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We spent the 2011 NYE in Sydney, to see the greatest fireworks show on earth.  An estimated 2 million people flooded the harbour and 1 billion people watched on TVs around the world.

We had a perfect vantage point from the balcony of a friend’s apartment, with a direct line view of the harbour bridge (the main event) but also the coordinated displays over Darling Harbour, the office buildings of the CBD, and the northside of the harbour.  It was pretty freaking sweet.

Pictures of our memorable day in Sydney are on the out and about page.

When Leah and Jordan visited, they, like any other visitor to Australia, had to see the famous Sydney Opera House.  After modifying our road trip to cut out Sydney by campervan, we picked up a cheap day flight to see Sydney: fly-in, fly-out style.

Pictures and story of my day in Sydney with Leah and Jordan are up.  (Steve stayed behind, as walking around a city is not much fun for a guy in a cast!)

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind!  Here’s a brief summary posting, but be sure to click all the links embedded below for more stories and many many more pictures. 

Wes arrived in town Feb 7th for his Australian adventure.  For the first week of his trip, we all explored Melbourne – him by day, us by night – including the bars of the CBD, the Queen Vic Night Market, and the infamous De Raum.  And on Friday night, we switched over to vacation mode…

The first part of our vacation was more Melbourne-area exploration for the weekend.  On Saturday we immersed ourselves in a bit of nature and took off for the Healesville Sanctuary (an open habitat zoo) and a hike through the Dandenong Ranges, topped it out with a gourmet kangaroo feast back at home.  A music-filled Sunday followed at the annual St. Kilda Festival, with a prime view of the main stage from the balcony of Adrianna and Krisztian’s beachside apartment, and by the time Sunday night rolled around I was definitely feeling in need of a rest. But sleep is for the meek, and our first extended vacation was lying in wait…

So on Monday off to Queensland we went, where two World Heritage Listed wonders collide:  the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef.  We hiked, we kayaked, we swam, we sweated, we basked in the sun and completely avoided any cyclones, and we hiked some more.  Northern Queensland is just breathtaking, and it was hard not to pause occasionally admist all the activity to just take in the surroundings.  Being that it was vacation, we did just that. A lot.

After 5 days in QLD, it was back to Sydney for weekend number 2 to show Wes the other Aussie city and continue my obsession with the Sydney Opera House.  A little old, a little new… Sydney (so far) never disappoints.

(Sample pictures from the trip, more on the out and about and photos pages!)

For those of you that don’t wander off the home page, pictures from Sydney, Vancouver and Costa Rica are posted on the out and about page. Enjoy!