Australia bound!

my semester abroad…

Canberra, Melbourne, and the Great Ocean Road!

March30

Hi All,

I just got back from the most jam packed weekend of my life! 8 of the friends and I left our apartments at 3:45am Friday morning and didnt stop going until 11:30pm Monday night, so I think that gives you a little idea of how exhausted I am right now. I apologize now for any type-o’s or storys that do not make sense! haha! If you dont have time to read this entire book that im about to write in this post, skip to the end and read my story of coming home! It will make you laugh..garenteed.

Friday morning we flew out of Brisbane at 5:30am and got to our first stop, Canberra at 8am. Canberra is the capital of Australia, and not really known for anything but that. The story goes that Australians went back and forth between Sydney and Melbourne, trying to decide which would be the capital. They finally compromised and built a city half way between them and called in Canberra. There are a few memorials/important buildings that are there, but other than that its a pretty plain city so we decided to just do it all in one day (Friday).  While there we saw the old Parliment House, the new Parliment House, the war memorial, the National Museum of Australia, and ended the day with a beautiful hike to the top of a mountain that looks over the entire city! I was really glad that we got a see Canberra because it really made me realized how every country, every state, every person, has a story. As we went through our tours of the parliment houses it was really interesting to hear the stories of the government and how the became the country the are today! I guess not ever being outside of the US hit me that day, because before that I hadnt really heard the stuggles of other countries, coming from them. I have always had an “American”  view on the world, the Friday that changed.

Friday night we ended the night at a restuarant called The Debacle, where we had homemade pizzas and beer. This place has over 150 different kinds of beers, from all over the world. Needless to to say, it was the PERFECT way to end the extremely long day. That night, at 11:55pm, we got on our greyhound bus and drove overnight to Melbourne, our next adventure.

at 8am we arrived in Melbourne, the capital of Victoria. Melbourne is known as the fashion capital of Australia and is very highly spoken of as just a very neat city to visit.  We first visited the Old Melbourne Gaol, which is the old prison. It was opened in the late 1800’s and just closed down in 1994! This was such an interesting tour and we even got to participate in a reenactment of the life of prisoners at the gaol, which was fun!  The rooms that prisoners stayed in were tiny and they were usually locked up for 23 hours of the day. Ned Kelly is a famous criminal/bank robber/murderer in Australia, and actually spent some time in Melbourne Gaol, so it was interesting to learn about him. We then headed the the rental car place to pick up our two cars that we rented to drive the Great Ocean Road with! Once we sorted all of that out, we headed to Phillips Island for the Peguin Parade! Australia is home to the tiniest peguins in the world, so they stand about 1 foot tall…SO CUTE! We got to watch them come out of the water at dark and waddle up onto the shore to their little homes. They were really strict on observers NOT taking any sort of picture or video so unfortunately I have no documentation of this:( I did sneak and take a video but it didnt come out too well! Either way though, this was one of the top highlights of this trip!

Alright Day 3, Sunday, we woke up and were on the road by 7am! This is veryyy impressive because traveling with 5 boys means that you never get anywhereee on time..never. You would think its the girls that take forever to get ready or get going, but with this group its the TOTAL opposite haha! Anyways, we first headed to Torquay which is a big surfers town, with great swells and beach shops. We spent all morning there doing everything from watchin a Pro Surf competition to shopping at all the major surf shops. We then got in our cars and headed down the Great Ocean Road. This road is probably exactly how you are picturing it. It winds right along the coast, up and down the cliffs, and around the bends. We never had a bad view on the road as we were either looking directly off cliff ledges or driving along the beach. We made a few stops at lighthouses, beaches, lookouts, and waterfalls. The waterfall was probably my favorite moment of the entire trip. It was unbelieveable as it was a huge waterfall that poured into what looked like a rainforest. Please check facebook for all my pictures! We ended the night by driving into a national park and doing a glow worm walk. We didnt really know what were getting ourselves into because it was not a guided tour. It was just another trail in the national park that you could do at night..and we didnt even really know what we were looking for other than little things that hopefully glowed! We all grabbed our flashlights and walked about 1k down a path stopping every now and then and looking for glow worms. After about 1k we stopped and their were rocks FULL of glow worms and they covered the forest. It was such a spectatular thing to see as we all stood there in the middle of a forest and watched this show of glow worms. Even though Im a baby and scared to death of the dark, especially the dark of the woods, it was incredible to see and Im so glad I didnt chicken out! We ended up renting two cabins for the night in Princetown, which we never seemed to find a “town”, but we did find these cabins!

Once again, up and at them, we were on the road at 7am on Monday to make it to the 12 Apostles for sunrise. One of the most popular and well known stops of the Great Ocean Road is the 12 Apostles, which are 12 huge pointy rock structures that protrude from the oceans shore. This was truely beautiful, and although it was a cloudy morning, nothing stopped this view from being unbelieveable. After this we made a few more stops at lookouts that just blew my mind. Every stop had these huge cliff side edges that dropped down into this deep torquiose water that crashed up its side. The cliff sides had huge rock structures next to them and caves within them. My description is not even getting close to describing what I saw..and my pictures barely captured it. Well after these stops we headed back to Melbourne, stopping at St Regis vineyard on the way. There we sampled some local wine and looked out over tons of farms. Dad, they have ROUND HAIL BAILS here! I took a picture for you because I couldnt help but miss Ellerslie as we drove through tons and tons of farms. My friends actually joked that they wanted to me feel more at home so they decided to drive through the farm land on our way back haha! We got back to Melbourne at about 5, returned the cars, and then headed off the the airport, where the REAL adventure of my trip begins…to say the least.

