I can’t quite believe it’s been six years since I went to Australia…. truly, this was the holiday of a lifetime! In November 2008, myself and my parents flew to Australia to surprise my aunt (also my godmother) for her 50th birthday. My aunt & uncle emigrated to Australia with their 3 kids in 1989, and ever since they went, my dad has been dying to go and visit them. My mother always refused, saying it was too far, she wouldn’t be able for the flight, etc, etc. Dad wouldn’t go without Mum, so everyone just resigned themselves to the fact that it would never happen.
Aunt & Uncle were home for my sister’s wedding, and at the reception (at about 2 in the morning after a LOT of drink!) my uncle and I had the following converasation:
Uncle: I need to talk to you niece.
Me: (who had been given a heads-up by my Nana): Yes, and I think I know what you need to talk to me about!
Uncle: You do?
Me: I do.
Uncle: And would you be interested niece?
Me: Well, I wouldn’t say no uncle
Uncle: (seeing my aunt approaching) Right! We’ll talk through the week!
One of my friends (standing beside me during the conversation): Your family is REALLY weird.
Me: You say this like it’s news!
So, I was going to Australia. Checking and pricing flights commenced, but had nothing booked. Now, Mum had had a fall in March and hurt her arm, there were operations and physio, so herself and Dad didn’t get away on holidays over the summer. After Mum’s final appointment at the hospital, Dad brought her home and they had the following conversation:
Dad: What are we going to do about the holidays?
Mum: I don’t know…. What about if we go to Australia with Bronagh?
Dad: (after a serious moment of “Who are you and what have you done with my wife?!”) Great idea! I’ll get PA to book it!!
So Dad goes into work, calls his PA in (think he actually frightened the life out of her, it was one of those “come in here and close the door behind you!” summons that made everyone in the construction industry at that time think they were going to be fired!) and tells her the story, gets her to book 3 tickets to Australia before Mum changes her mind!! Flights were literally booked that afternoon, and they told me that evening (I was perched on the arm of one of the armchairs in our living room, I almost fell off!)
It was truly a cloak and dagger op – all the family in Ireland knew we were going, but they were all warned not to say a word to Aunt, or my mother wouldn’t get on the plane! Only people who knew in Australia were my Uncle, eldest cousin and his wife, my two other cousins didn’t know til the day we got there – the middle cousin was on the road driving to a friends wedding when he got the phone call; he nearly drove the car off the road! Youngest cousin found out when we arrived in the house and my aunt started screaming!
We were there for 3 weeks, and I can honestly say that they were 3 of the best weeks of my life – the weather was fab, and we got to spend time with the Australian family (when they’re over here, they tend to be here there and everywhere trying to see everyone they know in a couple of weeks) so we were able to just take it easy with them.
Here’s some of the many (seriously, many many many!) pictures I took….
This was taken at Kings Park, overlooking the CBD. You can see the ferries on the Swan River, carrying people from East Perth to West Perth. (Seriously, and this may only make sense to an Irish person, but the public transport system in Perth is just AMAZING. It runs on time, it’s clean, everything is integrated and links up – in short, the complete opposite of what we have in Ireland!)
Cottlesloe Beach – one of the prettiest beaches I have ever been to. (Pop culture note – the big white building you can see in the pic is the Tea Rooms where the memorial for Heath Ledger was held).
They only let kids go on the carousel – I was oddly disappointed!!
Hillary’s Boat Harbour is one of my favourite places in Perth – seriously pretty, lots of restaurants and little shops; you can spend the whole day here just wandering about! Plus the pub there, The Breakwater, is lovely whether its the middle of the day or later at night!
The vinyards at Upper Reaches Winery – if you’re in Perth and touring wineries is your thing, go here!! Lovely wines (I can recommend the Black Bream Rose!), good food and lovely, lovely owners.
And for good measure, here’s the song that always makes me think of that holiday – winner of that years Australian Idol, this song was everywhere – “You” by Wes Carr: