Monday, December 12, 2011

The Final Family Post

Only one suitcase got temporarily lost in Dallas!
So, I'm done with the posts about the Dill family trip to Australia in November. I still need to do the ones about visiting Uluru with my sister, but I'll get there. Anyway, in no particular order, here are the things I learned while my family was here (accompanied by some fun pictures that for some reason or another didn't make it into another post):

Morgan was just a TAD excited about coming to Australia to see koalas.
1. When you pick up international visitors from the airport, you may end up waiting SEVERAL hours for them to get out of customs. You'll think you somehow missed them, because it's crowded and they could come out of one of three doors (so you constantly turn your head from side to side checking all exits), but they eventually come out, and it's very exciting!

Ah, siblings. They bring out the best in you.
2. Never fly with Tiger Airways. I think another blog post covered this topic sufficiently.

Justin found a "broomstick" on St Kilda Beach.
3. Planning an awesomely jam-packed two week itinerary takes several hours of research, several phone calls and e-mails, several spreadsheets, and several months to do.

Zack and I underwater in the Great Barrier Reef.
4. When your mom stays at a place two doors down from yours and it has free use of a washing machine, she will do your laundry for you, and it will be awesome. Thanks Mom!

Mom picked her favorite bathing box at Brighton Beach.
5. Having dinner locations chosen and reservations made ahead of time makes life easier for everyone. The few nights I thought we would "wing it" turned out just fine, but it was a little stressful trying to find a place for a group of six, especially with a vegetarian (not naming names...Morgan!).

Dad makes friends with the locals.
6. Group deal buying sites can save you and your family TONS of money. Groupon, Scoopon, Cudo, Living Social, Spreets, Our Deal,, etc. I am addicted to these sites, and we used coupons to do so many things: jet boat ride, hotel in Sydney, several dinners and a lunch, putt putt golf, Phillip Island tour, and more.

Yes, I made my family throw "shrimps on the barbie," except here they are called prawns.
7. Having a detailed itinerary is super helpful, but it can turn out okay if you need to be flexible and not do everything in the order you originally intended.

Yes, I ruined Justin and Cindy's self-portrait at Bondi Beach.
8. You can never eat too many Tim Tams or see too many koalas. Trust me; we tried!

Checking out the 'roo tail that I got as a present for them to take back home to our dog.
9. Exchanging Christmas presents in November is okay. It sure beats the shipping costs from Australia to the United States!

Best Christmas present ever from Justin and Cindy-a blanket with pictures of our dog!
10. Catching up on blog entries takes a long time when you've done so many fun things and don't want to forget any of them!

Yes, my brother is strange.
11. It's fun to show your family places in your new home and pretend you know your way around. It's also exhausting to play "tour guide" for two weeks and always be in charge of getting everyone everywhere.

Cindy likes the cakes on Acland Street.
12. Having perfect weather wherever you go is a bonus that should be much appreciated. When I get to the Uluru posts, you'll see what I mean.

Yes, that is my dad at the top of this net at a Sydney CHILDREN'S playground.
That's all I can think of right now, though I'm sure there are many more things I learned. If you haven't seen enough pictures, you can always go to my Shutterfly site and get your fill (link in the upper right)! Okay Dills, you have an assignment. You have to comment on this post and tell everyone which part of the trip was your favorite. I think mine was snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef. It was awesome having you all here; come back any time!

The Dills have done Down Under!


  1. My favorite thing, besides being out of work for 19 days straight, would have to be seeing the opera house. To see something in pictures for so long, and then to finally touch it in person is pretty cool.

  2. A favorite moment and a favorite day.

    The moment: the very first day, the family altogether sitting in Aubree and Zack's living room. Relaxing and laughing, enjoying being there and anticipating the time together.

    The day: the final day . . . thinking that we had done so much, what else could there be to do, and maybe we should just chill this final day. Then Aubree, what a gem, lead the family on one last wonderful day of simpleness, sophistication, and scenery. What a joy to be together one last time, enjoying the country, the day, and each other. We did many memorable and monumental things during our two weeks in the Land Down Under, but having the entire family together for a full two weeks . . . PRICELESS.

  3. I loved sunny, warm weather in November and was thrilled to not be burned! I enjoyed not thinking about where my phone was or what was going on at work. I am so grateful we were all able to make this trip and share the time together without illness or injury. I think most of all, I loved all the opportunites we had to see things I had only dreamed of and never thought I would be doing or seeing. I mean how many people can say they have seen a ballet at the Sydney Opera House or spent two days in the ocean taking part in the best snorkeling in the world? Truely a trip of a lifetime!

  4. It is impossible to name just one favorite memory of Australia.
    I loved snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef – it was amazing to see all the incredible and vibrant colors just under the surface of the water; a true Wonder of the World.
    It was a sheer joy to be with Morgan as her dream of holding a koala finally came true.
    I saw my first ballet - in the iconic Sydney Opera House!
    Being in an English speaking country was comforting, even with all the interesting Aussie words and phrases.
    I loved all the fun and goofy parts of our trip: The very wet jet boat ride; The tacky Glow-in-the-Dark putt-putt golf game; That night on the sailboat with only the moon and stars as light, playing games and discovering new things - like Polish shoes!; Eating - the various ethnic restaurants, the Pie Face shops, new and exciting foods, such as emu, crocodile and kangaroo burgers, and the delectable chocolate desserts; Descending 800 steps and then slowly walking back uphill in the Blue Mountains; All the modes of mass transportation we experienced; Being greeted in Australia by a big sign and welcome packets; People watching, especially the very short skirts and very low tops seen in Sydney; Waiting patiently for penguins to make their way ashore; Watching crazy wallabies hopping laps around the buildings and past our patio door; and best of all, Replicating the days of long ago warm, lazy summers on the shores of Lake Michigan by spending time on Australia’s coastline listening to the waves, playing games on the sand, soaking up the sunshine, and watching sunsets over the horizon. I will never forget the brilliant blue hues of the ocean – the aqua, sapphire, azure, and cobalt colored water.
    It was so enjoyable to sit back and be the recipient of Aubree’s incredible itinerary. We could not have experienced all we did had it not been for her hours, weeks, and months of investigation and organization, all of her phone calls, reservations (and remaking plane reservations), buying of internet coupons (and bartering for better deals) and for seamlessly guiding us to each site and adventure.
    It was indescribable to spend relaxed, unhurried time with the entire family, discovering and experiencing Australia together; laughing, playing, telling stories, and to witness once again our children’s spouse’s love for them. I can still see Cindy standing on the beach for over an hour with her camera ready, trying again and again until she finally captured Justin standing on the surfboard and riding a wave. And knowing that Zack is caring for Aubree and ensuring that she is physically, mentally, and spiritually healthy, makes it bearable that she is half a world away.
    Our Australian vacation was truly the adventure of a lifetime and the memories will forever bring a smile to my face!

  5. my favorite thing was being able to see all the things i've read about, looked at pictures of, read about again, had quilts on my bed covered with, and collected over the years right there in front of me. i think the moment i realized this was going to be the case was on the bus ride to phillip island, when i asked the driver what a certain tree with yellow flowers was, and he told me it was wattle. years ago when we'd planned my australian quilt, the border we'd picked was a traditional pattern of wattle. and then, there they were, just on the side of the road.

    of all my koala adventures, i think being able to pet them, and have them wander all around us at the australia fauna place was my favorite. i enjoyed having everyone surrounded, and being able to enjoy the little guys without time limits.

    basically, when people ask me to describe my trip, i tell them it was childhood dreams coming true every day.