We can go on and on about the things we loved about Auz, so without boring you to tears, here is our TOP 10 highlights package.
So let the countdown begin....
10. The love affair with Tim Tams
Oh start the diet tomorrow... At tenth place it has to be said that one of the finer things to come from Australia is the Tim Tams. Beautiful choco coated biscuits with different fillings. And now for all those who love a bit of choc indulgence, the breast cancer association has teamed up with the chocolate guys and there are pink tim tams, pink kit kats, pink everything.. and it definately satisfies that "time of the month" chocolate craving.
9. Playground Etiquette .. Aunties dont have to play by the rules.
While taking my 2 year old nephew on an outing to one of Sydneys millions of playparks, we were educated on playground etiquette and how mums should and shouldnt negotiate "toy scuffles". It appears that the mums have to be very pc about letting the toys be shared around equally in the playpark. So if little Johnny with his toothless scowl, wants what your kid is playing with, you have to tell him he can have it in a moment, then let your kid have a go for another 30 seconds before handing it over. Oh no not I.. when little Johnny wanted to take the wheelie truck away from my nephew, I got down to his level, looked him in the eye, and told him to swiftly press on and find something else to play with.
8. The Castle
Anyone who hasnt seen The Castle really ought to. Its an absolute Auzzie classic that will have you in stitches with some of the chirps that get thrown out. Its about this family that live near an airport, the house they live in is really nothing special, but when the authorities try to take it away from them they kick up a stink showing up all their typically Auzzie character traits which makes for seriously humerous viewing.
7. The Irish Club
None of us quite remember how our folks used to party as by the time the party kicked off, we were all in sleeping bags in the spare room or in the back seat of the car. Going to the Irish Club with my Aunt & Uncle in Brisbane was a real window into how our folks must have partied "in their day". Drew and I were the only ones under the age of 50. Everyone was sitting around the parque tiled dance floor eating guiness pie n' chups. When the band struck up, the ballies got their groove on. Beer bellies were shaken around, party frocks where shimmied in time to the beat, sweet nothings were whispered, and serious dance moves were going down. "Blame it on the Bassenova/Bassenoba" was a huge party anthem.. and there we were thinking it was a lullaby
6. The Hawkesbury Classic
Surely deserves a mention. Its a 100km canoe race that starts at 5pm in the afternoon and goes throughout the night along the Hawkesbury River. All seconders along with the kit for the paddlers, pack red bull and coffee to keep their eyes open the whole night. Some of the stops eg. "Wisemans" are named after ex cons which were early settlers in Auz. It makes the race a little more quirky. My brother and his partner finished in style, although looked remarkably corpse like at the end of the race.
5. Whale watching in Jervis Bay from a Kayak.
Usually you have to pay a mint for these types of 'close to nature' experiences. Luckily for us, while going for a quick early morning kayak in Jervis Bay, we spotted a hump back whale mum and her calf. It was really peaceful following them around - at a safe distance - while they graced the water. Truly special.
4. Rollerblading / Rock climbing along the river in Brisbane
The one thing that my husband lets me be better at.. is roller blading. He saw his backside about 4 times before he reached the door, then traded his blades in for a scooter (a scooter with a basket in front, but dont tell him I told you)
But he did manage to pull a bit of rank and scaled some of the cliffs that line Brisbanes river. Rock climbing is not something that I see us doing "as a couple"
3. Learning to Surf in Byron Bay
Without much success, I tried my luck with surfing. The only thing that seemed to pop to the surface was the board and without a whole lot of grace I was pounded by the waves until I raised the flag and called it a day. Respect to those who can do it. Its hard!
2. Winning the World Cup
The reason that this features as #2 and not #1 is that you dont get the hype that comes with featuring in a final, and all the pomp and ceremony that comes with winning. At 4am all we got to see was the game and a quick commentary afterwards. When that was all over, the next programme was on as the bitter Auzzies didnt really want to dwell too much on it. But I must say we wore smug looks and springbok jerseys all day. Hopefully the hype hasnt died down by the time we get back.. we can savour the tail end of it!!
1. The Great Barrier Reef
This was absolutely an unforgettable experience. We went out to the reef from Airley Beach. Passing the Whitsundays on either side of us we arrived at our home for the night, a pontoon in the middle of the ocean and turquoise heaven it was. We snorkelled and dived to our hearts content taking in sights of manta rays, turtles, reef sharks, groupers and loads of travelli. We went in a submarine and checked out he reef close up, and at night we watched the bigger fish feeding from an underwater viewing chamber.. and when that was all over we watched the sun go down as the calm waters lapped against edges of the pontoon. A little piece of heaven.
From there my husband left for SA for 4 days on his own and the trouper came back with a job.. So tired, but happy, we boarded our flight for Singapore.