With winter blanketing North America I coped with the cold the best way I could, by flying to the Southern Hemisphere. After shivering through most of my trip to Vietnam I was happy to feel the sun on my skin when I landed in Perth, Australia. My friend Ryan (not to be confused with my other friend Ryan who had just flown home from Vietnam) picked me from the airport and shuttled me to our AirBNB digs in Fremantle, just a few blocks from the beach. Yeah, that would work!
I landed just in time for Christmas, and Ryan’s friends invited us in like family to the holiday festivities. I started Christmas Day my favorite way, with a barefoot run along the beach, followed by relaxing on the patio with good drinks and great friends. In Freo we checked out local music venues, went to an epic New Years Eve party, spent time at the beach, and oh, I worked, a little.
We caught a ferry to Rottnest Island to visit the quokkas, often called the “World’s Happiest Animal”. These small marsupials are about the size of a cat and are incredibly comfortable around humans, even if humans (like Matt) aren’t quite as comfortable around them, see the photo below.
We spent a weekend in Margaret River visiting wine country, hiking through caves, and checking out a camp full of kangaroos and emus. I even made a new friend! His name is Joey.
My friend Peter lives just south of Perth and one afternoon he took us crabbing, which means walking barefoot through the shallow sandy bay until a crab snaps at your toes, you scream, and chase it with a basket on a stick. Okay, so the typical process doesn’t include the screaming part, but we definitely added that in. After a very stressful 2 hours we’d caught a few good sized crabs and took them home to cook and enjoy, swearing to never do that again!
Our time in Fremantle flew by and soon we were heading to Sydney for a week in Bondi Beach where we found an Airbnb apartment on the beach. I spent the week working from the apartment and running up and down the boardwalk. We ferried around the city, ate lots of Chicken Macs at McDonald’s (think Big Macs, but with chicken!) and enjoyed an afternoon lawn bowling session on the cliffs overlooking the ocean at Clovelly Beach. That weekend we rented a car and drove to Katoomba in the Blue Mountains for some hiking and hanging out in the rainforest.
From Sydney we flew to Melbourne. During the week I worked from the apartment, attended several Rotary meetings, jogged around town, and watched the lunar eclipse. Over the weekend, which also happened to be Australia Day, we drove south along the Great Ocean Road to see the Twelve Apostles and a grove of California Redwoods, but the highlight of the trip was spotting a koala in a tree across the street from our hotel!
And just like that, 2 months of my summer down under was wrapping up, but alas, there were still more adventures to have in the South Pacific. Ryan’s friend Ryan (I know, another Ryan) had joined us in Australia, and the 3 of us were off to New Zealand!