Australia – Moonlight Martini

Land Down Under

We’re going “down under” as we leave Estonia for the warmth and beauty of picturesque Australia. Mrs. Sip lived in the country for half a year and I was lucky to join her for six weeks. While together, we toured a fair portion of the country. There were numerous and diverse sites that we both fell in love with during our stay. Here are some of our favourites:

Phillips Island

Home to the World’s Smallest Penguins, hundreds of tourists gather each day and brave the elements to watch the little flightless birds return from the water, like clockwork, to their burrows on Phillips Island. Sadly, but understandably, you’re not allowed to take photos of the tiny travelers, as flashes from cameras can blind them and cause them to become disoriented, get lost, and turn into easy prey for predators.

Penguin Parade

Great Barrier Reef

Cairns is home to the Great Barrier Reef and its impressive collection of coral formations. In some of the clearest, most stunning water I’ve ever been in, I did my first ever scuba dive and saw species of sea creatures I may never see up close again. We also snorkeled the area for a few hours and enjoyed the bathtub temperature of the ocean… plus, it’s always fun to perv on Mrs. Sip in the water!

Daintree Rainforest

Also while in Cairns, Mrs. Sip and I also toured the Daintree Rainforest, including a river cruise where we searched for legendary crocodiles and a hike through the tropical bush. The Daintree is home to an untold number of animal and plant species and you never really know what you’ll come across in your trek. Mrs. Sip was on edge about seeing any spiders, while I was ever-vigilant in avoiding snakes.

Wildlife

There are some animals you will only see in zoos and around Australia during your lifetime. We decided to combine the two by visiting one of the country’s nature reserves: the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. There, we viewed epically large crocodiles, fed kangaroos, and were attacked by parakeets and lorikeets. We even got our photos with a koala and all was well until it peed all over our friend!

Koala Currumbin

Ayers Rock/Uluru

This mystical mass of land is located in the Australian Outback and while I did not journey there for my own personal walkabout, Mrs. Sip made the trip. It takes between two to three hours to walk around Ayers Rock/Uluru and it’s also a wonderful spot to view sunrise and sunset each day. Interestingly, it’s said that if you take any rock from the site you will be cursed, leaving many trying to return “souvenirs” they’ve pick up from the World Heritage Site.

Sydney Opera House

Sydney was such a neat city (surprisingly clean and green) in its entirety, but perhaps its most famous landmark is the Opera House located in Sydney Harbour. Mrs. Sip and I did a Hop-On, Hop-Off bus tour of the iconic metropolis and spent a fair bit of time hanging out in the harbour. Tourists can even climb the Harbour Bridge for a spectacular viewing opportunity.

Surfer’s Paradise

While I failed miserably at my attempt to learn surfing in Australia, the beaches around the country are a sight to behold. Surfer’s Paradise is where all the youngsters go to hang out and hang ten. If you’re not into the beach and ocean stuff, the area is also home to numerous dining and shopping options. If you choose to stick to the sand and water, be careful of disruptive visits by anything from jellyfish to sharks.

Australia: Moonlight Martini

Moonlight Martini Drink Recipe

  • Muddle Blackberries
  • 1.5 oz Shiraz/Syrah Wine
  • 1.5 oz Raspberry Vodka
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Garnish with Blackberries

Australian wine is also a big deal and they are most famous for their Shiraz/Syrah grape variety, which was brought to the country from Europe by James Busby in the 1830’s. Speaking of Aussie wine, Mrs. Sip and I also thoroughly enjoyed the Barossa Valley wine tour we joined in Adelaide, specifically our meal of kangaroo cooked in… you guessed it: red wine!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
Given the World’s Smallest Penguins was one of my favourite Australian attractions, coming across the Little Penguin Shiraz Wine was almost too perfect to be true. Sadly, I didn’t have the Orange Vodka the recipe asked for, so I subbed in Raspberry Vodka with a splash of Triple Sec to get the orange flavour. The drink was pretty good and had a number of different notes to tease the taste buds!

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August 4 – Water of Life

Ready for a Dip

Mrs. Sip and I are away this weekend at a remote lodge in the Indian Arm region of British Columbia. This is thanks to our wonderful friends who own a boat and help us get off the grid and away from all that nasty technology out there (this supercalifragilisticexpialidocious site not included). This is our second year up at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club owned Wigwam outpost and it is quickly becoming one of my favourite watery getaways. Here are some of my other preferred bodies of water.

Ma and Pa Sip’s Pool

The site of many legendary parties, this iconic oasis rivals the reputation of the Playboy Mansion Grotto. I have spent countless hours floating around this little slice of heaven with friends and family, downing copious amounts of Sweet Lady Liquor’s elixir. Apparently, the parents Sip are putting together plans for a future hot tub, which means the epic merrymaking will only get wilder!

pool party

Rivers of America

It’s hard to narrow down my favourite Disneyland water way, but I’d have to give the nod to the Rivers of America at Disneyland, which connects Frontierland to New Orleans Square (my preferred park realm) and finally Critter Country. You can travel the waters via either the Mark Twain Steamboat or the Columbia Sailing Ship and the Rivers of America provide the perfect setting for the wondrous attraction Fantasmic.

Great Barrier Reef

A must-see for travelers to Australia, as this wonder of the world won’t be around forever. Mrs. Sip and I journeyed into the pristine waters of the Great Barrier Reef, where I enjoyed my first ever scuba diving experience. We later spent a couple hours snorkeling in the warm water, searching out beautiful and unique sea life many eyes will never see.

Ik-Kil Cenote

A cenote is a sinkhole that reveals groundwater underneath… you could think of it as nature’s swimming pool! Mrs. Sip and I, along with members of the Sip Alliance, ventured to Ik-Kil (outside Cancun, Mexico) and climbed deep into the earth to have a little dip. You could even jump off of a high platform into the luke-warm H2O. You know by now that heights, risks, and water are one of the Sip Advisor’s favourite trifectas!

