17. Michelle’s trip down under

MICHELLE’S TRIP TO AUSTRALIA LAST YEAR

Departed Athens on 20 June on Emirates via Dubai, and Singapore to Brisbane where I met Michelle at the ungodly hour of 05:15am.  Fortunately her flight landed in the thick Brisbane fog as some of the international flights had to be diverted to Sydney and Melbourne.

Samantha's birthday in Brisbane night before Michelle arrived at Philip Johnson's E'cco Bistro
Samantha’s birthday in Brisbane night before Michelle arrived at Philip Johnson’s E’cco Bistro

We caught a taxi in to the Metro Tower Mill where Samantha was staying with me for her birthday and just had time for an hour chitter chatter, no time to shower as the flight for ROK Rocky, Rockhampton left at 8.40am.

Michelle arriving ROK airport
Michelle arriving ROK airport

 

Michelle arriving Rocky 22 June winter solstice
Michelle arriving Rocky 22 June winter solstice

STAYING AT YEPPOON

Michelle teaching Emily how to become a 'Hat Lady'
Michelle teaching Emily how to become a ‘Hat Lady’
Out front Lammermoor beach
Out front Lammermoor beach

Day 1 –  23 June  Lots of things planned but first thing we had to get credits from Telstra for the cell phone, then of course head for the hat stands where Michelle was teaching Emily how to become a hat lady.  A big grocery shop and orientation tour of BIG W, as Michelle loves to browse and shop.

Day 2 – 24 June –  A walk along Lammermoor beach picking up different shells and listening to different birds.  We had to get a book on Australian birds.

Day 3 – 25 June – Drive back to Rocky for John (Bionic man)  to have a cataract removed from his right eye. John has had just about everything fixed up on him – hole in the heart, lasered eyes, skin cancers removed but just a few spare parts need quite a bit of maintenance.

We went to Rocky cinema to see the fourth version of “THE GREAT GATSBY” and although the cinematography was spectacular, if not a bit over the top, we both agreed it was just OK, and not really recommendable.  I think Baz Luhrmann could have left the Robert Redford and Mia Farrow version intact and not tried to revamp it. Funny thing happened, because it was the longest movie ever made we reckoned without an interval, we were busting to find the toilet, rushed in the door and literally hundreds of Malteses burst out of the opened pack in my bag all over the toilet floor rolling everywhere. We had to tiptoe over them.  We made a very embarrassed fast exit, giggling our heads off.

Day 4 – 26 June – early start to hunt and gather for food before picking up a none to happy chappy from hospital following his eye procedure which was successful according to the Opthamologist and jolly well should have been as it cost an arm and a leg.

Michelle relaxing on the sundeck at Cooee Bay
Michelle relaxing on the sundeck at Cooee Bay

We went for a stroll around the lovely Rockhampton Botanical gardens, one of the earliest established gardens in regional Australia.

MICHELLE AT BOTANICAL GARDENS ZOO ROCKHAMPTON
MICHELLE AT BOTANICAL GARDENS ZOO ROCKHAMPTON
Mish wheeling John at the Rosslyn Bay Marina
Mish wheeling John at the Rosslyn Bay Marina

Day 5 – 27 June – the short order cook came in on early shift to prepare a healthy breakfast of Burcher Mueslie (recipe obtained at great expense from the Cradle Mountain Lodge in Tasmania) and a fruit salad to rival the one at the motel yesterday. A walk on the beach

Michelle on our beach
Michelle on our beach

 

Sand crabs on beach make fabulous designs like angel wings
Sand crabs on beach make fabulous designs like angel wings

Day 6 – Fri 28 June – Michelle kindly looked after John for me whilst I had a hair cut and physio.

Lammermoor beach
Lammermoor beach

Day 7 – Sat 29 June – Well a week has now gone since Michelle arrived, that has gone so quickly. We went for a nice drive to the Rosslyn Bay Marina, and had fish and chips for lunch at the Waterline Café  with John Boy.

Michelle pushed John’s wheelchair down the rows of boats to find where Robert’s boat was moored.

Doing some exploring around Yeppoon most days, new shops to see, and any spare time Michelle has been doing her cross stitch.

Michelle cross stitching
Michelle cross stitching

We took her to Emu Park and Zilzie, Barry drove which was a nice change to be a back seat driver. We have just been chilling out this last week as weather is very wintry and conducive to just staying inside.  We have been to the shops of course, and coffee stops of course (nice chocolate muffins!)

Michelle Colleen and John at Waterline cafe
Michelle Colleen and John at Waterline café

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Went to see Emily play netball, would be nice to have all of that energy.  And below lunching at the revamped Strand Hotel Yeppoon

Lowthers at dinner at Beaches
Lowthers at dinner at Beaches

 

Michelle and Colleen at The Strand
Michelle and Colleen at The Strand

 

Sunday night, Johnny and Viv Lowther came for dinner which was lovely to see them again.  They will be back next Wednesday for a visit on their way home.

Nice to have Michelle in my kitchen cooking!
Nice to have Michelle in my kitchen cooking!
Michelle whipping up a Greek dish
Michelle whipping up a Greek dish

Max’s birthday, we went over to the Woodies for a lovely roast pork dinner.

Michelle with Colleen and John's grand son Max on his 17th birthday
Michelle with Colleen and John’s grand son Max on his 17th birthday

 

Colleen with Max on his 17th birthday
Colleen with Max on his 17th birthday

Michelle telling Hudson and Emily the story of the snakes on the alter of the church in Kefalonia that reappear every year on 15 August.

Michelle the storyteller captive audience Colleen's grandchildren Hudson and Emily
Michelle the storyteller captive audience Colleen’s grandchildren Hudson and Emily

We went out to Great Keppel island for the day, glorious weather with nice calm sea

Beautiful light out there today
Beautiful light out there today

 

Michelle waiting to catch ferry from Roslyn Bay to Great Keppel Island
Michelle waiting to catch ferry from Roslyn Bay to Great Keppel Island

 

We saw 2 Humpback whales playing around the boat

We saw twp Humpback whales, that circled our boat
We saw twp Humpback whales, that circled our boat
Michelle watching the fish feeding
Michelle watching the fish feeding

 

Beautiful day on the island lots of boats over there for the day

Michelle on the lovely white sand beach of GKI
Michelle on the lovely white sand beach of GKI

 

We took a drive to the well known Mercure Capricorn Coast resort about 10kms north of Yeppoon which is very popular.

Michelle at Mercure Resort
Michelle at Mercure Resort

 

Mercure Capricorn Coast resort
Mercure Capricorn Coast resort

Wed 21 August – We went to Waterline for Rhonda’s birthday luncheon.

Rhonda's birthday at Waterline, - with the girls. L to r.  Helen, Margie, Pauline, me, Lesley, Rhonda and Michelle
Rhonda’s birthday at Waterline, – with the girls. L to r. Helen, Margie, Pauline, me, Lesley, Rhonda and Michelle

And then on 25 August we were invited to Emily’s 9th birthday party

Emily Rose's 9th birthday
Emily Rose’s 9th birthday

 

Emily's birthday cake made by Katrina, a gorgeous cup cake
Emily’s birthday cake made by Katrina, a gorgeous cup cake

 

Sunday 25th August it was Emily’s 9th birthday, Katrina made a fabulous cup cake, and Em invited us and 4 little friends over to her house

 

In the afternoon we flew from Rockhampton to Cairns via Mackay and Townsville We stayed 2 nights at the Cairns International hotel

Rainbow to greet us into Cairns FNQ

 

Michelle at the wildlife nets on top of Cairns Casino.
Michelle at the wildlife nets on top of Cairns Casino.

First night we went to an Italian Restaurant around the corner from the Hotel- had a mean Mountadam Shiraz.

Monday we visited the Cairns Wildlife dome on top of the Casino, it was really amazing and well worth visiting. Lovely views from the top

Cairns lagoon
Cairns lagoon

 

Watching antics of Harvey the naughty cockatoo
Watching antics of Harvey the naughty cockatoo

Monday night we found a lovely blue and white (like the Greek flag) restaurant on the Cairns Esplanade called Lagoon Vue, sampled a delightful Barossa Valley Angrove Merlot, we went to the markets, and a glass blower made a lovely little glass platypus for Michelle.  We called him Peter the Platypus. We checked out some lovely pearls at the market then hopped on a bicycle carriage home after listening to a lovely impromptu piano concert by holidaymakers on the Esplanade, just magic, ending a beautiful evening.

Dining at Lagoon Vue Cairns Esplanade,
Dining at Lagoon Vue Cairns Esplanade,

 

Michelle enjoying Cairns
Michelle enjoying Cairns

We got a little Hyundai 120 Auto (red) which Michelle drove everywhere – we went up to Freshwater to catch the Kuranda Rail, what a lovely day that turned out to be.  But first a visit to the Cairns Botanical gardens, and a lovely afternoon tea of pavlova.

Michelle snapping at the Ginger plants at the Cairns Botanical gardens
Michelle snapping at the Ginger plants at the Cairns Botanical gardens

 

Michelle in her element in Cairns Botanical gardens
Michelle in her element in Cairns Botanical gardens

We caught the famous little train from Freshwater Station Cairns to Kuranda and had a great day up there.

Michelle at Freshwater station entrance
Michelle at Freshwater station entrance

 

Penny farthing bike Michelle eyeing to ride at Kuranda
Penny farthing bike Michelle eyeing to ride at Kuranda

This has to be one of the world’s great train journeys as travels through the most beautiful scenery.

