We had the delightful privilege of having a few of our friends come to visit us here in Australia. It is such a long way to travel so it was always a bit of an amazement to see someone from across the world, over here. Ironically, several of those visitors were born in Australia but since moved away!
Rick and Diane Scott
Our first visitors – these world travelers “popped in” to visit us while they were on this side of the world. They really enjoyed going into the city on the ferry.
Denise is our Aussie friend from Canada. She grew up around Sydney, but had never been to Brisbane, so when she arrived at the Brisbane Airport, it was like she was a true tourist. She has the Australian fun loving spirit, so we had a blast eating, exploring, and especially heading into the ocean.
Fun story about Denise. We originally vacationed in Hawaii with her and her husband many years ago in ~1997, shortly after we met them. We had a lot of fun “boogie boarding” in the ocean there, and it was a lot of fun to pull out the same boogie boards and jump into the waves here.
Our son, Micah, was here to visit for several weeks in 2014, but he deserves his own post. Onward…
It was interesting, but delightful, that one of our house-guests was Elena, a good friend of our son, Micah. And, she is our friend too!
Phil and Nadine Jones
Our dear friends from Calgary stayed with us for a third of their Australian tour. We so enjoyed spending time with them and the time just flew by.
It is spring when Phil and Nadine visit, and Jacarandas are in bloom. We take pictures of them from the water and we pull over the car on occasion, too.
We meander around the city on Queen Street in the CBD, looking for some souvenirs. I think Phil found something.
We did some trips out of the city to go see Tamborine in the Hinterlands. It wasn’t our most successful outing as the the driving bit (which I did) was fraught with mistakes, causing a lot of delays. But we did manage to do the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk. There are many rainforests in this side of Australia. They always include tall trees and vines – especially Strangler Vines (see description below).
Giant strangler figs are the most spectacular trees of this rainforest. The enormous Moreton Bay Fig, the Deciduous Fig, and Small leaved Fig are common here.
The strangler fig begins life in the rainforest canopy. After a bird, possum, or flying fox has eaten the fig fruit, the seed is excreted on to the branch of other host trees. The new fig’s roots take nutrients and water from the air and slowly grow down the sides of the host tree until they reach the ground. Over hundreds of years the fig tree’s roots envelop the host tree which eventually dies from competition for sunlight, moisture, and nutrients. As the host tree rots away, all of its nutrients are funneled down the hollow interior of the fig tree which can then grow into the largest tree in the forest. The hollow center is slowly filled with more descending roots which merge to produce a solid trunk.
We also did a little meander through the town, including a wine tasting, and a fun look at some of the displays for the Scarecrow festival.
North Stradbroke Island
North Stradbroke Island is one of our favorite places to go. From our house we travel a 1/2 hour to Cleveland where we take a ferry over to the island and then a bus across the island to Point Lookout where we do an absolutely scenic hike down to Main Beach. North Stradbroke Island is the second largest sand island in the world! The first largest is Fraser Island, north of Brisbane, but too far away to travel to as a day trip.
We look down on Main Beach, impressed with the waves and the miles and miles of beach. However, once we get there, it really isn’t suitable to swim since the current is very strong and there are Bluebottle stingers present.
Along the way down to the beach, we see a mother kangaroo with a joey in her pouch. A few steps later we come across another mommy kangaroo, with a more “teenage” joey. They are quite accustomed to people and let us come within feet of them.
Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo
I’m going to do a separate post for the Zoo, but here are a few pictures specific to our time spent there with the Joneses.
We began with food, and we end with food as we take Phil and Nadine to George’s Paragon for some seafood. As usual, either Ed or I order the fried baby octopus. An interesting side note to eating in Australia. Almost every meal comes with fries and a certain amount of lettuce is on every plate, including breakfast.
We went to Australian Zoo as well with Phil and Nadine, but the zoo deserves its own post.
Mark, Pamela, and Daniel Ferretti
The year is drawing to a close and our final guests are the Ferrettis. Mark and Pamela are Australian, but living in Mongolia, where they work as missionaries. They are our guests for a few days before they fly back to Mongolia from their time of leave here in Australia. One of the fun things that we did was to go on the ferry so we could go do some sightseeing. Daniel wanted to see the cruise ship that was docked and then we went into the CBD.
See you later!
As with every visit, it ends all too quickly, and our friends return to Canada. We look forward to seeing all our friends again when we get back, but in the meantime, it was lovely that you visited.