Summer Days in Surfer’s Paradise

It’s summer on the Gold Coast and we are finding plenty to do to entertain ourselves.

Since we technically are still tourists, we decided to do one of the ultimate touristy things – we attended a staged production by the Australian Outback Spectacular called Heartland. Maybe staged is not the correct word to use, since the show was presented in a upscale indoor rodeo with arena. A combination of horses, cattle, cars, trucks, 4 wheelers, singing, dancing and amazing choreography (most of it on horseback) was sewn together with very creative use of scenery projected onto the arena via an extremely sophisticated lighting system.

The story was a familiar Australian tale: cattle ranchers in the outback struggled to hang onto their farms through a severe drought. There was a love story, comedy and a villainous banker who tried to foreclose on the ranch. We were amazed how they were able to serve a three course meal to the whole arena while the showers was taking place. And we got hats!

About 40 minutes drive from the house is the Burleigh Heads National Park. There are many walking tracks within the park itself including the Ocean View Walk around the the rocky headland; the Rainforest Circuit which takes you through the park where you can view beautiful plant and bird life. Along the way there are many places that allow access to the beach. We went on a Saturday, so the beaches and trails were busy, but everyone was friendly and we had a great hike of about 3 miles or so. The views were amazing!

On another evening, we caught a ride from friendly Uber driver Dave. We went to wander through the Night Quarter

Rows and rows of storage containers have been converted to create alleys of shops, food vendors, beer stands and live music. This is truly a locals hangout, we were among extremely few tourist at there. The food was excellent, the beer was cold and cheap and the music was energetic. Definitely worth a visit.

George’s birthday dinner was a special evening. We sat at the edge of the lagoon, at the Intercontinenal Hotel a table with fine china and while linen table cloths and our bare feet in soft white sand. Dinner was a giant seafood buffet, with oysters, crab, jumbo shrimp (they call them prawns here) and an amazing dessert bar. Our waitress Kelsie made sure that our glasses stayed full of champagne and then red or white wine which flowed freely throughout the night. All in all, a delightful experience at a very reasonable price of for an “all you can eat (and drink)” meal In an ideal setting.


A Cocktail For Queensland

The idealic setting of the Gold Coast in Australia inspired a new cocktail called “Santuary Cove”.


  • 1 oz (30 ml) white rum
  • 1/2 oz light agave syrup
  • 1/2 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 oz Champagne or Prosecco

Add ice, lime, agave syrup,and rum to a Boston shaker. Shake, break and strain into a martini glass. 

Top with champagne, garnish with a lime wheel, enjoy with friends!


The Australia Zoo

Steve Irwin has been gone since 1996 when he was stung through the heart by the barb of a stingray tail. Ironically he was working on a film called “Ocean’s Deadliest”. But 23 years have done little to fade the memories of his exploits in global television shows such as the crocodile hunter.

In 1970 Steve started working with reptiles at his parents nature preserve in Northern Queensland, at 10 he wrestled his first crocodile while his father looked on. Later Steve married an American from Oregon (Teri) and together tho two launched a film series aimed at raising consciousness about wildlife conservation and raising money to expand the preserve his parents had started.

Today that preserve is the Australia Zoo and has more than 1,000 acres and is owned by Teri Irwin the family. Yesterday we drove two hours north to the Zoo and had an amazing day.




Mango Daiquiris

Cocktails from around the world…

We have divided this recipe into two sections:

1. How to cut up a mango
2. Making the perfect mango daiquiri.

The Recipe:

  • 3 oz white rum
  • 1 1/2 cops frozen mango chunks
  • juice of 1 and 1/2 limes
  •    Reserve other half for garnish
  • 4 teaspoons full of white caster sugar
  • splash of dark rum for the float

Add all ingredients (except dark rum) to the blender and on high until smooth.

Pour into 2 talll glasses. Garnish with lime wedge and float with dark rum.



A Day in the Life – Housesitting in Australia

Are you wondering what we do all day? Before we got here I had a vague idea of how we would fill our days. Now that it’s a reality we thought we’d let you know how we manage to fill all our time now that we “don’t have anything to do”.

We generally wake up pretty early (the sun rises a round 4:45AM here). The very first thing we do when we  actually get up is take the dogs for a walk. Cuddles generally leads and Honey straggles along behind. We walk into the “village” and back – about a mile and a half round trip. 

After our morning constitutional we have a light brekky (Aussie for breakfast, in case you couldn’t figure that one out), read or listen to the news of the day and contemplate what to do next.

Some days I go for a swim in the pool and George works out on the exercise equipment at the house, yesterday we started canoeing on the canals behind the house. Afterward we shower and get ready for the rest of the day. 

Most days we drive the golf cart to the grocery to buy dinner for the evening, check the mail and just cruise around to see what’s going on “in town”.  

On days we need to run a little further than the 2 miles to the grocery, we’ll take the car. It generally takes both of us paying attention to ensure we’re on the “right” side of the road all the time (although as we get used to driving on the left, it is getting easier). 

The afternoons drift by quickly between practicing guitar/mando or an afternoon nap and before we know it it’s cocktail hour and time to take the dogs for their shorter, evening walk. 


G’Day from Australia

For the next six weeks are house sitting for friends who have an amazing home on the Gold Coast in a city called Surfer’s Paradise. We don’t surf, but they got the paradise part correct.

Our task is to look after the house and it’s occupants: Honey, Cuddles and Shine (the cat). 

We settled in quickly, although it did take a while for us to get used to having the sun come up at 4:45am. After all, ‘if the sun is up, you should be too”.

Local transport around the village of Sanctuary Bay is mostly done by golf cart, although we have had need to take the car to a couple of places. Driving on the other side of the road came back quickly, as we have lived in Australia, England, and Ireland and have had to drive on the left before.

Yesterday we saw kangaroos for the first time this trip. They were standing on one of the local golf courses observing the game. We are told since this is a sanctuary, the wildlife always gets to “play through”.

The house sits on one of the canals that criss cross this area. We will be exploring them, first by canoe and then later via jet ski. But first we have to get licensed to ride the jet ski. If we get caught riding without the certificate, our house (the owner of the jet ski) will get fined. 

We will be here for six weeks, so it is sure we will have lots to share.



A note on visiting Australia – Americans do need a visa. It is not hard or expensive to get, you can do it online (it takes about 15 minutes), just make sure you do it before you travel.



So much to share already, we were lucky enough to get upgraded on the way to Honolulu. The flight was fine. We had to pay a small premium for luggage because we both had 2 bags, but after all it is everything we own, so what can you do.

Our Air BnB (booked a couple of months in advance) was right in the middle of Waikiki, about a block from the beach. We did some research comparing the costs of transportation from the airport, and finally decided on just using UBER as opposed to a rental car. About the same  costs with no hassle for parking gas, and somebody else gets to drive. The ride from the airport was about $35 one way. Mind you, if we had been staying longer or wanted to go anywhere far away, like the memorial site than a car would have been a better deal. 

Our Air BnB looked a little dodgy from the outside but once we got in we realized we had gotten a great deal, for a clean well appointed flat at $130 per night.

We wandered around a little bit in the evening after we arrived but we made an early night of it. The next morning we followed instructions from our friends Tom and Yawen and went straight to Eggs and Things for breakfast. The food was excellent and reasonably priced, the servings were huge and neither one of us could finish our servings. George had a local dish called Loco Moco, which we learned comes in several variations. The Hawaiin version includes a bed of rice, with a beef patty covered in grilled mushrooms and onions in a thick brown sauce, and topped with a fried egg.

A trip to Wakiki would not have been complete without a trip to Dukes, so we walked down the beach to have a mimosa after breakfast. I do agree with Jimmy Buffett, that Sunday is the day to go to Dukes, preferably about 10:00am. The people are friendly, the vibe is great and champagne is half price before 11:00,  

After wandering around for a while we grabbed some take away noodles and headed back the flat for some lunch and a little nap.

We have set a goal of getting away from the most common tourist areas, so about 6:00 we jumped into an UBER and headed over to the La Mariana Sailing Club, which is on the Sand Island access road in the middle of very industrial area. The locals we chatted with said that this is the last authentic Tiki bar in Honululu. Our bartender Wayne made us the best Mai Tais that we had ever had. We dined on local Poke so fresh it was amazing. Live music, women Hula  dancing and a class from the university singing their alma mater made the evening perfect!! Thanks Alysa for the tip.

We closed the place down at 9:00 and headed back to our flat, to get some rest for long day of flying ahead of us the next day.


One Week To Go!!

 Things have been moving along at a breakneck pace. We got a great offer on the house and it is now in escrow and we close on Friday. We moved out of the house over the weekend, we sold and delivered both of our cars and we’ve been having farewell parties, large and small, for the past month.

On Friday the Nextivity crew gave George a heartfelt retirement celebration – with the biggest card I’ve ever seen!


On Saturday Lysa and Paige hosted a fabulous farewell at their home in Bonita (now known as “Deck Bar South”). Many thanks to all who came to wish us well (especially to Lysa and Paige for hosting as well as Anna-Leigh and Erin for working hard all night).

It seems like we’ve been saying good bye for months now and here we are – five days to wheels up….

We can’t wait to see you all out in the world!


Getting Ready

As you may recall, we (Bonnie and George) decided to ‘sell it all’ and go wander the world. Now it’s time to make it happen.

We leave San Diego in 53 days, but we are well on our way to getting everything done. A friend of a friend purchased almost everything in our house to furnish a new rental property in Utah.That included furniture, bedding, dishes, towels, linens, cookware and even spices! The few items they did not take with them, went quickly in a garage sale.

Home upgrades before the house went on the market included renovations on the kitchen (cabinets, flooring & granite), new hardwood floors, adding central air conditioning, new carpet in the master bedroom, new lighting and fresh paint inside and out.  The house in now officially on the market, tell your friends!

In order to prep the house for sale, the amazing real estate team from VanHutch Homes brought in staging furniture. Now we only have a couple of pans, a borrowed pot a few plates and a set of silverware. Long gone are the days of easy catering for 50 or 60 people on a Friday night! 

Meanwhile: our schedule is filling up: here’s what we know so far:

  • Dec 8-10: Honolulu to decompress at an air B&B in Waikiki not far from George’s favorite beach bar, Dukes!
  • Dec 12- Jan 28th: house sitting in Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast of Australia
  • Jan 29 – March 27: Thailand (we’re still working on specific destinations)
  • March 28 – April 20th: USA , seeing family and friends in Georgia and Florida
  • After that we will be part of a four person crew on a sailboat traveling between the Caribbean to the Greek isles

Watch for more updates and photos from each of the adventures above!

Since we will be traveling light (1 bag, 1 backpack & 1 instrument each) we’ve done a lot of research into travel gear. We finally decided on the Osprey Sojourn 60L/ 25″ wheeled backpacks.

Meanwhile, some handy lessons learned already:

  1. If you plan to stay in Thailand for more the 30 days you need a special Visa
    • You need to get your visa while in your home country, and it must be used within 90 days of issue.
  2. International drivers licenses require that you sign the back of passport photos when submitted
  3. The Chase Sapphire card is a great choice for travelers, no fees for ATM use, and no foreign transaction fees!

The Adventure Begins

We’ve decided to make some big changes: we’re selling everything and going on a “walkabout”.The house is getting some upgrades by the amazing real estate team at VanHutch Homes and will be going on the market in September. We found a lovely couple, (friends of friends) who are furnishing a new rental property in Utah, who are taking most of our furniture and kitchen stuff.And we have tickets for our first destination: Hawaii…

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