London Travel & Day 1 Adventures

So we left New York City bright and early. Got to JFK airport just fine. We had two hours before our flight so we went to the lounge. Ty’s got that system figured out with the right credit card that gets us into about 80% of the lounges out there. It’s a life saver when traveling with kids to have a quiet space to get away to. The free food and drinks are also a huge plus!

We boarded our flight just fine and took off for London. Now this was our first time flying Norwegian Airlines. Ty gave me a heads up before our flight that unless you pay for it you won’t get any food. Which was fine since it was a 5.5 hour flight and we grabbed a bunch of snacks and some cans of juice from the lounge. πŸ˜‰ But what I didn’t expect was that they practically ignore you if you haven’t paid for food service. No water, or any drink is offered. They basically wouldn’t pick up our trash unless it was shoved at them or we placed it in their trash bags ourselves! I found that part totally bizarre. Why would you not want to maintain the cleanliness of your airlines? But other than that odd bit, the seats were nice, they had built in screens and chargers, with plenty of leg room.

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With a five hour time change we didn’t get into London till 11:30pm. We knew it would be late night so Ty had booked us a hotel that was a 10 minute walk from the airport. We grabbed some food at a grocery store in the airport, so convenient! Then made it to the hotel and had the kids fed and in bed by 1am. Seems late but didn’t feel quite that bad due to the time change.

So I was of course awake at 6:30am but Ty and the kids, I had to wake them up at 10:30! We packed up and headed back to the airport about 11:30, to catch the train into the city. Again, grabbed some breakfast from the airport grocery store before figuring out the train system. This beginning our long drawn out ordeal of getting to our next hotel.

We made it to the right platform but got on the wrong train. Not figuring that out till it had already pulled away. Ty being the map reader extraordinaire that he is, had a new route planned out in no time. We got off at the London Bridge stop took a short walk from the train station to the tube and also got to see a few sights.

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We made it to the tube and got on the train headed in the right direction. Got off one stop too early and found out from a nice gentleman they’re doing line maintenance right on the end of the line we wanted. So we hopped back on the train and got off again at the next stop. Talked with the local workers and figured out it was easier to walk to the hotel then try and mess with the local bus.

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This was right outside the tube trying to make sure we were going to right way to the hotel. This was at 2:30pm, so it’s been three hours and we’re still trying to find our hotel. Everyone was a bit over it by this point. Not exactly the most efficient use of our time in London but this is real life travel. At least the views were nice!

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About 20 more minutes of walking, including an extra five past our hotel. Thank goodness Ty spotted it behind us! Even traveling as light as we are it’s still tiring pulling a suitcase or carrying a 40 pound kid on your back. It was very nice to finally check in and unload all the unnecessarys.

It was getting late and we’d hoped to have high tea and make it to the Transportation Museum today. However, we ran out of time and had to choose one. Hoping we will have time for the museum later we went for high tea at The Delaunay . I had found it online and it had reasonable prices compared to everywhere else I had researched. Knowing our kids were a bit young to fully enjoy either the tea or the finger foods. I still really wanted that experience with them and R is so into everything fancy I knew she’d really enjoy it.

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Hot chocolate for the boys.

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Right before she spilled tea down the front of herself. I told her to raise her pinky and she tipped the whole cup instead. 😬

The food was so pretty! The kids liked about half the desserts. The scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam were my favorite! It was completely fun to try but the kids didn’t really enjoy the food and it was way to fancy for real life. But really we went for the experience, and I’m so glad we tried. No one broke anything, and we didn’t seem to bother anyone around us. SUCCESS!

Afterwards we walked around the Covent Garden Market.

So when we first arrived at Covent Garden station everyone was queuing up for the lift. We couldn’t figure out why everyone was waiting for the elevator?! So we passed them all and headed for the stairs. Then we saw this sign which explained it.

This station was WAY underground and you had to climb up 193 steps to exit the underground. It was a hoot, Ty carrying the stroller, myself, and our two rather young kids were passing up quite a few people on the way up those stairs! Was fun to experience but we definitely took the lifts on the way back down.

So after arriving back to our closest station we head back to the hotel and Linc starts fussing about wanting to get in the stroller. This starts an epic fit he threw for about 30 minutes. All the way through the station, down the street, over a bridge and through the town till we got to our hotel. We wouldn’t let him get into the stroller till he stopped fussing. Well he never managed to calm himself so he walked the entire way.

This was one of a few stops to pout and pretend he wasn’t coming with me. There was yelling, threats and tears. It was quite an event.

Ty and R stopped to get some crepes for dinner but there was no way I was taking L into a restaurant. So he and I went back to the hotel. Where he was promptly fine and dropped all attitude.

Traveling with kids is not for the faint of heart! It can be so rewarding and amazing. Ryder had a wonderful conversation with a young man from Vietnam on the train today. She learned he speaks 5 languages and how that she could do the same if she wanted. On the other hand, you have to be tough enough to handle stares from strangers wondering why your child is throwing themselves on the ground screaming. Or the embarrassment from your child loudly announcing they just wiped their booger on the grab bar on the metro. And that’s just what happened today!

New York City Adventures

Oh my, we did all the walking today! Over 21k steps (roughly 10 miles)!!! And I’d say 90% of that was just in Central Park. What an impressive space.

We moved over to our new hotel and grabbed a donut breakfast along the way. Then we headed up to explore Central Park.

You can see our luggage situation here. Just one small carry on, the kids backpacks. Ty’s is under the stroller and he’s wearing our other ‘Big‘ bag. That’s it and so far we’re really happy with what we’ve brought and how it’s working.

We immediately stopped at the first playground we saw. Apparently there are about 20 of them in Central Park. I think we played at 5 of them. And we were there all day!

We looked at the skate rink (we’re too cheap to actually rent skates!) πŸ˜†

<<< andered to a few more playgrounds before I really started to freeze. I had on two wool under layers, a heavy long sleeve fleece, a down vest, a puffy coat, a rain coat and two pairs of pants! Plus hat and mittens of course. Still was getting cold. So we found a place to have lunch off the Upper East side of the park. Warmed up with some yummy food and hot tea. Then we loaded the kids back up and they immediately fell asleep. Ty with L on his back and R bundled under Ty's raincoat in the stroller. <<< y and I took advantage of the quietness and were able to put some more miles in through the park. We found the Alice in Wonderland statue. <<< h the pond across from it you always see people sailing toy boats on in the movies. <<< ade our way to the lake in the upper part of the Park. <<< ent quickly past a few more playgrounds till we figured an hour nap was long enough and woke the kiddos up. <<< layed for a bit before everyone was starting to get cold so I took over L carrying duty and we started our way back to the hotel. Stopping for one more playground break on the way of course! We lounged in the hotel and tried to let the kids watch something on the Cartoon Network but everything was terrible. L kept asking us to skip it. Can you tell we don't have regular tv at home? πŸ˜„ Ty did some online research and found us this yummy sounding restaurant for authentic New York pizza. But when we got there the line was out the door. So we ended up at his second choice 99 cent pizza which we just took back to the hotel room.

This was actually super good!! Also a totally wonderful and stress free way to end the day. Early to rise tomorrow to catch our flight to LONDON!

Had a wonderful but very small taste of New York. Would have loved to have done more but no complaints about all we managed to see.

Traveling to New York City

This is the start to our 5th Annual Hampton Family Christmas Adventure! At least this year we stayed in town till Christmas Eve. Thanks to R being in school now we really are trying to be responsible parents. πŸ˜„

Our trip plan is a few days in New York City, on to London through New Years Day, then Prague, and Vienna, about 4 Days each, Bratislava for 1 day (it was so close, why not!) and Stockholm for a few days before heading back home. My husbands travel goals are the most countries we can possibly make in one trip. I try to keep it to a minimum of 4 days in each location. Less than that and it’s too short.

Our flight was delayed an hour and we left Anchorage at 9pm, Christmas Eve. Interesting day to travel, lots of Christmas jammies in sight and we even spied Santa getting off an earlier flight. πŸŽ…πŸ»

This flight to Chicago was 6 hours and went smoothly. L and I had been up since 5am so he passed right out. I think I managed about 4.5 hours of sleep. So that’s a major win for me! Landed in freezing Chicago. Why is their airport so cold?! Snagged some bagels for breakfast and putted around since we had almost a 2 hour layover.

Quick 2 hour flight to Newark airport and we walked straight off the plane and caught the shuttle bus to Manhattan. So easy with no checked bags and no wait for the shuttle!

Grimy bus window photo but first glimpse of downtown New York!!

Our hotel room wasn’t ready yet since this was about 11am. So we walked straight to Bryant Park since it was half a block away. They had a Christmas Market set up with a tree and ice rink. We just browsed a bit while L feel immediately asleep in the carrier on Ty.

We walked passed the NY Public Library

Then headed to Central Station. I thought they were having a model train exhibition but of course it wasn’t there today. But was still neat to see in person.

Had some lunch by the hotel then we went back and begged for a room that was ready. We were running out of steam and were pretty cold by this point. They took pity on us, being Alaskan also always seems a novelty in our favor. Thank goodness! We got to the room and the kids found the presents that Santa managed to sneak into our suitcase during our flight. He can find us anywhere!

Please ignore the fact that while L still had his coat and boots on R had managed to remove all of hers. πŸ˜†

I rested a bit, the kids listened to Harry Potter audiobook and played with their new toys. Ty somehow stayed awake this whole time!

About 5pm we bundled up with more layers and headed out to see some more sights.

Took us a bit but we finally found THE tree at Rockefeller Center.

Why is it the kids are always the moody ones?!

Had to fight through the crowd to get a glimpse of the rink.

Had a yummy Indian dinner and then we briefly checked out Time Square before calling it a night. Again so many tourists!!

A fun but long day. Thankfully no issues to report. Moving hotels tomorrow and hoping to explore Central Park. So fun to finally see these sights in person!

Oh one thing we’ve noticed about this city is the amount of trash that’s blowing around. Granted it was quite windy today but I’ve never been in a big city where trash was just in the air and all over the streets. It’s different…

Packing Light for a Warm Destination

Whenever I start thinking of packing for a trip I was always looking for blog posts that would help give me an idea of what or how much to pack. I wasn’t ever able to find really detailed information. The ones I did find were for people who had their own suitcase. Ha! Such a luxury, to not have to share a tiny carry on suitcase. That’s just not our style. So I’m going to detail what clothes we took on our trip, for a family of four, and how we managed to get it all into two very small carry on suitcases. (I will actually only detail for myself and the kids, no idea what Ty packed for himself, he’s a grown man!) πŸ™‚

For my 6 year old daughter, R:

  • 2 dresses
  • 2 shorts (she really only needed 1 pair, as she wore dresses mostly)
  • 1 skirt
  • 1 pair of pants (for the airplane mostly)
  • 1 summer pjs
  • 1 long sleeve shirt (for the airplane)
  • 3 tank tops (could have done with 2)
  • 1 t shirt
  • 4 underware
  • 2 socks (really only needed 1 for the aiplane days)
  • 1 pair crocs and 1 Velcro sandal

For my 4 year old son, L:

  • 3 t shirts (way overkill, needed only 1)
  • 3 tank tops (probably could have done just 2)
  • 4 shorts (needed only 3 max)
  • 2 pants (needed only 1 pair for airplane days)
  • 1 long sleeve shirt/hoodie (for airplane days)
  • 1 summer pjs
  • 3 underwear (could have used more, potty training issues when traveling)
  • 3 socks (really only needed 1 pair)
  • 2 pairs sandals, one pair covered his toes

For myself, no age necessary: πŸ˜„

  • capri yoga pants (didn’t need these)
  • light weight travel pants (wore on airplane days)
  • 2 tank tops
  • 2 t shirts (really only needed 1)
  • 1 long sleeve (wore on airplane days)
  • 1 dress
  • 1 skirt (totally not needed but I wanted to bring it)
  • 2 shorts (one jean shorts, the pockets were nice to have, one pair of running shorts)
  • 3 socks (overkill, needed 1 pair)
  • 3 bras (could have done with two or one even)
  • 4 underwear (could have done with 2 pairs)
  • 1 pair flip flops, 1 pair Chaco sandals, 1 pair super light tennis shoes

Swimwear

  • swim trunks for L and suits for R and myself
  • 3 swim shirts for all of us
  • 3 goggles
  • 1 pair of arm floaties for L

So the reason we didn’t need a ton of undergarments was since we were at the beach and the pool a lot we spent entire days in our swimwear. I personally wore either the dress or a tank and running shorts to bed for pjs so separate pjs aren’t needed. The apartments we stayed in had laundry so when needed we would just throw some clothes in. This is a big factor in cutting down on what you bring.

<<< e kids each had their own packing cube, I put the swim gear in a separate packing cube. These are the one's I got onΒ Amazon.Β I have larger clothes than the kids so I used a compression sackΒ for myself and Ty had his own as well. These really are the secret to how we travel with such small bags. We even got my mom to start using one when she travels with us!

<<< re's the suitcase with my uncompressed bag of clothes. We added in Ty's compression bag of clothes and our bathroom bag. I'm currently struggling with how we will pack this light for our Christmas trip to Europe. Winter clothes are so much bulkier so that's the challenge. I'll try and post before we go with my progress.

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!