Being ‘home’ in Australia doesn’t mean an end to my adventures by any means, and I’m already filling up my six months of family time with all manner of epic journeys.
Fresh off a battery recharging but wallet depleting two weeks here in Sydney packed with catch-ups, bachelor party beers, and seeing my best friend tie the knot with his lovely bride – I’m headed home to northern NSW tomorrow to see my family and start focusing on my novel, Dustbowl.
What have I got in store for you?
Wine and Romance
Coming up in late September, I’ve been invited along to be a travel ambassador for the Broke Fordwich region of the Hunter Valley. Advertising itself as the tranquil side of the popular Hunter Valley wine region, I’m excited to see what the region from which my ancestors come has to offer up close and personal.
I’ll be joining two Sydney food bloggers, Weekend Food Escapes and Next Stop: Food. I’m really excited to get to see more of my own backyard while also sampling what Broke Fordwich has to offer so that I can tell you all about it!
I’ll be sure to tell you more about this exciting adventure as it gets closer.
Exploring the New England
One of the best things about my best friend’s wedding after the obvious reasons was the opportunity to reconnect with the friends I made in high school. With so many of us scattered across Australia and the world, it was a rare chance to get the old gang back together.
One of this gang, the irrepressible ‘Schmo’, still lives in our home town and we had a long chat at the reception about some local excursions we could do to places such as Dorrigo, Washpool, and Bald Knob. These road trips won’t just let me get back in touch with nature after two and a half years in industrialised China, but they’ll also give me a chance to road test the Yakima roof rack that the company were kind enough to let me try out.
I’ve written in the past about the many things to do in New England, and it will be fun to get to do some of them while I’m home.
The Return to Green Valley Farm
A few years ago, I visited the strangest theme park in Australia, Green Valley Farm. The place holds a lot of fond memories from my childhood, and my good friend obviously agrees with me – as he’s doing the Australian leg of his wedding there! Two days of riding the water slide, chilling out in the gardens over a few beers, and catching up with old friends sounds fantastic!
Safari in Tanzania
Perhaps the most exciting upcoming adventures is the opportunity to take a four day safari in Tanzania with Shadows of Africa tours. I’m still having to pinch myself when I think about the fact I’ll get to see giraffes, lions, hippos, elephants, cheetahs and more in the wild. It’s a life long travel dream, and I cannot wait!
After the safari, I’m also hoping to sneak a few days of R&R in on Zanzibar. I can’t think of many more beautiful places to spend my 31st birthday!
Two of the best people I met in China were Courtney and Colin – an Aussie girl and her American boyfriend. They’ve since relocated to rural Queensland and I’m looking forward to catching up with them over a few beers or wines sometime in October.
With Queensland right on my doorstep, I’m also hoping to see more of Australia’s sunshine state. The theme parks of the Gold Coast, the beautiful beaches of the Sunshine Coast, and the opportunity to add a few dives to my logbook all make Queensland a tempting proposition.
The Asian Nations Cup
I don’t comment on it often, but I’m a die hard football fanatic when it comes to international football. Another of my bucket list aspirations is to see the Socceroos play in the World Cup, and next January’s Asian Nations Cup will be a perfect warm up. With nations such as Japan, China, South Korea, Palestine, Iraq, and Iran coming downunder to contest Asia’s top international cup – my brothers and I are hoping to see a few games in Sydney, Brisbane, and Newcastle.
The Tamworth Country Music Festival
I first fell in love with country music while I was dating a girl from Idaho. Spending six weeks traveling around the Pacific North West with her indoctrinated me into the church of Brad Paisley, Garth Brooks, George Strait, Luke Bryan, Josh Perry, and many others.
Tamworth’s annual Country Music Festival might not boast the above names, but it’s a showcase of Australian and international country music right on my door-step (Tamworth is just two hours from my home town). I’m hoping that 2015 might just be the year where I finally make it to the region’s most well known festival.
As you can see, I’ve got a lot to look forward to in the coming months – and that’s not including the obvious things like meeting my beautiful niece and nephew, catching up with my brothers, spending Christmas with my family, and the many other things that come with being home.
What are you looking forward to in the back end of 2014?
What would you like to read more about on Aussie on the Road that I can tackle while I’m home?