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Our Trip to Australia

Trip was an awesome whirlwind with no more than 3 days straight in any one city!

In venturing to Australia, we thought we spoke the language, but quickly found there was a whole new vocabulary to learn! Most things were answered with "No Worry, Mate." I discovered in Australian, a coach is a bus. An entree is an appetizer, and a main is an entree. To get a coffee with cream, you order a flat white. They favor the diminutive form of many words and just listening to an Aussie talk is delightfully whimsical.

We were introduced to new foods: We couldn't find lobster until we realized we needed to ask for a prawns. My friend Karin, went grocery shopping at 9 PM at night to get the ingredients to make Pavlova for us-a heavenly dessert we ended up eating for breakfast!

Karin also made us try Vegemite-an acquired taste she said...they eat it on toast and the school kids even eat Vegemite sandwiches we were told...an brown sludgy food that is a yeast by-product of beer, apparently, high in vitamins, but DEFINITELY an acquired taste.

Bub was sick from day 4 with a sinus infection and chest cold and I broke
my foot before we left and didn't know it (but it kept swelling and hurting) but that didn't slow us down too much.

The goals (Please God, help Joeann that she must make goals for a vacation!) were to ride the train across the continent, get Bub a crocodile vest and eat well and have fun....... All were accomplished!


We spent the first  a few days in Sydney. Shopped at The Rocks, near Sydney Harbour the first day we arrived. The next day, we  enjoyed a great lobster and steak dinner at The Riverfront before going to the Sydney Opera House for a performance of La Boheme for Bub's birthday on July 1st.

The next day, we  took the train 16 hours north to Brisbane, watching the
kangaroos and emus out the windows. Cattle ranching on the rolling hills seemed to dot the landscape the whole way. Lots of horses with coats on too. We stayed with a fellow coach and real estate agent, Karin, who lives in Mooloolaba on the Gold Coast.

Bub & Joeann At Noosehead Beach

Karin works with RE/MAX, in case you know of anyone moving to the Sunshine Coast. She was a wonderful hostess.

Tour Guide Extraordinaire, Karin with Bub

We visited a local market and bought presents, went to the beach, ate well, and visited the Crocodile guy, Steve Irwin's, Australia Zoo and saw Koalas and Kangaroos and lots of BIG Crocs.

Bub with Steve and a Croc!

Joeann with a Roo!

Then we flew back to Sydney and I spent 3 days at the International Coaches Federation Australasian Conference. This was the first conference for this region and was attended by over 400 coaches. My breakout was full and I had lots of fun and met many interesting coaches and honed my coaching skills by attending some great sessions.

 After the conference, after Bub finally broke down and saw the hotel doctor and got penicillin, we took the Indian Pacific train for 3 1/2 days west to Perth. We had a nice little cabin with it's own bathroom and even a shower. A long seat let us stretch out and move around some during the day and turned into bunk beds at night. They provided a nice amenities bag with all the hotel type goodies, shampoo, soap, even a toothbrush and rehydration spray.

The train stopped a couple of times a day along the way for several hours when we could get out and explore or take one of the pre-arranged tours. Our first stop the next morning, after we had traveled through the Green Mountains the in the cover of night, was at Broken Hill (this is the mining company, BHP,  that bought Magma Mines here in AZ). It was mining town with a rich history. We did a walking tour, taking in the real estate companies with their flyers filling the windows as well as reading all the history posted on the corners on plaques. As we left Broken Hill, the wildlife was abundant and it was my first view of kangaroo in the wild. We saw lots of kangaroo and emus from the train, but by the time I got the camera, they were gone!

As the day progressed, the landscape changed from deserty scrub to lush wheat fields. Ranches with horses and green rolling hills populated the approach to Adelaide. After a few hours in Adelaide, we reboarded and enjoyed another excellent meal. The food was cooked fresh with two or three choices for lunch and dinner. We got our first taste of kangaroo, though were later to learn most Aussies don't eat it (it was referred to as "survival food, akin to us eating rabbit by one of the ladies we met).


Nullarbor Desert

The Nullabor  Desert (here's your Latin lesson: null=no and arbor=trees) was amazingly and awesomely large. All day the scene looked much the same. Hours and hours including the longest stretch of straight track in the world:300+ miles. We stopped and changed crew at Cook, population 4.  About as desolate a place as I can imagine. We did another walking tour of the two streets and gift shop.

 That evening, we got into Kalgoorie about 8 PM and did the city tour.  We heard a lot of history and viewed of the world's largest open pit gold mine. They also had a whole
street of whores sitting in windows of houses......!

Back on the train for one more night and then into Perth the next morning. We opted for the 2 hour city tour and got to see much of the town, hear the history and spend a little time in King's Park. Every city we visited had huge areas for parks and gardens. It was lovely!

