Tag Archives: australia

SYD–>HNL–>OGG

The past three days have been torture, haven’t they? You could barely drag yourself out of bed because you knew you wouldn’t have a new blog post to read, right? Curtail your sadness: we are back to tell you about our week in Maui.

Where we left off: as we were going through Customs in the Sydney airport, the following exchange actually occurred. An Aussie couple in their fifties was at the customs booth next to us, and the agent asked them where they were going. The extremely bright woman said, “Hawaii—is that the country?” The agent was absolutely gobsmacked and said, “No, ma’am. Hawaii is not a country. It is part of the United States.” This clueless woman went about her merry way. We did not necessarily expect this lady to know that the Hawaiian islands comprise a state (can you name all the Aussie states?), but how does one not know what COUNTRY they are visiting?

The nine-and-a-half hour flight from Sydney to Honolulu surprisingly flew by, and we shockingly slept for a good period of time. The early morning layover in Honolulu wasn’t as bad as expected, and soon we had landed in beautiful Maui.

Why Maui on the way home, you ask? Well, it was actually cheaper to fly through Hawaii on the way home from Australia, and we are quite lucky that Hanna’s grandparents have a condo in Maui. Grandpa Joe, Grandma Joann, and Aunt Sherry spend the winters there, so we were happy to pop over for a week’s visit before real life starts again.

We leave you with a few pictures:

We Had Brunch at a Beautiful Restaurant with This Absolutely Horrible View.

We Had Brunch at a Beautiful Restaurant with This Absolutely Horrible View.

Yacht Owned by One of Britain's Richest Women. (No, Not J.K. Rowling.) Yes, That is a Helicopter on Top.

Yacht Owned by One of Britain’s Richest Women. (No, Not J.K. Rowling.) Yes, That is a Helicopter on Top.

We Popped by This Point to Do Some Whale-Watchin'. Didn't Really See Any.

We Popped by This Point to Do Some Whale-Watchin’. Didn’t Really See Any.

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Final Thoughts: Australia

When Mike asked Hanna for assistance in writing this post, she said, “Australia. We like it. We’ll go back.” Her succinct words are quite true.

We are constantly asked (like, every single day) if we like Australia or New Zealand better. It’s an unfair question. We have seen more of New Zealand, but we have spent more time in Australia. On this trip we spent about a month in two places (Sydney and the Sunshine Coast), and we loved both as much as we did last time.

There’s just something about Sydney. It’s beautiful during the day or at night, and this is a city we could see ourselves living in…if it wasn’t so expensive. Our favorite part of Sydney this time around was taking the ferries wherever we wanted. We had no real game plan for the day, but we knew that a ferry would play a major part in the day. If you have never made it to Sydney, we strongly suggest you go. We know that we will be back someday…sooner rather than later.

No, That Isn’t Mike. We Just Like This Picture Because It Looks Photoshopped. We Swear It’s Not.

No, That Isn’t Mike. We Just Like This Picture Because It Looks Photoshopped. We Swear It’s Not.

Police Boat on a Mission.

Police Boat on a Mission.

Chinese New Year Celebration Outside the Maritime Museum.

Chinese New Year Celebration Outside the Maritime Museum.

See You Soon, Sydney.

See You Soon, Sydney.

The second leg of our Australian sojourn involved seeing people we really like to see. Never in our wildest dreams did we think we would find such good friends three and a half years ago. We are proud to say that Kiwi Mike and Kylie (and now little man Henry) are our mates. Tons of fun was had by all, and we couldn’t get enough of Henry. You probably couldn’t tell, right? We hope to see this lovely family real soon, and we thank them again for their hospitality, television, and WiFi. Since we hardly posted any pictures of Henry, we figured we should introduce the world to his cuteness:

Little Man Hank.

Little Man Hank.

No, We Weren’t There for Christmas. This Picture Was Hanging on Kiwi Mike and Kylie’s Fridge, And We Love It.

No, We Weren’t There for Christmas. This Picture Was Hanging on Kiwi Mike and Kylie’s Fridge, And We Love It.

In a Trance with Sophie.

In a Trance with Sophie.

We Stole This Child. Don’t Tell.

We Stole This Child. Don’t Tell.

Official Self-Portrait.

Official Portrait.

One reminder: vote vote vote for Henry. Click here to learn about his studly glamour shot, or click here to be taken directly to the voting page. Share the link. Tell your friends. The contest ends in a few days, so vote now…or we won’t be friends with you anymore.

Mike: Katie A in Australia

I go from not writing one of these posts in a month to writing two in a couple days. I’m honored. Flying pigs have already visited Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and New Zealand. When we went to Sydney back in January, we made a stop at the Olympic Park. Across from the cauldron and playground was a skate park. While a Winter Olympics site would have been perfect for a flying pig, I figured that a Summer Olympics park would work too. When I saw the skate park, I knew that this had to be where the pig would make its home. Warning: the following pictures are crappy. The sun was in a horrible place, and it was hard to get the pig and the skaters in a decent shot:

Spectating Pig.

