Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Bushwalking, wine and kangaroos

The weekend began on Friday night, which was Dom's 38th birthday, he arrived home from NZ just in time for us to go out to a fancy dinner at Altitude, which has a gorgeous view of the other side of the harbor from our apt. In fact you can see our apartment from Altitude...which was amusing, I'm sad I don't have a picture of it.

Anyway, we got a fancy 4 course meal with wine pairings and at the end of the night Dom looked like this:

That is Dom going to bed with the cool tie I bought him earlier in the week, which wasn't for his birthday, because ties are boring presents for birthdays, but it's still a damn cool tie if I do say so myself. Anyway, he'd been running on 4 hours of sleep for the last week and he went to bed as soon as we got home.

The next morning we got up late and got on our merry way about noon. We had a very chill, relaxed drive to Hunter Valley wine country, stopping in a little town called BROOKLYN for some gas (petrol to Aussies).

Who knew there was a Brooklyn in Oz?

An hour or so into our journey we started to see these signs:

but still no kangaroos (or wombats for that matter) EXCEPT DEAD ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD! And amusingly enough, we saw one of those kangaroo crossing signs with a dead kangaroo RIGHT IN FRONT OF IT and then later down the road a wombat crossing sign with a dead wombat RIGHT IN FRONT OF IT! I figure they were admiring the pictures of themselves from the middle of the road...using the light from the oncoming car of course and just didn't have time to get out of the way. I almost took pictures, it was THAT amusing, but thought better of it, because who really wants to look at pictures of dead kangaroos and wombats?

Anyway, aside from the dead ones we hadn't seen any kangaroos and then suddenly we hit the kangaroo jackpot! A whole shitload of kangaroos...just hanging out...I squealed, literally squealed! I sounded like a pig...yes I'm awesome like that. Seriously, one of the coolest things about Australia so far is these goddamn kangaroos. Over the weekend we saw many more and I got excited each and every time I saw one. THEY ARE COOL.

Yeah it's blurry, whatever, they're still kangaroos!

Moving on.

Sunday we headed off for our wine tour. Now, we've done our fair share of wine tastings, both in Sonoma, California as well as Portland, Oregon and let me just say that the Aussie experience was somewhat different.

First and foremost, most people take a wine tour on a wine bus, this is brilliant for about 7 different reasons, the most important of which is that it keeps you from drinking and driving (or as they say here, drink driving). Also, YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING. The driver has your tour all laid out for you, so you literally just sit back and enjoy. All the vineyards are expecting you and set up special group tastings, which means EXTRA WINE! Seriously, we visited 5 vineyards and tried at least NINE different wines at each vineyard. In a word, AWESOME. Now, keep in mind that the tour lasts about 6 hours and starts at 10am, so for the first time EVER, I found myself dumping out wine that I didn't enjoy. They were just so generous with their wine AND ALL THE TASTINGS WERE FREE.
In both Cali and Oregon the tastings are anywhere from $5-$10 so i guess you feel like you paid for that wine and thus don't want to waste a drop and by the end of a day of wine tasting, YOU ARE WASTED. I gotta say I enjoyed this way better, we came home with a bunch of yummy wine and we did not end up totally smashed at 4pm on a Sunday afternoon. Not that I mind being smashed on a Sunday afternoon, a proper NYC brunch is not complete without ending up so, but we were supposed to go out for a fancy dinner at 7:30 and I wasn't sure I could muster up the energy for that after a heavy day of drinking.

We toured around in a "Cheers" bus

Monday, we packed ourselves up and headed back towards Sydney, stopping off for a quick bushwalk. Now, I don't know about you, but I had it in my head that a bushwalk would be different than hiking. For future reference, IT'S THE SAME THING. They just call it a bushwalk because they call their forests "the bush" for some reason. So, anyway, we went for a "bushwalk" in the rain, which honestly was more fun than it sounds.

Setting off on our "bushwalk"

Us and Mel (the car)

Random carving in the rock

We have a wide angle lens and like to take cool pictures of ourselves, what can I say the two faces in the camera gets boring and we are exciting.

See, I am "bushwalking"

Monkey Face Road led to Monkey Face Lookout, Australians have awesome names for things.

And that concludes our first trip outside of Sydney together, I didn't even mind the fact that it was the 4th of July and we did absolutely nothing that has anything to do with America whatsoever. In fact, I completely forgot it was even a holiday at home. What did everyone else do this weekend for 4th of July?


  1. happy birthday, dom! sorry we missed the skype call at the Davios. we had to run.

    love all of the pics.

  2. Looks like so much fun! Glad you had a good 1st trip outside of Sydney! xo

  3. We went to Altitude in 2005 and it was lovely then - what a view! Glad you had fun. I love, love, love the Hunter Valley! :)