A Visit from Ben and Bek

These past couple weeks have been much more than just political hysteria here in Australia. It seems my parents chose the perfect time to escape “reality” and head about as far away as they could get from the U.S.

After arriving to Brisbane on Nov. 3, them and I set out on a two-week journey around the northern part of the land down under. While they spent all their time in Queensland, they were able to see parts of the country visitors never get to and got to see many of my favorite spots.

The first weekend we spent together, I showed them around Brisbane, made them try authentic Vietnamese food for the first time, navigated in the front seat while my Dad drove on the “wrong side of the road” for the first time and spent plenty of time visiting beautiful places and wonderful people on the Sunshine Coast.

One day we drove about a 3-hour long loop around the Hinterland of the sunshine coast, which included a beautiful little town situated up in the mountains, called Montville, a couple of rainforest hikes, and stunning views of the valleys and mountains located inland. Mom was a bit tired of it by the end but we were able to see so much that we thought it was worth it.

We also took a day trip up to Noosa and walked with Olivia, her mom and Leslie one day, where we did a coastal hike and had a big lunch at the Noosa Heads Surf Club. It was so much fun bringing Olivia’s mom and my mom and dad together and it was such a beautiful day by the water.

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On my final day staying up in sunshine coast with them, my parents and I went to Australia Zoo, home of Steve Irwin, and got to play with the kangaroos, koalas and watch the famous crocodile show. My mom really enjoyed seeing and learning about all the Australian wildlife.

I took the train back to Ferny Hills for a few days during the week to work while my parents continued exploring Sunshine Coast but was reunited with them at the airport on Friday, when we left for Cairns.

Cairns was an absolute treat. I had heard it was very tropical but I didn’t realize how stunning it really was. The view from our hotel and pretty much anywhere around the harbor reminded me of Hawaii, with teal water, palm trees and green mountains surrounding the town.

There we got to snorkel and dive the Great Barrier Reef and do a whole day tour of the Daintree Rainforest. I completed my first open water dive with my parents there to watch me, and even had to swim my way through a strong current that had me panicking for a second. It felt like a dream being down there and able to swim amongst beautiful, colorful fish and coral.

During our tour trip to Daintree, we were able to visit several lookouts and tourist spots along the road. The road we drove most of the time was right along the coast with constant views of the mountains meeting the ocean. We did a hike at the Mossman Center, operated by aboriginals from the area; a tea house that served us Kangaroo, seasonal fruits and Barramundi fish; a boat ride along the Daintree River; a stop at Cape Tribulation, a beach where the jungle meets the ocean that is completely untouched; and got ice cream from a little stand in the rainforest that serves unusual flavors that come from the local fruits. It was a busy day but so well worth the money and time to adventure around together.

Last night, after the three of us arrived back in Brisbane, we headed to my host family’s house in Ferny Hills so they could see it and meet Camille and Mark. They were hoping to meet the kids too but because our flight was delayed, we didn’t make it back before they were asleep. We had a great dinner that Camille and Mark had prepared for them and chatted about a variety of things while they were visiting the house. It was nice to have them here and be able to show them where I spend so much time. I drove them back to their hotel afterwards and we said our goodbyes… again. It seemed as if I had just told them goodbye in Orlando and now here I was saying goodbye for a second time. But this time with a bunch more of adventures and memories behind us! It’s really special I was able to show my parents around and introduce them to the people I’ve been spending my days with. I know they had an incredible adventure here and I’m lucky that they have the energy and commitment to have made the trip. Not sure when exactly I’ll see them next but right now I’m just thankful for the time I had with them. Now back to routine…

Love,
Anni

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