Anytime you spend an extended amount of time with a group of people, in this case my family, certain things from the sublime to the ridiculous become memorable - our trip was no different. As such, and more for my benefit than anyone else's, I thought I would capture some of my fondest memories:
1) Helen & Yates racing to secure our luggage from the conveyer belt in each city where we landed - oh how nice it is to have children at an age where they truly are able to be helpful
2) Yates, verbally and visually, acting out how one would need to behave for lunch at the Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club - very proper indeed (fortunately, the setting was far more casual than the name might indicate)
3) City runs - probably my favorite way to see a city and had some fantastic runs in Auckland, Queenstown, Melbourne and Sydney. Tried to squeeze a run in at Bamurru, but was STRONGLY discouraged due to the threat of water buffalo, wild hogs and other game
4) Helen's relentless pursuit to have all of her devices charged to 100% - this is one that I would file in the ridiculous category and when you only have a handful of adapters, is made all the more challenging
5) Shea's can opener into the pool at Lizard - I will spare you the video but suffice it to say, it was EPIC
6) Our traveling companion, Gilbert - Gilbert is actually a rugby ball whose name originated from the brand that is emblazoned on the ball itself (very creative I know). Little did we realize the amount of effort it would take to transport a ball through the southern hemisphere. From deflating it when we left Fiji to re-inflating it in Australia to getting lessons from a former professional Scottish rugby player to fighting over whose backpack would carry it, Gilbert seemed to be in nearly every conversation.
7) For those of you that were concerned the selfie-stick fad has come and gone, I stand here today to reassure that there is no reason for worry - suffice it to say, nearly every Japanese or Chinese tourist we saw had a selfie stick - they were literally EVERYWHERE
8) The family fare - not sure why this is not more prevalent in the US, but it was nice to see that nearly every venue we went to offered a family fare - essentially a discount for 1 or 2 adults and 1 or 2 children. What a great way to promote family experiences
9) UNO - while the game is not a new one, I must say that I truly enjoyed our pre-dinner UNO games at Lizard Island. Rare is the game that, irrespective of age or experience, places everyone on a level playing field.
10)The overall friendliness of everyone we came across - I know I mentioned it in a number of posts, but the hospitality we experienced from NZ to Fiji to Australia was unparalleled. To a person, people went out of their way to engage in conversation, provide suggestions on places to go and things to see, find creative ways for us to go on an excursion in the least expensive fashion. They took "southern" hospitality to a new level.
PS. The bonus memory has to be the Kangaroo Scrotum key chain - lots of debate and dialogue on this one and while we couldn't bring ourselves to drop $40 to buy one, we figured a picture would do the trick