I just returned from an awesome trip to Australia! I went to do some training events for work, and had amazing time. A few friends have asked for an update, so this is going to be a long post with lots photos, but you asked for it!
Places - I thought I'd post a map to give everyone an idea of where we went. We started in Melbourne (southern coast of Victoria.) We were there for 2 nights. It was an amazing city...big, busy, very cosmopolitan, and the fashion capital of Australia. From there we flew to Hobart (southern Tazmania.) It was a big contrast from Melbourne because it was smaller and more layed back, but it had lots of history and character and charm, in fact I think it might have been my favorite city. After two nights there, we flew to Cairns (northeast coast of Queensland.) It was very tropical and warm, but also very touristy, crowded, and commercial. (It's the best place to stay to see the Great Barrier Reef and Australian rain forests so lots of people vacation there.) We also stayed there for two nights. Finally we flew to Adelaide (South Australia.) It seemed more like "real" Australia - layed back and not as much tourism. We were there for three nights.
People: I traveled with really fun people. This picture was taken on our last night there. Lori is next to me - she is on my team at work and was great to travel with. Aaron is next in the photo. He is the general manager of Stampin' Up! Australia/New Zealand. He's from Sydney and met up with us in Melbourne. It was very nice to have someone with us that new the country and culture. He was a wonderful host. The last person in the photo is Holly. She was just barely hired as a trainer in Australia and flew to Adelaide to see our last event.
I also got to meet some wonderful Stampin' Up! demonstrators, and see some friends that I met on my last trip. These are the demonstrator presenters from Adelaide.
These are the presenters from Hobart.
Presenters from Cairns.
And the presenters from Melbourne.
Shopping (and other activites):Other than work, the thing we did most while we were there is shop! I think we found the markets and malls in every city. I didn't really buy anything too spactacular - just some souvenirs, tons of candy and treats, and some rugby and AFL jerseys for Jake.
The shopping center in Melbourne had these amazing Christmas windows - they stretched on for like a whole street block. There was so much detail and movement - I loved them!
More Christmas windows - I wish you could read all the conversation bubbles - the elves are saying really cute things. If you click on the pictures, they should get bigger.
When we were in Melbourne, all the girls were wearing these fabulous frou-frou feathery clips in their hair. Really, it wasn't like one or two girls - it was ALL the girls. Of course I loved them, and made it my mission to find a feathery clip to buy. The big fancy ones are actually pretty expensive, but I kept looking.....
I finally found a scaled down frou-frou feathery clip that was perfect for me! It's not as big as most of the ones I saw, but that's okay because I won't feel as wierd when I wear it. I might try to make some of the bigger ones, because I really do like them!
When we weren't shopping, we spent a little bit of time at the beach. This is the northern beach in Cairns. The water was so warm, but there are a lot of Marine Stingers so you can't go swimming. (Not that I was about to put on a suit and go swimming anyway.)
This is the southern beach in Adelaide. There were lots of surfers and swimmers here. I spent my time looking for pretty shells and rocks to bring home. I found some really cool ones too! The girls loved them.
Food: We had some awesome food. I especially loved all the big breakfasts - they have the best bacon there (or maybe it's just us that have crappy bacon here.) I also tried Kangaroo meat which was really yummy. Here are some other food highlights:
We went to a Sushi Train restaurant in Melbourne. It's so much fun to see all the pretty rolls and sashimi pass by and be able to pick your plates as you go.
I tried gulf coast bugs for the first time. I wasn't quite sure what to think when I first saw this plate, but they were delicious! Even better than lobster.
Aaron insisted that we try a traditional "Aussie Burger" while we were there. Here's the description from the menu....bacon, beetroot, and fried egg....I was very skeptical.
Here is the actual burger - it was huge and hard to eat - but hands down the best burger I've ever had!
The only downside of the food there is the Diet Coke. When you order one it usually comes in a tiny glass bottle, and it just doesn't taste the same. They must use a different sweetener or something. I was really missing fountain diet coke, and was so excited to find a McDonalds. I ordered a large, and took it outside only to find out that they don't put ice in it. Boooooo! The first thing I did when we got off the plane in LA is go to McDonalds to order a real Diet Coke!
Animals: Another very unique part of Australia is the animals so I thought they deserved a special section of this post:
Everywhere we went there were lots of birds. I could hear them singing every morning, and every time I looked out my window, I was surprised to see that they weren't our brown and black boring birds - they were bright colored parrots and types of birds you buy at a pet store. It was hard to get a photo, but you can kind of see the parrot in this tree.
We also saw lots of unique animal signs (like wombat and kangaroo crossings) and crocodile warnings like this.
In Tasmania we stopped on a bridge to take a photo and when we looked over the edge of the bridge there were tons of starfish.They were so colorful. They're called "Biscuit Stars" which is appropriate because they are kind of fat and biscuit-ish.
On our free day in Adelaide, we went to an animal park, and had a great time. The kangaroos were so much fun to play with! They have a lot of personality, and are very friendly.
Emus weren't quite as friendly (in fact, I was a bit scared, but I was brave and fed them.)
We didn't get to see a platypus, but we did see an echidna. which is kind of like a platypus because it's a mammal that hatches from an egg. They kind of look like a porcupine with a beak - I thought they were really cute!
And of course I loved the Koalas! They are so soft and cuddly!
I have lots more photos, but that's probably enough for now. I am so lucky to have such an awesome job with opportunities like this!