My Trip to Australia 2018

Now that I’m back and rested from my trip to Australia, I thought I’d share some of the highlights. I was invited to travel to Tasmania and Adelaide to teach machine quilting and it was soo amazing! I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to bring my family with me. They had lots of adventures while I was teaching, and I was able to participate with them on my days off.

Welcome to Tasmania

If you’ve never gone on a long haul flight, I have to admit it was pretty tough. It took us about 24 hours to get there with multiple layovers, one long 14 hour flight in which we had to sleep on the plane (so not fun) and of course a huge adjustment in time zones. But the hubby and kids were up for the adventure and fortunately our first day there was a recovery day so it didn’t slow us down too much.

Flights to Australia

The kids loved walking on the tarmac to board the plane on one of our connecting flights.

Sleeping on the Plane

Sleeping on the Airplane is not very comfortable!!

I had a full play day scheduled in Tasmania before I had to teach and we were able to visit a local museum and animal sanctuary. I learned a bit about the country’s history and got to cuddle with some koalas and kangaroos!

Art Piece from Tasmania

This art piece from the museum looked very quilty. I enjoyed learning about the region’s history.

Bonorong Sanctuary in Tasmania

The Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary in Tasmania got most of their animals as rescues. Many times the mama kangaroos are killed on the roadways while carrying Joey’s (baby kangaroos) in their pouches. They raise the babies and protect other native wildlife so they can thrive.

Kangaroos in Australia

It was fun to pet & feed the kangaroos. Can you see the joey sticking out of mama’s pouch??

Jason was our designated driver and it took him a few days to recover from driving on the “wrong” side of the road, but fortunately I was able to use that analogy when teaching free-motion quilting. I told my students that It takes learning a new motor skill while both driving AND quilting, LOL!!

Driving in Australia

It took awhile to get used to the view from the “wrong” side of the street while driving!!

My students in Tasmania seemed to have a fabulous time learning both walking foot and free motion quilting. Thank goodness that “driving” a sewing machine works the same no matter which country you are in (though of course we had to pack a few plug adapters to use our electronics.)

Student work

Student work in class – I love the variegated thread!

Tasmania MQG

Souvenir from the Tasmanian Modern Quilt Guild – I’ll wear it with pride!

While I taught, the kids were able to travel to what they called “The End of the World” – the southern most tip of Australia. Really you can’t travel much further south without being in Antarctica!

Views from the End of the world

View from “the end of the world”! It wasn’t really but the kids had fun calling it that!

By the way, I loved taking notice of all the cultural and language differences between our two countries. The most interesting thing I noticed at each restaurant we visited was that they gave us a container and glasses for us to pour our own water, rather than serving us glasses of ice water and constantly refilling it. It’s actually more efficient I think, and my younger son who prefers not to have ice in his drinks was thrilled.

Water at the Restaurant

There’s a large Asian population in Australia which meant lots of yummy Asian restaurants to try!

The Lift at the airport

The word LIFT at the airport certainly takes up less space on a sign than “elevevator!”

Just for funsies, here are a couple of wording differences that the kids had fun pointing out. The first word is the Australian version, followed by what we call it here in the US:

  • Lift = elevator
  • Holiday = vacation
  • Trolley = shopping cart
  • Chips = french fries
  • Sauce = ketchup
  • Toilet = restroom
  • Take away = take-out
  • Way out = exit
  • Pram = stroller
  • Jug = pitcher
  • Biscuit = cookie

Australian Tim Tams

TimTams are the best “biscuits” we’ve ever had so we made sure to stock up!!

After our jaunt in Tasmania (with delicious food and amazing hospitality) we took a hop over to Adelaide for the next leg in our journey so I could teach at the Australian Machine Quilting Festival. I lectured and taught for 3 days straight and the most fun thing to realize is that quilters are amazing and enthusiastic, no matter where in the world I travel!

Cindy Needham, Helen Stubbings and Christa Watson at AMQF

I enjoyed chatting with Cindy Needham and Helen Stubbings from Hugs ‘n Kisses after a day of teaching. Cindy was one of those inspiring teachers who came to my guild about 10 years ago that made me realize I wanted to travel and teach, too! Helen invited me to her guild in Tasmania and it’s her sister who invited me to teach at AMQF. I love a creative quilting family!!

I taught 3 machine quilting workshops and one piecing workshop. Students worked on their versions of my Modern Logs quilt pattern and it’s one of my favorite piecing workshops to teach because everyone’s blocks turn out so differently, but are still soo amazing!

Modern Logs Workshop in Australia

I love hanging out with fun quilters worldwide!!
BERNINA Australia generously provided sewing machines in class for everyone to use.

While I taught in Adelaide, the family had even more adventures. They went bike riding out in the country, and did some rock climbing guided by my oldest son.

Watsons and Koala

This Koala knows how to pose for the camera!

