Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Australia, mates!

For a three week stint in the summer, we backpacked down the east coast of Australia, and it was awesome! We started in Sydney, where I attended the 85 Broad Advantage conference for women in leadership as the scholarship recipient. It was really interesting to interact with Australian students in a classroom setting - everyone was very nice, helpful, and inquisitive. Did you know that you can decide to be a doctor in high school, apply for college, and graduate about four years later with a medical degree?? Pretty cool! At least that was my understanding from what the girls told me. After the conference ended, me and my boyz palled around Sydney, walking, seeing the sites, hangin with Michael's cousin. We had a blast at the Absolut Ice Bar near the opera house where you can only stay in the frozen bar room for 25 minutes and the drinks are served in cups made of ice. As you can see, parkas are mandatory.

From there, we took a plane up to Cannes, the main hub for the Great Barrier Reef. We stayed at this kinda adorable hostel that looked like a children's camp tree house - it creeped Jamie out. In Cannes we had amazing Indian food... three nights in a row! Finally, it was time to get out on the water - and I'm a puker, so that was lovely. Though, nothing will cure sea sickness like freezing cold water! It was really choppy - pretty big swells for being surrounded by reef, but the fish were gorgeous. I saw fish that I had only ever seen in Nemo or a picture book. And the color - rainbow colors!! Did you know that those giant clams actually exist? Michael picked one up when he went on a mini-dive. It was pretty cool.

Probably the highlight of our Australia trip was our trip up to Cape Tribulation on the north east tip of Australia. It's a quiet little region that is made up mostly of rainforests. We were supposed to stay in another mediocre hostel, but they overbooked, so they upgraded us for free to a four star resort where we lived like kings for two nights! Mini shampoos and all! We spent our days lounging on the beach, reading, and sharing a six pack. It was absolutely the epitome of a relaxing vacation. Although, if we had not had the maps of the area, we probably would have walked right into this estuary infested with alligators - so make sure you grab one at your local hotel.

We continued down through Brisbane, Surfer's Paradise, and wine country. Aside from the rolling countryside, we encountered wild kangaroos and enjoyed a decadent stay at a Marriott in Brisbane with hot chocolate that jamie and I dubbed "crack chocolate." In Brisbane, I held a koala bear at he Koala Sanctuary, and we frolicked in a field of kangaroos.