North to South.?

As I write this we are currently in Albany. Still in WA, we have slowly been making  our way down and around the coast. We are near the most southern spot of mainland Australia. From the tip up North, all the way down to the south. What a trip!

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I have realised these posts are getting further and further apart, sometimes I wonder who actually reads this, or we don’t really do anything too exciting that needs sharing. But in the end I am writing this as a memory for us and away to look back at just some of the photos we have taken. There are so many photos, I sometimes think “What will I ever do with these?” but this little blog, no matter how few people read it will always be here for us to look back on our adventures.

We are having a great time just cruising along, since last post we have covered quite a fair distance. And I even had a quick trip back to Sydney for a few different things

1. My sisters 30th. A surprise visit 🤗

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2. Help mum with packing after she sold her house and that is where my stuff was all stored as well as Mum’s birthday and

3. Meeting my little niece – this was one of the best reasons to be back in Sydney 🤗😀

From Exmouth we continued south with a stop in Carnarvon, then Wooramel river retreat, (where us and the dogs 😮 got quite close to an echidna) and Denham and Monkey Mia, Kalbarri, Geraldton and the Pink Lake and Lancelin before arriving in Perth.

Monkey Mia was on my bucket list, I remember as a child, our neighbours visited here and I have seen all the classic photos of Dolphins swimming around peoples legs before, I had always wanted to experience that. Well, things have changed slightly and I totally understand it, but it is not what I was expecting. People we met along the way, said they drove into the car park and just did a u-turn and kept driving, even though it was a must do on their list too. Now I wasn’t going to take other people’s words for it, I was going to experience it for myself and I wasn’t disappointed. While no dolphins swam around my legs, and it is all a bit commercialised, it was still a really lovely experience to be there while these wild animals were fed and to learn more about them.

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We had a great moment later in the day after we had enjoyed the resort facilities, we went for a walk along the beach with the dogs – Akira was pretty excited to see Dolphins………

 

And I went closer to the edge as a dolphin came in, it was swimming around and thrashing about in the shallow water and all of a sudden it threw a fish up into the air. Joey wished he had his fishing rods with him, because it was a decent sized fish. If you zoom in close on the photo, you can see the fish 🐟

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We enjoyed two nights at a Ranch style farm stay just outside of Kalbarri, where I went for a great horse ride one morning and saw lots of the local area.

Pink lake (Hutt Lagoon) was amazing, it was an overcast day and I didn’t think we would get a vey good view of the lake, I have seen some very processed photos of this spot and done a bit of research on best times to view it etc. While our photos are not super pink, because who has time for editing photos, I was very impressed with just how pink the lake was. There are other pink lakes around WA, maybe we will get the chance to see more in our final weeks here.

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Lancellin doesn’t have too many attractions to report about, we spent a relaxing two days here, where we didn’t even unhitch the boat from the car. We just unpacked the tent and did our best to stay out of the wind and rain.

In Perth, we had another break from the tent, another AirBnb house was ours for just over two weeks this time. The first week, I flew back to Sydney and Joey enjoyed a few days fishing with a new mate, who he met at the boat ramp and got an invite out on his bigger boat. When I returned it was back to doing touristy things, Rottnest Island was a highlight. The ferry ride over was atrocious in 3m + swells and high winds. The ginger tablets had a workout that morning and it felt like it was the longest 50 minute ferry ride in the world 🤢

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Getting the all important  quokka selfie was fun  and we had another Segway tour around parts of the island  this time the tour was more of an off road 4wd tour which was fun.

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We celebrated Joey’s birthday at the Casino and had another day out fishing in our boat, complete with a new floor. Joey and another mate from Perth, Dean replaced the floor of the boat that was getting a bit tired. And we comfortably fit 4 adults on board for a spot of fishing. Dean and Helen joined us for the morning and told me about Dhu fish, which apparently is one of the beast eating fish in WA waters. Guess who caught one?

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Slowly, sea sickness set in for 3 out of 4 of us and the day was cut a bit short, but it certainly wasn’t a wasted day, because the fish that we caught was enjoyed by us all a few nights later. Beautifully cooked by Helen, one of our new Perth friends 😊

The next few days at Margaret River were really lovely, we explored the area and tried a few wines and ciders. We loved all the cheese, chocolate and delicious foods in the area. The beaches around the area were lovely to see too.

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One night at Sid’s bush camp between Margaret river and Walpole was one of the best value camps we have stayed at. Another Gem from the app Wikki Camps, at $5 per adult per night it was a bargain. The host Mick was helpful and we met a lovely couple that gave us lots of tips for our upcoming trip across the Nullarbor. We visited the Jewel Caves as well as Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse on our way to Sid’s camp.

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As I mentioned at the start, we are currently in Albany, where we have come across another lovely campsite, where we can actually leave our dogs at the site for the day 😀. We have been able to see some highlights of the national parks in the area for a change as well as a day out to the Whaling museum, and the animal park, all the while knowing our dogs were happy back at camp and they didn’t have to sit on the back of our truck. We even had two other people at the park tell us how well behaved our dogs are 😇 One permanent resident came and congratulated us on our dogs behaviour 👼

Now that we are in the southern parts of WA,  we will be starting our trek back East soon………… I am not sure I am ready for this trip to end……………. #seeyouontheroad

 

 

 

 

 

Life in the slow lane

Since moving on from Broome we have had a few extended stays in places. We have certainly taken to a slow way of life…………… the dogs certainly aren’t complaining………..

 

First stop was 4 nights in Port Hedland. Where we enjoyed the similar mining town feel to Weipa, except Hedland had many more conveniences, the park that we stayed had was a short walk to a lovely lagoon area, where the dogs and us enjoyed a few swims. We had been having a few issues with our go pro which is meant to be water resistant up to 10m, we got water in it at Edith Falls and we were not even in 2m of water………….thank goodness it was fresh water! We had been looking everywhere for a waterproof casing with all shops telling us that they were expecting stock in the next few days. Not so helpful when you are travelling, but we managed to grab one in Port Hedland. I told you it had many more conveniences than Weipa. The mounds of salt from the salt mine reminded me of ski fields

From Hedland we went to Port Samson, here was another longer stop. And probably one of our favourite caravan parks. Between the daily visits of the Mr Whippy ice cream truck, to the adults only tv room and the extremely well stocked camp kitchen we really enjoyed our time here. A few days out fishing topped it all off for Joey. We got to see staircase to the moon a natural phenomenon that occurs when a full moon rises above mud flats  it only happens in certain places and at certain times of the year  we missed the full moon in Broome so I was pleased we got to see it in Point Samson.

We felt the earthquake that happened while we were there. I was convinced it was just a mix of the wind and other cars passing us on the road that was shaking our car. But then we heard reports of the earthquake 😲. A day trip to Dampier to see where “Red Dog” from the movie of the same name was from.

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One overnight stop on the way and then we have been in Exmouth now for the past 12 days, with probably another 5 to go. We have loved Exmouth 😍, lots of fishing and lots of successful fishing meaning several yummy dinners of fresh fish and we have even had a few meals of fresh squid 😋. The first week that we were here, our travelling buddies grew by 2 more. Our friends from Sydney Ash & Steph (Ash is Shannon’s brother) flew to Perth and drove up to Exmouth for a week. The best part was we stayed in a house…………. While it was advertised as a basic house on Airbnb – just the small fact that we didn’t have to climb a ladder to get to our bed and the toilet was only a few steps from our bedroom + it was a nice place for everyone to hang out together made it an amazing week. Oh and I didn’t have to wear thongs in the shower 🤗 Perfection 🤗 And the emus that just wander down the footpath here in town are priceless!

We have snorkelled and seen some beautiful reefs with the most amazing marine life. Turtles, manta rays fish of course and the best was swimming with Whale sharks – the largest fish in the sea. While the experience was a little bit hectic (not at all what I was expecting) with 9 other people in the water all trying to get a photo with the professional photographer – it was amazing all the same. It took me a minute or so to see the huge thing as I was looking down 🤦‍♀️ (thinking to myself-what is this woman going on about, I can’t see shit – I knew I should have gotten prescription goggles!) then I turned my head to the side and there it was, absolutely huge! Such a wonderful experience 🤩. I will do a separate post of the professional photos later 😁  pics below are our new friend Scott- who was the photographer + two from the go pro (using our new waterproof case)

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The last few days since all our travelling friends have moved on further south the wind has picked up here in Exmouth, so we have pretty much been relaxing at our campsite – life in the slow lane – we are pretty lucky to be able to have this opportunity to travel around the country. We are loving it all. Hopefully we get a bit more fishing in before our time in Exmouth is up. While it is windy, the days are still beautiful and warm, we are in no real rush to head too far south too quickly as we hear it just get colder. We are enjoying this extended summertime too much for now. The tan lines are proof………….

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#seeyouontheroad

West Coast coolers!

We just finished our second week in Broome, since last post we had a few more “big city” things to do in Darwin like car services and an afternoon at the V8 Supercars. Which was great fun, with our GA tickets in hand we managed to sneak into the pit lane area – where everyone (except us) had very official lanyards around their necks 😂. And the nighttime concert was unexpected fun, we got to see The Veronica’s and Jimmy Barnes perform.

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After we left Darwin we had a quick stop at Adelaide River just to see a big Water Buffalo from Crocodile Dundee………..

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and then 2 nights down in Katherine………

Here we explored the local hot springs and enjoyed a dinner cruise through Katherine Gorge. Taking in all the gorgeous scenery.

As well as a drive out to Edith falls for a short walk and a refreshing swim. Edith falls will now always be known to us as Nerida falls (if you follow along on the cassandthecountry Facebook page you will have seen this post before). After a bit of a hike up the hill to the swimming hole Joey walked along one side that to me, seemed a bit steep compared to the side I was on and had already sussed out what looked to be quite a flat area to get in the water. Lots of encouragement from Joey to go the same way as him, with me saying “no, it’s too steep” several times and then realising there was something I needed in the bag that Joey had carried onto the other “steep” side, I gave in and walked around. “Just put one foot here and the other one there and you’ll be across” Joey said. Yeah sure one foot there and the other one where? I thought as I slid down the rocks 🤦‍♀️. Joey did his best to save me, but we both ended up in the water. One very kind onlooker awarded us a 7 for our dismount 😂. A bit of a bruised ego and hand, but other than that we were all right.

Our travel buddies were a few days ahead of us and had already crossed over the next border. With threats from Joey that if they go too fast, they will miss the fishing, we cruised into Zebra Rock mine. A small family run business that has found a very rare rock that only occurs in a 40km radius from their property. We joined Ruth, one of the owners on a mine tour and learnt all about this rare zebra rock, we even got to keep a few pieces and started to polish them up once back at the camp.

This was such a lovely relaxed camp offering a unique experience. Unfortunately the wetland tour was not running as Lake Argyle where the tours normally take place has receded quite dramatically with such a low wet season the past few years. The lake that is normally 1-2km’s away is now about 17km’s from the property 😲

It wasn’t far to the border crossing and we were into Western Australia. They are very strict on fruit and veges not coming into WA so after a quick quarantine inspection off we drove to Lake Argyle.

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I had never heard of Lake Argyle before moving to Weipa. There is a prominent ad on the television advertising the wonderful resort and caravan park. It was the pictures of the beautiful infinity pool that lead me here. It is definitely a stunning location for a pool. But a word of warning if you ever want to visit – it gets pretty cold in winter 🥶 a quick dip for a photo…………….

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The rest of the afternoon was spent exploring with the dogs and Joey bumped into a lady he used to work with in Weipa – who is working at the resort. A great night watching the resident performer and two of the most uninhibited dancers I have ever seen……………. they were great entertainment for the crowd!

 

For Joey the next part of the trip had been much anticipated – the Gibb River Road – from Kununurra through to Derby. I’d never heard of this road but apparently it is similar to the PDR. We traveled along the PDR on a few occasions from Weipa when we headed to Cairns and on our two trips up to the tip. The only similarities between these two roads is that they are both dirt and quite bumpy. The scenery was quite spectacular along the Gibb and seemed to be ever changing but we were a bit limited in places we could stop with the dogs and a lot of the attractions were quite a fair walk from where you could park. Don’t get me wrong, I love walking, but there is only so many bush walks leading to swimming holes you can do. We had one night at Hahn River (another similarity with the PDR) and then headed to just outside Broome for a late night set up. This camp was eerie, while we were a fair way back from the river you could here crocs moving around, which made for a restless nights sleep.

Next stop Broome, where by the time we left on Monday we had enjoyed a lovely two week break. It has been SOOOOOOO nice to not have to unpack and pack everything up after one or two nights. The longest we have stayed anywhere after our first stop in Cairns and our week in Darwin has been 3 or 4 nights. So two weeks in one spot has been divine. A few days out fishing for Joey and Shannon, camel rides for me 🤩. Lots of walks with the dogs into town, a visit to Malcolm Douglas Crocodile Park and a almost day trip to Horizontals falls and Cape Leveque – which got cancelled due to fog – we will just have to revisit so we can take the day trip another time.

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#seeyouontheroad

Gypsies for a month

Thursday last week marked 4 weeks of being on the road for us. We have covered a fair distance and seen lots.

We started in Weipa spending our 1st night in Coen and then on to Cairns. Where we stayed for about 10 days using the time to cull some things we didn’t really need and also sorting out a bit of storage. Plenty of trips to Bunnings! + we had some work done on our car to help with fuel efficiency.  We met up with our friends Shannon & Teagan and their two girls Edie & Claire who are also travelling around Oz.

From Cairns we headed west towards Normanton and then up to Kurumba.

Aye Kurumba……………….the mozzies here were bad and it turned out so was the fishing…………. So on we went.

I found myself judging the size of towns against Weipa. Most places we passed were pretty small with only a small convenience type store or just a few bits and pieces available at a servo. One store sold a carton of 600ml bottles of water for $18 😲

There was much talk between the boys of where to go next and which way was best.

From Kurumba we went through Cloncurry for a few nights rest at Mt Isa. Now we decided this was quite a big town compared to Weipa as it had Woolworths and Coles!

We passed over into the Northern Territory after about 2 and a half weeks on the road. The biggest difference I noticed was the speed limits 130km’s per hour on the main roads 😮 we found a great little camp site called Pebbles for one night

and then moved on to a meteorite conservation area for the next night. A short walk from the camp site was a big crater that apparently a meteorite hit about 4000 years ago. I don’t want to sound too cynical but how in the world would anyone know what happened 4000 years ago 🤔.

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Next stop Devils Marbles or just some big rocks as Joey kept referring to them as. A bit of exploring around the rocks and one of the best meals we have eaten at the Devils Marbles hotel, which also had a lovely little camp ground out the back.

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Then we travelled through Alice Springs and straight onto Uluru. This was one of my most anticipated stops and I was not underwhelmed at all. We spent two nights here watching two gorgeous sunsets, one beautiful sunrise as well as enjoying a fun Segway tour around the rock. We got to about 1/4 of the way around and Joey had already proclaimed he wanted to buy a Segway. I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t be very steady on the Segway as I can be a bit clumsy and my balance is not the best. But I nailed it!

We also experienced the night of lights display and dinner. A wonderful night that we enjoyed with a table of new friends. One in particular Kim from Korea, whose brains we picked about Astro photography and the gear that he used. Kim was kind enough to take everyone’s email addresses and forward the photos that he took of the evening 🤩. Two of his masterpieces are featured below………….

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After Uluru we returned to Alice where we found another great campsite just out of town, so peaceful and the cleanest amenities I have ever seen 😊 we used the time to do a spot of shopping and watch a movie. After living in Weipa it is definitely movies and shops we missed the most (oh and family and friends of course 😉). And it was bloody cold, getting down to 3 degrees over night. We had to buy a few warmer items of clothing to get us through ❄️ 

After Alice we spent two nights at a place called Gemtree, where we were able to join in on a tag along fossicking tour. We learnt how to fossick for Garnets, with a few good ones found. Man it was cold here, I had three jumpers on until after 1pm ⛄️

Two nights on the road with a lovely stop near Mataranka and a quick dip at the Bitter Springs hot springs

Next stop was Kakadu and another catch up with Shannon & Teagan and the girls 😊

We spent three days exploring the park with lots of walking and climbing to get to some lovely swimming holes and to see some wonderful Aboriginal rock art. The girls who are 2 and 4 did an amazing job climbing up to one of the water holes 🤩

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We are in Darwin now, where there will be a bit of fishing, visiting some markets and of course a movie or two while we are near a cinema.

We are loving the simplicity of this Gypsie lifestyle, most of the time anyway……………… The fires at night are a definitely a highlight (when they are allowed of course)

As well as the spotting of the little termite mound people that have been created along the sides of the road 😂

Fingers are crossed in hope we find one of those tagged Barramundi here in the NT  💰 and we will see where the road takes us next…………..

#seeyouontheroad

March / April update

Someone commented to me earlier today that I hadn’t written much lately 🙄. No excuses here, but to catch everyone up a bit, I had two lovely trips away in March & April.

At the start of March I ventured down to Yamba in NSW, flying to Brisbane and then driving down to Yamba to celebrate my SIL’s and her twin brothers 40th birthdays and an early 1st birthday celebration for my nephew.

We spent the weekend in Yamba enjoying a few swims at the beach. Something I miss a lot! A few morning walks + the two birthday parties.

We must have been singing off key 😂

It was lovely to spend time with family.

And in April, I was lucky enough to be taken on another overseas “working” holiday with the lovely family I have traveled with several times previously. It’s hard work staying in such beautiful hotels 😂 and I got to see two parts of the world I’ve never been to. We traveled to Hong Kong and China. I really enjoyed Hong Kong, I was worried it might be a bit busy after coming from Weipa with about 4000 people but it was not overwhelming at all and I got quite a bit of spare time to go exploring on my own. Visiting the Big Buddha, the flower markets and bird markets as well as Goldfish street and a few different general markets. And a wonderful day was spent at Disneyland with the lovely family 😍

The highlight in China was definitely our trip to the Great Wall of China. The food poisoning that also eventuated was not so much of a highlight 🤢

And since arriving back home to Weipa (where Joey was busy packing everything while I was travelling 🤩) we have started our travels around Australia. More about the start of this new adventure in my next post.

#seeyouontheroad

Birthday travels

Last week, I turned 40, and I knew I wanted to do something special for my birthday and I definitely did not want to be in Weipa. As I’ve mentioned before there is not that much to do here. I also wanted to spend time with my family. So a trip to the Gold Coast was planned. Joey did most of the planning, and he did an amazing job. We had a lovely time, after already having 4 weeks off work in Weipa it was nice to get out and about. I was most excited about being able to go swimming without the worry of Crocodiles 🐊. More on that later!

Beach walks were had, shopping, house hunting, catching up with a friend who now lives on the Gold Coast, shows, pool swims, FOOD, lots of delicious food. And lots of surprises from Joey and being spoilt. Plus a huge surprise in one of my best friends arriving from Melbourne 🤗.

