The beginning of 2016 was pretty much a steady stream of visitors, which we loved. In January, Ali and her best friend Jess came to Melbourne for a few days on their tour of Australia, and we had so much fun exploring the city. The highlight of their visit was our trip to Ballarat Wildlife Park, where Ali realized her lifelong goal of holding a wombat. We also toured the epic Great Ocean Road and attended the Australian Open. Peter spent the entire month of January working in Kansas City, so it was a bit of an experience living alone for a month!
Ali holding Patrick, the biggest wombat in Australia
We had a picnic lunch at the Brighton Beach Boxes and ended up getting super sunburned despite the unseasonably cool summer weather!
Jess, Ali, and me in front of the 12 Apostles on the Great Ocean Road
In February, Peter's parents came to Australia for three weeks. We did the usual day trips to the Great Ocean Road (we took a helicopter tour, our first ever, and it was so cool!) and Phillip Island, and also spent a weekend in Sydney. We had lots of fun with them showing off 'our' city.
All of us at St. Kilda Beach
Sydney Harbour Bridge
Icebergs at Bondi Beach
Helicopter tour above the Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road
Feeding kangaroos at Phillip Island Wildlife Park
Our third round of visitors for the year (my dad, stepmom, sister, and her college roommate) came for a few weeks in March. We fed kangaroos and visited the Nobbies on Phillip Island, toured the Great Ocean Road, took in a footy game, and devoted lots of time to exploring the restaurant and bar scene in Melbourne. We discovered what would become one of our favorite Melbs restaurants (high praise!) during their stay: Meatmaiden.
Feeding Kangaroos on Phillip Island
Touring the Great Ocean Road
Footy game at the Melbourne Cricket Garden
Shrine of Remembrance
Hannah, Kathryn, me, and Peter enjoying a drink at Ponyfish Island
Our first month of the year without visits from family (and the first month without a Great Ocean Road trip for me!) was largely spent enjoying the fall weather in Melbourne and checking out some new restaurants. We did make one significant purchase- a new camera.
Ice cream number 24023482 of the year
A cute coffee shop in South Melbourne
Checking out a new burger place near our house
We took an absolutely epic trip to Japan. We hit Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Nara, and Hakone. Peter and I both absolutely LOVED it. We are both dying to go back!
Admiring the deer in Nara Park
Kinkaku-ji Temple in Kyoto
Bamboo Forest in Kyoto
Peter in Osaka
Temple in Tokyo
Senso-ji Temple in Tokyo
Fresh off the heels of our trip to Japan, I flew home to Minnesota to be in one of my college roommates/best friend's wedding and meet my new baby niece. It was such a fun trip and I got to see tons of friends and family all in two short weeks. I think I spent half of June on an airplane, but it was worth it ;).
The wedding party
The girls getting ready
Meeting my adorable niece Hadley
In July, upon learning we would be returning to the States sooner than expected, we took an impromptu trip to Tasmania and wished we had more time to explore Australia's island state. Some highlights were Hobart and Wineglass Bay. We spent our last few weeks in Melbourne soaking up everything we love about the city, including a footy game, a trip to the Mornington Peninsula, and a tour of Main Ridge Dairy.
Exploring Hobart's surroundings
In August, the biggest change of the year happened when we moved back to the States. It was a bittersweet move (still is!) but overall we are just filled with gratitude that we were able to live in and explore the fabulous country of Australia for two years. We will look back on those years fondly for the rest of our lives and we are eternally grateful for all of the memories we made while living there, as well as the lifelong friendships we established. At the end of August, the day after arriving back in the States to be exact, we drove up to northern Minnesota to join my family for a weekend on Lake Vermilion.
Packed into the car on our way to the airport, with help from Lauren and Matt
Peter paddleboarding on Lake Vermilion
Annual family pontoon adventure, which nearly turned extremely eventful seconds after this photo was taken and we realized we were sinking the front of the boat. Whoops.
Beautiful northern Minnesota sunset
We spent September in limbo, readjusting to life in the States and living out of our suitcases between our parents' houses. I made it to the Minnesota State Fair for the first time in years, and my mom, sister and I took a trip down to Austin to scout apartments and paid a visit to Magnolia Market in Waco.
Sweet Martha's Cookies at the Minnesota State Fair with Jess
Waco to see the Fixer Upper sights with my mom and Ali
In October we moved to Austin, gained a roommate, and took a trip to San Diego for Peter's grandpa's wedding all in the same week. It was a crazy month!
Our new apartment building
San Diego sunset
In November, we devoted much of our time and energy to exploring our new city, celebrated Thanksgiving in our new apartment, and even got to host my mom and stepdad as our first visitors! We fit in a day trip to San Antonio and enjoyed showing them around.
Last month, we finished off 2016 with an abundance of Christmas activities (Christmas lights at Mozart's Coffee Roasters, Christmas at the Silos, and Austin Trail of Lights to name a few), a Christmas Day hike, and a trip home to Minnesota to ring in the New Year. I also landed a job (I start next week!), and we settled into our life in Austin even more.
Christmas at the Silos
Our Christmas Tree
We had a fabulous year and are grateful for all of the adventures and experiences we were lucky enough to have in 2016.