Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas in Australia

                                 Christmas in Australia
Matching pj's and a kangaroo
We are spending the holidays with our son Tyler, April and their family. We are fitting in with their Christmas traditions and enjoying the excitement of the grandchildren during this time of year. 
Christmas Eve stories - Louisa is hidden from view
Christmas pajamas

Christmas morning breakfast

Opening gifts Christmas morning
Christmas morning fun
Preston being dramatic

Louisa singing with her backup Gideon

Gideon in red

After Christmas we went on a tour of the Central Deborah Gold Mine in Bendigo. It was an operational mine until 1954 and was the largest gold mine in Australia. The city of Bendigo purchased the mine in the 1990's and converted into a tourist attraction. 

Lincoln getting equipped for going underground

This was our tour guide - an authentic miner explaining everything

This drill made a terrible racket and he exploded simulated explosives in demonstrating mining techniques.

Poor miner children looking glum

Preston striking it rich in Australia

Post script: The Great Open Road was closed the week after Christmas because of a Christmas Day fire that destroyed 116 homes between Lorne and Apollo Bay at a place called Wye River. Here are three photos taken professionally by a news organization. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Bendigo and Beyond


                                A walkabout in the bush

We went on a walk about in the "bush" - a mixture of grasses, rock, trees, and bushes. It looks dry and uninviting. We encountered kangaroos in the bush after they took flight from a cemetery. 

Preston in the bush
Not all parts of the bush are inviting

Our walkabout
Kanagaroos bounding off from cemetery

Bendigo Botonical Gardens
We also took a walk through the botonical gardens in Bendigo. Rural towns and cities have their own botonical gardens. It seemed more like a park than a botonical garden. They did identify plants and tees. In Bendigo, they have a play area for children and a tree for climbing. 

Unusual tree

Family picnic complete with Christmas stockings hung from a tree
Lincoln up a tree
Musical fence - Louisa pushing a button to hear sounds
Preston bouncing out of view like a kangaroo
Trees and vegetation outside of Bendigo

Tree climbers at Otway National Park

A forest grows between the roots of an elevated tree trunk

Like a scene from Avatar
A hillside of tall trees
A fern canopy in the Otway National Park

Flowering tree at Otway lighthouse

City park at Lorne

Pine tree at Torquay

Tree in Lorne
                        A trip to Melbourne
Shopping at Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne
Queen Victoria Market is a huge open air market with 1,000 stalls for fruits and vegetables, meats, sundry items and souveniers, and restaurants. It is also a tourist attraction. Afterward, we picked up some packages and mail at the US embassy.

High rise apartments across from the Queen Victoria Park
We also enjoyed a Christmas party for church friends at Tyler and April's home.
A sister missionary from Fiji is telling about her Christmas traditions while her companion from Samoa is seated on the couch.

Great Ocean Road

Australia's Great Ocean Road. 
The ocean has carved out huge limestone portions of the cliffs - named the twelve apostles though only eight still stand. 
We've done a number of exciting things already - a walk through the "bush", a side trip to Melbourne to pick up packages, a visit to the Bendigo Botonical Garden, a Christmas party at Tyler and April's home, and shopping. We'll deal with all that later in a follow up blog.

Apollo Bay and Marengo Bay from Mariner's Lookout.

The Great Ocean Road was built by Australian veterans of World War I. The road formally starts at Torquay west of Melbourne and runs along the coastline of the Southern Ocean.  We spent three nights at Marengo Bay just next to Apollo Bay about midpoint in the trip. The highlight of this scenic drive are the dramatic rock formations in the ocean. 
The Gorge

The Razorback

The Twins

At one one end of Gibson's Steps
At the tail end of our trip we ran into some fierce squalls. For example, April was in a pleasant touristy mood... 

                and about a minute later this is what transpired.

World famous surfing beach - Bells Beach
Surfer at Bells Beach

Non-surfers at Bells Beach
View from lighthouse

Beach at Gibson's Steps
Fun on the beach

Oh to be this young!
Aussie wannabes, Preston and Lincoln with Louisa
Building castles, moats and deep holes

It wasn't all beaches and vistas - we found some neat rain forest hikes, waterfalls, lighthouses and of course, koalas. And some quite tame parrots in the wild.

Those cute little marsupials did this. Tree deforestation in the Otway National Park, Victoria, Australia

Otway Lighthouse

This area becomes a rain forest in the Australian winter

Erskine Falls

Tyler and April at Erskine Falls
A beach literally filled with rock towers - Darlene is helping out

This tower must have been twelve feet high. It is a Stonehenge type mystery on how it was built.

Tyler ends this blog with an Aussie hat, a babe in arms, a bird in hand, three other parrots posing with a koala. How Aussie can you get! But where is the kangaroo?