We finished off Western Australia in Margaret River and Denmark.  Really beautiful countryside with wineries, ice cream, cheese and chocolate factories.

Lulu has an eye for photography

We had an extra visitor join us …and were happy to have Robyn tag along in the camper for a few days.  The kids loved having an “older sister”.

The parks had jumping pillows where Lulu perfected her tumbling….and tag and rugby skills

Pools where Rich and Robyn did an ultimate exercise challenge or two….

Some mini golf and playgrounds for Wilson…..oh…and retro video games at the TAVERN

WE got our haircuts!

We sampled the wine, ice cream, cheese and chocolate ….and found a park run in Margaret River to run off some of the extra lbs we are travelling with!

 

…not enough running though for the new swim wear that Rich found!  “They are SO comfortable” he says.  I think he only bought them to embarrass his family!  YIKES (cover your eyes)!

Denmark is along the south coast and really quite beautiful. (Rich can’t help but hop out of the car for a picture….seriously dressed for success! ….and max embarrassment for the kids)..

BIG amazing trees and tree top adventures.

and beautiful coast with the elephant rocks (don’t they really look like elephants!)

…green pools for snorkelling (and can you see the ray and the SHARK?!)…Rich and Robyn got out quick when Lulu called to them and made the universal sign for “watch out for the shark”…by placing her hand on her head like a fin and sounding scared!

….and more BIG TREES TO CLIMB.  Sersiously…this place is crazy…you pay 17$AUD for a car load, park, and with flip flops on (although sign posted not to be a great idea to climb in your “thongs”)…you climb up the 60m giant Karri tree with 153 spikes in the side of it to alternately hold on to and step on to.  Only 20% of people who attempt make it to the top….NO KIDDING….even I was scared!  Lulu and Robyn bolted up WAY out of sight.  Wilson unbelievably gave it a go ahead of me and made it all the way feeling great.  I counted the rungs…I wanted to turn around at 50 but passing people was treacherous….AND I wasn’t sure I would like going down any better than up!.  Rich followed up and onto the platforms.  NO SAFETY HARNESSES, not clipped in to anything….THIS WOULD NOT HAPPEN IN CANADA.

It is a small town with only the essentials (pub, grocery and gas)…but it does have a drive thru bottleshop!  Too bad the caravan is just TOO tall!

….but the caravan park was just out of town at Ocean Beach and was nearly empty (save for the hopping guests everywhere).

We had looked ahead and wanted to do surf lessons here.  Rich was in touch with “Mike” the surfer ….and we were set up for a ½ day lesson.  Luckily the weather Gods were smiling on us and it was warm (it has been a “cool” 18-22deg down along the south coast – compared to 30+ heat up north), sunny and not too windy.

The kids were very nervous about sharks (and me too…who am I kidding!)…so they dedicated only to the “on-land” portion of the lesson.  Mike was great with them and compared the risk of getting in a car accident (with Mom driving J) and getting eaten by a shark……nice one!

Rich and I are 20 years older than we were at our first ever surf lesson….and boy oh boy it shows!  I remember how sore my chest and upper body was from all of the “push ups” on the board to get yourself up to your feet….and my memory…for once….wasn’t wrong.  We are less agile for sure.  Mike literally SPRANG to his feet….me—I did the “4 step method” —

1)Lie on your stomach on the board

2)…..keep lying there and consider the worth of the effort to even TRY to stand up….

3)…..you almost lost your wave….so I guess you better TRY…..

4)Ok …so there are more than 4 STEPS….

5)Right knee out, right foot up high in the crotch to get some leverage….

6)Assume the push up position….

7)Lever on the back leg…..a half-assed downward dog-ish thing (don’t try to picture it!)

8)JUMP forward into a low squat….landing BOTH FEET equal distance from the centerline…and up between your hands….HAHAHA ya right…..not even on land is this in my bag of tricks!

9)Keep you balance…don’t forget …you are on WATER!

10)Next up…consider letting go of the death grip you have on the side of the board….and

11)STAND UP….

12)…..and immediately face plant off the front of the board!

13)All with a SMILE….b/c someone is filming your attempts to be a “cool mom”!!!!

….oh and then try again and again and again…..SMILING! (at least the water was forgiving to my face!) and luckily the pics of me are on the go-Pro and not downloaded Yet!

So with surfing all done….we head back to Perth for one last night at Peter’s house (our Airbnb with the pool and laundry….perfect last stop!)  Off to Sydney.

Sydney was a brief stop.  We got to visit with a dear friend (not old..but long time friend!) Libby who I went to University of Guelph with.  Thai dinner extraordinaire…and no pictures (I don’t know what we were thinking!)

Our apartment was awesome – right by the train station into downtown…and with a great pool (lap and play pool) and work out room.

Lulu and Wilson practiced her cheerleading moves in the pool.(they are taking classes when they get home)….here is Lulu’s throw.

We managed to find some amazing experiences while in Sydney. Lulu and I got tickets to see the Australian Ballet Company perform Cinderella AT THE SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE!  Oh my it was beautiful inside…and the ballet was well done.

…she even danced home in the subway!

We ran and played and climbed trees (my three monkies)…in Sydney park…right across the street from the apartment

And perfected our balance beam at the harbour front park…

The next night was a family affair —Bon Jovi at the Sydney Olympic Stadium.  Really cool to see the Olympic site….and nice to rock out to the good old songs we knew.  A little too late…and too much new music that we (and the kids) didn’t know…so we headed a little early back to the apartment…we fly to Tasmania in the morning!  We did end on a fav song of mine….EVERY ROSE HAS IT’s THORN!

Bon Jovi…getting older for sure…THOSE TEETH!  YIKES….and the 80s hair….can’t beat the 80’s!

…I will save Tasmania for the next post…the hiking was EPIC and deserves it’s own page!

Happy Holidays! (tree at Olympic park…and Santa in the metro!)