Thursday, December 2, 2010



Now that I am finally home in Denver that means my 2010 Aussie Adventure is complete. This also means that I will have no more updates or posts to my Australia blog. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed it :)

Final Days!!



I took my third and final trip to the Line Pine Koala Sanctuary on Tuesday with my parents. It was sad that this would be the last time I got to see all the Australian animals I have come to love. I held a koala again. I now have pictures of me holding a koala from within the first couple weeks in Australia, the halfway point, and the last few days. The weather cooperated and was very nice. We spent about 5 hours there. We started the day by seeing a sheep herding and shearing show. It was interesting. Then we walked around and took tons more photos. I am sad that I won’t be able to see koalas, kangaroos, emus, platypuses, or wombats whenever. Once we finished up there, we headed to Indooroopilly so I could show my parents where I have been shopping and seeing movies. We also had a late lunch of kebabs. After that we headed back to the hotel to reorganize the suitcases and pack them as effectively as possible. This took most of the night. We did get hungry and ran to Pie Face again since they were one of the few places still open.

Wednesday was our catch-up day and my last full day in Australia. First, we went up to Mt. Coot-tha. It was cloudy and rainy. When we arrived we could see the city and within ten minutes, there was a cloud that engulfed the city. It was neat. But, the rain continued for the rest of the day. When we were done there, we headed to Park Road to see the mini Eiffel tower. Then we went to get lunch at La Porchetta in the Vil. I had pesto gnocchi. On our way back to the city we stopped to Toowong. Again, this was only to show my parents where I went on a regular basis. Once we returned to the city, we finished our souvenir shopping. Then we had to finish packing. For dinner, I wanted to go to Mick O’Malley’s Irish Pub. We all had a steak and I had my last glass of Tooheys Old since I don’t know if I can get it in the states. After dinner, we stopped at Copenhagen for ice cream. Then we returned to the room to finish packing.

We woke up at 6:30am on Thursday. We had breakfast at the subway next door to the hotel. Then we collected all of our baggage and headed to the airport. The flight to LAX was 12 hours long and left at noon on Thursday. Then we had to go through customs and security during our 5 hour layover. Our flight to DIA was about 2 and a half hours and left at noon still on Thursday. We arrived at about 3:30pm, local time, in Denver. My sister picked us up and we headed home.

Brisbane one last time!



Friday morning we woke up to rain. But all we were doing was going to the airport to fly to Brisbane. Our flight was not delayed due to the weather and we left at 10:05am. We arrived in Brisbane about 12:30pm and grabbed a taxi to the Ibis Hotel. After dropping our stuff off, we went next door to Subway to get some food. Then we went to Queen Street to look around. My parents decided that they wanted to do their entire souvenir shopping then since we were out. After finding some great deals we dropped our stuff we went to dinner at Vapiano. Vapiano is an Italian restaurant where they give you a credit card thing and when you order, you place the card on a reader and it loads the card and when you leave, you swipe the card and it lets the person at the register know the total cost of everything ordered. Also, once you order, they make the food right in front of you. The place looked like an upscale restaurant but it was very casual. We all had some variety of pasta and it was good. On the way back to the hotel, we listened to the Salvation Army band, watched some Latin dancing, and watched a guy spray paint a dolphin using newspapers and a trowel for effects. After that we returned to the hotel and went to bed.

The weekend arrived and it was time for day trip excursion adventures. But before those began we decided to walk through the South Bank markets. They did not open until 10am, so we walked around South Bank to waste some time. Once they opened, we look and we were ready for our day trip down to the gold coast. Thankfully, there was no construction on the tracks and did not have to transfer onto a bus like when Erica was here. Unbeknownst to us, the Gold Coast was going to be full of schoolies. Schoolies is the week after high school graduation where you go to the beach to party. After dealing with some of the schoolies on the bus, we headed to Hungry Jacks for lunch. After lunch, we went to the beach. My mom really enjoyed walking on the water’s edge. After about 30 minutes of that, we headed up to the Q1 building to QDeck. It was beautiful outside and we could see a lot. Once we were done there, we decided that we would rather get dinner back in Brisbane instead of dealing with more schoolies. We got back to Brisbane about 8pm and one of the only places open was Vapiano. This time, we ordered some pizza. Then we returned to the hotel to go to bed.
Sunday, we took a day trip to Fraser Island. We met our guide Eugene and the others taking the tour at the Roma Street Station at 7am. There was a couple and a girl from the UK and two girls from South Korea. The two girls from South Korea spoke almost no English. We headed out towards Gympie. Before reaching Gympie, we stopped for a bathroom/brekky break. This was about two hours into our three hour journey to the island. About a half hour after we headed out, the engine on the car started smoking and we had to evacuate the car on the side of the road. After 10-15 minutes, we tried starting the car but were unsuccessful. WE were hoping to get a replacement car from a city close to Fraser but were unable to and had to wait for a car to head up from Brisbane. This meant we had to waste about 2 hours. We walked across the road into a forest-like area and the guide showed us some trees and plants that we would see on the island. Before getting too far away from the road, we returned to the car to make lunch. We had ham sandwiches and when we were done eating, the replacement car arrived. WE hopped on and our journey to Fraser continued. To get to Fraser, we had to take a barge from the mainland. When we got to Fraser, it was high tide and so we couldn’t drive along the bottom of the island. They had another road that we could drive on during high tide to give us access to the beach that we could drive on. We drove about a quarter of the way up the island before headed passed the resort and to Lake McKenzie. This was a freshwater lake filled with only rain water. The sand on the beach around it was very fine and felt great on my feet. We spent 45 minutes there and then we took a half hour rainforest walk. At this point, we were running late for our barge back to the mainland. We hurried down the beach and were only 20 minutes late and thankfully the barge waited for us and didn’t strand us on the island for the night. On the way back into Brisbane, we stopped at a truck stop to grab dinner since most places in the city would have been closed when we got back. We had MacDonald’s. We finally got back to the Roma Street Station at about 9:30pm. Then we walked to the hotel and crashed.

We were able to sleep in on Monday since we did not have any time commitments. This was the day we were going to King’s to pick up my stuff. We got to King’s at about 10am. We dropped off the empty suitcases in the storage room and I gave my parents the grand tour of the place. Lucky, most of the people I wanted them to meet were working so they could meet them. After our tour, we went to grab lunch. I was hoping to take them to the Kebab place in the Vil but it was closed and we ended up at A Salt & Battery. After lunch, we went back and filled the suitcases with my stuff and then I said my final good bye to the college. From there we took the bus back to the hotel to drop off my stuff. Now it was time to take the CityCat. We took the CityCat around the city so my parents could see the Story Bridge and from there took it back to Campus. Now I gave my parents the full campus tour. I showed them where all of my classes were and all of the important places. We also stopped into Student Flights so I could say bye to Stephanie, the travel agent that has been helping me book all of my tours and whatnot while I was here. From there we walked by the lakes and caught the 109 from the UQ Lakes bus stop and headed back into the city. We went to dinner at Little Singapore. Little Singapore was next door to Vapiano. After dinner we went to Woolworths to pick up food for breakfast. Then we returned to the hotel and went to bed.

Thursday, November 25, 2010




Wednesday was a very exciting day; today we were heading up to Kuranda.
We woke up at 3am for our 4:10am hotel pick-up. We got picked up and then taken into Mareeba for our hot air balloon ride. The balloon ride was about a half hour. We went fairly high up and over fields and saw wild wallabies and it was a ton of fun. We were on the first flight and so had to get off for the second one. We ended up landing on the side of the rode in a small strip and switched passengers. Then we had to chase the balloon since the wind is in control of where it goes. After the second group landed we had to help pack up the balloon. This included helping deflate, folding it up, and lift the basket onto a truck. After this we headed into town for our champagne breakfast. We had eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, hash browns, and of course champagne. From there, we headed to Kuranda.