Then we went to our hotel, a bit north of Perth on Scarborough Beach-my first view of the Indian Ocean! A big storm blew in the first night we were in Perth and knocked out 1/3 of the
city's electricity. We were on the 17th floor of a great hotel overlooking the Indian Ocean and watched the storm and big waves an intermittent rainbows all day.....In Perth they told us their reservoir for city water was just at 17% capacity and there is a big draught all over the country, so the rain was welcome!

Next we flew to Alice Springs in the middle of the country. As we flew in you could see smoke from fires all over. They don't try to control them in the Outback. They are experiencing a severe draught there too.

We rented a car in Alice Springs and it is REALLY HARD to drive on the
other side of the street.
I beat Bub at tennis, even with my broken foot...that really annoyed him! He made me play the several mornings later when it must have been 25 degrees (I never could get the centigrade thing quite right in my mind), but I could see my breath...He won that day. I sniveled.

We drove to Ayres Rock, or Uluru, as the aborigines call it. It was 250 miles from Alice Springs so it took almost all day to get there, but we made it in time for the sunset. A very eerie, spiritual kind of place....You can understand why the aborigines revere it. I had wanted to climb it, but Bub discouraged it and the aborigines request that you don't....so, I came home with a bumper sticker that says "I didn't climb Uluru."

ULURU at sunrise

Next day we visited another formation about 30 miles away and then headed
back to Alice Springs.....At least the road was straight and no towns so I
didn't have to think about staying on the left... We saw a wild camel as we
left that area, just wandering around in the brush. Again, the camera was too slow to capture it-I think I scared it when I threw on the brakes, backed up the highway and jumped out!!!

There were lots of dead kangaroos on the side of the road (sort of like when we travel through deer country) but we didn't spy any live ones. Lots and lots of Eagles....

The next day, we shopped in Alice Springs a bit for Opals and Didgeridoos and then flew to
Brisbane via Melbourne. We ate a great seafood dinner and relaxed. The next day, we  met Jo Thomas, another coach, who had invited us to her farm 1 1/2 hours west in Beaudesert.
We had an amazing seafood buffet at the Sheraton with them and a neighbor, Bob, who owns a gold mine!

They had 80 acres with lots of beautiful lorikeets and kookaburras and kangaroo that hid out --we did see 2 from far away. Jo's father, Sandy, is an 83 yr old General from WW2  was captured on Crete and then escaped and wrote a book about it, Dare To Be Free. Quite an amazing man. He and Bub got on well!

Sandy & Jo treated us like royalty! They took us to lunch at a neat place that was
surrounded by rainforest and kookaburras....

I spoke at Jo's ICF Coaching Chapter on the  Gold Coast and there were about 50 people
there. It was a great group!

We took a short train trip up the Gold Coast to Brisbane and spent the night in Brisbane at the Sheraton  before taking the train for 36 hours to Cairns...

This trip was brutal-we couldn't get a compartment but were lucky
enough to spread out and get 2 seats each so we could lie down to sleep but
there were crying babies and grumpy adults making noise ALL NIGHT LONG!

Made me a bit grumpy too! Luckily, I had a very long novel to finish, so I kept occupied. Very little interesting as far as sights...mile after mile of sugar cane. A few kangaroos but they stayed well hidden and all I have is more of "Joeann's animal specs" on my video camera.

Cairns is a seaside town in the warmest part of the country on the Great Barrier Reef and was lots of fun. Relaxed and laid back with bathing suit clad folks everywhere, this was a place to kick back and just enjoy!
Bub finally found his crocodile vest and got to order the color and style he was after to match his alligator boots! We ate more good seafood (yes, we did gain a little weight :.)
We rented a car there too and after shopping quite a bit (our almost last
chance), and then doing more shopping in Port Douglas,  where Bub discovered MAMBO shirts....aka:loud shirts :>)

We headed north to Mossman, where we stayed at the Silky Oaks Lodge and Spa. THIS WAS LIKE HEAVEN!!!! We had our own tree house with a balcony and hammock. Along with a large bedroom, king sized bed and AC and double Jacuzzi tub. The robes were included and as well as a CD playing rainforest music and an aromatherapy burner . We walked to a little Billabong Beach that we had all to ourselves and ate apples, chocolate and drank champagne while a turtle rollicked in the Mossman River and the brightest blue butterflies I have ever seen flew around. We played tennis twice and once again, I held my own for one of the games!!! The last day I had a red mud wrap and Vichy shower and WE ATE a wonderful 4 course meal, even finding a wine from the Bowen (my mother's maiden name) vineyards! There was nothing that wasn't first-class here!!!

After 3 days, we drove back to Cairns, did more shopping, flew back to Sydney, more shopping (we were completely unaware there was a $400 per person limit and the you paid duty!) and flew 13 hours back to LA. We left Sydney at 2 PM on Thurs and got into LA at 10:30 AM on Thurs-go figure!!!!!

Of course, we bought lots of Lily presents while we were gone. She loves her Mrs. Koala puppet and here is Lily at 9 months showing off her new Aussie duds!

Needless to say....we had FUN!!!!

Joeann Fossland, Advantage Solutions Group, LLC
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