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January 22, 2009 - Grand Canyon Village, Arizona, United States

So here we are, the end of our trip.  We arrived back home in Sydney last week and moved straight back into our unit which was rented out while we were away.  The tenants were pretty good and we were very surprised that the place seemed in better condition than when we left.  Apparently they got in professional cleaners when they moved out.  However we decided that the place needed a spruce up and what better time to do so than when there is no furniture.  We spent 3 days from 7am to 10pm painting from top to bottom.  We have changed the colour to a darker shade and are both happy with the end result.  Of course when you paint something you then start noticing all the other things that need doing too, so we are now repainting all the doors, cornices, window frames as well.  The tenants cooked with a lot of grease so we have also had to scrape grease from the stovetop, unblock the dishwasher and regrout the kitchen which is quite time consuming.  We are having built in wardrobes installed in both bedrooms, and are replacing the lino in the kitchen as well so hopefully we won't have to do too much work on it for the next few years.  For the first few nights we were living out of our backpacks and still sleeping on our camping mats, but we have now got most of the furniture back upstairs and it's looking abit more like home again.

On top of the reno's, we have been busy reorganising our lives so we can get back into a routine.  We bought a car (Toyota Stationwagon) from the auctions, sorting out our insurances and getting jobs etc.  Ed has got a job already, he went for a few interviews this week and was offered one of them today so now I suppose I should think about doing the same (although I am not sure I want to give up the Lady of Leisure role I have just yet).   Deb went up to the Gold Coast for a few days to visit her family.  It was a flying visit as she only had two days.  it was great to see mum and dad, Stu and the kids, and Gail and Janine and kids again.  Mum and dad surprised Debbie by taking her up the Q1 tower in Surfers paradice for a coffee which was excellent.  The views were incredible and you could see for miles (actually, now we're in Aussie again that should be kilometres!).

The rest of our time in New Zealand was very enjoyable too.  We spent about a week climbing near TeKuiti which was good fun.  We camped by a river and even though it was meant to be raining, the weather ended up being perfect.  After a week we had both had enough of climbing, so we decided to spend our last few days doing something different.  The plan was to go up north past Auckland to a place called Goat Island which is renowed for it's snorkelling and diving.  It is a marine park so lots of marine life including stingrays.  So we borrowed a snorkel and mask off Sandra and Garth and headed up.  Unfortunately for us the visibility was really bad and we couldn't see a foot in front of us!  Deb didn't see a single fish, and Ed saw about 5!  Never mind, it was good to go for a swim anyway.  Sandra told us afterwards that there are Great White Sharks nearby which are currenlty breeding so we were glad we found that out afterwards!

We also went up to Helensville to spend some time with Deb's aunty Lois up on the farm.  It was really good to see her.  We always enjoy going up there to the farm, it's so relaxing up there and we both love poking round her massive vegetable garden and playing with the dog.  Lois handrears calves so we loved watching her tend to them.   Debs cousin Shona and partner John popped round to visit too and it was really nice to see them and finally meet John.  Ed and John hit it off as they are both plumbers who like motorbikes, and Ed is already wondering if he can convince John to come over to the Grand Prix with him in Melbourne!  We only had a day up there but it never seems enough, we wished we had longer as we love visiting these guys.

On our last night we took Sandra and Garth to the Auckland Sky tower for dinner.  We all stuffed ourselves at the buffet and then went up the lifts to see the birdseye view of Auckland from the tower.  A nice end to our NZ trip.

Our flight home to sydney was good and we were both really excited to be home although we are sure that we are going to miss our travels and will probably start thinking about the next trip in a few weeks time!



January 23, 2009
Welcome Home. Can't wait to catch up and hear about your next planned adventure
Brenda W:
January 23, 2009
Welcome home guys! Can't wait to catch up with ya...but will have to wait as now it's my turn - I'm off to Ton Sai (Thailand) again!!! Will be back 1st week of March. See you then.
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