Our month long stay with family in Sydney
04.09.2011 18 °C
We can’t believe we have now been with the Buckley family for five weeks!! It has gone super quick. We have got loads to tell you so we will get straight into it. Hope you enjoy. :-)
Since surprising everyone with our arrival on the Saturday afternoon we have been on a whirlwind adventure of the sights and attractions of Sydney along with enjoying quality time with our much missed family, Uncle Paul, Auntie Dawn, Ainsley, Tayler and Millie the dog. That Saturday night we went to Wendy’s (Uncle Paul’s cousin) for a big family dinner where we were welcomed with open arms. It was a great way to kick off our stay. Followed with a juicy fry-up from Auntie Dawn on the Sunday morning we were being very spoilt. After breakfast all six of us went to Wollongong (the Gong) and enjoyed the beach and a lovely picnic.
Uncle Paul had taken the Monday off work, so we were up early, waved the kids off to school and then spent the day with him showing us the local area including Campbelltown and the Nepean Dam, followed with a tasty BBQ. The rest of the week we spent exploring Mount Annan and relaxing, Tayler was off school poorly so we stayed in a few days with her. On Tuesday it was a treat to see Ainsley play the drums at a school performance, he played ‘Riders on the Storm’ and was amazing. On the Thursday of that week we cycled to the Mount Annan Botanical Gardens and soaked in the lovely weather with a picnic and bottle of wine, which made cycling back a bit more fun.
That weekend Wendy and her daughter Amber joined us on a whale watching cruise. After getting the 1 hour train into Sydney we hopped on the ferry and enjoyed the 3 hour round trip out to sea. We were lucky enough to see 9 whales which was brilliant. On the Sunday the two of us, Uncle Paul and Ainsley drove to Symbio Zoo where we saw the Tigers being fed and a reptile show before it started to throw it down. We hopped back in the car and attempted to out-run the storm. We headed for Nan Tien Temple (memories of Asia), Windang Beach and saw the blowhole at Kiama. A totally fun-packed weekend!!
The next week, with everyone being back at work and school we chose to get our tourist on again and spent most of the week visiting the many sights of Sydney City Centre. Monday we hopped off the train at Central and walked through Hyde Park, visited Anzac Memorial and walked through Sydney Botanical Gardens. Later we went to see Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge before enjoying a beer at Circular Quay. It was getting dark by this time so to see Sydney all lit up was superb.
Throughout the rest of the week we also visited China Town, Macarthur, Darling Harbour and the famous Bondi Beach which was beautiful, and with the weather being glorious it was another great trip.
A very busy week was followed with another eventful weekend with a visit to the Blue Mountains, something that we had really been looking forward to. The six of us were this time joined by Uncle Paul’s Uncle John and Auntie Gene. It was an incredible day with some spectacular views. We enjoyed riding the mining train, going on the cable cars which had a glass bottom, walking through the rainforest, finding the waterfall and trekking up to an impressive lookout of the famous three sisters.
Sunday we were out and about again visiting Fitzroy Falls which was beautiful before heading to Berrima where we visited the courthouse museum and treated ourselves at the Lolly shop, before making our way to Mittagong – where we nipped in to Dan Murphy’s (best liquor shop) to stock up.
We have failed to mention so far that each evening we have been polishing off a mighty amount of alcohol, as anyone who we have chatted with on Skype will know. Haha. Our purchases went down a treat with the Chinese food we had that evening.
After a full on two weeks, this week we chilled. Not really venturing further than the local shops. It was a fantastic week as the weather was gorgeous again; we relaxed in the sun, learned how to wave board with the kids and enjoyed even more time with Millie. One evening after school we treated the kids to some tea out and a few games of bowling, we had such a blast the four of us. We also managed to squeeze in a couple of hours shopping for our Tayler. Haha.
It’s a good time to say here that we have been spoilt every night with a lovely home-cooked tea, tasty dishes including massaman curry, chilli, pasta, A SUNDAY DINNER, and many a BBQ. Just so our parents know we have been pulling our weight, including helping out around the house and cooking some treats for them as well. Haha. To show our appreciation and say thanks we took Auntie Dawn and Uncle Paul out that Friday night, starting at Camden Valley Inn for drinks and then on to Joy’s Thai Restaurant for tea which was yum. A fun night out the four of us.
We stayed in this Saturday and prepared for later that evening when all the family was coming around for a BBQ. It was great to have everyone round and meet the rest of the family. Each of them brought their speciality dish so the night turned into a feast.
Our fourth week with the Buckley’s we had some more nice weather, so were able to take visits into Camden and enjoy lunching out and about in the sun. This was also the week that we started finalising our details for New Zealand. That Friday we were invited by Uncle Paul’s 2nd cousin Kail and his girlfriend Jade for a night out in the city. They treated us to a meal at a teppanyaki restaurant which was loads of fun and the food was really good. We played games that involved the chef throwing raw eggs and us catching them in bowls and omelette in our mouths. We ended the night with cocktails at Darling Harbour which we went down a treat.
Wow just writing all this it’s amazing how much we have done....
Saturday 27th August the six of us were up and out making our way by train and ferry to Manly. We took in the surfer’s paradise of a beach and looked around the shops. That afternoon we caught the river cat to Parramatta. Also by this time we were all excitedly anticipating a new arrival back in the UK from Miss Lindsey Owens....but the baby would make us wait just one more day. :-)
Sunday we headed to Penrith for a show and fair that was on. The weather was lovely and we enjoyed watching a reptile show, stunt horse riders, motorcross and lot’s more. Around lunch-time we received a phone call from Kyle letting us know that Lindsey had given birth to a little girl, 7lbs 2oz – beautiful baby Abigail.
One of the (many) activities we had decided on before leaving home was Phil doing a sky-dive, as Kayleigh jumped out of a plane last year for charity when working for CEL. Being at the Buckleys in Mount Annan was perfect for this, as Sydney Sky-Divers are based 30 minutes down the road in Picton. We arrived at the air strip at about 12 o'clock and within 45 minutes Phil was suited up and boarding the tiny plane with his instructor Mick, they don't mess about in Oz!
At 14,000 feet the jump was made, Phil describes it as "one of the most exhilarating things I've ever done!" With 45 seconds of freefall and 5 minutes of floating under the parachute, it was well worth the money. Check out the landing on video...
Our last weekend in Oz has been loads of fun. We spent all day Saturday with each other at home, playing games, swimming in the pool (it wasn't the warmest!) and enjoying a sausage sizzle in the garden as the weather was lovely again. We had one last sight we wanted to see before leaving Oz, and that was Jervis Bay; a spectacular collection of white sands and clear blue waters just off the south eastern coast. It was a 3 hour drive to get there from Mount Annan, but it was totally worth it. We met up with other family members at Huskisson (or Huskie), and then drove on to the national park. We enjoyed some hot chips before heading for the beach where we played more games and swam in the sea. After the 3 hour drive back everyone was exhausted but it was the perfect end to an unforgettable stay here.
We have enjoyed our time with the Buckley's so much it is going to be hard to say goodbye to them tomorrow, and it was bad enough the first time round. We are both really grateful for them putting us up for a whole month, and will be back to see them in the future. But anyway, our next leg awaits us....roll on New Zealand.
Thanks for reading. We hope you are all well at home.
Lot's of Love,
Kayleigh and Phil