I found the war memorial very interesting – there was so much to see however, we ran out of time. A highlight was watching the lone Scot piper playing a lament at the tomb of the unknown soldier – very moving.
After a solemn afternoon we had dinner and raced to Telstra tower to catch the sunset. We were a little late and only caught the last light of the day, but it was still a great view.
Jan’s birthday called us back north to “Poo-castle”, as Alec likes to call it, so we went on a road trip that was adventure plus, but relaxation zero!
On the way up we discovered this amazing French patisserie at Lindfield, directly across from the station on the Pacific Highway. We were were driving north when we passed it, and decided to turn around to go back for cake, we didn’t think about how difficult it is to do such a basic maneuver on the Pacific Highway. It took us about 20 minutes to get back to the store – so note to anyone going here and overshooting the store, just park the car and walk back, no matter how far it is!
Window filled with goodies.
Cakes! I want them all …
Front counter filled with tasty things.
Close-up of the tarts we ate for breakfast.
This rabbit cookie was so tasty! Buttery without being overly buttery like shortbread. It was perfect to go with a milky tea or hot chocolate.
It was storming in Newcastle, so we stayed in most of the day, and head out to the centre of town for dinner. We didn’t book a table anywhere – BIG MISTAKE! Every single restaurant was packed, and the one we wanted to go to was booked out for the night.
Strolling back down the street we passed this little Thai place. It also looked busy, but being in the mood for Thai (or at least, I was!), we gave it a go. Even though this place too was completely packed out, they squeezed us in.
Benjamas Thai Restaurant
Alec and the birthday girl.
A whole page of vegetarian options – yay!
Cute table setting.
Busy, busy, busy!
Vege spring rolls. Light and delicious!
My vege pad see ew – amazing! The best Thai I have had in a long time.
Beef pad see ew for the carnivores.
Thai fried rice.
Satisfied and ready for cake!
We bought a mango cake from the patisserie as well – thick slices of mango layered over cream and sponge cake. OMG so delicious.
Our last day on the tropical island. I hadn’t even had a swim yet so the order of the day was water play.
After asking around we found out that there was some snorkeling to be done off the pier at low tide, so we filled in the morning with other water activities.
Canoeing around the island. We wanted to paddle to the island in the distance but were only allowed to go in a certain area. Staff members on speedboats were at the ready to stop any wanders trying to step foot in the island. That’s one of the annoying things about Club Med, so many rules!
Giving my waterproof camera case a workout.
In the pool practicing for netball. Shot!
The view back from the pier of the resort.
Under water. It was very cloudy with very poof visibility. I got freaked out by not being able to see anything and had to swim back to shore. I’m such a wimp!
The forbidden island.
We spent the afternoon reading and chilling out, then head off to the eighth hole on the golf course to watch the sunset.
The most beautifully situated golf course in the world?
Romance was in the air.
Nothing to do but watch the sun going down over tropical islands. Ahhh bliss.
Alec participates in a game where the object was to hit the ball close to the hole in the far distance. Nice swing Alec!
With no obligations today, we were free to relaaaax.
The view from our window.
I thought it would be a great idea for another bush walk – this time up to the top of the mountain on the island to admire the amazing view. It was about a 9km round trip, so it was a decent effort at exercise on another super steamy day.
Well worth the trek for the view.
And chilling out.
Little fellow who hitched a ride on Alec’s arm.
Drinking cocktails in the bar after our arduous climb.
The day started hot and humid, so we decided to go on a bush walk through the national park lands to see Coconut Beach. When we asked staff for directions, they looked at us with some puzzlement … which we later realised to be because they were wondering why we would want to trek though the bush on a day so humid most people didn’t leave the pool?!
The walk was beautiful. Extremely hot though, so we were sweating profusely after about five minutes of walking.
Cute bird – we saw them all over the island. They had cute little tail feathers that flicked up and down when they ran.
Lake with water lilies.
Finally, Coconut Beach!
It looks a lot more overcast here than it actually was.
Our walk was a bit longer than expected and we indulged a little too much at lunch – making us almost miss the wedding. A stressful half hour ensued where we washed sea salt out of our hair, threw on clothes, and ran up several hills in our party clothes to make the ceremony. We were on time, but were sweating a lot! On the plus side, if gave me a chance to try out my strategy with my new silver slingbacks that refuse to stay on. I bought some ribbon and tied them around the shoe – and they stayed on like a dream, even running – uphill!
The ceremony. Candice looking radiant with her new husband, Matt.
In front of the golf course following the ceremony, in a fit of romance.
After the 2pm ceremony there was a gap of three hours before the reception, so we went back to the room, showered again to remove the sweat, and relaxed. If felt much better getting dressed again in the cool early evening with plenty of time to spare.
The reception set up – all white candles and lace. Very pretty and elegant.
Cute little cupcakes.
Entry of the bridal couple.
