My First Spring Break

Posted by Katrina at 11:27 pm on Saturday, April 5, 2008
Filed under Australia,Melbourne

..and it’s not even Spring here. Technically, it’s Autumn.  Anyway, I have just returned from an 11 day trip first to Surfer’s Paradise in the Gold Coast and then down to Sydney. Need I say it was amazing? Well it was. But before I go into any details, I want to say thank you to everyone who commented on my last post. It meant a lot to me to read what everyone wrote, so again, thank you.

The trip started out as five of us planning a small excursion. (We figured the smaller the group, the easier it was to manage.) In the end, however, it turned into a ten plus people adventure, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Traveling to the Gold Coast the group consisted of myself, Brandon, Casey, Tracy, three Canadian girls, two Australians and one Mexican. Getting there was seamless–until we got to the hostel in Surfer’s. There had been some mix-up with the bookings, and two of us had to go find another hostel while the rest of us were split up into various rooms. (We were under the impression we’d all be together.) Everything worked out in the end–Casey, Tracy and I were in a room and just had to deal with a random person (different every night) sharing the top bunk. Other than that, the hostel was fine. Pretty small, not a lot goin’ on, but extremely clean.

We spent most of our time at the beach in Surfer’s Paradise. There’s one beach that stretches for miles and miles called Main Beach. The riptide is extremely strong at this beach, which makes swimming quite the adventure. You’re only allowed to swim in very small areas so the lifeguards can keep an eye on everything. And man, they are really on top of their stuff. They had guys out on surfboards past the breaking waves, trucks on the beach, guys with loudspeakers making announcements about currents. They’re probably the reason no one drowned while we were there. However, we did have one incident. Brandon, during an innocent water-wrestling session, split open the area right above his eyelid, kinda like the cuts boxers always get. I don’t get too queezy upon seeing blood usually, but I’m not going to lie I almost passed out when I saw the cut.  All was well, though–he just needed a few stiches. Leave it to the New Yorkers to injure themselves. Who’s next? (I’m just kidding…knock on wood/your heads!)

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Casey and Main Beach

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Tracy, ecstatic to be on vacation and Liam, angry at the sun for giving him a burn.

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Brandon takes a moment to reflect upon his stiches.

Let’s see….Tracy, Casey and I also went surfing with one of the Canadian girls. We took lessons with a company that guarenteed you stand up. We all did, so that was great but they didn’t teach us how to paddle or catch our own waves. (They kinda just…nudged us onto them.) But alas, it was a good day.

A bunch of us also ventured to Wet n Wild, a water park, for a day. My most recent memories from a water park were from Splish Splash out in Riverhead on Long Island, and they involved long lines, psychotic, running children and the wedgie you get after going on Cliffdiver. But I was really excited for Wet n Wild. We all felt like little kids for a day, it was cute.

I don’t know if I’d be able to study in Surfer’s. The beach was beautiful and the night life was poppin, but after living in Melbourne, I’ve come to the conclusion that in order to live somewhere I need more than just a beach and a martini. I like the culture and opportunity a city has to offer, which is why I was so excited to get to Sydney.

Sydney’s actually a lot like New York, just with more…ya know, G’day Mate! involved. Everyone told me I would either like Melbourne and hate Sydney or vice versa, but I thought Sydney was as beautiful as Melbourne in its one way. There’s definitely a lot to do. On our first day, we threw our stuff down in the hostel, met up with a few more friends, including EVA! who braved the plane on crutches, and headed straight to the Opera House. Our hostel was in a fantastic location–a close walk to everything we wanted to see. After a leisurely fifteen minute walk, we came to the Royal Botannical Gardens. A little seperate world from the city, it was one of the most beautiful parks I’ve ever been to. If you ask me, they kick Central Park to the curb.

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Liam and a Cactus in the Gardens, followed by the largest (both in group and in size) fruit bats I have ever seen.

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Pretty Gardens

Eventually, we came to the Opera House, and just like what happened when I saw the 12 Apostles, despite the heat I got goosebumps. It’s always strange to see something that you’ve only seen in movies or pictures before, but seeing the Opera House really humbles you. I mean, I’m not one to get really excited about architectural landmarks, but I couldn’t stop staring or take enough pictures of both the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

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That night we ventured to Oxford Street, which was buzzing due to its being a Thursday. Our plans were foiled however, due to the health and saftey rules Sydney has to (annoyingly yet understandably) abide by, saying no open-toed or open-backed shoes could be worn in the bar. Seeing as a lot of us were wearing this dastardly footwear, we pretty much walked around and took in the sites until heading back to the hostel.

The next day was spent indulging in one of my favorite pastimes: shopping. I’d been good since I came to Australia–I hadn’t bought a lot of stuff. Part of this was because I knew I’d be gettin’ to Sydney where the gettin’ was good. And good it was. Looks like I’m going to ship some stuff home early if I want to make it home with just two suitcases.

We also went to the wildlife sanctuary and aquarium in Darling Harbour, where I held a rhinocerous cockroach, which is the world’s largest species of cockroach. (I don’t know what possessed me.) We also saw the world’s most dangerous snakes, wallabees, tons of butterflies, sharks and your favorite Aussie bear and mine: the koala.

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On our last full day, Brandon, Casey, Tracy, Liam and I went to the Chinese Gardens in Darling Harbor. It started out as any old tourist attraction…

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……Then we found a booth where you could dress up in traditional Chinese outfits. Best ten dollars we’ve ever spent:

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I’ll never forget that. Then, of course, we all wanted Chinese food, so we headed to Chinatown to get some grub.

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Whew. This has been long. I’m back in Melbourne now for what is probably the remainder of my trip, aside from some tentative weekends trips. Eight weeks of straight classes. Why do I have to actual attend class here? Anyway, I think I’ll end my ramblings here and leave off with some of the sights we saw. Ta Ta!

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The Sydney Tower, Bondi Beach, St. Mary’s Cathedral, Darling Harbour by lightening.

And last (and in my opinion the least), the Real World House:

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