Category Archives: Australia

Down Under: Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef

(The 18-months-late update…)

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For our last stop on our three-month trip we went to yet another ridiculously amazing and animal-named island: Lizard Island, in the Great Barrier Reef.

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After a harrowing 45 minute flight on what appeared to be another Toyota Corolla with wings, and a pilot who looked like she had just celebrated her 16th birthday, we took off into a complete storm where visibility was about 3.5 feet (we knew because we were basically sitting right next to the pilot). The turbulence was strong to quite strong. Let’s just say Jill was not wild about this transfer.

Once we got there, we understood what the hype was all about. While very different from Kangaroo Island, Lizard Island was out of this world in its own right. The food could not compete with Kangaroo Island, but the scuba diving, hiking, and 14 private beaches made it just as memorable. Since you can only get there by puddle jumper and a private runway on the island, it has a laid back, middle-of-nowhere island feel – with no locks on the bungalow doors. We loved it.

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Dan in his pensive perch pose again. After a nice hike to the island’s peak.

On our hike

A hot but beautiful hike

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We don’t have any photos from our scuba diving day at Cod Hole, but it was the most amazing scuba adventure we could ever imagine. The only problem was that even Jill’s faithful bonine dosage was no match for the rough waters, and she spend most of the boat ride taking deep breaths (etc.) over the edge. She was so sick by the time we were ready to start the dive, that the dive masters threw her in the water first – ignoring her anxious question, ‘Is that a shark right there??!’ (Dan later admitted that yes, he did witness his wife being tossed overboard amidst dorsal fins, all in the name of seasickness).

The next day the Lizard Island crew dropped us off via motor boat with a delicious picnic at a private beach, and came back for us a few hours later. See below for the picnic, Dan getting to act like a four-year-old practicing his karate kicks, and laying down in the surf without a care in the world.

Our private beach again

Our private beach for the day

Daniel-san practicing his karate kick. Pretty good form, no? And pretty tan too.

Daniel-san practicing his karate kick. Great form, better tan.

Dan laying in the surf on our private beach for the day.

Dan laying in the surf on our private beach.

Our "picnic" which was a tad more gourmet than most picnics we've had.

Gourmet picnic heaven

Met a wonderful family from Connecticut -- Bob, Joanna, and Robert.

Our new friends — a wonderful family from Connecticut — Bob, Joanna, and Robert.

Saw about a thousand of these massive guys. Aptly named island.

Saw about a thousand of these massive guys. Aptly named island.

Thank you Kim and Danny! Surprise treat with a private dinner on the beach, as a wedding gift.

Toyota Corolla 2007, with ducktaped wings.

Toyota Corolla 2007, with ducktaped wings.

Bon Voyage, Lizard Island!

Bon Voyage, Lizard Island!

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Down Under: Kangaroo Island, Australia

(The 18-months-late update…)

From Sydney we scooted off to Kangaroo Island. Nestled off the Southeast coast, there is nothing between you and Antarctica. At six times the size of Singapore, it has only 4,000 people yet over 100,000 kangaroos, according to our guide. And I have to say, it’s pretty sad to see kangaroo road kill.

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The island is stunning, feels fairly untouched, and Southern Ocean Lodge (again thanks to my parents) was out of this world… to the point that I don’t think we’ll ever stay anywhere that nice again unless we win the lottery, and we don’t buy lottery tickets.

First night at Southern Ocean Lodge!

With only 40 rooms and perched up on a cliff, it’s like an Australian version of Big Sur but with no people. At all. Anywhere. It’s impossible to capture the beauty and vibe of this place in a blog post, but we’ll do our best… below are some more assorted photos from our three nights on the island.

View of the hotel from the cliff walk

View of the hotel from the cliff walk

Hotel beach

Private hotel beach down below

Hotel beach

Hotel beach. That’s about as many people as we saw in our entire three days on the beach.

View from Remarkable Rocks

View from Remarkable Rocks

Over 70% of the food you eat at Southern Ocean Lodge is grown or raised on the island. We truly had some of the best meals of our life, three meals a day. Jill’s long-time 30th birthday plan had been dinner at French Laundry (back when 30 seemed really far off…) but after each amazing meal at SOL, we threw the French Laundry non-plans out the window.

Amazing fresh, local, healthy meal at Southern Ocean Lodge

Amazing fresh, local, healthy meal at Southern Ocean Lodge

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Remarkable Rocks

Remarkable Rocks

Jill communicating something at Remarkable Rocks

Jill communicating with nature

My pensive pose. Seem to have a lot of these in this blog.

My pensive pose aka go-to blog pose

Beautiful happy wife at Remarkable Rocks

Beautiful happy wife at Remarkable Rocks

Beautiful happy wife at Remarkable Rocks

Path out of the hotel

Path out of the hotel

Lobby view

Lobby

Other side of lobby

Other side of lobby

Open bar, self-serve, with amazing Australian microbrews and only Australian wines. Spent a lot of time hovering here.

Open bar, self-serve (SOL is all inclusive – great vacation concept which Jill remembers from the Club Med days), with amazing Australian microbrews and Australian wines. Spent a lot of time hovering here…

Our new friends! None of whom were within 30 years of us, but that's our demo.

Our new friends! None of whom were within 30 years of us, but that’s our demo and we loved them all.

Down Under: Sydney, Australia

Not that we expect anybody to care about our journey around the world after 18 months of procrastination here, but we figured we’d post about our last two weeks on the road so that our blog can live a full and complete life. So, here are a few quick posts to sum up our time in Australia, which was our original “honeymoon” plan — two weeks of vacation bliss, thanks to the Saper parents, who gifted this last leg as our wedding present.

We started off with a brief stopover in Sydney.

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The Rocks, Sydney Harbor

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Mamak Restaurant. AMAZING Malaysian food. As you can see it’s a tad popular. Hat tip to Kay O for the rec!

We enjoyed our first travel reunion, meeting up with our Aussie friend, Nick, who we first met at our tiny river rafting camp in Futaleufu, Patagonia three months earlier. Nick is a “barrister” (fancy name for an Australia litigator), who must wear the cloak and wig to all courtroom proceedings. The good sport he is, Jill and I got to play dress-up.

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Dan the barrister

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Jill the barrister. #AliciaFlorrick #runningshoes #onesizefitsall

After our Australian rendition of Florrick Agos, we enjoyed a few days walking around Sydney with stops at the Museum of New South Wales, Manly Beach, and our favorite restaurant, Mamak.

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Obligatory Opera House couples shot

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Jill breaking out a few shavasanas under the Sydney Harbor Bridge

Terrible form/missing SF yoga under the Sydney Harbor Bridge