Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A - A Day in the Countryside

Welcome to our tour of Australia. During the month of April we are going to visit our favourite spots in Australia. Come join us on our walkabout through the land down under. 

Our first stop on the tour is a little off the beaten path to visit an ancient glacial creek and a large rock formation that looks like it has been sawn off. 

Both attractions are located on the same road and are only 30k/20 miles apart so it is easy to see both of them in a couple of hours. Since they are away from the major tourist areas they are not crowded and you may even have the place to yourself. 

Sawn Rock.
Although there are no active volcanoes in Australia today there was a lot of volcanic activity millions of years ago. One of the things that volcanoes left behind was this natural wonder that looks like an natural pipe organ. The attraction is an easy 10-15 minute walk from the car park and it is even possible to go down into the creek to see some of the hexagonal basalt pillars that have fallen down over the years. Keep an eye out on the trail as you may even see some of the native wildlife.
What I loved: Sawn Rocks was unlike anything I had ever seen before. The rock formation towers over you and being able to go down into the creek and see the pieces that had fallen off was a bonus. The size of the broken off pieces gave you a true sense of how big this formation is. It was well worth the walk and we even saw an Echidna on the way to the rocks.
Cost: Free
More Info: Narrabri Tourism

 Towering over you this basalt formation has the appearance of pipe organ.

A close up of the hexagonal pillars.

Some of the pillars that had fallen off the cliff face.

We found this little guy by the path to Sawn Rocks. He was shy but I was able to get a few photos before he disappeared into the brush.

Rocky Creek glacial area.
About 290 million years ago this area was covered in snow and glaciers. There is still evidence of the glaciers in this area and is a fun way to see some prehistoric history, some beautiful scenery and even go for a swim in the creek. Getting to the creek is easy and is just steps away from the car park. On a warm day make sure to pack your swim wear and a picnic lunch.
What I loved: It was great being able to see the evidence of a glacier without having to leave Australia. It would be the perfect place to spend a summer's day by the water. There is plenty to explore and the water looks so inviting. Seeing the smaller rocks inset of the large granite boulders shows just how powerful these ancient glaciers were.
Cost: Free
More Info: Narrabri Tourism

 At first glance it looks like like any other creek.

but on closer inspection you can see the evidence of the glacier by the rocks that have been pushed into the boulders.

Its harder to see but there are more smaller rocks that have been ground into the bedrock by the glacier here.

There is plenty to explore and would be a great swimming hole in the summer time.

How to get there: 
Car: Both attractions are located on Killarney Road which is the main road between Narrabri and Bingara. Approximately 6-7 hours one way from Sydney.
Air: Moree airport is the closest airport. (1.5 hour flight from Sydney) From Moree it is about 1-2 hours by car to the attractions.
Train: Daily service from Sydney to Narrabri (7-8 hours from Sydney). From Narrabri it is about an hour by car to these attractions.

There is so much more to do in the area including Waa Gorge, Mt. Kaputar National Park and the CSIRO telescope so check out the Narrabri Tourism website to find out what else you need to add to your itinerary.

What did you post about today?

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A-Z Challenge: Get ready for our Tour of Australia!


     Starting tomorrow we are taking all of our blog readers on a tour of our favourite places in Australia. Throughout April we will start with the letter A and keep going until we hit the letter Z. It took some planning but we have a destination for every letter of the alphabet. You will have to visit the blog each day to find out what they will be as we won't be giving out any spoilers. It should be a great time so make sure to visit us every day so you don't miss anything!

Since we don't start our tour till tomorrow I thought it would be fun to provide a few fun facts about travelling to Australia.

Getting there: Australia is an island so driving to Australia is not an option. Although you can arrive by cruise ship or cargo ship the most popular way to arrive is by air. Most international visitors arrive at Sydney but the other capital cities also have international flights. It is also a long flight from just about anywhere. From most places in North America and Europe it will take 24-28 hours to get to Sydney. Airfares vary but will be somewhere between $2000-$3000 for economy/coach class.
 Money: The unit of currency is the Australian dollar and is the only currency that is accepted by most merchants. The notes are made of a polymer plastic so it is more durable than paper money. Each of the notes is a different colour and a slightly different size and it is a lot easier to tell which note is which when there is poor lighting. Exchange rates vary from day to day but one Australian dollar currently buys about 78c US.

