Six years ago, I tagged along with NZ on a business trip to Australia. Turned out, the mine he was scheduled to visit exploded while we were en route. In turn, he had a few unexpected days to spend in Queensland with me between meetings. We found the small beachside town of Noosa Heads, on the Sunshine Coast and fell in love with it.
We returned to our favorite little town for a holiday this year. It met our criteria of A) a surf worthy location, and B) an English speaking country. The latter requirement pretty much meant we would either be heading home to California or down under. As much as we love our family and friends, we chose Australia. Contrary to popular belief, Shanghai is NOT a whole lot closer to Brisbane than Los Angeles is. In fact, this trip (with two kids, their car seats and NZ's boards in tow, plus a layover in Singapore) took 23 hours from our door in Wuxi to wheels down in Brisbane. Thirteen hours total in the air. In comparison, it was a direct fifteen hour flight from LAX to a Brisbane when we last flew. Anyways, it was worth the long travel day..... even with kids.
I used VRBO to find a house for the week. This way, we had bedrooms for the kids, a washer and dryer, a kitchen, BBQ and a yard to play in, and it was near the Beach. Australian food isn't anything spectacular (or, maybe we have eaten at the wrong places?) so we were more than happy to cook for ourselves.
Most of our time was spent at the beach (surprise, surprise). Carla got her feet wet, and Sal enjoyed digging in the sand and splashing in the waves.
We also wandered aisles of the local supermarkets in awe of the variety. For lunches on the go, we hit up the meat pie shops. NZ is a big fan of pies--I like some, but not all. Sal got his own mini pies, but I think he was more interested in the dip (ketchup) than the pie.
It wouldn't be a trip away without some sort of illness/injury. Last year I left Bali with two swollen fingers as a parting gift. This time, Sal contracted a staph infection on his leg which was easily treated by a nice Doc and some antibiotics on an early Sunday morning. Thank goodness for 7 day clinics. Add to that my dropping his car seat with him in it as we returned our rental car. Luck was not on his side this trip.
My favorite day of our trip had to be the day we spent at the Australia zoo. NZ and I had gone when we visited in 2008, and it had been on my must-do-again list ever since. The Australia zoo is huge. The habitats are enormous and open and just beautiful. The zookeepers are knowledgable and helpful and really seem to love what they do. It's unlike any other zoo I have ever been to. Sal had the chance to pet a baby crocodile, koalas, many kangaroos, a (mean) turkey and a wombat. The kangaroos are in an open field in which visitors can walk up to them and pet or feed them. We bought a couple bags of kangaroo food and fed the Roos with Sal. He saw a turkey (they're everywhere here) and held his hand out with the 'roo food and got a rude awakening when the turkey pecked his hand. Safe to say, turkeys are not his favorite animal, and he is probably scarred for life.
The last few days we had some rain, but it was intermittent so we still fit beach time in when the sun was out, and the swell picked up so NZ was able to enjoy a few good morning seshs before packing his boards up for another six months.
We've just returned home and I'm already looking forward to our next trip. With the successful long haul of two kids and their gear to Oz, I'm thinking NZ's proposal of a trip to Samoa is totally doable next year. What's another five hours tacked on?