Peggy's Visit to Australia
Written by Cathy Siegismund
We had just about a week to get the house cleaned up after Ellie and Kel left
before Peggy, Ken's mom, arrived for her visit. She was going to spend a
week with us in the condo while we toured the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane. She
was then flying up to Cairns on her own for a few days. We were then flying to
Melbourne to meet her for a couple of days and then all fly to Sydney to finish
up her trip.
The hot temperatures my friends Ellie and Keli had suffered through,
continued to soar. We saw several days over 40 degrees Celsius -- which is about
105 F. We sweltered in the non-air-conditioned condo. The enormous bugs that
call Queensland home seemed to thrive in this weather. Keli and I had been traumatized by
a huntsman (non-poisonous, but HUGE) spider that we found in the dining room. Ken and I had a visit
from what must
be the biggest cricket or grasshopper we'd ever seen.
Giant 5+ inch cricket hanging out on our deck
We did make time to take a couple more surfing lessons. Ken and Jenn and I
took lessons and even went out one day when we were getting a little residual
swell from a cyclone -- not much for real surfers, but for the neophytes that we
were it seemed pretty big.
Cath standing up and Ken riding a small wave towards shore
Jenn walking back out into the surf on our "day of days"
Ken's mom arrived after a long flight from San Francisco through Sydney. She had
also spent some time in Seattle on her way to San Francisco and had taken some
new pictures of our house. Things seem to be going along very quickly on the
house. I guess without us there to pester the builder, they can move faster than
Looking down our street and the front of our house
We spent a quiet afternoon with Ken's mom. Had lunch in Maroochydore and looked
at pictures of the house. The forecast was for nice weather the
following day, so we set up a bus tour for her to
The following day, we set off for the
Australia Zoo, home of the Crocodile Hunter. I had been a few weeks before,
with visiting friends from home. However, Ken had not yet been and I had enjoyed it so
much the first time, I was happy to go again. We wandered around all the
habitats, watched two crocodile demonstrations, a koala demonstration, and of
course again fed the kangaroos.
Croc demonstration including the tail walk
Croc, picking up a piece of chicken that he had missed on the toss from the
Agro, the Australia Zoo's biggest and baddest croc
Peggy posing with a koala
Ken and Cath pose with a python
Kangaroo with a joey
Ken and Peggy feeding some of the friendly kangaroos and wallabies
Our weather then turned a bit rainy and windy. An offshore cyclone was again throwing
some boisterous weather at the Sunshine Coast. We took the next two days to go
into Brisbane and explore. We went on an Aboriginal art walk, and explored the
South Bank with its museums and galleries. We found quite a nice aboriginal
gallery, where Peggy bought some gifts and we purchased several etchings by
Torres Strait Islanders.
Torres Strait Island etching we bought and the artist who happed to be in the
The weather started to improve toward the weekend, so we took Peggy to the
Eumundi Market. The drive took us inland providing lovely views of
the surrounding mountains.
Afternoon drive through the mountains
We even inadvertently stumbled across one of Australia's many "big things".
The Big Pineapple
Two local musicians with a back drop of hanging shark's teeth for sale
We then took a drive through Noosa Heads and down the coast road through Coolum
Beach back to Mooloolaba. It was a beautiful sunny day and the recent swell from
the cyclone was kicking up some big surf.
Large waves and surf just south of Noosa
Cath in front of the surf at the bluff overlooking the coast
That afternoon, we took a walk along the Mooloolaba Esplanade and the beach. We
couldn't believe the waist high sandy foam that covered the beach from the
of pounding surf.
Knee-deep foam covered the beach between Mooloolaba and Maroochydore from
previous days of big surf
Peggy flew out the next day for her whirlwind four-day visit to Cairns. We left
Monday mid-morning for Melbourne. We were going to meet Peggy there, and decided
to get a couple days head start. We have been looking for an Aboriginal painting
for our new house. We hadn't seen anything around the Sunshine Coast or in
Brisbane, and had read that Melbourne had lots of galleries to explore.
