Australia is one of those places that Americans dream about visiting. It's exotic, Down Under, and the people speak English, but with great accents. It was certainly a tick on our bucket list when we arrived in Bundaberg in November 2011. Nine of Cups has been here for nearly three years. The crew has had its family issues back in the USA, but still we've managed to be in-country the better part of two years. Australia is a huge, glorious country … as large as the USA and just as diverse. We took a moment the other night to try to identify highlights of our visit here and it was tough. Off the top of our heads, we came up with 25 … way too much for a blog. So we whittled it down to the Top Ten. Seeing our very first kangaroo ... in Bundaberg ... and hearing a kookaburra's song for the first time
(The animals in particular were always a highlight)
New Year's Eve anchored in Sydney Harbour watching the fireworks with friends in 2011
Watching the start of the world-famous Sydney-Hobart race on a friend's boat in Sydney Harbour on Boxing Day 2011
Tasmania's wild west coast including Port Macquarie, the Gordon River and Port Davey
Being tied up to the wharf in downtown Hobart, Tasmania for the Christmas season 2012
Anchoring in front of Port Arthur and visiting this national landmark known for its severity and tragedy
The magic of Deal and King Islands in the Bass Strait
South Australia's beauty and hospitality from Adelaide to Streaky Bay
Crossing the Great Australian Bight in a rather non-traditional fashion
Rounding two Great Southern Capes … Southeast Cape (Tasmania) and Cape Leeuwin (Western Australia)
All these highlights are places and things, but be assured that Australia's number one asset is its people and they have truly been the highlight of our extended visit. We have been overwhelmed with friendship, kindness and generosity. We thank you all!
And then, of course, we think of all the things we haven't seen and the places left unvisited and the friends we haven't met yet. Makes us think we need to come back and continue our Aussie travels. By the way, I'm singing Waltzing Matilda as I write this … just sayin'.