Spectating Pig.

Closer. This Guy Got Slightly Creased. Sorry.

Closer. This Guy Got Slightly Creased. Sorry.

We have a feeling that this pig will stay here for a while. The main entrance to the skate park was on the opposite side, and there wasn’t a ton of foot traffic on the day we went. Those skater hooligans wouldn’t dare to rip off a sticker, would they?

One Night in Sydney

After a fantastic two weeks navigating windy roads and waving to sheep, it was time to leave the beauty of New Zealand behind. Our super-cheap flight back to the States left from Sydney, so we planned one last night there. The only downside: our flight from Christchurch to Sydney left at 7:45am…which meant we had to wake up at 5:15am to make sure we had enough time to drive to the airport, drop the car off, and check in for an international flight. All went smoothly, but we were super tired when we landed after a three-hour flight.

So where did we lay our heads, you ask? Nowhere big…just the Four Seasons overlooking Circular Quay in Sydney. We kept debating where to stay in Sydney for just one night, and Mike realized he had enough credit card points to book a fancy hotel:

We Make Ourselves at Home Quite Quickly.

We Make Ourselves at Home Quite Quickly. Classy.

View from the Room. Kinda Cool Watching Traffic on Sydney Harbour Bridge.

View from the Room. Kinda Cool Watching Traffic on Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Slightly different than trying to drown out the sounds of a snorer in a hostel dorm room, yeah? Truth be told, however, we expected fancy extravagance from the hotel, and it was…just okay. The lobby and room were both fine but nothing special.

Our plan for that day was to sit by the pool and then nap. (We woke up super early. Don’t judge.) The sky was quite overcast, so we only sat by the pool for a bit. The nap came earlier (and lasted longer) than expected. We wandered around for a bit, grabbed burgers and fried pickles, and wandered around some more:

Bridge. Cruise Ship. Both Massive.

Bridge. Cruise Ship. Both Massive.

Amazing Sky.

Amazing Sky.

Because of the late lunch, we split chicken schnitzel parmigiana for dinner from the same pub where we watched some of the Super Bowl. Dessert was a huge lemon meringue pie slice. Long story short: food was the priority that day in Sydney.

After a great night’s sleep in an overly big king-size bed, the next day’s plan was to sit by the pool before leaving for the airport that afternoon. The weather, however, did not cooperate. Not much sun was spotted, and it drizzled for a bit. Not exactly the last day in Sydney we expected… We wandered, shopped for groceries, and grabbed some Japanese noodles for lunch. We also worked in some time for a photo shoot by the Opera House:

Mike Contemplating Life at the Opera House.

Mike Contemplating Life at the Opera House.

Textured.

Textured.

Hanna Lovin' Life.

Hanna Lovin’ Life.

Before we knew it, our time in Australia had to come to a close. We left for the airport around 3pm and tried to mentally prepare for our nine-and-a-half hour flight to Honolulu.

Sydney from the Airport. Last Photo Taken in Oz.

Sydney from the Airport. Last Photo Taken in Oz.

A Slacker Post

If you check the right side of our blog every minute of every day, you know that we are no longer in New Zealand. You may even know that we stopped in Sydney again after leaving the beautifulocity of New Zealand. The truth is: we are in Hawaii now, and we still need to wrap up New Zealand and Australia. The further truth? This is the first time in over two months that we are behind the rest of the world in time zones. We are tired and don’t feel like writing posts right now. They’ll come soon enough, reader friends.

Here’s a picture of a turtle instead:

Just Punched a Turtle. #YOLO

Just Punched a Turtle. #YOLO

The Most Important Thing You Must Do Today

We interrupt our New Zealand adventures to bring you this important announcement.

You probably do not remember Henry. He is the five-month-old son of our Kiwi buddies Mike and Kylie. We stayed with them on the Sunshine Coast recently and did not talk about Henry at all. Nor did we post any pictures of him.

Love This Kid.

Love This Kid.

Henry’s career as a baby model began in the local newspaper, and now he is in a cutest baby contest for Bonds, an Aussie clothing/underwear company. Kiwi Mike and Kylie are paying us big bucks (right, mates?) to get the word out and help li’l Hank win.

Please please please click on the link below to vote for him:

http://www.bonds.com.au/babysearch/entry/index/id/115007

As Kiwi Mike wrote to us, a vote for Henry is a vote for cute. We agree. Vote, share the link, vote again and again from different email addresses. Besides if you vote, you are helping American Mike’s amazing photography career as he is the one who took this picture. Kiwi Mike and Kylie wholeheartedly agreed that if we let them use this picture, we could pick Henry up to take back to the States with us.

