Around the World in 90 Days

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Tag Archives: Australia

Newcastle

After settling into the EP house (thank you, Werner) we realized there was one more weekend with the car.  So we headed north a bit to Newcastle for some good old fashioned Adventist heritage time and some camping.

If not everyone gets this post, no worries, the pictures are kinda cool.  Tompaul and I, in our neverending quest to seee all things historically Adventist, decided to go up to Avondale (the Adventist college in Australia) and pay a visit to Sunnyside (Ellen G’s home nearby).  A friend invited us to a morning church, casual come as you are, they serve brekkie with actual COFFEE, which reminded us of Gracepoint (our home church in Nashville).

We woke up early and drove up to Avondale about 2h north of Sydney in the town of Cooranbong.  Church filled a need I forgot I had and we had haystacks (mmm, haystacks) at Kim and her husband’s house.  They went off to do some heavy duty yard work ministry and we went off to see good o’l Ellen’s house.

I love how Ellen White ended up in Australia.  People were being dumb, she realized she wasn’t wanted and said, “Go suck on some Wham (click the link people, its not the band).  I don’t have to stay in cold boring Battle Creek, MI.  I just got an invite to go down under where it’s warm…see ya!”  Some of her best work was done here…welcome to Sunnyside.

Like all of Ellen’s homes, it was spacious, had plenty of land, and space for people to chill.  My favorite thing (which I don’t have a picture of) is her dressing gown.  She gave it away when she moved back to the States and it was colorful and bright.  Not so drab and dark as we usually think.

The best part about Sunnyside is…the South Pacific Islands Museum.  This is actually an award-winning museum in the back yard of Sunnyside (from the outside it totally looks rinky dink, but inside wow).  It focuses on the Seventh-day Adventist church’s involvement in the South Pacific.  It has some pretty amazing stuff.  Many of the missionaries were given gifts from the islands they worked in and they were donated to this museum.  It has some of the best carvings, idols, haircombs, original costumage and stories I have seen.  Let’s check it out…first up a communication drum from the island of Ambrym, decorative yet functional!

This one got me….several bird of paradise plumes.

Here are some traditional costumes from one of the Solomon islands, I wish I had written down which one.

This was one of my favorite things.  A long boat from the Solomon Islands that was used to ferry the Duke of Edinburgh (yes, Prince Phillip) to the island as a ceremonial welcome.  You can’t see it but one side says “SDA.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay the museum was full of cool things, it was free and really nicely done.  They painstakingly detailed which group the gifts were native to, and what they were used for.  If they were idols they described who and what.  I was actually surprised.  It is worth checking out.  One of my favorite things was a clipping of the Fuzzy Wuzzy Poem.  Not the Rudyard Kipling one…but the one describing the Papua New Guineans who carried Australians to safety in the second world war.  No known injured soldier was ever abandoned by the PNG “fuzzy wuzzy angels.”  If you wonder how PNG feels about the fuzzy and the wuzzy the word papua is a description of their poofy hair.

Here is an excerpt:

Many a lad will see his mother
and husbands see their wives
Just because the fuzzy wuzzy
carried them to save their lives
From mortar bombs and machine gun fire
or chance surprise attacks
To the safety and the care of doctors
at the bottom of the track

After this random bit we traveled to Newcastle where we set up camp and went swimming.  Here is a view of the beach from our campground. We went to the pool, swam in the beach, and went beach walking.  It was HOT as hades there.

The beach was nice, the waves were perfect for jumping.  I gave Tompaul my credit cards and license to put in his trunks…but there was a hole in the pocket.  The only thing was lost?  The credit card, the one where we don’t have to pay a fee for international usage, the one that we needed.  This led to a 6-hour experience of Lisa trying to get a replacement and some dummy at Capital One not knowing that Sydney, NSW is not in America.  Because when the card did not come I called back and was told they don’t send cards out of the U.S.

 

Nevermind.  The beach was awesome. We walked for hours.

For dinner we went to the foreshore and searched out a highly recommended restaurant named Scotties.  The inside is a fancy resturant, but that window on the side is the key to some of the best burgers in the world.  I got a veggie burger as big as my face.  If you have ever shopped for veggie burgers you know they are not regular size.  This one was home made, huge, and had avo.  We made the mistake of ordering the large fries, which were amazing, fresh-hand-cut, and wrapped in butcher paper, making one feel special.  There were so many the package was big as a small child.  My only complaint was the shakes were slightly lackluster.  But EVERYTHING else was to die for.

Tomorrow´s blog? Sydney, baby.

 

Great Ocean Road goes on and on…

Welcome to travel BINGO.  The portion of our trip where we find all of the postcard points of Australia (or at least those on the GOR).  Luckily it was a sunny day, perfect for pictures.  Be warned this is a mostly pictures post.

Our first stop was the Gibson Steps.  There were lovely pictures of people at the turn of the century (not this one) having a picnic…which it is lovely…until the tide comes in and you die.  This is the view from the parking lot.

Tompaul being photogenic.

The rock formations…which were breathtaking, and you could get closer than to the twelve apostles.

Where’s Lisa?