My Mum and Step Dad, Bill (who flew up from Sydney), and Joey and I all enjoyed a lovely show and back stage tour at the outback spectacular all organised by Joey. It was a great night, even when they called my name out and announced to everyone waiting in the bar that it was my 40th birthday 🙄

On the day of my birthday, my little sister, Kathryn and her hubby Josh arrived (also from Sydney) mid morning. While we were all enjoying a swim in the pool with a fresh lemonade and vodka (thanks Josh) and trying to dodge all the random children, I got a tap on the shoulder, I thought it was my brother arriving, but when I looked around there stood my friend Mel, a huge surprise to say the least. It was so good to see Mel, we had a great few days hanging out and catching up, it was almost two years ago that we saw each other.

On the afternoon of my birthday Joey and I headed to the beach for our second swim. Now you may be aware of the recent news reports of the blue bottle plague, and yes the warning signs were up! The first day we swam, no problems, we saw two blue bottles floating after a while so decided to hop out. No such luck seeing any to give us warning this day……………Boom I got stung………….. Happy birthday to me! It has ended up with quite a reaction and I’m on antibiotics 🏊‍♀️🤦‍♀️. The water was quite busy with lots of people swimming…………. and I seemed to be the only one that got stung 🙄

As the afternoon unfolded, other family arrived. My brother Darryn, SIL Kel and nephew Damon from Brisbane and my father David from Sydney. A big group that just fit at the Teppanyaki table. We went to Misono Japanese Steak house at the Marriott hotel. Teppanyaki is always fun…………….

All the slow mo videos below were taken and kindly shared by Josh – including his own selfie one 🤗

No Darryn is not shouting ^^^^^^^^ he is ready to catch the prawn 😂

The seal noises provided by the chef were the best 😂

The whole trip was a wonderful way to celebrate turning 40, it was lovely to catch up with the family. I’m so grateful everyone made the effort to come. Especially Mel. And my husband Joey did a great job organising and surprising me on several occasions. Thanks to everyone involved 😘

#seeyouontheroad

USA Part 2

Now school has finished for the year, I finally have some spare time to continue writing about our USA trip – I hope I can remember.

When we left Vegas we hired a car, we had paid for a small SUV but were lucky enough to get an upgrade, several people all arrived at the pick up point at the around the same time, we were a few back in the line and when we got to where the small SUV’s were parked, there were none left………………… What a shame!

Our only plan was we (and when I say we, I’m using that term quite loosely) wanted to see the Grand Canyon and we needed to be in Phoenix, Arizona to get our return flight home in 5 days time. I was also very keen to see a town called Sedona, which luckily was along the way.

As we watched the strip and the tall buildings of Vegas disappear in our rear view mirror, the mountains got bigger and bigger. We crossed over the border into Arizona and later that day we found ourselves in Utah as well.

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We were headed to Antelope Canyon, and the lady at the car hire place suggested we go via a small town called Kanab, thankfully we mentioned our plans for the following day to the lady at reception, as there was a one hour time difference to where we needed to get to for our tour. It was quite a distance and the estimated drive time the lady gave us was a bit out, we missed our tour and had a bit of time to kill before the start of the next tour that they could squeeze us onto to.

We headed straight for Walmart for a wander, I shared all my favourite American shops with Joey and I think Walmart is the best. We were also lucky we had a quick look on our phones to see what else was around, because there was another place I had seen pictures of that I was keen to see too.

Horsehoe Bend – AMAZING scenery.

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Next stop was back at Antelope Canyon, a slot canyon you can walk through and you can get some AMAZING photos with the beams of light coming through. This area is Navajo nation and the rules were quite strict of what you could take with you, no bags of any kind, I questioned this rule as it is much easier for me to take all my bits and pieces necessary for my diabetes in a bag, but apparently someone took some ashes into the canyon and tried to scatter them. Way to go to ruin it for everyone! Anyway Antelope canyon is called “the place where water runs through rocks” by the local Navajo people. There have even been several deaths due to flash floods in the area. The only flooding we experienced was all the light coming through the canyon, we got some amazing photos with the help of our Navajo guide.

