Sydney Wedding Photographer


Our Australian Adventure – The first 6 months.


Hi, I'm mandy.

I'm so happy you found the Sugar Tree blog. Here you'll find posts from recent sessions, personal ramblings and tips and tricks on anything from taking better selfies, to how to get great snapshots of your kiddo's. Stay a while and say hello!

Learn more



The sugar tree Wedding portrait guide

Planning your wedding? I got you girl...Grab your free guide here!


Can it REALLY be six months already? Six months of calling Kellyville home….? How does it feel like I have missed half of my year? Today actually marks 1 year, to the day, that our Australian whirlwind began. This day- 365 days ago- was the day that my hubby off-handedly asked me where the passports were as I was passing the study on the way up the passage (hallway). That was the question that changed the trajectory of our life and started us on this incredibly daunting, often chaotic journey that has been our life for the past 365 days.

I was talking to a good friend this morning and mentioned that in some ways it feels like I literally just left SA and in others it feels like I’ve been gone for a lifetime. I feel like I’ve always been here. Things feel so familiar (or at least MOST things – who knew you could get so many variants of peanut butter!?!?!)

Our Aus adventure has been filled with so many things to learn – accents and slang being one of them… hahaha. You learn very quickly that words that meant one thing back in South Africa mean something COMPLETELY different here. :p

A few things we’ve learnt along the way:

~ Do not assume that things work the same in all the territories – they almost seem like small little countries operating under their own laws. Rules that apply in New South Wales (that’s where we are) are not necessarily the same as similar rules in other territories – even public holidays are not standard…. this was a painful blow one June Monday morning when my hubby thought we were having a public holiday only to find out it was in Queensland, not in NSW hahahaha.

~ Making friends as an adult is hard!! Especially when you don’t work in an office where you get to meet or interact with people on a daily basis. Self service checkouts at the stores make it even harder …as you don’t even meet the cashiers at the tills. ;p

~ There’s ALWAYS a sale on somewhere. Wait long enough and you’re bound to get those awesome shoes you’ve been eyeing at a fraction of the original cost.

~ The landscape is as diverse as the people. We live pretty much sandwiched in the middle of the mountains in one direction and the beach in the other. It’s the best of both worlds. Having lived far from both our entire lives, it’s wonderful to be eating breakfast at the beach one morning andย  hiking in the mountains the next.

~ There are so many fun things to do here that cost you nothing more than the travel time and expense to get there. There are hiking trails, biking tracks and trails, cliffside walks…the options are only limited by your Google search skills. LOL

~ It gets crazy cold here (okay not as cold as the Northern hemisphere snow laden winters, but still colder than I ever expected)!!! All you ever hear is how hot Aus is…..but believe me, when those arctic blasts pass through you know ALL about it. (In all honesty This has to be one of the most surprising things for me. :p I expected it to be on par with Jhb winter’s, but NSW taught me a thing or 2 about winter this year. hahaha.

~ Kids are resilient and rise to the occasion given the opportunity. Our boys have adapted so well to their new world. Making friends and fitting in almost from the get go. To say I am proud of them is a gross understatement. They continue to amaze me everyday. They have spread their wings and embraced their new found freedom.

~ How we adapt to a situation is up to us. Happiness is a choice and while we all have bad days, how we pick ourselves up from those bad days and move forward makes all the difference to how our daily lives play out.

~ Chocolate tastes good on any continent. ๐Ÿ˜‰

It’s a funny thing – relocating to a completely new place. You go through so many emotions during different times in this process. It’s filled with excitement and thoughts of adventure. Dreams of all the wonderful things you’re going to explore and discover (and we’ve done a whole lot of both of those things ๐Ÿ˜€ )… and then it’s filled with all the REAL things too, like endless housework , washing that seems to multiply overnight (this is especially true when you live in a house of men…Ooops did I say that out loud….haha) the normal day to day activities of running a house. And while those things are not necessarily fun, they’re standard everyday things that are part of life, no matter where you live. But it really opens your eyes to the things in life that are important. Relocating opens our hearts up to the biggest and hardest part by far – missing family and friends back home!! And While it’s great to go to the store looking awful (hahaha…scraped back hair, no make up, yoga pants) and not having to worry about who see’s you (because no-one actually knows you), some of my best catch ups with friends back home happened in the aisles of Pick ‘n Pay or Woolies when I dashed in for bread or milk and ended up taking 3 hours because I bumped into “so and so” and we ended up chatting about everything under the sun. Those are the small things that can catch you unaware when you’re least expecting them. But as long as you keep in mind that the sad moments are bound to come and that tomorrow will look brighter, you’re able to move beyond that and keep looking for the next adventure.

So here’s to new adventures, the good and bad days and the next 6 months as we enter the last stretch of the year and look forward to celebrating a whole lot more firsts in our new home.

These are a few pictures from our adventures over the past 6 months. I hope you enjoy them and they give you more of a sense of what our little piece of Aus looks like.

Circular Quay is a fascinating place to people watch. The guy in the picture on the left was dressed up as Crocodile Dundee and you could pay him $5 to have your picture taken with him.

Watson Bay – the oldest fishing village in Australia. A short ferry trip across the harbour

The rivers in Australia are so beautiful and most are within National Parks. We visited the Nepean River and were lucky enough to spot a pelican in its natural environment. Can you spot him flying past the tree’s?

And what would a post of Australia be without a pic of the iconic Bondi Beach….

And it’s “not-as-famous” cousin across the bay – Manly Beach

We enjoyed a fabulous morning out at Balmoral Bay

And a hiking trip to the Colo River.

