Category Archives: Trips

Our travels.

Wow are we behind…

It’s been about six weeks since we’ve updated this thing and a lot has happened. Ill summarize in this post and I’ll elaborate in later posts. Or maybe we’ll just see how it goes.

Since the the last post on the Koala Sanctuary we’ve been pretty busy:

House Boat Extravaganza! Our nice friends Josh and Beck in Brisbane invited us on their house boat trip. I think it was four days and three nights on a boat off the Gold Coast. It was quite awesome. We putted around the water, jumped off the boat and swam, fished a little, sat in the sun, read, relaxed, partied, drank too much, etc, etc. Very nice time. Check out some pics here.

Frasure Island.  The weekend after the house boat trip, P and I went camping with our friends Loche and Rebi. We went to Frasure Island which is a large natural island off the coast and a bit north of Brisbane. The island can only be accessed via ferries and only 4x4s are worthy of traversing the wild-at-times terrain. There are no paved roads on the island so be the best way to get around is to wait for low tide and cruise down the shoreline. You can go quite fast, almost like a highway, but even at these speeds it takes several hours to get from the southern end to the northern tip. All access inland is via very soft and bumpy off road trails. They definitely require a proper four wheel drive and a little know-how. The beaches were fantastic, as long as the eye can see, bright blue, soft light sand everywhere. We were on the sea facing side of the island and the surfs were pretty intense at time. Inland is a rain forest with several fresh water lake. Lake McKenzie is a famous freshwater lake with crystal clear blue water. It was pretty crowded when we went, but fortunately we found another lesser known lake that was just as nice and we practically had it to ourselves. On the way out we had to travel for a few hours along the beach at low tide just like we came in. Except this time we somehow miscalculated beause the tide was coming in fast on us. Its very dangerous to get caugh in a tide because the water will wash the sand out from under the car very very fast and you’ll be sunk up to your bumps in seconds. So it was a pretty mad dash out of there, splashing through waves, driving as fast as we could, flying over bumps, etc. But luckily we made it just in time and lived to tell the tale. Another fun bit is that Rebi is Swiss so Priscilla got to jibber jabber in Swiss with her all trip long. P doesn’t get to practice to often with people other than her Mom so she had a lot of fun. I’m sure they’ll stay in touch. In fact, Rebi is in Melbourne now in school so we’ll get together if/when we move down there. Here are more pics from the trip.

Before we left Lizzi arranged a nice going away dinner for us at a Chinese place in the valley. It was great! Many thanks to Lizzi who’s been such a great friend to us.

Let’s see… So then we flew back to the US to see our families for the holidays. P and I flew together to LAX and then we each flew to our family’s cities to stay for xmas. I flew into RDU and stayed with my brother and his fiancee in Chapel Hill for a bit and then to Goldsboro where my folks live. P went to Ottawa with her family to see their relatives for xmas and then went home to Fairfax. P’s driving down to Goldsboro and should be here tomorrow to stay for the week so that’ll be nice. I have some excellent Goldsboro day trips planned for us. 🙂 Yes, one is going to the SuperWalmart at 2am.

Since we’re both unemployed, our plan now is to stay in the US until one of us lands a job somewhere. I’m still working on the Bosch job in Melbourne. Theyre on a hiring freeze and are trying to add head count to hire me. So have a tentative verbal offer from them, but that doesn’t really mean much. We’re hoping to work things out in mid Feb. If that goes as planned, P and I will then move to Melbourne which would be very awesome. However, we need plan Bs so we’re also applying for jobs in other places we’d like to live like Boston and maybe Colorado somewhere.

Speaking of Boston, I went up there for a week last week to visit PJ for New Year’s. It was awesome. I hadn’t been to Boston before and its a really cool city. I liked the hole-in-the-wall pubs, the history, the architecture, the people, etc. Really nice. While i was up we went to a few parties, went to a few bars (including a sing-a-long piano bar), toured the Science Museum, site saw, etc. We went to the oldest restaurant in the US, the Old Union Oyster Bar. It first opened in 1826 and is still going today famous for their chowder. I must say a beer and a nice clam chowder on a freezing cold day was perfect! I think that even though the cold sucks, it makes everything else better. Like coming home from the cold is better than just coming home. Eating a nice dinner after being out in the cold is even better. Drinking beer is twice as nice when its cold out. Here are some pics. I’m still adding more as i process them.

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Hi folks,

Just a quick update here so I don’t get too behind.

Last weekend we went to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane. They have a lot of Koalas, kangaroos, and a few other animals like a sheep (with sheep dogs like Madi!), a croc, birds, dingos, etc. Check out pics of all of them here.