So we get the airport nice and early and wait in line to get our boarding passes. As Im checking in, the guy at the desk tells me he cant find my name on the flight..Theres no way of this..I definitely got a confirmation email, but didnt print it out..but I know I bought a ticket. He points me in the direction of a computer that I can use so I go over there second guessing myself every step I take..maybe I didnt buy the ticket! I get to my email and open my confirmation attachment to find that I booked my flight for March 28th, yesterday at the time. No way..theres no way..yes theres a way because I make mistakes like this allll the time..but theres no way I did this with a FLIGHT! I run back and am tryin to talk to the guy and explain my situation. At this moment my friend Mark is also  having trouble with his flight..he finds out that he booked his for the 31st, the next day! haha! O geez, so Im franctically trying to get on the flight that my groups on, but he informs me that it just got sold out and the next flight is tomorrow morning at 6am. I cant do that flight I have class alll day Tuesday, and honestly am exhausted and just want to get back to Brisbane and in my bed!! I start getting very frantic so he advises me to go back to the computer (mind you that this computer is on the other side of this builing) and look for other flights on other airlines..ok I can do that. I am searching the internet like a manic and I find a virgin airlines ticket that leaves at 9pm, its 8pm right now, but I dont care Im doing it! Enter my credit card info..denied..enter my other CC info..denied! At this point all my friends have to leave to go to there gate and Mark and I stay behind. Apparently they were all telling Mark that he had to take care of me haha! So Mark and I are trying to figure this all out until he realizes that my flight leaves in an hour! He was like we have to get the Virgin Airlines desk and just buy it there! We start running down the road at this airport as I am tryin to tell him that I dont even know if that flight was from this airpot! There are 3 airports in Melbourne! We finally make it to the desk and luckily it was that airport. The guy at the desk tries to tell me to buy it online because its $15 cheaper…GIVE ME THE **** TICKET I DONT CARE ABOUT THE $15! As Im buying it he askes if its just me flying..I look at Mark and he him sweating, contimplainting whether or not he should just get on the flight too! Mark is the funniest person I know, so I really couldnt have picked a better person to go through this with. I start laughing at this point and dont stop until we land in Brisbane. Mark decides to go with it and get the ticket too, partially because I begged him to get on the flight with me..I didnt want to go alone!  So he checks his huge back pack and we are off to our gate! O before this, as we are buying our flights, the guy at the desk is telling us that we need to go have a drink..hahaha! So at this point we have about 40 minutes before our flight boards, and were running to security laughing about how typical this is of us..I know for me this mistake is no surprise to my parents…its actually very typical of me, and apparently it was the same for him. We get to security, I go through as Mark empties his pockets full of coins, papers, apples, and a water bottle..I know who knew all that could fit in pockets. Then I get through and hear him yell TAYLOR, I turn around to see him holding up his swiss army knife. On our flight to Canberra we went through this same situation with another guy AND Mark, so I could not hold in my laughter. WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO?! yells Mark. I was laughing so hysterically at this point that I could even yell back to him..I could barely breathe. His bag is checked and he has this knife that he need to get in his checked bag. I motion for him to run back to the desk and try to get it on the plane. He turns around and books it back to the gate.  I, on the other side of the security, am still dying laughing while all the security guards stare at me with straight faces and people are moving through. Mark makes it back and as were walking to our gate he explains to me that they had a box at the front desk that they let him put together and tape up.

Well we made it to flight and back to Brisbane to find that his package did not make it onto the moving thing with all the suitcases. We start asking around and they finally come out with this huge box! haha! That box had Marks tiny knife in it. There is soo much more detail to this story but I just cannot begin to type it because I could write forever. Please remind me to tell you this story when I get home, or ask my parents about it!

Ok Mark just read my blog and reminded me that I forgot to mention the 95 year old looking 70 year old woman who sat next to us on the plane, who cherished the quarter pounder she just got at McDonalds…haha! Yes, this is what I mean by the fact that I just have to tell you this story in person..it just keeps getting better!

My parents have requested that I also add the story of my conversation with the flight attendant! Ok so Mark and I are on the plane and the flight attendents are coming down the aisle with drinks for purchase. Being the American I am I asked if any of the drinks were complimentary. The flight attendant looked at me and questioned what I said so I repeated, you know, complimentary. He looks at me and says “You have nice hair.” What?? I look at Mark who is just as confused..” I have nice hair? …Thanks.” He responds with “Well thats the only compliment I could come up with, sorry”, hahaha! Unfortunately, nothing was FREE, but later on in the flight the flight attendant brings me a canned whiskey and coke and says ” You ordered a coke ma am?.. No worries, its on me, but you still have nice hair.” Little did he know, he had just completed my night. As I got off the plane, I thanked him so much and told him he had NO idea how much I needed that. Its little gestures like that that make Australian’s so unique. This guy wasnt hitting on me, or trying to impress me, he was just being a genuinely nice guy, and he had no idea how much it meant to me:) 

Thank you parents for being so understanding of my mistake and waste of money..Im glad I could laugh about it with you! I promise I will grow up one day..just probably not in the near future:)

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