An unexpected delay and a spectacular display…

Well, departing Australia was not quite as straight forward as I had hoped.  It seemed too good to be true that everything was going according to plan!  I must admit I was a little nervous of the thick fog which had enveloped Sydney for the previous two mornings prior to our departure day and there it was again when “D-day” arrived!  However, in the end it was not the fog that delayed our departure but a strange unidentifiable smell on the aircraft coming from the cockpit!  Now I could make a number of jokes at this stage but I will let your own mind carry you into that cul-de-sac of thoughts if you so wish!

Anyway the point is, the smell was so concerning we were held up at Melbourne airport while they inspected further.  Luckily there was no down wind effect for us and we sat contemplating the new departure time!  A voice over the tannoy explained all passengers connecting on to international flights should not be concerned as the fog had caused havoc and flights out of Sydney were delayed all round.  So it seemed the fog was now our friend and we might be able to catch up and make our connection in the end!

Some considerable time later and after another four or five announcements up-dating us of the status, it was finally deemed the aircraft was not safe for travel and they would be preparing a new plane for take off as soon as possible.   So here begins the even lengthier delay which meant by the time we were disembarked and re-embarked, everybody’s luggage was moved and accounted for, someone bailed entirely and their luggage had to be re-found and removed, etc. etc…. the departure time really did not warrant the ungodly hour at which we had scraped ourselves out of bed.

In the end we were finally airborne and made it to Sydney in half the flight time it usually takes… (just shows how much traffic there is in the air these days and the buffer they factor in).  However we were still much later than the original arrival time and it was to our great dismay as we watched all the other passengers on international flights be quickly ushered to their waiting aircraft, whilst my husband and I were the only two remaining passengers bound for Johannesburg on the 9.55am flight and it had actually taken off right on time!

There were now two options presented to us, be flown to Perth and hang out until much later that night to fly or stay the night in Sydney and start again tomorrow.   We chose the latter being thoroughly exhausted from all the leaving parties, packing and sleepless nights of late.  Perhaps this was a blessing in disguise!  A day to ourselves to do nothing but take a load off!

So we did just that, collapsing into the bed of our complimentary hotel room for a quick power nap before seizing the opportunity to say good-bye to Sydney!  And what a treat it was when we realised it was Vivid Live, a celebration of Australia’s most iconic stages.  An amazing display of immersive light installations and projections were being used to light the sail’s of the stunning Sydney Opera House, projected onto it as though it were an artists canvas.  Many of the surrounding buildings were also glowing and changing before our eyes.  In the end it meant our good-bye to Australia was much more spectacular than anticipated and we were able to appreciate this great place one last time with a delicious fish supper down at the Rocks, followed by a stroll around the quay whilst staring up at the striking Harbour Bridge and Opera House all a glow with these incredible displays!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

After such an eventful day we slept like babies and the next morning upon returning to the airport we were soon checked in and sitting back flying over the Opera House and on our way!  In the end our big departure wasn’t upset too much by the chain of events that were out of our control and we made the most of the situation.  After all, the next chapter is going to be an even bigger journey and waiting one more day really wasn’t going to make much difference.  If I had been going on holiday for a week I would certainly have been a little more disappointed to lose a day!  Even so, sometimes when events change direction beyond our control it is best to sit back and enjoy the ride, maybe something wonderfully unexpected will happen that otherwise you might not have seen!  I think this example was certainly nothing short of spectacular!

After about seven hours of flying the excitement wore off and the longevity of the flight wore in!   It is a very long way from Australia to South Africa!   At one point I thought it would be a breeze versus the two lengthy flights that usually take me back to England for a visit.  However it is the huge change in time zones that gets you and with there only being one hours time difference between Cape Town and London the adjustment is pretty much the same coming from Australia.  Flying back in time does not take the age off you that is for sure!

Exhausted but with a slight hint of an up curl at the corner of our mouths when we got to Johannesburg, we pushed on with our last burst of energy onto the flight from Jo’burg to Cape Town.  I tried desperately hard not to nod like a dog and slapped my cheeks to stay awake…. (the slapping of cheeks doesn’t work by the way!).  This last leg was an absolute killer because really it was the early hours of the morning for us after an exceptionally long day, even though we had been sitting down for most of it!  Yawning and delirious we finally made it to our destination and looked to the Mother City to engulf us into bed!

What happened next is some what of a blur until I recall waking up in a comfy bed shrouded by darkness to the sounds of pelting rain and crunching thunder!  We came in with one almighty storm and were literally engulfed by rain, slate, waves and water!  Now I am not sure what the elements were trying to tell us here but it was certainly an incredible welcome committee to the Cape with flashing lightning and pouring rain for the majority of the weekend!

