and Mikey and I decided to get back in and snorkel while Tommy and Jenny took a semi submerged submarine ride which was included as well. Just when we thought we could not be any more surprised by the beauty of the reef we came upon a huge 10x10 bed of coral that provides a resting and cleaning station for turtles. 3 were in there. The size of the this coral bed and the way the turtles were snuggled up in there was amazing. I was finally exhausted from swimming against the current and trying to keep water out of my snorkel. It was a workout! We got some afternoon tea and cookies that were served. That allowed us time to warm up before our chilly trip back to land. The captain took us to a few whale watching spots and stopped the boat for time to watch the whales. The whale sightings made the trip extra special, topping off a full day of being with australia's amazing marine life. As we arrived back to the dock at 5:15 to another beautiful sunset.

One great thing about the campsite in 1770 was that fires were permitted. I know, how can you call it camping without a fire?, but they have lots of restrictions on building fires and our first 2 camp sites prohibited them. Coming home to our tents knowing we would sit by the fire after the long day out at sea was the perfect ending to our great barrier reef trip. We shared the fire with our neighbors who also became our first friends of the trip. Kate and Kamron were from Brisbane and also did the snorkel tour. They were great to sit around the fire with, and offered much needed advice and insight into getting to know Australia even more. We exchanged emails and will keep in touch. They also gave us all our first taste of Bundaberg rum which is made in the nearby city of Bundagerg. It was a very sweet rum!

We moved on today 4 hours south to Rainbow Beach. Today was our first drive truly without a plan. We are camping and trying to figure out what is next. We miss all of you as always and are trying to keep blogging our adventures as much as possible. We haven't forgotten to write, just on the road! Enjoy some pictures below!!!

Agnus Waters Camp ground: our tents are the yellow and green

The Spirit of 1770 Lady Musgrove Islands

Tommy and Jenny Preparing to Snorkel

Mikey and Kristen Preparing to Snorkel

Jenny and Kristen after Island Tour on Lady Musgrove

Pisonia Trees on Lady Musgrove Island

Lady Musgrove Island

Sunset from Agnus waters with Bird
Will write soon

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Camping in Noosa

We've camped every night since we left Coolangatta. Our tent set up and break down is getting faster each time! We've been enjoying the starry sky each night. We see the Southern Cross and have seen lots of shooting stars.

Noosa was a beautiful area and we didn't get to spend much time there so we're planning to stop back again when we pass for another night. Here are some pictures from the Noosa River Caravan Park.



Saturday, August 14, 2010

Checking in from Noosa!

We drove north from the Gold Coast to the Sunshine Coast. Last night we camped in Peregian and froze all night! The $5 wine kept us a little warm. :)

We've set up our tents in a town called Noosa today. We're at the Noosa River Caravan Park and it is beautiful. Right on the river and lots of activity on the water for us to see. Off to check out Noosa Heads. We will post pictures when we can!

Friday, August 13, 2010

surf report

day 26: surfed snapper tonight with the start of a new south swell. the waves were really good with sets head high and long fast rights going for 200+ yards. i got my best wave of the trip so far as well as the longest wave of my life. i rode a right from snapper to the middle of greenmount beach, only about 100 yards away from the kirra jetty. i took four different breaks on this one wave to let my thighs stop burning.
day 25: dealt with the car all day again today, it has been quite a process. we surfed in surfers paradise while we waited on the car. the waves were waist to chest high and glassy. we both got one good right each. the conditions were eerily reminiscent of boardwalk, not the most exciting session of the trip.
day 24: onshore wind in the morning. waves were large with victory at sea conditions. we had to bring the car to the shop in southport and deal with that again all day. the waves cleaned up in the afternoon but we didnt surf. we had too much drama with the car to chase the dream today. got pulled over for my first RBT(random breath test) today, no worries mate.
day 23: gale force onshore winds and torrential rain all day. Brisbane had more rainfall today than any day in the last 123 years! no surfing today.
day 22: we longboarded greenmount all morning. it was small and perfect with hardly anyone out. we both got tons of waves. Kristen went surfing at greenmount in the afternoon.
day 21: the south swell continued to pick up and coolangatta was really good. snapper to greenmount were running chest to head high and offshore. sunday is so crowded on the points that we decided to rent longboards and join in the circus. we actually paddled them from our beach in north kirra to the top of the point in snapper. it was a lot farther than it looked and that was the first and last time for that. when we finally made it to the point we were catching perfect chest high rights for a 100+ yards. all the weekend warriors were pissed as we sat out farther than everyone and caught every set, it was delightfully selfish.
day twenty: we went and explored a little ways south. we surfed a really fun right point break about a half and hour south of here. the waves were clean and running about head high. we didnt surf too long as we had the girls on the beach in a cold wind, but we both caught some long rippable rights.
day nineteen: i didnt surf today because i strained my back and the waves were not really worth the pain. i filmed Tommy for a while and there were some perfect waist high waves coming in at duranbah. the weather was perfect again.

