Saturday, December 30, 2006

Wow! What a place!

Hi Everyone - this is the first time we have been able to connect because we are here with my friend David Harden at his lovely B&B The Anchor Light in Port Stephens. I thought I should take the chance to write an update to let you know we're safe and sound and enjoying our wonderful belated honeymoon.

The flight was long - 12 hours from JFK to Tahiti, then a 4 hour layover in the middle of the night, and then an 8 hour flight to Sydney from there. But the seats were fairly comfortable and the food worth waking up for! We left Christmas Day and arrived in Sydney Dec 27th at 8:45am. The service was great on Air Tahiti and we actually did sleep enough to feel almost human when we got here. We did succumb to a long afternoon nap that day but still managed to sleep through the night after a nice dinner at a nearby seafood restaurant. The seafood here is incredible as you might imagine. John Dory and Barramundi are our favorites so far.

Our three days in Sydney were great - our room looked out over the famous opera house and Sydney Harbor Bridge - both of these feature prominently in the New Year's festivities. Whoever gets our room after us will have a bird's eye view of that!! We "took a wander" through the beautiful Rocks and Darling Harbor areas a few times. We booked a tour to the Hunter Valley wine country with the guide all to ourselves because the other family had to reschedule. Mostly we relaxed and enjoyed the view, the food and the wine!

One highlight of the trip was taking a ferry over to the Taronga Zoo where some of the animals have the best views of the Sydney Harbor and skyline. Seeing their native birds, reptiles and animals - particularly the koalas who were uncharacteristically active when we were there (usually they are drugged out on the eucalyptus leaves and sleeping!!) - really lets you know you are not anywhere near home! We saw dingos, kangaroos, bilbys, wombats, tazmanian devils, meerkats, crocodiles, fabulously colored lizards and birds, some really nasty looking snakes (I had to leave quickly when we got to that area!), and many more creatures you can only find here in Australia. We took lots of pictures which we will upload to our blog at some point - maybe later today if we can squeeze it in!!

Yesterday we took a 2.5 hour train ride up the Hawkesbury River and are now here in Port Stephens. It's a small little resort area north of Sydney where David, his partner Alessandra and their families have settled. David is doing great, invites you all to visit, and says warm hellos to Cindy and Debby. We took a walk along the bay last night and will be having New Year's Eve dinner with everyone at Peppers Resort. Today we are planning a hike up the small mountain for panoramic views of the area and perhaps a swim with the bluenose dolphins that swim here. For lunch we might "chuck a few snags on the barbee" (translation: BBQ some sausages)

Tomorrow we leave for the WhitSundays for three days of a beach holiday - snorkeling on the great barrier reef and the fine white sands of the exclusive Whitehaven Beach. On January 4th we're off to New Zealand - Auckland, Marlborough Wine Country, and Queenstown. We return back on January 14th. Hope all is well with you all at home. I don't know when we'll be connected again but we wanted to at least write to give you the update so far. We love and miss you all. Happy New Year!!!!