by Nina Sabin - Travel
The joy of living overseas is we were close to so many countries; it was easy to travel. We were also blessed with over 60 days off a year to travel between the Eid Holidays and Repat.
In 2004, only three years after moving to Saudi we had already been to 16 countries. That means I have already written a blog on those countries. There are also itineraries of those trips to purchase.
I have mentioned in each of my blogs that we are on another once-in-a-life time trip. That has always blown us away. Each time we are in a different country, we say to ourselves, “I can’t believe we are really here.
On this trip, we decided to go to Australia and New Zealand. I remember living in the US and going to school thinking, as we were learning about the world, how incredible it would be to see a real kangaroo, koala, kiwi, kookaburra, and emu. At that time, I couldn’t even dream of going to those countries. Yet here we were standing in Perth’s airport and ready for our adventure in the Down Under.
We went to four cities in Australia and drove the Great Ocean Road.
Before we arrived in Perth, Australia, we had a lay-over in Singapore. Since it was over an eleven-hour layover, we had time to leave the airport. We rode on the metro to a mall and watched a movie. Our kids still remember the Scooby-doo movie and the fact that it was amazing that we could go to another country watch a movie, get back on a plane, and then hours latest be in yet another country. Ah, the life of an expat kid.
This was our repat and if we named it we would have called it Deep in the Down Under.
We started this trip in Perth because we met up with a family we became friends with in Saudi. One of the blessings and perks of living overseas is meeting people from all over the world. They opened up their home to us for a couple of days. This was back when we still did a repat shopping. It was pretty different to buy clothes and other essential items in a country we were not familiar with. We sent boxes from the local post-office. It was definitely an adventure in itself, and learning that a trunk of a car is called a boot.
We mostly walked around Perth and enjoyed the sites of the city. One of our favorite memories of Perth, besides staying with our friends is taking a 45-minute ferry to Rottenest Island. It has marsupials that live there - Quokkas. They are almost unique to the island and resemble small kangaroos, pouches and all. It was so cool to see them running around the island. We are animal lovers so seeing those animals brought us such excitement.
The best way to travel from city to city in Australia is by flight. Our next destination was Melbourne. As I mentioned we love animals. Melbourne has one of the best and oldest zoos in the world; it opened in 1862 and offers several historic features such as the Main Walk and an early 20th century menagerie exhibit which are in the historic area. The zoo was modeled on the London Zoo is believed to be the 11th oldest zoo in the world. We loved seeing the koala’s, emu’s, and kangaroo close up. I also learned that koalas are not bears. They are marsupials, or pouched mammals. After giving birth, a female koala carries her baby in her pouch for about six months.
In Melbourne, we met up with my in-laws. This was their fourth around-the-world trip. Now they have been on over 13 around-the-world trips.
Traveling with the six of us is fun. More challenging for transportation, but we always managed.
We had to rent a seven passenger vehicle because our next part of our journey through the Australia was driving the Great Ocean Road. All I can say is WOW! The views were amazing. Everywhere we looked you could just see God’s majestic creation. People who stop on the side of the roads to look up in the trees. What where they looking at – koalas sleeping in eucalyptus trees. What an incredible site to see.
The other highlight was going to a national reserve along the way. As we drove through the reserve, the animals where everywhere. Our favorite was the emu as he charged towards our car when my youngest daughter yelled out the window “Good-Day Mate.” It was good we were able to get the windows up fast enough. He seemed really eager to get in our car!
In the next blog we will continue our journey Deep in the Down Under. Stayed tuned for the next two cities in Australia and then off to New Zealand.