Alec looking happy and relaxed.
Dessert tasting platter.
Us with Kat, one of Candice’s oldest friends, and Sarla, a friend from ACP.
No explanation needed. I can’t help myself.
Alec wonders why it took so long for the flash to go off.
My dear friend Candice decided to get married on Lindeman Island in the Whitsundays, Queensland.
Candice and I have been friends for almost eight years. We met in a Latin hip-hop class at the beginning of 2001 and have been close ever since. When the call came in that Candice was getting married, on a tropical island, at first we thought it would be way out of our price range. Luckily, Candice’s family managed to get us amazing deals to stay, so we were able to go to the wedding.
Hello tropical islands!
We had a stop over on Hamilton Island for a few hours before our ferry left for Lindeman. Not much to do when you’re just stopping over, so we had some ice-cream and vegged.
Happy day! Love going on holidays.
Sun setting as we leave the bay.
Purty! Bye Hamilton.
On Lindeman, dressed for our first night out – the group dinner before the wedding the next day. Alec looked very handsome.
The annual Google Ski Trip is a wondrous event. This year the engineers were bussed down to the resort on Lake Crakenback on Monday for some days of skiing and, umm, making coffee? The rest of us departed later in the week. While the official ski trip departed Wednesday afternoon and arrived Wednesday evening, giving us only one day of snow, my team of crazy hyper athletes decided to drive down on Tuesday night so we could get some extra snow time.
We spend Tuesday night in Cooma, at the pub / hotel. It cost us $25 a night per person for a room with four beds – and yes, we really did get what we paid for!
I was so happy to drive on the next morning into Lake Crackenback and grab my boots and board from the resort. Alec left a spare Perisher pass for me at the resort so I let my uber crazy team head on off to Thredbo to throw themselves down black runs, while I joined Alec and some of his team for some easy green runs at Perisher.
I’m not an awesome boarder by any means. I have boarded exactly four times now over 10 years. Each time I go to the snow it takes me the entire time I’m there for my body to remember how to board – just in time for me to leave again!
I had two good days of snow on this trip so I spent day one literally falling down the slopes and day two began to regain any skills that I had once had on previous trips.
There was a lot of snow up on the mountains for the end of the season, and we were blessed with sunny, warm days. Unfortunately, this also meant the snow wasn’t nice and fluffy – instead if was pretty icy and hard in a lot of places – I seemed to find quite a lot of these icy patches with my butt.
Ready for take-off!
“I’m the king of the world!”
Just before my board slipped out from under me.
Sunset at the resort.
This kangaroo and I eyed each other off … note the joey in the pouch!
The actual trip was fabulous .. only bad side came at the end of the second day when I was struck down with a nasty virus. I was the sickest I have ever been, and was eternally grateful that I had Alec there to take care of me. I was told that the virus was going around the area – it was pretty concerning how many of us got sick! At least I didn’t waste any precious snow time being sick however – now that would have really been terrible!
It’s cold out here. Bone-chillingly cold. The sky is blue today though so it’s a great day for the drive to Glen Davis, a tiny little town where my dad grew up. It was a mining town where my uncle, grand-dad and great grand-dad all worked in the mines, but became a ghost town at some stage, and has now come full circle with people moving back into the town to retire. It’s quite eerie as it is a town in name only – there’s nothing there except for the houses that have moved back, and they sit amongst the ruins of foundations from the previous houses, school and shop buildings.
There is nothing left here of my dad’s house except the front steps and some foundation blocks, but it was really amazing to visit it and see where my dad was a little boy running around. The countryside is amazingly beautiful, so it would have been a very pretty place to live even though it was so isolated it would have been really hard to get anywhere to get supplies.
After visiting Glen Davis we slowly drove back to Sydney, stopping at Lithgow for food and Katoomba for hot chocolate and waffles. I love this little art deco cafe called Paragon on the main street of Katoomba. It has fabulous chocolate for sale, hand-made on the premisis I believe.
Since we were so close we drove down to the Three Sisters Lookout. We came up here on one of our first dates, two years ago, so it was really sweet to come back and look around again and reminisce.
For my last 20-something birthday Alec took me away for the weekend to stay in a river-side cabin at Turon Gates, about 4-5 hours hrs drive from Sydney.
After a long and somewhat dramatic drive there, we awoke the next morning surrounded by bushlands.
Our solar-powered cabin, right in the middle of a nature reserve.
Alec takes a look around.
This photo is begging for a funny caption. Pity I can’t think of one!
Scenic bushlands and nature were all around.
It was awesome waking up every morning to look ut of the window at this river. The river was a major site during the gold rush and the remains from the gold prospectors can still be seen here. The river is crystal clear (and bloody cold!). In summer I can imagine it would be a great place to swim and canoe.
Ghost gums – everywhere!
Pretty! I loved how much wattle was everywhere – the bright yellow against olive green and red and brown dirt. So Australian!