We’ve had an eventful couple of weeks since our last update. Mom, Allee and Keiren came to visit for two weeks, Ben turned 26 and we checked out Australia’s Red Centre.
Mom and Allee arrived the morning of Ben’s birthday. We went straight to Manly for brunch, hit the beach so Ben could go for a birthday surf and we could soak up the sun. I had a soccer game that afternoon so everyone came to cheer me on before heading to Manly Wine for Ben’s birthday celebration with all of our friends. During the week Mom and Al hit the city, checked out Chatswood and Siena entertained them with trips to Palm Beach and the NSW Art Gallery. We kept them very busy!
Over the Easter long weekend we flew out to Uluru which is about three hours into the heart of the Australian desert. When we arrived and checked in we drove out to the Cultural Centre which is at the base of Uluru. We went for a lovely afternoon swim before out Sounds of the Silence dinner. The dinner was incredible. With champagne in our hands and bright red dirt on our feet, we watched the sunset from a gorgeous plateau overlooking both Kata Tjuta and Uluru. Mom loved tasting crocodile and kangaroo for the first time too! The dinner included a star gazing/storytelling, a didjeridu concert and lots of wine 😉
The next morning we got up early and hiked the 10.5k around the base of Uluru (Ayers Rock), and it was amazingly beautiful and awe inspiring- check out photos in our gallery. We rested for an hour or two at the pool and the decided to conquer Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) too – another 7.5k! The flies and heat were a little unbearable but we managed to get out of there alive! Mom and Ben made it all the way to the top but Al and I got a little annoyed with the flies, so we turned around about 1K early.
The next morning we were up bright and early for the Camel sunrise tour which was incredible. It was the first time Mom and Al had ridden a camel, but they were instant pros. After the ride, we piled in the car and drove three hours to Kings Canyon. We weren’t sure if we should make the trip long but in the end it was totally worth it. We stopped in Curtin Springs along the way for a few photos of Mt Connor – another magnificent site in the middle of the flat desert. On arrival at Kings Canyon we decided to challenge ourselves with the longer, more difficult trail along the edge of the canyon. The start was marked by a kilometre of serious stairs to the top of the canyon – the stairway to heaven for some, and to hell for others. With our shirts off, sweat dripping down our backs and layers of sunscreen on our faces, we conquered Kings Canyon. It was absolutely breathtaking.
We left the next morning for Sydney via Alice Springs. Now this little pit stop was a bit of an accident…err should I say blonde moment? When I originally booked flights to Uluru (Ayers Rock Airport), I for some reason booked flights to Alice Springs instead! So if it wasn’t for Ben’s double checking three weeks prior to the trip, we would have showed up to the airport thinking we were off to Uluru when in reality we would be about 500km from it! So luckily Ben was able to change our flight there, and on the way back booked an early flight to Alice to catch our original flight from there to Sydney. So, we had a couple of hours to walk around Alice Springs and see yet another city in Australia…hahahaha…just trying to be positive here 😉
Once we arrived in Sydney, Siena, Keiren and TK came to ours for dinner in Crows Nest. The next day while Ben and I were at work, Siena took the troops to lunch in Mosman and then the zoo. Allee had so much fun (and we all know how much she loves animals) and has now decided she’ll do an internship at the zoo in LA over the summer. That night we made dinner at home and had a quiet one here.
The next night, Siena threw a fabulous party for Keiren, Mom and Allee at their home. She went all out and invited heaps of people to meet them. It was such a fun party, we really didn’t want to leave. But, with work in the morning, by 11:00PM we had to make a move back to St Leonards. Tk and Allee however partied on at the MGMT concert.
Thursday night was their last night in Sydney, so we thought we’d have dinner on the beach in Bondi at North Bondi Italian Food. After a lovely meal, Keiren and Tk came back to our place for a drink before taking Allee out on the town. They hit a very quiet Cabana Bar followed by a packed Greenwood.
On their last day, we went shopping in Paddington and strolled along Oxford Street. The weather was beautiful so we went to the beach, read and relaxed for a few hours. After lunch at a beautiful cafe, we headed home via the city to say goodbye to Ben who was at work. The worst part of such a wonderful visit is definitely the way to the airport. After checking them in, lots of hugs, kisses and tears, we said goodbye as they walked through to security. It was so sad to see them go and even worse to come home to an empty apartment that only hours ago had been overflowing (with all of Allee’s purchases 😉 ) It was an awesome trip and I can’t wait to see them again soon!
Other than settling back into the swing of things after their departure, we’ve been busy on the social front with birthday parties, work functions, engagement parties and both of our soccer teams have started up again. Ben has been named Associate Lead as well as head of the Fit ‘n Healthy committee!
We are off to the Hunter Valley this weekend for a night at Chateau Elan, some wine tasting…and buying, and hopefully a bit of rest and relaxation!
Hope to hear from you all soon!
Lots of love,
Jacs (and Ben)