Carol & Gary's NZ adventure travel blog

Gary on Australia Day

Lucy and I on Australia Day and my 40th

Lucy, Wayne, Mum and I on Australia Day

Julie, Lucy and I

Uncle G getting all stickered up by Lucy

Mum, me, Julie, Matty, Greg and Chris hamming it up at Bocce

The carpet snake we got from under Mum's house

The Bluewater Lagoon, Mackay

Lucy on the boogey board with Uncle Wayne looking on

Safe in Uncle Gary's arms...look at her face!

Down the slide with mummy

Us getting soaked with the big "scary" bucket

Gary flying the "Bob the Builder" kite

My fantastic sister

Gary saying goodbye to Dexter

Gary taking Nana for one last spin before we leave

Saying goodbye to Mum and Lucy

I am up early on Monday morning as it is my 40th Birthday and Australia Day. I can not believe that I have turned 40. It seems so old. Gary has given me a gift voucher for a hot air balloon ride that I will use in NZ. Mum, my Aunty and Julie gave me jewellery that matches together. We went around to Julie and Lukes place and they had put on a cooked breakfast for us. It was yummy. We all ended up in Lucy’s wading pool and cooled off. Greg, Joan, Matty and Chris came over for a visit and we played bocce in the yard. Gary and Luke spent the best part of the day “fighting” the Xbox Call of Duty war while the rest of us settled in for an afternoon nap. We went around to Mum’s house for a roast pork and apple crumble dinner. I was surprised with a birthday cake as well. What a lovely day, I really enjoyed my birthday and our Australia Day celebrations. Julie and Luke took a very tired little Lucy home and I went downstairs to lock up the house. I walked over in the dark to close the back door and realized it was jammed on something, looking down I could just see a snake was jammed under the door. I realized by the markings that it was a carpet snake so I took my eyes off it and went to the stairs to call for back up. By the time I turned on the light and the back up had arrived it was nowhere to be seen. Either it had gone outside or worked its way behind the washing machine or laundry tub. Gary and Wayne started moving the washing machine and laundry tub and they found it tucked up behind the laundry tub. Luckily it had climbed into an empty icecream container, so Wayne just had to pick it up and take it outside. The snake was only a baby so we let it go on the grass and it slowly made its way off. What an end to a very long and happy day. Mum said it is only the second time that she has had a snake under her house in 25 years.

Tuesday is an overcast day but we are away early to go to the water park. The water park is relatively new to Mackay, it opened late last year. We are meeting Julie and Lucy at the water park. We arrived early and had a walk around. The place is just awesome and everyone has told us how busy it has been. We all take turns taking Lucy down the water slide, she sits on our laps and giggles and smiles. Gary and I went down the slide together. Now that was a lot of fun. We ended up over at the childrens play area and took Lucy on all the kids slides. As part of this area there is a bucket which is probably bigger in volume than a 44 gallon drum, it fills with water and tips over splashing all over the kids. Gary and I stood under it but there was no way Lucy was getting involved. It was too scary she said. We sat down to have some smoko and the rain just started pouring down. We left and drove out to the Harbour for a look, it is looking the same as it was when we left Mackay. We headed back home for some lunch. The afternoon is full on with a doctor’s appointment for Gary. He had a biopsy done on his nose. We had a meeting with our bank manager Mike and went to get our tax done with Wayne. We had forgotten to take a bit of information to Wayne so back home to dig in boxes for that then we picked mum up from work and went to Julie’s place for dinner. We had a lovely tea and spent some of the evening dancing with Lucy to her new Wiggles interactive computer DVD. Wayne spent some more one on one time with Lucy as he is leaving in the morning. We got home in time to see Dokic bow out of the Australian Open but we couldn’t make it up to watch Federer.

Wednesday morning is wet, the heavens really opened up overnight. We have our breakfast and take Wayne out to the Airport to check in. Tiger Airways requires you to check in so early which isn’t a bad thing. We waited for him to check in and drove over to Aunty Ivy and Uncle Duncan’s house. They have been in their house about 30 years but have recently gutted and redone the kitchen, dining, and outdoor area. It looks fantastic and has given me some more ideas should we ever build again. We spent about an hour with them before going back to the Airport. Wayne’s flight is on time and we say our goodbyes. We have had a great five days together. Wayne is flying into Melbourne where the temperature is around 41 degrees. Luckily he is getting picked up from the airport as due to the high temperature and damage it may cause to the tracks they have stopped all train services for the day. Gary and I go out to Walkerston and have a look around Glenrowan subdivision. Gary was involved in marketing this subdivision when he was selling real estate. It is coming along with about seven houses under construction. We went into Caneland to Medicare and to the bank and saw Sheridan at her shop The Red Leprechaun before meeting Julie, Ashleigh, Richard and Dexter for lunch at Singapore Sams. We had a lovely lunch and a chat. We could see that Dexter has changed already in looks just in the week we have been home. We went back to mums and Gary got some work done around her yard and I tidied up all the boxes that I have been into. We are staying with Julie for a few days so we headed over late in the afternoon. Gary is having a huge time playing Xbox on line again and I am spending time with Lucy. Julie cooked us a yummy tea. I gave Lucy a bath and watched the “bed time” ritual of story reading “Make it a funny story, Mummy” and the collecting of toys to sleep with and night lights going on. Gary and I were watching the tennis and I could hear Lucy moving around and I think I fell asleep sitting up in the lounge before Lucy did. Today is the first time in the week we have been home that I have “hit the wall”. I have been staying up a lot later and waking up a lot earlier than normal, but after one week of full on activity I am finally slowing down. Not sure if I am running on NZ time or Australian time or maybe a bit of both.

