Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Aussie Trip {Part 20} Australia Zoo!!

As much as I love animals, there are some I prefer to keep my distance from. Such as large reptiles. Regardless, I loved watching Steve Irwin on TV when I was little! I remember when his sudden death rocked the world; we never normally knew the faces on the magazines displayed in nearly every store, but even we were shocked and upset by the news. I'm not sure I ever really thought about visiting the focal point of the Irwins' work, but when Uncle Richard mentioned Australia Zoo as being an option for a good touristy type visit, I jumped at the chance! I haven't counted the exact number of photos I took, but they will be coming in several sets. ;)

We were a little unsure of the weather when we got up the day of our trip: overcast with light rain. On the way up we got caught in torrential rain -- we were on the phone to Uncle Richard at one point and couldn't hear him over the sound of the downpour! I think things were clearing by the time we arrived, and we ended up with clear skies and more typical Aussie weather lol.

: : Apparently these are known as water dragons : :
They were just about EVERYWHERE! When I first saw one wandering around I thought it must have escaped its enclosure somewhere :P

: : Looks a little stiff : :

: : Just casually wandering around on the path : :


: : Reckon I'd rather not come across one of these in the wild, even if they are just small ones! : :

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Aussie Trip {Part 19} Brissy

Today I just have a few random shots from Uncle Richard's caravan before I get into the next big set tomorrow ;) When I first mentioned that I wanted to make a trip over, Uncle Richard encouraged me to follow through on it and was really helpful in making the idea a reality. Apart from the night Grace and I spent with Ben and Kirsten, all our time in Brisbane we stayed in the caravan. I cooked one night, and certainly it would be a struggle to cook for my family without more space, but for just a few of us it worked nicely. :) Oh and the surround sound was pretty cool; at first it was a bit strange to walk away from the screen and have the sound get louder, but now I really like it. Maybe I can hook a whole bunch of speakers up to my laptop?! Haha. It's actually an American model (lolz even the print on the curtains and cushions is the same as some of seen on blogs of American families ;P), so larger than your typical caravan over here. Everything is very compact and well-planned, but it has everything you need (and more) and is super flash. Lol I can understand how people can spend extended periods of time or even live in RVs now ;P

: : This is just the outside kitchen . .  the inside one is bigger :P : :

: : So I heard more about gardening on my 3-week trip in Aus than I've heard in NZ in a long time :P : :

: : So pretty : :

: : Oh look, another food shot : :

Monday, August 29, 2016

Aussie Trip {Part 18} Barbeques and Gorgeous Eyes

The next day was a public holiday (don't recall which one?!) so Uncle Richard and Ben had the day off work and we had a BBQ lunch at Ben and Kirsten's place. :)

: : So I don't really think of myself as a food photographer, : :
I just take photos of my plate before I eat .  . . and then when I'm editing images later I realise I didn't think about the presentation. LOL

: : Seriously those eyes . . . ! : :
#loveatfirstsight ;P

: : Seriously not enough photos of this amazing girl! Luv ya Grace <3 : :

: : Oh, hi! : :
I love how he's looking at me like "what are you doing?!" haha : :
Again the camera was pretty neglected this day I'm afraid. We basically relaxed and took it easy for a while, then Grace and I headed back with Uncle Richard to his caravan. (#superflash) Pretty quick visit with Ben and Kirsten but at least we managed to catch up for a bit!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Aussie Trip {Part 17} Back to Brissy

I spent the weekend in Maclean since Uncle Richard and Ben had organised work there. Saturday passed quickly with several movies, trying not to fall asleep, and idk what else ;P

: : Those eyes :O : :

: : LOL : :
Too bad I couldn't bring him back with me,
I really he think would make a good friend for my beautiful Snowbell ;)
Sunday we went to the church in Grafton and caught up with even more of the extended family, then went to Bec and Susie's for the day. Thanks for having us! :) And sorry, I didn't get any photos :/ Sitting at the table to eat lunch and looking out the window to see kangaroos on the other side of the fence was pretty cool and definitely not something I'm used to! 