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^^^^^^^ a love heart ^^^^^^^^^^

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^^^^^^^ Mount Everest ^^^^^^^^

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^^^^^^ nothing in particular – just pretty ^^^^^^^

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Did I mentioned how the mountains just got bigger and bigger as we drove……….

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We met someone who looked just like me at Marble Canyon …………. lol

Next Stop…………………………..

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We certainly didn’t pack for the Grand Canyon climate, brrrrr it was chilly, I wore the two jumpers that I had, and luckily, Joey had packed two beanies.

We caught the sun setting as we entered the national park and got to see some wildlife

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Next morning was an early start to see the sun rise, beanies essential.

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We got to a few different vantage points throughout the morning, but then some rain set in and we started to see a lot of mist, we decided to move on as the misty views were all looking a bit too similar.

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From one red dusty place to another all the way on the other side of the world. The next town was Sedona, similar to Weipa with all the red rocks.

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I was very keen to visit Sedona after seeing a friends amazing adventure last year on Instagram. There is thought to be swirling centers of energy called Vortexes, that are conducive to healing, meditation and self-exploration. It is said these are places where the earth seems especially alive with energy.  It is all a bit witchy woo woo, but after seeing my friends photos I knew I wanted to visit this place, if only for the beautiful scenery. Joey could not have cared less about Vortexes, so we tried to balance it out with a 4WD tour with Pink Jeep Tours Sedona, a random group of people climbed aboard the Pink Jeep, some of the customers had never done any 4WD’ing before. There were a few white knuckles and even some screams to God lol. Joey has done lots of 4WD’ing so he could kind of guess what was going to happen and he certainly knew what the jeep was capable of.

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I got to go to one of the Vortexes, and I meditated for about 15 minutes. I meditate every day for 15-20 minutes and I don’t know if it was this extra special energy from the rocks or not, but I do know this was a pretty amazing meditation. I took a short hike to Bell rock and sat between two of the different vortex areas.

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I told you Joey had no interest in the Vortexes.

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From Sedona, we made our way down to Phoenix, we got some flash flood warnings on the way. While we were in Phoenix, we spent time at the phoenix zoo, it was so great to see such different animals. Giant anteaters, mountain lions, bald eagles, bob cats and road runners. This last one, I never realised was actually a real animal, I just thought it was a Warner Bros made up thing. Unfortunately the coyote display was closed for renovations. The zoo was absolutely massive, we walked so far and there was so much that we didn’t get to see. One part we really enjoyed was patting and feeding the cow nose stingrays.

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For our last night of our trip we got some last-minute tickets to the Phoenix Suns v’s LA Lakers basketball game.

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And that was a great way to finish a great trip. We will definitely be back to explore more of America sometime hopefully soon.

#seeyouontheroad

USA, USA, USA!

Joey and I have just returned home after a quick jaunt to America. It was Joey’s first time to the states and I made sure to share with him all my American favourites, including Denny’s , cheesecake factory and Walmart.

We spent a few days in Sydney first visiting family and friends and celebrating our wedding from earlier in the year with our nearest and dearest. We had a wonderful dinner at a small restaurant in Roseville. The restaurant is called Basil & Bedlam (the owners also have the restaurant next door called Salt, Pepper, Nutmeg, where I have eaten a few times previously) the menu that everyone got to sample was from the Salt, Pepper Nutmeg restaurant (contact details here). There was so much delicious food. We were more than pleased with our choice, the owners Marion and Peter were very helpful and even the decorations and flowers were included in the cost. If you need an easy option for a function on the North Shore of Sydney, check them out.

