Saturday, October 17, 2009

In The Middle of Our Overnight to Sydney

We are in the middle of our overnight bus trip to Sydney from Byron. We are in a town called grafton in the middle of the coast. We left Byron at 6:30pm and we are expected to arrive at the same time in the morning. It is 9:00pm right now and I am already ready for it to be over.

Leaving the beach today was the hardest thing we have had to do. We biked up to the lighthouse this morning and saw two pods of dolphins on our walk. It was beautiful! Yesterday we spent all day boggie boarding on the beach and working on our tans.

The Australian beach life has suited us well over the last two months and we will miss it so much! But for now it is back to the bus and our movie (a league of their own) before we attempt to get some sleep.

More from our final destination later!


Last Day in the North

We woke up this morning in Port Douglas and after a quick breakfast we hopped in the car to head back to cairns. The drive back was beautiful and the weather could not have been any better. We drove into the city and went straight to an outlet mall to shop for a while. After buying a few things we drove down to the shop to where David bought his digeridoo to pack up and ship the didge home. The box was big enough to fit a bunch of clothing in and the minimum weight we could pay for was 6kg so with stuffed the box with as much as we could. It was a good thing we got rid of as much as we could because there is no way we would be able to get everything home!

We went down to the lagoon for an afternoon swim and a nap on the grass and after a few hours we finally checked into the hostel. We unloaded the entire car into our room and spent the next hour trying to fit everything into the bags. We managed to fit everything into our day packs, our big packs, a postage box and a small duffle bag that a had to buy. Hopefully the airline let's us take it all on!

For now it's off to bed after watching flashforward (our favourite new show!) and then we are up for 4am... Yikes! Off to the airport for our flight to Brisbane and then our bus ride to Byron bay.

More later!


Longest travel day yet. Cairns to Byron bay


Today started with a 4 am wake up call. We returned the car, got into a cab and were off to the airport. One of our biggest concerns was luggage weight. We were allowed 46kg total and had 47kg. The 6am flight was fairly full and took 2 hours.


25C at 845 when we got into downtown Brisbane. We had 3 hours to kill until our bus left for Byron bay. We had found out that the Brisbane YHA hostel was close and we could leave our bags there for a couple of hours. We were told it was 500m away. We soon found out that 500m meant 1km mostly uphill with 47kg of bags. Long story short we wasted about an hour and got absoutely nothing done.

We just boarded the noon bus to Byron bay and the trip will take just over 4 hours. If we would have drove ourselves from the airport we could have been in Byron bay at about the time our bus left for brisbane.

Should be there soon but for now it's time for a nap.


Beautiful Byron Bay

Byron Bay is going into our top three places to visit in Australia and we knew it would. From the beginning of our trip and even before we left everyone has said that we would love it here. Byron is a super laid back town that was super quiet until surfers discovered that it had some amazing surf beaches. From that point on it has been a really popular spot.

The whole town has a very hippie vibe and it feels as though the entire place has been frozen in time in the sixties or seventies. Shops are filled with hemp clothing and organic foods and there are a ton if meal options for vegetarians (yay!).

David rented a surf board for two days and we have pretty much spent every waking moment on the beach. The beach is massive and gorgeous and the water is so clear. There is a beautiful lighthouse on the top of the hill overlooking the beach and we were told that it has a range if 42km.

Days are lazy here and it easy to get drawn into staying longer. We even cancelled one of our nights in the blue mountains so we can stay an extra night. I think if we had more time we would never leave. There are jobs for travellers everwhere and we are constantly bumping into people who came for a visit and just never left.

It is going to be hard to leave Byron and even harder to leave australia. We only have five more nights in this incredible country and we plan on making the most of them.

Home soon!


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Port Douglas Brings out the City Kids in Us

We love port Douglas but we are finding that we are feeling a little too isolated. It is very far north in austalia and is known for being a small resort town with a upper end clientele. There is one main street here and it is packed with high end shops and resaurants. There are
Several large resorts but they are a little bit further out of town. We spent yesterday relaxing. After a short walk around town we decided to head down to the beach. We spent the afternoon sleeping in the sand and last night was spent playing monopoly and watching movies.

This morning we woke up a little bit tired from a restless sleep. We are the only two people in our four person dorm so we attempted to sleep in the bottom bunk together. Let's just say that it is way too small for two people. We hopped into the car and took off to cape tribulation. This was to be the most northern stop on our whole trip so we were excited. We knew not to expect many people up there because it was so remote. We had to drive up the "highway" to the daintree river where we drove onto an old school cable river ferry to take us accross the water. This is the only way to get further north. When we crossed the ferry the road became questionable but interesting. We made stops at cape tribulation beach, cow bay and a couple of lookouts before driving back down to the ferry to take it accross and drive back down to a town called mossman. We walked down to mossman gorge where we were rewarded by spectacular views and giant boulders the size of houses.

When we got back to port Douglas we had quick showers and went out for a date. We had dinner at a really nice Thai restaurant where we ate spicy curries and sweet pad Thais. After dinner we went to a bar called ironbar because we had heard that they had nightly cane toad racing. Not knowing what to expect and with me not whole heartedly supporting the idea, we paid our five dollar entry fee and prepared ourselves. It was basically a comedy show based around cane toad racing. This guy had racing toads and people were chosen out of the audience to "jockey" the toads. This meant that when he lifted the bucket off of the toads in the middle of the table they had to be the first to use a party blower ( you know, the ones you use at new years) to coax the toad off of the table and into their hand for the win. He did a couple of races and then we were able to hold the toads. It ended up being really funny and completely random.

We just picked up some ice cream cones and we are settling in for the night.

Back to cairns tomorrow!


Mission to Cairns on a Hot Day

The average temperature here has been about 34 degrees here lately and with the humidity it feels even worse. We have discovered that the best way to beat the heat is a lot of water, a body of water to swim in nearby and fifty cent mcdonalds ice creams.

We had our massive breakfast and hopped into the car for a short drive to cairns. Because we knew it would be a short drive we decided to take a couple of detours along the way.

The first was to paronella park which is a homestead and massive grounds built by a Spanish settler in the 1930's. It is a beautiful area and he chose to build there because of an amazing waterfall on the grounds. We took an hour long guided tour and then explored the park by ourselves for an hour, taking the time to feed the hundreds of fish and turtles on the grounds.

Our second stop was one of our favourite places in Australia. We stopped at a place called Josephine falls and did the kilometer walk to the bottom pool. We were well rewarded by one of the most beautiful fresh water swimming holes I have ever seen. The fall ran down in three steps and the bottom pool is calm with only one section of the rock containing a waterfall. We swan across the pool to the smooth rocks and after some effort to get up onto the rocks (they were very smooth and covered in algae) we were able to run around and explore. We walked up to the second pool and after watching somebody use the bottom section of waterfall as a slide, we were next in line! It was awesome! We were in the middle of the Australian rainforest watersliding on a waterfall! After a great hour of enjoying the water we got into the car to go the last little bit to cairns.

We drove through Edmonton! It was strange to drive through a city with the same name as our home town on the other side of the world. We drove into cairns and we were immediatly thrown off by how large it was. We haven't been in a large city in so long that it was strange to see so many people and tall buildings! We checked into our hostel and now we are planning to go for a walk.

Talk soon!


Lazy Days in Cairns

Cairns has been really relaxing and tons of fun. Our first full day we spent the morning laying by the lagoon enjoying the heat. You cannot swim in the water here because of stinger fears but that was not the only reason that we were not swimming in the ocean... That morning there had been a massive earthquake off of the vanuatu islands and they issued a tsunami warning. Luckily nothing came of it but we did watch the water very carefully.

By the time lunch rolled around it was way too hot to be outside. We packed up and had lunch at the hostel before walking down the esplanade.

That night Davis bought a digeridoo at a specialty shop and he took lessons! It was hilarious to see him playing this truely Australian instrument. Maybe if you ask him nicely when we get home he will put on a bit of a show!

Our second day in cairns we took the skyrail to a small mountain village called kuranda. The skyrail is a 7.5km gondola that takes you over the rainforest canopy and into the town. It was beautiful! We spent a lot oftime walking around the shops and markets in kuranda which is an old hippy town. We took the kuranda scenic railway back which is a train and rail line built in the 1800's. The trip back to the city took almost two hours and was absolutely beautiful.

That night we went out to a pub called the woolshed where we met a couple of guys from Edmonton! We always end up drawn to other canadians. We had a great late night but we knew we had to wake up early to drive to port Douglas so we packed up and went to bed.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Magnetic Island

We woke up really early and drove down to the ferry to make the eight kilometer trip over to magnetic island. The ferry was a really nice catamaran that was big enough to carry a lot of commuters back and forth between the mainland and the island.

We stayed in a hostel called bungalow bay in a settlement on the island called horseshoe bay. The hostel is attached to a koala sanctuary so the first thing we did was sign up for a tour. In the park we were guided through and taught about the animals. We were able to hold and take pictures with a giant parrot type bird, crocks, lizards, a snake and our favourite.... Barney the koala! He was so cute and sleepy and you hold him under his bum like a baby. At the end we were also introduced to a giant spider that made me freak out. I asked him where the spider came from and he said that it was found in a backyard on the island... Gross!

We slept in some pretty cool accommodations on the island. We had our own private a-frame cabin with a fridge and airconditioning. It was really nice and you felt like you were sleeping in the jungle. We actually had a gecko that became our flatmate and we named him phillip.

Our time on the island was spent bring lazy. We laid on the beach and fed possums at night. It is hard to get motivated to do anything on the island because everyone is so laid back.

We left the island after two nights relaxed and ready for the rest of our trip. We are off to the small town of mission beach for more relaxation time. Hopefully we won't have too much to blog about.


Mission Beach is Paradise

Plain and simple, this is one of our top three places in Australia. It is actually a series of small towns that join up to make up the area of mission beach.

Driving in we saw signs everywhere that kept telling us to beware of cassowaries. Unfortunately when you are a tourist you have no idea what the hell to look for. So David and I were looking out for some unknown danger and there it was... A massive prehastoric bird that can grow to over six feet tall and will slice you down the middle with the giant claw on it's front toe. So thaaats what a cassowary is. You all have to google it right after you finish reading this.

We arrived at our beautiful bed and breakfast and settled into our own private bungalow.

The couple, Steve and Sharon, run the B&B and they were awesome. They have a great property with three seperate guest bungalows an outdoor pool and a covered seating area where breakfast is served. One of our first questions was where we could do laundry in town. Sharon responded by saying, right here I will do it for you for $ 5.00 a load. Hard to pass that up so we practically emptied our bags into the basket and the next day we had all clean clothes.

Sharon and Steve take alot of pride it their guest houses. They were very clean and spacious. They had compiled a list of their top places to eat in town with their favorites at the front. They also had over 200 DVDs, over 10 board games and a nintendo for guest use. We were blown away with this place and then Sharon came to the door with afternoon tea and cake.

We were both looking forward to fresh hot breakfast and we were not disappointed. Cereal, pancakes, yogurt, juice, eggs with optional tomato and mushrooms, toast, and bacon. Quite a bit better than the yogurt and museli we have become used to every morning


Not much to say about townsville aside from the fact that it is a beautiful city on the beach. We stayed in a quiet bed and breakfast just outside of downtown and for the first time since Sydney we had our own television. Usually this would not have been a big deal but with the recent sunami in Samoa and the two big earthquakes in Sumatra we we happy to have access to the news.

For those of you who are curious, none of those events has effected us at all. The only thing that surprised us was that there was no sunami warning for mainland Australia.

We spent a lot of our time in Townsville shopping and walking around. There is no beach sqimming because of the marine stingers and on the beach there are vinegar aid stations every hundred meters. David and I found a store called barkins and we were immediatlu sucked in. The prices were very reasonable and the clothes were really nice and I think we came away with half the store.

We also went to the museum of tropical Queensland while we were in Townsville. They have featured exhibits on the Australian railway and the pandora shipwreck as well as natural creatures of Australia.

We really enjoyed our time but now we are off the magnetic island! The island is only eight kilometers off shore and is supposed to be one of the most incredible places in Australia.

Talk soon!


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Party and a Long Drive

Carcas Count: 82

We are on the way to Townsville from airlie beach and we have decided to count the roadkill on the side of the road. Morbid.... I know. It is extremely sad to see the number of animals that are killed on the highway here. I can't even imagine the kind of damage that a full size kangaroo would do to a car.

The drive today is only about 270km and the scenery is beautiful. The landscape is dry but seems never ending and at random points throughout the drive we have driven through lush sections of rainforest.

Last nights party was a lot of fun. We are planning on meeting up with a few of the girls on magnetic island and one of the girls lives in manhattan so we are planning on visiting her next July when we hopefully go to new York for the new York triathlon.

All is well and both of us feel much better today. More from Townsville when we get there.


Airlie Beach and the Whitsunday Islands

We have been slacking on our posts about Airlie because there is not much to tell. It is a beautiful beach town that I can sum up in three words: beach, bikini and booze. It is definetly a party town that is crowded with backpackers waiting to sail the whitsundays.

We stayed in a super clean, super institutional hostel right on the esplanade and just far enough away from the party scene that we could get some sleep. We spent four days lazing on the beach in the lagoon, sleeping and swimming in the sun.

On Monday the 28th we got on our boat for three days in the islands. Our boat was actually a sixteen meter catamaran called wings 2 and it was beautiful! Our skipper was a young woman from Sweden named Annika and in her crew there were two dive instructors and two deck hands. David and I slept in a double bed that we had to climb into in the right pontoon of the catamaran.

There were twenty five guests on the boat all in their twenties. On our first day we made the two hour trip to tounge bay which is directly opposite whithaven beach on Whitsunday island which is the biggest island of the 74 in the area. We anchored the boat and took the small dingy to the beach where we hiked up to a lookout to take some pictures and enjoy the view. We then walked down to the beach where we walked through the water while sting rays and small sharks swam around our feet. Back on the boat we watched the sunset while we ate dinner on the deck. After dinner we watched a slideshow of pictures from the day before going to bed for the night.

Day two started EARLY! Annika was up at five thirty starting up the boat and bringing up the anchor. Needless to say, the wall between our bed and where the anchor chain came in is not very thick. We watched the sunrise while we drank tea on the front deck and Annika moved the boat into the next bay. We anchored the boat again after breakfast, got into our stinger/wetsuits and jumped off of the boat for a swim to whithaven beach. For two hours we played in the water, took pictures and slept on the beach.

Back on the boat we made the trip to hook island for our first dive. It was awsome! We saw two giant sea turtles and tons of fish! We ate lunch back on the boat and hoped in the water for a snorkle. Everything was going well until I moved my hand and all I felt was jellyfish! There were dozens of them around us and I freaked out. We made it back to the boat and I decided to take a break from the water for a bit. We made the trip to a spot just off of hayman island. We tied up to a mooring and settled in for a relaxing evening... Or so I thought. At some point I realized that David was missing so I went to check on him and found him sleeping. When I climbed into our bed to check on him he was burning up. I gave him a tylonel nighttime cold and sinus, made him take all of his extra clothes off even though he was cold, and gave him an ice pack to put under his back and a cold compress for his forehead. Luckily all of it worked and his fever came down enough for him to come up for dinner and the days picture slideshow. We slept really well that night with the rocking of the boat and the sound of the water outside.

Day three started early once again. We stepped onto the deck and we were greeted by whales, dolphins and turtles alongside a beautiful sunrise. We ate beakfast and a few of the certified divers did a drift drive and then it was back the the mainland. We all enjoyed the sun on the two hour ride back. The haze from the dust storm finally lifted on the last day and for the first time we could actually see the beauty of the whitsundays. Getting back to the mainland was sad. We all gave each other hugs and contact info and decided to meet at the beaches pub for drinks later tonight. So we will see what tonight brings!

For now we are relaxing and enjoying our first showers in three days and I am religiously applying itch cream to the over fifty sand fly bites that I got on whithaven beach. Maybe a few beers tonight will help!


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Rocking Rockhampton and the Tropic of Capricorn

We are on the way to airlie beach after a stay over in rockhampton. David is driving so I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to catch you up on yesterdays events.

We had an amazing second day at Fraser island! We woke up early and after a quick breakfast we were driving down the beach. We didn't even get ten minutes out before David was freaking out about a couple of whales breaching not far out in the water. We stopped to take some photos and watch them wave their fins at us.

After the whales we went on a short hike that ended with the path opening up to a massive desert with perfectly smooth white sand and a deep clear lake at the bottom of an eighty foot sand dune where we went for a swim. The lake was called lake wabby and we were told that the sand dunes are slowly swallowing it up and eventually there will be no lake.

After swimming we had lunch at an old center ranger station and drove to another lake called lake birrabean where the water was incredibly clear and shallow really far out. We all swam here for an hour and a half and got back onto the bus covered in the finest 100% silica sand.

On the ferry on the way back to the mainland we could see the red haze of the dust storm. We had heard that it would move up the coast and they were not kidding. David and I left as soon as we got back to the car knowing we still had to drive 400km to rockhampton in the dark with the haziness. It was a really scary drive because australias main highway is a single lane winding highway plagued by accidents caused by tired drivers and kangaroos. The haze was really thick and at times it was worse because we were driving through bush fires where we could smell smoke and see hot spots in the trees. That was the closest either of us has ever been to an active wildfire. At one point David almost hit a small animal walking accross the road that looked like a possum. After we almost hit the first one we saw them EVERYWHERE! They were in groups of three or four just hanging out in the ditch. We still don't know what they are.

After a long night we pulled into rockhampton at ten thirty and went right to bed. This morning we woke up early, went for breakfast and then did a walking tour through the capricorn caves which is a massive system of limestone caves. At one point we were using candlelight to squish through narrow passageways. It was so scary!

We are almost an hour outside of Mckay where we will stop for lunch. I have stopped counting the roadkill (three massive full grown kangaroos, three babies and a million god knows whats) and we both need a break.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hervey Bay

David: Welcome to hervey bay yha (youth hostel).

Steph: this is the worst place I have ever stayed

David: I am sure you have stayed in worse?

Steph: pause .. No, no I haven't

What a place hervey bay is. This town is the harbour that connects to Fraser island which is a very popular tourist spot for whale tours, there 75 mile beach and more. We both firmly believe that without Fraser island, hervey bay would not exist.

We have our Fraser tour booked to leave tomorrow for 2 day 1 night. So today being free we thought we would spend relaxing on the beach. The focal point in hervey bay is the 800m long pier. This turned out to be the most exciting part in all of the town. The pier is this long because of large changes in tides. Today the tide was in and the beach was 5 feet wide. Not much room for a suntan.

As stated in the town info booklet we received there is no town center. They are not lying. A five minute drive along the beach proved this to be true. To fill our day we went to the marina and asked what afternoon tours are available to fill the time gap. So we are booked on a ferry ride to Fraser island and an afternoon at the kingfisher resort.

To return to the opening statement, while cooking dinner last night in the open air kitchen steph noticed 2small cocoons on the wall. Then she looked up... Bad idea. All along the rafters were dozens of small cocoons. As steph started her freakout I went to the front desk to inquire. The staff came back with me and informed us that they were mud nests built by wasps. This as I am sure you can imagine put steph in a comfortable state of mind. As a result my job for the night was to search every crack, corner, dark area, cupboard, confined space, under the dinner table, under the bed, in the sheets... For anything really.

Last night in this exciting and adventurous town. Oh and by the way I almost stepped on a big frog walking down the sidewalk


Hervey Bay / Fraser Island

After deciding to make something of our day yesterday, David and I walked down to the marina and caught the super slick catamaran ferry to the kingfisher resort on Fraser island. The package we bought got us our ferry transfers, lunch, afternoon tea and an entire afternoon of lazing by the resorts amazingpool. We relaxed on the front deck of the boat overlooking the turquoise water until we got to the island. We had an amazing lunch at the beach front restaurant after which we walked the resort grounds. David swears that we stepped into the Jurassic park movie because all I the buildings are built into the of the holland are surrounded and covered by jungle. We laid by the pool for a few hours before having afternoon tea by the beach and hopping the ferry back to Hervey Bay just in time for me to make dinner and pack up.

Turned out to be an incredible day!


Fraser Island Safari and Sydney Issues


I will start with the Sydney issues. We are on fraser island at the moment preparing to head out for day two of our adventures. We woke up this morning to the news that there is a massive dust storm in Sydney and surrounding area. The airport is closed and the ferries have all been stopped. Images of the city show that it is completely red. You cannot see the opera house or the bridge at all. The news said that strong winds have brought the dust in from the northern territories and the dust is expected to move north towards us this afternoon so we will see what happens.

On to the safari. We woke up early and were picked up by our tour guide Richard. We hopped on our fourteen person, four wheel drive bus and drove onto the ferry. The past few days on the coast have been very windy so the hour long ride over was really rocky. When we got to the island there was no dock where we were supppsed to land. The boat backed up. We all hopped back on the bus. The ramp on the ferry opened into the water. And we drove into the water and up onto the beach! We knew then that this trip would be interesting.