Cenote

Ontario Cottage Country

My trips to Cottage Country, outside Toronto, Ontario were always full of fun and relaxation. I managed to get up there three times, thanks to a buddy whose parents owned a place there. Perhaps one of my favourite elements of the area was that to visit your neighbours – who all looked after each other like a good community should – you had to travel by boat, which added a little adventure to the otherwise laid back weekends.

Panama Canal

For our honeymoon, Mrs. Sip and I traversed the Panama Canal route, embarking from Vancouver, B.C. and finishing in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It was a wonderful journey, highlighted by numerous days at sea, where we could drink like fish on our balcony and enjoy all of the ship’s amenities. Our port stops along the voyage were also quite memorable, as we dined on local food and drink, while getting our culture on.

just-wait-for-the-honeymoon

Venice Canals

If you’re a fan of mazes, like I am, then Venice is the perfect place for you. It’s fun getting lost among the narrow alleys and bridges that connect Venice’s endless number of islands. Riding the gondolas the city is famous for is a must-do tourist trap, just to say you’ve done it. On our gondola jaunt, Mrs. Sip and I became a tourist attraction, following the urban legend that you should kiss under each bridge for good luck. Soon enough, folks were snapping pictures of us!

Indian Arm

Let’s come full circle and talk a little bit about our Indian Arm experience. Getting away from all the trappings of technology was amazing, especially since our first trip there was less than a month before our wedding and we were thankfully forced to relax and do absolutely no planning in this trading post, turned saloon/gambling hall, turned brothel, turned yacht club clubhouse (yeah, a natural progression, I know). We simply wasted the days away, with good friends, food, and drink. I even managed some exercise in the form of kayaking and some late night balcony drinking, which all you little sippers know is among my beloved activities!

Drink #216: Water of Life

Aug 4

  • 1.5 oz Blue Curacao
  • 1.5 oz Vodka (I used Absolut Raspberri)
  • Top with Lemon-Lime Soda
  • Garnish with Fish Candies

What are some great bodies of water that I’ve neglected? Perhaps you’ll steer Mrs. Sip and I towards a future travel destination if it’s an attraction we haven’t visited yet!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I drastically changed the advertised amount of Blue Curacao needed for the drink because it seemed way out of proportion and there was no mixer in sight. With my modifications, the drink was delicious and looked great thanks to my idea to use Fish Candies on top of each layer of ice. Perhaps my head isn’t as cavernous as first thought!

April 28 – Matador

Taking the Bull by the Horns

While I never intend to be a matador, I have done my fair share of crazy. Here are my experiences in the realm of extreme activities!

Zorbing

Rolling down a hill inside a giant rubber ball filled with water is something only the Kiwi’s could have invented. Mrs. Sip and I jumped into the ball together and tumbled our way to the bottom of the hill, giggling as we crashed around inside our vessel. As you exit the ball, you feel as if you’re being birthed. We also did solo runs down a zig-zag course, trying to stay upright as long as possible, but always ending up flipping our way down the track.

Zorbing

Commercial Luge

The more you speed, the more you bleed… I found this out the hard way. Again, while in New Zealand, Mrs. Sip and I took to a commercial street luge track. Mrs. Sip played it safe and did two runs on the beginner track before advancing to intermediate. I did one intermediate run before hitting the expert slope twice. On my last run, feeling ballsy, I tried to videotape my journey. This didn’t go well, as holding the camera, while trying to steer was nearly impossible. I crashed into the embankment, rolled a few times and walked away with a gnarly gash on my arm, a grass- and dirt-stained shirt and a camera that struggled to open and close. Eh, you win some, you luge some!

Bungee Jumping

I’ve bungeed a total of five times from three different locations, including one epic jump off the Auckland Harbour Bridge in New Zealand. Your mother always told you to never follow your friends and jump off bridges… that’s why I went solo and started the trend. Amazingly, Mrs. Sip has often accompanied me to view these jumps, despite her fear of heights. While I’m a fan of flipping through the air while bungeeing, I didn’t fully enjoy the backwards free-fall I once performed.

Bungee Jump

Ziplining

Despite what the creators of South Park might think about ziplining, I’ve always enjoyed flying through the air from platform to platform. Mrs. Sip and I have ziplined in Mexico, Costa Rica and into a cave in New Zealand (for a round of black water rafting). I like the lines where you can do some more elaborate tricks, like go upside down and pretend you’re a spider, hanging from your own webbing!

Scuba Diving

I know what you’re thinking (especially if you’ve never done it), how is scuba diving a danger sport? Well, just the concept of breathing deep underwater is something that can be difficult to wrap your head around. When Mrs. Sip (a certified diver) signed me up for an introductory scuba session, I was apprehensive to say the least. Once you get in the water, relax, and get used to the breathing and goggle techniques, the views are amazing and you can keep your fears subdued. I was privileged to do my dive at Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and I think I even found Nemo!

Drink #118: Matador

The Matador Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Tequila (I used 1800 Añejo)
  • Top with Pineapple Juice
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with Lime Wedge

In the future, I hope to do other crazy shit like run with the bulls, skydive, base jump and cliff dive. For those that are afraid to try any of these activities, just remember how dangerous normal everyday things can be like walking the streets of a downtown core and you should have no problem jumping out of a plane, off a cliff, or into a stampede!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I liked this cocktail. It’s fun to put the odd non-bubbly-based drink into a champagne flute and I thought it worked really well for this recipe. All the ingredients mixed well together with many citrus notes shining through… plus you can never go wrong with Añejo Tequila!