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. 😉< 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. 😄

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! 😉

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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.

Cairns Adventures – Day 1

We all woke up at 5am today. Yay for jet lag and getting an early start to the day. 😉 After having a relaxing morning at the apartment we headed off for the Barron Gorge National Park. We walked the bridge to the Barron Gorge Hydropower Station. The water levels seemed really low, but we are here in spring time. It was just beautiful exploring around this area.

We tried to take a walk off the road down to the river but got caught in a rain shower without our jackets.

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We decided to go up and explore the northern end of the park Kuranda.

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Look we saw a Kookaburra! A

Also lots of these Brush Turkeys! Their vertical tail feathers are so neat.

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Then a stop at Wright’s Lookout.

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Followed by a walk on Din Din Barron Falls Lookout Track.

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It was a beautiful and easy walk for all ages and abilities. We did get caught in several downpours throughout the 40 min there and back walk. Thank goodness for rain gear! A

The vines around here are incredible!

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The falls.

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Back to the Kuranda village for lunch (our first real Australian mincemeat burger with beets and grilled onions, yum!) and a playground stop.

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The weather was holding so we decided to go to the Kuranda Koala Gardens. It’s small but amazing! The cost is super reasonable as well. They have freshwater crocodiles.

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Wombats

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Wallabies and a kangaroo are in an area you can go in and try to feed them some food. But most weren’t interested.

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How hilarious is this sign?! Please do not remove joeys from mothers pouch. Ugh let’s hope this wasn’t because someone tried it before. A

Now the real reason you go to the Koala Gardens are for the koalas! And you are able to hold them too!! Checking off one of my bucket list items. I was perhaps more excited than the kids. L was too short to hold one on his own. The employee said if the koalas get too close to the ground they feel nervous. Valid or not I thought that was an interesting idea.

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Check out those claws. But I was too in love to notice if it was painful. Look at the cute face!

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Mamas with babies and so many other koalas just hanging out. A

We ended the afternoon with all the adults napping, taking the kiddos for a late night swim and having leftovers for dinner. Super relaxing and everyone was asleep by 9! I can’t believe how much we’ve been sleeping on this trip. I think it’s a combination jet lag and let down from our busy lives back home.

What happens on vacation…

Stays on vacation!

At least for us and electronics this mostly rings true. At home the kids don’t get iPad time. We don’t own a regular TV so it’s never on.

But when traveling the electronics are a bit of a free for all. When on the planes, go for it! If we’re are jet lagged, have been up since 5am and are trying to make it to a 6pm dinner. Sure have it for an hour.

We also deal with the repercussions of electronic hangovers with our kiddos though. They sometimes have a hard time letting gone when it’s time. They want to fuss, whine, and throw a fit, when not allowed to use them. So yes they can entertain themselves on electronics but then we may deal with the ugly side of their zombie electronic time. Good with the bad, and all that.

Our personal opinion isn’t that all electronics are bad. We just try and limit them to the right time, place, when and how much.

Flying to Australia

We had to get the rental car back to LAX at 7pm but our flight didn’t leave till 11:30. So we spent a few hours in the lounge before finally heading out.

Getting the final energy out before the flight.

R was asleep before we even took off. L wasn’t too far behind her. Ty was right there with them, but Mom and I stayed up for dinner and a glass of sparkling white. Yum!! Love Quantas and their service! I was amazed how well everyone slept on this flight. I’m sure it helped we were exhausted by the time it took off. I didn’t even take melatonin and managed to get about 7 hours.

A few movies and breakfast and then we were landing in Brisbane! This started the epic L meltdown. The ones other passengers commented on in the bathroom and luggage lines 🤦🏻‍♀️ My guess is he was just out of sorts from the 15 Hour flight. We didn’t want to open the stroller because we had all just been sitting for so long and wanted everyone to move a bit. But this became his breaking point, immediately off the plane. Screaming and yelling. Oh so delightful…

I finally realized this wasn’t a parenting battle worth pushing for good behavior and it was time to give him some grace. So I offered the carrier to give him a chance to snuggle and calm himself. Wearing a 4 year old in a carrier with a backpack on front while pulling two suitcases isn’t a small feat! But he was able to calm himself and we got through customs.

Another full screaming meltdown from L, before we got food was again delightful. (Did I mention you must have a high tolerance for public embarrassment when traveling with kids?)

Then began the Tiger Air scramble. Tiger Air only allows 7kg per passenger. Which translates to us Americans to about 15 lbs a person. We started weighing our bags before lining up and suddenly everything was so heavy!! No idea if we were wearing less clothing due to the heat or put more stuff in the bags in LA or where the difference came. But thus the shuffle of items started. We slung headphones around everyone’s necks. I stuffed phones in my pockets. We hid books in R’s pillow she was carrying! I shoved a bag of electronics in between L and I in the carrier. We even hid L’s small backpack off to the side. You may be wondering why the freak out. Because we thought it was going to be at least $50 US per bag, if we were over weight. We turns out all the scrambling we did was for not. We were still 4kg over weight and paid only $40 Australian which is just over $30 US. Phew, not that big a deal in the grand scheme of things. Definitely not worth the scramble and secrecy.

A very long 2 hour flight and we finally, finally made it to Cairns!!! Only took us about 24 hours of traveling if you exclude our time in LA. 😳 But so worth it!

R getting loopy after so much travel!

After a swim in the pool, we got some groceries and take out noodles. So yummy! Then L put himself to sleep on our floor. Poor kiddo handled the travel today as best he could.

L.A. Adventures – Day 2

I had to wake up early to take hubs to his conference. Left the kids with Nana so I was on my own for navigating back to the hotel. Thank goodness I’d done the drive three times by that point! 😆

We had a relaxing breakfast at the hotel and then finally made our way to the Santa Monica Pier. We had over 4 hours till our checkout time at the hotel. Which would normally be plenty of time right?! Not with LA traffic. It took us 2 hours to go 15 miles!!! Miserable. So we got to the Pier and had one hour to ride a ride per kid, grab some Carmel corn and race back to the car. And we were still late for our check out time. But it was worth it. Just wish we’d had more time at the Pier. Like to maybe walk the whole thing, even. L

< img src=”https://hamptonsonholiday.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/img_4882.jpg” height=”3024″ class=”wp-image-102″ width=”3024″><<<<<<<< ted a selfie 😉 R chose Nana to ride the roller coaster with her. Nana regretted that decision afterwards. And R proudly told me how she banged her head it was so rough! (Look for Nana’s pink shirt)

Linc chose the airplane ride, then got freaked out by the dragon boat ride that kept charging at them. 😆 Poor kid.

After packing up, we found a playground near the convention center and hung out for an hour while hubs finished up.

We loved the adult exercise equipment!

A quick dinner of In and Out by the airport and now we’re enjoying the lounge before starting our 14 Hour flight to Brisbane. Just keep telling ourselves it’s less than our 15 Hour flight last time. Thank goodness our kids are such seasoned travelers.

I think we’re all just ready to leave the LA smog and traffic behind and hit the pools and beaches!

L.A. Adventures – Day 1

Oh LA I am not your biggest fan. There’s terrible smog, poverty, overwhelming population, hideous traffic, and everything seems way too spread out. But hey we were only here for two days so maybe I haven’t given it enough time! 😉

Husband was here for a conference before we head to Australia for two weeks. So I was the driver for my kids and my mom, who’s with us for the adventure. We arrived on Friday morning and drove straight downtown to drop the hubs off. Then it was up to Nana to navigate me to the hotel. 😬

After about 30 mins R was starting to feel carsick and I desperately needed a bathroom, so I finally find a gas station. We race in and it’s basically a garage with a pay booth attached but still I ask, do you have a bathroom?! The guy looks at us and says, well we’re not supposed to let anyone use it since we got robbed. But, you two look ok! Yes me and my six year old daughter, you gotta watch for us undercover criminals.

We the spent the morning at the pool before heading out for lunch. It was five minutes from the hotel and L of course fell asleep on the way.

At least lunch was good! We then decided to head to the Pacific Aquarium. Took us forever to get there, we finally get into the parking garage and it’s backed up to the first level! We start circling up each level behind everyone else. Miserable! After it takes us 15 minutes to go one level and not seeing a single open space we decided to bail on the Aquarium. Back towards the hotel to find a park, now both kiddos get a nap.

Yay for playgrounds while on vacation! Exercise for all.

Back to the hotel to relax and plug the kids in for a bit before we venture out into traffic again to get hubs. Two hours later, we finally get there 😡

All ideas of a nice dinner are out the window and all we want is to get back to the hotel and find the quickest dinner we can. #chickfilaforthewin

At least we all passed out by 9!