Every "road" on Fraser island is made of sand. In fact, the entire island is the largest sand dune in the world but it is covered in vegetation and fresh water lakes. We spent the day bobbing around on sand roads learning about the area with occasional stops for lunch, a swim in Eli creek, a look at the moheno shipwreck, climbing around colored sands pinnacles, whale/shark/stingray/dolphin watching at indians head and then back to our accomodation at Fraser island backpackers for a steak and fish dinner. The day was amazing and we took a million pictures.

We are about to hop off of the bus to hike in to a fresh water lake. Fill you in on more later!


Friday, September 18, 2009

Dolphins and Koalas and Whales, Oh My!

We love noosa! After spending the day doing nothing but sleeping and surfing on the beach yesterday, we decided to get a little bit of excersize today.

We walked up the hill to the noosa national park to walk some of the trails and look for animals. We walked to the peak of the peninsula on the coast trail. Along the way we saw a pod of six or so dolphins feeding. It was the most amazing sight because we were standing on the top of a cliff watching them jump out of the water and dive for fish.

After watching them for a while we made our way up to the final lookout where we sat to watch whales on the horizon. After the whales we took the inner path back to the main park office. Along the way we saw a young lizard run up a tree and we also saw two lizards fighting in the trees. The landscape was beautiful. It was very thick jungle and the trees were so thick together that in some cases they would grow around each other in a spiral. There were sections of the path that were completely made up of boardwalk and sections that were all sand.

The entire walk we were looking up in the trees for koalas because we were told that there were alot around. Unfortunately we didn't see any and David was really disappointed.

When we finished the walk I decided to check out the info booth and take a look at the animal sightings board. The first note on the board said "koala sighting today, location: turn around, take three steps and look up to your right." There he was! The cutest koala bear! I called dave over and he freaked out! We stood watching him for so long before heading back to the hostal. All in all it was about a ten km walk.

On the way back we ran into keith who is one of our triathlon friends from the edmonton. The three of us ate lunch and hopped in the car to go to sunshine beach. We spent the afternoon body boarding and sleeping on the beach before driving back up to the park gates to show keith the koala. We lucked out! Our little friend was still there and there was another one eating!

Now we are drinking free wine that the hostal has given us after a dinner of stir fry a la stephanie and chocolate croissants. The boys are playing ping pong while I sit here and relax.... This is the life.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Sitting in an amazing Victorian era house converted into a hostel on top of a hill after a morning on a prestine beach and an amazing lunch with my husband... Bliss.

I love Noosa...

Back to the beach for another stressful afternoon...


Last day at villa Garfield, surfers paradise


Today is our last day in surfers paradise. We just found out that Ian had skype on his computer. As I am writing this steph is talking to her grandma pender back home in lethbridge and we are watching Monday night football live. We have talked to alot of family back home today which has been really great.

Our car rental is confirmed to pick up tomorrow and take us to our next destination noosa.

We are having so much fun talking to everyone on skype! It's really strange to be able to talk to everyone on the other side of the world. We are getting ready to head out to noosa tomorrow and later today we are off to tamborine mountain to check it out.

More on our adventures tomorrow!


Noosa at Last!

This morning we woke up and packed up our house in surfers paradise. Dave went to pick up our rental car and after a brief mishap with the cars air conditioning and a car swap, we were on our way. We drove down to the wet and wild waterpark just outside of surfers. We spent three hours running aeound like we were five again. Dave had two favourite rides. The first was a racing ride where there were eight lanes and you raced down on mats. He kicked my but the first two times but the third race was really close and he won again. His second favorite ride was called the tornado. You sat in a four person tube and you flew down a steep slide and into a massive cone tilted on it's side where you whipped back and forth on the walls of the cone before you shot into the finish pool. My favorite ride was called the black hole. You went down a pitch black slide in a two person tube and you could not see a thing. I think I screamed the whole time.

After our time at the park we hoped in the car and atarted our trip to noosa. Dave is really good at driving on the left hand side of the road, although I do have to get after him every once and a while for drifting to the left. We made it here without any injury and the hostel in beautiful. It is in a heritage home on the top of a hill overlooking the beach. There is a massive veranda that wraps around the house where we sat to have a drink and dinner.

Yesterday we took a trip up to a mountain outside of surfers called tamborine mountain. At the top of the mountain there is the most incredible view and the cutest mountain town filled with wineries and small shops. We wondered the town and sat down for a wine rating and some good. Afterwards we walked down the main street and stopped in on a bunch of cute shops. When we went into the. Crystal shop I managed to find a beautiful pair of paridot stud earrings.

It has been a great couple of days and we could not be happier. We are in one of the most beautiful places on earth.


Friday, September 11, 2009

Race Day

Dave: Race Day is here and what a great day for a world championship. The water somehow dropped almost 2C in the last two days so that we were allowed to wear wetsuits. All of us were up really early 545 and Ian was nice enough to drive the steph, jason, neil and myself down to the site. transition was set up really well and was very easy to navigate. We started the 1km walk to the swim start with wetsuit in hand.

The swim wnet realatively well I felt pretty good for all but about 2-4 minutes where my shoulders were sore. I got out of the water well in just under 26minutes which I was really happy with.

The run through transition is a little long especially in a wetsuit. I got on the bike and felt pretty good and my hips were a little tight. The bike course was full of 20-30 man packs with the draft marshalls doing nothing about stopping it. I tried to keep it honest for the first lap but it is frustrating to see people breaking the rules and not being penalized for it. On the second lap i got caught in a couple of packs and gained some time and effort, but overall the bike felt pretty good and not that hott. I got off the bike right beside jason (he started 9minutes after me) which I was actually happy with. I am guessing my bike time to be apx. 1:08 ish

Through transition and onto the run i still felt good but with hips still tight. For the most part I felt comfortable on the run and had a good time with it, lots of people cheering yelling. coming through the finish shoot steph passed me the big flag and I crossed the line very happy with the way the day went 2:22:20apx.