In Kuranda, we walked around the shops and the markets before heading to the Rain ForeStation. This is where we took an Aboriginal “dream-time” walk and learned about spears, the didgeridoo, and throwing boomerangs. I also finally saw someone circular breathe and will attempt to learn it. Then we went to an Aboriginal dance show. Then we left to go to the Sky Rail. The Sky Rail went through the rainforest. We were able to get off and look at Barron Falls, and rainforest plants. Unfortunately at the top it was raining pretty hard and so we couldn’t really see a lot but it was fairly nice at the bottom after we navigated through the fog. At the bottom, we got picked up and taken back to the hotel. Even though it was like 3:30pm, we were all exhausted. We then walked around the city looking for food and finally decided to eat at KFC. It was a lot better than I expected it to be probably due to my extremely low expectations of KFC. Then we came back to our room, took showers, and went to bed.

Thursday was Thanksgiving Day. This was the day we were heading out to the Great Barrier Reef. We went to the Reef Fleet at 8:15 and caught our boat. We left the marina at 9am. On our way out to the outer reef, we stopped at Fitzroy Island to drop off some people. The entire trip out to the platform took about an hour and a half. Due to the weather, the ride out was very choppy and I became very seasick even though I took pills to prevent it. We were hoping that the platform would be very stable but found out that it was also floating and thus not stable either. Still seasick, we rode both a glass bottom boat and a semi-submerged boat. After having a roll for lunch, we slept on the sun deck with hopes of feeling better. We were woken up by the rain and I definitely felt a ton better. We walked through the underwater part of the platform before heading back onto the boat to head back into Cairns. We got back to Cairns at about 5:40pm. Again we were exhausted and went for food. This time, we ended up at Villa Romano. My mom and I had Moreton Bay Bugs with prawns and my dad had veal. We all had a thanksgiving glass of wine before returning to the room and falling asleep.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cairns Round 2!!!!



Our last day in Sydney was spent walking around again. Before my mom and I woke up, my dad went exploring. He found an underground mall that was right across the street from the hotel. After my mom and I got up, we headed down to the mall to get breakfast. Then we wandered around checking out the area. From there we went to get my mom a free opal kangaroo pin. Then we walked over to the Botanic Gardens. We walked around for a couple of hours and got tons of sweet photos of plants and of the opera house with the Harbour Bridge behind it. When we got done in the gardens, we headed back to see the Opera house one more time up close. We got our final pictures and I touched all three buildings one last time. From there, we headed around Circular Quay back to the Rocks to the Fortune of War. We all got a Boag’s Draught and my dad also got Tooheys Old Black Ale. After that we decided we wanted food. We got side tracked and ended up in the three story Apple store. After checking out their new toys, we walked back to the Royal George bar for dinner. We had Barramundi and Chips. Then we found out that the bar was connected to a high class restaurant that turned into a night club called Ivy. My dad was blown away with what it was and how hidden it was. After dinner we returned to our room to pack and get ready to head to Cairns.

We got up at like 5:30am Tuesday Morning. We finished packing and caught a cab to the airport about an hour later. We grabbed breakfast at the airport and then left at 8:30am. We landed in Cairns just before 11am. Then we got a taxi to the Shangri-la Hotel. This hotel was more like a resort than a hotel, it is amazing. Unfortunately, it was rainy and muggy for most of the day. We walked around trying to find lunch and ended up at a Starbucks like place called Gloria Jean’s coffee. Then we continued walking around the city. Then we ended up at Kani’s. We shared a seafood platter that had prawns, lobster, salmon, and an avocado salad, and an Outback Sampler with kangaroo, crocodile, emu, and veggies. My favorites were emu, kangaroo, and the salmon in that order. Then we walked back to the hotel and went to bed.

Monday, November 22, 2010




Wednesday was the day I started packing up. I did very little packing and just relaxed since I only had a few days left at kings. That is until about 9:45pm. This is when I went to the bus station to head to Indooroopilly mall. This was opening night for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1. When I got to Indooroopilly, I filled in some crossword puzzles waiting for Jessica to show up with other girls from Women’s College. They finally arrived at 11:30. The theaters we went to had reserved seating so there was no need to wait in a line for 5 hours beforehand to try and get a good seat. The place was nearly empty until about 11:15. I enjoyed the movie, it was much more hilarious than I was expecting. Afterwards, I hitched a ride from one of Jessica’s friends back to King’s.

Thursday, I essentially finished packing except for the miscellaneous thing’s I used that night and on Friday. This took me most of the day since I had to empty out my closet and desk. I also had to do laundry so I had enough clothes to last for my trips with my parents. I filled all three of my suitcases and about 10 plastic grocery bags to fill the empty suitcases being brought by my parents. After I got done and felt that I had everything either packed or ready to be packed after I used it, it hit me that I was leaving Australia very soon. Even though I am excited to go home, I am going to have a tough time leaving. So to make myself feel a little better, I went up to see Gets, the head porter. Before I could really say much he asked me if I wanted to get some pizza and we headed to La Porchetta in the Vil. We got a Margarita pizza and went back to King’s and ate and talked for like an hour or so. It definitely cheered me up. After that I went to bed.

Friday was the 19th of November, aka, my birthday. Even though turning 21 here is not as climactic as it is in the states, I was still very excited. Unfortunately, this was that day I had to say bye to most of the people at King’s. I woke up early to make sure I got to see Lido and Wendy in the dining hall since they both leave for holiday and won’t be there when I return on December 1st to pick up my stuff. After having breakfast, I once again relaxed for most of the day. Since it was the end of the semester, most of the guys had left or had family visiting and so there wasn’t really anyone to do anything with. For lunch, I went to the kebab and pizza place in the Vil for a beef and lamb kebab and chips. It was really tasty. After lunch, I started to move all of my things up into a storage room since I couldn’t use my room for storage. I took about half since the rest still was not fully packed. For dinner, I found a place in West End that served kangaroo and I really wanted to have kangaroo for dinner on my birthday. I invited a group of people but Jessica was the only one that could make it; some were in Tassie, some had family visiting, and other just couldn’t make it. We met at about 5:30 to catch the 109 to the city to do some last minute souvenir shopping before heading to food. I made a reservation for 7pm and since I was unsure of the restaurant’s exact location, we wandered around West End until we found it. The place was called Tukka. I got to have my Kangaroo and I had a glass of wine. It was delicious. I am very happy that I will be able to drink when I return to the States.

I only got two hours of sleep Friday night due to anxiety for Saturday. I got up at 3:30am, left my room, turned in my room keys, and caught a taxi to the airport at 3:50am. For the third time, I flew to Sydney. My flight was at 6:00am and I managed to get to my gate by 4:30. I watched videos and listened to music on my iPod while waiting for the sun to rise and to board. When I got to Sydney, I got my luggage and headed to the international terminal to meet my parents. Once we found each other, we got a taxi and headed to a different Travelodge than the one that Erica and I stayed in at the end of September. Check-in time was at 2pm and since we arrived before lunch, we put our bags in their storage room until we could check in. we walked over to the QVB to walk around and take photos. Then we went to Darling Harbour to take more photos. After that we started walking back to our hotel and stopped at a Pie Face to get lunch. Since this was my parents’ first meal in Australia, I figured they should have an Australian food of meat pies and sausage rolls. After lunch we were allowed into our room. Luckily, our room is on floor 13. Once our bags were moved into the room, we left and headed towards the opera house. We caught the 3:15pm “Essentials Tour” through the opera house. Unknown to us, Saturday is matinee day so there were performances happening in almost all of the theaters. The theaters we were allowed into were the Studio, the opera theater, and the concert hall. We were lucky since we were not going to be able to get into the opera theater because of the ballet but it got let out just before the end of the tour. After we finished the tour we stopped in the gift shop and then headed to jetty #6 at Circular Quay. At 5pm, we left on our cocktail cruise. We sailed around the harbor for about an hour and a half and got some great pictures. We had a Sydney Bay Breeze, which was our complimentary cocktail, and a snack platter with cheese and olives and such. Then my dad got a gin martini, my mom got pink champagne, and I got a Mojito. After we returned to Circular Quay, we walked back to our hotel, stopping at some souvenir stores. Since we were not very hungry, we went to McDonald’s for dinner. Then we returned to the hotel and went to bed.

