Thursday, October 29, 2009

Adventure Down Under - Part 1

How did me signing up for a 1 day photography workshop in Sydney become a family vacation to Australia?
Here's how
- Signed up and paid USD800 via Paypal past midnight one evening
- Told husband the next morning and got an earful
- Decided to just bring Dylan along since he is still being breastfed
- Jumped for joy when I found out SQ was having a promotion to Sydney for just $600+
- Explained to Kayden that Mummy is going to Oz for work with Didi
- Explain again 100x, he still don't understand why he can't go
- Told husband that I can't leave Kayden behind, it will be too unfair
- Dawned on me that bringing Dylan along for the shootshop will have the other photographers rolling their eyes at me
- Hmmm, need someone to look after Dylan
- Asked husband again if he would go?
- He agreed so I logged on to SQ's website to book our tickets
- NONE of the dates 1 week prior to the workshop date are available at the promotion price
- Got sad, sulked, tried other airlines but none suitable
- Decided to wait a few days for the NATAS fair
- Tickets to Sydney were still hovering around the 1k mark, too much
- FINALLY got a twin city deal from Qantas for $700+! HURRAY!
- Get to fly back on the A380, WIN!
- BOOKED and worked like hell for the next few weeks to pay for the workshop that became a family vacation :p

Day 1:
The red eye flight to Brisbane was terribly tiring for me. Dylan has outgrown the bassinet so he slept on me and ate off me. When we landed in the wee early morning and got into the rental car, I was ready to drop dead into deep slumber but worry for Erwin who's driving kept me awake while the kids look like this...

We were in awe of Jaeden's granny's house when we arrived. It had a pool and overlooked a beautiful lake. The kids had fun feeding the wild ducks and eels (yes, unagi!) with bread. For lunch, we headed out with Ik Hui and Jaeden to Pacific Fair. I came to this shopping centre a few times before when I was a student at QUT. It still looks the same but this time as a mother and with kids along, we had other agenda apart from shopping :p The boys had fun on the kiddy car racing track.

After a short rest at home, we headed for the beach and playground.

Day 2:
It was off to Seaworld! All Kayden was looking forward to were the SHARKS so you can imagine where most of our time was spent.

He also sat the viking boat roller coaster ride with me and ended up crying as the fast drop scare him after the initial slow uphill climb :p Ok he was born in the year of the rooster (chicken), what do you expect? At least he wasn't afraid of the cable car ride ;) and managed to touch the starfish :)

They were so ready to leave by now :p

Day 3:
If you have been to Australia, you would know that the day tours companies are a thriving lot. Reluctant to spend A$200+ for a trip down to the Natural Arch/Bridge, we decided to drive ourselves there with the help of the GPS. After almost 2 hours of driving, we arrived but it didn't look as spectacular as in the brochures :p

So after a short walk around the area, we had our picnic lunch of roast chicken and avocado sandwich then keyed in "Strawberry Farm" on the GPS to see if it will bring us to one.

It did. But this farm only serves fresh strawberry ice cream and other strawberry products, they don't actually grow the strawberries here, ahh! However they do have some goats and small animals on their farm and the boys did entertain themselves there. I was just thankful for the yummy ice-cream and a chance to sit down without the small one attached to me ;)

"Don't go too near them gor gor!"

"Euueew! It licked me!"

Day 4:
Finally on my 3rd attempt at trying to wake up earlier than the Aussie sun, I got my sunrise shot at 445am! This is the view from our room's balcony.

This day we were headed for the Sunshine Coast to the late Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo. I regret not visiting while he was alive. It's a long drive and how could we not stop by our favourite Yatala Pies along the way? Not a beef eater, I had the totally scrumptious curry chicken pie and it was DELISH :D

We bought a few pies as we were visiting Joan & Ken before the zoo. While I was a student in Brissy more than 10 years ago, I bought 3 persian kittens from Joan's cattery. She's like a grandmother to me and such a fiesty old lady - she zooms around in an Astina! Of late her health has not been good as Ken tells me and she's now housebound and not allowed to drive :( For the past 2 times that I've visited Brisbane since I graduated, I always made time to pay her and Ken a visit. This time was no different and I was glad to see she's still as spritely. She has met Erwin before but this was her first time meeting the kids, thankfully they weren't such a terror during our visit :)

Finally we arrived at the zoo! Crikey! Kayden was happy to be out of the car :p

It was a really hot day and even the crocodile didn't performed well during the show. We decided not to walk all the way to the elephants enclosure because of the heat but hey, there was a pretty wall with lots of elephants on it :)

After the zoo, we went to meet my film school mate Michael Noonan for dinner. We would meet with Denis the next evening as he couldn't make it tonight. I really enjoyed catching up with them. Denis is recently married and has a great job, Noonan is still making films and has a feature that was aired on ABC. He gave me the DVD and I will have to organise a screening of it with our QUT gang in Singapore!

Day 5:
Our final day here. We took a drive to Point Danger which was the cross border between Queensland and New South Wales. We had beautiful weather and Kayden and I even had an enjoyable time getting our feet wet at a quiet side of the beach while Erwin rocked Dylan to sleep in the shade under the tree. Kayden was in his Mr Funny undies as we did not bring our swimming gear along :D

We got home before the sun set to feed the ducks (and eels) one last time...

Day 6:
We leave for Sydney this morning. We thanked our lovely host and headed for the airport. Goodbye too to the pretty purple trees that reminded me of my plum trees on Farmville :p

view more images from the trip on my Facebook

Part 2 to come soon...

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