Yesterday we made it back from 2 weeks in Australia. The trip was a success and I feel so blessed to have my family travel the world with me. Leaving on Valentines Day we first flew into Sydney where we walked around the city, Opera House and took a ferry to Manly Beach. We also saw the animals at the Featherdale Wild Animal Park and then got wet at Bondi Beach. We rented a car so that was exciting driving on the opposite side of the car and road. JoAnna was scared to death but I got us thru the trip unscathed.
On the 19th we drove thru flash floods on the way to Thredbo. The weather cleared a bit once we got there but the following day called for cold temps and wind. We woke up, checked the weather and got some breakfast. It wasn’t ideal but it wasn’t horrible…not for us at least since we came from winter temps. We rode the lift to the base of Kosciusko and with our layers of clothing started making our way on the 8 mile roundtrip journey to the highest point in Australia. I asked a few times if the kids wanted to turn back but they insisted on moving forward. It was a great lesson in perseverance for them, which I’m really proud of. JoAnna’s knees went out close to the top but she pushed thru as well. In the early afternoon we made the summit with 12F temps and 30-40mph wind gusts. I was so proud to have my family knock out number 7 with me to complete my project of the 7 summits. Note – I still need to climb Denali again since my two expeditions have left me 1000′ shy of the summit due to weather. The weather burned off for the descent so we enjoyed a slow walk down the hill. I helped some first responders with a guy suffering from heart issues. The kids enjoyed watching that. We made it to the top of the lifts an hour before they stopped running so we went into the restaurant for a latte and hot chocolate. The view was amazing. We then descended for some hot tub time!
The next day we checked out and drove to Melbourne. It’s pretty wild to see all of the wild life as you drive. Kangaroos and wallabies bouncing around, massive snakes slithering across the street, koalas in the trees, echidnas and wombats waddling along. We stopped to ask some kangaroos for directions and JoAnna decided to use an outhouse. As she was preparing to sit she saw a spider the size of her hand on the wall a couple inches from her face. She screamed and ran out, never to use an outhouse again!
We spent the next few days exploring Melbourne, the White Night festival, Bells Beach (where we filmed a reenactment of the final scene of Point Break) and Hillsong Church, which was awesome. We left a day early to drive back to Sydney via the coast route (A1). We stopped in Phillip Island to see some penguins then took our time driving, stopping often to take in the views.
The crazy thing about the trip is that we really didn’t have jet lag going or coming back. We planned it out pretty well on how to adjust on the plane rides, but we’re all doing a lot better than we expected.
Another great adventure in the books for the Dickinson family!