Vote your hearts out. Please. Get everyone you know to vote. Do it for the little man.

Hey. Just Vote for Me. Okay?

Hey. Just Vote for Me. Okay?

Goodbye, Kiwi Buddies

After a whopping nineteen nights staying with Kiwi Mike, Kylie, and Henry on the Sunshine Coast (do you think we overstayed our welcome?), sadly it was time to bid adieu. Because we live so far away from them, it is always hard to leave not knowing when we will see them next. Sure, talking to them via FaceTime is absolutely great, but it’s not the same thing as hanging out in person. We’re happy to say that after staying with them twice now and vacationing together in Hawaii, we are not sick of them by any means. Not so sure about their feelings towards us. (It’s mutual, right? RIGHT?)

Our favorite moments on the Sunshine Coast include:

-Watching My Kitchen Rules on TV four nights a week. Teams of two from each Aussie state host dinner parties at their home for the other teams and two judges. Let the snarky comments and harsh judging begin. Kiwi Mike claimed to absolutely hate this show, yet it was obvious he was sucked in like the rest of us. Another show we quite enjoyed every weekday at 5:30pm was game show Million Dollar Minute where three contestants answer rapid-fire trivia questions. We found it funny that many questions were about American geography, and we were impressed that people knew the answers. We highly doubt Americans (us included) could answer such specific questions about Australian capital cities or history.

Henry Isn’t Supposed to Watch TV, But He Managed to Find a Way This Day. His Craning Cracked Us Up.

Henry Isn’t Supposed to Watch TV, But He Managed to Find a Way This Day. His Craning Cracked Us Up.

-Our afternoon adventures with Kylie and the little guy. It got quite hot and humid while we were there, so we sought respite from the heat somewhere cool: malls, grocery stores, even the air-conditioned car. Wandering around grocery stores in different countries is one of our favorite pastimes, so we were more than happy to explore.

On Our Way.

On Our Way.

-Dance time with Henry. He has a stuffed dog that plays “Who Let the Dogs Out?”, and Hanna quite enjoyed singing and dancing along. For some bizarre reason, Mike kept singing Justin Bieber’s “Baby” to the little guy. Henry will be a Belieber yet.

This Wasn't Actually a Dance Party, But Hank Kinda Looks Like He Is Dancing. Just Pretend.

This Wasn’t Actually a Dance Party, But Hank Kinda Looks Like He Is Dancing. Just Pretend.

Here's Hanna Photobombin' and Dancin' During the Official Family Portrait Session.

Here’s Hanna Photobombin’ and Dancin’ During the Official Family Portrait Session.

-Busting Kiwi Mike’s chops about his long-ass beard. There’s absolutely no contest between the two Mikes’ beards. The Kiwi wins hands down. We were proud to celebrate the first birthday of Kiwi Mike’s beard while we were there. (Yes, he knows what day it hatched. Mazel tov.)

Happy Birthday, Beard.

Happy Birthday, Beard.

Mike’s Beard? Not as Impressive.

Mike’s Beard? Not as Impressive.

-Enjoying the delicious meals that Kiwi Mike and Kylie would make for us: chicken Caesar salad, bangers and mash, baked potatoes topped with chili, burgers, and, uh, Domino’s pizza. Kylie kindly baked us the national dessert of New Zealand (pavlova), and we want more. So good. Hanna’s dessert contribution? Rice Krispie treats and store-bought baked goods.

Pavlova: Meringue Topped with Cream and Berries.

Pavlova: Meringue Topped with Cream and Berries.

Hanna’s Gourmet Dessert.

Hanna’s Gourmet Dessert.

-Our Saturday barbeque by the beach with Kiwi Mike, Kylie, and their friends. Though it was overcast, we really enjoyed hanging out, swimming, eating, chatting, and playing with their friends’ kids. Mike even went stand-up paddleboarding (whoops, no pictures taken.) We planned to go again the next weekend, but the stupid weather was stupidly windy and stupidly rainy. Stupid.

Shrimp That Was Cooked on the Barbie. NO LIE. (They’re Actually Prawns. Shh.)

Shrimp That Was Cooked on the Barbie. NO LIE. (They’re Actually Prawns. Shh.)

We had such a great time with these Kiwis and are so grateful for their generosity. They opened their home to us for almost three weeks, and we got to snuggle with their sweet baby boy. We already miss them a lot and wish that we could have stayed forever. Who says that we need jobs? They did offer to employ us as nannies. The job wouldn’t pay, but room and board would be free.

Until we see you again, friends.

Official Portrait of the Five of Us.

Official Portrait of the Five of Us.