This weekend we’re heading off on a house boat with some friends. Should be AWESOME. I’ll report on that later. Unless i fall off the boat in a drunken stupor and drown… or get eaten by a shark… or get left at a remote dock…

SeaWorld and the Beach

Last weekend P and I decided to rent a car and drive down to the Gold Coast. The Gold Coast is famous for its beaches, but there is also a SeaWorld there. So of course P insisted we go and see the dolphins. 🙂

It was nice. We saw the dolphins and other animals sea animals. They had the shark tank aquarium, sea lions, some pelicans, i dunno that sort of stuff. We also rode a couple roller coasters, and watched some shows. There is a gallery uploaded to flickr that you can see to the right. We also go to watch some little kids doing their ‘swim with the dolphins’ thing. There were only a few people around so i was cool to watch the trainers, kids, and dolphins interact outside of a big show. The kids had fun and the dolphins seemed to be sort of patient and good with the kids. They reminded us of our dog Madi. 🙂  It wasn’t super huge so we were done after five hours or so.

Here’s a link to our flickr SeaWorld gallery.

We still had a few hours of daylight so we went down the coast a bit to Surfer’s Paradise which is a popular beach and city/town. We for whatever reason didn’t bring bathing suits so we ran through the city a bit and found some. Then rushed to the beach. It was a pretty nice beach, but the waves were pretty wild. The lifeguards had only a small area bouy’ed off to swim in so it was pretty packed with people. The water was nice, but waves were quite big. We got sucked under, thrashed around, and spat out near the shore a few times. It was fun though and you could body surf really well. There were so many people though that people were running into each other a lot.  So that wore us out after a short bit and then we laid on the beach for awhile. It was nice.

This has been a crappy post, but i figure a quick something is better than nothing.

Melbourne

Last weekend I was in Melbourne for a job interview and to see my old friends from NC State Josh and Bethany who moved there a few years ago.

The job interview at Bosch went really well I think. In short, the position is for a test driver to evaluate and calibrate ABS, traction control, and stability control systems in cars. I think I nailed the technical stuff and that we all got along great. It seems like an amazing job and a great place to work. Hopefully I’ll hear something next week. This weekend is a holiday (Melbourne Cup) so they’ll be out of the office most of the week.

I also met up with Josh friday night. Melbourne is a really nice city so he showed me around a bit and we found some tasty food in china town. Afterwords we went to a small bar that was about 3-4 stories up a small staircase. It was basically a patio on a rooftop. It was really cool and Josh bought me an absynth. *kissy face*

I slept on their couch and the next morning we got up and had breakfast at a cafe/bistro on the beach right near their apartment. It was a nice way to start the day. Then we went exploring downtown for a bit. We saw the markets (including a pretty wild meat market) and wondered around for a bit. Then i took the train to the airport and I was off.  It was nice to see ol Josh and Bethany again.

Its Been a Month!

So its been a bit, about a month actually.  I guess the novelty of blogging is wearing off. But we’ve done a few things since the last update so updated you shall become.

Lets see. The Thursday after the “Wild Weekend” we met our friends Whitney and Aaron for Sushi at South Bank. That’s a strip across the river from us that has some cafes on the river, a little beach, some forests to walk through, and an ampitheater. Further down is the QPAC which is the big theater in Brisbane. W&A are Americans who we met through Julie while she was here. They lived in Texas and San Francisco and are cool folks.

The next day our friend Lizzy (a real Australian, woot!) invited us to her house for a party. It was a lot of fun and we met a lot of her friends. They were all good folks and we had a fun time. We grilled some food, got fairly drunk, got into some friendly discussion on American politics, and all was merry. There was even some dancing that was unlikely to be remembered.

The following weekend we had dinner at Whitney and Aaron’s. Whitney made a baked chicken dinner that was good. It reminded us that we need to do something here for Thanksgiving. We’ll probably get together with some people and make our own Thanksgiving in Australia.  After dinner we played some pretty serious Wii. Easy its not, I lost most of the games. 😦

Last weekend we rented a car and drove up to Redcliffe which is basically a small beach/fishing town in Moreton Bay (home of the bay bug!).  It was kind of small and boring, but the weather was great and we just sort of hung around the beach and the piers. I took my camera and got some pretty good pics. I’ll add them to this post later.  We also had a really great dinner right on a fishing marina. I of course got the “bay bugs”.

Bay Bug!

Bay Bug!

Yum! Its basically a lobster with no claws. and yeh, those are the eyes on the far front outsides of the head. You just eat the tail like a lobster tail. They’re pretty good. I took a pic of my dinner plate and i’ll add it soon. Priscilla had a combo platter that was great as well. Everything was caught fresh that day.

Oh and renting the car was fun, too. So this is the second time i’ve driven a right hand drive car on the “wrong” side of the road. It got a lot easier this time and by the time we got home I was pretty used to it. Its crazy, but seeing US roads on TV now almost seems wrong!

Sometime in the past few weeks we also went to the Power House a couple times and went to a BBQ that Whitney and Aaron had. They went to a brewery where you bottle you own beer and they got a batch of 150 beers. The BBQ was to help them drink it all. It wasn’t half bad!

Oh and I’m writing this on my spiffy new Macbook Pro. Yep, “I’m a Mac” now. A major new revision just came out so i picked up a clearanced old model. Luckily the new changes are mostly superficial so this baby still runs quite nicely. I just realized that this is the first computer i’ve ever bought in my life. Wow. I’ve always had either family computers or computers that I’ve built with random upgraded parts every couple years.

Well so the whole Mac thing is going pretty well. I can choose to boot up into Windows XP if i want so i can still access Windows if need be. But really, i haven’t found a good reason to yet. It runs great, is really stable, and has some really smart and useful features. I can run a Windows XP virtual machine (VMWare Fusion) inside of MacOSX that runs faster than our old native Windows laptop. muhaha.  Maybe I’ll make a post just on this later.

This coming Thursday I’m flying to Melbourne for a job interview at Bosch. Its for an Application Engineer job in the Vehicle Chassis Division. The job is working with ABS, Traction Control, and Electronic Stability Systems on new cars. Part of the job is test driving! The job description actually requires high performance driving experience. The job is PERFECT for me. I don’t want to get all excited and jinx myself so i’ll leave it at that for now.

We have friends from college in Melbourne so I’ll be checking in with them Friday night for Halloween. It’ll be good to see them again and it’ll be fun to see the city. I hear its really really nice.

-Dan

Australia Zoo

So the Saturday before last, we decided to check out the Australia Zoo. This is the zoo Steve Irwin created and setup. The zoo features almost entirely Australian wildlife and is designed to be “hands on”. The motto there is “If you interract with the animals, you’ll love the animals, and you’ll protect the animals” or something like that.

 

We saw some cool animals like otters, tazmanian devils, crocs, strange giant ostrich-like birds with blue heads [cassowary], echidnas, koalas, foxes, camels, and kangaroos. And there was also a kid’s petting zoo (P’s favorite) with baby cows, pigs, and goats. There were some six week old piglets there that were pretty cute (Dan’s favorite).

We did the usual zoo thing wandering around when it was finally time to go to the kangaroo area.  We went in through a giant double gated entrance and stopped… there was a kangaroo like right there! No fence or ditch or anything. No one else was around and we weren’t sure what to do. Are they nice? Do they punch people? Are we supposed to try and touch them? It was basically a really big area, a few acres, or open grass and trees and hills with a river winding through it. And all around were kangaroos hanging around. Interesting. So we decided to sneak up to the kangaroo and try to touch it. Priscilla slowly krept up talking to it softly, etc and finally worked up the courage to touch it. It didnt even flinch. So she worked her way up to petting it and it turns out it was pretty laid back and friendly so I went over and petted it to. Cool.

Then we noticed over on the next hill that there were like 2 toddler kids yelling and running up to a kangaroo. He didnt budge. They petting him and poked him, etc and he didn’t seem phased a bit. So apparently this is the norm and we weren’t Kangaroo whisperers after all. 

So we wandered around petting various kangaroos and watched them walk and hop around. Then we came across an ‘safe area’ where the kangaroos can go hang out and people can’t go. There we saw a few kangaroos with joeys! It was funny because they were just laying around w/ two little back legs sticking out of their pouches. Finally after some waiting we got so see a joey hop out and playing around for a bit. Then the mom stood up which must have been the signal to hop back in because the joey just hopped and dove right into the pouch. Not gentle at all. Ha. 

We have a lot more pics of all the animals and I’ll add them as a gallery in this post later on.

-Dan


Noosa Head

So this past Friday Julie, Priscilla, and I drove about 1.5 hours north to Noosa Head. Noosa Head is a national park that is known to have a few Koalas hanging around.  Theyre pretty rare and hard to spot, so our mission was to find one!

We rented a car early that morning and after figuring out why the car wouldnt start (we were in the wrong car, ha) we were off.

Basically there are a few trails at the park and you hike along them and see what there is to see. We hiked for almost four hours and saw………

Koala!

Koala!

He was just chilling up in the tree sleeping. Didn’t even crack an eye lid at us. Here are a lot more pics:

It was a nice trip and the beaches were fantastic. The water was pretty cold, but it was crystal clear and nice and blue.  Best of all the place was practically deserted. While there we saw a pod of dolphins right off the shore, the koala, two lizards fighting, and even some kangaroos on the drive home.

Speaking of which, i drove home and it was my first “wrong side of the road” experience. It was pretty bizarre and even at the end of the 1.5 hour drive home, I was having trouble staying in my lane. You’re so used to yourself being in the left side of the car and thus the left side of the lane.. So when swapped you want to drift off left out of your lane.  Its a lot harder than it sounds!

-Dan