Great way to end our trip with the Griffith families in Welllington Point. Travelling and being able to spend time with Australian families makes it pretty special and memorable for all of us. Ryan taught Luke to skate board; he is well known for his extreme sports. Pretty amazing that our families connected almost 20 years ago when Kara did an exchange to Red Deer.

We went to Eat Street Market, a trendy place with various international food and live music. We even found a place that had Swedish candy fresh off the boat.

Spent Saturday aboard the "therapy" boat and went to (tangalooma) Moreton Island snorkelling and swimming. Luke's first time snorkelling was pretty exciting for him - he was soooo excited! The snorkelling is among shipwrecks which makes it a unique location(last pic below shows where we snorkelled). Was total luxury as we have never experienced with warm showers, cappuccino maker and navigation system all right there.

So much fun, learning and family time on this holiday. Thank you Australia for a great 2016 experience.

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What a destination, Byron Beach is beautiful. I know why Aussies over use the word beautiful... So much beautiful beauty here:)

Kids, including Davin had a blast playing in the waves. This is the place for kids to learn to surf. It isn't the hippy place it used to be known for. Seemed much more like a destination for families and surfers.

The pictures capture it all...

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The outdoor life here is outstanding. We spent the morning at Aqua splash, a park for kids and adults in the water (also available in penticton) which was a blast and a huge workout.

Every day we have been able to find a new park with outstanding climbing structures, zip lines and more. And all with an ocean view making it pretty easy on the parents.

Bringing the scooters has been worthwhile with the endless boardwalks along the ocean. I Can no longer keep up with kids on their scooters anymore... More training needed on my part.

Kara and Lee came for the day at the "Goldie". Davin brought out his tennis smash and played Lee (although her many years of experience trumped Davin). Luke was keen to try tennis and we will be registering him for lessons when we return. Dav needs someone to play with on holidays in the future.

The evening ended at sanctuary cove, "an up market" area for dinner with our Aussie friends, Lee, Kara, Clint and Jane. Picture of food is Kara's serving of baked octopus which could have fed the entire table.

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So many aspects of Australia we are enjoying - the coffee shops, bakeries and cafes are outstanding. I prefer the service here, laid back and no pressure. Even though it took a few days to figure out that you pay at the bar and Aussies generally don't tip I prefer it that way. Food prices are more on the menu but it all works out, plus you can tell it is made in house versus chain restaurant standardized salty food. Less interruptions and on our time to order and leave makes it so pleasant.

First day we have had that is overcast, made for a great running and scooting morning. We are Canadian so will spend the rest of the day at the beach even if it does rain.


Luke loves the "I is for ibis" bird from our book at home. He points out all the Ibis, they are comparable to seagulls at home as they are everywhere and looking for human scraps.

I would say we have a room with a view. There are so many high rises here along the miles of beach. Despite the number of condos it doesn't feel busy here at all and after 7pm the shops are all closed and it is dark so you really don't see anyone out and about. Here are our views in the pics below.

Kids have been able to see a lot of different sports here. Makes you think how different sports are depending on your home town terrain. Rowing, surfing, tennis courts, so many outdoor lane pools, Aussie rules football and cricket are a few. There are a great number of runners on the beach too - they start at 530 am and go all day. I ran today and love running at sea level. 

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Sunday we headed south from Hervey Bay to Surfers Paradise. Made it a scenic and fun trip with several beach stops. We preferred Coolum - we reckon it is trendy, nice beaches and not nearly as overcrowded as Noosa Heads has become among the places on the Sunshine Coast. Davin had many memories from Noosa and his hostel days. There are still heaps of backpackers and Internet cafes among the high end hotels and shops.

Pics below sum up our beach time - Olivia doing gymnastics and Luke wave jumping.

Getting used to not having the right of way and using zebra crossings....

We arrived at the Xanadu - hotel of choice from 16 years ago and it is wonderful to be back. Surfers paradise has miles of beach. Kids have found some great parks right on the beach and we are set.

Luke, just like his dad, loves to boogie board. Would be great if they could learn to surf together one day. Lots of great waves to ride here....

Sand castle competitions have begun. Olivia and Davin versus Kristen and Luke. Luke thinks the bigger the better.

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We spent the last few days at THE Sarons. The same family I stayed with when all the CanAussie fun began 16 years ago. Lee and John now live in Hervey Bay, a beautiful town that attracts retirees and has a great boardwalk and beach for kids. Not a lot of waves with the protection of Fraser Island. There was so much fun and laughter and staying with an Aussie family makes the experience so much better.

Kids loved the time with Maddie and eating icey pops (Popsicles).

Davin enjoyed golfing with John and the many kangaroos on the course. John gave him a lesson about male and female kangaroos that you will have to follow up with Davin about.

The beach, walks and parks in Hervey Bay along with the gorgeous drive here impressed us all. We have found some great Australian and New Zealand wines beyond Oyster and Cloudy Bay so a successful trip for sure!

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Honestly our visit with Kara and stay at the Sunshine Coast could not have been better. Visited 3 beaches (kawana, coolum and Noosa national park) which all had perfect sand and waves
Paddle boarded the esplanade and both kids are quite confident on their boards. Learned that cross walks are called zebra crossings - the slang never ends.
Kara and I went for a walk right in her home "boutique" town Buderim. Her place has views of lush greenery and the Sunshine Coast and a real retreat feel.

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Olivia's blog: Today I went to the zoo. First we went and saw some lizards and I held a lizard. We went to this land and it was called wetland but it wasn't exactly wet. There were 2 huge dinosaurs you could climb on.
Then we went to the crocodile show. And we held a koala and touched a crocodile. Crocodiles have the strongest bite on the world of any animal. Then we took the shuttle to the rhinos, zebras and giraffes in an area all together. And then we took the shuttle back and went home.

Pictures photo credit of Davin.

Luke says: we saw giraffes, rhinos, koalas, baby koalas and they are so soft. We also listened to up town funk you up.

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What a positive conference today - talking about dreaming, destiny and desiring all things related to nursing. Affirming again that I love being a nursing educator.

Sara and I had a great time presenting the faculty navigator program and meeting nurse colleagues.

Post conference exploration of the "city". Free ferry's to cross the river and walking paths lined with palm trees was the perfect way to end a great day. Pic below of story bridge.

Ended the evening at the BEST Italian restaurant I have been - panne Vino. The restaurants and food here have gone beyond expectations. Breakfast has been smashed avocado toast, chia pots (almond, coconut milk with chia seeds and fruit) and fruit. Can't beat that with the city view. Oaks towers has not disappointed either, great location and place to stay.

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The conference began with "warm welcomes" from the minister of health and conference committee. In Queensland they are implementing mandatory nurse patient ratios and are the first known place to do this, it will be interesting to see how this rolls out (the nurses seem very happy and a huge applause was given). It is great to be at an international conference and hearing from the dean the Florence Nightingales school and many others from all over.

And the kids did this - fun at south bank and street beach right in the heart of Brisbane. Amazing public beach, pool, park and splash park that is beyond amazing. The kids and Davin took the ferry across the river for free transport today to the park. What a city - we truly love Brisbane!

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