Sydney, February 10-12, 2018
International travel always amazes me. Friends, family, whomever, can just converge on an agreed upon city... on the other side of the world and just “meet up.” Cort and Brett did the VRBO thing in Sydney and shortly after a reasonable flight. (Reasonable has nothing to do with length of flight, FYI) we were climbing out of a taxi and magically, Cort and Brett were greeting us at the condo entrance. Nice.
We stayed in the beach community of Bondi and Cortney assured us that the “right” body/time clock sync process was to stay awake until normal, local bedtime. In no time we were street hiking to the Opera House, viewing the infamous harbor and bridge and cursing our winter softened feet as our summer sandals took their toll. Dinner in Bondi came with entertainment as we watched surfers, skateboarders and took in the “beach” community vibe of this chic Sydney neighborhood.
Manly Beach, the following day, demanded the rental of boogie boards and umbrellas to immerse ourselves in the saltwater and sandy beach fun. Winter felt like a very distant friend.
So long big city, hello beach town. Noosa, February 12-16, 2018
A short flight to Brisbane had us meeting up with Brett’s brother David and picking up our rental Van that would provide us our transportation for the rest of the trip. Left side driving and right side steering wheel encouraged us to select the full coverage insurance option for the van. Driving quickly became a “team” effort with the passenger repeating the mantra of “Lefts are easy, rights are hard... stay left” at every course change we needed to make. Brett and I adapted to the driving faster then we did the turn signal being on the “wrong” side of the steering wheel. We kept a running count of the number of times the windshield wipers were engaged to signal an upcoming turn. Endless amusement for the peanut gallery.
Traveling with smart, well read and engaging thirty somethings, provided provocative conversation with valuable perspectives exchanged. Never a dull meal. It was awesome getting smarter as we traveled.
An hour or so north of Brisbane, we settled in a wonderful rental a few blocks from the most incredible beach near Noosa. Endless sand... endless beach... endless waves and we could swim, body surf, boogie board, surf, play cricket (yea, we did that) walk and just chill. We just couldn’t get out of the sun... opps. No shock, our 50 SPF protected us like, well, 10 SPF in the water and surf. Red was the color and everyone participated in our sacrifice to the skin cancer gods. Ouch. But it turns out they have surfing hats for guys that are folic-ally challenged. But who knew, as we headed further north the sea had some critters that would keep us either land bound or completely covered up in the water. The locals call them stingers, but you might know them as Jelly Fish. “Caution you may die.” Yup, these bad boys are just one of the species that Australia can throw at you to keep you on your toes.
Never the less, we enjoyed 4 days of beach bliss in Noosa.
We needed to head north to prepare for some sailing, but David, the elder Kopf brother, decided to head for Melbourne as we made our way to the Captain Cook named, “Whitsundays Islands” with a brief stop in MacKay. Then there were 4.
Australia has some interesting, rugged, four wheel drive vehicles running around and our drive to MacKay allowed us to understand the necessity of some of their unique features. Many of the 4WD SUVs have snorkels... they look pretty cool, but we honestly thought they were mostly for show. Who needs the engine to breath 6.5’ off the ground? Who would take an expensive SUV into that deep of water? On purpose? As it turns out maybe the Australians on the road don’t have much choice.
Making our way to MacKay we kept seeing elaborate road signs (like in Colorado... blah, blah pass is open) stating this road is “open.” Why would they close? There never is any snow. Then the rains came and the purpose of these signs came into complete focus. Wind, rain, lightning and even more rain. Soon there was enough water on the road to keep the tires from making firm contact with the road surface. We slowed down, but the massive semi tucks drove like they were immune from the laws of physics. Lightning was as frequent as the waves of rain... it was then we noticed these obscure measuring sticks on the side of the road near the ditches. Small marks evenly distributed up to 2 meters... holy shit. Why didn’t we rent a truck with a snorkel?
Brett and I shared the tense drive as we seemed to pace the speed and direction of the storm perfectly. Never a dull moment. The hotel in MacKay was a welcome sight.
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Denny and Lauri