??Journey or destination??

Exploring life experiences at home and beyond – Destination Happiness


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Bruny Island Day 2 

We awoke to clouds but no rain. Hopeful for a little less mud we started off to explore the top half of the island. 

Our first stop was the Bruny Cheese Company. although there was no cheese production to watch, we did get to sample some. They were all cow milk based cheeses, ranging from mild soft to hard with a bit of bite. Enjoyed them but with out travel arrangements they weren’t a viable option to purchase.


Next we headed to Get Shucked, an oyster bar. I saw oysters being sorted by size , then went to enjoy some of this freshly shucked produce. They were very tasty and HUGE!! 

Driving on from there we reached Dennes Point and took a walk on the short jetty. The water was crystal clear even at a depth we guesstimated to be about 3 metres or more. Small and large fish swam about the seaweed patches. Just as we went to go back to the car we saw these little creatures playing in the grasses opposite. We think they are baby quolls. They were only about as long as my hand. 

Continuing on we saw an echidna having an amble roadside. It had much more hair between spikes than those I have seen walking wild on mainland Australia. 


From the ferry trip we took the route south, looping us back to Hobart. We detoured by Mt Wellington, observing the cloud atop it as we got closer. The winding road had steep cliffs on our side of the road in parts. It was just 6C at the top ( 13C at sea level). 

Tired, we returned to our hotel back in Hobart. We are off to Port Arthur tomorrow as the weather is to change back to rain on Wednesday, so we will take the sunnier option to walk the historical site tomorrow. 


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Bruny Island -Day 1

Today we made our way to Kettering to catch the car ferry to Bruny Island. I was excited to see Kettering as a couple of months ago I had watched an intriguing TV series based in the town. I have a few of the landmarks to visit there when we return to the mainland.

Arriving for the 11am ferry we had a 40 minute wait. The dock is well set up fir this by having a cafe there. We ate our breakfast watching boats bob on their moorings and before we knew it we were back in our car ready to drive on the ferry.

The trip across takes about 20 minutes. We were on an outside lane so could watch the shoreline disappear as we crossed the still waters.


My original plan was to explore the top half of the island today and the bottom tomorrow. Our accommodation is about midway on the island. Arriving on the island however, we noticed we had just a quarter of a tank of petrol. As the only petrol was on the bottom half of the island we decided to head there and to reverse days.

With a full tank our first stop was the chocolate factory. Due to health and safety rules they are no longer able to have the public visit the chocolate making workshop, but they did have a video of it showing. We sampled lavender fudge and chocolate fudge and then purchased a large selection of fudges and chocolates. Such good customers we were the sales lady tossed on a free bag of chocolate coated honeycomb that was ‘irregular’ – like as if my taste buds will know it’s not perfectly cubed haha.


We saw where Captain Cook , Abel Tasman and William Bligh had landed at different times, then headed to Cloudy Bay and on to the lighthouse. The roads start off tarred but very quickly change to gravel. The roads aren’t very wide in parts, so as you pass traffic going the other way you need to slow a bit. The car has changed from white to brown, a visit to a car wash will be needed before we take it back at the end of the holiday.




The views from the lighthouse area were spectacular, added to by the light mist.

We checked in to our accommodation as we were passing the hotel. As if he new me , the man at the hotel reception assured me to look inside the motel room before passing judgement…it was a little square box from outside!! He said inside was new renovations, and the view amazing and he was right! It’s like a regular motel room inside. The linen is crisp and clean ( I checked as soon as I entered haha). It’s regular hotel size and we put on the room heater and the room was warm fast. It’s not luxury but it’s definitely comfortable and so reasonably priced.


The view is across the D’Entrecasteaux Channel to Satellite Island.


We ate dinner in Hotel Bruny and again were impressed , just like their hotel room.


The menu was large and the meals even larger and delicious!!! The staff were really friendly which added to the atmosphere. We were really challenged to eat all our dinnrer. We started with garlic bread , served on a wooden board with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Brian had chicken parmigiana and o had Tasmanian scallops. Neither of us could totally finish our meal !  Definitely recommend staying and eating here if you come to Bruny Island. 


We will sleep well after all the walking, concentrating on gravel roads and such full tummies. And yes, we still found room for dessert hahaha


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Travelling Tasmania 

We landed at night to the twinkling lights of Hobart city. The adventure began with finding our hire car in the parking lot. It wasn’t that hard to locate but it certainly felt cold as we checked over the car for scratches and dents etc, using the light of our trusty iPhones.With just two wrong turns ( one I’m blaming on the airport road works) we found our accommodation for the night. Our room was in a cottage at the rear. The cottage was an old style house and our room showed the evidence it once had a fireplace , now the room was heated electronically. We left to find food, ending up at Coles supermarket ( we found out the next day just a few blocks more we would hav located a plethora of cafes and restaurants). Dinner consisted of a Lean Cuisine meal for Brian and a pizza bread for me, heated in the room microwave. We also picked up supplies of dips and chips ( our usual Friday night habit).

In the morning we headed off in the direction of Strathgordon. The trip is about 2 and a half hours without stops, but we made stops. 

Our first stop was at Mt Field National Park. I’d read about the Russell Falls here and thought they should be spectacular after the recent Tasmanian rains. The walk to them was an easy one. Signposted as 25 mins return, we took a little longer, looking in the stream for possible sightings of platypuses and to admire the height and width of the trees here, as well as the greenest of green mosses that covered so much vegetation. Some very large trees had fallen both on the path ( and had been chopped back and off the walkway. Some of the trees had trunks as wide as I am tall! 



Already a cold start at around 11C, with each step closer to the falls we could feel the temperature dropping. With hands in my pockets, and ever thankful for my fleecy-lined tights, we walked on to the falls. The sound at the falls was near deafening as the water roared as it propelled over the rock face, to drop to the ground. The stream was full of boulders. Frothy water danced over the rocks , some pooling away from the wash. 


For our walk back to the car we chose the path that led via the other side of the stream. As we walked we paused along the path looking for that elusive platypus, but to no avail. We did see some fish swimming in the current though. 


Our onward journey took us to Strathgordon Dam. The trip was amongst tall mountains, some still with a light layer of snow on top. 


The dam was created in response to the need for more electricity. The dam wall is arc shaped, 17 metres thick at the bottom, tapering to approximately 3 metres wide at the top. The arc runs 198 metres long and is 140 metres tall! There are more than 100 steps down from the road to the dam. Needless to say I didn’t do that trek. I would hate the walk back up, not to mention standing on that dam! I was feeling the height from looking out from the road level! Brian did the walk and had jelly legs from the walk back up. 


Our drive back was in light showers. Heavy black clouds were illuminated by beautiful rainbows. The grasslands looked even greener against the sky. 


Dinner was fabulous! Pizza Hut in Moonah ( suburb near where we were staying) still does the ‘all you can eat’ buffet. We put the term to the test and waddled out after our consumption of pizza, salad and dessert. 

Tomorrow … Bruny Island 


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Do it!

imageEvery where we have eaten on this vacation to Fiji, be it at a resort or in Port Denarau, on islands or evening cruises, the food has been extremely delicious.. And the serving sizes plentiful.

Breakfast starts the day we’ll with a huge buffet at the resort. This even included champagne( pour your own from bottles in a large ice bucket, if that’s your desire. Eggs are made to yourlikimg as you wait, including fluffy omelets with an array of optional fillings. We find with a good breakfast and the addition of an ice cream for afternoon tea wended no more food until dinner.

Each morning those of you who know me well, know I can’t go past fresh cream…on desserts, cakes, in coffee…even straight from a spoon🙂 There at the pancake bar each morning is a huge bowl of whipped cream!! Like everything it is relent shed often with fresh supplies. Of course I load it on my pancakes, my fruit and slip some into my coffee. Yesterday as I placed my pancake on my plate I looked to the bowl. It had just a ‘me’ size serving left.

The lady in front of me had the spoon in her hand. I knew I’d have to wait for the fresh bowl (and I was already drooling in anticipation of the cream). But no! She was that weird brand of person I don’t understand at all. She uttered that sentence all ‘good’ women do… “Oh, I should be GOOD and not eat cream!” Under normal circumstances I would break into my spiel that we shouldn’t accord guilt to the consumption of food we enjoy. At that point of brain wave however, where I was contemplating , “What if there is no other bowl of cream in the kitchen?” I heard myself tell her in no uncertain terms she definitely should stick to the good over ‘naughty’ and skip the cream!!

I then ladled that delicious fresh cream onto my pancake, drizzled the maple syrup in a decorate way…and devoured  it in eyeshot of the dry pancake being consumed by that lady at a nearby table. I did notice another bowl of cream out when I returned to select a pastry 😜

Life isn’t a rehearsal!!


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Bula!

After a few long hectic weeks full of a combination of illness ( the dreaded cough virus that hit the local area and both me and Brian) , heavy workload and consequently no sleep relaxation time has finally arrived. 

Spent the ‘night before flight’ at Rydges Sydney Airport as our flight out was an early 8:30 one. Can’t recommend this highly enough for plane enthusiasts …or those that value an extra hour of sleep before travel! Our room looked over the airport. I was well armed with my trusty binoculars, flightradar24 open on one page of my browser and the flight arrival and departures on another. This is one of the few times I don’t feel hunger – well at least not for food. Had to be dragged away from my window but must admit the food was truly worth it. Watched the planes til no more passenger flights then was up to watch the first to depart Sydney in the morning. Then it was my time to join the travelers.


Check in was easy enough, but in true fashion for me, the check-in counters and gates were always miles apart. Yes, I checked in at counter J (Virgin Australia) and departed from gate 50 …but at least not Gate 63! While waiting for the plane I had to get my teacher voice and face out. Minding our own business I get a hit to the head with a tennis ball. Two kids were playing an active game of handball amongst the crowd of passengers . The first hit got them the death stare and a suggestion to play further away. The second!!!! time saw the deaths stare and a comment that a better place to play would be outside the terminal. The third!!!! time saw them come over and ask for their ball back this time rather than just scramble around our feet. Thankfully it as boarding time then. Is it too much o teach children that there is a time and place for games? I noticed their parents enjoying a quiet coffee well away from the ‘play area’. If only I’d had their insight haha! 

Anyway our flight was to be a great one. Couldn’t believe our luck. We had seats in row 3. Yes I had to be in close proximity to the business class people but had extra leg room and 2 windows , what more can I ask for?? … welll….maybe for no crying baby or the toddler who kept opening and closing the magnetic rope that separates business class from economy. Food was a yogurt, an omelet, with 3 potato wedges and tasty chutney, and a muesli bar, washed down with apple juice . Was even able to stalk my own plane via the Virgin onboard wifi…also had an array of movies, podcasts, books and games. Broke the monotony of just water to look at below. 


Arrived at Nadi to be greater by 30C heat and a balmy breeze…just how life should be. A quick bag grab and walk through customs and in a few minutes we were being whisked away to our accommodation wearing new she’ll necklaces. We saw children on buses going home from school. Learned they have a 3 term year, with 2 sets of 3 week holidays and a 6 weeker at Christmas ( does this now qualify me to call this trip an educational activity and tax deduction??? lol) we passed through sugar cane, and houses with washing dancing on clothes lines , then the opulence of enormous homes ( apparently mostly own by overseas investors) and a well manicured golf course, before arriving at the Westin Denarau. 


We were greeted by a porter and a small band was playing in the foyer ( not purposely for me haha). Check in was a breeze and thanks to my new membership (joined last week) of the Starwood club I was told I was entitled to a 20% off dining ( except breakfasts). Better than a poke in the eye with a blind stick for sure!! 

Our room is in the second floor which means about 12 steps – you all know how much I love steps. But we do have a balcony. 


