Australia: 12/24 – 12/30

Mudgeeraba [Housesit with Rupy and Teebo]

12/24 – Admiring Christmas Light Displays and Flying Foxes on Christmas Eve
12/25 – 1 Whole Year of Travelling Around the World! Merry Christmas!
12/26 – Hydroboarding in Surfers Paradise!
12/27 – Skyping with family back home and more research
12/28 – Reading and Posting Pictures
12/29 – Lounging on the back patio and going to see the new Star Wars
12/30 – Hiking in Springbrook National Park!

12/24 –
Day 6 of Housesit – Admiring Christmas Light Displays and Flying Foxes on Christmas Eve
+ Skyped with Liz’s mom and brothers back home. Got to see our cat Tumbles which really helps because we miss him sooooo much!
+ In the afternoon we went to the local Woolworths Grocery Store and picked up some more supplies and our Christmas meal.
+ After that we went to the liquor store and got some wine and beer for during our stay too. Although the beer is much more expensive than in the U.S. (the wine is actually cheaper!) we were able to find a few cheap deals.
+ That night after eating our roasted chicken we bought from the store, we walked around our neighborhood and looked at Christmas lights. Our block is actually very popular for people to drive over and park their car and walk around looking at the Christmas lights. While admiring the neighbors’ houses, we talked with another couple who was doing the same and they told us about another neighborhood 5 minutes away that had even better Christmas displays.
+ So we took their advice and got in the car and drove over there and saw some more houses. One house had funny Australian animals lit up like a Kangaroo, Koala, Emu, and Platypus.
+ On our way back to the car we spotted another one of those gigantic Australian Flying Foxes (a type of bat) swooping around. We watched where it landed and walked over to the tree and to our surprise there were about 40-50 bats up in the tree! We hung out for 15 minutes and watched as one would leave to fly away as another would come in and land immediately flipping into his hanging position. It was so interesting because the bats are so huge that having one with a 4 foot wingspan fly overhead was exhilarating and certainly a unique Christmas Eve memory!
+ Back at the house we had some dessert and watched some episodes of Community before bed.

12/25 –
Day 7 of Housesit – 1 Whole Year of Travelling Around the World! Merry Christmas!
+ Today officially marks 1 whole year of travel! It is certainly crazy to think about how many places we’d been throughout the past year and how many fun adventures we’d been on and interesting people we’d met! We now had new friends who lived all over the world who we had memories with that we’d carry with us for the rest of our lives!
+ This housesit was working out perfectly because it was allowing us to rest and relax and plan out our next leg of travel and would rejuvenate us for exploring new areas of the world for the next few months!
+ After sleeping in while enjoying the cooler weather, we got up and had a quick breakfast before hurrying over to the Christmas tree to open the presents we’d gotten each other!
+ Corey received a new Neon Green/Black dryfit shirt along with some lightweight camping silverware, Lindor chocolate, and silk boxers with the Australian Flag on them!
+ Liz’s gifts were a big paint-by-numbers canvas, adventure travel toiletry bag, and 2 big bags of sour gummy worms and Trolli gummy candy!
+ That afternoon we relaxed and ate candy while Liz did some painting and Corey watched all the NFL game highlights from back home.
+ In the evening, we fired up the “Barbie” so we could cook the kabobs we’d bought and have a proper Australian Christmas dinner! We had 2 different flavors of chicken and some roasted potatoes and salad to go along with it, followed by a chocolate cheescake for dessert! We were living the good life!
+ When things were cleaned up, we grabbed a bottle of wine and sat on the couch and watched the movies “The Rescuers” and “The Rescuers: DownUnder”. Corey had never seen the first one (only the sequel) and Liz had never seen the sequel. It had been many years since either of us had seen them so we decided to watch them both since we were in Australia!
+ Halfway through Liz had a fun phone call with our friend Lizzi back home (It’s always so comforting to talk to friends from home! Liz ended the call with a huge smile on her face!) Then we had some more wine and finished the second movie!
+ Overall it was a great Aussie Christmas and one we surely wouldn’t forget!

12/26 –
Day 8 of Housesit – Hydroboarding in Surfers Paradise!
+ Since it was still Christmas evening back in Florida, we did a Skype call with Corey’s family and got to speak with his mom, brothers, and sister-in-law. While we were video-chatting with them we had some minor freak outs discovering the outside freezer not working and the oven smoking while trying to cook lunch. Luckily they were both easy fixes.
+ Corey had found a great deal for Hydroboarding here in Surfers Paradise area and it was something he’d always wanted to try so he decided to give it a go today! So after we ate lunch we drove the 30 minutes northeast to the coastal inlet and met up with the instructor.
+ After a land briefing, Corey got to put on a virtual reality headset which gave him an idea of what exactly it would be like out on the water. That’s the first time he’s ever used one of those!
+ Finally it was his turn. After the staff switched out the boots to accomodate for Corey’s Sasquatch-like feet, he got strapped in and taken out into the inlet. Within only a minute or two Corey was able to get up out of the water being propelled by the water jet-powered board underneath him that was powered by the jet ski nearby
+ For the next 25-30 minutes Corey learned how to turn, spin in circles, do some dolphin dives (although they were more like half bent belly flops!) and even attempt (and fail at) a backflip! He did master riding on the Hydroboard though and the instructor kept repeating how good he had done and that he was a natural!
+ Corey had a ton of fun and thinks it was definitely one of the most fun and adrenaline-pumping things he’s done since bungee-jumping in Colombia!
+ Once he’d gotten out of the water and changed into dry clothes, we got into the car and drove north to an area called “The Spit”. This was a popular beach area where surfers rode the big waves around the point and dog-owners often came to walk the bush trails and golden sands. Due to the rain that seemingly came out of nowhere though, our time was cut short and we hurried back to the car so we weren’t completely drenched.
+ From there, we slowly drove south passing through Surfer’s Paradise, Broadbeach, Mermaid Beach, and the northern part of Burleigh Heads. Then we grabbed a slurpee and headed back to the house. We’d wanted to check out more of the area and walk around a bit, but the weather wasn’t great and this was one of the busiest (if not THE busiest) days of the year since it was Boxing Day!
+ Back at the house, we hung out and worked on pictures and researched for the upcoming areas we’d be visiting.
+ At night we had some chicken and pasta and then knocked off some items from our to-do list before watching Community before bed.

12/27 –
Day 9 of Housesit – Skyping with family back home and more research
+ In the morning we Skyped Liz’s family back home for about an hour and spoke with her Dad, Lyla, and brothers. It always felt nice to reconnect with family and definitely made us feel less homesick!
+ Today would be a work day and pretty much the whole time was spent with Liz working on pictures and then posting them to Facebook while Corey read Lonely Planet and entered notes into Evernote. We also researched flights to New Zealand but decided we wanted to finalize our Australian plans more concretely before booking a flight out of the country.
+ For dinner we made hamburgers out on the grill and decided to eat outside again since the weather was so nice and cool.
+ After a few more hours working on our devices, we decided to finally relax and watch some Orange is the New Black on the tv in the living room.

12/28 –
Day 10 of Housesit – Reading and Posting Pictures
+ Corey read a book about buying a Campervan in New Zealand while Liz went through pictures in Spain, Morrocco, the Netherlands, Belgium, and France!
+ For lunch Corey made buffalo wings for lunch and they were soooo delicious!
+ When it was well after dark and we’d finished our work for the day, we relaxed on the couch and watched some more OitNB while eating Chocolate Magnum ice cream bars! We could get used to this housesit life!

12/29 –
Day 11 of Housesit – Lounging on the back patio and going to see the new Star Wars
+ Spent most of the day hanging out on the back patio relaxing and working on our devices. It was really nice under the shade with the cool breeze blowing on us!
+ Corey finished reading about Australia and taking notes while Liz went through all the pictures for England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales! Since we’d been in and out of the UK so many different times over the course of about 4 months, it was tough to arrange them all and choose a few to post to Facebook!
+ Once we managed to get both cats back inside for the night, we changed and left the house and drove to Dominos to get some pizza for dinner. Then we ate quickly and drove over towards the mall.
+ We went to the nearby movie theater and saw the new Star Wars movie! The Australian commercials beforehand were really unique and the messages and items promoted were funny to us.
+ The movie was really good and when we got back home we hung out on the couch watching some YouTube video recaps about it and texted our friend Doug about it too since he’s our unofficial movie expert/nerd.

12/30 –
Day 12 of Housesit – Hiking in Springbrook National Park!
+ Today we wanted to leave the house again and go explore a cool outdoor area that had been recommended to us.
+ After getting our day pack ready, we hopped in the SUV and drove over to Springbrook National Park. (This housesit – like many in Australia – came with the use of the homeowner’s car.) It was about a 30 minute drive and along the way we had many twisting turns through the mountains and some great overlooks too! Australia certainly knows how to do their overlooks! Sometimes things in the States will be labeled as an “overlook” but then is often very underwhelming. In this national park every single overlook was breathtaking!
+ Then we headed to the tourist info center where some nice old folks volunteers gave us a map and helpful info. The guy asked where we were from and we said the U.S. but then he kept thinking we were from Canada! lol.
+ We wanted to do some hiking so we found a nice loop that took us past some waterfalls and offered some cool sights and plant life too. It was a fun hike that took about 2.5 hours and it felt great to stretch our legs and explore again!
+ From there, we drove to the “Best of All” lookout where, after a short hike past some ancient Antartic Beech trees, we could see all the cities of Gold Coast and Byron bay! Plus there were cool misty clouds rolling in over the peak which was neat to watch.
+ On our drive back to the house, we saw some wallabies and a yellow-crested cockatoo flew right up to Liz’s window while trying to cross the road! He almost came in for a visit!
+ Once we got back, we decided to do some work outside since we were already sweaty. So Corey mowed the lawn while Liz took down the Christmas lights and decorations (since all the neighbors were doing the same, we didn’t want to be the only ones with them still up!).
+ For a refreshing reward, we both jumped into the pool and enjoyed the cold water and a cold beer while watching more giant bats fly overhead!
+ For dinner we made some spagghetti, sausage, and garlic bread. Then we watched more OitNB before bed. We didn’t really like the show yet but everyone had told us how good it was so we decided to keep watching and at least finish the first season.

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