We are currently traveling in Australia, with our home base in Broadbeach Waters, half way between Brisbane and Gold Coast. Our 3 year-old son, Alex, is becoming a world traveler and enjoying every minute of it. We'll keep you up-to-date with our adventures here.
In the summer of 2008, we travelled to Europe and took a Mediterranean Cruise on the Celebrity Millennium. Our trip is documented here.
In January 2007, we returned home from a 12 month teaching exchange to the Central Coast Grammar School, NSW, Australia.
As you can see below, we stopped in Hong Kong, Thailand and Fiji on the way. We have visited Adelaide, Kangaroo Island, The Great Ocean Road and Melbourne in the South (Victoria); Alice Springs and Uluru in the central region (Northern Territories); Port Douglas, Cairns, The Great Barrier Reef and Surfer's Paradise in Queensland; a road trip up the coast to Brisbane; the island made famous by the Tasmanian Devil; the beautiful red centre with all its masterful rock formations; and a few weekends exploring the Central Coast Region (Hunter Valley, Blue Mountains, etc.).
Our trip back included a 2 week road trip through New Zealand, beginning in Christchurch, trekking the Routeburn Track and ending with a flight out of Auckland.
During our year "down under" Tom taught senior Maths (yrs.7, 8 & 9) and Sciences (yrs. 9 & 10) at Central Coast Grammar School. Sarah taught Year 5, also at CCGS. From March to September, we co-coached the Year 5/6 hockey team (that's FIELD hockey for you Canadians). Our home was 5 minutes from the beach in Copacabana. "... who could ask for more?" (pay attention to the lyrics the next time you listen to Manilow).
It's been a year full of adventure and we're now trying to settle back into the old routine at home.Visited Countries Map
August 7th 2011
After a couple of low-key days back at home in Broadbeach Waters, we decided to drive north an hour to Brisbane. We enjoyed several days in the city 5 years ago and were really looking forward to getting back to see it again. It was an easy drive north and we found our way to South Bank very quickly. Their regular weekend markets were on, so we took some time to explore the stalls before getting Alex changed into his swimmers to try out the water park area. Since it was Sunday, it was a little busy, and with Alex being as tentative as he always is about new things, it took a VERY long time for him to even get his feet or hands wet. He did eventually get into it, but it was painful ... read more
August 3rd 2011
We always enjoyed our visits to Sydney in 2006, and this trip was no exception. In retrospect, we probably should have booked a couple of extra days! After taking the train from Gosford, we found our hotel, just around the corner from the train station. We were luckily upgraded to a one bedroom apartment with a loft bedroom and a pull-out couch for Alex. It worked beautifully. Our train ticket from Gosford was a Sunday Family Funday special - $5 total. This ticket entitled us to travel the trains all day. So, after dropping our things, we hopped back on the train and took it down to Circular Quay, aiming for the last hour of the Rocks Market on a Sunday afternoon. Instead, we found ourselves right in the middle of a one-day coffee/tea/chocolate festival! Navigating ... read more
July 31st 2011
The main reason we decided to venture down under again this summer was to visit with friends who we haven't seen in nearly 5 years. We got lucky with the winter weather and enjoyed our trip "home" tremendously. Alex continued to be a wonderful world traveller and woke up singing, "it's plane day!" We grabbed a leisurely breakfast, then loaded the car for the airport. Alex enjoyed the quick flight (an hour) and we managed to track down our rental car fairly easily. One of our best purchases of this trip was the GPS. We navigated through Sydney without incident and made our way north to the Central Coast. Alex grabbed a quick nap while we enjoyed the familiar scenery. We knew we had arrived at our friends' house when we were greeted by a Kookaburra ... read more
July 23rd 2011
We've had a couple of relaxing days around the house recently. While it was in the high 30s at home, we decided to enjoy a sunny 21˚C day at the Broadwater Rock Pools water park. Alex built up his confidence as the morning went on and eventually was going all over the place. It helped that there was hardly anyone else there... it is winter, after all. We've enjoyed playing at the beach... Tom building sandcastles and Alex destroying them. Alex has become much more brave with the waves and is enjoying chasing them... and then running away. Yesterday, he got caught in one and as he tried to walk inland, the wave battered him back and knocked him off his feet. Tom righted him quickly and there was a little whimpering (since he was fully ... read more
