Benâ€™s return from England marked the beginning of two weeks of traveling around Australia. We hit the slopes with his uni friends for four days of fabulous snowboarding, followed directly by a spontaneous trip to the Gold Coast with Nix, the first week of classes, and then a weekend away in the country to visit Jason in Cootamundra. You think weâ€™d stop there but weâ€™re off again this weekend with the University of Sydneyâ€™s Ski Team for Club Champs at Threadbo â€“ theyâ€™re allowing Ben to tag along with me even though he is competition ;-)! Iâ€™ll try to keep this post short but definitely take a look at the photos â€“ there are a ton!
Jindabyne is about a five hour drive south west of Sydney and located in the Snowy Mountains. We stopped in Canberra for lunch (even though there apparently isnâ€™t much to see) since it is the capital and what kind of tourist would I be if I didnâ€™t at least stroll around town for a bit?! We arrived at Station Resort and the sun was shining and the conditions on the mountain were awesome. We snowboarded all day Sunday, Monday, and half day Tuesday since there was a terrible blizzard and my snowboard was nearly lost in the terrain parkâ€¦oops! To my surprise (Iâ€™m a total beginner) I even started connecting my turns with a little bit of coaching from the boys. Not only was it a great opportunity for me to undertake yet another sport, it was so much fun spending time with Alpha and Jarred, James and Lee, and Sonja and Michael. I canâ€™t wait to hone my so-called skills this coming weekend!
With our snow trip sadly coming to an end we decided to take Ryan up on his offer and booked tickets the day after we got home for the Gold Coast. We arrived on a Thursday in time to watch the â€œsunsetâ€ from the beach with Surferâ€™s Paradise in view before dinner and an all you can drink wine buffet at the Fermented Grape with Ryan, Samara, and Kavita. The next morning Ryan, Ben and I drove to Byron Bay for lunch. I had heard so much about it and we were only about 45 minutes away so it was a must do on my list! The small hippie town right on the beautiful beach reminded me of a more relaxed Santa Barbara â€“ it had the beauty and sights of a gorgeous downtown but the chilled out atmosphere of Isla Vista. Iâ€™m proud to say Iâ€™ve now visited the most easterly point in Australia! That night Ben and I went to Surferâ€™s Paradise for dinner and a stroll in the very touristy yet pleasant town. The next morning we met up with Nix and Chris for a beautiful sunny morning of whale watching. Although we didnâ€™t see any whales it was worth the semi seasickness we were all feeling just to be out on the water on a beautiful winterâ€™s day, with such good company, and the gorgeous Gold Coast to see. Ben and I then joined Nix and Chris for a walk around the markets before a dinner party at Chrisâ€™ for all Nix and Ryanâ€™s friends. Chris made the best Shepardâ€™s Pie 😉 Iâ€™ve ever tasted and our last night on the Coast with Nix, Chris, Ryan, and all of their friends was really special â€“ we had so much fun weâ€™ve already decided a second trip is in order!
After one week of Uni we hit the road again to Cootamundra with Mel, Sarah, Marilia, Tom, and Rory to visit Jason. The small country town has a population of 8,000 and the widest streets Iâ€™ve ever seen! We all went out for dinner, drinks, and dancing at the local RSL before returning back to Jasonâ€™s for some much needed karaoke and a somewhat embarrassing danceoff between Rory and I to â€˜Baby Got Back!â€™ Luckily Jasonâ€™s Mom is a saint and didnâ€™t resent our loud music all night and even made everyone a huge breakfast the next morning. We then headed off for my first â€˜bush walkâ€™ in Pioneer Park. It was wonderful to go for a hike and get some fresh air after a late night. When we got back we played a three on three game of soccer and I went for a run before heading out for the night. Our weekend in the country gave us all a chance to get out of the city, spend some quality time together, and relax. Overall it was a great trip and very sweet of Jason and his Mom to open their home to all of us.
If you can believe it Iâ€™m finished rambling on about the past two weeks. Now just looking forward to the Gwen Stefani Concert tomorrow and more snowboarding this weekend! Check out the photos and send me an email or two if you get a chance. Hope all is well at home and miss you all!
Here is another video of Jackie showing off her skills a little better – from Ben: