Hello a last time!
Almost time to say good bye…
Our final week was spent in Sydney. We have stayed in Marriotts, in the big cities, as this is Cory’s consistent hotel chain when he travels. The local here in the Circular Quay was as amazing as Brisbane (overlooking the Brisbane River and Story Bridge) with a view of the Opera House and harbour. Cory has spoiled us with our accommodations for sure! We arrived late (for traveling with little kids standards ha) so we quickly checked in and requested an easy dinner recommendation for our family. Our meal was delicious but we laughed as the concierge sent us to a restaurant where everyone was in business attire (ps I had sunscreen in my hair from being on the beach earlier in the day) and they didn’t have any high chairs. Oops! We made it home, got cleaned up and the room organized for the week. As you know it’s necessary with kids to be organized or you’ll never find anything. We are using our second double bed for luggage as Bea requested to stay in a crib and Teddy has floor space in his tent.
With two days left of our family of four vacation, we hit the sites the next morning. Starting with a pancake house in The Rocks area where Bea had smiley face with ‘mushrooms’ (she meant marshmallows) for eyes. 😉 We walked through The Rocks market where we found lots of fun goodies. It was a beautiful day so we rode the ferry to Manly Beach. The view didn’t disappoint from what a local had recommended for us….Opera House, Harbour Bridge and amazing houses and sail boats. We lunched by the boats and just soaked in all the surroundings including a couple of Indigenous men playing the didgeridoo. It quite intrigued Bea and Teddy! After naps we walked to dinner only to be reminded that it was Halloween. Only a small amount of Australians dress up for Halloween; and we found that in Sydney, they interpret it as make a zombie out of whatever costume you can think of with lots of red paint for blood. We decided this could potentially give Bea nightmares so we quickly found a restaurant off the beaten path. I got to witness a sweet fireworks show over the Opera House from our hotel window after the kids were down for the night. So Halloween did have a perk for us after all!
On our last full day of family vacation we were so thankful as it was sunny and warm enough to take it to the beach. We had an amazing time feeling ‘local’ and watching surfers. The big kids (aka adults) were far out on boards and the little kids (preteen boys) were close in body surfing. Teddy thought he was big enough to be in the water so we let him out just far enough to where the larger waves would get up to his waist. Well these waves were quite forceful and would’ve taken him out to sea had I not been gripping his arms. Every time the water hit him, he cackled! We continued to soak in Bondi Beach with lunch overlooking the ocean and a drive through it all on the way back to the hotel. Teddy and Bea both had worked so hard that they fell asleep on the short drive home.
On Monday Cory headed off to work, and subsequently arrived before anyone else in the office. We both were apprehensive about today as it had been such amazing quality time for our family but the real world does call. I was so off my game today! There are a few reasons. I’m in an unfamiliar city; I haven’t taken care of the kids alone for 31 days and my google maps wouldn’t work as I’m driving to a location that I didn’t realize had 0 parking. Ha Needless to say, Cory has spoiled me! When we finally arrived, we enjoyed the aquarium and wildlife park. The aquarium had a dugong (similar to our manatee) and lots of sharks to see. At the wildlife park, we enjoyed a beautiful butterfly exhibit and watching a crocodile being fed.
Tonight Cory was presenting at an event so the kids and I enjoyed a lovely dinner by the harbour and a walk down to the Opera House. We saw lots of patrons heading in for a play. It took me back to when Momma, Daddy and I attended a play there. I hope the play was better than the one we saw. 😉
Tuesday was a big day for Australia….the Melbourne Cup horse races. Even though we’re not in Melbourne, they take off work and watch the races at bars/restaurants. I was able to join Cory and his colleagues this afternoon to watch the races. It was such a treat to have a ‘date day’ in Sydney!
On our travels we have only tried one museum (where it had a train ride). Since it turned out well, I thought we’d have another go at the Australia Museum (oldest museum in the country). It is a natural history museum and had neat skeletons of all sorts of animals including dinosaurs. It would’ve gone over better had they not had sound effects. Bea heard the dinosaur sound once, covered her ears and said “can we go?” Oh mercy! The saving grace was an area called Kidspace where they had tons of plush, figurine and dress up animals to enjoy. For lunch we ate at the cafe in the museum and enjoyed a beautiful (though cloudy) view of St Mary’s Cathedral. On a much sunnier day, 11.5 years ago, I have a picture of Momma and Daddy sitting on the church steps; it was fun to flash back to picture that fun time!
After traveling a bunch, it’s good to take a down day. So the following day, we had a pj day with room service for breakfast, playing with our toys and watching some cartoons. I do believe it was a hit. We did finally get out of the hotel to meet a couple of Cory’s colleagues who had been so hospitable to us.
On our last full day in Australia, it was nice, sunny and hot so we took it to the zoo of course. It was a fun adventure even before we saw any animals. We rode the ferry to Taronga Zoo. The zoo is up on sort of a cliff so then we rode a gondola up to the entrance. It was super fun! We made our first stop to see koalas for the last time. It’s a big zoo with plenty of hills (some I had to run down as walking behind the stroller was harder work)! Next we found chimpanzees….many chimps including a couple babies. They walked in a group; when they stopped, one of the baby chimps was right in front of us. We had a blast watching him play! We saw two enclosures of elephants because the male is not too friendly. While the seal show was going on, we saw a personal show from one seal who continued to swim past us while we watched. Our giraffe and goat viewing was awesome because you could see the Sydney skyline just past the water. We saw a few silverback gorillas including a baby before Bea said she didn’t want to see anymore animals! Ha Off we go then! Back to the hotel to quickly pack and wipe off the sunscreen we had lathered on earlier that morning. We caught a flight back to Melbourne (business class…thanks Cory) and had our last sleep in Australia.
Bea and Teddy were amazing travelers…again! Teddy slept the majority of the long flight and Bea slept some and enjoyed a good handful of movies. Since she enjoyed those movies, we had a bit of a melt down in LAX; but, after a good rest in the stroller, she was good to go! We were delayed in LA which would’ve caused us to miss our connection in Houston. However, SWA pulls through again. They held the plane for us (and a few more people) as it was the last flight to Birmingham that evening. We were so glad! Side note, a story about Bea was in last month’s issue of the SWA inflight magazine.
Well, that’s it from the Minton’s Aussie adventures. Thank you for letting us share our wonderful time as a family exploring new destinations.
Cory, Millie, Bea & Teddy