Before I wrote and posted on the website/blog, my mom, sister and I traveled to the land Down Under. Never in my lifetime did I expect to get to travel to Australia! However, in high school, my friend Mikayla and her family moved there… and when she started dating an Australian we realized that mayyyybe someday a trip would be in our future. So, when Kayla and Luke got engaged and asked me to be in their wedding, we decided to make a family trip (minus dad) to this continent country.

travel tips for Australia in December and January

Although January is the perfect time to visit (winter in America, summer down under the equator!)… it’s also not. Because you might fly into a storm and get stranded overnight in the frozen tundra of Minnesota. Thankfully, we had a couple day on the front end of our trip and made it before the wedding!


My first memory of Australia was going to visit the Featherdale Wildlife Park! Because what better way to understand a new culture than to be introduced to their animals?! Not only did we see koalas, wild birds, and kangaroos (of course) but we got to see QUOKKAS! These cute little guys are my friend Alex’s favorite animals… so I made sure to send him some photos.

travel ideas and tips australia
see kangaroos and birds in australia
places to visit in sydney Australia
quokka in Australia

After the wedding festivities died down and the newlyweds headed out on their honeymoon, my family and Kayla’s family headed into Sydney. I honesty didn’t know what to expect! (Now that I’ve seen every single episode of Dance Academy and the film, I feel like I ought to go back and channel my inner Tara.)

taking the train in Sydney Australia // travels of an American gal
downtown sydney Australia

There’s a neat alley way downtown Sydney with lots of hanging birdcages! I’m not sure if there is any significance, but it sure was pretty!

Spice Alley, Sydney Australia
visiting Sydney Australia tips

Time for a small story!
Meet Owen, and Kendrea. The younger siblings of Luke and Kayla, respectively.

Both families have been good friends since they met. Not only do the parents work together and they live around the corner from each other, but Luke and Kayla got married. Obs.

Kendrea liked Owen at this point. Owen wasn’t interested in her, at least not that we knew. They both dated other people after these photos were taken. But stayed good friends!


Yeah, no interest here. ;)

Well… until a few years ago. When mutual linterest became apparent. They started dating. And just 3 weeks ago? They, too, got married. Just like their older siblings!

One of the most fun and crazy real life -howisthistrue!?- love stories I’ve seen.

owen and kendrea
down by Sydney harbor what to expect travel
amelia judy and clarissa by the sydney opera house
sydney opera house

We stumbled into a man playing music at a market. His sign and CDs said his name was Mark Wilkinson. Being Americans, we just though this was a rando playing music on the weekend. Ummm nope. He’s SO talented (we bought like 2 of his records!) and was actually at that time gaining a bit of popularity. Both in Aus and other counties! Just in the past few years, I’ve even heard his music come on my spotify and radio! IIN THE USA! Crazy fun. Hearing music of his still takes me back to a hot day, wandering the Sydney market and driving in rain to see the Blue Mountains.

we discovered mark wilkinson by accident at a street market in Sydney.
kendrea listening to mark wilkinson play in a sydney australia market
clarissa in a cute alley in sydney australia
sydney australia

We spent slow, sunny evenings together. Watching things dry, swimming at the pool, going to a drive in movie.


If you’re in Sydney, definitely check out the Skyline Drive In! We played around in the spaces lot, found a license plate from iowa (!!!) inside the diner, and enjoyed a wonderful, laid-back sort of style. :)

things to do in january in australia

Tunes by Mark Wilkinson and driving in the rain. January in Australia can be hot, for sure. It’s their summer after all! But be prepared for cooler weather if storms roll through or you go up in to the mountains. That was my one request for our trip there, and I’m so glad we went.

mark wilkinson record liner

The rock formation below is called the “three sisters”.

the three sisters in Australia
visiting the three sisters in australia
the blue mountains in Australia travel tips

Have you been to the land down under? Anyone else now have Men At Work stuck in their head!? ;) If you’ve been, tell me what I missed and will have to see next time. If you want to go with me… shoot me an email. I’m down for some sunshine this winter!