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* Our 2009 family trip down under

This page sums up our family trip down under to catch up with friends.

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Go to itinerary
Go to blog entry 1 - preparations
Go to blog entry 2 - Hong Kong
Go to blog entry 3 - Adelaide
Go to blog entry 4 - Tasmania
Go to blog entry 5 - New South Wales & Canberra
Go to blog entry 6 - Queensland
Go to blog entry 6 - Returning home through Hong Kong

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Our current itinerary looks as follows:
* 2009-05-23 we fly to Hongkong
* 2009-05-23 we fly to Hongkong
* 2009-05-27 we arrive in Adelaide
* 2009-06-11 flight from Adelaide to Tassie
* 2009-06-26 leaving Tasmania for Sydney
* 2009-07-01 our northbound road trip starts
* 2009-07-22 we depart Brissie for Hongkong
* 2009-07-25 we wave goodbye to Hongkong and head home

Blog entry 1 - Preparations
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The trip is coming closer, less than three weeks to go. Got the bags and cases. Got the travel documents. Putting together the other bits and pieces.

We mustn't panic!!!! Departure is coming closer every day and nothing is ready yet. Things at work to wrap up, shopping not done, settling finances not done, packing not done. Aaaargh.

We're packed, the house cleaned, instructions for our house mates left behind, our pumpkin andnzuchini plants put out into the garden, let's hope the slugs don't kill them too soon. We're off for the air port in less than an hour, Australia, here we come.

Lukas riding the lugagge cart

Blog entry 2 - Hong Kong
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Stopping over in Hong Kong for two days.

We arrived in Hong Kong after an eventless flight. Lukas slept well and therefore so did we. Hong Kong is a sauna at this time of the year (and likely to be worse on our way back). The city is in the clouds and you barely see across the harbour. The second day is a bit clearer, especially towards the evening, but generally we see more at night when everything is lit up. We meet up with two of Sonja's friends. Marina takes us out to a lovely dinner and Agnes shows us the peak and takes us to have tea and lunch at a traditional tea house.

Barely seeing across the harbour Lit skyline Seeing a bit more on day two

Blog entry 3 - Adelaide
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We arrived in Adelaide after another quiet flight. Andrew and Marie pick us up and take us to their home in the Adelaide hills. It is 15 degrees, a welcome relief after the steamy Hong Kong sauna, though we certainly need to dress warmer. Marie takes us to Warrawong where Lukas sees his first Kangaroos and Wallabies.

Lukas meeting his first Kangaroo

We catch the tram out to Glenelg where Lukas fails to understand why we insist he cannot go swimming. Instead we just stroll along the beach and have some fish and chips. In the evening we meet up with my host sister Bronwyn and her husband Jarrod. Lukas meets his "host-cousins" Madeleine, Darcy and Ava. We have a delicious chinese dinner and the kids get their faces painted.

Lukas walking at Glenelg beach Lukas and Maddie with their butterfly faces

We can borrow Marie's car and take drive up to Mt. Lofty from where we have a great view over Adelaide and get to walk through the bush where we see a ton of local birds. We visit Hahndorf where we have lunch before driving out to my host brohter Duncan's place. He lives on a huge farm with his partner Rachel and their kids William and Asher. Lukas gets to ride on a motor bike with Andrew.

We've been spending a couple of quiet days visiting the Adelaide Museeum and Zoo.

We moved our stuff of at Janet's place where we will stay for the next week. Then had a huge breakfast at the markets before strolling through the city. Took the train out to Salisbury to have lunch with Andrew and his work mate Fran.

Lukas at the fountain in Victoria Square

We got to borrow Bron & Jarrod's car for a few days. We took a drive to Cleland animal park to have our pictures taken with a Koala. In the evening we visited Sharon and Paige and had a lovely evening with them. I am now fairly proficient with driving on the wrong side of the street and only very rarely wipe the windscreen when I want to indicate :-)

Lukas up close with a Koala Feeding the Kangaroos An Emu up close on his own

Today we took a family trip with Bron & Jarrod, their kids and Granet to Victor Harbour and Granite Island. It was windy and a lot of fun. We rode on the horse tram, had a picnic and Lukas got to fly a kite.

The horse tram from Victor Harbour to Granite Island The Causeway On Granite Island Picnic at VIctor Harbour Lukas flying the kite

There certaily is no discrimination of disabled people wishing to fornicate :-)
Disabled fornication sign

We caught up with Jackie Jones today and on the way back took a stroll at at the beach at Semaphore where the atmosphere was just brilliant.

The beach at Semaphore Semaphore Jetty

A little family reunion out at Duncan's place. He put on the Barbie, Rachel took Lukas out for a tractor ride, we just sat around and celebrated the Queen's birthday :-)

Adventure day today. We took the car up to the Barossa Valley. First stop was Gumeracha where we climbed the big rocking horse. Next stop Whispering wall where we conversed across more than 140m thanks to the dam. Then we had our bit of adventure when the battery of our car had gone flat. Luckily somebody else was there and could get somone with a jumper cable to jump start our car again. We then took a look at Tanunda, Nuriootpa and Angaston, drove through Seppeltsfield and back across Mengler's Hill and Eden Valley lookouts.

The Big Rocking Horse at Gumeracha Whispering Wall Seppeltfield at Tanunda View from Mengler's Hill lookout View from Eden Valley lookout

This had to be done at one point or another
Kangaroo road sign

Blog entry 4 - Tasmania
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Flying from Adelaide to Hobart (via Sydney) we had some great views of the NSW coast line, Flinders Island and the eastern half of Tassie. Great flying weather, not so good in Hobart but that was to be expected in winter. We are staying with Sonja's host family, Vicky and Richard who put us up in their "spare apartment" where we are really nicely self contained but only a step away from joining them for delicious dinners.

Sydney coastline

We're really lucky and we get to borrow Vicky and Richard's second car. Today we took a drive to 1270m high Mt. Wellington where there was a fair bit of snow and so much wind that we were very glad for the gloves Richard gave us. The views (when there were some) were spectacular. In the afternoon we strolled around the harbour and Salamanca square.

View toward Derwent Bridge View across Sandy Bay Cloud above MtWellington Snow Plenty of water An arctic ship anchored in Hobart

Today we did what's got to be done on saturdays in Hobart: We went to Salamanca Market. Taking a stroll through the various market stalls, browsing fresh fruit and veggies, toys, handycrafts and good foods was a lot of fun.

Salamanca Markets

Having lunch with Sonja's school friend Jane and her partner Gavin was a lot of fun. Afterwards we took a stroll to Battery Point where historical houses abound.

Jane and Gavin with us An old door An old house Powerlines

Nothing exciting. We walked into town along Elizabeth St and had Fish and Chips at Mures.

Fish and Chips at Mures

We moved across town to stay with Anthony and Esta and their two boys Nico and Eddie. We stayed with them for two days, taking in the local beaches (Kingston and Peppermint Bay) and most important of all: their toys.

Fish and Chips at Kingston beach Kingston beach Lukas and Nico on Kingston beach

After two days with the Stoner's at Leslie Vale, we drove to Coles Bay with them where we got to stay at the von Witt's holiday house. We spent a couple of days there, took a walk to the Wineglass bay lookout, walked around Cape Tourville lighthouse and Sleepy Beach.

Beach on the way north The Hazards Sunset over Coles Bay Wineglass Bay Lukas and Nico BBQ Cape Tourville coastline Cape Tourville lighthouse

Today we took a drive out to Bonorong Wildlife Park where they take in hurt animals, get them well again and then put them back out into the wild. On the way home we stopped for afternoon tea at Richmond.

Feeding kangaroos Emu Tasmanian Devil Koala Wombat Kookaborra Richmond

The visit to the Cadbury chocolate factory was rather underwhelming but the continued trip to Mt Field National Park was certainly worth it. Russel and Horseshoe Falls in winter are definitely more spectacular than in summer. The great trees are still amazing, you don't often see giants that large. Going to Lake Dobson took us above the sea of fog covering Hobart and most of the National Park.

Russel Falls Fern trees Eucalyptus Regnans (Swamp Gum) Eucalyptus Regnans (Swamp Gum) Fog above Tassie Lake Dobson Lake Dobson Lake Dobson

After a couple of lazy days in Hobart we enjoy our final dinner with the von Witts who have just been spoiling us rotten.

Dinner at the von Witts

Blog entry 5 - New South Wales & Canberra
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Todat we flew from Hobart to Sydney, where Julieanne, Sonja's friend from Rockhampton picked us up. We spent the afternoon strolling through the Botanical Gardens and the Domain, having a good look at the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge from Mrs Macquaries Point before catching up with Julieanne's partner Ian and having dinner.

Flying into Sydney Skyline from our hotel Centrepoint Tower Opera House and Harbour Bridge Sonja at the Opera Sydney Skyline Opera House detail

After visiting Gregor and Dinh with their daughter Jasmine in St. Peters, a Sydney suburb, we rode on the monorail and visited the Aquarium in Darling Harbour where we saw tons of amazing fish, among others jellyfish, sharks and manta rays.

With Gregor, Dinh, Jasmine Jellyfish Manta Ray Shark

Today we caugt the tram to Wyong where we were picked up by Lee and Troy, mutual friends of Sonja and Julieanne. Lukas enjoyed playing with their daugters Hunter and Dakota while we had a true blue Aussie BBQ.

With Lee, Hunter and Julieanne

We are spending two days in Killcare, about 80km north of Sydney where we are staying with Emily, Simon and their three boys Alex, Harry and Oscar. It was great catching up with them, walking along the beach and just sitting on our lazy bums.

Killcare waterfront Killcare beach With Emily and Simon with their sons and Simon's parents

After getting back to Sydney we picked up our rental car, trusty companion for the next three weeks. As the car we had reserved was somehow "not available", they gave us a free upgrade to their posh luxury car. We now have satellite navigation, electric seat adjustment, auto-dimming rear mirrors, rain-drop size detection and a camera to help us drive backwards. I could get used to this :-)
We then drove west along the toll road to Penrith where I just had to have a look at the rowing regatta site. From there we drove on to Windsor where we are staying with Sonja's host sister Kath.

Penrith rowing lakes Cloud above Penrith

We've just come back from our drive through the Blue Mountains. We drove up to Wentworth Falls from where we had a first great view over the mountains and the falls. We continued on through Leura and into Katoomba. The stop at Echo Point lookout to see the Three Sisters was brief because it was extremely cold and windy. After a warming lunch we continued on to Evans Lookout where we had a great view of the back valleys without other tourists. Thanks to the intermittent rain we even saw a marvellous rainbow.

Wentworth Falls View from Wentworth Falls Gum trees Three Sisters seen from Echo Point View from Evans lookout Rainbow over Evans lookout

After a brief visit to the Hawkesbury Gallery and Museum - curtesy of Kath - we started off back up Bells line of Road where we had some apple pies at Bilpin then drove on to the Jenolan Caves. These impressive limestone caves can be reached by following a long, windy and narrow road down into the valley and to our big amazment then leads right through a first huge cave (like a natural 400m tunnel(. Coming out on the other side there are buildings from the mid 19th century that house a hotel and other facilities. We did a 90 minute tour through the Lucas Cave and our Lukas managed the over 900 steps extremely well, his only regret being that he was not allow to touch any of the rocks. We then drove on through a snow storm to Canberra, where we stayed with Elizabeth, Sa and their daughters Alissa and Layla.

Kath, Sonja, Lukas Jenolan Caves Jenolan Caves Jenolan Caves

After a lazy saturday in Canberra with a quick trip to the top of Mt. Ainsle and a visit to the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery we took off early on Sunday morning heading back towards Sydney and on to Newcastle. As that place seems to be shut in winter and the only open accomodation would not take anyone under 18 years we drove on to Singleton on our way towards Tamworth.

View from Mt.Ainsle View from Mt. Ainsle With Elizabeth

We reached Tamworth just before lunch, had a stroll through town, looked down from Oxley's Lookout and then drove on through New England to Armidale, a pictoresque little town.

Tamworth New England Highway New Englan Highway Armidale

This morning found us driving along the Waterfall Way towards Coffs Harbour where we took our lunch break and saw some whales passing in the distance. We then continued onwards - in torrential rains - to Byron Bay where we had dinner with Sonja's friend Elenor.

Waterfall Way Coffs Harbour Coffs Harbour Urs and Lukas

Our day started with a trip to the Cape Byron Lighthouse and the eastermost point of mainland Australia. It was windy but spectacular. We followed up with a relaxing lunch at Byron Bay's main beach before taking the Pacific Highway towards Brisbane where we would have gotten horribly lost had we not had the navigation system in our car. We had a lovely dinner with Brenton and Joy where we will spend the next couple of nights.

Cape Byron Lighthouse Cape Byron Main Beach

Blog entry 6 - Queensland
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Brenton and Joy took us up to Mt. Coot-Tha first for an excellent view across Brisbane and then we took the River Cat to go up and down the Brisbane river getting a brilliant view of the city from the water. We stopped off at South Bank for dinner and a ride on the ferris wheel.

View from Mt. Coot-Tha Joy and Brenton Brisbane CBD Bridge Luks in the Ferris Wheel

On our way out of Brisbane we took a little detour to see some of the Glasshouse Mountains before pushing on for Bundaberg.

Glasshouse Mountains Glasshouse Mountains Glasshouse Mountains Banksia Blackboy Sunset in Queensland

After a short stroll in Bundaberg, we visited the Bundaberg Rum Distillery. Once we were done with this we headed north to Rockhampton where we will be staying with Julieanne and Ian for a few days.

Bundaberg GPO Bundaberg Homestaed Sugar mill smoke stack Bundaberg polar bear

We spent sunday having a lazy day, first visiting a market at a historical village where Lukas got to ride on a camel. The afternoon was spent giving him some time at a cool playground.

Camel ride at the heritage village Sheep at the heritage village Old steam engines Historical wood craft Cheeky birds at Ian and Julieanne's place

Our first stop today was the crocodile farm at Koorana Crocodile Farm where we got to see a lot of Salties and even were allowed to hold one. We then headed onwards, having fish and chips at the Causeway and then spending some time at the lovely beach there before then heading back to Rocky via Yeppoon.

Saltwater crocodile Holding a runt saltie At the beach At the beach At the beach At the beach At the beach

Another lazy day spent grocery shopping as we'll be cooking tonight and then taking a sunset drive to the top of Mt. Archer.

View from Mt Archer View from Mt Archer View from Mt Archer View from Mt Archer View from Mt Archer

We re-visited Mt. Archer in daylight to get a good look at the surounding area before heading north to visit the Capricorn Caves which were quite amazing to see.

Capricorn Caves Capricorn Caves

This was our first travel day after a few quiet days in Rockhampton. We drove through Mt. Morgan and then through places with names like Dululu, Banana, taking a brief detour to view the Isla Gorge lookout and finally stopping for the night in a place called Miles which is miles away from eveverywhere.

Julieann and Ian Leichhard Highway Windmill Isla Gorge Lookout Isla Gorge Lookout Isla Gorge Lookout A cheeky bird

After leaving Miles on the Warrego Highway we stopped off at Jondaryan Woolshed, a collection of historic buildings showing the life on a sheep station. From there we went on to Toowoomba where we are staying with Stijn and Nele and their kids for a few days.

Warrego Highway Jondaryan Woolshed Jondaryan Woolshed Jondaryan Woolshed

We spent a couple of days with our friends in Toowoomba. We tagged along for a birthday party at the bicycle park and went along to "Jam in the Dam" where we got to hear some good music. Today we had a look down from Picnic Park from where we could see down the range before having a ride on the steam train. Now we've just arrived in Brisbane, our last stop before flying out to Hong Kong on wednesday.

Japanese gardens Jam in the Dam Table top mountain Steam train Nele & Stijn & family

Our last two days in Brisbane were spent strolling the CBD and shopping and enjoying the company of Brenton and Joy.

Strange building Lukas having lunch Metal fauna Metal fauna Brenton and Joy

Blog entry 7 - Returning home through Hong Kong
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Wednesday will arive too soon. It will mean that we have done all the shopping, returned the car, packed the bags and will fly to Hong Kong where we'll stay for a couple of nights before arriving home next saturday.

We caught a ferry from Hong Kong Central today that took us to Lantau Island from where a bus took us to the Big Buddha. After climbing the stairs we took the cable car back to the MTR which gave us great views of the surrounding countryside and the airport.

A bus trip to Stanly, south on Hong Kong Island, brought us to the Stanley Markets before we had to head back to get ready for our trip to the airport.

Our two flights to London and then onwards to Zürich were uneventful and we've arrived home safely. Curing jet lag will be the only point on the agenda of our holidays.

Departing Hong Kong French coast Paris

Last modified: 2010-07-16