Driving: Australians drive on the left hand side of the road and the driver's seat is on the right side of the car. This takes some getting used to and it might be best to let someone else do the driving until you get used to it. 

Getting around: Australia is a big country and is almost as big as the lower 48 states of the U.S.A. Since most of the tourist destinations are along the east coast it is feasible to drive, take the train or bus, but if you are short on time it is probably easiest to fly.

There is a lot more fun travel facts but I will save them for another day. Hope you see you all tomorrow for our "A" post.


Monday, March 30, 2015

Her Mug 'O Comfort Swap Reveal

I participated in my first, but definitely not my last, swap through the blog Chaotic Goddess Swaps. This one centered around mugs and all the cool stuff you can drink from a mug.

I geeked out completely when I got the email saying who I was paired with. Darling Zane, my partner, is from Latvia. Yep, you heard me right, Latvia! I was so excited. She mentioned in one her emails that she loves to travel all over Europe and she has a friend who visits her from Finland. That is my definition of a magical life. :)

Zane is one of the sweetest and nicest people I have ever swapped with. I am so glad we "met" and I am looking forward to a continuing friendship.

Here's what was in my Latvian swap box:

Isn't it beautiful?!?

Geeking out! Geeking out! Geeking out!
So much fun to have a Latvian pen pal! :)

These are fun. I haven't tried one yet because I am trying to ration my treats.

Sean recognized these candies, but I didn't. I bet they taste good!

Chocolate covered raisins! Yummy! (I sent her some too - great minds think alike!)

These little penguins...

...hold tea bags. How awesome is that!

Zane tried to find a mug made in Latvia and she succeeded! Isn't it beautiful. :)

I let Sean have this one because it was one of his favorite candies in Australia. It's a chocolate egg with a toy inside.

What a beautiful gift. I am so excited about everything!

Thank you Zane for all the gifts and the thought that went into them. I am so grateful! :) :)

Happy Swapping,

Thursday, March 26, 2015

His and Her TBT: Australian Roundabouts

What is Throwback Thursday? How does it work, you might ask? I get to choose a blog post from the past (either a few days or a few years) and repost it as a TBT. 

Today, I chose a post from February, 2014 where Sean explained a common road feature in Australia.

Roundabouts are used in many areas in Australia.
As I was driving around on my first trip in America I noticed a lot of differences when it came to traveling by car. Some were quite obvious like being on the other side of the road and car (don't ask how many times I tried to get in the wrong side of the car) but others were not so obvious for a while. After a while I did notice one thing that was missing on American roads that most Aussies use every day and that was the roundabout. 

Even large trucks can navigate a roundabout.
In many towns and cities across Australia, roundabouts are used in place of traffic signals or stop signs to keep traffic flowing and to assist traffic on the side streets to get through an intersection quickly. In most cases you could get through a roundabout pretty quickly and if volume was light you go through the roundabout without having to come to a stop. Using a roundabout was pretty simple as you yielded to the traffic that was already using the roundabout and you entered when there was a safe gap. Since you yielded to the traffic in the roundabout and they are all going in the same direction you only have to look in one direction which makes things pretty easy. Roundabouts are used both on suburban streets and highways and even the major highways so you don't have to travel far before you find one.

       Roundabouts are also known as "traffic circles" in America and are not nearly as common. Many localities have very few if any at all. Roundabouts in America are normally in quiet residential streets where there isn't a lot of traffic and it is unusual to see them on a busy road. It is far more common to see either a 4 way stop sign (I wrote about them here) or a traffic signal. It seems that in the last few years more and more roundabouts have been popping up but there are still pretty much a novelty in a lot of places.

Roundabout in Narrabri, NSW
      So why are roundabouts not so common in America? I believe it is because a lot of Americans are not familiar with them and installing a bunch of them would cause a ton of accidents and increased insurance rates for everyone. Australia started installing roundabouts back in the 1980's and they had to spend a ton of money on TV ads to try and educate people on how to use them. It took a while for the Aussies to get used to them and they had a lot less people to train as well (16 million back then compared to the 300+ million in the U.S today). There are many intersections in Virginia that I would think would benefit from a roundabout but it would take a long time for people to get used to them. Maybe one day America will catch onto the roundabout craze like Australia did 30 years ago but I am not holding my breath.

    I am a huge fan of roundabouts as I feel that they keep traffic flowing smoother than traffic lights at many intersections. Do you agree or would you like to see them ripped up and replaced with a stop sign or traffic signal?

Pretty cool, huh? I love going through roundabouts and driving through them. I think because they are different to what we have in my area. Do you have roundabouts where you live?

Happy Driving,

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Her Questions You Ask Yourself - Part 1

I was reading through some blogs a few weeks ago and stumbled upon this questions series. This blogger is where I found stole them. It seemed like fun so I copied and pasted the questions into four posts - two for Sean and two for me. We will each answer one set of questions this week and one set next week. Enjoy!

1.) What are you addicted to?
I am addicted to quite a few things - chocolate, Gilmore Girls, competition TV shows, etc. Lately, I have become addicted to my Young Living essential oils. They are fantastic!
Image result for young living essential oils
2.) What’s the first thing you would do if you were invisible?
I don't know what I would do, because I don't think I would like to be invisible. Actually, that's my answer. The first thing I would do is become visible again.

3.) Pictures or Plants in your office?
Pictures - I have family photos, photos of former students. This year I added one of me in 8th grade (the grade I teach). My students love seeing and teasing me about that one.

4.) If you could magically change a part of your body, which one would it be?
I would love to have the arthritis and swelling removed from my ankles and feet. It would make sightseeing and travel in general easier. Not to mention the day-to-day life of a teacher who can't stand for long periods of time without pain. Oh, and wearing cuter shoes to work would be a nice bonus!
Image result for cute flats
5.) Which animal do you think is your spirit animal?
My spirit animal is a panda. Partly because my mom still calls me Amanda Panda, and partly because they are so stinkin' cute!
Image result for red and giant pandas
6.) How often do you Google yourself?
Maybe once a year - maybe. It's not something I think to do often.

7.) What makes you happiest?
Spending the day with Sean. Add in my parents or other friends and I am ecstatic.
My favorite photo of my hubbie and I - on the ferry in Sydney Harbor.
8.)Type your name and the word *meme* into Google Images. Choose one and post it here.
Image result for amanda meme

9.)Do you think that time heals all wounds?
No. I think time helps you forget the pain and I think wounds have scars, but I don't think that anyone really forgets pain that has been inflicted upon them. 

10.) Which words of wisdom from your parents do plan to or already say to your kids?
I have told my students, when they are whining or complaining about something trivial, "If you keep whining, I'm going to give you something to wine about." Then we have a talk about looking on the bright side and staying positive.
Image result for i opened my mouth and my mother came out

Which question was your favorite? Answer it below in the comments. 

Happy Answering,

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

His Questions You Ask Yourself - Part 1

I was reading through some blogs a few weeks ago and stumbled upon this questions series. This blogger is where I found stole them. It seemed like fun so I copied and pasted the questions into four posts - two for Sean and two for me. We will each answer one set of questions this week and one set next week. Enjoy!


1.) What are you addicted to?
Netflix! I love being able to binge watch TV shows and not having to watch commercials. Well worth the $8 I pay each month.

2.) What’s the first thing you would do if you were invisible?
Go visit behind the scenes of different places like casinos, airports and places like that so I can see how they work.

3.) Pictures or Plants in your office?
We have a few pictures that I took in Australia hanging in our office.

4.) If you could magically change a part of your body, which one would it be?
My beer belly. Yes I could diet and do crunches and stuff to change it but a quick spell would be so much easier.
5.) Which animal do you think is your spirit animal?
Not sure about this one. Maybe some type of bird as I like to be up high and seeing things from an elevated angle.

6.) How often do you Google yourself?
Not very often, perhaps once a year or so.

7.) What makes you happiest?
A quiet day at home or out at a disc golf course.

8.)Type your name and the word *meme* into Google Images. Choose one and post it here.
9.)Do you think that time heals all wounds?
Not at all. Though apologies and trying to make up for it goes a long way. Its like getting a scar on your body, once you have the scar it will be there forever.

10.) Which words of wisdom from your parents do plan to or already say to your kids?
This one is one my mum used to say all the time: "Be careful or you will end up going a$$ over t*t!


Which question or answer is your favourite? Choose one and answer in the comments so you can join in the fun.

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