Weekend spent in Sydney

This weekend a huge group of students from Melbourne, Gold Coast, and Sunshine Coast all took a trip down from Sydney. It was a great chance to get a view of the Sydney for a second time and a few other different sights. The first day we got into Sydney we walked around to see some sights and made our way through the botanical gardens to Sydney Harbor. We had lunch at the famous restaurant known as the Opera Bar. That night we all celebrated Halloween with a “party cruise.” Everyone was dressed up as all sorts of characters. My friend Hayley and I went as minions from the movie Despicable Me. The cruise got a little hectic seeing as there was unlimited pizza, beer, and wine. Being out on the harbor at night gave us a different view of the city at night, which was beautiful!

The next day Hayley and I decided to ditch the tour and create our own agenda. The tour took a day trip to the Blue Mountains. We figured this would be a little repetitive and wanted to do something else with our day. We had lunch at Darling Harbor and went to the Sydney Aquarium. We bought discounted tickets at our hostile and the aquarium was very well worth it! We saw penguins, sharks, manatees, and glow fish. After our day, full of walking around the city we got dressed up for yet another night out on the town. We went to one of the biggest nightclubs in Sydney, which was 4 floors, and the bouncer informed us that the club was expecting 3.5-4 thousand people for the night. We also walked down to a number of different bars, which were having Halloween parties.

The last day was designated to check out the beaches around Sydney. We took a ferry to Manly Beach and spent the most of the day there. Then afterwards we drove to the east side and did a headland walk from Brontie beach to the famous Bondi Beach. There was an awesome art exhibition going on called Sculptures by the Sea. Many different pieces of art were displayed along the headland of the beaches. The city beaches were beautiful as well as filled with beautiful people. 

The Color Run

Last weekend I did the 5k color run. Basically it was just us running around and getting color thrown on us. There were parts of the course that were “color stations.” At the stations you would get a powder thrown on you and then you would run until you hit the next station. We had beautiful weather for it and all the girls had a lot of fun. All the money raised went to Sunny Kids which is an organization for kids in need. 

Airlie Beach

We had a long holiday weekend and decided to make the most of it by going up to the Great Barrier Reef and the Whitsunday islands. We arrived in airlie beach where a friend had picked us up and he drove us to our hostel. Airlie beach was only about 700 m long and filled with shops, bars, and places to eat.. Perfect! We walked around town when we got there and shopped at the local street markets. Then we headed back and changed into our swim suits to go swim in the airlie beach lagoon. The lagoon was more like a public pool with clear water. It was packed and the weather was beautiful. After a couple hours in the sun, we walked back to shower and go out to dinner. We went to a restaurant and had dinner, it was similar to an Applebee’s. After dinner we ran into an ice cream shop and had to stop once again.

Natural Wonders of the World: Great Barrier Reef

The next day we had an early wake up time of 6:45. We went down to the marina and boarded at boat at 8. On our way out to the Great Barrier Reef, we stopped to let people off at Hamilton island. Hamilton island was recently converted into a resort in 1980. Everyone had golf carts instead of cars and there was a little strip of stores. The island directly next to it was made into a golf course that is quite popular to play.. Only $300 for a round dad! 

It took us about 3 hours to get out to the reef. Kalli and I we scheduled to scuba dive at noon so we went and grabbed some wetsuits. Now this was my first time scuba diving, so I was a little intimidated when they strapped 15 lb weight belt to my waist and my air tank was an extra 25 lbs. We entered a cage underneath the boat to practice and receive instruction. We were taught to equalize our ears so the water pressure wouldn’t hurt them. Then we were instructed to sit at the bottom of the cage for 2 minutes to practice our breathing. That’s when it hit me that my mouthpiece was actually my only source of oxygen and that I would be over 50 feet under the water. After sitting on the bottom of the cage my instructor waved me over to the edge. Looking down over the edge all I could see was ocean. He instructed to swim down and grab a rope line below me. There were ropes all along the reef to allow you to pull yourself deeper. On the way down I was more focused on my breathing and equalizing so my ears didn’t hurt. Once we were down far enough I was able to come off the rope. The reef was so colorful and I was able to see much more than just a surface view. I was loving the pink and orange sea anemones with clown fish swimming in and out of them. There were rainbow fish and fish that were over 4 feet long! My enjoyment was quickly turned into a bit of fear when I saw my first reef shark. We were told that the reef sharks were harmless but when you see a 7 ft shark up close and personal that wasn’t the first thing that came to mind. I made the quick decision of swimming in the opposite direction. The dive lasted about 45 minutes and before I knew it I was up and back on the boat. We had lunch on the boat and grabbed a mask and snorkel to view the surface coral in the afternoon. There were so many different colored fish and coral. At the very end of the day I finally spotted a sea turtle! I had been looking forward to seeing one all day. I swam up next to it and was actually able to touch it. My day was made. The reef is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and is slowly disappearing. I was so lucky to have the experience that I did. 

Top 10 Beaches in the World: Whitehaven Beach

The next day we were back at the marina, but this time we were boarding a larger sail boat. The boat had nets at the front that we were able to lay down in as we were sailing. Our first stop was whitehaven beach. Whitehaven is one of the top 10 beaches in the world and if you ever visit you will certainly see why. We were able to just jump off the boat and walk into the white sand. The sand was so white and fine grained it was almost like a soft snow. The water was a beautiful mixture of blues and greens. You were able to see all the way to the bottom. We spent a good chunk of our time out on the beach or in the water. Then we got back onto the sail boat and headed out to a reef site where I got back into the water to snorkel. The reef was filled with different color coral and the same rainbow fish we saw the day before! By the time we got back to the marina everyone was so tired from being in the sun all day.