By Megan Hitchcock (University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia).
As I take off on yet another plane I thought I’d continue my tradition of using this time to update my blog. I went to see my friend PJ in Brisbane and had such a great time! I was welcomed by his lovely family who thanked me over and over for looking after him in Manchester – if only they knew it was often the other way round! Haha. I was there for ten days and managed to see Brisbane, some of the Sunshine Coast annnnnd the Gold Coast in that time! We spent a few days at the Gold Coast with a couple of my friends from Perth which was fun – and most importantly my two Perth friends (both American) and I had our first experience of ‘peeling prawns’ – a very useful skill to have in preparation for the upcoming Aussie Christmas!
Another first I had whilst over in Queensland was I got to hold a koala – something I’ve wanted to ever since I arrived in Australia, and I did this at Steve Irwin’s famous Australia Zoo. This along with the various crocodile shows and feeding kangaroos made for a great day! However probably the thing that stands out most from my ten days there was how often the use of the expression ‘get around it’ is used over there – the translation is something along the lines of ‘get involved’.
The end of my time in Brisbane welcomed the exciting arrival of my family in Perth – the long awaited reunion with my parents and my sister for Christmas which was so exciting!
In the two and a half weeks that they were in Western Australia we spent time in Perth, down south in the Margaret River wine region and up north in the secluded Jurien Bay.
Our time in Perth was in separate chunks between the two other trips, and spent showing them around college, university and all my favourite spots, and of course our first Aussie Christmas. Although not our first warm Christmas, as a couple of years ago we were in New Zealand with Mum’s family, it was our first ‘hot’ Christmas, spent in the 35 degree + heat and by the pool at a family friend’s house in Perth. No Aussie Christmas would be complete without it’s seafood and we were spoilt on that front! We welcomed in Christmas Day with a champagne and seafood breakfast in the glorious sunshine. The array of prawns (obviously!), crayfish, smoked salmon etc was remarkable and we felt truly spoilt to be able to eat such fresh seafood. We ended breakfast saying we could definitely get used to all of that, and we should definitely find space in the Hitchcock Christmas for a champagne breakfast of this kind – I guess it won’t have quite the same effect sitting next to a fire in the freezing cold! After having our Aussie Christmas input the rest of the day actually followed fairly similar to our Christmas at home. The friends, being British in origin have a ‘proper’ Christmas dinner – turkey, gravy and all the trimmings, which suited me very well – I’m not one to miss out on Christmas dinner. We had a great day and were very lucky being able to share the day with such a lovely family.
Our trip down south allowed me to show my family an area outside of Perth that I had been to before. Our time was spent wine tasting, beer tasting, chocolate tasting and visiting some of WA’s finest beaches – life really is hard. Yallingup gave the others their first sightings of kangaroos – wild kangaroos can be spotted whilst driving around, and with my sister having only just turned 18 a week before her arrival in Perth, being an all adult family now we really did ‘get around’ the wine tasting.
Not wanting to be travelling for too long outside of Perth, Jurien Bay seemed like the ideal place when going up north from Perth (only two hours drive), however on arrival didn’t turn out to be quite what we had planned. In booking to stay in the quiet seaside area, we had plans to do some watersports and a glass bottom boat trip, however we soon found out that in recent months these activities had been stopped by the appropriate governing body, so instead we spent some lovely time on (yet another) lovely beach and enjoyed getting to know the lovely family that owned the motel we stayed in, as well as a visit to the Pinnacles.
The trip also included a visit to a National Park where the family were able to see their first koalas, and to the Pinnacles, an interesting rock formation.
Although today I said a teary goodbye to Mum and my sister for the long half of the year, I’ve held onto Dad, who being newly retired (ish) has decided to take an extended holiday. We are currently on a flight to Sydney to spend five days there visiting friends but most importantly to celebrate the new year in arguably one of the most spectacular ways, watching the fireworks on Sydney Harbour – excited is an understatement! After that we are heading to New Zealand to catch up with Mum’s family. With two and a half weeks together we definitely have some father-daughter bonding planned – watch this space and I’ll write again when I have some more news.