20 Comments on Our Australian Adventure – The first 6 months.

  1. Gail Wilson says:

    So glad you have embrassed this adventure the way you have. Cant believe its six months already. Xxx

    • Mandy Provan says:

      Thanks Ats. It’s definitely been a steep learning curve. There’s still so much to see and learn. I also can’t believe how quickly the time has gone by!!

  2. camilla says:

    Lovely story Mandy. Enjoyed reading and loved your pics. Leaving is wonderfully hard. I know as I have done it twice. I think the kids are less resilient the second time around:) Having said that, you realize that one cannot actually feel vast and well used unless you actually get out of the comfort and into something that makes you itch. Its in that place that one learns about so much. Where is brett working?

    • Mandy Provan says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it Cams. And you’re so right – it’s only in stepping out of our comfort zone that we learn so much about ourselves. As hard as it is, it definitely has its benefits.

  3. Elisa says:

    Wow Mandy,
    Love reading your posts and getting your photos ๐Ÿ˜… feels like I’m on this journey with you๐ŸŒบ… you are Truly Blessed, I’m so so happy for you and your beautiful family๐Ÿ˜˜…

    • Mandy Provan says:

      Thank you so much Elisa!! It really is a beautiful place and we’ve settled in well so far! I’m so glad that you can enjoy it vicariously with me through my posts!! ๐Ÿ™‚ x

  4. Anita Calaca says:

    Hi Mandy, I really enjoyed reading your blog! You are so inspiring and your outlook in life it so positive and real. Your photos are amazing too๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜. Looks so incredible there. May God continue to bless you and your family on this exciting new season of your life and looking forward to your future blogs๐Ÿ˜˜

    • Mandy Provan says:

      Thank you so much Anita!! We are enjoying our new home – even with all the trials a new continent presents. Thank you so much for your good wishes and I’m thrilled you loved the post. x

  5. Odette says:

    Loved reading your blog! I CANNOT believe its 6months already.
    Kellyville is a beautiful suburb…… loved your pics. Wishing you and your 3men only the best going forward. Lots if love and a big hug!

    • Mandy Provan says:

      Thanks so much Odette. It really is a lovely part of the world! We have been blessed for sure. xx

  6. Terry Wilson says:

    Hey ho Jane-O…lovely insight into your new life and so chuffed that you have all “aussified” so quickly and well. Jealous as all hell but glad that you are all loving it so much. You know the saying “Time flies when you are having fun” – well, you guys must be having tons of it.

    • Mandy Provan says:

      Thanks so much Pops – we miss you loads and loads – but know that there is always a bed waiting for you this end when you feel the need to visit. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Louise says:

    It looks absolutely beautiful Mands but then…. You are brilliant at capturing beauty in everything!
    We’re so happy for you and your family that you’ve settled in your new home and please remember you’re missed dearly here in SA – especially with Christmas approaching and we won’t be able to book a Christmas mini session with you.
    I hope you’ll make a bunch of good friends soon because you’re such a brilliant friend!

    • Mandy Provan says:

      Thanks so much Lou!! We miss all of you back home too! ๐Ÿ™‚ And I definitely miss all of my fabulous Christmas mini clients!! It was always such a highlight in my year – even though it was crazy!! hahaha.

  8. Elaine Hutchison Miller says:

    Absolutely loved reading your blog, Mandy. Having been to some of the places you speak about, I feel a longing to visit Aus again. Such a vast country and so much to see and learn, but I can understand your “loneliness” too, as there is nothing like having a friend or family member close by. There is also nothing quite like all the familiar surroundings, even though adventure is amazing. Being there on holiday is nothing like waking up in the morning and realizing that “this is home” and it’s oceans away from where you experienced growing up, I’m sure. Enjoy your new adventure and all that comes with it. Keep sharing with us, even though I don’t know you that well, I enjoy all your posts. There is so much more out there for you to enjoy and share. I’ll be waiting to read your next interesting blog.
    Bless you for sharing.

    • Mandy Provan says:

      Thank you so much Elaine!! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post and are enjoying following along on our journey. What you said is so true – Living in a place is very different from being there on holiday and it definitely takes a bit of getting used to. Especially the culture and meeting new people – which is far easier when you are in school!! hahaha.

  9. Leigh-Anne Poole says:

    And boy do we miss you guys madly! ๐Ÿ˜”

  10. Donnalee (Lee) says:

    I loved reading your blog. I also feel sad that we will never have that kind of freedom here anymore.
    I love how clean the place is.
    Big hugs and kisses

    • Mandy Provan says:

      Thanks so much Lee. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. We really are loving Aus and it takes a bit of getting used to everything being so clean and working. :p The boys are relishing the freedom, we are sorry that we had to travel halfway around the world for them to experience it, but it is what it is, unfortunately. Big hugs and kisses back!! Miss you all.

Leave a Reply

reader faves


browse by category






tips & Tricks


welcome to my blog

I'm Mandy and I'm so happy you found the Sugar Tree blog. Here you'll find posts from recent sessions, personal ramblings and tips and tricks on anything from taking better selfies, to how to get great snapshots of your kiddo's. Stay a while and say hello!

Learn more



The sugar tree Wedding portrait guide

Planning your wedding? I got you girl... Grab your free guide here!

get the guide


free download

WEDDING photography portrait GUIDE

Your wedding photography portraits are one of the only tangible memories you will have after your wedding day. These tips will guide you through making decisions to get the best possible wedding photographs on your special day.

 ยฉ 2018-2024 sugar tree photography

 ABN  9118 443 9723