February 2018 Update
For this month's blog post, I am just going to write about our trip to Australia! It's fitting because as I sit here and write this blog post, I am still fighting off the extreme jetlag. So let me start at the beginning...
We started dreaming of Australia early last summer. I mentioned it to Ron at one point, and he just laughed at me. To which I responded, "Well, you're not saying no!" After that, we spent the summer working out the details to see if we really could make this dream a reality. Soon all the details fell into place, and there was no turning back--we were going to be taking 3 very small children halfway around the world.
Of course as you know, things didn't turn out quite like we planned. We so would have loved to have taken our precious Roman to Australia, but we know that the Lord was looking out for us even still. He knew we needed this trip to heal as a family far away from the everyday busyness of life.
So we began our journey from New York to Sydney on Feb 15. It was 2 flights, totaling about 22 hours of flight time. We were nervous about how that would be with Aly & Fynn, but they did so great! They were such troopers the entire time. Neither child complained about the long plane rides, and they both slept a decent amount! Fynn slept 5 hours, and Aly slept a whole 8 hours! A few quick tips when travelling so far with little ones: 1. Throw all screen time rules out the window. Seriously. It's one day, they'll be fine, and you'll keep your sanity. 2. Hit up the dollar store for cheap toys that are new to the kids, but you don't mind if they get lost on the plane. 3. Buy an inflatable foot rest like this. These were a life saver. They are super compact, and then you just blow them up with your mouth, stick between the seats, and your child can now fully lie down to sleep!
So about that jetlag... It's a 16 hour time difference from New York to Sydney. We arrived in Sydney early Saturday morning and spent the day pushing through our jetlag. Going there, it honestly wasn't that bad. We tried to just keep moving, because whenever we would sit down, we would be so dizzy from exhaustion haha. So we spent the afternoon at the beach, which helped a lot and then crashed about 8:30pm. By the next day though, we were totally adjusted and fine! So push through that first day :)
Coming home wasn't quite so nice. We made it through the long flight to LA, but once we arrived there, we found out our NY flight was cancelled. So we were stuck in cold, rainy LA for an entire day, and it was tough to stay awake. We spent the entire next day travelling the remaining leg of the trip home. It was a very long day, ended by our stroller and one of our bags being lost. The 2.5 days of travelling home was a true test of our patience, but I think Ron and I have proved to ourselves now that we could survive the Amazing Race without fighting ;) haha.
While we were in Sydney, we stayed at some friends' apartment in Freshwater. It was so amazing there. We absolutely loved everything about it. It was such a quaint little area with little shops and restaurants and just a short walk to the beach, and so close to lots of other beaches and nice parts of the city. It was the perfect place to stay! We quickly settled into the beach life!
Our goal in going to Australia was to go to at least a beach a day. I think we managed this all but 2 rainy days! The beaches we went to were Freshwater, Manly, Shelly, Bondi, Manly Harbor, Balmoral, Narabeen, Newport, Avalon, and Palm Beach. So we definitely saw a lot :) Bondi is the most famous beach there, but it definitely was not our favorite. It was very crowded, and honestly not as nice as some of the others. I think our favorites were some of the Northern Beaches, like Freshwater and Palm Beach! We spent one entire day driving along the Northern Beaches stopping at different ones for a couple of hours, until we got to the tip at Palm Beach. There is a beautiful lighthouse there, but it was just too much for us to climb with the littles!
Some other favorite things we did while in Sydney was taking the ferry into Circular Quay. From there it was a beautiful walk along the water with views of the Harbor Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. We spent the evening at an outdoor movie screening along the water, with those sights in the background. It was amazing!
We also really loved the Taronga Zoo. There is a cable car there that gives you perfect views of the zoo and of downtown Sydney. The zoo was great because the animals are just so different from the US. We saw all kinds of animals that we had never seen before, and many of them roam free!
The one downside to our trip was driving in Sydney; it was certainly stressful. Ron did amazing driving on the other side of the car and other side of the road, but holy cow the traffic was horrendous, and that's coming from New Yorkers! It took such a long time to get anywhere, and if we made the slightest mistake in our directions, it added a good 30 minutes to our commute. It was a test of patience for sure!!
Everyone in Sydney was incredibly nice. On our second day there, Ron lost his wallet. To our amazement, he was able to get it back from the police station the next day, with everything still intact! Aly also lost her camera at the zoo, and I left my phone on a table at dinner, and we both got ours back too haha. Apparently we were quite relaxed on this trip, but I'm thankful we kept all of our things!
We did a few other random outings while we were in Sydney--The Powerhouse Museum (highly recommend!), Nubo indoor play space (great rainy day alternative for kids!), and The Grounds (cute little garden space to eat!).
Apart from Sydney, we took about 4 days and traveled up to Hamilton Island. It was about a 2.5 hour plane ride away, and it is an island nestled in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef. It is seriously one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen in this world. The flight in was simply breathtaking. The island is small, everyone drives golf carts there, which was so fun! The whole island is owned by the same person, so it's like a giant resort. There are several restaurants, excursions, pools, etc. We stayed in an AirBNB that overlooked the beach, and it was perfect! We would hop on our buggy and drive down to the beach each morning and hang out there, and then explore the pools and the island. We were supposed to do a helicopter tour of the Great Barrier Reef, but weather didn't cooperate, so we had to cancel. I was so bummed about that.
The entire two weeks went by quickly. We enjoyed every moment of it. It was the perfect vacation for us, one filled with rest and relaxation. I am so thankful to our friends who opened up their home and car to us. This was a trip of a lifetime!!
So what were each of our favorite things from the trip?
Ron: The day we spent touring the Northern Beaches and building sand castles with the kids.
Brooke: Collecting seashells with the kids, and everything about Hamilton Island. It was truly breathtaking.
Aly: Building sandcastles with Papi, snorkeling, and that time the kookaburra stole Papi's breakfast sausage.
Fynn: Blue. ;)
So, all that to say, who's down to go back with us next time? ;)