Coastal Cruisin’

Hello again old friends, we haven’t seen each other in a while. Big things have been happening with the McCannakings but we will get to later.

Today we want to share with you our adventures to Sydney in January. We decided to repeat our epic california trip with a little road trip from Brisbane to Sydney.

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Our first stop was to the famous Yatala (pronounced Yatla) Meat Pie shop. If this was any indication of how the rest of our trip was going to be we were in for a real treat.

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Our beautiful bed, car, bathroom and kitchen for our adventure. A MUCH bigger and more grown-up ride than our beloved Daytripper in California.Van_with_pia

We pulled up for our first night just south of Byron Bay in the small town of Lenox. We found a beautiful beach front parking spot complete with an even more beautiful sunrise that Ryan was able to catch.lenox_am_view

The next morning after some beach front eggs and a morning swim we hit the road again to Yamba.Which was a beautiful little town complete with a welcoming beach and an awesome seaside pool.

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Waves crashing into the side of the seaside pool.

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After our quick tour of Yamba we headed to Port Macquaire to see what the fuss was all about. We enjoyed a stroll along the pier watching locals fish, swim, jump off the pier, kayak and even dragon boat!

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We finally stopped for the night in Nambucca Heads for a tasty dinner and a good nights sleep. dinner_nambucca

But don’t worry we didn’t go to sleep until Ryan received a good dose of losing in our favorite game!

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Good Morning from Nambucca Heads!

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We were up and hit the road early for Port Macquarie where we enjoyed another  beach-front breakfast and swim. We were shocked how cold the water was compared to the water near Trish’s place at the Sunshine Coast.portmac_breakfast

After our time along the coast we decided to head inland to the Hunter Valley to enjoy Australia’s oldest wine region. Unfortunately for us our visit to the Hunter Valley coincided with one of the hottest days on record. We were met by weather in the mid-forties (110 for those who think in Fahrenheit) nonetheless we were still able to enjoy some pretty tasty wine.vineyardviews

Throughout our trip we had been hearing constant warnings of bushfires and we finally encountered one in the Hunter Valley which was (thankfully) under control a few hours later.

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On our second day in the Hunter Valley we were able to catch-up with close family friends of Pia’s, Jim and Helen. We had such a great day exploring their favorite spots in the Hunter Valley and catching up on life.

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The day was made even better by the stunning views we enjoyed at literally one of the most delicious meals that has ever passed our lips.
(Note: If you find yourself in the Hunter Valley you MUST we repeat MUST go to Bistro Molines)

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We couldn’t even let the outrageous heat ruin our lunch, too bad we can’t say that about the candlesticks.

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After we bid Jim and Helen good-bye we headed towards Sydney for our last night in our campervan sleeping in the small fishing town of Ettalong Beach.

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Stay tuned for Part II of our adventures (we promise we won’t make you wait too long).

Photo Dump: Christmas, Weekend Travels and the rest of life the last few weeks.

Apologies for the lack of posting in the last month. But this post is full of pictures that will show what we have been up to!

 Christmas at our place, we decorated a bit and here is our tree with gifts from family in the USA.

 Ryan woke up before 6 am on Christmas Eve to wait in line for Seafood with Trish. In Australia Christmas lunch/dinner is all about the seafood. We had Salmon and some delicious oysters.

The tree at Trish’s place (where we spent Christmas).

A beach walk on Christmas morning including some Christmas cheer!

Pia, her cousin Mara and a family friend Grace went to church with Pia’s Nana. She has been going this church for 45 years.

 This is a beach that we (Pia and Allie) used to play at when we were kids and it is literally down the hill from Nana’s Church. We obviously loved going here because of the name.

After Christmas lunch it was time for a bit of relaxation on the beach. It was a passport shredder of a day.

We spent a few more days post-Christmas with Trish at her place and then headed back to Brisbane. We enjoyed a picnic at the cliffs on Kangaroo Point. The views are spectacular.

