The Ocean, Surfers, Dolphins and More!

Last weekend Ben and I *hired* a car for the first time since arriving Down Under.  At first, my driver was a little uneasy about taking on the open road from the opposite side but after a few turns, turn-arounds and windshield wipers instead of turn signals he became an international ambidextrous driver.

Our first stop off was within the Brisbane City limits at the Brisbane Dive Academy (more to come on this Ozsome Adventure soon.)

After that pit stop, we continued our way down the M1 – headed south.  That’s right; we were on our way down the Eastern coast of Australia!  Our destination:  Byron Bay

(Ben found this article a couple days later…look at #44!)  http://www.cnngo.com/explorations/life/worlds-50-best-beaches-364981?page=0,0

We ended up going on an adventure within an adventure.  We kept passing signs luring us to Surfer’s Paradise so we had no choice but to make a pit stop in the Miami of Queensland on the Gold Coast.  It was amazing.  The waves were huge, there were quite a few surfers and the beach already had heaps of people taking in the rays in the middle of winter!  The high rises against the ocean was an incredible sight!

We walked down the beach and ended up having barramundi (a local fish) and chips for lunch at a sidewalk café.  It was a little breezy so we were on our way out shortly after lunch but I must say, I CAN’T wait until it’s hot out!  At just 30 minutes from the city, I am confident we’ll spend more than a couple of days at this beach! YAY! 🙂

Back on the M1 we were on our way to Byron Bay.  The drive was quite scenic.

There were signs to report any koala sightings so of course I had my koala glasses on the entire time!  I didn’t spot any but the signs were enough to remind us that we were in Australia.

It was about a 1.5 hours from Surfer’s Paradise to Byron but it was totally worth it.  We got a little anxious and pulled off at the first mention of beach access.  Thank goodness we did!

The beach access was through someone’s private land which was beautiful.

We had our first wild kangaroo sighting!  It was a little far away but once it turned around and hopped, it was clear it was a roo!

The beach was filled with locals surfing and watching the surfers.  So cool!

We got a gorgeous view of our final destination – the lighthouse at Byron Bay.

After a brief walk with the Aussie locals we were on our way.  The town of Byron Bay was AMAZING!  So far, it’s my favorite thing we’ve done!  It was a hippie little town, filled with restaurants, coffee shops and surf shops (that actually sold surf boards!)

The beach and water, again, were filled with locals looking to catch some waves.

The last and most impressive part of our adventure was the lighthouse at Byron Bay.  This is actually the most Eastern point of Australia.  At first, I didn’t really care to take the hike up to the lighthouse but like everything else, it was SO worth it.  This was the view, opposite of the Bay.  Incredible!

We couldn’t hang out for long because it was so windy and cold!  No wonder there were no surfers over there!  The waves were huge but it was icy!  So up to the lighthouse we went…

It wasn’t far up to the lighthouse but once we got up to the top we were again enticed by another path down towards the water…this was quite long but after a few minutes we figured we must do it – I mean look at that view!

The waves were HUGE.  I mean, crash against the rocks and make you a little scared even though your 20 feet above the waves HUGE!  It was so neat and an obvious photo op!

It was so neat.  We probably could have stayed there for hours just watching!  Just as we were about to turn around and make the thousand step climb back up the dolphins came!  We weren’t able to do it justice but here is the one measly dolphin we captured in a picture. (You can just see the little fin out of the water)

We guessed there were actually about 50 dolphins out there.  They even put on a show for onlookers by jumping a couple times – causing a few oooohhs and ahhhs from the other tourists enjoying the view.  I’ve never actually seen a dolphin in its natural habitat so this was awesome!

By this time it was approaching 5pm and time for us to make the trip back to the big city.  We made the hike back up to the lighthouse and down to our car and hopped back on the M1 heading north – eyes still peeled for koalas and more wild kangaroos. 🙂

We took so many more pictures so I’ll try to post more to Facebook.

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A Run With a View!

I know I already posted this to Facebook, but I can’t get enough!  THIS is what I get to see when I run! 

Just a few blocks from our apartment are the Brisbane Botanical Gardens and just on the opposite end of the gardens is the pedestrian bridge – The Goodwill Bridge.  (I didn’t take the rest of these pics but I want you to see what I’m talking about!)

The bridge is very wide so there is plenty of room for the many runners, bikers, roller bladders, etc.  I really like the bridge and the pedestrian friendliness of the city!

I took a left off of the bridge to run along the Kangaroo Point Cliffs (to the right is South Bank – one of our favorite areas and where we found the great waffles and ice cream, Amber!)  The cliffs have a large outdoor adventure group that offer kayak rentals for the river and rock climbing so while running, not only do you get the enjoyment of the city skyline but you also get to watch rock climbers!

This is just a beautiful night view.  And will give you an idea of what we can see across the river from our balcony while drinking a glass of wine…no biggie 🙂

The next “stop” along my running journey is the Storey Bridge.  Just like the Sydney Harbor Bridge, you can climb the Storey Bridge to get a better view of the city!  I chose to stick to the sidewalk.  🙂

Then, the home stretch – Eagle Street Pier.  It’s not exactly a pier, just a boardwalk but it has immediately made it to the top of my list for dinner and drinks on a Friday night!  This picture is one I actually did take on one of our first days in the city!  On Sundays there is a market on the pier…we have accidently made it a habit to go to breakfast and walk the markets on Sunday morning.  It’s a good habit if you ask me.  🙂

Finally, at the end of what felt like much further than 4.5 miles you’re back to the Botanical Gardens and walking a few short blocks back home.

(This is the front of our building!)

Again, more on “home” to come…

It’s the small things…

It took apartment living for me and Ben to realize that we hardly knew how to cook for ourselves without a BBQ grill!

After much research we found the perfect grill – a Mini Weber Q!

It had to be ordered so after arrival, we immediately went out and bought a propane tank…which turned out to be empty.  A few attempts on Google, one email to our relocation agent and a lift to a gas station outside of the city and we had a full propane tank and grilled salmon.

Phew!

The Ocean!

It has been one month since our arrival Down Under and we finally made it to the ocean!  Our new friend, Amanda, rented a car on Saturday and invited us on a road trip to Bribie Island, about an hour and half north of Brisbane.  First, I have to say, an hour and half of sitting in the back seat while driving down the wrong side of the highway was stressful.  I guess we were technically on the correct side of the road but it was stressful, none the less.  I was convinced that our driver (Amanda) kept looking the wrong way, therefore not seeing the millions of cars that were going to hit us.  I was wrong. She was right. And we made it perfectly safe and sound to Bribie Island. 😉

 

Upon arrival it was absolutely gorgeous!  You could see Moreton Island (which I assume to be the home of the tasty Moreton Bay Bug) just across the ocean.  The water was blue as can be and the sand was white and soft!  All characteristics of what I call “The Perfect Beach”.  Well…what is GOING to be perfect, when the weather warms up about 20 degrees and the wind dies down a bit.  It was quite windy but overall a beautiful day.

 

 

 

We walked quite a way down the beach and could see the Brisbane skyline! (I promise, it’s out there)

 

 

And quite a few beached jellyfish!  **Don’t worry Kim – I didn’t touch it!**

 

After an hour or so of walking we decided to head back.

 

Amanda had visited just a few weeks before so she had another adventure to take us on…to see the Glass Top Mountains!  From what she remembers from her original visit, they are volcanoes that have eroded in to just the shafts which is why they are so narrow.  I think these guys are pretty cool!

 

We finished up our road trip with a stop at a local fruit stand.  They had carrots for $0.06 a kilo!  I still don’t know how much a kilo is but I do know that it is CHEAP! So we loaded up on Strawberries, Avocados, Broccoli…none of which were $0.06/kg but still much lower than what we’re used to paying in the city!

 

Our first adventure to the ocean was fantastic and only makes me more excited for winter to end and move into warmer temps.  70 and sunny is beautiful in the city but definitely does not make for lying out at the beach!

 

Home Sweet Home…almost :)

Our air shipment finally arrived!  After a month of living in the same handful of  clothing, we finally have the rest of our belongings!   We received the boxes on Thursday and noticed on Thursday night that all but one of the boxes arrived…the box with my skirts and shirts!  Oh nooooo they didn’t!

 

Don’t worry – it took just one phone call to find the missing box and it was delivered the next day.  Now we have all of our clothing, towels, an extra blanket, my work computer and countless pictures my Tillybear!  Don’t worry – the Hefty’s and Erdel’s are making numerous appearances around our shoebox of a home.  Not to mention the many pictures of Mace and Owen to fill the place up!