Aah! The sun! The sand! The sea!!
It’s just five days since we returned from our long-planned trip to Australia. Fortunately we spent the weekend in Cornwall, collecting the cat from her holiday with our friends Belinda and Jack, so we have had a gentle re-introduction to real life.
We were away for almost a month, and combined a holiday with catching up with friends and family and going to my step-daughter Yolly’s wedding to Casey.
The holiday started with a short stopover in Singapore, which gave us the chance to have a proper rest to minimise jet-lag and see somewhere new. Alec had been to Singapore once before, but this was my first long-haul flight, so everything was new to me. We took in a sightseeing tour bus for an overview: singapore slings at the Long Bar at Raffles and the retail overload that is Orchard Road.
Next day we flew to Brisbane and I was lucky enough to have a window seat so could watch the moonlit clouds passing beneath, and then the dawn spreading out over the east. You can sleep most nights, but you only get views like that a few times in a lifetime (unless you are a very frequent flier). This is Brisbane from the air:
The first week was taken up with catching up with family and seeing something of Brisbane. We stayed with Claudia and Justin in Paddington, a lovely leafy suburb with beautiful Queenslander houses (wood cladding, wide verandahs and tin roofs) and plenty of cafes, restaurants and independent shops.
The wedding was held at Woodlands at Marburgh, inland from Ipswich. I’ll post some photos in due course – they are mostly on a mislaid memory stick at present!! The wedding was lovely. Yolly and the bridesmaids and flower girls were absolutely beautiful, and Casey handsome and happy. A very good time was had by all. Al did an excellent job as father of the bride, and you would never have guessed that he was nervous about his speech. Preparation is everything!
After the wedding we had a few days with the family near Noosa on the Sunshine Coast (where I snapped the feet pictured above). The area delivers on the Australian beach holiday front with beautiful sea, sand and skies, as you can see from the shot of Noosa Heads.
We rented a big, slightly out-dated house at Marcus Beach. The price was great though, so there were no complaints at all. And I saw my first kukkaburra. (Is that how it’s spelled?)
Then we visited Al’s friends Simon and Anne on their farm near Tumbulgum in New South Wales. Fabulous setting with Mount Warning in the distance and wallabies, parrots, cockatoos, avocado trees and much more close at hand. They held a wonderful barbecue to which they invited lots of old and new friends. We also enjoyed a pint (or a schooner, as they don’t do pints in Australia) at the Tumbulgum Tavern.
Next on the itinerary was a stay ay Yolly and Casey’s house at Fernvale near Ipswich. It was much hotter inland, but the houses are well designed to be comfortable in the heat. I really liked the fly screens all the homes have, which mean you can have the windows wide open without any worries that bugs and spiders might get in! We enjoyed some delicious food, including pies from the world famous pie shop in Fernvale (115 varieties). We also went for a drive up Mount Glorious, seeing some authentic rainforest and views that were, frankly, glorious, took a little walk beside lake Wivenhoe, had a picnic at the river and a trip into Ipswich.
That’s our friend Ian on the left hand side with Al, Yolly and the little ones.
It’s always true that time flies when you are having fun, so it was much too soon that it was time to head to the airport for the last phase of the holiday in Melbourne. We were only there for three days, but packed a lot in mainly thanks to Al’s friends Judith, Eileen and Mike. We started by catching up with Jo and Silvio (Al’s niece and her boyfriend) in the suburb of Prahran. Lovely to see Jo and meet Silvio, and what a nice place they live in! Lots of buzz and great eating places. On the Saturday we met Al’s friends (and now mine, I’m happy to say!) under the clock at Flinder’s Street Station.
We took a river boat out to Williamstown, where we had some delicious tapas and sangria.
Mike and Eileen had to catch a train, so after an irish coffee Al, Ian, Judith and I found a nice japanese restaurant on Flinders Lane and spent a very happy evening.
Next day Judith drove us down Mornington Peninsula for a most delicious lunch cooked by the talented Eileen. We had a stroll around the marina and then drove out to Port Phillip estate winery for a tasting, cheese and biscuits and dessert. What lovely people, and what a lovely way to end the holiday, because then it was back to the airport and home via Singapore.
So that’s the holiday in a nutshell. For those of a nervous disposition, I can report a marked lack of spiders, snakes and sharks, although we did get out into the country to see the wildlife. One small and harmless snake close to, and one running away from us as fast as it could from the car window in the bush. One small and very beautiful spider that politely stayed in it’s web in the garden. Don’t believe what you read about death lurking around every corner!