On Sunday, my parents were up early still trying to adjust to the time change and I slept until 8:30. We headed towards town hall and stopped in Woolworths for breakfast. I was just planning on grabbing a doughnut or something like that but we found they had a café on the top level and so we had a fairly large breakfast. My parents got to try the Australian breakfast sausage and we had eggs and toast. I had one and a half cooked tomatoes since neither of them wanted theirs. From there, we walked across the street to the anchor at Town Hall to catch the walking tour of the city that Erica and I took. The tour guide was the boyfriend of the tour guide that Erica and I had. The tour was just as good as I remembered it and I got another one of their awesome maps. The tour, again, took about 3 hours. Since it was the weekend, there was a market in the Rocks. We walked through them and headed towards the Hero of Waterloo to grab a beer. My mom had Pure Blonde, my dad had a pilsner, and I had Tooheys New. Tooheys is my favorite beer that I have had in Australia. It is so nice to be able to grab a beer with my parents, finally. After refreshing, we went to walk across the Harbour Bridge. After taking more pictures of the opera house and Circular Quay, we walked back across and over through the rocks. Once we got back across my mom needed a restroom and we stopped at the Australia Hotel. While my dad and I waited, we looked at the menu and noticed that they had kangaroo, crocodile, emu, and tons of other pizzas. So, we made a reservation, ran to a few souvenir stores, returned, and ordered a half and half Kangaroo and BBQ Emu pizza. We again had a beer with dinner. My mom had a Blue Tongue, my dad had a Beez Neez, and I had a Fat Yak. After dinner, we thought about possibly going to the Sydney tower or the other tall lookout. In both places, it was a bit expensive and not entirely worth the money to go to. While we walked back to the hotel, we stopped at Pie Face once again to grab a couple of their mini dessert pies. We had cherry, chocolate, and pear and ricotta. We ate them back in the room. Then we all went to bed.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tasmania 2!!!!!!!!!



Sunday morning came and I got up around 6:15am. The tour we had booked provided us with breakfast so I had a bowl of cereal and a couple pieces of toast with jam. We checked out of the hostel by sliding the keys under the door to reception. The shuttle came and picked us up and again there were five of us. This time the three other people were not a group; one was from France, Lorraine; another from China, Carmen; and the third from the UK, Chris. Our first stop was in the town of Ross. This was a very small town that had a church on every corner and the third oldest bridge in Australia. This bridge was built by two convicts. From there we stopped at a café to grab food for lunch when it was that time. Then we were off to Freycinet (pronounced fray-sin-nay) National Park. This was the home to Wineglass Bay and Hazards Bay. The five of us decided it would be a great idea to see as much of the park as we could in the 4 hours we were there. We saw both bays and got to walk along the beaches plus we saw wild wallabies and tons of nature. It took us about 3 and a half hours to walk the 11km path. We were all exhausted by the time we made it back to the shuttle. We also stopped to see a couple lookouts before heading to Bicheno for the night. In Bicheno, we stayed at the Bicheno Backpackers Hostel. Bicheno was also a very small town; it had one supermarket and a few surf shops. For dinner, Chris, John, and I went to a surf and turf diner, basically the place that was open. After dinner, the three of us chose to go to the penguin rookeries that were in town. At 8:25, we grabbed the shuttle to the rookeries and had an hour tour of the area and saw the Little Penguins, the same kind of penguins I saw in Melbourne with Kirsten, come out of the water, scale the rocks, and waddle their way up to their nests. We also got to see some of the nests that were in man-made, observation burrows. Once that was done, we headed back to the hostel and crashed.

