Our last update was from snowy Queenstown, New Zealand where we spent our final morning on the Shotover Jet Boat racing through the narrow canyons of the river at 90km/h while doing 360 spins! It was definitely a thrilling way to end our action-packed visit to this amazing country.
Before we knew it we were in Sydney, Australia on the roof-top terrace of our building overlooking the entire harbor. Everyone was excited for the next few days. First up was the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb. We geared up and ascended the inside arch of the bridge to the very top. Jack H said “I really liked the views from the top of the bridge. It felt like I was on top of the world”. When we were back on the ground, everyone had free time to explore the shops and cafes of The Rocks and Circular Quay – some trip members even had time for a basketball game in the gym across the street from where we’re staying. As a surprise to the participants, the trip staff dressed up in hysterical wigs and crazy costumes for dinner and then led the group in karaoke. We all had a blast singing into the night.
Everyone woke up the next morning eager and excited to tour the famous Sydney Opera House. Our guide led us around the exterior and interior of the building and taught us interesting facts about the construction, which began in the mid-1950s. We were lucky to listen in on the Symphony practicing for their next big concert – our guide said that most of the tours don’t get to experience that.
The group then made its way to Bondi Beach where Trip Members donned wetsuits for their surfing lesson. We practiced our new skills on the sand before making our way into the water to attempt to catch some waves. Many of us were successful at standing up on the board. And while it was more challenging than expected, we had a blast – especially Madison T who expressed that it was the best experience of her life! We took the ferry back to our rooms and took in the amazing Sydney Harbour skyline. The views of the bridge and Opera House are spectacular from the water!
After three jam-packed days in Sydney, it was time to head up north to Cairns! Our first stop was cable boarding, a unique activity where you are pulled from a cable above through the water on a kneeboard. Marisa S. said, “I enjoyed wakeboarding so much because I was faced with a challenge I didn’t think I would’ve been able to accomplish considering it was my first time. When I was finally able to ride the board, I was filled with so much excitement and cannot express how much I enjoyed this experience.”
We made our way to On The Wallaby Lodge which was to be our home for the next few days. Our guide took us on a day-trip to the Atherton Tablelands where we visited the world’s oldest rainforest and crater lakes. We also saw a Strangler Fig Tree and Millaa Millaa Falls that are 18 meters high! We learned that a music video was filmed there as well as a commercial for Herbal Essences. The group got some great pictures of themselves trying to replicate the hair flip from the shampoo commercial! During our time at the lodge, participants also went bike riding, hiked and visited a cheese and chocolate factory. We ended our day with a relaxing afternoon of swimming and sports at Lake Tinaroo before watching the beautiful sunset.
On our way out of the tablelands, we stopped at the Kuranda Gardens to see koalas, wallabies, and kangaroos – many of us had the chance to hold and take a picture with a koala! Then our first stop in Cairns was to learn about our upcoming trip to the Great Barrier Reef. Everyone was able to have their questions answered, touch some of the coral, and learn about what they could expect to see underwater. Our adventure to the Great Barrier Reef will be a lifetime highlight for many of the participants – it was certainly a day that everyone had been looking forward to since the start of the trip. We saw so many sea creatures, sea turtles and tons of fish. One group even saw a shark!
We have had an absolute blast on our adventure through New Zealand and Australia. These memories will last a lifetime and we are all so grateful for everything we’ve seen, experienced and accomplished together with new friends. We will miss our Trip 79 family.
Thanks for following us on our adventure!
The Westcoast Blogger
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