Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Kangaroos Guaranteed

The holidays can be a tough time when you're living abroad and separated from the festivities going on at home. It's the season when I miss my family the most. It's especially bizarre living in Australia because all of our friends back home are posting pictures of snow while here it's the middle of summer. Kind of makes it hard to get into the Winter Wonderland holiday spirit.

Luckily, Drew's parents and sister, Annette, visited us in late November. I can't tell you how wonderful it was to have them in town over Thanksgiving. We even managed to find a turkey to bake!

It was their first time in Australia so we were determined to show them the best that this country had to offer. I think we succeeded.

They hadn't been off the plane for more than one hour before we showed them the local wildlife. As you can see in the picture below, this kangaroo was having a rest (which I'm sure our guests wanted to do after traveling over 26 hours to get here!).

While they were here, we took them to one of our favorite places in Australiathe Great Barrier Reef. It was stinger season (AKA, deadly jellyfish were in the waters) so we had to wear head to toe stinger suits to protect ourselves. Despite looking more than a little bit silly, we had a great time.
Me and Drew, or as his sister affectionately captioned this photo, "Snorkely love bugs"
For this trip, we traveled to an island called Low Isles, which is just a little ways off the coast of Port Douglas in Queensland. It was one of our best reef trips yet, gorgeous weather and the water was full of fish and beautiful coral. We also saw sea turtles and right before we jumped into the water, a blacktip reef shark swam by. (Luckily, The International Shark Attack File reports that there are no incidents of unprovoked attacks by blacktips on humans in Australia. And just as a side note, despite Australia's reputation as having a lot of shark attacks, the U.S. leads by a mile. In 2012, there were 42 unprovoked shark attacks on humans in the U.S. compared to only 14 in Australia.)
Heart-shaped piece of coral. 
Typically, on our snorkeling trips, we've seen mostly small fish. But here, there was a mix of tiny fish and very big fish. The fish in the picture below looks small, but he was bigger than my head!

While in Queensland, we also spent a day in Daintree Rainforest which is the oldest living rainforest on earth. Everyone enjoyed hiking along the boardwalk.
Drew and his parents, taking in the sights in Daintree Rainforest
Colorful rainforest butterly
And of course, we had to make a stop by the Daintree Icecream Company. It's a great concept. They serve four flavors at a timewhatever fruit is ripe and in stock. You don't have to chose between the four. They just give you a cup with a scoop of all four flavors. While we were there, the four flavors changed though. Despite having almost finished our first cups, we just had to try the other four flavors. In all, we tried coconut, banana, mango, wattleseed (which tastes a bit like coffee), jackfruit, soursop fruit, and passion fruit. Yum, yum. As we were leaving, we noticed that the land and the company were for sale. Since it has been owned by the same couple for over twenty years and there was a steady stream of customers, we reckoned that they were retiring and not that business was bad. For a few seconds, Drew and I considered how great it would be to live in the rainforest and own an ice cream company...

Towards the end of their visit, I took Annette to the coast near Canberra. We spent the afternoon at the beach and the morning at a wildlife center, petting kangaroos and koalas and spending an inordinate amount of time trying to get the cockatoos to talk to us.

My favorite part about their visit though was the way they filled our house with joy. It made me realize what we are missing by living a world away. I had fun watching Drew and Annette enjoy quality sibling time, teasing each other but also being supportive and sharing funny family stories.

Drew and his sister, enjoying the local flora
It was a whirlwind two weeks and we loved every minute of it. After their visit, I joked with Drew that we should open our own tour guide company. Our motto would be "Kangaroos Guaranteed on the First Day."

Oh, and the Great Australian Food Challenge we posted about a while back? Annette totally crushed it. In addition to eating everything on our list, she tried emu burgers and crocodile gumbo. And, she even liked vegemite!


  1. Sounds like an amazing visit. Very glad you were able to spend time with family. I think it is a dream I never knew I had to own an ice cream company in the rainforest! Hmm... Maybe I need to jump on this opportunity! : )

  2. You are amazing tour guides. Looks like an amazing trip.

    1. Love this Mandy!!! I wish we were still there, thank you guys again for being the most spectacular tour guides ever! "Kangaroos Guaranteed on the First Day" sounds like a very appropriate name :) I need to post the pics of all the foods I ate haha. Love you guys and miss you tons! xoxo


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