Life and Travel

Elternzeitreise Q3/2024

Reisezeit: 25.05.-26.08.2024

Los ging es von München. Wir übernachteten bei unseren Freunden in Eichstätt, Samstag Anreise, dann ein perfekter Sonntag mit grillen, Bier und Eis. Und dann am Montag früh mit leicht überhöhter Geschwindigkeit zum Zug, da wir morgens noch mit den Kids diskutieren mussten, wer mitfährt. Ingolstadt Airport Express nach MUC hat super geklappt.

Singapur

27.05. – 31.05.2024

Normaler Weise sind wir nicht so die Städte Besucher. Aber Singapur war anders. Unser Aufenthalt in Singapur war heiß. Mit Zeitverschiebung zu Deutschland von 6h sind wir super gefahren. Bereits am zweiten Tag hatten wir keine Probleme mehr mit dem einschlafen und aufwachen. Mit zwei Kids sind wir gut gefahren die öffentlichen Verkehrsmittel zu nutzen. Nicht nur die Bahnen/MRT sonder auch die Busse verbindungen sind super easy herauszufinden mit maps. Uns hat besonders gut gefallen, dass so sehr auf Sauberkeit geachtet wird. Keine Kaugummis, wenige Zigaretten auf dem Boden und das beste überall stand do not litter und wir sind um ihr Wohlergehen bemüht. Die Stadt ist ein Schmelztiegel von Buddha Hinduistischen Tempel steht direkt 100m ein Chinesischer Tempel zum Vergleich. Etwas in Süden Harbour Bay haben wir ebenfalls zwei Kirchen gesehen. Die Tempel werden aktiv genutzt und als wir vormittags ankamen im chinesischen Zrmepel fand gerade eine Messe statt.

Sehr interessant den Rhythmischen Gesängen zu lauschen und kaum kommen wir wieder raus, drückt ein alter Herr Johann einen Lolli in die Hand und freut sich fast noch mehr als Johann als dieser dann Thank you sagt. Von den drei großen Stadtviertel: Kumpong Gan, Little India, und Chinatown. hat uns selbst Chinatown mit am besten gefallen. Trubel Märkte Hitze da kann man sich auch mal ein BBQ sweet spicy gönnen. Im Chinatown Hawker haben wir nur eine gute Stunde nach dem Kitchen Impossible Stand mit Gefüllten Austern Taschen gesucht. Insgesamt haben wir immer recht lange damit zugebracht uns auf eines der vielen Vielen Restaurants zu einigen. Sodass wir dann immer erst nach der Achlafenszeit Jungs zurück im Hotel waren. Wir sehen wie es jetzt in Malaysia Malacca wird. Trinkwasser spender gibt es sehr viele und auch unser Hotel hatte spezielle Premium Wasser Filter eingebaut. Sodass wir den Brei direkt daraus hergestellt haben. Allen geht es bestens.

Nur Matthias hatte nach dem Flug etwas mit der Klimaanlage Luft zu kämpfen und eine volle Nase. Das hat sich mittlerweile aber auch gelegt.

Malaysia

31.05. – 13.06.2024

Melaca

We continued to Melaca with the bus. Our hotel was Avaa hotel, directly at Melaca river. Nice place. The whole Melaca town reminded us wie ein einziger frelicht Vergnügungspark. Überall Lichter, Musik, Attraktionen.

Georgetown

Georgetown again with bus. We traveled for 6h trip – only 9h. You just get used to it. But, going with public transport in Georgetown works great. Monkey beach in national park Penang. Cheeky monkeys still our food and Johanns shoes. You heard right: Johann’s shoes. Now one monkey out there as a great pair of shoes with orthopedic support for correct walking. Johann went home perpedes. Plus, we needed to buy new shoes for Johann in KL.

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysians only call the city: KL. KL is so huge, a real city jungle. Walking in the jungle is not a good idea. It is hot and the distances are rather far from one attraction to next one. You need a car/taxi/Grab or Google Maps for the public transport to get around. We had a Airbnb in Trion. Nice place with 2 large pools and one for the kids. The offered a private bus to the MRT, which was nice.

Our Food Summary

Generally it is very spicy. And if you ask, please not so spicy. The waitress answer, but then it is not tasty. We learned in Melaca area the heritage food is called Nyonya. We were twice disappointing:

  1. Thai food restaurant with 4.7 stars by ~3000 reviews in Georgetown
  2. Chinese fish satay in KL.

We loved the Dumplings in Chinese restaurant. I learned new, Okra oldest vegetables in world. Melaka fish lotus pie. Georgetown Hompton Hotel – directly in front of hawkers, we had 3 full dishes and then in hotel a cocktail and cake as sun downer. Both ended up same price 50 ringgid.

Australien

13.06. – 31.07.2024

Sydney

13.06.-18.06.
Wir waren vier Nächte hier, ohne die Kids hätten drei auch gereicht. Highlights bei verregnetem Wetter waren:

  1. Opera
  2. Harbour Bridge
  3. National Museum (nice indoor playground)
  4. Maritime Museum
  5. Vivid Sydney – Festival of lights in Darlington Harbour

Port Stephens & Hunter Valley

18.06.-21.06.
Welcome to Australians oldest wine region, Hunter Valley. We have been visiting Cessnock. An interesting village, reminds us of a typical US small city. On the main street are all the shops that you need. But nothing to see from the vineyards. Only after 15min drive they start. The wine is not cultivated as in Italy/Toscany, for example. Where you see hills full of vineyards. Here was more like there is one, and over there is another one.

Nudel, ahh Nundle

21.06.-23.06.
The city is famous in mountains is famous for its gold fever, started in 1851. We stayed Gold mine Inn. We were met Dan. A nice fella, who traveled a lot. We spoke also about house swapping and a pair from Canada, who travels each 7 years for one year – by full pay.
We went for a hike, to find some gold and catch a little the spirit from the gold fever. In the end it was a simple one to a lookout (180hm). In addition, we were in pursuit not only for the view, but also for Kangaroos. We only found there left overs on the ground and some trails. Later, after the hike, we went a gravel road back, and Gabi suddenly screamed: STOP. There were Kangaroos, on the other side of the creek, ca 15 of them. And they jumped around. After 2 weeks in Australia we finally saw them in their natural habitat. Not only dead on the road :p

The name reminds me to German word: Nudel, but its Nundle. And we did not catch up and gold fever. The only think I found was on the playground 4 AUD…

Tamworth, Armidale and Grafton / Ulmarra

23.06.-25.06.
So we continue from Nudel to Tamworth. Nice small city, beautiful sized playground 😉 All these cities remind us to small-towns in US. Everything is located on one level, one main street and parking in front of each store. The highlight was the municipal park, where some locals had built a zoo-like playground – also with different types of Kangaroos. Johann loves the red neck type. We could go really close to them. Cool experience.

Armidale is famous for its historic buildings from the 19th century. We stayed in a all season motel and laundry service was included in the price! Besides the playground we found Nevilles store, where they also serve food to go. So we grab for 30 AUD some giant cheese burger, fish and chips. First time since days, when Johann did not tell us every 5min that he is hungry: „My stomach says its full. Even no space for ice anymore.“
Since beginning of our journey, we felt in a kind of rush – always the need to organize something. But that changed in Armidale. We have our routes planned 4-5 days in advance. Nobody is sick anymore. We are calm. Boys are calm. We finally found our travel rhythm.

Waterfall HWY
I thought it is a fun from the lady in the tourist information, that we shall follow to Grafton the Waterfall HWY. But the road signs labelling it also so. We stopped at Wollomombi and Ebor Falls. At a nice 5 degree sunny day, we went for a gorge hike to see the two Wollomombi waterfalls. The power of sun let us take off our jackets after a couple of minutes.
We as family are „experienced“ to drive on curvy roads, due to the passes in alps. But the 90km to Grafton / Ulmarra were so curvy and really bad road conditions that Gabi did not feel good…

Its winter in Australia -2 degree were shown on the thermometer. The air-con runs half night to keep the desired temperature. So we thought it is a good idea to stay in a historic hotel: The Ulmarra Hotel directly located a water playground – and the riverfront of Clarence River. The room surprised us with an electric heater. But the doors to the veranda – and we have two of them – are so airy that the heater does not have the power to heat the room. But an additional layer of blankets helped 🙂

Brisbane and Gold Coast

25.06.-01.07
Gold coast: Nice beaches, nice mountains with rainforest. We hiked along treetops and to Waterfall.
Brisbane, the locals call the city: „Brisban„. We walked the city. Our credit card was not accepted, when we try to tap in. But the bus driver lady showed us, just go through. So we went to city center: Central Station. Witnesses a demo for more gender equality, while we ate our ice. Then we head to the nice Botanical Garden, which is even free and laid out like a park with a playground. From there we took the ferry to the South Bank and Maritime Museum. Both are nice to walk. But nothing special. Two days were easily enough, the city isn’t really that exciting.

Harvey Bay and Fraser Island / K’gari – Another First

01.07-04.07.
We booked a beach house in Harvey Bay. When we arrived there, the check-in description explains very exact the location of the house, but how to enter it does not fit at all. No lock box, nothing. Of course our mobile connection had no connection. Luckily, we met Nick and his wife, who just came out of their house next to the house we booked. We got into talking and received Wifi. Then the lady, who cleans our house showed up: Give me 5min, I will check if another property is available. Meantime, three other neighbors are outside and are interested what is going on. And a dad started in some distance to play with his daughter outside. She went for and back to listen and report 😀

Also a few seconds later the new owner of our booked house, Dade showed up. She confirmed that we are at the right address and told the previous owner rented the house as a BnB, but Dade owns the house over 12month now. In meantime it is 5pm, it gets dark. And we realize we still do not have an accommodation. The cleaning lady give her phone to my hand: Here this is another beach house not far from here for 200$ a night, we negotiate 180$, but it is still winter holiday and typically no vacancy anywhere. So we thankfully declined the offer, since Nick recommended in meantime a Motel no far and also directly at the beach. Once we arrive at the Motel also the no vacancy sign is directly at the entry. But, lets have a try. So I went to the reception. Explain the lady our story and she says, you are lucky. We have indeed a room available, but the aircon is not working. That’s why it is free. It is dark, we all are hungry and the room is very nice. So we take it. It turns out that this was destiny. The lady at the reception lives half year in Montafon and is half year down here. So we speak about Bodensee. What a day, and btw we do not like Gimpy, which is on half way.

Kgari / Fraser Island

Kgari is a UNECSO world heritage side with its only rain forest on pure sand with max elevation of 240hm and exceptional nature beauty. Our highlights from this wild island:

  1. Hike the island rain forest (luckily without any dingo intervention – now the pups are born, and dingo moms are most aggressive)
  2. Swimming in Ellis creek
  3. Visiting the Pinnacles
  4. Walking the iconic ship wreck: S.S. Maheno
  5. Spotting from the car wild dingoes hunting / catching a fish.
  6. Driving along the 75mile beach with its woupi doupis (that how the locals call the fresh water creeks down to the ocean) with 80km/h at the beach.
  7. Discovering police in 40km/h zone checking for speeding at the beach.
  8. Swimming in world 2nd largest fresh water lake in the world: McKenzie (only 100 exist in the world, 40 of them are located on Kgari) – Check 🙂

Once you realize the entire island is based on sand that you find at a beach (the sand is 350 Mio years old), the entire island becomes surreal – what an adventure.

Whitsundays – Best Beach in the World

08.07-11.07.

From Fraser Island we went to Airlie Beach, like Harvey Bay the city is actually just a port to see the real attraction: Whitsunday Island. Definitely a must-see, there is a super famous beach, many smaller islands with several diving and snorkeling spots. It was on the first sight not that easy to find a tour for infants. Because many tour supplier does not take infants with them. So, we seek for help and went again to a tourist information straight in the morning. The lady there was extremely chatty. She just had breakfast 😉 So I took the kids and went to the Airlie Beach Lagoon, another nice open swimming area with lifeguards and amazing kids area that either provide some shade. Gabi joined shortly after midday at the kids beach after she got all information from the surrounding.

Our Whitsundays adventure started directly next to our Motel, which was at the Marina so we walked to the check-in. Walking at 6:45 am is good to get the engine running 🙂 We took the vessel to

Rockhampton and Lagoon – Live Life

S.S. Yongala Dive + Townsville

11.07-14.07.

S.S. Yongala Dive, one of the best dive sides in the world, and for sure a fascinating wreck dive, which recommend by the divemaster in Harvey Bay. After the dives and BBQ we head straight of to Townsville and easy 1h drive.

At the next day we screwed our plans in the morning to go to ‚Maggie‘ (Magnetic Island) and finally we met salties, freshies, Koalas and Bilbies (+ Kangaroos of course) in the Billabong Sanctuary. We realized that we are arrived in the alligator region – nicely 27 degree at 10 am.

Great Barrier Reef

14.07-19.07.

We discussed long time, if we should go to Cairns or not. Since it adds another 750km+ to the roadtrip. However we finally found all the tours we were looking for, so we stay 5 nights.

Full packed Days:

  1. Arriving in Cairns with the plan to take a day off. Not so easy when the hotel reception is closed, when the written, it should be open. But luckily we run into night manager; he called straight the owner and 45 min later our room is ready.
  2. Port Douglas and Great Barrier Reef with the kids on the Pontoon. The trip was very well organized. I got finally my reef dive. Snorkeling for the parents and floating in swim-vest for the kids. Almost Johann did not have a mood to float in the ocean. But they had a submarine where you can see the reef from the dry. Plus, I had a cool chat with a maritime biologist about climatic change and the health of the great barrier reef eco system.
  3. Outer Barrier Reef experience
  4. Kuranda ‚Rainforest‘ Tour + Army Duck with Scenic Railway