(Still trying to get caught up on the back log of news from our busy summer holiday...)

Arrival by trainWe had a wonderful visit early in January from my brother Mike and family.  This was the first visit by cousins for our boys since we arrived Down Under over a year and a half ago.  We packed a lot in during their 8 day stay.

They arrived by train from Adelaide (41 hours across the Nullarbor plain) so they really got to experience the Australian Outback.  After a day of clouds, humidity and threatening rain (it doesn't do much more than threaten rain this time of year), the weather warmed up gradually throughout their week.  When I dropped them off at the airport on their last day, the thermometer was up to 42°C (107.6°F).  In between, it was just about right weather for enjoying touring activities and hitting our beach.

Straight away the first night, the blokes all headed to the WACA cricket grounds for a Twenty20 match (short, one night version of cricket) between Western Australia and South Australia. It was a near sellout crowd that saw some rather exciting cricket even though our side fell short.

Cousins at Pt PeronWe pretty much kept to the Perth region hitting many of our favourite spots.  We had a windy sunset at Point Peron here in Rockingham (photo of kids at the top of the point).  We spent a day in Perth, taking the train and the ferry to the Perth Zoo (100° made it a little uncomfortable and slowed the animals down).  Several mornings were spent at our beach by the house here where they were treated to dolphin sightings three different days (including once when a few of us were in the water only about 20 meters away from 2 and a baby).

Finally, on the day before flying out, we made a quick run down to the Margaret River region.  This is area has some of our most favourite touring spots, so it was great to get the cousins down there even though it was quite a one-day whirlwind tour (3-4 hour drive one way).  We took them to the chocolate factory for several handfuls of free samples, did some shopping, watched the action at one of the best surf beaches in Australia, and even stopped off for a swim in one of our favourite bays (although the flies were rather unbearable this time).

Family in PerthIn between all of the touring, the cousins all had heaps of good fun playing games, playing cricket in the driveway and digging in the sand at the beach.

We're very grateful for Mike and Lori making the big effort to come down here for a stay.  Now we're looking forward to a visit from one of my cousins during our next holiday in April.  It's not too late to book a future holiday with free room and board here in Rockingham, although the list of potential dates is growing shorter day by day (free offer ends in December 2011!).