Thursday morning is wet wet wet. The rain hammered down and the wind was howling for most of the night. That’s the wet season! It has cooled things down tremendously since we have been here. Today is Julie’s 34th birthday. We sat down and Julie opened her gifts and cards with Lucy’s help (of course). Gary cooked us all bacon and poached eggs for breakfast. I had to go off for a medical appointment and Julie took Lucy to do the groceries. We met up with mum and had lunch at Magpies. Maggies has had a refurbishment since we left Mackay and it looks pretty good. After lunch Julie and Lucy had a rest while Gary and I went to get a bit more of our jobs done and to collect Julie’s birthday cake. Mum came over to Julie’s and we cooked tea for everyone and Julie cut her birthday cake. We sat down and watched Federer defeat Roddick to get through to the final of the Australian Open. It was another long day and I have really hit the wall now. I now need a holiday from this holiday!

Friday is wet, overcast and windy. We had a bit of a sleep in which we really needed. Lucy stayed with us while Julie went into town to get a few things done. We had a busy morning that included a crack up when Lucy wanted her mother to put her clothes on but her mother wasn’t here. Once that issue was resolved we did some drawings together and skyped with Uncle Wayne and Gary and I took Lucy and her Bob the builder kite to the park. Gary and I had more fun flying the kite than Lucy did. Lucy was more interested getting “muddy paws” by putting her boots in the puddles! It is certainly good weather for flying kites there was more than enough wind and we thought if Bob the builder snaps this string he will end up at Habana at this rate! Lucy and I also played the Wiggles interactive game on the computer and fitted some more drawing in before her mum came home. We went over to mums place to borrow her car and drove over to see Ashleigh, Dexter, Julie and Pat. We had a nice afternoon hanging out at Ashleigh’s place. Dexter was sleeping on and off while we were there. I still have the touch and managed to nurse and jiggle him back to sleep. We went over to Caneland before heading over to Gary’s doctor’s appointment. Thankfully the wound on his nose is healing well and his biopsy results came back clear. I took Lucy for a drive and picked up Terry and left him and Gary at Magpies for a few beers. Lucy and I collected mum from work and took her home. Julie cooked us tea and we had a chance to sit down and have a good chat until 1am.

Saturday is wet and windy. The rain and wind overnight was incredible. We slept in until 8am when Lucy came looking for us. After we finally got up and got going Julie cooked us pancakes for breakfast. It was yummy. Gary had a great night out with Terry. We got our act together and drove around to collect Charlie Brown. We drove Charlie back out to Walkerston and into the safe hands of Russell and Julie. He quickly settled back into his cage and routine. Russell gave him his seed mix and some celery so he was right at home again. We were happy to see that in the seven months we have been gone he hasn’t gone feral. He was still happy to he handled and carried around and seemed “at home” again sitting on the head rest on mum’s lounge chair. Lucy had fun feeding him and talking to him as well. After we said goodbye to Russell and Julie we went to Ashleigh and Richards to say goodbye. We spent some time with them and said our tearful goodbye to them and baby Dexter. We will see some huge changes in Dexter when we see him again. Next we headed to Grandad’s place to see him and say goodbye. It took me back a million years to be in his house that we once spent so much time as a family and we actually lived with them for about 18 months before and after dad died. I haven’t been back there much since Grandma died, but all the nick nacks we have given them over the years are still there. Grandad is remarkably well considering the second half of 2008 was more or less spent in and out of hospital with heart troubles. We went back to mums place and I finally got to spend some quality time with my mum. We sat down and got through a few things that needed doing and just hung out together. Julie, Luke and Lucy came over for our last “Gory” meal for a while and it was a lovely night and I spent most of it playing with Lucy doing what girls do, tea parties, nail painting and bouncing on the bed. We saw bits and pieces of Serena Williams taking out the woman’s single final of the Australian Open then went off to bed for a pretty early night.

Sunday is another wet and windy day. We saw on the morning show that there is a Category one cyclone off the coast of Cairns and it is expected to cross the coast on Monday morning somewhere around Hinchinbrook Island. During January the north of Queensland has had the highest rainfall and flooding recorded for the past fifteen years. We got our bags sorted and drove over to the home to say goodbye to Gary’s nana and mother. As usual we had a few laughs and I managed to hold back the tears. We got to the airport at the same time as Julie, Mum and Lucy arrived. We spent the rest of the time hanging out with Mum, Julie and Lucy. When it was time for us to go through security I really let the flood gates go. Poor mum was really crying and saying how much she will miss us, Lucy was yelling out “see you Carol”, “see you Gary”. We wandered into the departure lounge and turned around to see Julie and Lucy coming through security to say a final goodbye. Lucy and I were running around the chairs chasing each other until the boarding call came. We said another goodbye and walked out to board, mum was standing in the courtyard waving with tears streaming down her face. It was a sad goodbye. We thoroughly enjoyed our time back at home. Our flight to Brisbane went quickly and our train trip with too much luggage and overloaded bags went smoothly also. We were able to check in at 2.30pm even though our flight didnt leave until 5.30pm. Thank god they didn’t charge us for the slightly overloaded bags we were carrying. We grabbed some lunch and walked around the shops and got some duty free grog before planting ourselves in front of the cricket at the sports bar. Our wait for the NZ flight goes really quickly. Gary spent most of the flight chatting to the Aussie guy sitting next to him. Wayne lives in Reefton and now we have another invite to visit once we get there. Our flight landed 25 mintues ahead of time and we cleared immigration and customs quickly. We collected the keys for our car and headed for our motel. We checked in around 12.30am and sat up watching the cricket and listening to the tennis. Sadly Australia lost the cricket in a thriller and Federer lost to Nadal. All in all our trip back over went very smoothly. We finally fall asleep around 2.30am.

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