Thursday, February 14, 2019

Down Under and Home Again

It has been quiet here on my front porch for good reason. I have been ‘down under’ for the past while.

When I was still in my teens my parents took their first overseas trip, and that was to Australia.  They came home with tales of their adventure and a sheep skin that I still have. (Oh, and photos in the form of slides.  Many reels!)  I hoped that one day I would have the opportunity to visit the country as well, and some 47 years later it happened!

We flew Vancouver to Sydney direct, a 15 hour flight that wasn’t nearly as bad as I had feared. A little reading, a little movie watching, a little eating, a little snoozing. Repeat.  And again.  All on Air Canada economy class.  We lost a day on the way to Australia and found it in the return home.  Funny how that works.

We spent the first week on an ‘Australian Outback Tour’...which took us to Cairns, the Great  Barrier Reef, Alice Springs and Ayers Rock.  It was summer ‘down under’ and we now know what 43C feels like.  The seven hottest places in the world were all in Australia while we were there!

Once back in Sydney, we boarded a cruise ship for s 12-day cruise around New Zealand. We visited ports-of-call on both the North and South Island...

...Fiordland National Park where we viewed wildlife, waterfalls and glacier-carved fiords from our deck.

The cruise ended back in Sydney where it began.  We decided to stay one more week and spend some time on the Gold Coast. 

It is always the people we connect with along the way that make the journey memorable. We got to know many wonderful folk who were on the outback tour with us...mostly from the USA and UK.  Though we will likely never meet again, we are left with great memories.

And then there were the friends we traveled with. 

We have traveled with Dave and Janet since 1973, when we went on a missions trip together to Guadeloupe and Haiti.  Since that time we have have visited many places together...including Africa, London, Paris, Iceland, China, Israel, Hawaii and California.    Our friendship has survived business ventures, building projects, raising our families, school carpools, and all those many trips we have taken together.  They are forever friends and so easy to travel with.
I have a niece living in Brisbane, and our plan was to meet up with her at the end of our travels.  Unfortunately, she has not been well for some time and our planned rendezvous did not happen.  What a disappointment for us all!  My heart goes out to her as she deals with debilitating back issues and chronic pain.

We were however able to connect with a few other folks along the way.  Karen and Carla grew up in our community, picked raspberries for us in their teens and also played ball on a ladies ball team with me.  How could it be that both sisters married Aussies and have made their home in Sydney?  Karen invited us all for dinner one night; Carla and her family were there as well.  It was so nice to see them again, and meet their families. We won't soon forget our eel-fishing adventure in the creek next to their place that afternoon...or the lovely evening around the table.

In  Auckland, we met up with Sandy who was my next-door neighbour as a kid.  She moved to New Zealand when she got married and we lost touch until last year.  When she heard we would be in her part of the world, she volunteered to be our tour guide in Auckland. 

What a fabulous time we had with her and Ian. 

We arrived home yesterday to the aftermath of a winter storm. The first order of business after leaving the airport, was to dealing with a flat tire a mile or so down the road.  Thankfully we were back on the road before long.  The sun was shining and the storm had just passed through, but things had not been so calm earlier on.  Cars and trucks were strewn along the median of the freeway.

Not everyone got where they were going!  We were thankful to be home safe and sound once more.  We found our way in through the garage, and today we shoveled a path to the front door.  

I'll be sharing a few 'tales from the trail' as I unpack my photos.

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Oh this sounds amazing! I believe that I would enjoy Australia!

  2. The contrasts are sharp! ☺️ I am glad that I can follow along with you to see some of the sights you saw. It’s the only way I enjoy traveling. What a joy to be reunited with friends, to meet new friends, and to travel with dear friends.

    Hope that there is not too much work to catch up with. Plus there are the kids and grands to be reunited with...I know that will be fun!

  3. Welcome home, Judy. Looking forward to more tales of your adventures!

  4. It sounds like you had an amazing time and look forward to hearing more. You make the most of your travels in every way, with what you see and the people you meet and travel with. Glad you made it home safely. I was thinking today of how beautiful it must look there right now, with the mountains so close.

  5. I enjoyed seeing your travels on IG - looks like a really fabulous trip. You left summer and arrived to winter! It's been quite the week. Glad you're settling in once again.

  6. What an amazing adventure... and how fun to share it with great friends. Meeting up with friends from your past is awesome. I'm eager to see more photos in the coming days. In the meantime, stay warm!

  7. Oh, my!!! From one extreme to another!! I have a blog friend in New Zealand.....perhaps one day I will visit. Who knows? And my friend, Jutta, in Finland.
    It's good to have friends to travel with! I would never have taken Louis Dean on a cruise without Brenda and Billy who went with us. No more long trips with Louis Dean. I will have to find other travel partners for any big excursions. IF I take any!! That's why I love seeing all the places you and yours have visited! Loved every photo!!!

  8. Hell Judy
    I’ve followed your blog since I started my blog in April 2010.
    I have just been reading your Australian travelogue - what a wonderful trip!
    As I read it I thought Australia was on your agenda because of the World Heritage sites of the Great Barrier Reef and Ayers Rock!
    Then I read…next up a trip around New Zealand… my ears pricked up as that’s my home.
    All too soon I realised the trip had already happened so there was no chance of arranging a “meet and greet” in Auckland. I was pleased to see you had old friends who were on hand to welcome you!
    Should you ever come this way again do please let me know!
    What a time you’ve had travelling of late, I loved reading your travelogues on Europe, my favourite part of the world.
    We have many blog friends in common so I’m sure our paths will cross sometime soon!
    Take care and enjoy your Spring when it finally arrives to melt away the snow!


'The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.'
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson