For my Birthday this year we went to Hamilton Island for a short break. Hamilton Island is a small Island East of Queensland, also referred to as “Hawaii” by people from the United States. It was a surprise trip so I didn’t know I was going until I opened my Birthday card! Oscar was also invited to join us for the trip, here he is waiting patiently in the departures lounge for his JetStar flight. He lost his patience near the end of the flight and demanded to walk up and down the aisle.
Hamilton Island has a few hotels and we stayed at the largest one, it looks very Miami Vice 1980ies from the outside but on the inside it had been refurbished and the rooms were really nice. Most the vehicles on the island are buggys and there’s a maximum speed limit of 30 km/h.
We hired a buggy on the second and last day and drove around the very small island. It was good fun, Oscar wanted to hold the steering wheel all of the time and got super angry if he wasn’t allowed to do it.
We had some fabulous dinners on the island, on the last night we went to Coco Chu which was a fantastic restaurant where we ate too much Thai food and Oscar got an entire bowl of rice and chicken and coleslaw which he woofed down.
At breakfast Oscar would eat his body weight in Bircher Muesli and these naughty birds would come to our table and eat our food and drink our drinks. They weren’t scared of humans, you could flap your hand in front of them which would make most birds fly away but they wouldn’t even flinch.
One Tree Hill (which we think was replaced with a mobile telephone mast) has a great lookout, you can see in the picture the hotel we stayed in and the lovely waters of far north Queensland. Oscar and me ventured out into the sea up to feet deep, just because it was the middle of winter which hopefully meant there were no Irukandji jellyfish (one of the symptoms of being stung is “Impending Doom“!!!).
I felt a bit sorry for this car, it’s stuck on an Island with a top speed of 30 km/h. We had a great holiday and it was nice to be back in some warmer weather, the good news was when we returned to Sydney the weather was apparently similar to October temperatures!
The sunset was amazing when were in the carpark at the airport back in Sydney!
A great trip and a great surprise Birthday present thanks Amy!
How did 8 months go by without a blog post? Well it’s probably because we can now share images with family and friends at the click of a button on the iPhone now. It’s still nice to write stories as there’s so much you forget so I’m going to try my best to add a little context to some photos I’ve selected in the past 8 months on my phone!
Baby Oscar (he was still a baby in this photo back in October 2013) on one of his outings to Palm Beach in the summer – this is a nice little spot we found at Lorraine’s leaving weekend that’s very quiet has a nice grass area and access to the water. It’s only 45 minutes drive from Sydney.
In November we went to on holiday to Northern Queensland to a place called Palm Cove, which is a nice little holiday area with cafes restaurants and hotels – the perfect place to take baby Oscar he had a great time and did a lot of his first swimming up there.
This is Oscar on the plane back to Sydney, flying to Cairns was no problem after doing the trip to the UK!
This was Oscar’s first or second go in a shopping trolley! I think he enjoyed it as you can tell from his face!
We all went for a day trip to Bondi to see sculptures by the Sea, it was actually quite difficult with a large pram as there’s hundreds of steps, I think we only saw half of it for that reason.
Oscar really started to love the water, here he is with me taking a dip to cool off at Shelly Beach last November.
Oscar with Leisa, Mummy and Lucy at Rory and Karen’s yearly get together that they have, Oscar got to have a lovely dip in their pool!
This is Oscar’s first trip to the hardware store (Bunnings). He was totally dressed for the part and I got him a baby hacksaw (not really).
We spent Christmas at Amy’s families house in Brisbane and visited Oscar’s Great Grandma Grace at her nursing home!
We did a lot of meetups with Amy’s mother group friends, either from the mothers group or the yoga mothers group Amy is a member of. He’s Oscar with his girlfriend.
My University Halls of Residence friend Manish came over to Sydney for business, we went to Hugo’s Pizza and drank a lot. I then got Oscar’s day care sickness which took us all out for weeks afterwards!
Oscar’s first birthday was celebrated in Manly on a rainy day, we got Gaetane and Andrew to do the catering for the event which was great and a really fun day, even though we were all still a bit sick from day care illness!
We went up to Brisbane again in March to look at houses, we spent months looking for houses in Brisbane, online and doing trips purposely to look at houses.
We then made a list of things we liked about living in Sydney vs. the advantages of Brisbane and decided we’d be better off staying in Sydney. We then looking in Sydney for about a week for a house and got one! Above is Amy and Oscar inspecting our new home.
In April we went a bit Royal crazy as Kate and Wills came to visit us in Manly – I got a photo of them but we had to wait for hours in the sun, not totally sure if it was worth it!
Amy’s parents came down to visit and we spent a day at the Zoo to celebrate Oscar finding his feet and walking around on his own behalf!
Well done Oscar for starting walking!
Here’s Oscar and Mummy in Dee Why, our nearest cafe area from our new home in North Curl Curl just before Amy went on her trip to China for a week and I had my wisdom teeth removed (and had to look after Oscar on my own for a week).
Well that’s it for an 8 month update, I’ll try and get on top of the blog from now on!
This week Sydney hosts it’s 2nd centennial event to review the Navy fleet. As a previous member of the Navy (Scout Squadron RN06) I had to go down and see some of the ships. I especially wanted to see British warship D32 HMS Daring, which is the currently the most advanced warship in the world and it’s first visit to Australia –
Amy, Oscar and I go the fast-ferry in the morning and I went upstairs and strategically positioned myself to get a good view, it was lucky as HRH Prince Harry happened to sail by on his inspection of all of the ships –
A lot of luck to get that photo as we sailed past! HMS Leeuwin is a hydrographic survey vessel but is now helps to prevent illegal immigration (Tony Abbott probably loves this boat for that reason!).
When we got to circular quay it was packed but somehow we managed to get a table for lunch on the rooftop of the MCA which was really nice, we ate, had a quick walk around the Rocks and then back to the ferry. At 2:30pm the F/A-18s were doing an air display, I managed to catch this one in the tooths of the Opera House –
On the way back we all sat upstairs for the journey, Oscar loved it –
Over Sydney Heads there was a constant rotation of helicopters, police helicopters, navy helicopters, ambulance helicopters, surf rescue helicopters this was one of the cooler ones –
A great day for Sydney, can’t wait for the next fleet review in 2113.
Quick update, I’m going to get around to doing a full blog post soon about things but here’s a cool 15 minutes of a nice Manly Sunset from Queenscliff shrunk down into 15 seconds of enjoyment.
Welcome to Earth little baby Oscar!
Baby’s first sunset over Sydney
If everything goes to plan in the next few days we’ll have a new little member of the G2007 network! The spare time might be decreasing soon so I thought I’d get this last post out with what we’ve been doing!
We’ve been really busy planning for a baby, I had to move out of working from home and get an office and also start full time on my own enterprise, BuiltWith!
New Green Themed Office
Everyone is welcome to come and visit it is on East Esplanade opposite Manly Wharf.
Last November Amy and I went to ARIA for Amy’s birthday, it was a good night, the food wasn’t as good as I was hoping as it was supposed to be one of the best restaurants in Sydney but we had a good time anyway, and we got free drinks as they took so long bringing them to the table -
Amy and me at Aria Sydney
Also in November we did a trip to Paperbark Camp for our one year (paper) anniversary. It was a really nice camp in the forest at Jervis Bay, the camp was luxury camping, with no TV and limited power, but it was really good fun and we didn’t have to set the tent up ourselves (would have taken a week).
Amy outside the Paperbark Camp
Near the end of November Chris got a Groupon deal to go on a taster cruise from Sydney harbor on a huge cruise ship. It was good fun but felt like it was teetering on a riot as everyone was getting the most out of their one night special cheap cruise.
Chris and I in cabin on our taster cruise
For Christmas we headed up to Brisbane and spent it at Taryn and Wade’s house. The rest of Amy’s family came over on Christmas eve. I got some new bike lights and a inventors kit which has an Arduino board in it, which was awesome!
Wade also let us drive is Range Rover around Brisbane which was really good fun.
Zara, Cooper and Ali opening their Christmas presents
New Years was spent at Simone and Stuart’s (who just had a baby) which is right on the water in Manly, perfect for the 9pm fireworks. Amy didn’t want to walk so I drove over which was a mistake because there was not a single parking space for miles, I almost drove home and walked!
Well that is about it for updates hopefully I’ll get more going soon!
Last weekend Lorraine and Matt were kind enough to invite us down to Helensburgh (pronounce Helensberg) for the weekend. Lorraine and Matt moved there a few years ago and have taken a lot of the Woolloomooloo crowd down there with them, Gaétane, Andrew, Chris, Esther, El, Al and their entourage of children.
Helensburgh is about 1.5 hours drive from Manly or about a 1 hour train journey from Sydney, making it within commuting distance if you work in the big city. Manly to Helensburgh feels like a long journey though because you have to go through the city and put up with all of the traffic that brings so it actually feels like a holiday by the time you arrive.
We arrived on Saturday morning and Matt gave me a tour of their house, Amy has already been down twice but this is my first visit to Helensburgh save for weddings and trips to nearby Stanwell Park. It’s nice to have a house with lots of room and a garage where you can put things like bikes and cars! L&M also have this chicken that doesn’t actually do much egg laying apparently –
Matt and Lorraines Chicken
It was my job to feed the chicken, which wasn’t very hard, I just had to chuck food off the upstairs balcony into her pen. At lunchtime we headed off to the Helensburgh fair that was by chance happening that day, we bumped into all of the people we knew down there which was great and really nice to see them all again. Helensburgh fair had a “free books” stall where the books were free and Andrew got lots for his collection.
Afterwards we headed over to El and Alex’s house for a cup of tea and to see their new place which they’d recently moved into down in Otford. It was a beautiful sunny day and a great opportunity to take advantage of the large balcony and garden they had!
Gaetane had organised a PechaKucha at the Otford tennis court hall that evening, which is basically where you do a 6 minute presentation with 20 slides on the topic of your choosing. I was getting ready to meet lots of new people and it turned out the majority of them were people I knew which was strange for a place I’d never been to before!
PechaKucha at Otford Tennis Court / Village Hall
That evening Lorraine and Matt had prepared a fondue, El and Alex also came over and we enjoyed cheese fondue, followed by steak and salad followed by dark chocolate Fondue, followed by Cognac. It was delicious and really good fun -
Matt doing Fondue prep work
The next day we headed down the coast to Coledale Markets, where Gaétane and Andrew were running their stall – Plat Du Jour – La Crêperie. It was great seeming them at work and to finally taste one of their crepes. I had my eye on the salted caramel one since the beginning and I give it 10/10.
Gaétane et Andrew à l’étal de nourriture Plat Du Jour – La Crêperie
The Coledale markets had a cool sitting area and we sat in the sun and drank some coffee and tea with Matt and Lorraine before heading up the coast to checkout a pub and watch some hand gliders at Stanwell Park. Matt had asked if I wanted to try it out and I said I “wasn’t ready” – we went down the beach to watch some landings and I filmed some on my phone. It wasn’t actually windy enough for hand gliding apparently but one guy on a performance hand glider took off. Matt said to us, the worse thing that can happen is you land in the ocean. So we watched this glider come down the beach and then… crash into the ocean. He was lucky he was so close to shore and the life guards could help him as the seas were 4-5ft!
Here’s a panorama I made on the new iPhone 5 of Stanwell Park and the South Coast from the top of Bald Hill.
iPhone 5 Panorama at Stanwell Park
That afternoon we popped in to see Chris and Esther at their new place in Helensburgh (5 mins from Matt and Lorraine) and then headed back up the coast to Sydney, popping in to Potts Point to visit Marcy and Chris and see their new car and then go to Chiswick restaurant to belatedly celebrate Chris’ birthday (and give him his birthday gift).
A great weekend and looking forward to our next trip down the South Coast! Thanks for the hospitality Lorraine and Matt!
A few weekends ago Amy and I went to Uluru, which is a rock in the middle of Australia (it’s actually more to the left of Australia) and it is just about in the Northern Territory, but very close to the Western Australia border.
We got on the plane and saw another guy get on with us who had two bags of cheeseburgers. They sat in the overhead locker for 4 hours and were then handed out to his Qantas ground crew friends on arrival, who then tucked into them as if it was Christmas. It was disgusting to watch.
Central Australia Landscape
The scenery across Australia is incredible, you see the green of the coast, fade into the blue mountains and slow but surely it gets more and more red and crazy looking like that shown above.
