Australia! - Syndey and Melbourne

Wow.  We are on the flight home from Melbourne to Nadi.   There is wifi on the plane, which I find amazing.    How can a plane do that?   I'm afraid I'll type loads and nothing will save.....but maybe I'm just old and don't trust stuff like wifi on planes!   There are two airlines that fly from Melbourne to Nadi and one of them cancelled the flight due to the impending cyclone near Fiji.   Let's just hope that this one lands safe and sound so that this isn't my last entry!   I am trying to block out that possibility.   

Anyway, Australia was awesome!  I LOVE my family of travelers.    The girls are so well versed in travel now and love the adventure!  Every time we go somewhere I feel our family gets closer.   The girls never fight when we travel.  It's amazing.  It's like they take an injection of harmony the second we leave the house.    Zoё  has a running list of every country she's been to now and keeps wanting to add to it.  (7 so far).   

One of the many great things about living in Fiji is the friends we've made from all over the world.  This means when we travel we frequently have people to visit.   Australia was rich with friends!   We visited one of Andie's ultimate favorite teachers ever (and close friend of mine), the marvelous Ms. Helena and her husband, Danny, in Sydney.   I think the best way to travel is to stay/visit people you know.   There's nothing like having a built in host who is also a friend.  

Helena and Danny were the ultimate hosts.   They showed us Sydney in all it's glory.  We were only there for three days so we couldn't see everything, but tried to hit the major highlights.   On the first day (Friday) we went straight into the harbour and saw the bridge, the opera house and the whole circular quay area.   Wow.  Sydney is a really beautiful city!   After we went over to a German pub (funny going to a German pub with a German- Helena) and had some delicious snacks and brews.  We decided to order the kids a special drink (rare) and got them Fantas.  They delivered them in the HUGE GINORMOUS mugs that they serve the beer in.    Needless to say, the kids were wild after probably 200 grams of sugar.    Geesh.   It was still a lot of fun.   After a beautiful full moon night we took the train back their neighborhood and walked back home (their house).  

on our way

typical Fiji taxi

friends in the airport


The first thing we saw in Helena's house!  Peela class!


Walking through the hood!

Sydney tourists

Opera House

HUGE mugs!

insane sugar rush


Full moon over Sydney

On Saturday we went to the Easter egg hunt from hell.  Long story that I don' t know if I can rehash but let's just say there were 15,000 chocolate eggs hidden and at least 1,000 kids searching for those said eggs. That sounds ok in theory, but these eggs were hidden in a small confined area with lots of turns and obstacles and people were packed in like sardines from shoulder to shoulder.  I was panicky from the second the huge Easter bunny blew the start whistle and we all shoved our way inside.    We were inside for less than five minutes when Andie disappeared.  I don't know how the idea came to me but I jumped up on a table in the crowd and searched like mad.   I didn't see Andie, but she saw me since I was standing tall above everyone else.  By the time she made her way to me I was in tears and decided it was time to get the hell out of there.   When we walked out loads of people were still trying to push their way in.  Poor kids- they wouldn't have a chance at any eggs.    It was crazy!    

Thank goodness afterwards we went to a little breakfast haven across the street from Helena and had the best brekkie I've had in ages!   We then took an uber over to the coast and walked from Waverly Cemetery to Bondi.  I think that walk was my favorite part of Sydney.  It was stunning!    If I lived in Sydney, I would be there every weekend to run and swim.   Such a striking coast line!  After a couple of hours of walking we stopped at a great bar/restaurant and had the best dozen oysters I've ever had accompanied with an ice cold prusecco.    OMG- Yum.    It was a great afternoon.   We met Helena and Danny for icecream after our walk and Helena offered to watch the kids at night.    Warren and I got a date night out in Syndey!   We did a gin distillery tour and felt oh so cool amongst all of the hipsters.   We then went to a lovely dinner and watched the sunset.   We came home to sleeping children and hung out with Helena and Danny before sleep.  Minus the Easter egg hunt, it was a perfect day. 
Crowd rushing into egg hunt

It was so crowded

This was from the table I was standing on

Amazing breakfast to fix everything

Uber ride, caught the girls holding hands

Waverly cemetary

in love with this pool,  too bad girls didn't have suits (it was freezing though)

gym workout

Distillery tour

On Sunday, we ate at the same breakfast place and then made the trek across the river to the zoo.  It was a great zoo!!!!  Such good scenery from the zoo.   Afterwards we met Danny in the city for some delicious Vietnamese cuisine.  Another good Sydney day.    It was hard to say goodbye to Helena and Danny but I know in my heart we will see them again.  

Sky tram ride to zoo

Kids did a high ropes course there.  SO BRAVE!

Warren too!

Done with family photos now.....

ferry ride back after zoo


We awoke at the crack of dawn to make our way to Melbourne.  It's a short 40 minute flight and then about an hour bus ride from the airport to St. Kilds, the part of Melbourne we stayed in.  Our home wasn't ready to check in yet so we walked around town with all of our luggage feeling like the big old American toursists that we are.  We were able to shove ourselves and our luggage into a tiny but delicious breakfast place where I had truffled eggs (yummo) and then finally dropped our bags at the cute apartment AirBnb, which was right across the street from the legendary amusement park, Luna Park.   As it turned out, we were SO fortunate to have our Melbourne, Fiji based friends in town the same time as us.  Again- perfect hosts!   We walked all around town enjoying the beautifully cool, sunny weather and just soaked in the sights, the restaurants, the stores, the sunsets, and finally some good Mexican food before bed.  

I always love the McDonalds local lingo "brekie" 

Luna Park

Apparently our Airbnb was in this famous Australian's apt- Tex Perkins

On Tuesday we went to a mall to get Andie some good shoes as it seems her ankles are turning inwards.   We will see a podiatrist in July to deal with it before the move.  (No podiatrists in Fiji).    Afterwards we had some good family fun at Luna Park!  We loved that adults only had to pay $2 to get in and only if we rode the rides would we have to pay full price!  How smart!   The kids LOVED it as you might expect.    That afternoon, Liz and Andy got the kids a babysitter (who they adored) and the adults had an adult only afternoon/evening downtown.  It was such a treat!    We explored the city and did a bit of a pub crawl.  SOOOO fun!  Meanwhile, the kids went to an adventure playground and back to Luna Park- win/win for everyone! 

waiting while they ride

Urban chic!

got sent pics of kids while we explored town

On Wednesday morning, I went for a run and then we checked out of our cute little Airbnb and explored South Melbourne market before making the 1.5 hour drive to our next Airbnb on the Great Ocean Road.    I cannot even believe how much I ate at the market-   oysters, dim sum, bah mi, ice cream, crossiant, pho, and a little more dim sum!  (I didn't eat whole portions of all of that food- but almost!).   It's just so exciting to see all of that good food in one place when we have so little options in Fiji.    

Ok.....more in next post.  

running scenes

figuring out the market


Kate and I sharing dim sum


The girls love pho