Friday, January 29, 2010

The beautiful side of Auckland city - view from Davenport.
The lovely Josephine and the Sky Tower in background!
Our Cercol ride to the bus , Canberr
Cute fluffy Otis!

Jo gets used for bicep curls !
Australia day Eve Concert , Alicia and Michael
Australia Day at the lake

The biggest merino in the southern hemisphere!
Australia Day Eve concert! Canberra

The fantastic cyclone weather!
Josephine Creek adn the Falls

Jo recovering after her first ever dive the scariness of which was added to by the jelly fish sting (hence icepack!) and the cyclone outside!
A crocodile head fossilised!
us swimming at Milla Milla falls (not quite spelt rigth!)

The very random farmer and his cow!
Curtain Fig tree
The cool fossil mobile!

Jo hard at work in the mango winery we visit!
Jo of the Jungle!
The lovely cyclone weather in Cairns
Possible Australia day outfits!!

Jane of the Jungle, Road kill Cairns and the beautiful coast north of Cairns, pity about the weather!

Ukulele and Canberra Blue!

Dinner with the Spencer clan, Spencer clan household (note the Canberra blue sky in background!!) and picnic in the Botanic Gardens!

Not usually into bikes but the sound of this is kinda exciting!!

Our day for aspin on nathan's Harley
Father Ted llokalike caravan in the museum!
Phar Lap's heart - weighs 6.5 kilos!
Some future Australian medal winners training at Australian Institute Sport - tried to get some sneaky tips!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mum - the sunbeam blender is just for you - found this in a cupboard in the museum in Canberra - reminded me of baking with oyu in the 80's!!
Autralian National Museum
Jo and I riverdancing outside the Irish embassy in Canberra
Parliament House

Jo and I doing some serious conferring in the parliament house!
Canberra - ACT and us and the Spencer boys!

Canberra - the "organised" city!!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Back on the road!

Happy New Year everyone and welcome back to the antics of Jo and Jane! It's been a very long time since I sat at a computer nad wrote this so forgive me if it all sounds a bit rushed - theres a lot to record but I'll try keep it short and sweet!
So we successfully got to Sydney and seems missed the heat waves as we were greeted with some cloud and rain and according to the locals wintery weather at 23 degrees! Although from the reports coming form home this was a sever heat wave compared to what you guys were getting! We were very excited to be in a home with family friends and little things like having a clean bathroom, a duvet and a fridge were very comforting. We nearly had heart failure when Bess brought us to the supermarket and we realised that there was a whole section just of hummous and you could get goat's milk, gluten free bread and protein powder ( the last 3 items were more exciting to me incase you think Jo's gone food weird too!) So about an hour later after wandering around the supermarket admiring nad oohing nad ahhing at food products we hadnt seen in over 4 months we made our way tot he checkout where we nearly had heart failure again when she told us how much it was going to cost - huge reality check - we were no longer on South America prices!

The countdown was on before Adam arrived so a trip to the beauty salon and the hairdresser was called for , way too much money and hours later I emerged form the hairdressers no longer what I would call blonde and with at least 4 inches less of hair- this was very upsetting but the man in the hairdressers told me this was the only option to save my disgraceful sun bleached, salt and chloring dried out hair. I trusted his judegemnt but the end result was not so cool. Anyway Im living with it and hoping the sun will do its work again but this time maybe not quite so much drying out!
Anyway hired a car and made my way to the airport and stood checking flight arrival boards for waht seemed like an eternity. Worried Adam would no longer like me with short brownish hair I made a sign for him on recycled A4 paper using my mini sharpie -I hoped this touch of affection would win me some favour! What seemed like forever later I saw a very white Adam appear through the doors and I ran right past the "dont go past this line" red line trying to wipe my tears of excitement at the same time as jumping up and down and trying to unfold my by now very crumpled welcome sign (If Love Actually had been auditioning for extras for the scene at Heathrow arrivals I would defintiely have got a part) (That will make no sense if you havent seen the movie!) So 5 and half months later I got to see my man again and thank you Mum and Dad for the best Christmas present!

Poor Adam was given no chance ot settle in and get over hte jet lag as we drove straight up the coast to visit some friends form the Macchu Picchu trek and Adam got straight into Aussie life as he was assigned to BBQ duties at the lake. Had a great few days up there and then back down to Sydney for Christmas day. Managed to get in a swim before the rain came down - very disappointing to have rain on my first ever Southern Hemispher Christmas but the Homan family made up for it with delicious food and great company. The day involved a lot of food, wine, the unusual addition fo Harvery Wallbanger cocktails and the traditional board game. Al in all an excellent Christmas but the family at home were dearly missed. Christopher and Leahs happy news at the end of the day made it all the more a very special Christmas!

On St.Stephen's Day we rented a car - again! and headed off in the torrential rain on the long drive down to Melbourne where the sun was shining! Stayed at our friends apartment there (thanks Jon and Blu!) and made hte most of our days there with some lovely coastal runs and drives, beaches and city tours and ofcourse a meal on Lygon Street!
Back up to Sydney a few days later and New Year's Eve was celebrated at the Asian themed party at Andrew and Suzannas (thanks guys for great food and company!) and we had spectacular views of the fireworks without having to go right into the city, what more could you ask for!
After New Years myself and Adam headed up to Hunter Vaslley for a couple of nights - we should have shares in car rental companies by now! Stayed in these amazing log cabins in the middle of bush land, with kangaroos out our front door! Organised to hire a tandem to do vineyards the next day bt ofcourse it lashed rain so we had to cancel that and settle for driving. We were a bit concerned about wine tasting and drigin but according to the owner as long as we stayed off the main road wed be fine - you wouldnt get aaway with that at home! So several wineries , chocolate shops, olive groves, gelato stands and cheese shops later we arrived back to the cabin very full and with a lot of wine in toe! A highly recommended place ot go and great accomodation.