We were starving after our aeroplane food being all we had eaten , but at almost 5 pm found we needed to walk to Sheraton ( maybe 500 meters) for food or wait until 6pm. So wait we did, using the time to look around the resort . So glad I fake tanned before we left. I would have stood out more as a newbie with my milky white legs haha. 

Ate dinner at an Asian inspired restaurant while watching a fire dance . We will get more ‘up close and personal’ to this show another night when we aren’t lusting after an early dinner like we were. 

Ambled along the waterfront before retiring early. 10pm here is just 8pm at home but we were both exhausted from lack of sleep. Zzzzzzzz


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Ways to enjoy a swimming pool and ensure others do too (?) !!

I decided although I like to wear the newest style clothing and hair, keep up to date with music and can tell you the latest Kardashian gossip with the best of them, there is still a hidden ‘old’ gene that surfaces every now and then. I think it was surfacing big time when I was sitting poolside at a resort and while I wrote this.🙂

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1. If mum is sitting on the pool edge in her pretty bikini, well styled hair and make up, don’t jump in the water there. Instead walk the 10 paces to the stranger who is also sitting poolside, also has perfect make up and hair and is enjoying her quiet time. Jump right in there, creating a splash that won’t splash far enough to wet your mum.
2. Signs don’t apply to men. Don’t let the ‘No Diving ‘sign take away your fun. To maximise your fun, ignore those empty spots poolside when choosing your spot to execute your dive. Choose less than 30 cms from the lady sitting quietly poolside relishing in the peaceful water gently lapping over her feet. Select the lady who is enjoying the fact that she no longer has to do the ‘watch the kids safety’. Step as close as you can, bomb into the water. If you really want it do it well stand up after the dive ( yes the water is only shallow) then do your most splashiest duck dive. Very impressive.
3. Children need to practise their swimming strokes every opportunity. You have invested many dollars in those lessons and where better to practise the fast feet kicking. The best method is to do it pushing out from the beach area of the pool. More often that not the beach swim out is only used by one or two people. They are sitting there using the area as it is designed, to sit in the water without disturbing others and enjoying the sun’s rays dancing on the soft water lapping around them. Sit back on your deck chair and bellow ( oops use soft tones) at your children, “Do It again!” “Go back to the edge and kick harder this time!” This will buy you time without the kids . Those sitting close by will enjoy watching your children have fun and listening to your exquisite instructions, not to mention being covered in water splash. Another suitable venue for this activity is near the swim up bar as well. All those drinks being carried away can be made more tasty with a good splash of chlorinated swimming water.
4. The lady staring out at the water , saying nothing, enjoying the vision of palm trees swaying , music of a solo guitar player singing ‘her’ music,is just waiting for you to bring your baby over to splash right up close, and not to mention you engaging in loud cute baby talk and yes, splashing. Nothing cuter than someone else’s baby in a baby float that keeps floating to her and knocking her legs. What fun would the empty area of the pool be for this activity? No , close range to another is the preferable place.

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5. Don’t just bring a float to the pool. Bring a huge ( decent size) float then ride it close to others floating in the water. Up close those floats look even more impressive as they glide past a face , pushing glasses from the face of the plastic float free person. Don’t bother with a verbal apology, no, respond with a simple splash wave as enjoy your hands help you paddle on.
6. Bring a decent size ball ( talking regular football size of course!) to the pool. Stand the person who is least likely to catch the ball near the person who is standing and / or floating in the pool carefree. Purposely ignore the empty expanses in the pool. Have the strongest tosser hurl that ball so it skims the water creating a perfect splash – yes in the face of unsuspecting swimmers. This can only be topped in greatness if the player who didn’t catch the ball does some hectic water thrashing to reach the ball.
Most of all, always have your interactive pool fun as far away as possible from the empty parts of the pool…and your mum. Choose an unsuspecting stranger instead.🙂

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Have you any other examples of where others involve you in their fun at the pool ?


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For Now , For Later, For Ever??

