Holy Cow, how did they do that?

I never even thought to dream about going to Australia. Isn’t that forever away, on the bottom of the world? One little sentence from a friend changed that attitude.  She said, “Why not Australia?”  Why not indeed?  So it began;  the saving, and the planning.  Early on we realized we could not save enough in the time to make it happen, but Linda had a plan B. She and her husband Harry had accumulated over the years enough frequent flyer miles for three tickets to Australia.  We needed four, and somehow we just couldn’t buy one or the deal was off, according the airline policy. 
 So happens this is the same year that Kellogg’s Cereal is offering miles for boxtops. We tried in our area, but couldn’t collect enough and the stores here had even stopped carrying the ones with the needed coupons.  One more plan went into action. We sent a check, and Harry and Linda went into a store and ordered enough cases of cereal to get one more ticket, about 400 boxes. After cutting out the coupon, the cereal was donated to a school that served breakfast. They spent countless hours in their living room in Texas cutting, filling out and mailing in coupons.  A labor of love that we appreciated so much. 
After months of internet trip planning, and thirteen weeks before take off, Linda took a fall and broke, not one, but two ankles. Two week countdown and one of the ankles’ got infected. Dr said, no way was she getting on that 18 hour flight in two weeks.  We were devastated.  We kept praying and she kept insisting that we go. We had planned for three weeks and Linda had our itinerary down to a “T.”
Dick and I made the trip, sad, but confident that they would be able to join us the following week, as her ankle continued to heal on the antibiotics.

 So we hiked the Blue Mountains without them, feeding colorful wild parrots and taking two, day long hikes into the enchanted rain forest. Below we are pictured at the “Wildframe’s Blue Mountains Grand Canyon.

Our last morning in the mountains we enjoyed a tour on a three wheeler.  Our tour guide did the driving, but it was fun to pose as though Dick did. We also soared 350 meters above the beautiful Jamison Valley on the skyway lift and went up a mountain backwards in a glass covered railroad car.  What a thrill!

Soon it was time to head back to Sydney and meet up with our tired and happy friends, Harry and Linda. We saw the opera house, the harbor and did window shopping and lunch at the rocks.  Dick and I did the 200 steps up the nearest Pylon to the bridge to watch the climbers do the real deal.

That evening and deep into the night we had dinner, music and mutiny shenanigans on the replica of The Bounty, as we sailed around the Sydney Harbor. We were sad to learn that this beautiful old ship sank during Hurricane Sandy this past October.  The harbor opera house is decked out for the 2000 Olympics with its color lined sails on this postcard we picked up on our trip in 2001.

 From Sydney we flew up to Brisbane and rented a car to drive up to Hervey Bay.  We stayed at The Great Sandy Straits Marina and quickly learned that it is a joyful thing to wake up in Hervey Bay. We walked the half mile fishing pier and rode bike along The Esplanade.

 To this day, I maintain, the best meal I have had in my life I enjoyed at The Black Dog Cafe in Hervey Bay.  Its diverse menu offered a prime rib meal covered with a delicate shrimp and garlic sauce.  I let out a sigh after every mouth watering bite.

Our purpose for going to Hervey Bay was to hop a small plane out to Lady Elliot Island, and the joys we experienced there were unexpected bonuses.  Little did we know of the delights that awaited us at our destination.  We were on the Southern edge of the Great Barrier Reef.

 I was chicken and only had my head under the water for brief moments. One of the deepest regrets I have is not taking full advantage of the snorkeling time we had.  Thirty feet down in clear blue water, with mountain like reefs and multiple colorful fish.  It was a wonder of ‘other world “ish” ness.’

  Even on land we could wade out into the ocean and see magnificent colored sea life.

 After three days of basking in shear natrual beauty we left Lady Elliot behind and made a stop at the small Natureworld Zoo.  Here I made friends with this Rock Python, but as soon as he started moving around my shoulders, our relationship was over! The finger is pointing in disbelief, “I have a snake around my neck!”

We petted koala’s and fed kangaroo’s, and so far the trip has been too wonderful to describe. There is much more to come, but that is for another day.

It was certainly a “Holy cow, how did they do that” kind of a vacation.  Thanks Harry and Linda. We are so appreciative of what you did to make this all possible and especially thankful that you were, after all your hard work, able to join us for the last two weeks of a never in my wildest dream come true vacation.

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2 thoughts on “Holy Cow, how did they do that?

  1. Fun post! Australia would be an amazing place to visit. But not everyone has the ingenuity to get there the way you did. 🙂

  2. One of the many true blessings in my life. People asked what was our favorite place to visit, hard question to answer but Australia always makes it into the top three.

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