We had a good flight and checked into a Mercure hotel by about 2pm. The hotel was centrally
located near Federation Square and downtown with a stop for the free city tram right
outside. We set off for a walk down to Federation Square, a cultural center with
a museum, restaurants, shops and an outdoor area for performances.
We came upon the very end of some performance with people on stilts walking
around in elaborate tree costumes
There were many people out walking around on the lovely sunny afternoon. We were
surprised, as it was a Monday and the day after the big Melbourne Grand Prix auto race. We
learned that the Melbourne Moomba Waterfest was going on, and that it was in
fact a holiday, Labor Day. There were fair rides and food stalls, a waterskiing
competition taking place on the Yarra River, which runs through the middle of
The Moomba Waterfest activities on and around the Yarra River
There was also a sand sculpture exhibit sponsored by Disney.
Sand sculpture exhibit
For more sand sculpture pictures, see the Sand Sculpture
After having lunch and wandering around the Waterfest, we walked back through
downtown to our hotel. We wandered by the lovely St. Paul's Cathedral and of
course had to make a Starbucks stop.
St. Paul's Cathedral
My usual Starbucks stop
We spent a quiet night in the hotel and then set off the next day with the goal
of finding an Aboriginal painting for our house. We spent quite a bit of time
exploring every gallery we could find. We had a great time looking at different
artists and different styles. We found ourselves picking out one artist in
particular at each gallery we visited. The artist is
Malcolm Jagamarra. We had asked a few of the galleries to bring in some of
Malcolm's pieces they had stored off site, so we could compare as much as
possible before we made a decision.
We decided to take a little time away from the art galleries and explore more of
Melbourne. We set off on what ended up being quite a long walk from downtown,
along the river, and all the way to the waterfront and St. Kilda.
Yarra River and the city in the background
Statue of Captain Cook overlooking the edge of Port Phillip
Ken and the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron at St. Kilda
After the long walk to St. Kilda, we took the tram back to the hotel. We spent
some more time discussing the Aboriginal paintings we had seen. We finally
decided on a painting, a newer Malcolm Jagamarra. We even got the chance to meet
with the artist, which is something we really like to do.
Our new Aboriginal painting
Malcolm Jagamarra signing the painting to us and explaining it
Peggy arrived late that night, and over the next few days we explored Melbourne.
Peggy also took a couple of bus tours of the city and one of the Great Ocean
Road, a scenic drive along the southern coast south of Melbourne.
Views from an observation deck in the tallest office building in Melbourne
The following Saturday, we all flew to Sydney. We checked into our hotel, and
set off to the weekend market at The Rocks. We were also going to get a chance
to meet our friends Denis and Val for a quick drink and light dinner. The
following day we signed up for one of the nice Sydney harbor cruises that left
from Circular Quay. The cruise
offers great views of the Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Opera House, Luna Park and
all of the waterfront suburbs along the harbor. We stopped off at the Taronga
Zoo and finished the cruise at Darling Harbour where we had a nice lunch and
took in the sites.
Sydney Opera House
The following day we took a tour of the opera house, and wandered around Sydney
sightseeing and doing a little shopping.
Sydney Opera House
St. Andrew's Cathedral
Queen Victoria Market mall
Sydney Harbour Bridge
Our last night in Sydney, Peggy took us to a play at the Opera House. It was
great way to spend the evening. Ken and I left the following morning so we had
to say goodbye to Peggy, who was spending a couple of more days in Sydney.
We flew back to Brisbane and drove home. Over the next weeks we returned to our
routine of going to the gym and doing projects. We also continued to be
amazed at the progress being made on our house.
House exterior and the kitchen
Cabinetry in the butler's pantry and the master bath
In addition to making quite a few long distance house decisions, we also caught up with some friends. We were sad to say goodbye to Nik and Jenn from
Green Ghost. They have been great cruising friends since we met them in the
Marquesas three years ago. They have put their boat on the hard, and returned to Canada for at
least a year to work and restock the cruising kitty before
continuing cruising. We also caught up with GB and Sarah who had recently
returned from driving around south eastern Australia. With our return to the
States looming, we too need to get going if we're going to make time for our
driving tour of Australia. We have seen some of the bigger cities and
the Sunshine Coast, but look forward to exploring by car and getting off the