Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Manly Beach & Mardi Gras

Thursday February 29, we flew from Christchurch to Sydney.  The east coast of Australia didn't have much of a summer this past year.  It's been colder than normal and with a lot of rain.  None of that changed during our visit.  We arrived in the rain and left in a torrential downpour.  During the eight days we were there we had a total of three beach days.  Not really what we were expecting for our planned sunny tropical vacation. 
When it rains on vacation, there's nothing to do but drink.  Here's Kelly playing bartender in our apartment

Our apartment was right on the beach and we had this pointed balcony to watch people walking in the rain.

Our second night there we went out with our friend Alex for beers and dinner.  He worked with us two seasons at McMurdo and is now getting his Masters at the University of Sydney.

Saturday we awoke to the site of sunshine, but it didn't last long.  Dave took some photos of the view from our apartment while we had some blue sky for the background.

The view looking left from our balcony.

Looking straight out from our apartment we had a view of the beach where there are eight sand volleyball courts located.  Even during the rain there were die hard players out there for us to watch.

Saturday night we took the ferry in to the city to watch the annual Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade.  It wasn't quite the same experience as in the past since it was raining most of the time.  The numerous umbrellas made it a viewing challenge.  Although we were there over two hours early, it never takes long for people to move in and try to work there way in front of you.

We made the most of it and stayed the whole time.  Here are a few photos from the night.

Some of the gay & lesbian Sydney lifesavers.

Monday we had our first full on beach day.  Later that afternoon we took the ferry in to the city to meet some Sydney friends who were with us on our Africa tour.  Here are Dave & Randy on the ferry ride.

Passing the Opera House.

Another shot of the Sydney Opera House

Kelly & Dave with the Harbour Bridge in the background.

Kelly & Randy having drinks near the wharf.

Another shot of the Harbour Bridge.

Wednesday for lunch we went back to the city to have lunch with Alex.  He wanted to introduce us to Dim Sum since neither of us had ever eaten it before (click on the link if you don't know what it is).  The food was good, but it's really all about the experience and it was fun to get to spend more time with Alex.  The following day we flew back to the States where we're currently visiting Kelly's parents and awaiting our next trip...back to Puerto Vallarata on Friday.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Close Up Shots of Rarangi Beach and the Blenheim Area

In yet another attempt to be creative we tried to take some close up shots of things around the beach and vineyards that we thought would make good wallpaper shots for our computers or phones.

Vines at the Wither Hills Winery






Old Wine Barrel

Here are some flower shots.

Wood on the Beach

Wood on the Beach

Sponge on the Beach

Wood on the Beach

More Vines at Wither Hills

More Photos of our Trip to the Blenheim Area

This was the closest we came to getting a shot of the sunrise.

Kelly on Rarangi Beach at sunrise

Looking up the coast.

This is a shot of our beach house.

Sunday morning we went to the local farmers market in Blenheim where Kelly took this shot.

We drove up to Picton Sunday afternoon for a lunch of fish & chips and a walk around town.  Here's a shot of us down by the water

One day we stopped by the Moa Brewing Company to check out their beers.

Sauvignon Blanc grapes at Wither Hills Winery

Susie, Dave & Julie at Wither Hills.

The entrance to the Auntsfield Vineyard.

A photo of the Auntsfield Vineyards.

Susie, Julie, Kelly & Dave amongst the Auntsfield Vineyards.

The Auntsfield Vineyard.

Having lunch at the Wairau River Vineyard.

Dave thought he'd try to get creative with the empty Sauvignon Blanc bottles we polished off during our visit.