Great day for everyone here. Mens elite race starts in 2 hours so we are heading back to the site soon after a shower and some food. Pictures will be coming to facebook later tonight hopefully.

Thanks for all the support and messages from everyone it really helps.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Update from Surfers and Race Report #1

It has been a great week so far in surfers. We have been back and forth from the race site a lot and there has been a lot of time spent on the beach. Dave and I have some good tans and we are RELAXED! Yesterday was the opening ceremonies for the worlds and it was a blast! all family and friends were allowed to walk in the parade of nations as long as we wore Canada clothing. It was super cool to walk into the arena with people screaming for Canada and about 200 fellow canadians around you waving flags and cheering. We had opening ceremonies dinner in the biggest tent I have ever seen in my life! It was a simple pasta dinner but everyone was dancing on the tables and meeting other international team members. I think we bought half of the expo and all of the race merchandise and I have no idea how we plan on carrying it around. Other than that there in not much more to tell. It is race day tomorrow so we are just relaxing today. Maybe a few more hours on the beach this afternoon and a big pasta dinner tonight!


Race day tomorrow. Looks like we will probably not be wearing wetsuits as the water is over 22C. My rental bike has been a pleasant surprise and actually feels pretty good.

The aquathlon was wedensday and there were over 600 people racing. I had two. Good runs but a bad swim that was close to 20minutes for 1000. But tomorrow should be better. There will be a full race report coming soon. They have put on a great event here and have much outdone vancouver


Update from Surfers and Race Report #1

It has been a great week so far in surfers. We have been back and forth from the race site a lot and there has been a lot of time spent on the beach. Dave and I have some good tans and we are RELAXED! Yesterday was the opening ceremonies for the worlds and it was a blast! all family and friends were allowed to walk in the parade of nations as long as we wore Canada clothing. It was super cool to walk into the arena with people screaming for Canada and about 200 fellow canadians around you waving flags and cheering. We had opening ceremonies dinner in the biggest tent I have ever seen in my life! It was a simple pasta dinner but everyone was dancing on the tables and meeting other international team members. I think we bought half of the expo and all of the race merchandise and I have no idea how we plan on carrying it around. Other than that there in not much more to tell. It is race day tomorrow so we are just relaxing today. Maybe a few more hours on the beach this afternoon and a big pasta dinner tonight!


Race day tomorrow. Looks like we will probably not be wearing wetsuits as the water is over 22C. My rental bike has been a pleasant surprise and actually feels pretty good.

The aquathlon was wedensday and there were over 600 people racing. I had two. Good runs but a bad swim that was close to 20minutes for 1000. But tomorrow should be better. There will be a full race report coming soon. They have put on a great event here and have much outdone vancouver


Monday, September 7, 2009

Another Day in Paradise

It is 25 celcius without a cloud in the sky! Glorious weather for laying on the beach. We had a crazy monsoon of a rain storm last night and a few of us went for a quick run around in the rain. Drenched would be the only way to describe us afterwards. Dave went to the team Canada swim and bike workout and I stayed back to lay on the beach. After a brief incident involving a wave that came up way too far and my top being undone I had a quick nap in the sand and met up with dave at the house. We are on cahill road now ( the major food and shop area ) waiting to meet up for lunch with a couple of our house mates. Then it is back to the beach this afternoon.

Talk soon and thanks for the comments, we are reading every one!


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Surfers haircut

Ok this post is more for the women.... I cut off all my hair today! I lost about nine inches but it looks great and it's so much better in the heat! Pictures to come soon! We are being incredibly lazy on the warm beach in surfers... Doing nothing but being happy. More to come!

Finally Taking the Time to Catch Up

So I have finally found the time to tell you about the last few days. David and I are sitting in the Sydney airport waiting for our flight to the gold coast so we can get race week underway.

We have had a great couple of days. On Thursday we "slept in" until eight. I made a big beakfast and then we walked down to circular quey to catch the Ferry to manly. Manly is a small beach suburb of Sydney filled with small shops and restaurants. We were all set for a day in the sun on the beach but the weather had different plans for us. It was miserable and cold so we spent a few hours walking around, had lunch at a small cafe and then we hopped the ferry back to the city. By the time we got there it was pouring! We hid out under an overhang until we could catch a cab back to our flat. When we returned we made soup and hot chocolate and we were in for the night.

Thursday was very different. We walked down market street in downtown Sydney and did some shopping. Our intended destination was Chinatown which is just past darling harbour and by the time we got there we were starving. Chinatown was pretty much a small alley style street packed with shops and tiny restaurants. There were people and product everywhere! We sat down and had a great Chinese food lunch. After lunch we went to paddy's market. It is a sprawling, overpacked, overwheming indoor market filled with.... Junk. Interesting nonetheless.

That night we had tickets to see a dance group called bangarra do a performance called fire at the opera house. It was incredible! They blend traditional indigenous Australian dancing with modern dance. Combined with tribal costumes and body and face paint the outcome was stunning. Bangarra has been around for twenty years so the show was a retrospective. You have to YouTube them!

Yesterday was our last full day in Sydney. We walked around kings cross ( which was historically a very seedy area) and we stopped for lunch and a beer. After lunch we returned to the flat, changed and walked to the rocks for the dinner that teryn and jeannie had organized with teryn's friend Dean. It was at a restaurant called Ventuno which is on a warf overlooking the water. We met up with Dean and his girlfriend at the beautiful restaurant. We sat down and had a drink with the two of them after which Dean gave us a tour of the restaurant and showed us to our incredible table where they left us alone. They had organized a private menu for us and everything was in the hands of our super awesome waitor tony. Dinner started with fresh bread, oilive oil and Italian olives with a side of chili oil and a fantastic bottle if white wine and a bottle of gourmet water. Next course was deep fried cheese and ricotta balls (cannot remember proper name) with marinara sauce. After that we were served fresh scallops in the half shell with a citrus sauce... My favourite! Next was eggplant rolled around a batter of pinenuts, cheese and rice and deep fried mozzarella. We were then given a passionfruit sorbet to clear our palets for the main course. The main came as two courses. The first was a fresh linguini served in a creamy porchinni mushroom sauce. The second was a vegetarian thin crust pizza with mushrooms, artichokes, olives and peppers on it as well as a caprese salad. This came with more wine because we had of course worked through the first bottle. Desert was the final course and it consisted of vanilla gelato with strawberries and a nutella pizza! Yum! We had a glass of desert wine and followed up with some tea.

By the time all of this was done we were a little drunk, alot full and... Four and a half hours had passed! It was bar none one of the best nights we have ever had together.

This morning we woke up a little hungover. We packed everything, had a shower and left. After walking around the market at the rocks, we took the train to the airport and here we are!

This is a very long post and I am sure you are bored by now so I am off for now and the next time I blog we will be in surfers paradise!

By for now!


So we are in surfers after a long bus ride from the airport. The house is great and everyone is here safe. But the is no Internet!!!!! So posts will be slow until we figure something out. Right now we are using free Internet at mcdonalds


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wedding Pictures!

Ok. I know that this is completely off topic but... Haley Shandro just posted some of our wedding pictures! Check some of them out on their blog at or on the shandro photo facebook site where there are many more.

Daves Bondi Blog

So sleeping in for this trip apparently means 0730. This we found out today. We hopped onto the train to bondi junction and then a bus to bondi beach. Total price $15 total round trip.

The water was a chilly 17c so all of the suffers were in wetsuits. We dipped our feet in the water and decided it may be worth waiting a while to go in. I figured that if I go for a beach run I would warm up and then the water would feel nice. 15min run later and I was neck deep in the pacific with waves crashing down. A rational person would go and lay on the beach. I decided to rent a wetsuit and board. For those of you who don't know yes I have surfed before and yes it was almost four years ago. Can't be that hard to remember right???

Wrong. Waves were much bigger than Hawaii and I can't remember ever feeling currents that strong. It took a while but I managed to get up and catch a few waves without swallowing too much water

There are lots of cool little shops all around bondi. We both found a few things for eachother. But now at 830 I am paying for two hours of surf and sun as I start to fall asleep.

We are heading onto the ferry to Manley tomorrow for another day at the beach.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Night to Remember

Last night was incredible! We made dinner, got changed and walked down to the opera house.

Before I go on there are a few things I should tell those who have never been to Sydney.

Number one, it gets dark here really early. This makes two things difficult: staying up late enough to adjust to the time change and stating warm, as it gets cold much earlier.

Number two, this place is basically an Australian new York city. Roads are winding and everyone drives backwards making it difficult to get you bearings. Also, none of the streets have numbers, just names, so bring your map! This place is packed with people! There are people running, going to work, having coffee at a streetside cafe and biking everywhere.

Number three, the Sydney opera house is incredibly beautiful and detailed up close. There are a few things David and I noticed when we were there for the ben folds show last night. The entire outside of the opera house is covered in white ceramic tile which gives it the appearance of having scales which I talked about in my last post. Each shell houses something different. The largest shell contains the main concert hall and the two attached to it on either end are it's lobbies which also contain bars. The shell seperate from the others is actually one of the most beautiful restaurants you will ever see. It has full glass walls and a massive vaulted ceiling which allows you to see all of downtown. The last thing I will tell you about is the Sydney opera bar. At night the lower level outside of the opera house turns into a bustling, well dressed group of people all there for a drink or a chat. Many of them are the after work crowd (could you imagine being able to do that everyday!) or those waiting to get into a show and there are slot as there are five concert halls.

Ok back to our night. The reason we had gone to the opera house in the first place was to see ben folds do his solo act. Being in the actual concert hall was unreal, especially because the seats were all bright pink and you realize you are in the biggest shell. The opening band was a band called No Mercy from Melnourne. They were a really mellow indie band that sounded great. Then ben came out and the crowd went crazy! He made us laugh all night and at one point he had the entire crowd singing three part hamony... In the opera house! He had a suprise guest come out on stage too... Amy Mann! It was so cool. The entire thing was done with just ben and his grande piano in the centre of the stage. At the end of the show we managed to (after alot of effort) catch a cab home and pass out.

We are off to bondi now!

Talk to you soon!


Monday, August 31, 2009

Two days of Amazing sights

Ok. We have been so busy over the last two days!

Yesterday started out really early with an incredible view of the Sydney harbour bridge out of our bedroom window. After a quick shower we walked down to the rocks which is an old, European section of Sydney right beside the bridge. We had.breakfast at a really cute little place called pancakes on the rocks which consisted of some greasy, tasty comfort food. After breakfast we picked up a few souvenirs (yes Taylor, got you your boomerang) and went for a quick walk down to the water only to find that we were in the perfect spot in between the bridge and the opera house.