We were there for a total of 12 days including travel and my daughter who is still in school diligently kept up with her homework while we were gone. I’m so glad the timing worked out for all of us to go (the older boys head out on their next life adventures this fall).

Biking in Australia

The kids had as much fun with their outdoor adventures as I did teaching!

Rock climbing in Australia

This is the one adventure I was ok to miss! My oldest son is quite the climber so he took the rest of the family on a SAFE rock climbing adventure during one of my workshop days.
I’m so glad they use LOTS and LOTS of ropes!

More Kangaroos!

More Kangaroos!

One of the highlights of the quilting festival was getting to put a teacher ribbon on my favorite quilt. Not only was I blown away by the quilt in the shape of Australia, but the maker machine quilted it herself, adding lots of wonderful texture to the surface, without overpowering the pieced design.

Australia Quilt by Barbara Kukulies
Land Girt by Sea by Barbara Kukulies – Faculty Choice Ribbon

I had such an amazing time and hope to return to Australia again someday. This was my first international teaching trip and it’s definitely made me open to teaching at other international locations, too! So if you live somewhere exotic and fun, feel free to pass my name along to your event organizer or guild. 🙂

Do you have a fun place that’s on your bucket list to visit? Leave me a comment and let me know!

22 thoughts on “My Trip to Australia 2018

  1. Jan says:

    One of my wished for trips is a return trip to Australia, and I would especially like to take the whole family. We really enjoyed our previous time there.

  2. allisonreidnem says:

    Lovely post! It seems the language divide between Aus and USA is about the same as between the UK and USA! Good to see they drive on the ‘right’ side of the road too 😀 It’s great that patchwork quilting is a worldwide activity and the sense of enthusiasm and community can be felt just about where ever we travel.

  3. Judy says:

    I just came back from two of the places on my bucket list, Iceland and Switzerland, both amazing places to visit. Australia is on my bucket list also and I hope to go there someday soon. If you still have some Tim Tams google Tim Tam slam and try them that way. I can’t buy them anymore because I would eat the whole package myself they are so good.

  4. Shari Reveal says:

    Wonderful post. It was the trip,of the lifetime. The photos were fantastic. I was glad to see your oldest son since I haven’t met him. I am so proud to know a celebrity in the quilting world. Thanks for posting. 💜💜❤️❤️❤️

  5. Corrine Bateman says:

    Even though I live in Adelaide, I did not get a chance to catch up with you. I just love Adelaide although I was born in Wisconsin. I enjoyed reading your travelog as it reminds me of things that I now take for granted. I am pleased that you enjoyed your visit and do hope you come back again soon.

  6. Susan says:

    I am so glad you loved your Australian trip & am disappointed I couldn’t get to the festival this year. Tassie is a beautiful island & I know it well as we lived there for 61/2 years. Koalas, I’m sure love posing for photos, as I’ve had some great encounters in the wild. I can see from the photos, that the family enjoyed too. Great experience for you all & thanks for sharing. Take care.

  7. Karen White says:

    I so envy you as I’ve always wanted to visit Australia. It looks like you and your family had a wonderful time. The animal rescue place is somewhere my Granddaughter would love as we visited these on our trip to Alaska in June. Love seeing the quilts you worked on with the women.

  8. sharon says:

    I love TimTams.. BTW if you didn’t know– pepperidge farms makes timtams in milk, dark or caramel chocolate– available only at select targets— I haven’t had a real arnott’s Tim Tam in years but, the target ones are really good

  9. Carol Palmer says:

    I visited Adelaide in 1990. My favorite place was the botanic gardens.
    The ancient city of Petra is on my bucket list. I’ll visit it in November when I take a hiking trip through Jorday.

  10. Hedy Hahn says:

    I’ve done a great deal of international traveling and those really long airplane rides are hard. I learned how to crunch up in my seat and sleep. I haven’t been to Australia so I appreciate the great pictures you took. Love that quilt too. I’m glad you had such a great time.

  11. Jenni Power says:

    So pleased you loved the small snippet of Oz there is much more to explore in Weastern Australia , Northern Territory , across the top to Queensland if you are iin love with the tropics down the east coast to Brisbane then on to New south whales across the huge northern rivers down thru Sydney and see the iconic Opera house and Bondi Beach (personally I prefere the beaches on the north coast around Port Maquarie) the down thru the highland and beautiful Bowrol thou Goulbourne good fine wool sheep country Canberra would be your next stop then on to the Snowy Mountains Where i am from. After a spot of snowboarding down thru the Snowy sceme and past the hydo dams and past farmlands suffering badly in the drought Many towns big and small and cross over into Victoria and down the highway to Melbourne and the seaboard where the ferrie goes across to Tasmania Quick trip but much more for you to enjoy cheers Jenni

  12. jenetamasson says:

    What an adventure! This is a fabulous time of year to visit Australia. I am in the west and the weather is just divine (more like Adelaide than Tasmania). Love all the photos; such a great pictorial family history your family will have. x

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