In Australia there are BBQs in every park that are free to use, it is such a great way to get people to be outside and enjoy some greenery.

We also managed to squeeze in a few swims at our favorite local pool.

Ryan looking his finest.

We also took a few walks once the weather had cooled down. This is from Kangaroo Point looking over to New Farm where we live.

I (Pia) also enjoyed another BBQ with my cousin at the top of the cliffs one night.

We also mailed in a application for Ryan to gain residency in Australia, look at all that paper!!

Up next: Our trip to Sydney.

PS We have had a bit of rain due to Cyclone Oswald but all are okay! We are enjoying drying as we speak.

Weekend Edition: Just another weekend

 It is hard to believe we have been living in Brisbane for more than 3 months.  We are settling in to a semi-normal routine, making great friends and enjoying getting to know our new city.

We spent Saturday morning at the West End Market as well as running a few errands. The afternoon quickly flew by with a Birthday Party and a Christmas Party.

Saturday night we went to a party on Allie’s street with a great group of people. Our friend’s band was also playing allowing for some good dancing whilst enjoying some pretty rad tunes. We danced our hearts out and thankfully the floor stayed intact during some pretty energetic jumping!

We also enjoyed an insanely awesome spectacle of some slip n’ slide action in the back yard.

On Sunday we ventured back to Burleigh Heads to enjoy a beach day and enjoy it we did! The weather was beautiful and warm but with a nice coastal breeze.

The view to the south.

The view to north, you can see the high rises of Surfers Paradise which were the same ones we saw on our trip to Mt. Tamborine on Friday.

We stayed cool with hats, surf and lots of shade.

Living in the Southern Hemisphere with summer in December it is easy to forget that we are in full swing in the holiday season but the girl sitting in front of us found no problem in bringing Christmas to the beach.  It was definitely not expected to see that!

On our way back to the car we walked through the park and stumbled upon a huge group of people picnicking and listening to live music. What a wonderful way to end the weekend!

We are very much enjoying living in Brisbane but don’t worry Philly, we will always be in love with you!

An afternoon adventure to Mt. Tamborine

We decided to escape the Brisbane heat on Friday afternoon with a trip to Mt. Tamborine just south of Brisbane.

We drove down to the hinterland of the Gold Coast to Mt. Tamborine; a 28 square kilometer plateau which is part of a larger former volcanic area. After a quick stop to a tourist information house we were on our way to a few quick hikes that afforded us beautiful views.

Our first hike was a windy trail that wove through rainforest, very loud creatures in that rainforest. No seriously, the noise was deafening.

The views were stunning proudly displaying the scenic rim (as the area is named) to the west. We happily ate our lunches allowing us a bit more time to enjoy the view.

Our next adventure took us to another spot to enjoy the view a bit more.

Alone the way we stopped to pick up some delicious (and cheap!) avocados which we now know grow quite well in the region.

Our final stop was to see the views to the east and the world (in)famous Gold Coast. It was a cool and new way to view the Gold Coast especially since we would be heading there a few days later (foreshadowing!).

We also enjoyed some sweet swing time!

Weekend Edition: Marapalooza

Another weekend, another great flurry of fun!

Pia’s cousin Mara graduated from the University of Queensland on Friday night, congratulations Mara! We celebrated with a family dinner that lasted so long the restaurant had closed and we didn’t even notice. However we did notice when they asked us to leave…ha!

Saturday was spent running errands and then heading to Mara’s Birthday party at her childhood home, Hunchy. It is a beautiful modern home situated on a bluff that overlooks a valley and then out to the coast. Both the views and the home are stunning plus the party was pretty darn fun too!

Allie took these photos on Sunday after the party.

Although they no longer live at Hunchy the family pets, the cows, still enjoy the beauty of Hunchy.

Happy Birthday Mooey and congratulations on graduating!

Another Late Weekend Edition: Thanksgiving

A few weeks ago Allie, Ryan and I hosted an American-ish Thanksgiving dinner at our place. It was great fun to make all the traditional foods with the added challenge of finding all the right ingredients!

We set-up the tables outside as we were having a little over 20 people over and crossed our fingers for good weather.

Eat Turkey nothing more needed, just do it!

Our Non-American friends enjoyed trying all the traditional dishes and our American friends loved eating Thanksgiving despite the 80 degree weather. Additionally there were lots of nice cold salads and dishes to accommodate the weather.

The spread, we had it all! (even some BBQ)

We had a great day with excellent food, weather as well as new friends.

Lots to be thankful for!

A Very Late Weekend Edition: A Soggy Harvest

A few weeks ago we were fortunate enough to attend the Harvest Festival for free!

We enjoyed a scenic bike ride through Brissie to the concert followed by a lovely Sunday afternoon.

 Harvest was held in the Brisbane Botanic Gardens in the central business district. It is a beautiful lush garden on the edge of the city’s  sky scrapers.  The following are a few shots of our most excellent free concert!

Ribbons woven through bamboo across the walkway.

 Great afternoon light brought to us by the weather later in the day.

Enjoying a little bit of the Cake show.

Just as Ben Folds Five was about to take the stage we were told that there was a thunderstorm with hail coming immediately and everyone needed to evacuate. Everyone sought shelter underneath a nearby college while we were pelted with a torrential downpour and grape sized hailballs. Luckily for the raincoatless Allie and I we were able to snag a poncho from the ground to shelter us from the storm.

2 sisters + 1 poncho = very cozy but dry!

Boy is Ryan happy he brought his raincoat!

 

We were able to head back into the gardens once the storm let up to see Ben Folds Five, Beck and a bit of the Grizzley Bears. A great afternoon, concert and way to spend a Sunday!

A soggy one but that’s alright.

We had a pretty wet weekend in Brisbane but we didn’t let the weather get in our way.

We had a picnic under cover in New Farm Park on Saturday night with new friends. It was lovely.

Pia also went up the coast for some family time.

This photo was taken from the roof of Trish’s building. Maybe there will be a break in the weather soon?

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Happy Halloween?

Last weekend we celebrated Halloween with a party at Allie’s place. There were lots of vampires, dead people, blood, etc. We had a great time and enjoyed meeting some new friends!

We went as a Magpie and a Cyclist…..

For those non-Brisbane-ites consider yourselves lucky you do not know about the war that is being waged on the bikepaths of Brisbane. Magpies are a common breed of bird in Brisbane with their mating and breeding season between September and the beginning of December. For some reason Magpies are fine with pedestrians but not with those on bikes. People are swooped or “magpied” as the phrase has come to be. As you ride your bikes through their area they will fly towards you screeching and try to hit you in someway be it your face, head or shoulder. They want you gone!

There has been many methods touted as the best way to deter magpies from swooping such as attaching zip ties to your helmet, screaming, gluing eyes to your helmet, the list continues on! There are even entire websites devoted to the tracking of magpie nests:

Magpie Maps

And videos of magpie swoopings:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ES_n4DgJDHs]

Both Ryan and I have been swooped with little damage but our dear Allie wasn’t soo lucky….OUCH!

It would be an understatement to say we are looking forward to Magpie breeding season to be over with!

Hope you all enjoyed your Halloween!

Mt Coolum

Last weekend in addition to spending some quality time with great family friends up the coast, we climbed Mt. Coolum. We had climbed Mt. Coolum while we were visiting last year finding it to be a bit  of a climb as the trail was pretty worn down. During our dinner on Sunday night it was mentioned that the trail up Mt. Coolum had been redone and recently finished so we said why the heck not?

The view from part of the way up.

The steps that have just been finished in all of their glory.

Happy hikers at the top.

The view from the top look south towards Trish’s place.

We loved our newly improved trip up Mt. Coolum and are looking forward to doing it more often!