After a few pictures we made our way to the bridge to walk up one of the bridge pylons. They are huge stone towers on either side of the bridge and after walking to the top we were about two thirds of the way up the bridge. Tge bridge was completed in 1932 and sixteen men died during its construction. The view was so overwhelmingly beautiful.

After the bridge we went to darling harbour which is a super tredy boardwalk area. We took a walk through the Sydney aquarium where we were able to see dugongs and sharks through underwater tunnels. We finished up and went to one of the restaurants overlooking the water to sit in lounge chairs and have a beer and some bruchetta. The area was so beautiful and it was the perfect afternoon.

We took a walk back to our flat through downtown and made a few stops at some shops that were WAY out of our price range. When we finally arrived home I put together a nice dinner and we spent the rest of the night relaxing.

This morning we woke up early and walked down to the opera house to check it out and pick up our tickets for tonights ben folds five show and Friday nights bengarra dance show. The building it blindingly white and actually looks as though it is covered in scales when you get up close to it. The inside of the roof is covered I'm beams that make it almost look like a rib cage.

After picking up the tickets we walked down to the ward and caught the ferry to the tongara zoo. It is built into the bush in the side of the hill overlooking the water. We spent all day there and managed to see kangaroos, koalas, meerkats, wallabies, giraffes, chimpanzees and hundreds more. We just took the ferry back and walked the rest of the way home and now we are making dinner and getting ready for our big night at the opera house... Yay!!!

Sorry about the long post... More tomorrow! We are headed to bondi beach in the morning!

Talk to you soon!


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunset Over Sydney Harbour

I have yet to figure out how to post pictures to the blog using the iPod but... When I do tonights images will be the first to go up. We had a wonderful dinner with the Fewchuks which included some fantastic BBQ and an amazing tradditional australian desert that Sue made called Pavlova (it's basically a giant baked merengue with homemade whipped cream and fresh cut fruit on top... So good!) which we had with tea. After dinner we hopped back into the ute for another ride back into town. After passing over a few absolutely incredible bridges we had to make a stop to get a picture of the Sydney harbour bridge and the opera house accross the harbour at sunset. It was one of the most spectacular things I have ever seen and I cannot wait to see it again in the morning. We are just unpacking quickly and then it is off to go on a short walk to explore the area.

Talk soon!


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Longest Flight Ever!

We are officially here! It was hands down the longest flight ever... It was a grand total of fourteen hours and forty five minutes and it felt like an eternity. We were given three meals. Dinner at the beginning of the flight, a sandwich midway through and breakfast two hours before landing. We were so sore when we got off of the plane. Muscles start to cramp up so fast when you are sitting for that long! Both David and I slept spuratically throughout the flight and we are exhausted. I can't speak for David but I think I may have only slept about four hours total. That's a lot of movie watching time...

Steph speaks for herself I got 7.5 hours and still had time to watch 3 movies. Met with michael and I quickly remembered that they drive backwards here. Still have not seen a toilet run backwards though!

We had the most amazing ride in! One of Dave's relatives Michael Fewchuck picked us up on his Ute (definition-pick up truck) and we drove through the city, past the opera house and over the Sydney harbour bridge to an out of town suburb where The Fewchuks live. It was incredible!

We are at the Fewchucks for an early BBQ dinner right now and then it is back to Sydney city centre to get the keys to our flat and settle in!

More from us soon!


Friday, August 28, 2009

Yay! We are on the way!

David and I have safely landed in Vancouver and we could not be more excited! We will miss you all so much over the next two months but we will also be having so much fun! For now it is off to the bar for a goodbye Canada drink and then we are off to convince some ladies at our gate that we are way too important to fly economy. Let the butt kissing begin!

Talk to you soon!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Packing and practicing

Ok. So I am testing out our new ipod touch while Dave finishes his packing. While we are away we will be using our iPod as our main Internet connection. From here we can also check and reply to our email and post pictures and videos from our adventures. Hopefully
It works.

Leaving Tomorrow

The Adventure starts tomorrow! Our house is officially a massive disaster as a result of the wedding and packing for Australia. We leave tomorrow night! The excitement is almost too much! It has been an exciting and emotional week. On Saturday we had the most amazing wedding and we are so happy to be Mr. and Mrs. Eliuk. Our friends and family were amazing at the wedding and there were more than a few tears shed.

Now it is all about packing and preparing. We will have more information on our trip soon but for now it's back to the preparations!


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Planning for the Trip of a Lifetime

David and I will be getting married August 22 2009 and have been planning to spend our first two months as husband and wife in beautiful Australia. The decision to go to Australia came when David qualified for the Canadian National Triathlon Team. The world championships will be held in Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast beginning September 9 2009. We thought that this was the perfect opportunity to enjoy each others company and the excitement of visiting a new country.

Between planning for the wedding and moving into our new home we have managed to fit in some planning. We have set a tentative schedule and will be leaving Edmonton on August 28 2009 and arriving in Sydney on August 30. We will be returning to Edmonton on October 30 2009. The Flights are booked and we are ready to go!

Throughout our travels David and I will be posting on this blog regularly to keep everyone updated. We figured that this would be the best way to stay in touch with our family and friends back home and to allow others to read about our adventures.

So keep posted and I hope you enjoy reading about our trip!