At the end of my internship my mother came to spend a little time with me in Australia. We decided to travel around Australia a bit ourselves before we went back home to the States. One place I think everyone should have on their bucket list is the Great Barrier Reef. I mean it’s incredible in every photo I’ve seen, and now since I am in Australia I know I have to make the trip up to Cairns to go see it. So my mom picked me up from my lodging and off we went!
The flight was about 3 hours from Sydney to Cairns, which isn’t bad at all. Since I was there in the winter months the 80 degree weather in Cairns was a BIG difference from the 50-60 degree weather we had in Newcastle. We spent our first day relaxing in the sun, getting to know the area we were staying in. We were about a 20 minute walk from the Esplanade, which was so cool! So many restaurants and little places to stop and shop, and so many dogs!
I’m a lover of gardens and flowers so when I saw that there was a botanical gardens close by we had to go! Everything in the gardens were blooming and colorful, it just made you happy to be there. There was also a greenhouse with butterflies everywhere, some that I had never even seen before! Even though it was a little bit too hot for me it was definitely worth the walk around. They even had their own rainforest and bamboo walk. Totally scenic for lots of photos. We made it an early night because our boat for the Great Barrier Reef left pretty early in the morning.
I get sea sick very easily, so I had to wear a sea sickness patch that did work for me the most part of the trip. The trip out to the reef was little over an hour on the boat, we snorkeled in two different locations and it had to have been one of the greatest things I’ve seen in my life! I mean so many colorful fish and coral, I even saw a reef shark! I even saw a little nemo in his home too. It was a great experience and if you ever are in Australia this has to be one of the top things that you do!
One other little trip my mom and I went on while in Cairns is taking a ride to Paronella Park. The Park houses a so called ‘castle’ built by a man who had been poor his whole life, but had a dream to build himself a castle. He worked hard, and was able to make his dream a reality. The park is beautiful, even though some of it is in ruins from a hurricane. We were able to see the park in both day and night, which gave us a lot of different views. By the end of the night we were stargazing and even able to see the milky way! Absolutely incredible!
We also spent a lot of time admiring the trees and drinking beer, I mean we are on vacation right!? The food was excellent everywhere we went, and the outdoor seating couldn’t have gotten better. Cairns was a great experience, relaxing and tropical area. There’s also so much more to do in the surrounding areas we didn’t even get the chance to see half of what is available. I will definitely be going back whenever I get the chance!
As the internship was crawling to an end, my anxiety began to take over. ‘What do you mean it was already time to go home, I just got here!’ I was overwhelmed at the fact that time went so fast and I didn’t get to do everything that I wanted to complete. The girls and I made the most of our final days, refusing to spending weeknights indoors, and
going out and exploring the city. We ate at amazing restaurants on the water, took paths we normally didn’t travel on, and just spent time appreciating where we are. We found this place that had the most amazing Acai bowls, so much fruit and flavor packed into one little bowl I couldn’t even eat it all it was too good! If you’re in Newcastle and you get the chance, go find this little gem on Darby St. called the W.I.A store, not only do they have acai bowls but cute tee’s as well. I made the promise to myself as well that I would get a tattoo while I was there. To me tattoo’s don’t need to have a deep meaning all the time, it may just be something you want on your body to express yourself. The tattoo I got does have a meaning to me, yet I know it will be too hard to explain to so many people, so I’ll let them think what they want about it.
Our last days we were also able to attend a local rugby game for the Newcastle Knights. Personally I was still a bit shaky on the understanding of the game, but it was still really awesome to be a part of the atmosphere.
Newcastle became my home for 2 months and I was so grateful to have experienced my time there with such amazing people. I will be going back to visit very soon. The city is wonderful, the beaches are beautiful, the people are so nice, and there is just so much to explore. I can’t wait to go back.
The last trip with the three other girls I met while in Australia had to be a big one! We were leaving soon and wanted to make sure we could see as much as possible in such a small window of time. We decided to take the short flight to Melbourne from Newcastle, it only ended up being an hour or so of a flight. We found a cheap hostel before hand, even though none of us are fond of them, and we were ready to explore the city. Friday was a full day, we booked a tour that would show us around the Great Ocean Road. It was pretty spectacular! We got to see koalas in the wild, hold parrots, see the 12 apostles, and see the beautiful sights as we drove along the Great Ocean Road. Before getting on the road itself we stopped at this Chocolate Factory, and let me say I felt like a kid, so overwhelmed with all the candies and chocolates to choose from, I couldn’t contain myself.
The road is quite windy so if you get car sick, much like myself, I recommend taking something before hand! The story of the road is filled with lots of history, it was built to remember those soldiers from Australia who died in World War I. The 12 Apostles are rock formations that come up from the ocean, which honestly I could have stayed and looked at them all day. There are no longer 12 standing because of erosion and what not, but there is still a lot to see!
After a long day Friday, we spend Saturday just roaming around the city. Of course we had to stop and have a photo shoot at the Brighton Beach Boxes, I mean how could you not! We also stopped at the famous Hoiser Lane to check out all the awesome street art. I also tried to visit the Van Gogh exhibit at the Melbourne National Gallery, but sadly the line was incredibly long. My favourite thing that we did was check out the South Melbourne Market. Being the foodie that I am I was so excited to see all these food stalls and the smell was just taking me to my happy place. I couldn’t resist and get some fresh oysters as well as some gelato that was just out of this world! The atmosphere was just amazing, if I could go back right now I totally would.
I was grateful to check off Melbourne with those lovely ladies. I had a wonderful time and it is definitely a city that I will be returning to!
Bondi Beach is a very popular tourist destination, but the Sydney locals also love the area. The beach is beautiful, there are also amazing restaurants lining the shore. Through TEAN Abroad we were gifted a free surf lesson. I have never surfed one day in my life. I was so excited, but I was still a little scared. I mean what if a wave just knocked me out, or what if I got stung by a Jellyfish (for the third time)? I will be happy to report that none of those happened. I mean I did get knocked by a few waves, but that’s unavoidable, and it was all part of the lesson! Waking up at 5am to take a 3 hour train into Sydney, squeezing into a drysuit, and carrying a surf board three times my size was all bit of a challenge. However, the biggest challenge was trying to stand up on the surf board. The instructors give you a mini-lession while on land, but let me tell you, it is not comparable to when you are in the water trying to actually catch a wave. I fell more than a few times, and managed to stand up once, but for a first timer, I will take that as a victory. After trying surfing for myself I totally understand why so many people take it up, it had to have been one of the most fun things I have ever done. I mean who doesn’t want to just ride a wave, it feels like you’re just floating. Also be sure to check out one of the many restaurants in the surrounding area, trust me after surfing you will need a full meal!
Also you will get the chance to take photos where you look less like a model and more like you just got smacked by a wave.
If you have the chance, GO SURFING! Take a lesson, trust me you will love it!