During our three week adventure I tried my best to throw out some updates. However the internet wasn’t always present and when it was we were usually doing something much too fun to interrupt with jumping onto my phone or a computer!
It all started in Katoomba…
We headed up for a week at CMS Summer School and stayed in a super-fun house with some lovely uni friends (Matt’s generation!). Summer School itself was great encouragement and stories from missionaries and guest speakers, some nice catch ups with friends, lots of stuff to pray about and beautiful sunny scenery.
As soon as the conference wrapped up we headed off over the mountains through Bathurst and down the Olympic and Hume highways to Melbourne, with a stopover in Wagga Wagga. It was my fist time driving on the beautiful and peaceful Olympic Highway (possibly now my most favourite highway) and my fist time in Wagga (possibly now my most favourite inland Australian city).
We started our time in Melbourne with a delicious dinner and dessert with Jacob and Kate, who took us to some amazing places and then left us with a list of amazing places to visit. The next day, Sunday, was supposed to start with a visit to a local church with Phil, who has just moved down from Sydney. Unfortunately the church had changed its meeting times for the summer and we missed the service! Instead we did some exploring around Fitzroy and St Kilda.
In the afternoon we headed out west to the lovely city of Geelong (where my Dad grew up!) to catch up with Luke, Jo and their lovely daughter Hannah. We got there in time to attend their church in the evening and woke up bright and early the next day for a decadent breakfast, followed by some hefty manual work. The boys worked on building the frame for Luke and Jo’s house, while Jo and I did some gardening. After working hard we were treated to an outing to the beach. We didn’t pack out swimmers, which was a problem – the water was much, much warmer than we expected! Instead we paddled up to our knees. It’s official: I have stood in the Bass Strait!
The end of the day was drawing near and we had to get back to Melbourne but we couldn’t leave Geelong without a walk along the bay.
Back in Melbourne the days were spent exploring the CBD and suburbs. And not just the inner suburbs. We even trekked right out to the edge of Melbourne to visit some old family friends, Bron, Ian, Joel and Ben. I hadn’t seen them in a very, very long time – I hadn’t seen Joel and Ben since I was in primary school! It was so good to catch up!
Oh yeah. Here are the obligatory photos of street art:
Some friends who weren’t so far away were Chris and Nat. Our hotel was only a few blocks away so when we drove to visit them it took less than five minutes – we couldn’t have got to their place that fast if they were still living in Sydney! Again, it was a fantastic night of catching up and sharing stories, and also hanging out with their son Ben.
Our last day in Melbourne was our wedding anniversary. We visited the botanical gardens, the art gallery and the state library, stopping for a wonderful lunch with Brad. In the afternoon we managed to squeeze in another trip to Seven Seeds for the most amazing hot chocolate in the country, before heading out to dinner on the Yarra. Thanks for a wonderful day, Matt!
Hanging out with the symbols of Empire in the Botanic Gardens: Lion and Unicorn;
Outside the National Gallery of Victoria; The gallery’s roof;
State library reading room; Ned Kelly’s helmet;
Hot chocolate; Crossing the Yarra at night
Finally it was time to leave Melbourne. We woke up early and drove east across Gippsland into NSW. It was a long and beautiful drive through fields, forests and even a beach. There weren’t that many towns though! We crossed back into New South Wales early in the evening and stopped at Eden for the night.
The next leg of our drive was Eden to Jervis Bay. Our aim was to drive slowly and stop to swim in lots of different beaches. Sadly the weather was cold and wet. We managed to stop at the beach at Broulee during a brief period of blue sky but we didn’t get a swim.
The rest of the holiday was meant to be spent with Sarah and Dan at Callala Beach on Jervis Bay, however we heard sad news that a close friend of Matt’s family had passed away. Fortunately by this point we were close enough to Sydney to drive back for a day to attend the funeral. Unfortunately something broke in our car during the drive back and we ended up stranded at a car mechanic’s for an hour on the way! The people there were very nice though. They fixed our car as best as they could so that we could keep driving and make it to the funeral on time. Phew! However after the funeral we were stranded in Sydney while another mechanic picked up where the first one had left off. Oh well. We got to enjoy Chinese New Year celebrations while we waited. I’m sure we would have missed that entirely if we’d stayed in Callala.
Once we got back to Callala the weather slowly warmed up and we actually go to go swimming – many times! Hooray! We also visited the local lighthouse, ate lots and lots of seafood and played boardgames until my brain exploded.
What a trip! But it wasn’t over until we’d stopped in Kiama to visit Mike, Rosie and Jonathan:
It’s been the longest holiday I have taken since I started full time work and it’s been absolutely amazing. For the first time I have reached point where I am relaxed and refreshed enough to feel ready to go back to work. I haven’t felt like this since I finished uni. Still three days of the holiday to go and then everything is back to normal! Well, whatever “normal” is going to be for 2012.