Brisbane Adventures – Day 3

Today’s our final day in Brisbane. We pack up the car early to head down to the South Bank area. We park and hit up a playground immediately. #travelewithkids

We walked across the Goodwill bridge on our way to the Brisbane Botanic Garden.

We came across this incredible tree! It’s expanse was massive. I have no idea how their limbs can spread out as far as they do and stay supported.

Then we came across this fully accessible playground. It was wonderful to see and the kids had a blast. It was so hot out!

After the park we were on a mission to find some tourist gifts. We always try and buy either a mask from every country we visit or a Christmas ornament. So we went to the mall for lunch and then onto Queens Street where we found what we needed. We then walked through downtown Brisbane on our way back to South Bank.

Walking over the Brisbane CBD bridge.

We hit up the playground and pools and the South Bank Parklands.

Such amazing family areas right in the heart of the city!

We dried off and headed home before rush hour. Had some indian food for dinner and the kids were able to have a fire in the fire pit and roast marshmallows with the host family before bed.

A pretty great way to end a very fun and relaxing trip!

Brisbane Adventures – Day 2

So much accomplished today!! Such a fun day of ‘Australia’ing’ (yes that’s totally a thing)

After another wonderfully slow morning of enjoying a cup or two of tea and reading endless fairytale stories we made our way out by late morning.

We went to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary.

We got there just in time for the sheep dog show.

Then we toured the grounds and listened to the talk given on koalas. Well I️ attempted to listen since L was determined to throw a fit during most of it. πŸ™„

We watched their neat Raptor show. Had to keep explaining to L that we weren’t going to see dinosaurs. Those are velociraptors not raptors, like birds. πŸ˜†

After the show we went into the kangaroo and emu feeding area. This was AMAZING!

L wanted to feed the kangaroos so Ty bought some feed and we wandered back into the field a bit. This is where we happened to come across a group which had three mamas with joeys in the pouches!! It was so incredible to see how much those punches can stretch!

They were so docile and soft!!!

Look at that little head!

We were just relaxing and enjoying all this incredible nature when up bounds this large male right in between Ty and Nana!

Then off he bounds. So graceful and strong!

We’re gathering up to leave and Ryder decides she wants to hold the koalas again. I’m all for it but no one else is interested so we get tickets and jump in line.

Then it was my turn again. I’m in heaven, they’re so cuddly and soft!

(Possible Koala boob grab going on there! Who knew?!)

Afterwards of course L wanted to hold one but we were leaving so it was too late. A fit was thrown. Always nice to end on a high note! But then he wanted to show me his grump face in the sign and this is what I got.

We had a traditional Thanksgiving meal of chicken nuggets with fries and gravy at Red Rooster πŸ˜†


agh the house the family was all there. The dad was working on his dirt bike and offered the kids a ride. Only L took him up on it, and loved it!


what R had been looking forward to all trip with a ride on their horse, Taffy. She was nervous but loved it and asked for another loop around the house.


ied the horse too, but declared the dirt bike better!


r the rides everyone wanted a swim in the pool. The kids were having splash contests so of course Ty got in on the challenge. They played till it was late. Another dinner of leftovers and then R was invited for a sleepover with the girls. It lasted till about 11pm and then she slept in Nana’s room. But it was an extremely fun filled day.

Brisbane Adventures – Day 1

We had a very quiet morning at the house. We slept in past 7 for the first time all vacation. The AirBnB we’re staying in is a shared home with our rooms and a living room on one side. The kids played a bit with one of the little girls that lives here. Jumping on the trampoline, meeting the horse, and playing on the swing set. Ty spent a few hours Black Friday shopping for his annual Talking with Ty Christmas Party. This was made much harder by the fact we have slow internet and the website wasn’t allowing the purchases to go through since we are out of the country. But after several hours on Skype with support he made about half of the purchases he needs. πŸ™„

About lunch time we finally left the house and made it to the South Bank of Brisbane. This area has neat shops, restaurants, theaters, museums, a walkway along the river, a lagoon, splash parks, playgrounds. We made it to the South Bank Parklands for a bit of fun first.

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Then had some so-so lunch and went to the Queensland Museum.

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After the Museum, which was free, we walked back and did the ultimate tourist trap, The Wheel of Brisbane. It was really pretty and a much loner ride than the one in Paris.

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Another thank you to Nana for buying the overly priced tourist photos! πŸ˜†

-After this it was rush hour so we tried to make our way out of the city as best we could. Made it home for leftovers and early to bed for everyone.

Flying to Brisbane – For Real This Time

We woke up to the alarm at 7. Well everyone except Ty who was up since 3ish and went for a morning run. πŸ™„

Got everyone dressed and packed up. Nana reminded me that’d she’d purchased me a hard cider and her a beer last night but we’d never got around to enjoying them. Too exhausted and too late last night. Rather than let them go to waste we decided to enjoy them on the way to the airport. πŸ˜†

What can I say, we needed a bit of relief after the night before.

We got to the airport and found Helen. She was a miracle worker for us and got us on the next Virgin flight to Brisbane. No charge!!!!

I cant stress enough how kind everyone was to us throughout all of this! We were very lucky/blessed I believe that this occurred in the smaller airport of Cairns. Helen said this is a very rare occurrence and so everyone did their very best.

We made it onto the morning flight, all our seats were together and there were no issues. It couldn’t have been easier.

Landed in Brisbane, grabbed some food and our very expensive rental car. Drove through some very expensive tolls and are finally relaxing in our AirBnB our in the Brookfield country. They have cats, a dog, and a horse, to go with the pool and playset.

For those that may still be worried about L, he’s bounced back quickly. He was the only one that wanted a dip in the pool, in fact!

We did a brief run into town to get take away and groceries. Now the kids are in bed and Nana and I are enjoying some Australian wine. While Ty is working on his infamous Black Friday shopping spree.

It’s nice to have life back to its normal level of adventure and fun.

Flying to Brisbane – Kind of

Today was our travel day. Leaving Cairns on our afternoon flight to Brisbane for our last week of vacation. We got up, packed up and left Clifton Beach for Cairns. The plan was to spend some time in Muddy’s Playground on the Esplanade before having lunch and catching our flight at 2.

The playground was amazing! Spread out over a large area with different activities for the kids.

Our only downside was it started to rain while we were there. But even that was a light warm mist.

We left the playground and Chinese food was requested so we ended up at the mall food court. Surprisingly really yummy and cheap food! Then off to the airport.

I’ll note now that L had coughed a bit yesterday but we didn’t pay much attention to it. R and L have asthma that is activated anytime they get a cold. So we travel with an inhaler. We gave him a few puffs yesterday but he seemed fine. Well he seemed a bit wheezier today so we started him on his inhaler right way in the morning and throughout our time at the playground. By the time we got to the airport he was coughing almost nonstop. I alternated between wearing him or Nana pushing him in a wheelchair just so he wouldn’t exert himself too much.

We go through security after much baggage shuffling. (Tiger Air, ugh) L was really struggling to get enough air now and my mom alarms were going off big time. If we were at home I would have been headed to the doctors but here we are an hour or so from boarding a flight. We have reservations waiting on us, all the cost ramifications. But I asked Nana to try and find out if the airport had any medical services. I was hoping a doctor could check him out and give me some sort of advice. Well next thing I know, while I’m in the ladies room helping L get cleaned up. (He’d choke vomited twice.) I hear a man’s voice say, Police! Then in come two security guards asking about a boy in respiratory distress. Oh geez!

So we leave the ladies room and head over to our terminal. All Ty sees is us surrounded by 3 security guards. They’ve called the paramedics and the airport rescue firemen are on their way as well. Trying to stay calm, hoping we haven’t blown this asthma attack out of proportions but at the same time L is crying, coughing, and really struggling.

The security and firemen really have no medical supplies to help by they stay with us till the paramedics come. They also give L a special fire rescue stuffed bear. So thoughtful! Meanwhile an airport staff member has come over and ensures our luggage is pulled and is watching over our situation.

The paramedics arrive and begin to assess L. His oxygen levels are quite low, so they administer oxygen, albuterol, and a steroid. L shows immediate improvement! They also advise against traveling and want to take him into the Emergency Department. At this point there’s no way I’m arguing with the medical professionals. Do whatever we need to get L breathing easily.

I’m smiling so I don’t freak out!

They continued to give L medicine on the ambulance ride. His breathing eased so much he was finally able to relax and he passed right out in the ambulance. This scared the paramedic a bit. But it made perfect sense to me, since he’d been struggling to breath for hours his body was exhausted.

We went through quite the assessment upon arriving at the Emergency Department. Since it was a small child in respiratory distress he was considered a level 5 trauma. After a bit we were moved to the Pediatric Emergency Department. He started using a handheld albuterol inhaler, they monitored his oxygen levels, was he struggling to breath, how much abdominal breathing he was doing, and he had to go three hours in between treatment before we could be excused.

During this time Ty was getting our luggage, trying to research flight options, find a place to stay for 5 people, and whether or not to rent a car for the day. Thank goodness for our god send airport employee Helen. She gave him her number, said to call when L was cleared to fly and that we had two flight options available to the next day.

Ty got it all sorted and then the rest of the crew joined L and I in the Emergency Department.

After a bit we realized L was going to need to stay late for continued observation. He didn’t meet that first 3 hour deadline. So I sent everyone off to find dinner and sleep. L and I would join them as soon as we could, or they were going to admit him.

After way too much bad TV and games on my phone around 8pm the doctor finally said he’d finally met the 3 hour deadline and his oxygen levels looked good!!! Like all hospitals it was after 9pm before we got out of there. Everyone single staff member we met that day was extremely wonderful and kind!

L and I taxied to our hotel and we threw him into bed so we could get up early in the morning and hopefully catch a flight.

* Few things to note, we do not buy travel insurance, nor do the kids and I have health coverage. So we paid for this stay out of pocket. However, we do maintain credit cards that provide a certain dollar amount for travel emergencies. We will be submitting our hospital stay and our hotel room charge in hopes of reimbursement.

Also, I was the only one that had an international plan on their phone. We put it on one phone so we can text and make limited phone calls if necessary. But with no internet access at the hospital and no real way to communicate between Ty and I that was an additional stress. We ended up just texting and will see how much that costs us when we get home.

Cairns Adventures – Day 6

We had plans for today and decided to scrap them. Today was a lazy morning and head to the pool kind of day. It was hot at 10am and the kids were practicing their diving. Beautiful, till L got mad and threw a tantrum. Then something upset R and she got fussy. So we scrapped the pool and dragged everyone back to the apartment. Delightful times with kids…

We spent the afternoon trying to force naps, giving up, listening to Paddington Bear on audiobook and the adults tried to relax.

After a few hours we decided it was time to get outside again so we dragged the kids to the local beach. Taking photos of this amazing tree along the way.

Why is there always one that doesn’t want to cooperate?!

We played at the beach for a few hours. Again amazing sand, and so smooth underfoot. Not a rock, seaweed, or unknown object anywhere. I loved it!

We ended the night with a late dinner of nachos and the dessert platter at Coco Mojo

A nice relaxing way to end our time at Clifton Beach. Off to Brisbane tomorrow!

Cairns Adventures – Day 5

Waking up on Fitzroy Island at 6am was beautiful. Poor Ty though apparently woke up at 5 and decided to go for a hike. He got some amazing pictures, plenty of bug bites, and a blister from his flip flops.

We lazed around that morning. Made some oatmeal and tea. The kids listened to Harry Potter while Ty napped, Nana read and I started the book, Wonder. Found it in the hotel library. We finally got moving about 9:30 because we had to check out by 10.

Saw a bit of wildlife on our way to the hotel lobby. Apparently his name is Russel because of the sound he makes in the leaves.

After checking out and storing our luggage we headed to Nudey Beach. Rated the second best beach in all of Australia. They say it takes about 40 mins to walk there but it seems a bit of an exaggeration. Especially since we have a senior citizen and two toddlers in our group. We weren’t exactly racing that path. It was a beautiful blue sky day and hot!

When we made it to the beach we found ourselves a bit of shade and started exploring. I’m not sure I’ve ever been on a beach made of coral before.

We lounged a bit and I read Wonder out loud to the kids. Then we all headed into the water. It was incredible! After a few feet the initial coral sand gives way to just smooth sand. No rocks, no seaweed beneath your feet! As a fussy swimmer I was in heaven.

We saw a few fish but the highlight was coming across a green sea turtle that was swimming close to shore. So amazing!!

We headed back to the hotel about noon in order to have lunch and make our time slot at the Cairns Turtle Rehab Center .

It was really interesting to learn about the issues the sea turtles were having and how they’re working to help them. The employee said this was basically a fat farm and they’re trying to get these turtles beefed up for release.

We spent the next few hours at the pool, trying not to burn any further. Taking turns reading and splashing with the kiddos. They’ve turned into total fish this trip! We caught our return boat about 4:30 and headed for Cairns.

A fairly uneventful but full boat ride back in which I finished reading Wonder out loud to the kids. A good story and family friendly. The kids were able to help clean off our ship upon arrival. πŸ˜‰< We were really impressed with the crew on the Sunlover.

A quick pizza/pasta dinner in Cairns and we headed home, exhausted and a bit crispy from our days in the sun.

Cairns Adventures – Day 4

We drove to Cairns early this morning to catch our boat out to the Great Barrier Reef!! This was a must do for us when we decided to head back to Australia. We weren’t sure how well it was going to work with two young kids but it couldn’t have gone better!

Instead of overnighting on a boat out on the reef we went with a day trip on a huge catamaran. We decided on this because we weren’t sure trapping two small kids on a small boat for several days was a great idea. Also we’re traveling with my mom, who is older and having more amenities is typically easier.

We traveled an hour out to Fitzroy Island, dropped passengers off then continued for another hour to the reef catamaran. The boat moved fairly quickly in the water and the seas seemed a bit rough. There was quite a few passengers getting sick. Ty and R had to sit outside for a while as well. Thankfully though that was the worst of it for us.

After we stopped we got changed into suits and had lunch. The one thing we missed he memo on was having to bring your own towel. Which became a bit of a factor at the end of the day.

After lunch we were ready to jump in!

Thanks to Nana for buying the boat photo we actually have proof of the kids first snorkel adventure.

R was a natural at snorkeling. She loved it! L just used his goggles. He’d hang onto my arm and dunk his head in. We made it around the whole enclosure before he started getting too cold. He also got a bit freaked out by all the jellyfish that were around. We’ve spent the last week talking about how the jellyfish are dangerous and will sting you. Then the first thing we see when we start snorkeling is that we’re surrounded by these tiny little jellies. I’ll admit I may have freaked out for a moment as well. ☺️

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I brought the kids up to the top to dry off and warm up on the beanbags.

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Ty took Nana on a tour of the drop off and they saw an amazing turquoise giant clam.

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We also took a tour on the submersible boat. I’m so glad this wasn’t our only way to see the reef. This was quite a small glimpse and very limited fish viewing. But fun to experience.

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R wanted us to be the last ones off the boat.

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The kids were finally ready to conquer the water slide by this point.

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This may not have been the most pure way to visit the GBR but it worked perfectly for us. Nana and I snuck in a last bit of snorkeling in the last ten minutes. Which was wonderful, however when it was time to board the boat again, we were dripping wet. So instead of getting to sit in chairs we relegated ourselves to the front steps. Not ideal but we made it work. The lovely Asian couple next to us were very taken with the kids. They took a few photos with the kids before R and L we’re a bit weirded out. πŸ˜„

We had decided to stay the night on Fitzroy island. So after an hour on the boat we were dropped off at the hotel. We had quite a walk in the dark jungle to get to our bungalow but we were able to hear the frogs loud and clear.

To purchase any food or drinks on the island is quite expensive, think $15 bar drinks! But the location can’t be beat. It really was beautiful.

We were all exhausted by a very active day and in bed by 9. This has turned into our regular vacation bedtime. Followed by being woken up by the sun at 6am. No one seems to believe in blinds.

Cairns Adventures – Day 3

We had an unexpected day in Cairns today. One of Ryder’s glasses stems broke off. Ugh! But we managed to track down a company that could fix it in Cairns, thank goodness.

So after dropping the frames off we headed to the Esplanade and enjoyed the Lagoon for several hours.

Ryder was loving the sand side.

We made Nana pose like all the other tourists we saw, taking their selfie photo shoots!

Linc really enjoyed the shaded area with the steps. So he could do his dives, flips, and flops. Such a goof but his swimming is really coming along.

After a yummy lunch of Indian food we headed back to Clifton Beach and relaxed for the evening. Walked to the beach and the local playground to end the day.

Cairns Adventures – Day 2

After another early 5am wake up we relaxed around the apartment before heading out to Port Douglas for the morning.

We checked out lookout point.

Before heading to a playground. Can’t explore a new town without visiting the playgrounds! πŸ˜‰

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Our main reason for exploring Port Douglas was to ride on the Ballyhooley Steam Railway. It was an ok 20 min ride along the coastline. We couldn’t really hear the announcer and the views weren’t anything special. But it was quaint and the kids enjoyed it.

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L really liked when they got to the end of the line and had to turn the engine around. A

They let the kids check out the engine as well.

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Playing with Mom and Nana’s hats on the return ride. <<

Then back to our apartment to swim the afternoon away.

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We finished the day with an amazing local dinner at Coco Mojo. Ty’s and Nana’s meals included something they call bugs. Which are similar to a crawfish. Sounds hideous but tastes delicious!

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I had the nachos and they were maybe the best I’ve ever had.

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Awkward food photo, check!

They’re known for their dessert sampler but we were too full to try it. Hopefully we can make it back before we leave.