I am happy to have made it safe and sound with all our suitcases in tow (fingers crossed for the shipment on the sea) and since arrival it has been a case of taking each day as it comes.  My dreams are very peculiar and adjustments to our new home will take a little time but my eyes are wide with excitement and intrigue.  My biggest fear was for my computer which finally arrived yesterday, one week after me, and hence here I am jumping straight back on my blog and coming at you for the first time from Cape Town!

So here the new adventure begins….

My last day in Melbourne…

The time to depart Australia more permanently than just for a holiday (for the second time round) has finally come!  At one point it felt as though this day would never arrive.  The idea for the next adventure was seeded so many months ago and now the nurturing, plotting, planning, organising and co-ordinating have all finally paid off.  I am out of here!  I am of course sad to go and will miss my awesome friends the most but the momentum has been building for some time and I am ready to get started with eager anticipation for what lies ahead.

I have to say I am some what delirious…. it has been a crazy busy week!  The apartment felt like it would never be empty… the cupboards just kept on giving!  There were endless appointments, phone calls to wrap up business, cancel standing orders, pay bills, sell household items, buy necessary supplies, visit the dentist, doctor and optician, say good-byes… and decide what to pack in the suitcase to last the next few months!  Thankfully the tasks are now completed and the packing is done, all my worldly belongings are soon to be sailing across the seas and tomorrow I will be flying through the sky on the way to Cape Town!

I can’t wait to sit back on the plane, take stock of everything and try to prepare myself mentally for the next chapter.  I guess the three flights from Melbourne to Sydney to Johannesburg to Cape Town should be enough time!  So many thoughts are racing through my brain.  I feel exhilarated and excited but I know I am also anxious due to the intense dreams I have been having.  It is strange how the sub-conscious is so affected.  Even though we think we are coping on the surface, deep down our mind has warning lights flashing preparing itself for the unexpected just in case!

Anyway, must dash as I want to slip in one more coffee on the laneways, say a couple of last minute “see you later’s” and if I still have time visit the Monet exhibition at the National Gallery before the day is done!

I will be in touch from the new destination!

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”   – Eleanor Roosevelt.

Container ship sailing across the horizon.

Finding calm at Cranbourne…

In the chaos of packing and selling furniture on e.bay it has become rather unrestful at home and increasingly hard to find any inner peace with so much going on.  In fact there is no longer a table to eat at or a chair to sit on and I had to buy a beanbag just so I can camp out in the middle of the empty sitting room!  It is not so bad though…. it feels like I am at the moonlight cinema! 

Yikes…. it is now under two weeks to go until I leave the shores of Australia and the excitement and nerves are starting to become en-heightened along with the sad feeling of leaving behind good friends and familiar places.  See you soon is how I prefer to leave it.

In search of some calm at the weekend and an opportunity to squeeze in a final visit to another beautiful place in Victoria I visited the Royal Botanic Gardens at Cranbourne.

Here are some of my highlights:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Out and about down under…

I have been out and about soaking up as much of the incredible Australian outdoors as I can as the count down to departure gets ever closer!

A very special place in Victoria and the furthest southerly point of this big red land is known as Wilsons Promontory.  I have just had the pleasure of staying down there for a long weekend on my mission to make the most of the bush.  It really is a glorious part of the world and seriously worth a visit if you can.

There are a wide variety of places to stay in this area and as the accommodation within the prom itself is extremely well sought after, especially during summer, it is not always easy to acquire so I stayed further west in another stunning spot called Venus Bay.  This area is also home to an amazing diversity of eco systems with varied temperatures and land types from the beach front to the wetlands behind.   Some one who knows all too well about this and the importance of preserving its native life is a lady called Mae who runs the Venus Bay Eco Retreat.  

Well what a joy it was to stay in her fabulous Correa Cabin which was full of hidden surprises and local treats, from delicious home-made plum and ginger chutney and tasty preserved fig jam, to soothing organic bathroom products.  The tranquil setting makes this a very special place where you can forget all about the hustle and bustle of city life as you listen to the sound of the crashing ocean, the wind blowing gently in the trees and all manner of chatter from the birds and wildlife. Wooden Cabin. From here it is possible to simply walk from the front door and explore.  You might even come face to face with a kangaroo or a wallaby as you stroll through the wonderful array of trees and listen to the different songs of numerous beautiful birds.  In fact I met many Australian characters on this trip and even had a visit from a certain kangaroo who came to check me out through the floor to ceiling window in the bathroom as I bathed.  I am not sure which one of us got the biggest surprise!

To get to the “Prom” itself it is about a forty minute drive and one well worth taking.  Be sure to drive carefully though, especially at dawn or dusk when the wildlife are most active; to be honest it is best to stay off the road during this time.

The landscape is breathtakingly beautiful from the coastline to the mountains to the wilderness and woodlands.  There is just so much to discover and I am going to leave that for you to do yourself when you visit.

So here is a little teaser to wet your appetite: