Hello again! Well it's been quite some time since the last blog post and so much has happened! Let's see if I can remember everything...
We spent about a week hanging out with the Edwards. They live in Yeppoon which is about 30 min. outside of Rockhampton. This area is the beef capital of Australia, so it was only fitting that we should meet a guy from Nebraska! We hadn't been doing much but relaxing and taking it easy in Yeppoon so we decided to venture out and explore Rocky for a day. Unfortunately for us, that day happened to be a Saturday. We didn't realize until too late that almost everything in Australia shuts down over the weekend, especially in more rural areas. So after an exhausting time of being stranded and trudging through the entire city in some pretty miserable heat (which is a whole 'nother story!) we decided to call it a day and catch the second to last bus home. We were sitting at the bus stop moping about how everything we tried that day had gone wrong, but apparently we looked like we knew what we were doing. This guy with a good ol' midwestern accent came up to us and asked if we knew where to catch the bus to Yeppoon. We should have told him to stay away from us so that our current streak of bad luck wouldn't rub off on him. Instead, we joined forces and all missed that bus together! Turns out the correct bus stop was about a block down the street. Well, we had 3 hours to kill and didn't have anything else to do, so we grabbed drinks and then walked over the river to check out the empty race track with Nebraska. It actually ended up being pretty cool to spend the afternoon swapping travel experiences, especially because he was one of few Americans we've met so far over here. All's well that ends well, I guess!
By that point it was time to move on, so we repacked our stuff, left most of it behind for safe keeping with the Edwards, and flew down to Brisbane. As a side note, we totally over packed. You never realize how much crap you don't really need until you have to lug it around everywhere with you! I even picked up a new backpack in Brisbane, which now holds all of my worldly possessions.
The highlight of our time in Brisbane was the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, where we got to play with the koalas and kangaroos all day. The kangaroos were my favorite. They are hilarious and love a good scratch on the neck almost as much as Honey does! Don't tell my dad, but I fully plan on bringing one home. I know how much he loves keeping my pets in his yard. Lexie even gave us a surefire way to catch one. Check out how to catch a kangaroo! After our animal adventure we finished the day with a tour of the XXXX Brewery. Zach and I have both seen our fair share of breweries and this one was pretty top notch. Then at the end of the tour you got 4 beers and a full Aussie BBQ. I also got to stand behind the bar with the cute bartender, so that pretty much made my night.
From Brisbane we hopped on a train up to Queensland's Sunshine Coast. I had a bit of a wardrobe malfunction on the way and gave the entire train platform a full show of my cheeks and the panties I was wearing that day. What's traveling without a little embarrassment once in a while? We stayed the first couple days in Noosa Heads, which is a lovely little touristy town. The hostel, Halse Lodge, was a really awesome creaky old timber building that sat in the woods just off the beaten path. Staying there felt a bit like being away at summer camp.
On Australia Day we had arranged to meet up with my dad's family friend, Margaret, and her family. They live in Twin Waters, which is just down the coast from Noosa. It had been raining pretty steadily for the past several days, so we couldn't do an outdoor beach and BBQ Australia Day, but Margaret's fiance, Adrian, gave us the full Aussie menu with wonderful new things like Tim Tams, ANZAC biscuits, Vegemite, and Bundy rum and ginger beer. He even helped us understand the game of cricket, a bit. Meanwhile, the rain had turned into a full fledged storm and we were definitely not going to be able to make it back to our beds at the hostel for the night. We basically had an extended slumber party while we waited out the residual of a tropical cyclone. Margaret's kids, David (12) and Josephine (9), were delighted to have us for movies, board games, puzzles, arts and crafts, and manicures. Zach didn't want a manicure for some reason. We also had plenty of time to hear some great stories about my dad and uncles and life on the farm in Wisconsin... including one involving a particularly potent batch of cat wormer! We couldn't have asked for better company to wait out the storm. However, we were all very happy when the clouds finally lifted. Up until that point Zach and I hadn't seen a single ray of sunlight on the famous Sunshine Coast and we were beginning to wonder if the name wasn't just a clever way of luring in tourists. We had two days of nice weather; just enough time to be able to check out the hinterland town of Montville, visit the kids at their school, walk along the beach, and eat some delicious, fresh off the docks seafood before we had to make it back down to Brisbane to catch our flight out to Western Australia. Our parting meal with Margaret and crew was at a little Mexican food restaurant in Brisbane. The food actually wasn't half bad, but we promised to return the Australian hospitality with some real Southwest cooking when our parents come out for a visit!
We made it out to WA and have been learning lots. From the harvest trail to horse racing, nothing is quite what we expected. We both feel a little wiser as a result. I'll write more about that next time. Stay tuned!