On January 3rd we moved next door from John and Bess in Sydney to the neighbours who we would be house and dog sitting for for the next 2 weeks - a 3 bedroom house and a pool all in exchange for feeding 2 finches and looking after a very cute dog - not a bad deal for backpackers!! So we explored the city basing oursleves there,had high tea in the Opera House (thanks Mum and Dad - again!)went out fishing on John's boat (where we managed to survive the freak waves while crossing the mouth, the 3 Manly ferries and the enormous amount of boats racing around the harbour), surfed in Manly, walked the coast from Coogee to Bondi, Coogee to Maroubra and Spit to the city , all great walks - Mum and Dad you'd love the Fore shore walk - lots of cofffee stops enroute!! Put it on the lost for to dos for next month! Got ot meet up with lots of emigrated friends and all in all had a fab time in Sydney area. Poor Adam got dragged around a few jewellers searching for the perfect pink diamond and a few days later we celebrated the find with a cupcake and coffee (Wendy and Ian your voucher was used for this occassion - promise Ill get onto emailing the coffee stop pics soon!) Our last day in Sydney we spent doing a self-made aquathon (what else would you spend your last hours in Sydney doing when you're engaged to Adam!!) But what other city can you run out of your door, across the Sydney Harbour bridge, have a swim for 3 euro in an Olympic sized outdoor swimming pool with views of the bridge and Opera House and then eat in one of the endless eateries in the city - I will be getting onto immigration very soon asking them for 2 entry passes to this amazing country!

So the day had finally come when Adam had to come home. We had been blessed with an extra week together because of the airport closures and stuff at home so we couldnt really complain! After a re-packing and throw out session at check-in (poor Adam was at least 15 kg overweight cus all my stuff I was making him bring home!) we made our way ot the gates and got quite a few strange looks as we said goodbye ( this was mainly because in the sad and teary moment I completely forgot I still had my new ring on - I was miliking wearing it until the very last minute but it was too precious to backpack with so was going home with Adam).. So the scene looked a little like this - 2 people hugging and crying at the departure gate followed by me trying to pull off my now very tight due to swollen fingers engagement ring and hand it back to Adam as he went through the gates. Reckon we looked like a classic engagement over scene!

2 hours later I boarded the bus at the airport where Jo already onboard from Sydney central greeted me with a cheer up chocolate croissant (good call Joker!) and we were on our way to Canberra where we were goingto spend 2 nights with some friends we met in Hawaii. When telling people we were going to CAnberra the usual response is 'Why?' ! However Canberra with its Canberra Blue sky and 34 degrees heat and very organised buildings is actually much nicer than youd expect it to be form all the negative you hear about and it has the biggest Australian Institute of Spport which was a very exciting visit! Thanks to the Spencer clan we had a very fun packed 2 days there visiting all 3 major sights in the city, picnicing in the Botanic Gardens, riding Hasrleys, learing to skateboard and enjoying the nearest homecooked food to Mums I've tasted since we left in July! We had such a great time and it was sucha nice feeling to be part of a family again that we are taking up the invite to join them all there again for Australia day!

Myself and Jo are now in Cairns battling through the cyclone at sea weather! It has been raingin torrentially here everyday but we arem aking hte most of it. We hored a car, drove up to Port Douglas, got rained on, stayed one night then did a self tour of hte Atherton Tablelands. We walked through rainforests, swam under waterfalls, visited dairy farms and mango wineries and laughed hilariously at a cow hangin in a winch by a tractor at hte side of the road - Ill pit up pics soon and that will explain it more!! From there it was back to Cairns where we went out on the reef yesterday. Between Jo and her fear of boats and fish and me with my not so good sea legs we wernet overly excited when they told us that the boat was still goign out event hough there wwas a cyclone out tere and it was going to be very rough! However we took our only chance ot visit the reef as we are leaving tomorrow and hopped on board. A bit anxious as to whether we should eat the free breakfast we risked the chance that everybody on board might see it again very soon! Thankfully the motion sickness tablets and ongoing popping of ginger tablets onboard saved the day and miracoulsly neither of us were at all queasy the whole trip and it was ROUGH!!

The trip we were on included a free intro dive. I took the chance with my ears and Jo faced her fears and soon we were in the water, tanks on back and regulators in mouths and hanging on to the steps of a very rocky boat! I hjeld on toght to Jo's hand and soon we were down under the water swimming around like mermaids. The hand signals were very entertaining and we tried not to laaugh too much so our masks wouldnt leak! Jo played a stormer and was soon being the liitle mermaid deep below as I unfortunately had to retire early due to ear pain and didnt want to risk perforatign my ear drum especially with a flight in a couple days. We saw some amazing fish and coral and a big reef shark and enjoyed being mermaids for the day! Had to leave reef early to avoid incoming cyclone but back on terra firma now and off to Canberra tomorrw. Chat soon, love ot all xoxox