Thanksgiving Australia style.

It was apparent when I picked up my family from the airport, they were delusional. Well, mainly my mom who hugged me and immediately yelled how tired and happy she was to see me, but i got the feeling she was more happy just to be off the plane. They had a hell-ish time getting to Australia when their plane got detoured through New Zealand which caused them to missed their connecting plane. After everything was said and done they arrived about 12 hours later then they originally thought. I’m pretty sure they were all walking zombies for that first night!

We picked up my mom (Sheila), stepdad (Emmett), and brother (Brandon) from the airport and headed to Port Douglas. Port Douglas is a little further north of Cairns and a perfect spot to explore both the rain forest and the great barrier reef. It was also where we would be basing ourselves for the next 10 days. When we finally checked into our villa, the concierge tells us that we had been given a free upgrade! Things were looking up. We got to our new home away from home and i can honestly say it was the BEST villa i have ever seen, let alone stay in. There was a bottle of champagne and a plate of mixed fruits and cheeses waiting on the dining room table. There was a huge kitchen, massive living room with flat screen TV, a fountain that went through the foyer, and private pool and grill in the back yard. Upstairs was three bedrooms, where the master bedroom had a walk in closet bigger then mine and sean’s apartment in DC. The place was ridic. And it was all ours for 10 days!

sea temple pic

We didn’t take any pics of the place, go figure… I stole this from the Sea Temple website :)



When we got to the villa we were all so excited we sat by the table drinking champagne, snacking, and catching up on what had been going on the past few days. It was really fun to see the fam and we were all really excited to start exploring Australia the next day.

The next 10 days were a blur of activities, it was a perfect mix of fun and relaxing. One of the highlights was a trip to the great barrier reef. It was a full day package and included a huge lunch buffet and snorkeling. I got to do 2 SCUBA dives, Sean had to settle with snorkeling after his ruptured ear drum wouldn’t let him join the fun. The diving/snorkeling was really excellent with my only complaint being the amount of people… their were bodies everywhere! While scuba diving I couldn’t turn my head with out seeing someone right next to me. So while the diving was really excellent with beautiful corrals and fish everywhere I think I prefer places a little more laid back like Dumaguete, or Andaman’s for SCUBA.

scuba diving


We also went fishing for a half day. The trip was a blast with everyone getting bite after bite. Most of the places we went to we couldn’t keep bait on the hook! Brandon was the clear champion fisherman (if i remember right) 3 or 4  big fish, Sean caught 2, Mom caught 2 and I caught 1. HOWEVER I’d like to take a minute to post this picture.

That, my friend, is a mother truckin SHARK!

That, my friend, is a mother truckin SHARK!


BAM! That’s a shark! Yup, yours truly caught a baby reef shark during the trip! While we of course threw it back it was really cool to see one up close. (Don’t worry we didn’t hurt the guy.. he swam away a little annoyed but perfectly fine). This fishing trip also occurred on Thanksgiving day so we had a delicious freshly caught fish fest for thanksgiving. While it’s not the traditional turkey and dressing, it was perfect.



Slides from the 70spop 314

Family Feast!

One of the coolest tours I’ve done (and I’m including this whole trip in this statement) was a tour of the Daintree rain forest which included a lot of aboriginal history. The tour was incredibly well run with a fantastic guide. We started the day by spear hunting crabs (this is sooooo much harder then it sounds).  Sean didn’t want to hurt the crabs so he pointed them out to me to kill. Yeahhhh teamwork! I channeled my inner huntress and killed 2, while Brandon also killed 2. My mom and Emmett I’m pretty sure weren’t even trying as they were more or less strolling along the beach. Psssh, they’d never make it as aboriginals! Afterwards we went and met an aboriginal artist and painted some burning beans.




Spear hunting!




Mom and Emmett strolling on the beach… while the “kids” did all the dirty work.


Sean’s smily face burnie bean


We then went of a tour of the rainforest which culminated with a stop for a quick dip in a waterfall. The waterfall was completely secluded and BEAUTIFUL. It was such a blast and WAY over exceded my expectation.




Image 2

Another place we went was to a crocadile farm called Hartley’s Croc farm. This place was awesome, completely touristy and cheesy but awesome nonetheless.









On the days we weren’t doing organized tours we were playing in the pool, fixing up some serious feasts in the kitchen, Brandon got some rounds of golf in, we went on a sunset cruise where we saw bald eagles and crocadile. (Unfortuntely no one brought their camera!) The one thing we didn’t do here is swim in the ocean. The first day we went to look at the ocean and saw this.


No. Thank. You! I”d be avoiding the jellyfish infested waters this go-round.

After the time in Port Douglas we said goodbe to our home (I think Sean shed a tear) and headed to Tangaloma Wild Dolphin Resort right of the coast of Brisbane. We hopped a quick flight to Brisbane and had a few hours to kill before we took a ferry to the Resort. So what better way to kill some time then visit a brewery?!

 Image 1

After we were a little bit sauced up we headed to the wild dolphin resort where’d we’d spend the remander of our trip. Tangaloma was definitely a tourist trap (everything was twice as expensive as it should be… which in Australia is already 4 times as expensive as it should be) but we couldn’t deny it was beautiful. We spent the days on the beach, went sand boarding, kayaking, rented ATVs. Basically played like kids and had a blast. These weeks flew by and I can honestly say that it was some of my favorite weeks of the trip. Great time with the family…. just gotta convince my mom to do another trip like this next year!



Mom and me right before we feed the wild dolphins



The dolphin me and mom feed, Rosie

Slides from the 70spop 189


Ocean Kayakaing




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Comments (4)

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  1. susan says:

    What a terrific account of your time with your family. Pictures were great, loved the one of you and your Mom. Thanks for sharing your wonderful experience.

  2. Susan B. says:

    I’m playing catch up! I was at AAFS in DC so I missed a few posts but I’m so glad your family got to come vacation with you! Love the photos

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