Now, no denying I’m a technology fan! I grew up in a home that promoted it. I love new gadgets and am up to date with my phones and tablets , not to mention apps. I see merit in the often put down selfie stick and love a good selfie. It is great to be able to take a photo or video memory of an adventure or experience – without having to invade the personal space of others by interrupting them to take a photo for you . This also eliminates that embarrassing moment when you need to ask the stranger to again take the photo because their first attempt wasn’t good enough.

So while I love what technology can do, I’m a little concerned about its imposition on living in the moment. Yesterday I attended a Fleetwood Mac concert. It was an outdoor arena in the Hunter Valley ( 2 hours north of Sydney for those not familiar with the area). The weather wasn’t so kind to us concert goers but it didn’t impact on the quality performance given by the band.

The seats we had were very good and close enough to the stage to see the full facial gestures. The side screens were good for an occasional glance but the stage held my attention. What amazed me was I had to dodge around not just the patrons that felt the need to stand and dance  ( don’t get me started on that haha) but their two arms extended with camera device, eyes gazing up at their screen, filming the whole thing, watching the performance through the lens of their smartphone or other similar gadget. I suppose they can relive the moment later, but did they really live the moment as it evolved?

What are your thoughts? Can we be too obsessed with recording for the future that we miss the present?

My photos of the night🙂

Capturing the mood

Capturing the mood

Steve Nicks belts out a tune to the smart phones

Steve Nicks belts out a tune to the smart phones

Mick Fleetwood's drum set

Mick Fleetwood’s drum set


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Riding and Gliding 

Ever had a bird’s eye view of the top canopy of a rainforest? We did and what an exhilarating day it made ! We visited Kuranda on the Kuranda Scenic Railway, returning home on the Skyrail. For one who struggles with heights it provided challenges and I am proud to say I rose to the occasion. Our first leg of the journey was the Kuranda Scenic Railway. We raced to the Cairns station following our Google map instructions. Had we stuck with that we would have walked about 6 stairs onto the station, but no, I saw the station and took what looked like a short cut only to find the lift out of action so I had to walk the 30 or so steps up then down onto the platform – a lesson learned. 

  
Our carriage was 14, the final carriage on the train. It gave us a great view of the train as it rounded the bends as it made its way to Kuranda I must say.

  
A running commentary was broadcast through the train telling of the history of the railway, and sights along the way. You can take a look at the facts here.  The making of the rail line and its tunnels certainly was an amazing feat considering the use of hand tools and lack of modern day surveying skills. 

 Sugar cane farms lined the track as we headed from Cairns before giving way to rainforest vegetation, some very deep ravines and spectacular waterfalls. We alighted at Barron Falls for a short photo opportunity then boarded the train again Kuranda bound.  

    
   
Our return journey from Kuranda was by the Skyrail. We chose the diamond view gondola, paying $12 extra each for the fear factor 🙂 It has a glass bottom so you can enjoy not only looking out but down onto the canopy of this majestic rainforest. The views in all directions were spectacular and even I eventually tolerated enjoyed  the view through the glass. I have a fear of heights, especially over water, so I wasn’t the least bit doubting that our first small stop ( we had been told to expect a few as we travelled) would see our gondola mid way between poles dangling over the river… And I was right! 

   
We alighted at Barron Falls and walked the short walks to the lookouts over the falls. They were a closer view from here than from the train station. From there we next alighted at Red Peak again taking a short boardwalk through the rainforest. Standing in awe of the tall trees, green vines and ferns making their way to the light via the trees, brush turkeys digging and sweet bird calls echoing the only sense that wasn’t tantalised was my sense of smell. No this rainforest doesn’t emit an odour. It was in fact the freshly lit cigarette a walker had to ‘share’. He could only have been on the Skyrail for a maximum of about 20 minutes and this board walk was only 200 metres and a return trip was a maximum of 20 minutes yet he couldn’t go without in that short time. He butted it out in a rubbish bin and when I made the comment that it was disappointing to have my time spoiled by his smoke he just stared and walked on. Imagine if that butt then started a fire in the bin then proceeded to the rainforest leaf litter. 

