Hawaii | Pearl Harbor

December 7th, 1941. “A date which will live in infamy.”

I’ve been saving this post for today (it’s still December 7th in America!). When we went to Hawaii earlier this year, we got to see Pearl Harbor. Actually, for my family, it was a must-do. The number one thing we had to see. When we got there, I was surprised at just how much there was to experience. There are some exhibits that show the lead up to the attack, and President Roosevelt’s famous speech. Then you are ushered in to a theatre, where you watch an amazing short documentary about the attack. Hearing and seeing the USS Arizona explode in actual footage from that day is something I will NEVER forget. It absolutely shook me. The USS Arizona Memorial itself was closed, but they drove everyone by it in a boat.
Also, we didn’t tour the USS Missouri, but we got to see it. That is something I’ll never forget, too.

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1,102 sailors and Marines are buried with the USS Arizona. 2,403 people in total died in the attack.

Never forget.

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Around Melbourne | Royal Melbourne Zoological Gardens

After living in Melbourne almost two and a half years, we finally went to the zoo! There were some particularly cheeky animals. I recommend going to the keeper talks to get good views and information. Every major exhibit has a message about conservation, such as recycling cell phones and buying products that don’t use unsustainable palm oil. A lot of renovation is going on, so we couldn’t see some things like the frog house, but I think the improvements will be really nice!

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Around Melbourne |The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia

On one side of Federation Square in Melbourne sits a small museum featuring Australian art. It’s part of the National Gallery of Victoria. The temporary exhibitions change constantly and they always surprise and inspire. Everything from photography to furniture, audio/visual and interactive collections, including Indigenous art.
The best part? Free entry!

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The Reyes Family | Documentary Family Photography in Melbourne

I met the Reyes family on a sunny day at Elwood Beach. We had a short session in the sand and at the park. This American family has been in Melbourne for a year! Three little boys make for some fun moments 🙂

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christina hardcastle photography’s 1 hour session includes some portraits!

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the session ended with a sweet hug ❤

For information on 1-hour “unscripted” sessions like this one, as well as other services, click here!

Around Melbourne | Werribee Gorge

Now that the weather is getting nicer, we finally went for a hike. We went to Werribee Gorge (always looking for fun things to do on the west side!). The circuit walk is so good! There are definitely hard sections; parts of the trail are just piles of rocks, and there is a cable to hang on to in one part so you don’t fall in to the water. An old irrigation channel goes along part of the trail, and informational signs about plants and wildlife keep the hike interesting. It took us about 3.5 hours and we took our time.

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Kauai, Hawaii | Sunset at Hanalei Bay Resort

Just some sunset photos from our last day on Kauai. Taken at Hanalei Bay Resort. We had the best view!

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I cannot say enough good things about that resort. We aren’t resort people at all, but we loved it. It wasn’t crowded, the beach was close, and the pool bar was awesome. Can’t wait to go back!

Kauai, Hawaii | ATV Tour

In a last minute adventurous decision, my family signed up for an ATV tour at Kipu Ranch in Kauai. It was really beautiful and really, really dirty. We left completely covered in a thin layer of dirt.
A lot of movies were filmed on this ranch, including Raiders of the Lost Ark, and we got to swing on a rope into the river where the opening scene to that movie was filmed. We saw a beach from a distance that supposedly has a lot of skeletons from when Hawaiian warriors tried to take Kauai from its last king. We also saw taro farms that have been there for a very long time.
Overall, it was an awesome tour, and the guides made it really fun. I highly recommend it!

 
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Hawaii | Fireworks and Palm Trees

My husband and I met up with my family in Hawaii recently. We had many adventures, and my next few blog posts will be photos from that trip!

Every Friday night, the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort puts on a fireworks show. It lined up pretty perfectly with some palm trees on the beach. I’m not that great at firework photography, and I used the wrong lens, but here are a few of my shots 🙂

Buddha’s Day & Multicultural Festival | Melbourne

This past weekend, at Federation Square, the annual Buddha’s Day and Multicultural Festival took place. It celebrates Buddha’s birthday and promotes cultural awareness and inclusiveness. There were many interactive opportunities, including a tea ceremony and an art installation. It was really cool to see people learning about a culture they weren’t familiar with, and participating with open minds. The food was also very, very good!

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Alms giving ceremony

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Bodhi Tree art installation

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Tea ceremony

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Bathing the Buddha

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Melbourne | Parliament of Victoria

Another touristy post!
Living in Melbourne, I have always wanted to tour Parliament. I never got the chance until recently. We only did the short tour (15 minutes), which was extremely rushed, but still really interesting. I would recommend taking one of the longer tours, because there is so much information! I got the impression that the guides prefer leading the longer tours, too.
Here are some quick photos I got of the building and details.

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Animal Portraits | Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas

A cool thing about a lot of wildlife sanctuaries in Australia is that you can feed the animals. They will come right up to you, even grab your hands, and it makes for fun photo opportunities. I took these at the Wildlife Habitat in Port Douglas.

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Fun fact: This is one of the few places in Australia where you can hold a koala!

Immigration Museum in Melbourne

Australia has a very interesting and dynamic history of immigration. The Immigration Museum is full of surprising facts and amazing stories! They have an exhibition that chronicles the life of Mahatma Gandhi, and a British immigrants exhibition that closes this Sunday. I think the ‘Identity: yours, mine, ours’ exhibition should be seen by everyone. It is a wonderful opportunity to teach kids about diversity and acceptance.

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Melbourne | Queen Victoria Summer Night Market

We have lived in this city almost 2 years, and we still do the tourist things. Everyone thinks we’re tourists anyway because of our ‘accents.’ I love the Queen Victoria Night Market because you have tons of local shops and food all in one place. Clothes, art, books, souvenirs; they have everything, in all different price ranges. You can get drinks, dinner, and dessert (see sangria, nachos, and Nutella loukemades below). There is also entertainment, like live music and street performers. Most weeks even have a theme; this one had flamenco and salsa music.

Today is the second to last summer night market! I already can’t wait for the winter one.

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The band is Malcura. They were awesome.

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Bonus pictures courtesy of my husband: a performer chose me as an ‘assistant’ and I had to basically pull the sword out of his throat. It was so weird and I was thoroughly embarrassed. I cannot control my face in most situations, so here you can really see me freaked out. Haha!

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Mount Macedon

We took a day trip to Mount Macedon recently. It was beautiful and everything was so well-kept. There are a lot of small walks to drive to that offer incredible scenery! The Top of the Range tea room is very cute and gives you the chance to enjoy a glass of wine with a view. We will definitely be back again!

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Memorial Cross

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Major Mitchell Lookout

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View at Camels Hump

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Sanatorium Lake

NGV Triennial in Melbourne | Flowers and Skulls

Two of the most visually striking displays at the NGV Triennial are Yayoi Kusama’s Flower Obsession and Ron Mueck’s Mass. One involves an explosion of bright red flowers, and the other is a room full of giant human skulls.

When you walk in to Flower Obsession, you are given a flower sticker to place anywhere you want in a recreated living space. The flowers have now taken over, illustrating a hallucination the artist had as a child.

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“They killed all those giants! How sad!” -my husband, who sometimes thinks he’s 12.
One hundred individual skulls sit in the historical collection galleries of the NGV. It is so strange and cool.

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More photos of the NGV Triennial to come!

New Zealand | Routeburn Track at Milford Sound

In continuation of my New Zealand posts (here and here):
We spent one day in Milford Sound (probably not enough). The first half of the day was kayaking. I didn’t take my camera for that. We saw penguins and a dolphin swam right next to us! It got really windy, though, and it was a lot more work than I thought it would be. After that, we went on a hike to the top of a mountain (the Key Summit Alpine Walk on the sign below). It was absolutely beautiful, and I wanted to just share a few pictures from the top! The last one is me; my husband took it.

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