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Our first stop in America was Las Angeles. We had a looooong Uber drive to our hotel in morning peak hour traffic, and then jumped on a metro train to Universal Studios for the day. A great way to keep the jet lag at bay. Lots of changes since the last time I visited (it’s been about 12 years). Lots of 3D type rides, which had me feeling a bit motion sick after a while! But the Transformers ride was well worth the uncomfortable feeling. And the adults choosing to dress up as Minions kept my mind off the sick feeling for a while.

We then spent the evening walking the Hollywood Walk of Fame and dinner in Downtown LA. The following day was spent at Santa Monica, strolling along the pier and around the shopping district.

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Our next stop was fabulous Las Vegas. We got a great deal through the priceline.com website using their Express deals, and managed to steal a few nights at he Cosmopolitan Casino Hotel. It was such a beautiful room, and everywhere we went we would tell them it was our Honeymoon, here this got us a view looking over the Bellagio fountains.

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We spent the next 3 days walking everywhere, and if you’ve ever been to Vegas you will know there is plenty of walking around. There are not many places to cross over the strip, so you have to walk to designated overwalks to cross the road, we certainly got some decent steps in over the few days.

We took an Uber out to the Gold & Silver Pawn shop from one of our favourite shows Pawn Stars. We hoped to see some of the guys from the show while we were there, but no such luck, plenty of photo ops with cardboard cut outs though.

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After a browse around the outlet mall, we headed away from the touristy spots to a restaurant called Echo and Rig, contact details are here for anyone who wants brilliant service and amazing food at very reasonable prices. Adding a link or recommending specific places is a new thing for Cass & the Country, but when you get such fantastic service, why not?

Joey enjoyed the most amazing 38 ounce (1.1kg ) steak and I had a delicious meal of butter fish. This restaurant was recommended by two random people we had chatted to, the Uber driver from the airport, who definitely looked like he enjoyed his food, and a waiter at another restaurant where we stayed. It is a butcher shop downstairs where you can view all the meat as well as purchase it for your own use, or venture upstairs where the restaurant is. Our waitress Rae was so passionate about her job, having someone who really enjoys their job just adds to the full experience, have I mentioned how AMAZING the food is. A short 15-20 minute drive away from the strip, was definitely worth it.

Continuing on with the food theme, another top spot to visit was a recommendation as well as shouted to us as a Wedding gift from our friends Bee and Mark. The Buffet at the Wynn Casino. Words cannot describe the abundant choice of food. So much to choose from at the 80m + long buffet. Between these two mentioned restaurants, we will definitely be visiting Vegas again (as well as loosening our belts for a while!)

Another highlight of our time in Vegas was our ride on the New York, New York Roller Coaster (last time I visited this city it was closed for maintenance). Gosh we laughed hard, well I screamed more than laughed, and it wasn’t until we arrived home in Sydney and saw on our souvenir photos that the ride actually combines real G forces. Such crazy fun.

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The rest of our trip which was all a road trip, will be continued in my next post

#seeyouontheroad

Get Bucked

So it was time for the Weipa Bullride again back in August. This year Joey and I arrived in the early afternoon so we could see the kids riding. It still makes me laugh that children as young as 5 are riding bulls. Just another way to show my city slicker side!

I’ve been teaching a year 3 class full time last term and will continue in term 4, which is one of the reasons it has taken me so long to actually sit down and write an update.

The children ride what is called a Poddy Calf and they must wear a protective vest and a helmet. The bull is only young, but they still get a good buck on some of them. The children also have adults who basically hold onto them and assist them getting away from the bull if they do start to fall off. The adults do such a great job of helping to protect the kids that barely any of the children even touched the ground with their feet.

It is such a fun event which was made even more special for me this year by watching some of the brave year 3 children I’ve been teaching. It is something that many of the children and locals look forward to each year. It was certainly a hot topic of conversation in the classroom. Talking of being brave check out the short videos below of some of the older guys taking part.

And I think the bravest of all are the Rodeo Clowns, I can’t believe these guys choose to do this as a job.

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