Now it’s time for the mother of all sights.  The 12 Apostles!  Some things in travel are better than you can ever seen on a postcard, e.g. the Grand Canyon surpassed my wildest imagination. Some things are as you see them, like Big Ben, and some things are less.  The 12 Apostles is better in picture than in real life.  Not that you shouldn’t see them, the picture is just better (probably ’cause it was taken from a helicopter, without people, at the right time of day with the sun glinting off the limestone).

Actually the 12 Apostles was where we saw the most Japanese tourists ever.  Tompaul has a theory that Japan is too small so they rotate the people out for vacation.  There was even a public toilet that was a hole in the ground.  Almost made me long for Africa, except not.

Next up was the Loch Ard Gorge, which I had never heard of but found spectacular (just as our friend Lynelle predicted).  The curves and the colors were breathtaking–maybe if they had just named it something snappy like the 7 Dwarfs or Christ’s Manger more people would come to visit.  This again reminds me of Roanoke, which was originally called Big Lick.  Oddly enough no one could convince the railroad to come to town, so they renamed it Roanoke.  Then N&S set up shop.

Crazy tourist.

See wasn’t that lovely?

Next up we took a stop at Port Campbell.  The visitor’s center was interesting.  There is a bay where ships have safe docking and the visitor’s center focused on the many ship wrecks in the area. We decided to go on a quick overlook hike (was only about 1.5km).  The scene was lovely, here is the swimming hole of the port.

And then an intriguing bit of waves that seem to start in the middle of the ocean, only 5-6 yards wide, going out until eternity.  That one we couldn’t figure.

Then we walked through bits of desert and saw birds.  It was good, until we hit road.  There was no “loop” as promised, it just stopped on the road.  Unsure of what the deal was we started to walk back to what we thought was the right direction along a deserted road.  Then a car passed us.  And we kept walking.  We had only a small water bottle ’cause it was a “loop” and we walked and walked.  Finally the one car that passed us drove back, saw us and stopped.  She asked if we were lost, we explained, she knew exactly where we came from.  She was on her way to yoga but wanted a nice peaceful moment beforehand (I thought yoga was peaceful).  Anyways she was an angel.  On the way back to our car (which was a good 7 minute drive) she showed us her second son’s dairy farm (below).

Then we pumped up the air-conditioning and drove to our final stop, London Bridge. It had two arches that one could walk upon, until the first arch crashed. That’s right, people, London Bridge came falling down.  Good times.  It actually crashed, not killing anyone, but leaving them stranded on the far side until a copter could rescue them.  So now they call it the London Arch.  Do you think you can just change a name because it doesn’t resemble a bridge?

Soon it was time we hightailed it back to Sydney.  We drove along the incredibly boring Hume Highway.  There were a few highlights though.  How else would I have seen the paper mache Ned Kelly?  Man who was a criminal but gained fame by making himself some homemade armor, having a shoot out with police, and then died–now played by Heath Ledger who is also dead (which makes me even sadder).

Or the infamous Dog on the Tucker Box?  The poem is dumb and sounds like the dog did something wicked on the Tucker Box.

 

Signs of Australia

Let’s start our Australia trip where we left off in Africa: with signage.

In Australia they have aggressive PSA campaigns and I swear there are signs warning you to mind everything.  I mean everything.  One thing that I noticed was the aggressive campaign to keep drivers awake.  Except with me it reminded me I was sleepy and everytime I saw one of these I yawned.  One time I almost fell asleep immediately after.

Then of course there was the signs reminding me to be a patient, good girl (I mean driver).

Then we have a personal favorite that was predominant around the Great Ocean Road.  If you haven’t figured this out by the time you are on the road then by the time you see this sign everyone is in trouble.

We stayed in some random places in Australia that seemed perfectly acceptable there.  They still have old fashioned “hotels” above bars downtown in small towns.  In case you get lost after enjoying the bar, note the helpful hand to show you where to go.

This one seemed a bit harsh, but I guess they don’t tolerate idiocracy.

Vanity plates are all the rage.  While they have more laws in Australia than I have ever seen they are pretty loose on the license plate front.

I  think the sign speaks for itself.

I am surprised the stick person doesn’t have a walker or hover-round.

Destination Movies: Mary and Max

We had wanted to watch movies that pertained to each country we are going to visit.  This has proved to be more challenging than planned.  We ended up watching some IMAX stuff, then there was that horrible movie The Maid I couldn’t finish, cause it was psycho.

Then in browsing our Netflix it suggested this movie.  Usually Netflix suggests stuff I don’t want to see.  But this time…I was intrigued.  Mostly cause I love claymation.

First let me preface this is not a children’s movie.  It isn’t bad, just adult.  Mary is a girl who lives in Australia, the world of sepia.  Her family life is a mess, and she decides at random to write someone in America.  Little does she know she will make a friend in Max, a 44 yo Jewish, Atheist, New Yorker with Asperger Syndrome.  What ensues is a true friendship, and real life.  It is a black comedy I can wrap my mind around (unlike the psycho The Maid) a la Royal Tenenbaums.  Check it out.