A Celebration Down Under

Sterling and I returned home from Australia yesterday—exhausted (we spent about 24 hours in airports and airplanes one way) but happy! It was fabulous to spend a few days with some of our demonstrators from Australia and New Zealand.

I won’t give an all-day, day-by-day report of our incentive trip to Noosa Heads—I’ll just hit the highlights for me.

The first thing I loved was getting there a day earlier than we have the past two years. Last year and the year before, we arrived at the incentive trip the same day as demonstrators, sometimes even on the same flight. I felt terrible trying to greet our demonstrators and their guests while looking and feeling like I’d spent 24 hours on a plane!

This year we had one day to recover from jet lag (although honestly we didn’t really feel like we were on local time until about the day we came home!) and were able to greet everyone and visit with our eyes open.

We started off with a welcome dinner the first night, which was a great way to begin our time together.



The next day we took a ferry from our hotel and headed over to Ricky’s, a beach restaurant where we cooked with professional chefs. We donned chef hats and aprons, split up in teams, and cooked some delectable dishes—it was so fun! My team made crème brulee, and I learned all sorts of cooking tips and techniques.

After all the teams finished, we got to eat what we cooked. (At least that’s what they told us! It tasted so delicious that I think perhaps they served us what they had cooked themselves and “tucked” our creations aside.)

That night we all enjoyed karaoke. This wasn’t an organized Stampin’ Up! event, but a big group of us headed over to a club down the street and we pretty much took it over! (smile) I thought karaoke was just a US thing—not so! Australians and New Zealanders definitely know how to karoake! We sang and danced and I think we started a new tradition; I’m sure we’ll be doing this again!


Make & Takes are always a highlight, and this year was no exception. It’s one of the few times we are all gathered together in one room, and we get to chat, stamp, and swap—three of my absolutely favorite things!

Saturday Sterling and I joined a group of demonstrators and their guests for an all-day adventure tour to Fraser Island.

Most memorable parts of this trip? Riding a four-wheel-type bus at full speed along the beach (people drive along the beach in both directions just like they do on the highway!). . .

. . . and exploring McKenzie Lake, a crystal-clear, freshwater lake up in the mountains.

That night was our final dinner, which was incredible! We took a bus to a site where antique cars were lined up, and then rode the cars to an Australian plantation, where we had a delightful dinner and dessert and enjoyed star gazing. I loved looking through the telescopes (the astronomer said they were actually small- to medium-sized telescopes, but they seemed pretty big to me!)

On top of all this, Noosa Heads was just a charming beach-front town! You could stroll along the beach, walk through the national forest (or the bush, as they call it), and do all the relaxing you could possibly want!

So you can see that the week was wonderful!

It was also great to get back home last night. We arrived home just in time for a barbecue with a lot of the family. The Browns (who are moving away) and the Douglasses (who are moving back) are all staying at the Gardner home, so it’s a party! It was nice to sleep in our own bed, and it was even nicer to wake up to our own little one-year-old alarm (Phoebe) and a houseful of grandchildren.