Kuranda rail turning bend
Kuranda rail turning bend

 

Hinterland view Kuranda rail
Hinterland view Kuranda rail

And at the Kuranda bird sanctuary, Michelle talked to the birds, and they back to her.

Michelle boarding Kuranda rail
Michelle boarding Kuranda rail

She certainly has an infinity with birds and animals (maybe why we get along so well!)

 

At Kuranda bird sanctuary
At Kuranda bird sanctuary

 

Michelle with the train driver at Kuranda
Michelle with the train driver at Kuranda

Except we got lost in the tropical rain forest and Mrs Moses (aptly named with her big staff) had to lead us laughing all the way home to the promised land,  to the railway station, via the icecream shop which served a delicious Irish Baileys flavour, yum.

Mrs Moses leading me to the promised land - the Kuranda rail station
Mrs Moses leading me to the promised land – the Kuranda rail station
Lady with the MaCaw parrot
Lady with the MaCaw parrot

 

We caught up with old friend Shelley Griffith at the Port Douglas turnoff.

View of beach at Port Douglas
View of beach at Port Douglas

Then on Tuesday 27 August we drove on up to Port Douglas for 2 nights at Club Tropical

Coral at Great Barrier Reef
Coral at Great Barrier Reef

We went to the Low Isles with Quicksilver, and saw the lovely coral in a glass bottom boat.

 

Michelle pensive on Great Barrier reef cruise to Low Isles
Michelle pensive on Great Barrier reef cruise to Low Isles

Last night dined at Sassi Cucina restaurant on the corner of Macrossan St, nice red a Torbreck Woodcutters Shiraz  Back to Yeppoon for a few days

 

 

 

 

And then its off to Sydney

to stay with Samantha for 5 days before going to India. We had a lovely time with Sam who took us down to her favorite beach Balmoral and coffee at the Boathouse there. She then drove us to Manly where we had had dinner the night before at a lovely hotel that had steaks for $7 and cocktails for $7

Balmoral Beach Boathouse for coffee
Balmoral Beach Boathouse for coffee

 

Balmoral boathouse
Balmoral boathouse

We caught up with Michelle’s lovely friend Nectaria and her dear little boy Johannes.

Michelle and Nectaria at Circular Quay
Michelle and Nectaria at Circular Quay

 

Colleen and Michelle at Opera concourse
Colleen and Michelle at Opera concourse

They met us in the city and we trained it to Circular Quay where we caught a ferry to Taronga Park Zoo, where we started at the top and worked our way down.

Colleen and Michelle at entrance to the zoo
Colleen and Michelle at entrance to the zoo

 

Michelle, Nectaria and a sleeping Johannes
Michelle, Nectaria and a sleeping Johannes

Johannes first visit to a zoo.

Michelle being eyed by the Lion
Michelle being eyed by the Lion

 

Michelle, Nectaria and her little boy Johannes at the Zoo
Michelle, Nectaria and her little boy Johannes at the Zoo

And headed by Circular Quay ferry across the Harbour to the Taronga Park Zoo.

View of Sydney city from Taronga Park Zoo
View of Sydney city from Taronga Park Zoo

 

Bird show from Taronga Park Zoo
Bird show from Taronga Park Zoo

We started up the top of the hill thank goodness and worked our way down. At the end though there were two very tired lol’s (little old ladies!!! We just had enough energy left to call a cab. View from Samantha’s apartment in Sydney is just superb’

Grass parrots eating sugar on Sam's window sill
Grass parrots eating sugar on Sam’s window sill

 

Scene from Sam's window
Scene from Sam’s window

One of our highlights though was to go to the SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE TO SEE THE MUSICAL “SOUTH PACIFIC”  which was just amazing.  I had never been to the Opera House to see a show before so was magic for me too.

South Pacific the musical stage show at Sydney Opera House
South Pacific the musical stage show at Sydney Opera House

 

South Pacific Show with Lisa McClune and Teddy Tahu Rhodes
South Pacific Show with Lisa McClune and Teddy Tahu Rhodes

 

South Pacific cast
South Pacific cast

We had drinks on the concourse of the Opera House first with Samantha and Grahame and my friend Marie.  And then on Monday night before we left Sydney we  had dinner at THE OAKS HOTEL underneath that magic tree lit with fairy lights where so many young Sydney people have met and fallen in love, including Marie and her Robert.

Michelle in front of Opera House
Michelle in front of Opera House

Next day we left on a Singapore airlines A380 upstairs, great seats by window for Singapore for a full day and India.

TO FOLLOW OUR ADVENTURES TO SINGAPORE AND INDIA PLEASE SEE INDIA CHAPTER

NOW ON 19 DEC SHE IS BACK IN ATHENS WITH HER FAMILY. 6 MONTHS EXACTLY AND NOW SAFELY RETURNED TO KEFALONIA.

One thought on “17. Michelle’s trip down under”

Comments are closed.

Colleen Woodward's travel tales