Wednesday, May 27, 2009


The Luminous Festival kicked off last night with a spectacular lights display at the Sydney Opera House. The sails will glow with continuously changing free-form colours and light each night for 3 weeks. The festival will then end with a fantastic Fire Water display as thousands of homemade lanterns are floated in the harbour, surrounding the reenactment of the sinking of the Three Bees.
The Three Bees was a convict ship that brought 210 male prisoners from England to the shores of Australia in 1814. Shortly after the ship docked and it's passengers disembarked, the ship caught fire in the Sydney Harbour. The fire wasn't able to be contained, so they cut it loose and it drifted into Campbells Cove and burned. Eventually the ships magazine caught and it went up with a mighty explosion.
On the 13th of June, the Three Bees will again sail into Campbells Cove and go up in flames. Should be a fun way to spend a winters evening down at the Harbour.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Bathers Pavilion

Tonight we are going out for a very swanky dinner, at the Bathers Pavilion on Balmoral Beach. This restaurant (at $115+ per person per meal) would normally be a little out of our price range, but we are going courtesy of a gift certificate from my boss, with thanks for all our hard work during our recent office relocation.
The Rossiter painting above is an artists rendition of the historic bath house that has now been turned into a fine dining establishment. You can read the history of it at We have been debating the menu for days. Still unsure what to order... it all looks so good!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

May is October

I think I have finally worked out the seasons here. May (here) is October (there).
I know that sounds weird, but here's how it works out:
April, May and June are Autumn.
(Like September, October and November in N. America)
July, August and September are Winter.
(Like December, January & February)
October, November and December are Spring.
(Like March, April & May)
And January, February and March are Summer.
(Like June, July & August)

And it only took me 17 months to work that out. Wow.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Kangaroo Valley

A glorious autumn day is the perfect setting for a drive through the Southern Highlands and Kangaroo Valley. First a drive south through the Royal National Park, winding our way down the mountain side, coming out at Bald Head, with a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean. A drive along the Grand Pacific Drive, past cozy oceanfront towns, and then inland, towards the Southern Highlands. Back up over the mountains, through hairpin turns and awesome views, before coming out in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

At just about the peak of autumn, the Kangaroo Valley is fantastic. There is a crispness in the air, and the colours and textures are overwhelming. I felt right at home with all the brilliant red leaves and golden green fields. We visited one of my favourite Aussie towns, Berry, and Jon was patient enough to let me browse all of its charming shops, whilst oohing and ahhing over the various quilts and hand towels and other kitchey homey things. (Ya'll know this girl cannot resist that sort of stuff!)

After a few hours in Berry, we had just enough time to drive back up the mountain to Fitzroy Falls, an amazing sight at sunset. While we almost froze to death, (yes, that was dramatic, but it was nearly 50F!) it was fantastic to see the sun go down over the valley, turning the sandstone red and the treetops all misty blue.

We finished off the day at a little Italian place in historic Bowral, before heading home. What a great day. I love that we are starting to have our own Aussie traditions. And it's a bit scary that we have been here long enough to have 'annual traditions'... and maybe scarier that we are already talking about doing it again next autumn!

Have to share one of the highlights of the day - the "Self Serve Fudge." Seriously, in the middle of nowhere in Kangaroo Valley, there is this little brown fridge, at the end of someones driveway. In the fridge is heaps of fudge and other homemade sweets. And an honour box, where you put the money. Totally the embodiment of Kangaroo Valley. And btw, totally good fudge.