Adventures with John & Nina – Deep in the Down Under Continued

Updated: Oct 19, 2018

by Nina Sabin - Travel

Our last blog left off with our travels to the Deep Down Under during our third repat. We shared about our exciting experiences in Perth, Melbourne, and the Great Ocean Road. Now we will continue the amazing journey. There are so many wonderful places to visit in Australia. We have two more cities in Australia on our Deep Down Under Itinerary and the off to New Zealand which will be included in our next blog.


Come journey with us now as we take you to the city of Sydney. This was our next stop. After driving along the Great Ocean Road and seeing the amazing nature in the towns of Geelong, Apollo Bay, Otway Ranges, and Warrambool, we drove back to Melbourne for our next adventure. We hopped on board another plane to Sydney.


Sydney is a wonderful city. We couldn’t wait to see the Opera house. It is such a unique building and it looks beautiful weather you observe it in the daylight or night.


One of the best activities to do is climbing the bridge to the top and see a breathtaking view of the Sydney Harbor. They call it the “Climb of your Life”. It is pretty strenuous but well worth it.


Along the harbor they have great activities for the children. One thing our youngest daughter loved is a stationary bungee jump. There are four bungees and you are in a harness. Then you jump on the trampoline until your high enough to do flips. Fun for those who are adventurous. It really gives you a rush.


In the city center is Chinatown (if you been following us, you know we never miss a Chinatown in a city). We especially love the food in Chinatowns. It is very authentic.


Speaking of food, since we were in the Down Under, we knew we had to try Vegemite. If you are not sure what it is; it is a thick, black Australian food spread made from leftover brewers' yeast extract with various vegetable and spice additives. It is definitely an acquired taste. I always remember listening to the lyrics of Down Under by Men at Work and thinking someday I should try Vegemite. Now I can check that off my bucket list.


Other things we saw as we explored Sydney’s city center were Haymarket, visit the Chinese Garden, Darling Harbor, AMP Centrepoint Tower and Hyde Park. Sydney’s AMP Centrepoint Tower is the tallest building in the city. It has an observation deck where you can see amazing views of the city.


There are so many things to do in Sydney you need at least five – six days to see it all. You must take a ride down the harbor. You catch a ferry or harbor cruise from Circular Quay, and enjoy a trip around the beautiful harbor. We loved our ferry ride and enjoyed the fabulous sights. If you want to know more places to visit in Sydney check out our Australia itinerary.


After Sydney, we were back aboard the plane to Cairns. We rented a wonderful apartment there for the six of us. If you been following us, you know my in-laws joined us on many of our travels. At this point, it was Easter. Normally our repats were in the summer, but summer time for us was winter in Australia. We were able to do a Spring repat which is perfect time of year to visit Australia. Spring for us is Autumn for Australia.


It was fun to celebrate Easter in another country besides Saudi. I don’t know what traditions you have for Easter but in our family we hide the basket through doing a scavenger hunt; usually about six to ten clues before the children actually find the basket. Since it wasn’t our home, we had to be a little creative with the clues. This tradition we learned in Singapore a year before when we lived there for six weeks while John attended training. We met another family staying at the apartments in Singapore. They had children the same age as our daughters. They were from England and already had this scavenger hunt tradition. We are so glad they shared it with us.


Cairns is known for its beaches, Great Barrier Reef, Island tours, Lizard island, and Sky Rail. We did have the opportunity to go to the beach which was right around the corner from the apartment. However, the under-toe was very strong. When my oldest daughter and I walked in the Coral Sea together, we were swept by the current and pulled under. After a few seconds (but seemed much longer) we found each other, a little out of breath and scared but physically Ok. The biggest issue was the amount of sand that ended up in the bottom of our bathing suits. Needless to say, we only tried swimming once.


We had plans to go on a boat ride to the Great Barrier Reef to go snorkeling. However, the waves were pretty large and we were concerned about getting sick. On a good day, I am sure it would be an incredible experience. Unfortunately, we never were able to find out as the stomach flu hit our whole family and we were under the weather for several days. This only the second time we dealt with sickness while traveling. The first time was with our youngest daughter when she ended up with a flu and high fever in Cambodia. Unlike the US, many places around the world you can get an antibiotic without a prescription.


Next on our Deep Down Under itinerary was traveling to New Zealand. As I mentioned we were dealing with the stomach flu, which went from person to person. My father-in-law was the last to get it and had to travel on a plane feeling very under the weather. Not a great way to travel, but at least his seat was close to the bathroom.


In my next blog, I will take you on our journey through New Zealand – the country known for Kiwis.

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