Houston–>San Francisco–>Sydney–>Great Barrier Reef–>Melbourne–>Tenterfield–>Auckland, NZ–>L.A.–>Houston.
Yeah. It was like that.
Australia. A country I NEVER thought I’d get a chance to go see. Thanks to one of my talents given to me by God, and of course inherited from my parents (photography), it carried me there to shoot a wedding for an Australian couple I met on my 2010 trip to Europe. I have kept in contact with several friends, including one from my 2005 trip to Europe, and got to see several of them on this journey of mine.
I got to stay with families all the while that I was there. It was incredible. I’ll start with Sydney.
SYDNEY| NEW SOUTH WALES
I stayed with Bel and her family, who came over from Spain. SUCH a nice and hospitable family. I got to meet a lot of family members, they had a big feast with paella (OMG yummmm), and enjoy the weather and company of Bel, her parents, her nephew, brother, sister in law and on and on. When I left, her parents presented me with a silver pendant necklace of a boomerang…it’s a tradition in the family, they all have one, so that they will always return. Isn’t that awesome? Thank you very much, Mr. & Mrs. Inglemo. I hope to come see you again.
Bel took me so many places. Maroubra, Coogee, Bondi & Manly Beach, The Botanical Gardens, the Westpac Tower for a birds eye view, the QVB for shopping, a place for me to get more Havianna flip flops (or thongs as they call them), That said, only one stands out in my mind. It’s what I have decided was my favorite spot in all of Australia–even over the white sands and clear beaches of the Whitsunday Islands. It was a place called Mahon Pool. It’s located just to the left of Maroubra Beach. There’s an actual natural pool where fresh ocean water fills and constantly refreshes this man made area where swimmers can exercise without worrying about current, or worse, SHARKS! Surrounding that area are a bunch of old reef rocks that the waves crash up on. We sat there for a bit and it was so easy to lose yourself in thought. A great thinking spot. Anything spot. Even though on the way back up the rocks, I fell and banged myself up (as you’ll notice in any pictures of me located on my arm). Anyway, below are a few shots of Sydney, starting with the amazing Mahon pool.
I loved these trees below. They were all over the place and at the beaches. Norfolk Pines.
GREAT BARRIER REEF: WHITSUNDAY ISLANDS::HAMILTON ISLAND & WHITEHAVEN BEACH| QUEENSLAND
Seeing this part of Australia was incredible and unforgettable. I’ll never forget how beautiful the water was and how PERFECT the temperature was. Nice and cool, and no sharks, hooray!!! I got all the way up to my chest in the water (which for me is a HUGE deal, since I fear the water and all the monsters within). This is also where I got to shoot my couples engagement photos, which will be documented in another post. Stay tuned for that There were a few other pics taken in this section, but I chose to omit them. They involved an empty bottle of red wine, consumed by your’s truly, and me passed out on the bed being accosted by the lovely Gem & Scott!
As you can see below, I got burned, which is a NO NO. But what was I supposed to do? Their freakin’ SPF only goes up to 30 and I need like….70!
MELBOURNE | VICTORIA
I got to stay with my mate, Amanda in Melbourne and she is so lovely. I also got to see my friend Merran, who came to see me from Canberra. Melbourne is a very artsy city. Different pieced everywhere and very modern sculptures. I could live there. Amanda and I walked…and drove everywhere! She made sure I saw it all as well. The shopping in Melbourne is freaking awesome. Loved it.
While I was in Melbourne, I had an incredible opportunity. The Melbourne Cup at Flemington is the biggest horse race in the nation. In fact, it’s called “The Race That Stops the Nation”. You see all the women dressed up in their best, adorned with the latest fascinators and the men all wear suits or some sort of crazy get up to get recognized on TV. It’s a holiday for all that live in Victoria, and there isn’t one person that isn’t watching that race. One day, Amanda arranged for us to go to one of the little zoo’s so that I could see the local wildlife. A DINGO ATE MY BABY!! I loved watching the dingos play. We also got to get up close and personal with a koala. He was so adorable and we got to see a baby, too! Afterward, we proceeded to get lost with Amanda’s possessed GPS, but finally found our way to Puffing Billy, the only steam engine train left in Victoria. It takes you up the mountain and the views are amazing. All of the conductors are volunteers and the were SOOO nice and these beautifully colored birds (Rosellas?),hop right on you and eat seeds out of your hands. HEHE! I would say it was my most memorable experience in Melbourne.
We went shopping the first full day, and then met up with Merran in Federation Square, which is seriously cool and full of nightlife. All I have to say is, thanks SO much for scaring the hell out of me by telling me about your freakishly large Huntsman spiders guys!! If you’re curious as to what they look like, click here. I also got to meet two of Amanda’s sisters and their husbands, and their kids. They live right on the beach, and it’s beautiful! We had a BBQ, and no, they don’t put shrimp on it. I did happen to try Kangaroo while I was in Australia, btw. It’s RED! I loved Amanda’s sisters. They had such funny stories to tell. One thing everyone seemed to ask me while I was in Oz was “Do you like Obama?”. *sigh*. Not going there. The beach in Melbourne was different from all the others. There aren’t any waves, just a steady current. It’s very peaceful, and they have these cute colorful huts (garage) on the beach that apparently cost the same as a house!!
Below is a little Koala joey! Isn’t she cute? Her momma is up in the tree above her.
BYRON BAY | GOLD COAST | NEW SOUTH WALES
Didn’t really visit here, but drove through on my way to shoot the wedding in Tenterfield, and got a few beautiful shots of Byron Bay. Crocodile Dundee has some land somewhere in here!!
EVERYWHERE!!! | AUSTRALIA
These pesky suckers were the BANE of my existence while I was here. For the most part they didn’t bother me much, but when you got in a patch of them, you’ll get about 50 just chilling on your purse or your back or your whatever. Little devils. Despite them, would I go back? In a heartbeat. AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE!