April 24, 2012
Grandma & Grandad: Go To Australia (and take us!!) (Pt. 1)
We were so lucky and excited to be part of this trip, in 1964 Grandad moved to a little place in Australia called Nangwarry with his parents and his brother. They tried to make life work but sadly things were just too hard and they made the long trip back to the UK where despite that venture not working, they of course went on to have a very successful and happy life.
Often we have heard stories about what it was like then, how school was, the house they lived in, the life they had and often Grandad would say he would love to go back and see it all again one day, and that ‘one day’ came!
The little school in a town called Penola where Grandad went to school was having a 50 year reunion and so the trip to New Zealand was planned to coincide so that we could all take the trip to Australia and attend, and so with interest and excitement at the ready – the day arrived to take this once in a lifetime trip.
The journey was planned – flight from Wellington to Sydney, and then Sydney to Adelaide. Making sure we got early flights so we could spend a day and night there enjoying all it has to offer and then heading on to Penola where we would be staying for 3 nights so we could attend the reunion. Then back to Adelaide where we would spend another few days enjoying some touristy stuff. Sadly before we left Qantas had decided to cancel one of our returning flights, meaning our trip had to be cut short. However despite the disappointment that didn’t dampen our spirits.
Getting up at 3am to get our flight we arrived at the airport feeling quite excited by the whole trip despite the time of the morning. After a little wait we were finally waving goodbye to Wellington and getting excited about arriving at our destination of Adelaide. But first we had to go through Sydney – sounds easy right? A lovely little 3.5 hour flight…well maybe not this time!
All was good leaving Wellington and we didn’t have too many problems with turbulence (I must point out I am a horrendous flier – as is Grandad – and any little movement of a plane sends me into ‘we are going to die’ mode), but as we approached Sydney we could see that it was just thick clouds and lots of rain. I was desperate to get some awesome photos but as we approached it just seemed to get darker and darker, and then it began.
The WORST turbulence any of us had ever experienced hit. It turns out that there just so happened to be a storm raging over Sydney, the full on thunder and lightening type of storm. After what seemed like an eternity (it was about an hour) of circling Sydney, in the awful turbulence, so bad that food rolled out from the fridges on the plane, eventually the pilot decides to tell us that no planes are getting through to land and that as it was we were running out of fuel (!!) and we would be heading to Canberra to refuel and rest before retrying the land in Sydney.
Of course by this point I was in tears, Grandma and Grandad were beside themselves with worry, Michael thought it was cool and Bethany was asleep.
In Canberra we had to stay on the plane, no immigration for us there so we had to just sit and wait. Everyone was pretty shaken by the whole thing and I just wanted to get off.
Anyway we had no choice but to take the plane back to Sydney where luckily the storm had passed and a simple landing was nicely made. The 3.5 hour flight was 7 hours in the end! We missed our connecting flight and had to wait another few hours to get another plane, eventually we made it to Adelaide – the whole journey should have been 6.5 hours and it ended up being 13.5 hours!!!
With the day lost we went and collected our rental car (which was also a drama because of a mix up with payment and awful customer service which resulted in a ‘welcome to Adelaide argument’) we took solace in our gorgeous rental car and headed to our apartment for the night,which was lovely – hurrah, and just had a little wander out for some food.
The city, from what we saw in that short time seemed lovely, it reminded us very much of Wellington, and we saw the most gorgeous sight of a beautiful sunset one side and the biggest brightest moon ever on the other.
We had a lovely meal, we seemed to have gotten over our trauma for the day and so it was off to sleep, ready for the next day – the big drive to Penola.