Monday saw us once again packing up our stuff and saying goodbyes. The drive to Brisbane was fairly uneventful; we could hear thunder and see the lightning in the distance, but when we checked the temperature it was still up at 26 degrees. #yay. Roadworks slowed up the trip in a number of places, although it was interesting to note that NSW kept long stretches of road at a lower speed, even though only sections were being worked on, whereas in Queensland there ended up being a lot more signage, but we were allowed to return to the usual speed limit between work sections.

: : Dream road, you guys, seriously : :

: : Yay, fuzzy car selfies ;P : :

: : On a clear day that view in the distance would be amazing! : :
Okay, it still was pretty awesome . . . ;)
My cousin Ben and his wife Kirsten hosted us that night. It was actually the first time I had met Kirsten, although they've been together for a few years now. They recently got their wedding album, so it was really cool to look through that since I hadn't seen many photos of the day.

Aussie Trip {Part 16} Grace's Birthday

I love how Grace's 20th was one of the main reasons for my trip but I barely took photos! :/ From what I heard, she and Aileen spent most of the day in the kitchen preparing an African-themed meal for a number of us; I love cooking but a whole day is pushing it! :O It was really nice though, so thanks ;)

So anyways when we arrived at the cousins' place I walked straight in and announced I was home ;P and then greeted the cats as I found them ;) Uncle Richard had come down so it was great to finally see him (he was away for work when I was in Brissy and we headed south before he returned), and the one week I'd been away from Maclean seemed like a long time . . . it was nice to be back with the cousins and Aunty Vicki there as well.

Some of the second or third cousins came as well, we saw them back on our '05 trip and some of them have been here since then, but I'm still not sure I can remember who's who . . . :O Oops ;P

: : Okay so most of these photos I just pointed the camera in the general direction and hoped for the best; : :
it was too dark to see much of anything on the screen 

Thanks Grace and Aileen and Bethany and Uncle Richard and Aunty Vicki, and everyone else who helped pull this off!
And happy birthday Grace! Hope you enjoyed being 20 . . . since that year's actually over now ;P

Friday, August 26, 2016

Aussie Trip {Part 15} I Don't Have a Noticeably Kiwi Accent . . . Or Maybe I Do

Apart from the Pet Porpoise Pool, Bethany and I met Susie for lunch one day at the river; it was overcast to start with and a bit chilly, but by the time we left the sun was out and it was getting pretty warm. We watched some people on the river, and I was informed that anything including sharks and crocs could be hiding under the surface, never mind the water itself not having an overly clean appearance. Anyways lunch was good and it was nice to catch up with Susie again -- thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to come see us! :)

I also let Jared win some board/card games (coz I'm such a good guest . . . or I just haven't practiced enough ;P), folded some washing (everyone kept telling me to make myself at home! :P), got completely spoiled (Mrs. McAlpine reckons I'm a good guest . . . idk I think the credit goes to her), and went to some of Bethany's jobs with her. The playcentre brought back memories, although thankfully we never had to worry about arachnids of incredible size when I attended one over here years back! ;P

Oh yeah, and we did some shopping and a receptionist was surprised to hear I was from NZ, saying my accent wasn't noticeable . . . Bethany cleared that up pretty quickly though ;P And I went to Toastmasters for the first time. (What's with air conditioning?!)

: : On my last day with Bethany, getting ready for Grace's birthday that night : :

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Aussie Trip {Part 14} Dolphins or Seals?

The Pet Porpoise Pool is a fairly small place, so I feel like dolphins and seals were the main animals, although they also had turtles and several tanks of fish. But anyways, it was kind of funny that we each had a different favourite animal. Bethany decided she needed a pet seal to keep her great dane company, and I reckon the dolphins were a whole lot cooler close up than I expected. Maybe one day I'll pay the big bucks and swim with them. ;) On a warmer day though . . . but anyways. 

This one was in its enclosure behind glass; the reflection was really strong most of the time, which destroyed some shots that would have been pretty amazing otherwise! :/ 

Oh yeah, the keeper basically put on a small show for us . . . most people had left by this stage and we were the only two who walked over.

And then we were heading toward the exit and saw this one.

We thought those last shots were a pretty good finale, and we were ready to leave anyway, so I grabbed a few souvenirs for some of the little sibs' and then we started on the drive home. :) Thanks for my belated birthday present Bethany ;)