Monday morning was very exciting because we had to meet at 7:45am instead of 7:30am. Again, I had toast with jam. Once we checked out, we headed for some whaling lookouts. We could see the entire town and many beaches surrounding Bicheno. At that point we left Bicheno and stated our journey towards Launceston. On our way, we stopped at a river and watering hole. Then the group split up and John and I went to see a beach while the other three went to see Tasmanian Devils at a wildlife park. The beach was nice, kind of chilly but not bad. We got some good pictures and took about a 1km walk from one car park to the other. Before we reached the second car park, we had to walk through a little stream that was about a foot deep. The water was freezing. But, by the time we got back to the shuttle, our legs had dried off. Then we picked up the rest of our crew and headed to the Bay of Fires. This was another beach but this one had lichen, which is a type of rock. It is orange and made the rocks look like they were on fire. It was pretty neat. We spent about an hour there. After that we went to grab some lunch in St. Helens, the largest city on the east side of Tasmania with a whopping population of 5,000. After that we headed across the state to a cheese factory. They have it set up so people can look into the factory and watch how the cheese is made. We watched that and then went to a cheese tasting. Behind the factory were awesome views of the green hills and pastures along with their collection of cows (and bales).

After that we headed up to St. Columba Falls. The falls are about 90 meters long. The water falls onto a rocky part of the cliff so it is not just one stream falling but it splits in to multiple. After another small hike, we got up close and stood basically at the base of the falls. Then we loaded back into the shuttle and headed up to Ralph Falls. This was where we had the most gorgeous view of anything I have seen while in Australia. The water in these falls fell in one stream along the cliff but that was not the best part. Looking away from the cliff was got to see an eagle’s eye view of the green pastures. Everything was green and all the hills were coated in grass. It was clear enough that we could see out to the bay between Tasmania and Victoria. I was in shock at how beautiful the view was. After getting tons of picture we headed back up to the shuttle to go to Rangarooma. This was another small town. In this town, they had carved trees as memorials to soldiers who fought in the World War I. We then went up to one last look out over the green fields before leaving and getting to Launceston. When we got to Launceston, John and I parted ways with the rest of the group. The other three had booked a five day tour that started on the second day of our three day tour. John and I stayed at the Arthouse Hostel. This was right accords the river from the main part of Launceston. After dropping off our bags we headed into the city for dinner. I was in shock that at 7pm, the entire city was closed down. I understand that everything closes earlier in Australia but I didn’t think it was that early. Luckily we found a Thai place that was still open. For dinner, I had quail. It was really good and really spicy. After dinner we walked back to the hostel and went to bed.

Tuesday morning we slept in until 9. After checking out of the hostel, we headed towards the gorge. The gorge was about a 45 minute walk from the hostel. They had a café, a pool, a suspension bridge, and multiple trails to and from the main lake area. Our walk to the gorge was nice and fairly flat, which was nice, but our walk back was tough. We took a hike that was essentially an upside down v path. We hiked up a steep trail for about 10 minutes and then down a steep trail for about 10 minutes. Then we went to grab lunch at a place called “Burgers Got Soul.” This place had the best burgers I have had since I have been here. They still weren’t American burgers, but they were the closest. Then we walked around the city taking pictures. We then got back to the hostel to get a shuttle to the airport. The airport was really small, they had a news store and a coffee shop and the gates. About 10 minutes after we were supposed to board, we found out that the flight crew for our plane was in Melbourne and we had to wait for their flight to arrive before we could take-off. Therefore, our flight was delayed by almost two hours. We finally got back to Brisbane and got our luggage at about 8:30pm. We got back to King’s, got some food, and I went to bed.