Have you Missed us!!??

Trip Start Jan 23, 2010
Trip End Jan 29, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Sunday, June 19, 2011

Finally I have found a mini minute to update you on our travels!!

We have been to soooo many places, including a trip to the UK for the children and I - Fabio stayed behind to keep the money coming in!

Oh my goodness, I last left you in Melbourne - which we grew to LOVE!! The people here are some of the most friendly we have met on the trip.  They love their city and really were keen to help us tourists out whenever possible and from all walks of life.  Completely converted us, as we were not looking forward to coming here and let me tell you, we will return. A fantastic, vibrant, Australian city.

From there we headed along the coast the beautiful area of Lakes Entrance and Merimbula.  What a beautiful part of Victoria this is and a bit of a secret to be honest.  Because we had to be in Sydney for our trip to the UK , we only stayed a few days - we would have loved to have stayed more! 

Next, it was inland to Cooma where we met with Annette Howe - all of her family had popped back to Perth for family reasons and as Annette had work commitments, she had to stay.  Worked out a treat for us, as we did not have any winter clothes and so were able to borrow all theirs!! Especially important for our trip to Thredbo and up to Mount Kosciousko. Now this still strikes me as odd, we stayed at a camp site called "The Snowy Mountains Campsite" This is in AUSTRALIA!!!  SNOW???? 

Weird.... Anyway, Mount Kosciusko is the highest point in Australia at 2228m - It was cold!! The chair lift was awesome and still I couldn't believe that I was in Australia!! The children actually found some snow!!   There was a tiny bit in some areas of the mountain and they made the most of it!  Couldn't believe it, that the day we decided to go, so did the Wilson family from home in Doubleview, Perth.  We all caught up and promised to go to see them in Canberra. 

Canberra!  My goodness, our capital city is fabulous!  With so many things to do and see, the reputation of being 'boring' did not fit the bill.  It is very organised and you do certainly feel as though you are in the place where things get sorted out! 

We timed our arrival for Anzac day and the dawn service.  Who knew that I COULD get up and out at 4.30am!  It was the least we could do to pay our respects and it certainly was a very moving experience.

The War Museum we were told was a must see and it certainly had some great exhibitions. The tomb of the unknown soldier was again moving and I loved the fact that the Prime Ministers office window is in line with it - the idea being that as he/she makes decisions, they have the lives of our soldiers in their hands.

Another emotional moment was seeing ALL the names of those that have passed serving our country listed on the walls. None more so than the blank spaces that are under the 'War in Afghanistan' - knowing that more names are to be added is  a sobering thought.

However, I do feel as though there should be a warning on the door and possible a MA15+ as there certainly would be if it was a movie.  Leila was truly disturbed by the real footage of planes being shot down, knowing that the pilots died there and then.  Whilst children should know of our past - there could be a warning at least as this was a little too graphic for my daughter.

As promised we did catch up with the Wilson's AND also the Howe's in Canberra, both families from home back in WA - we all thoroughly enjoyed the company and strangley this is the second Easter in a row that we have spent with the Wilson's, both times unplanned and at different places around Australia!!  We even managed a pose in The House of Representatives - "Is that wrong??"

One of my favourite trips was out to the Deep Space Centre to see some of the massive sattelite dishes scouring our skies. The most famous of them being Deep Space 45, Originally constructed in 1965 at the Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station for the Apollo missions, this antenna received the first images of Neil Armstrong walking on the Moon. (Despite what the movie 'The Dish' would have you believe)

From Canberra we heading towards Sydney, staying in Penrith at the home of the beautiful Peacock family we spent time with on the trip.  This is where Fabio stayed whilst the children and I flew to England (separate blog to come!).  Before we left, we managed to visit the Blue Mountains and Sydney itself with the wonderful Opera House, Bridge and a trip to Manly on the Ferry, catching up with the gorgeous Maryce who is now running The Plate Restaurant in Darling Harbour.  Go say hello when your in Sydney.

We had a quick pop in to Newcastle to catch up with another family 'The Bells' - you may remember from our celebrations on the Melbourne Cup in the NT - we didn't stay long as we really want to find the warm weather and get back on the road again.  Soooo over the rain and cold! They do live close to the RAAF base at Williamstown and I was excited to see the Hornets and F18s zapping around the skies and even saw the Hornets land and four F18s take off - Takes my breath away!! "I feel the need for speed!"

The flooding in NSW has made us re route out to the County and Western capital of Tamworth, it was well worth it.  Didn't get to do any boot scooting, which with my coordination, probably a good thing!  Wanted to though!!

Coastal Australia is where our heart lives, BUT the inland rural towns are always a delight.   A trip along the Waterfall Wall towards Coffs Harbour was a discovery and again with all the rain, the waterfalls were certainly running.  We got to see Wallomombi Falls, which are the second highest falls in Australia and the beautiful Ebor Falls. 

This brings us to Coffs Harbour and we are finally heading to warmer weather and quite frankly this girl can't wait.  England was warmer than it's been here in the last couple of weeks - who knew!!?  (mind you, they say it's rained a lot since we left!)  So there will be a UK blog to come, but for now, we are heading to Queensland.....

I'll keep you posted!

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Tarnya Damen on

Hi Mandy, great to hear of your exciting travels and that you made it back to the UK with the kids, wonderful. Amazing all the people you are running into all around Australia! The travel diary is fab and the photos are even better, great to see you are all well. I am sure you have kept up to date with Kelly M, so not much really new to tell you, same old, same old. Boys are tall and getting taller by the day, Mitchell is 150cm now, and even Colton is 135cm. Happy birthday to Adam, his birthday is coming up soon. Love to all from the Damens.

Peter Howe on

Hey Fab family - great to see your blog, we havent done one since leaving for Perth. Will be back in Thredbo next week for skiing and then QLD where we hope to catch up with you again. Cheers Peter and family.

zia Antonietta on

My dears, I haven't forget all of you and I 'm watching all the beautiful places that you are running. A lot of compliments for your specially trip. I envoy you!
Sorry for my english and I don't write because I am a little lazy.
I am glade to know that your children are doing this beautiful experience.
You are too a nice family! I will write you again trough 10 days, after my came back from hight mountains of Italy. Hugs to everybody, aunty Tony

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