The whole crew, Stradbroke Island

Our good friends from Cooperstown, NY, Gerald and Colette Landry, came to Cleveland, Queensland as part of their “great adventure down under”. We travelled quite a bit, saw some of the sights of SE QLD and NE NSW, with eight (!) kids in tow…It all went really well, we had a blast catching up with news from home, and showing them a bit of our life in Australia off the usual tourist track….And the food and wine were marvelous…!

Nolan ceremonial welcome dance….

Pool Party!!!
Kayaking in Raby Bay

“Old” friends…

It also turned out that someone was turning the big “5-0h”…a great place to mark the milestone…



 Girls Dress up Party

Old Buds…

Straddie ferry

After flying in, and appropriate welcome festivities, it was off to Stradbroke Island, right across Moreton Bay.



We took the ferry to Stradbroke Island, 45 minutes to paradise; a thirty mile long sand island just off shore from Cleveland..Mostly wilderness


North Gorge, Straddie


Beach Lunches are best…



Everyone was psyched to hit Cylinder Beach and catch some waves, boogie boarding and even a try on the surfboard…Hint: it’s a lot tougher than it looks, esp. if you are over thirty…
Surf D’jou

Our Beautiful kids

Surfer Girl….

Colette and Gerald


Luke checking the wave action
Your hosts for this (mis)adventure…
Riding a blue curl….

Waiting for the right moment


North Gorge boardwalk

A curious local…

Straddie Headlands


Snorkeling for Woobegong sharks…seriously…!

The end of a busy day…

Sista’s Reunion


Amity evening

Moreton Bay sunset

After opening ceremonies and Stradbroke Island, we struck out south to the tropical mountains and rugged coastlines of New South Wales, in the 14 person ” people mover.”. We camped for three nights in the old school beach town of Brunswick Heads with eight kids along….. Kid paradise, strangely reminiscent of Popham Beach on coastal Maine for me.. A lazy, endless summer vibe, complete with bridge jumping…and a carnival….


Natural bridge,again…

D Landry, I presume…..Exploring a cave

NSW dead ahead…


Boogie boarding, Brunswick Heads

 There was even an old-school, traveling litttle carnival..all of six rides…the kids LOVED it….I was suddenly transported back to 1964…magical stuff for a seven year old….!


Bumper cars….!
and scary clown things…

Drivin’ without a license…!

3-2-1….lift off….
 It was, then, further south to the headlands of Byron and Lennox…

Looking south from Lennox Head

Lennox Head

On the bridge

Then, back to Brunswick Head for more bridge jumping and clowning around….




Tough decision…

Yes indeed,,,,aussie summer…pretty sweet…!
In the crystal clear tidal river

Dinner at the Brunswick Hotel

Tomato sauce…a precious item in AU…!

Bogan diners…..trouble…!

Dreamin’ of summer days…

Cream buns for breakfast…!!

The ladies that pulled it all together
When we got back home, our neighbors Bruce and Annette took us out for a sail in the bay…..


We the went up north on the Sunshine Coast to see The Australian Zoo, of Steve Irwin/ the Crocodile Hunter fame…


The Zoo Crew…


The Australian Zoo is a top-notch educational, research and wildlife rehabilitation center. The grounds are immaculate, and the animals well-cared for. There are also major exhibits covering SE Asia and now Africa….Highly recommended!

South East Asian display
 A high point was the 24 hour wildlife rescue hospital. We witnessed an emergency surgery on a Koala who’d been hit by a car, with her little Joey by her side, through full sized glass walls.. The kids nearly fainted when they actually pulled out the injured, bloody entrails..! Reality check, I suppose…They have almost 100 Koalas in various stages of recovery and post-op rehab on the hospital grounds.. Impressive commitment to wildlife well-being!

Joey by Mom’s side, pre-op…

Rare Sumatran and Javan tiger rescue and rehab

Life sized model of a very large saltie…not exaggerated!

A tender snack…

Pine Cone lizard

Riding with Steve…Crickey!!!
An Inland Taipan, the DEADLIEST on Earth…

There’s also a great display of the deadliest snakes of Australia, live, in life-like dioramas…Food for thought…Large, deadly, plentiful…Watch your step out there…!

On a lighter note, as our time together drew closer to it’s inevitible close, we got down into Brisbane for a day visit to Southbank, the CBD and a wonderful ride on the City Cat ferries down the Brisbane River.


The Story Bridge
Our final night was going to be a real Aussie send-off banquet; fresh caught Mud and Sand Crab salad appetizer, with butterfly leg of local lamb on the grill with appropriate (and plentiful!) wines. The grand finale: Claire and Genevieve’s famous sundae-bar…Too good, completely…!
The sign says it all…
Aidan’s catch of the day

You can’t get them any fresher..

Fresh cleaned crab meat

Grilled Aussie Lamb…perfection!
Wild Crab App…get you some of that…!

The finished feast…I’m a happy guy right now….

Not done yet…!

A fantastic finish ladies


But, as I tell the kids, “Even the best parties have to end.” And so it was, after 10 amazing days of adventure and exploration, we found ourselves at the Brisbane Airport, saying goodbye to our good friends the Landrys.

With hugs and love until we all meet again soon, either up north in Cooperstown, New York, or maybe even again here in Brisbane; for more exciting adventures down here at the bottom of the world. Thanks for caring enough to visit!!  Safe travels and God Bless..Love, the Nolans and DDU, of course….! 

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