The final leg on the Skyrail into freshwater is very steep. We were lucky not to have to share our gondola ( had this luck all the way) and we both sat facing the descent ( the man loading passengers had said it was perfectly ok for us to do that without unbalancing the gondola – of course I needed the clarification of that point). To add to my fun it was gondola 13. The view was amazing as the rainforest gave way to the ocean. By now I was coping fine with the glass floor.

Another bucket list item ticked off . 


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I write because…

I love to talk. I want to share my ideas and hear yours. I speak the truth but sometimes I like to turn it to fiction, embellishing it to make it more interesting , just like adding a variety of textures to a collage. Ears aren’t always there when the thoughts fill me and need to flow like soap bubbles blown from a wand. That’s the beauty of writing. It waits patiently to be heard, while I can start on my next conversation. The words swirl, creating pictures, interpreted personally, as are the images captured by a camera lens of etched with a paintbrush.

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Dreams do come true!

With Father’s Day tomorrow in Australia, I was looking through early posts on my blog. I knew I had written one about my dad and wanted to re-read it. I found it (take a peek if you like). I also found a list of dreams I had written – not dreams as in sleep time but dreams of things I wanted to achieve. I wrote it 2 years ago so decided to see if I could tick any off the list.

The Ticked

Visit Port Douglas and the Daintree Rainforest

Almost ticked. The flights and accommodation are finalised and we will be there in around five weeks time. We are traveling around Cairns to Kuranda and up as far as Cape Tribulation. It will be a planes, trains and automobile style trip ( oh and throw in a cruise ship too!)file2101291129795

Visit the Blue Grotto and Pompeii

In June last year my family (husband and two grown up kids) traveled to Italy. It was an amazing holiday, made extra enjoyable by us all sharing it together. We didn’t actually get inside the Blue Grotto. Heavy seas, high tide fast approaching and a long queue of boats meant we only saw it from the outside. But, still we saw it (and a lot of other pretty grottos on our sail around Capri

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Pompeii is hard to put in words. It’s like you can still feel the lives of the people there both before the catastrophe and as they faced it. I cannot even imagine the fear that filled them as some struggled to escape (but to nowhere) nor those that curled up tightly with their family aware they could not beat this beast. And, there, looming in your vision is the all powerful Mt Vesuvius.

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Do a Sound of Music Tour

What an amazing time we had in Salzburg (July 2015) fulfilling this dream. The Mirabellplatz Gardens were opposite our accommodation. This Garden is the scene of the ‘Do-Re-Me’ steps, gnomes and trellises .Of course I sang the song as I jumped steps,tapped gnomes on the head and of course skipped ( yes skipped!!) through trellised walkways. I also did an organised SOM bus tour where I danced around a rotunda singing walked around lakes and saw the church of the marriage.

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Watch Sunrise and Kochie Live

Sunrise is an Australian morning news TV program. It is filmed at Martin place and is visible from the street.I’m a Kochie fan so was excited to make the trip to Sydney to stand outside to watch.I was extra thrilled when a few months later I actually got to be part of an inside audience, something they don’t have very often.

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Cook a three course meal

My cooking IS getting better. Maybe because I don’t do it so often now we are empty nesters. This makes the times I do it no longer the compulsory chore it used to be.

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Learn more conversational Italian

My Italian is still VERY limited but I loved listening to others using it during our travels. I was able to read the train ticket machines which was helpful.I also had a few(very simplistic) conversations-mostly transport or food related. Sadly since our return non-use means I need a HUGE refresher course.

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These on the list are YET TO BE COMPLETED but are still important to me.I’m taking Abbey Lee off the list though as I don’t watch the show much now.

*Visit USA again and see Abby Lee Dance Studio – and hopefully Abby Lee :)

*Visit Churchill to see the polar bears in the wild

*African wildlife safari

*Go to the Melbourne Cup

*See the Canadian Rocky Mountains by train

*Fly over Antarctica – preferable ice class :)

*Attend a dawn service for ANZAC DAY

*Be on Sydney Harbour for New Year’s Eve

*Write a children’s picture book

*Write a collection of short stories

Have you ticked off any of your own dreams lately? Did they live up to your expectations?