Our Aussie Christmas

We had a very Aussie Christmas this year - with six Americans staying with us for the holidays we wanted to show them what makes Melbourne so special to us.  Some of them had just completed the Milford Trek in New Zealand, some came via a stop in Hawaii, and another hailed from Singapore.  One was my brother, three I grew up knowing, and some of them had just met.  It was a very random mix of people up for an adventure in Oz.

On Christmas Eve Day we took them all to Phillip Island, starting off with the bazaar Koo Wee Rup Swamp Observation Tower and trying hot jam donuts.  Next up was watching the pelican feeding in San Remo and enjoying some fish and chips for lunch.  We drove over the bridge to Phillip Island and the first stop there was Forrest Caves.  It's kind of a strange name, but basically it's a beautiful red rock formation on the beach.  It's one of the lesser known spots on the island so there isn't usually anyone there and the scenery makes it one of my favourite places.  We explored the beach, the rocks, and even got to watch a seal drag itself along the beach for a nap.
Pelican feeding at San Remo

Heading to Forrest Caves 



Forrest Caves

There is sort of a cave - but definitely no forrest

My brother and I 

The group

Seal! 





Time for a drink!
After the walk along the beach we were thirsty so we stopped into Ocean Reach Brewing in Cowes.  Then it was off to visit the koalas.  For dinner we shared our traditional Christmas Eve picnic on the beach with the group.  We had a feast of salami, cheese, and fruit, though we were minus the plates, cups, bread, and crackers so made do with what we had.  The weather was truly Melbourne - one minute it was sunny, the next we had "sky water", then it was cold and windy and then sunny again.  It wasn't the perfect feast, but the surprises and good company made it truly memorable.
Aaron and the Koala. #twinning

a real koala that actually moved

Improvising on the bubbly since we forgot the cups

Sunny

Not sunny

Sunny again



After dinner we had a quick stop at the Nobbies to see the beautiful scenery there.  It was nearing sunset, so we even saw a few penguins getting ready to greet their mates.  Then it was time for the Penguin Parade.  We grabbed our seats and waited for darkness to fall and for the little penguins to get brave enough to venture across the beach.  Some would come in, then get spooked and run back out, then finally march their way across the sand and up to their burrows.  We love watching these guys and love showing them to others - penguins in the wild are not something you get to see everywhere, or every Christmas Eve!  (except for us!)
The Nobbies

Amanda at the Nobbies

A chick waiting for its parents

Waiting for the penguins

The Penguin Parade

On Christmas morning we had scones with jam and cream and then surprised everyone with Aussie Christmas stocking full of trip souvenirs.  Maybe and Shirley got to open their presents, and then everyone pitched in to make our Christmas lunch.  We popped crackers, donned crowns, and stuffed our faces.  We all went over to visit our Aussie family in the afternoon and then took the group for a kangaroo walk in the evening.  When we got back that night we had an impromptu Aussie beer tasting with the beers and shot glasses that were in their stockings.  It was a wonderful day to share with everyone.
Opening their Christmas Stockings

Shirley's first Christmas

Maybe and Shirley in her new shark outfit

Christmas lunch

Aussie Stockings

Kangaroo Walk



Bart ready for a Roo punch out



Beer tasting
On Boxing Day we headed out into the city to explore.  We stopped for coffee, checked out the Aboriginal exhibit at the museum, and then stopped for a snack and a tipple while we watched the Boxing Day Test.  Then we explored some of the lane ways and street art that Melbourne is known for, explored the National Gallery of Victoria, and walked to the Shrine of Remembrance and through the Botanic Gardens.  We got a lot of walking in, a lot of sun, and had a good Melbourne CBD experience.
Having a gay time in the city

Shrine of Remembrance

The City from the Shrine

The Botanic Gardens

The worn out crew



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