We landed at Uluru airport which basically welcomes you to Ayers Rock Resort, as there’s not that much out here. It was lucky really as I hadn’t really planned anything and didn’t know how we were going to do anything. We went straight to the place we were staying which was called Longitude 131, which is 15 little tents that look out over the rock. The service there was fantastic we arrived and were told the itinerary for the days we were going to be there (which included some very early starts). Here’s Amy outside of our hut -
Amy outside our Tent at Longitude 131
That day was already planned out and we went on a base walk of the rock. It was fun getting on the bus and travelling to the rock which is incredible from a distance as well as standing right next to it. At the end of the tour we came across a little area where some drinks and canapes were setup for us which was really nice.
Ayers Rock and Me
Having water all the time was required because the air was so dry, it was like being on a plane for 3 days in a row but with more leg room. That evening we went to the fantastic restaurant at the resort and had some delicious food before going back to the hotel room and falling asleep as early as possible as it was a 5:45am start the next day for our trip to the Kata Tjuta, which is another rock nearby which kind of loses out to Uluru but is just as impressive from a tourist perspective.
We walked down one of the nooks of Kata Tjuta and saw a Rock Wallaby and also some Camels, which ever since they arrived have taken over central Australia apparently.
Amy and me at Kata Tjuta
Although it was 30 degrees in the day time it was really really cold at night (and at 5:45am) hence why we had pullovers and ponchos to keep us warm!
That evening we did dinner under the stars, which was basically an area setup away from the resort where we had dinner around a table with all of the other guests and got told about the stars, although there was a full moon the entire time we were there which meant we didn’t see too many stars but it was still fun.
We opted out of any other early morning starts as we just wanted to do a bit of relaxing, although when I booked the trip a free helicopter ride was a part of the package. It was just a 15 minute flight over towards the rock and back again but it was really good fun and a great way to see the place.
Uluru from the Helicopter
That was the end of our package adventure and the rest of the time we just spent relaxing, talking to the other guests and I even jumped in the pool (it was freezing). One of the things that amazed me about the area was how green it was, apparently they’d so much rain the past two years it was unusual for it to be as green as it was.
Everything at the resort was all-inclusive, so the mini bar and the main bar at the hotel was all totally free, if you were into drinking you wouldn’t have been able to walk out of the resort at the end of it! Every day the room keepers replenished the cadbury chocolate bar supply in our room, which I would then take out and put into my suitcase, hidden under some clothes. On the last night I went to pack my bag and found one of the bars had been eaten by some sort of creature with claws! That was pay back for me stealing the chocolates I think -
Chocolate eaten by a creature of some sort
It was a fantastic trip and I would recommend it to anyone, we really didn’t want to leave which is amazing considering it’s the middle of nowhere!
Last weekend Amy and I had a long weekend away to Uluru. Which is a famous rock known as Ayers Rock in the middle left of Australia, in the Northern Territory, which means I’ve now (and Amy) have visited every state in Australia; New South Wales, Western Australia, Queensland, Northern Territory, Victoria, Tasmania and New Zealand.
Here’s the video for the trip –
Full blog post coming soon!
Last weekend was Marcy’s birthday at a house near Berry called Redleaf, it was high up a hill and spent most of its time in rain clouds but that was fine because the house was built to be cozy –
Amy in the Living room with the fire
The house had three fires and because it was cold up the hill we lit them all. It was a round the clock exercise trying to keep them all going as normally one fire is enough work!
Here’s the kitchen fire, we tried to cook on it but it just wasn’t hot enough that morning -
Kitchen Fire trying to cook on it
On the first night Lorraine made a fantastic curry, the second day Stuart and Simone made a fantastic soup and for dinner we went to a restaurant in Berry called “The Hungry Duck” which was really nice as well, although they needed to do more on the heating front as it was cold! The next day Lorraine cooked a fantastic Greece style dish with lots of bits to share which was also fantastic.
Rambo the dog was also invited and when he wasn’t eating my slippers he was playing nice with Chloe, Nick and Lauren’s daughter -
Chloe and Rambo playing nice
Even thought it was freezing I was keen to go in the pool, however when we rolled back the cover it was full of dead worms at the bottom, so there was no way I was getting in. We settled instead to play a game of croquet although the games didn’t last very long, I think the weather played a large part into that. Here’s the house from the outside though with Croquet in the foreground -
Red Leaf house with Croque and cups of tea / egg nog
On the last night we remembered to take a photo, here’s all of us (apart from Amy, Nick, Lauren and Chloe) enjoying Lorraine’s Greek dinner she put together –
And as a bonus here’s the video of Marcy getting her “suprise” birthday gift -