July 20th 2011
We gave in and purchased 2 season passes to Sea World. Even though we're just here for another 4 weeks (one of those travelling down to the Central Coast), we know we will make good use of the passes. Today's visit was our first - scouting out the area, checking out the rides and shows. The park doesn't open until 10am, just about right for our sleep-ins these days. Alex didn't wake us until nearly 8:00, so by the time we got lunch packed (good idea - the prices were obscene!) and got ourselves in the car, it was nearly 10. Luckily, SeaWorld is less than 20 minutes away... another reason why we indulged in the year-long pass. We had purchased our tickets online ahead of time and that saved a lineup... we quickly made it ... read more
July 13th 2011
The beach has given us many good mornings. Yesterday was bright and sunny and we enjoyed the surf at our own Broadbeach. After sunning ourselves and digging our feet into the sand, Alex played at the nearby park for a little. A great park with all of the fun stuff that would never meet safety standards at home! Today, we had the opportunity to meet up with our friend, Adrienne, who both Tom and I work with. She was visiting with her parents in Suffolk Park, just south of Byron Bay. Adrienne arranged to have her sister and nephews join us at the far end of Broken Head beach. What a great treat! Alex had other people to play with and we had the opportunity for conversation with other adults! We spent the morning digging and ... read more
July 11th 2011
We've spent several days getting to know the area a little bit... scouting out parks and such for Alex. Traveling with a 3 year-old is certainly different... especially when he (read WE) still needs an afternoon nap. We are appreciating Alex's daycare more and more each day! We ventured a little south on the coast today, checking out the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. An expansive facility with all sorts of native animals. Alex enjoyed riding the train and watching the giant eels, pelicans, rainbow lorikeets, kangaroos, crocodiles and cassowaries. We purchased a 6 month pass (the same price as one regular admission) and can now go back as often as we please for free. Considering it is less than 30 minutes away, we probably will. Earlier this week we went to a local market - not a ... read more
July 8th 2011
Alex has wanted to see the ocean since we arrived, so we packed ourselves lots of layers and headed off to the beach. The local beach is less than 5 minutes away (even when driving slowly on the left side of the road). When we got there, we realized we were very overdressed. There was no wind and a cloudless sky. We quickly shed our layers, rolled up Alex's pants, slathered on the sunscreen and headed out onto the soft sandy beach. Alex loved it. We found sand pails and shovels in the garage so were ready to have fun. Alex spent a good deal of time digging in the sand, but really surprised both of us when he decided to venture toward the water. Slowly but surely he and Tom got closer and closer and ... read more
July 7th 2011
We're off on our adventure of 2011 - a house exchange to Broadbeach Waters on the Gold Coast in Queensland. Our trip began on July 4th with us sending Alex off to daycare and madly doing laundry, packing, and tidying up the house. This was a little different from a typical vacation where you can just leave your house and not worry about anything. This time, John and Patsy Gallant will be stayIng at out home while we use theirs. So, our house had to at least be presentable for company! We managed to get everything done, just in time to pick up Alex from daycare (waking him from his nap) and head to the airport. The trip along highway 401 was fairly tedious with accidents and construction... But we made up for the time spent ... read more
August 15th 2007
After touring France and spending some time in the area around Nice and along the Riviera a couple of years ago, we decided to take it easy today while we were anchored off Villefranche. We slept in and finally took a tender off the ship in the early afternoon. We had a nice lunch and walked the streets and beach of this beautiful seaside town. Once again the streets were narrow and curving, carved into the side of the mountains that rise out of the Mediterranean. The day ended with our final formal night for dinner. This included a final recognition of all our servers and waiters… and a flaming baked Alaska for dessert! The show tonight was after dinner, so we enjoyed a marvelous montage of singing and dancing numbers. The quality really was top-notch ... read more