Category Archives: Traveling Roads

The one about the North Island (New Zealand)

It’s as if we’ve been performing a never-ending rain dance given the weather we’ve had over the last 4 weeks, and the North Island of New Zealand was just the beginning. That being said, even with the rain and clouds, New Zealand was entirely too picturesque to be even the least bit upset about it.

Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Bay of Islands, New Zealand

We arrived right at summer began in New Zealand, but came prepared for sudden weather shifts as we heard that temperature and precipitation can change on a dime. We flew into Auckland on a drizzly morning and walked around as much as we could muster after the red eye from Perth (via Melbourne).

{Note that there are plenty of direct flights from the east coast of Australia and several from Perth (as well as Los Angeles) should you make your way to NZ anytime soon!}

Anyway, Auckland was fine – nothing to write home (or on the blog) about – and maybe it was just the weather for the day we were there! I’d love to go back perhaps when the weather was a bit sunnier.

From Auckland, we drove north to a region called The Bay of Islands, where we were booked into a great B&B for a few nights, Tarlton’s Lodge in the town of Paihia. The Bay of Islands is an easy (and beautiful) 3 hour drive from Auckland.

Image via Sub-Tropicals.co.nz

Most folks with whom I’ve spoken typically head south of Auckland to Rotorua (still on the North Island), but we had a fishing day planned with a colleague of Barr’s and with images like this, we were amped to see The Bay of Islands in person. Upon arrival at the B&B, we weren’t disappointed and the view was as stunning as we could’ve hoped:

Seriously, this was the view from our room

Seriously, this was the view from our room’

After day 1, our blue sky days kind of ran out. And though this meant that not as many photos were taken, the vistas were still dramatic and memorable.

Barr bravely stuck with his tee time Kauri Cliffs, located about 45 minutes from Paihia – in gale force winds no less!

Kauri Cliffs

Kauri Cliffs

Kauri Cliffs Golf Course

Kauri Cliffs Golf Course

And although my boat tour (with Fuller’s Great Sights) around the bay was limited in where the boat could actually safely travel, we still managed to see plenty of dolphins streak into the air with aplomb:

Dolphin watching at The Bay of Islands

Dolphin watching at The Bay of Islands

"The sea was angry that day, my friends"

“The sea was angry that day, my friends”

After our respective days in the rain, we prayed for better weather the next morning as that was the day we were scheduled to go deep sea fishing (for which the region is world renowned). Y’all, I listened to the wind howl all night long and the rain pummel our window, fearful of the day that I assumed fishing would have in store. (Side note: our Kiwi friend, who organized the fishing expedition brought by seasickness medicine the day before given the forecast for fishing.)

Needless to say, when we woke up the next morning to more driving rain, I was ready to bow out. Mercifully (but also disappointingly so), the captain of the fishing boat informed us that the 40-50mph winds were not conducive to a safe or enjoyable fishing trip and we had to cancel. 😦

But fear not! The Kiwis still showed us a cool time that morning with a visit to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, just outside of Paihia. Waitangi is where the British and Maori people signed the New Zealand Declaration of Independence in 1835. There’s a museum on the grounds as well as a traditional Maori demonstration. Well worth the extra few dollars.

The whare runanga or Maori meeting house

The whare runanga or Maori meeting house

And despite the mist and clouds on the drive back to Auckland, we were still stunned by all the colors, animals and beauty in the North Island. If you’re planning a New Zealand trip, I definitely recommend just driving around and getting lost a little – there isn’t a bad view that I could see. 🙂 Until next time…

Auckland Recommendations:

Bay of Island Recommendations:

  • Tarlton’s Lodge: Quaint (3 rooms only) bed and breakfast in Paihia – spectacular views, fab breakfast, and the owners are the best!
  • Fuller’s Great Sights: Tour company with lots of options for Bay of Islands and the surrounds
  • Waitangi Treaty Grounds: Quick and fun historical and cultural overview of the region
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The one from the states

I’m baaaack! It’s been quite the blog hiatus for me, and I’ve really missed it! The past few weeks have been hectic with lots of travel (both flying and driving) and catching up with friend and family so taking a bit of time to get back in a routine has been a bit of a challenge. See what I mean?

Perth to Auckland Abbys Roads

December 12: Perth to Auckland (via Melbourne)

New Zealand Itinerary Abbys Roads

December 13 – 22: New Zealand travels

The itineraries, activities, and just general catch up on New Zealand deserves its own post – especially for those of you thinking about a trip over there – but in the meantime, here are some shots of our NZ adventure:

A chilly boat trip on the Doubtful Sound

A chilly boat trip on the Doubtful Sound

A teeny NZ library

A teeny NZ library

Paradise, New Zealand

Paradise, New Zealand

From New Zealand, we headed home to the states for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays:

December 22: Sydney to Dallas (onward to Houston) for Christmas (image via Wikipedia)

So much puppy time! And of course, a lovely Christmas with the Simpson side of the family.

Abbys Roads Holidays278

Dash loving on Barr on Christmas Day

Abbys Roads Holidays274

Our wee family on Christmas Eve

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My sister and I at the Nutcracker

Houston was just the beginning of our stateside travels:

December 22 - January 6: Houston to Memphis to Louisville to Charlotte to Durham back to Charlotte and back to Houston (Barr is back in Oz)

December 22 – January 15: Houston to Memphis to Louisville to Charlotte to Durham back to Charlotte and back to Houston…via Chicago, dont ask (and Barr is back in Oz)

From Texas, we headed to Memphis, Tennessee to see Barr’s brother and his wife, as well as some Charlotte friends who recently relocated there as well as some much loved aunt, uncle, and cousin time.

Then it was onward to Louisville, Kentucky to see Barr’s parents and grandmother – as always, it was too short.

We then headed eastward to North Carolina: Charlotte for New Year’s and then Durham for a wedding! It was amazing to be back in the Carolinas and we can’t wait to move back before we know it.

The Johnson cousins and their spouses - Matt was there in spirit :)

The Johnson cousins and their spouses – Matt was there in spirit 🙂

Enjoying a great dinner in Memphis

Enjoying a great dinner in Memphis

Stevie and Chris' lovely wedding in Durham, NC

Stevie and Chris’ lovely wedding in Durham, NC

WFU golf alums - such a great reunion!

WFU golf alums – such a great reunion!

Needless to say, it’s been a whirlwind with not enough time in any one place. And while the flights were long and the drives at times tedious, the trip to New Zealand, the hugs and relaxation with our parents and siblings, and the celebrations and chin wags with friends were all 100% worth it.

Sydney from the Taronga Zoo

Sydney from the Taronga Zoo

So there you have it: 3 weeks in a nutshell! I wish I had more pictures – I think we were just so focused on catching up with everyone that snapping a ton of shots fell a bit by the wayside; however, I did receive a lovely new camera as an early birthday gift, so hopefully Ill make up for lost time – and will of course be back with fun posts, pics and roads. Until next time…

The one with a holiday hiatus

Barr and I are in the midst of a trip to New Zealand en route back to the states for Christmas and New Year’s, hence my lack of posts over the last week! I’ll be enjoying some radio silence through the holidays, but will be back before 2014 is over 🙂 In the meantime, you can follow our Kiwi adventures via Instagram – and a few shots below, too. Happy holidays! Until next time…

Pink sheep spotted on the North Island

Pink sheep spotted on the North Island

View from our room in the Bay of Islands

View from our room in the Bay of Islands

A rainy boat trip, but dolphins were spotted, so all in all: a success!

A rainy boat trip, but dolphins were spotted, so all in all: a success!

Having a bit of fun at a Maori cultural demonstration

Having a bit of fun at a Maori cultural demonstration

Onto the South Island: Queenstown

Onto the South Island: Queenstown

Summer in Queenstown

Summer in Queenstown

First helicopter ride - incredible!

First helicopter ride – incredible!

Lake Wakatipu from Bob's Peak

Lake Wakatipu from Bob’s Peak

The one with Rottnest Island

To my fellow Americans: happy Thanksgiving Eve {yes it’s a thing}! By the time you read this, the sun will be setting on Thanksgiving Eve in Perth, Western Australia and we Blantons will be resting up for burgers and Cheerwine 😉 No, no turkey for us on actual Thanksgiving – though we are making a weekend trip with some friends to celebrate the holiday belatedly on Saturday – but rather we’re escaping to an American bar here that stocks DDP (Cheerwine for Barr – one of his faves), almost authentic burgers, and non stop sports (even college games!)

But before the respective big meals (in true American fashion), enjoy some stories and snaps from a recent trip to Rottnest Island. Locally known here in WA as “Rotto”, Rottnest is a little island off the coast of Perth – we hadnt been yet, so a work team event for a day on the island was great timing to enjoy some of the amazing weather we’ve been enjoying.

A Rottnest beach from the boat on our way in

A Rottnest beach from the boat on our way in: beautiful white sand beaches and blue waters

Historically, the island was part of an 17th century European colony, followed by an Aboriginal prison, then an internment camp for suspected enemy Austrians and Germans during WWI and WWII, and now a tourist destination. And what a destination:

RottnestIslandAbbysRoads361 RottnestIslandAbbysRoads433

Rottnest Island doesn’t have a hotel, per say, but does have little “chalets” that you can rent for the night, the week, the month – they’re a bit rustic, but I suppose it’s all part of the experience 🙂

If you’re only going for the day (like us), you can enjoy some of the beaches:

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Take a bike ride on one of the many trails that snake through the island:

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A biking quokka and I

Hike around the dunes and hills:

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Barr was much braver than I

Barr was much braver than I

Selfie time!

Selfie time!

Or enjoy a meal/drinks with a quokka, the happiest animal on the planet (what did we do before Buzzfeed?)! A quokka is a little animal (about the size of a domestic cat) in the marsupial family, so it moves around a lot like a kangaroo. Rottnest Island is the only place in the world where native quokkas can be found, and they’re very gentle (at least the ones we encountered on the island.)

Quokkas everywhere

Quokkas everywhere

You can find more adorable pictures of quokkas here and here…oh and here:

This is NOT photoshopped, people! This selfie with Barr, a work friend, and their new quokka buddy is 100% the real deal :)

This is NOT photoshopped, people! This selfie with Barr, a work friend, and their new quokka buddy is 100% the real deal 🙂

Now I hope all of y’all, whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not, have a safe and festive holiday season 🙂 Home really is where your heart is and I pray all my friends, family, and readers’ hearts are full and happy. Until next time…

The one about Melbourne

I’ve been remiss with my blogging over the last week and have really missed it! I had a draft of my post from last Tuesday all queued up to automatically post, and have been pretty out of pocket ahead of even that.  But I’m back in action. You see, I needed a full 5 days or so to recover from the trip that was Melbourne.

{Part of} Melbourne from our hotel

{Part of} Melbourne from our hotel

Hosier Lane

Hosier Lane

Cheesing at the Brighton Beach Boxes

Cheesing at the Brighton Beach Boxes

I. AM. OBSESSED. Dear Melbourne, you are one of my new favorite cities. Love, Abby. Fresh, funky, foodie, and fun. (Gotta love an alliteration.) {And I will also apologize for the fact that all my pictures are iPhone – the big girl camera didnt make it on this trip, sadly.}

Melbourne word cloud via TrulyDeeply.com.au

Barr and I had a solid 5 days of time in Melbourne, and it just wasnt enough! I have on my blog list to put together a few little travel itineraries and must see lists for tourists and visitors to places like Melbourne, Sydney, Dubai, Perth, etc, but for now: the low-down on this particular trip 🙂

  • Melbourne basics:
    • Public transportation is a breeze! Make sure you get a Myki card to traverse the tram (largest tram system in the world) and train systems.
    • Named the “World’s Most Livable City” by the Economic Intelligence Unit for the 4th year in a row – I can see why!
    • I loved popping down the little laneways and arcades throughout the city – some of them looked completely deserted, but harbored some of the best shops and cafes.
    • Many of the Victorian-era buildings are exceedingly well-preserved against a backdrop of some of the newer skyscrapers.
    • Layers, layers, layers! Weather in Melbourne changes at the drop of a hat (from what we could tell even over the course of 5 days!), so layers are essential.
  • Food: A foodie and coffee snob’s heaven!
    • Our first meal in Melbourne was at Rice, Paper, Scissors – amazing Vietnamese small plates and after the red eye from Perth, the coffee was a good boost too 😉
    • We grabbed drinks at Black Pearl and our bartender was Australian, but went to UNC! Small world. Oh, and the drinks were a treat too.
    • Melbourne is said to have the largest Greek-speaking population outside of Greece, so this fact, coupled with the fact that Masterchef (one of my favorite shows, you’ll remember) judge, George Calombaris owns (several) Greek eateries in Melbourne, I had to visit at least one. Gazi was it! Gazi was authentically Greek and their customer service was just the best – plus they could make everything gluten free! Masterchef sighting sold separately.
    • Coffee is sacred in Melbourne. I wouldn’t categorize the following as the “best”, but I though they were pretty good {skinny} flat whites! And trust me, there are shops on every corner (even a Starbucks or two), so you can easily pick your poison: Market Lane, Seven Seeds, Axil, Dukes Coffee Roasters, or just wander down Degraves St or Centre Place for plenty of options.

Via TheInteriorsAddict.com

  • I won’t list every single restaurant (only one more), but here are some of the super cute cards that I snagged from a few of the restaurants we stopped by:
Hihou (unique Japanese), Cumulus (out of this world breakfast), Borsch, Vodka & Tears (need I say more?), Rice Paper Scissors (aforementioned), and Movida (authentic Spanish tapas)

Hihou (unique Japanese), Cumulus (out of this world breakfast), Borsch, Vodka & Tears (need I say more?), Rice Paper Scissors (aforementioned), and Movida (authentic Spanish tapas)

  • Claypots. This was such a treat and one of our favorite spots. A local Melbournite (?) graciously brought us here for dinner in St Kilda. The seafood was so simple and flavorful and the atmosphere was really unique and funky – plus there’s a great bar next door.
Claypots decor in the outdoor seating area

Claypots decor in the outdoor seating area

  • Sights:
    • Melbourne has an extensive network of quaint laneways and arcades sprinkled throughout the city. Two of the more well known are Hosier Lane (“urban art” aka graffiti) and Degraves Street (tons of coffee shops and teeny cafes).
Hosier Lane urban art

Hosier Lane urban art

Hosier Lane artist at work

Hosier Lane artist at work

Centre Place

Centre Place

  • The Brighton Beach Boxes are well worth a visit. They’re privately owned beach sheds that the owners paint in a colorfully fun manner – and we were told they can go for up to $500k!
The beach boxes on Brighton Beach

The beach boxes on Brighton Beach

Melbourne from Brighton Beach

Melbourne from Brighton Beach

Hanging out in the red, white, and blue beach box

Hanging out in the red, white, and blue beach box

Barr doing a little boxing

Barr doing a little ‘roo boxing

Barr captured this hilarious shot of a ocean kayaker photobombing some wedding shots :)

Barr captured this hilarious shot of a ocean kayaker photobombing some wedding shots 🙂 Would love to know how those bad boys turn out!

Botanic Gardens in Melbourne

Botanic Gardens in Melbourne

Botanic Gardens in Melbourne

Botanic Gardens in Melbourne

  • Being the huge book nerd that I am, visiting the State Library of Victoria was such a treat. Not only were there a seemingly endless number of rooms of books, but the architecture of the library itself would distract even the most studious individual.
Loved the library's carrells!

Loved the library’s carrels!

Barr taking it all in at the State Library of Victoria

Barr taking it all in at the State Library of Victoria

  • I stopped by the National Gallery of Victoria for the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit – that particular exhibit was so-so, but the permanent exhibits made up for that! (That, and the costume on display below):
A JPG number worn by none other than Beyonce!

A JPG number worn by none other than Beyonce!

Case in point – neat to see IRL!

So there you have it! We’ve heard folks say that Sydney is like your one night stand and Melbourne is like your girlfriend, and in a weird way, I have to agree – Melbourne has wooed me, hook, line and sinker. 🙂 Until next time…

The one with Les 7 Cascades

One of the highlights of our Mauritian adventure was definitely the “Les 7 Cascades” hike (“The 7 Waterfalls”). We met an uber fun Irish couple at the hotel who had completed the hike a few days prior and they raved about it; they also recommended using the guide that was praised on TripAdvisor – he wasn’t part of a large company or anything, but rather just had his cell phone number up on TripAdvisor for people to independently book him as a guide for the day.

The reviews for Jay and the hike speak for themselves!

The reviews on TripAdvisor for Jay and the hike speak for themselves!

And let me tell you: Jay was worth the hype (the hike in it of itself was, too!) Les 7 Cascades was exactly that: 7 waterfalls essentially stacked one after the next, all in the middle of a fairly untouched forest in the middle of the island of Mauritius.

Jay, a 4th generation Mauritian with his family originally emigrating from Mumbai, told us he liked to start the hike from a vantage point across the valley from the waterfalls and hike so you could see all the waterfalls at once and get an idea of what you would be trekking.

They're a bit far off, but you can kind of see a few of the "cascades"

They’re a bit far off, but you can kind of see a few of the “cascades”

Another element of the hike with Jay that we really enjoyed was the fact that he took you from the bottom of  les 7 cascades and then you worked your way up to see them from the bottom up, whereas all of the other tour guides/hikers worked from the top down. Jay said that was a fine way to go, but if you started from the bottom (insert Drake song here) and hiked upwards, you could actually see the waterfalls as you went.

The start of the hike was pretty steep and it was drizzling, so when I slipped onto my bum about 15 minutes in, I was a bit worried, but thankfully that was the only “slip up” (and I had a muddy bum to prove it!)

The first of the 7

The first of the 7 cascades

The waterfalls and forest was of course gorgeous, but there were little (but DEEP) pools of fresh water that we could jump in and swim around – the water was chilly, but totally worth it!

A little paddle-around

A little paddle-around

A little climb up into the rocks so we could frolic in the waterfall

A little climb up into the rocks so we could frolic in the waterfall

And all the way through the hike, Jay provided a plethora of information about Mauritius: the Mauritian people, the flora/fauna, how things have changed over the years, and the culture around the island – he was full of fun facts! And of course a great photographer (plus his wife makes you lunch and a snack – amazing authentic Indian food!!)

It was a breathtaking hike with a top notch local guide. We had a great day! Until next time…

Mauritius6 Mauritius5

IMG_7882 IMG_7801

 

The one where we celebrated our anniversary in Mauritius

Right around this time last year, Mauritius almost beat out Cape Town as our October Eid trip, and although we have never once regretted our choice to go to South Africa instead, both Barr and I always wistfully thought about the island of Mauritius.

Image via WorldAtlas.com

Armed with some Starwood points (and the celebratory excuse of our wedding anniversary), we decided to take the plunge and book a (direct!) flight from Perth to Mauritius. {The direct flight from Perth thing is a big deal – and all within 8 hours!}

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Mauritius is an independent island republic of about 1.2M people, and boasts an incredible multiethnic, multilingual, and multicultural population: French, Creole and English are the primary languages known and spoken and you see every house of worship on the same city block, which is pretty neat.

Of course tourism plays a big role in Mauritius’ economy, with plenty of serene resorts, crystal clear waters, and year-round temperate weather. It’s also a huge kite-surfing mecca. While we didn’t get an opportunity to learn kite-surfing this time around, that’s one of the next things on our bucket list! There was plenty of beach time, kayaking, hiking, and just general relaxing.

Pardon the photo-heavy post, but the shots tell the story of the trip! 🙂 Until next time…

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The one in Margaret River: Whale Watching

Y’all, I mentioned it before, but I have a whale phobia (officially called cetaphobia); this is defined as an “irrational fear”, and yes, I know it is 100% irrational as whales are gentle and don’t hurt/kill people. (Although, am I the only one who read Moby Dick?!) 😉 Don’t try to tell me this – I already know. I’m just frightened of their sheer size.

This doesn’t alarm anyone?

OMG (via totallyuselesstrivia.com)

I would literally have a panic attack (via strangevehicles.com)

This is not photoshopped (via sapeople.com)

Searching for these photos will now give me nightmares. Back to happier pictures. Here was the weather for our trip:

Geographe Bay

Geographe Bay

But moving on.

Despite my (irrational) fear, we went whale watching to cap off our weekend in Margaret River. I booked us a two hour, afternoon whale watching experience on Geographe Bay with Naturaliste Charters in hopes (?) of seeing humpback whales migrate down to Antarctica for summer feeding.

You can see Geographe Bay all the way over on the West Coast (via AustralianTraveller.com)

It didn’t take long before we saw plenty of whales! The captain told us to keep a lookout for the blow hole, which would spray up lots of water and indicate where the whales were swimming.

See?

See?

We saw a handful of the whales breach, but they were pretty far out in the distance, so I didn’t manage to capture any of those moments – although it was pretty incredible, I even have to admit.

Waving hi!

Waving hi!

Coming up for some air

Coming up for some air

We even saw some dolphins racing the boat:

MargaretRiver030So, while it would not be an excursion that I would have selected, it was a pretty incredible and unique experience; an ideal way to cap off Barr’s birthday weekend. Until next time…

Happy birthday, Barr!

Happy birthday, Barr!

The one in Margaret River: Golf, Wine, ‘Roos & Views

We drove down to Margaret River on Friday afternoon, arriving just after sunset.  The trip was broken up into two hotels since we booked a tad late, and Friday night’s accommodation was the Rosewood Guesthouse – a charming B&B right in the village of Margaret River. There were even some other Americans staying there! It’s so rare to find tourists from the USA, given the long flights, but y’all: it’s worth it, trust me. 🙂

Saturday morning, which was Barr’s actual birthday, the birthday boy had his B&B special waffle (much better than any breakfast I could have prepared!), and then embarked on his annual tradition of birthday golf.

Birthday waffles at the Rosewood Guesthouse

Birthday waffles (and cereal, of course!) at the Rosewood Guesthouse – nom nom nom

I met him on the back nine and loved all the kangaroos that lounged around the course – they were everywhere, and we could literally be within five feet of them without them stirring or moving an inch.

This one is like me on the golf course: always in the bunker

This one is like me on the golf course: always in the bunker

Love this shot Barr caught

Love this shot Barr caught – it’s like they posed for him!

After the birthday golf, we headed to some wineries. Given its Mediterrean-esque climate, the Margaret River wine region is known for their Sauvignon Blanc Semillon and Cabernet Sauvignon wines.

Our first stop was Leeuwin Estate – it was really busy there, but the pourer was so congenial and took a lot of time to walk through their different vintages.

Leeuwin Estate tasting room and restaurant

From Leeuwin Estate, we drove back up north to Vasse Felix for lunch. We’d heard their food rivaled their wine, and we weren’t disappointed – one of the best meals I’ve had in Australia so far!

Our view from lunch at Vasse Felix

Our view from lunch at Vasse Felix – the weather was *literally* picture perfect!

Onward from Vasse Felix! Just a few minutes beyond, we made a quick stop at the Cape Lodge. We stayed at this breathtaking boutique hotel when we came down to Margaret River in 2007 (most of the pictures from yesterday’s post were from our time at the hotel). Anyhoo, we thought it would be fun to make a pit stop and reminisce!

Our Cape Lodge pit stop

Our Cape Lodge pit stop

Cape Lodge

Cape Lodge grounds

We then headed to our Saturday night accommodation, which was near Dunsborough: the Pullman Bunker Bay Resort. I don’t know what I was anticipating, but it wasn’t this:

Cape Naturaliste, near Margaret River

Cape Naturaliste, near Margaret River

The hotel was comprised of individual villas, all tucked into the greenery, with partial ocean views. There was even a heated pool which overlooked the water as well. And just a quick walk down from our room was this:

The beach on the Pullman resort

The beach on the Pullman resort

and this:

A lone surfer

A lone surfer

And around the corner from the resort, you got views like this:

I mean..

I mean..

and this:

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Cape Naturaliste, WA

and this:

So many different shades of blue :)

So many different shades of blue as the waves roll in

We really lucked out with the weather and our stays – beautiful all around!

The birthday boy taking it all in

The birthday boy taking it all in

Sunday was our whale watching day – eeek! …Stay tuned. Until next time…

Birthday weekend cuddles

Birthday weekend cuddles – he’s the best

The one where I throw it back

Last year, for reasons beyond our control, I was unable to be with Barr on his birthday – and it was a big one: the big 3-0! (I actually think I was probably more upset about it than he was…he’s pretty easy going like that 🙂 ). Given this, I wanted to make sure 30 2.0 was special for him!

Having just returned home from our marathon trip to the states, we didn’t really get our act together in time to plan another plane trip, so I decided a road trip down to Margaret River would be a birthday excursion; only a three hour drive, pretty much one road the entire way, Margaret River is gorgeous wine country right along the coast of southwest Australia.

See Margaret River on the little cape/point southwest of Perth? (image via Busselton Golf Club)

Barr, my parents, my sister, and I actually visited Margaret River back in the day (Christmas 2007, to be exact). Here are some most excellent throwbacks:

Baby faces (aka "fuller" faces)

Baby faces (aka “fuller” faces) at 20 and 24, respectively

Anna, my mom, me, and Barr on the beaches of Margaret River

Anna, my mom, me, and Barr on one of the beaches of Margaret River

The Simpsons do Margaret River

The Simpsons do Margaret River

Christmas dinner 2007 at the Cape Lodge

Christmas dinner 2007 at the Cape Lodge

I’ll share our golf, vino, and beach adventures in Margaret River (circa last weekend) tomorrow – hint: get ready for some kangaroo pics!

And then…drumroll please…we went whale watching on Sunday (if you know me, you know that whales terrify me – this is a real thing called cetaphobia); and although I won’t be swimming with the whales anytime soon (or ever), it was pretty incredible. So get ready for some reviews, memories, birthday celebrations, and picture overload over the next two days 😀 Until next time…