Kristen's first Australian surf session

Kristen rode some waves at Greenmount on Monday.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Goodbye Cooly

We have been on the Gold Coast in Coolangatta for 1 month now and sadly it is time to move on. I am excited for our upcoming adventures, the next being an 8 hour drive north to Agnes waters where we will snorkel the southern part of the Great Barrier Reef. We have done so many things already including many of the events you have seen previously on the blog. Here are a few other things that I will take away from our time in Kirra Beach. The eagle above is located on Kirra point in our little town. I always felt that it was watching over us like an angel.

The beautiful Flowers

More Beautiful Flowers

Pink Flowers

Our View from our quiet little porch where we would have our morning coffee and skype those we love!

The Arts and Crafts Festival was located on the Coolangatta Beach Walk that Jenny and I strolled through last Sunday. There was art, jewelry, clothes, fresh fruits and vegetables, trinkets, candles of every scent, puppets, bird whistles, fresh lemonade, and many other things. Jenny chose a beaded hummingbird book mark and I a leather beaded woven bracelet. We found this artist that has a piece on the wall in our condo. It was funny because all of us had taken note of it and how we really liked it. He uses pens to make dots that then become a story. I chose the Flight of the Turtle and Jenny chose The Lady in the Cave. They are postcards. The flight of the Turtle he said is an ancient legend that a turtle's shell carries the weight of the world and that they survive for many years to carry their story with them. The Lady in a Cave is about how women are suppressed and how we still need to work on a balance in society. It was fun!

Pancakes in Paradise was a place we had breakfast on one rainy day. We had our eye on this place since arrival. Mikey got "The Works" which was 2 pancakes, bacon(canadian ham not our bacon), 1 fried egg, one fried banana, and 1 grilled pineapple slice with a fried egg inside like a One Eyed Pete. Tommy got the same thing minus the fruit. Jenny got the "small stack" which is 2 pancakes, and I got the belgian waffle. The plates were covered in powered sugar and the portions were HUGE! We skipped lunch that day.

Sunset from the Beach

I will miss Jenny and my 30-40 minute runs along the beach, grocery store missions to Wooly's, $4.50 Toohey's New at the Cooly, skyping the fam from the porch in the morning, our day trips to national parks/beaches in the car, surf checks at D'bah every time we leave the house, Cheap Tuesday at Blockbuster, movie nights, grilling, Kareoke at Hotel Kirra, and most of all having a washer and dryer, dishwasher, coffee pot, and shower. Wish us luck on our road trip! We love having followers and reading your comments, it makes us feel closer to all those we miss.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

eco Australia

We were all surprised with how "green" Australia is. Our apartment for example has:

-half and full flush options on the toilets
-power switches to the outlets. so you plug something in and then turn on the outlet
-an alarm goes off on the fridge if it stays open too long
-the oven starts to chirp if it's on for more than 30 minutes
-our building has 13 recycling bins in the garage, 1 small dumpster out front and a compost in the back
-all the light bulbs are energy efficient ($12 for 2!)

Everyone dries their clothes outside. Kristen and I are just starting to get used to that. The washing machine and dishwasher have "eco" settings. The sink has a water filter so we haven't had to buy any water bottles.

Hybrid cars have priority parking in most places. They really promote mass transportation. It's cheap, easy to figure out and very clean.

They heavily promote "made in Australia" on everything we buy from Woolworth's. All of the chicken and eggs are free range.

Mikey saw in a magazine that many of the houses for sale are sustainable with solar panels, they have private gardens and rain collectors for their water.

There are tons of public grills along the coast that are free to use. They turn off automatically after a certain amount of time. It's free to park at the beach and the beaches and water are so clean.

We have all adjusted to these changes and are definitely more respectful of our surroundings.


flat day at dbah

i filmed Tommy for a little while last friday, it was "flat."

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Rugby Game, a dance class, and chocolate

Gold Coast Titans vs Parramatta Eels
Rugby Match

Skilled Park is located in Robina which was a 20 minute drive north west of here. Tommy and Jenny dropped us off on the way to their Benihana dinner in Surfers. The stadium was really nice. It was much smaller than our NFL stadiums and much cleaner. There was only 1 floor and the concessions consisted of 2 vendors: one that said Bar for drinks and one that said Food for food. Sauces cost 20 cents extra, only salt was free. We figured out the local bus system on the way home which an experience in itself!

The yellow shirts were the Eels from Sydney and the light blue shirts are the Gold Coast Titans which was our Team!!

We had pretty good seats, we were upper section on the side. The end zone had cheaper seats but we wanted to get some perspective since this sport is new to us.
They had the signs in the seats for free. A "try" we soon learned was a score!!! The final score was the Titans 32 and the Eels 12. It was a great game.
We were lucky that the guy who sat next to Mikey claimed to have played Rugby with some of the Eels growing up and had to quit due to injury. He enlightened us on this sport which really made the game exciting to be a part of. The team that is driving gets 6 possessions. They have to pass it backward in their hands and can kick it forward, also they must kick it on their last possession. If the ball is caught in the end zone like in the NFL it is 4 points and then they kick a field goal for 2 extra points. They can kick it through the goal post on their last possession for 1 point which would be like the NFL field goal. The tackling is awesome and hard hitting. Our NFL players could take a few tips on these tackling efforts. The game hardly stops, much like soccer. There are two 40 minute halfs and one 10 minute intermission. By the end of the game we were the Titans biggest fans and will definitely go to more games since we will be missing our Football season:( Also it was our 6 month anniversary and what better than to be at an Australian Rugby match.

Paradise Performers Academy
This studio was where I took my first dance class in Australia. The studio was located in Mermaid Beach near Surfers Paradise, a 25 minute drive. I signed up the for the Adult Jazz Class from 10:30-11:30 Thursday morning. The studio was in a warehouse making the studio nice and spacious with high ceilings. It was a one roomed studio with a nice outdoor waiting area. I was among 6 other adults who were a good bit older than I. We started out with an aerobic standing warm up including plies, isolations, lunges, and flat backs. We then moved to the floor with some sit ups, push ups, and stretching. It was your standard classic jazz warm up. We then went across the floor with a pirouette combination. It was interesting to prepare into the turn with 3 kick ball changes and a pirouette instead of the pas de bourree. We then did leaps and a side pas de bourree short combination in a square. A fun energetic combination brought the class to an end. It felt good to move and experience the dance community in another country. All the other students were really friendly accepting me right into the mix of things. I have to say that though it was not too difficult of a class, it never fails that I am SORE after not dancing for a few weeks. I am looking forward to more dance experiences in Melbourne and Sydney!

Chocolate Treats

Tim Tam's are a chocolate cookie with a soft filling almost like an oreo. We have been experimenting with as many different chocolate selections as we have the chips. The Tim Tam is pretty popular among the household. Others we have tried include the Bueno, which is 2 sticks with 4 pockets of chocolate filled with a hazelnut cream and wafer. The Vault is your standard snickers, though the caramel is not quite as soft as in the snickers. There is also the Devo, which is a direct descendent of the twix. The local bakery knows Mikey and Tommy by name for their purchase of the meat pies and sweet treats!


Thursday, August 5, 2010

In the woods with animals......

Greetings from da' woods of Currumbin. Wonderful wildlife in the wilderness walking with wild wombats and wallabees. Tantalizing and truly terrific times. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

surf report

day fifteen: no surf today. dbah was about knee to waist+ and clean. we went to the rock pools and the wildlife park instead. beautiful weather again today.
day sixteen: surf started very small again today with dbah about waist high and clean. the air was very cool with the strong south wind. we decided not to surf but to go for a run. after we ran back to dbah, of course, the waves had picked up to chest high and offshore. we ran home and drove back. after all that, the waves were ok, waist to chest high and clean. bow-a ran into his mate occy again and they exchanged megaman faces accordingly.
day seventeen: swell picked up out of the south. snapper was chest to head high on the sets and perfect. some of the best surf we have seen so far. we went and surfed duranbah where there were a lot of waves and a lot of dudes. it was waist to head high with some punchy left and right hand barrels. water was again crystal clear and there was not a cloud in the sky. the girls filmed us for a while, thanks ladies!
day eighteen: surfed dbah this morning. swell is still out of the south with light offshore winds. it dropped some overnight but there were still waist to head high perfect right hand tubes. we both got some really fun ones and the crowd was pretty minimal. it is pretty flat for here, but another great session by our standards.

mikey,tommy, and a couple other dudes surfing dbah, jenny and kristen filming, kristen commenting

Monday, August 2, 2010

Currumbin Rock Pools, Wild Life Sanctuary, and Chips

Currumbin Rock Pools

We have been waiting for the perfect day to take our tour through the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. We woke up early Monday morning to 65 degree weather and sunshine and knew that the day held promise. We took a drive into Currumbin Valley to swim in the rock pools and take a hike before our 3pm half price admission with australia's wildlife.

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

Lace Monitor
The Lace monitor was one of the many iguana like creatures we saw in Currumbin. It was in the Venemous snake arena and you could say we spent the least amount of time here.

Sulfer Cockatoo
Gandolf was this cockatoo's name. He arrived at the sanctuary injured and upon healing him they found a tumor on its wing. The wing had to be amputated and he now greets all the guests at the entrance. They live for 100 years!

Short-Beaked Echidna
The Short- Beaked Echidna was the most peculiar animal of the day. It seemed to enjoy roaming around its bed aimlessly only stopping momentarily to climb on a log and then get right back off. Mikey and I spent our last 20 minutes trying to capture a picture that was not blurry of this hyper porcupine look a like.

The wombat was Mikey's favorite animal of the day. When I asked him why he said because it looked looked like a furry pig and was eating and pooping at the same time. The wombat is curious like the american Racoon.

Tasmanian Devil
The Tasmanian Devil is located only on the island of Tasmania.

The australian crocodile peered up at us from its swamp home at Currumbin and while this one is rather small we got to see one that was 3 meters long. The croc made the american alligator seem friendly!


Upon entering the park at 3 we ran with excitement over to the Kangaroo farm for the 3:15pm feeding. There were kangaroos everywhere; male, female, sleeping, eating, carrying babies in the pouch, and hopping. I was overwhelmed!

The kaolas were by far the cutest animals lounging in the trees. They are quite sleepy and lazy but interesting to watch as they nibble on the trees and even jump from one tree to another to acquire more food.

Tree Kangaroos

The tree kangaroos were polar opposite than the other kangaroos. They were smaller, less movement, live up in trees, and had thicker smoother coats of hair. Interesting that they are related!

We saw many other of australia's one of a kind wildlife including wedged tailed eagles, australian dingos, lorikeets, many species of birds, and the rock wallaby.


As fuel to keep up energy for our adventures, chips seem to fill our woolworth's grocery cart. They come in a variety of flavors including salt and vinegar, sour cream and onion, sour cream and chive, thai chilli, barbecue, honey mustard and onion, light and tangy, barbecue ribs, and chicken. We have tried them all! Don't worry we do get other things with some nutrients but when you are on the traveling budget these chips are a great snack!


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Surf from Snappers, Dbah, and a Miami Beachbreak

Decent waves and a Mick Fanning shot.

surf report

day thirteen: got up at 6am and drove north for some offshore winds. the florida curse followed us and of course the waves were 1/3 of the size of yesterday and the wind was sideshore. it was kind of a let down when we pulled up at mermaid beach to waist high, sideshore closeouts. the old saying- "should have been here yesterday," rang loud and clear. however we let the sun come up and the tide come in and the waves actually got really fun. the wind fell off and the tide pushed in giving us waist to chest high beachbreak barrels. we both got some really fun ones, with me floating way down the beach and Tommy holding down the pack of dudes out front. i filmed Tommy's last two waves and are gonna post them soon.
day fourteen: back to normal today with the wind clocking around from the south and the waves at dbah being waist to chest high and offshore. the crystal clear water dropped a few degrees and we caught some uncrowded peaks while the girls laid on the beach. it was not our best session to date, but it was a perfect beach day. we grilled out at kirra beach in the afternoon and enjoyed the warm sun.