Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ozsomeness: Part 2

After being back here in the winter wonderland for almost a month now, I'm starting to think my visit to Oz was some sort of magical dream.  Luckily, it wasn't, and I have pics to remind myself I was actually there.  They make me quite happy.

So, we really went big on the travels the second week of the trip.  Mel showed me lots of gorgeous places, and some funny little animals...

Rottnest Island, a 30-minute ferry ride from Perth.  Holy moly, it was beautiful.

Looking awesome on the bikes with Ellie and Mel.  We spent two days biking around Rottnest (or Rotto, as the Aussies call it), hopping off the bikes at various beaches along the way to jump into the marvelous water to cool off, since it was scorching hot there.   Mel and Ellie's friends, Sue and Cam, joined us for the trip to Rotto, and they were really cool.  These were two of my favorite days of the trip, just so much fun!

Ellie going no-hands.  This interior part of the island was SO hot.  I thought vultures were going to start circling at one point.  I also barely had my eyes open most of the ride...the sweat/saltwater/sunscreen/flies in the sunglasses combo was a bit much for the eyes.

These adorable little quokkas are the reason the Dutch explorers called the island Rottnest, a.k.a. rats nest.  They look like large rats, but they're cute.  They're all over the island, and they hop around on their back legs like little kangaroos.

Look at the color of that water!!

Looking for seals at the tip of the island...didn't spot any, but it sure was pretty out there.

Hot, sweaty, and loving it.

After all the Rotto fun, we made it back to Perth just in time for the Australia Day festivities. 

 The day began with the Havianas Australia Day Thong Challenge.  (Americans: they call them thongs instead of flip-flops.)  Here we received huge yellow flip-flop (I'm sorry, I can't call them thongs) rafts and attempted to beat the world record of people on rafts in the water at one time.  Our beach (Cottesloe) actually won, at the expense of 2,088 people frying in the sun like pieces of bacon on inflatable yellow flip-flops while waiting to get everyone situated in the water.  It was a hot one that day!  Our group definitely ended up getting off the rafts and pulling them over ourselves as sunshades at one point.  A good time was had, nonetheless.

Australia Day also included tasty Aussie treats and watching a gorgeous fireworks display over the river at Mel's parents' house.  The sun decided to take a break for a bit in the evening, which was a nice relief after the morning's frying pan experience.

We kind of hit the wall after the travels and Australia Day, so we took a break for a day and chilled out.  Feeling revived, we packed up and headed north to Mel's brother and sister-in-law's home in Jurien Bay for the weekend.  Thanks to Johnny and Sam for the wonderful hospitality and amazing fish!

Johnny took us out in his boat, and we got to see sea lions!  They started showing off and swimming around us.

Cute little guy, hamming it up for us.

Johnny also took us on a little safari in the bush near Jurien Bay.  Anne, Bernard, Mel, Johnny, and I got up at the crack of dawn for some roo-spotting, and it was well-worth the early rising.  This is our band shot.

 We found some!

And they saw us. 

It was really dry out there, but really gorgeous, especially in the early morning.

We also saw a group of emus running in a line, but those guys were way too fast for me to catch with the camera that early in the morning.

After the safari, we had an amazing lunch, then headed out to the b-ball court on the beach...

Mel's showing us how it's done.  It was a warm one that day (think I've said that about every day?), so we didn't last too long out here.

On the way back to Perth from Jurien Bay, we stopped to see some pretty limestone formations called the Pinnacles (and Ellie, they were cool!).

In line with a popular belief non-Aussies have about Australia, these signs really are all over the place.

One final photo from the road trip: Mel performing maintenance on the car again, this time with Noosh and Ori helping out.

We spent the last few days chilling around Perth, and checking out the city. 

Taking the little ones to beautiful Kings Park.

Mel and I leaving for our night out (thanks Ellie!).  Delish cocktails and tapas at Duende in Leederville, then drinks in Subiaco.

My last night in Perth was spent having dinner with Mel and Nader's lovely families, who were so welcoming and wonderful to me during the visit.  Many thanks to everyone!

What an absolutely amazing trip, with the best hosts ever.  Thanks for everything, Mel, Ellie, Noosh, and Ori (and to Nader, as he helped sponsor the fun)!  I'll definitely be back, and with Ken next time.