Monday, November 14, 2016

... ... a late update

Kristen says...

Oh my goodness it has been a LONG time since I posted on our blog!! It's amazing how busy life can be, and how easily some things slip through the cracks...

I'd love to say I'm turning over a new leaf and will be more diligent about the blog, but I can't make that promise--I'll just say I'll try and leave it at that. :)

Anyway, to catch you up on the past year, we're still in Australia, and still loving every minute of it. We have just a few months left and then will move on to our next post, something I know I'm in some ways trying to pretend isn't happening, even though I'm excited about the future and where we're going next.

School is still awesome, and the end of the year is coming ever-closer, which of course means lots of work and near-constant exhaustion. A four-day camp with 100+ 7th graders didn't help with the exhaustion, but it was, as always, an experience.

We've been able to take advantage of school holidays to travel to many places in Australia, and I made a short trip home in April to see my family, which was really nice. I got to meet my (then) two newest nieces, and one tried to come back home with me :)

We've been to both coasts and the middle of the country, and taken trains, planes and automobiles to get there. Highlights were definitely the Pinnacles and sandboarding in Western Australia (although not the jellyfish stings!):

taking the Ghan to see Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Alice Springs in the center:

and of course might be my new favorite city. I'm going to miss it!

We've hosted a couple of foster greyhounds, which was awesome, but also emotionally draining. They're so beautiful, and it was hard to say goodbye. Pip is still doing well, but his age is starting to catch up to him a bit--we started him on medicine and testing for Cushing's Disease a few months ago. Just afterwards, he broke his tail while at the boarder's, and lost over half of his tail as a result, but that, at least, hasn't slowed him down. He's found a new love of walking and often tries to keep me out much longer than we have time for first thing in the morning.

 Last weekend we got to go to the Marine Ball--it's always fun to dress up.

 So there, now we're all caught up...

 Until the next time...let's hope it's sooner than a year!


Monday, November 9, 2015

Great Ocean Road: Signs

9 November 2015
Kristen says...

"Signs, signs, everywhere the signs..."

I have to say, one of the big trends I noticed as we traveled the Great Ocean Road was all the signs, They were everywhere! And not the type we are used to in the States (no billboards here, thank you very much!!) but small, unobtrusive yet sometimes unintentionally hilarious signs.

Here are a sampling of some of my favorites:
Don't blink or you'll miss it...this is as commercial as the Great Ocean Road got in self promotion. Lovely!
We searched and searched, but never did see a whale...we were just a little too late in the season. Sniff.
We had to pull over for this one--our dog's (nick)name with my birthday?! Awesome.
FYI. Also, thanks for the image.
We actually saw this one a bunch of times along the road. Apparently this is an issue, but this was also a bit confusing, as there were other signs all along the road uring sleepy motorists to "Powernap Now" -- seriously. Google it if you don't believe me! :) 
For all the tourists (and there are many) a helpful reminder. :)
This sign isn't terribly remarkable, but the gelato was--especially the light colored of the two, which was VEGEMITE flavored! They also had black licorice flavored gelato. Both were good, but I'm not 100% sure I'd order either again.
This was a little alarming until we realized the sign was months out of date. Still, thanks for the warning...and sorry poor little poisoned rabbits!
This was a popular sign all along the trail, but this one was a little...different... :) Bwahahahaha!
ALSO: A sign with both koalas and cows (when not disguised as dinosaurs?) Awesome!
Fun Fact: There are lots and lots of cows to be seen along (and on) the Great Ocean Road!
I'm still unsure as to why (Warrnambool) is in (parentheses)
They don't pull too many punches in Australia. You might DIE, so stay on the path!
Aww, sad. The waves were crazy-high when we visited the 12 Apostles.
Do you get it? Do you get it? Also check out the name of the restuarant in the background. Bwahahaha!
Some more information about London Bridge, should you care to read about it.
Why yes, we did drive 4 km out of our way to see the Boggy Creek Pub. It was pretty great (?)
More information on whales. Le sigh. I guess we'll have to go back to try to see them again!
CHEESE WORLD!?!?!?! WHOO HOO! (This was at the end of the trip and I was, I admit, a bit punchy) :)
So there you go, some of the finest signs the Great Ocean Road had to offer, and a bit more of the flavor (flavour) of what we're experiencing Down Under. :)


Saturday, November 7, 2015

A Trip on the Great Ocean Road

7 November 2015
Kristen says...

Hooray for long vacations!! :)

Since I had two weeks off of school in early October, Chris decided he could take a few days off and we would go drive the Great Ocean Road!
Great Ocean Road Victoria. Australia
Image from:
 The Great Ocean Road is loacated in the state of Victoria, in southern Australia. The start of the road is just about a 9 hour drive from Canberra.

Even better, Pip got to come along for the trip!!

We spent our first night and joined the road in the city of Torquay, a beautiful place to start from and very indicative of things to come!
Early morning beach in Torquay
The beach and sky in Torquay
Pip remembering Honduras on the beach (although this one was MUCH colder!)
Surfers in full wet suits--remember the water down south comes straight up from Antarctica!
The purpose of the trip was to drive the road, rather than visit the cities along it, so we very quickly left Torquay and headed on down the road.

And then very quickly stopped to take in the view. The drive is, for the most part, really not commercialized, but does provide many opportunities to pull off to the side of the road and see the view from your car, or walk a bit and see a little more.
Chris walking for the view
He found it!
Family picture!
Chris and another beautiful view
Flies! The flies are really getting bad in Australia this time of year. Ew.
Chris is pointing to Tazmania...or New Zealand. I can't remember.
Most of the road had two types of view, sea or tree.
Trees along the Great Ocean Road
Sometimes you were high above the beautiful beaches, and sometimes you followed a path that lead directly to them.
We spent over a half hour just wandering on this beach--it was beautiful, almost deserted, and probably my favorite place of the trip.
One of many lighthouses seen along the Great Ocean Road

Another amazing beach with the Great Ocean Road beyond. You can see how close we were to the shore!
Chris, Pip and our little red clown car.
We stopped for our second night in Apollo Bay (if we had driven straight without stopping we would have arrived in less than 2 hrous) and had a nice time enjoying the rest of the day and the beautiful weather.

Pip looks thrilled, doesn't he? :)
Water Fountains are called Bubble-Ups here. Funny.
The next day we followed the Great Ocean Road north through Great Otway National Park (the tree part of the GOR), where we saw koalas! In the wild!!!

It was interesting--the closer we got back to the coast, the more scraggly the trees became.
We stopped in the tiny (seriously, like 3 buildings) town of Princetown for lunch and Pip and Chris took a bit of a nap.

Aussie mailboxes.
We stopped for two nights in Port Campell, one of the largest towns on the GOR, where we enjoyed such delicacies as cookies in a bag and coffee in a tube! Mmmm, mmm. :)

Port Campbell is the nearest town to arguably the biggest draw on the Great Ocean Road, the 12 Apostles. There are actually only 8 currently standing, but they are quite beautiful.

We visited early one (chilly) morning and again later that (even more chilly) night. If you time it right, you should be able to see some penguins coming back to roost for the night...unfortunately we saw the spectacular sunset but no penguins!

The next day we took off for our last day on the GOR, stopping to see sights like the London Bridge (it used to be connected to the larger rock but fell in a few years ago)
And took one more family picture (Chris has his driving face on)
And then we drove back to Canberra and started term 4, which is why I'm only just now getting around to blogging about this! :)

All-in-all it was a WONDERFUL trip, and I highly recommend you come to Australia to see the Great Ocean Road!