Monday, October 13, 2008

First week in Aussie land...

Sooooooo we made it to AUSTRALIA!!! And it is absolutely gorgeous!

After the looong trip - the drive to GF on Saturday morning (Sept. 13th), an hour and a half flight to Minni and half our layover (we had to run to our next terminal to make it for our next flight), a three and a half hour flight to LA and three hour layover (good thing cuz it’s a huge extremely confusing place!), and then a fourteen and a half hour flight (we slept for almost 8 hours of it), we finally made it to Sydney!!!! …at six in the morning on Monday, Sept. 15th in Sydney!

We got through customs in about an hour and took a taxi…on the wrong side of the road!!! our hotel. It was the most expensive ride I’ve ever gone on, and the most awkward ending because the taxi driver took us to the wrong place and got extremely stuck in the middle of the road for like ever trying to turn around. Weird. Then we couldn’t understand him when he tried to tell us how much it cost plus we didn’t know if or how much they tip here. So that was our welcome to Aussie land. Haha. But on the way we got to drive over the Harbour Bridge and saw our first glimpse of the Opera House…AMAZING!!!

We finally got to our hotel…the Glenferrie Lodge (you can check it out at if you want to see it). It was the cutest place! Nothing fancy, but it was great…we had a room with two beds, a tv and a coffee maker...what else do you need?! Lol. We had to share bathrooms but that was totally cool. We had pretty cheap internet access, vending machines, an amazing hot breakfast included, and just a two minute walk and very short ferry ride to get to the Circular Quay (where the Opera House is). It was awesome!

We were really tired when we got to the hotel, so we brought in all our stuff, lay down on the beds and flicked on the tv while we were debating what to do to keep ourselves awake all day. Turns out we only got like 5 channels and I think every one of them was showing news, so we randomly chose one and started watching. One of the first things we heard was that there was a parade going on that day. We thought it would be sweet to see a parade in Sydney, so we kept listening and kinda joked around about finding it. We found out it was going to take place on the opposite side of the Harbour Bridge, and it was the Australian Olympic Homecoming Parade!!! So we didn’t even really get ready and just headed out to see if we could find it. It was pretty awesome cuz we ended up walking…we found our way to the Harbour Bridge somehow, walked across it and found the parade site almost right away. There were people handing out flags, some different school bands, people dressed up in crazy kangaroo outfits jumping around on the streets, and we got to see the athletes with all their medals! It was soooo cool! I kept on thinking about how much Mom and Brenda would’ve loved it! :)

The rest of the day was pretty relaxed…we walked around the harbour for a while and headed back on a ferry to the hotel. We had a really early supper and went to bed at like 6:00 p.m.

After sleeping for 12 hours we were actually pretty close to being over jetlag already! Tuesday was pretty relaxed…we just walked around the harbour, did some souvenir shopping, and took a tour of the Opera House. That was so cool and I think that everyone should go there at least once in their life. We met some pretty cool people on the tour from all around the world, and our tour guide told us all about the building of the opera house…it was really interesting! We got to see all but one of the theatres. Did you know that the original architect has never seen the finished opera house?! Random fact.

Wednesday was our Blue Mountains Tour!!! A bus picked us up at 8 in the morning, and I got the list off the website of what we all got to do...

- Visit to Featherdale Wildlife Park, simply the best wildlife park in Sydney. Hand feed Kangaroos, pat Koalas and see over 2000 different types of Australian animals including Crocodiles, Tasmanian Devils, Wombats, Fairy Penguins, Dingoes and Snakes.
- Have your photo taken with a Koala
- Receive a Free souvenir Koala
- Stop at the Sydney 2000 Olympic site where you can take photos and see Stadium Australia, The Superdome, The Aquatic Centre, The Olympic Village and more.
- For $13 extra your tour guide can organise lunch and a drink on the day with spectacular views in the heart of the mountains.
- National Park walk to view spectacular water falls
- The Three Sisters at Echo Point - hear the aboriginal story of this world famous rock formation
- Walk through temperate rainforests
- Opportunity to purchase authentic returning boomerangs made by one of the local tribes ( while stocks last ) and learn about Aboriginal ( the indigenous people of Australia ) culture.
- Visit the Scenic Skyway, Scenicsender and the Steepest Railway in the world with time to do the rides
- See the mountain villages of Katoomba and Leura (the heart of the mountains ). See why they call Leura the garden village.
- Breath in the fresh mountain air as you view the huge valleys of Australia's " Grand Canyon " - the Megalong and Jamieson Valleys
- Travel on the spectacular scenic cliff top drive
- Get off the beaten track - visit Sublime Point for the best untouched lookout in the Blue Mountains
- Enjoy afternoon tea in a relaxed country setting.
- Cross the picturesque Nepean River
- Finish your enjoyable day by taking a river cruise from Homebush Bay down the Parramatta River and into Sydney Harbour. See the waterfront properties and enjoy the unique views as you go under the Sydney Harbour Bridge and cruise into Sydney Harbour. See the Sydney Opera House close up before arriving at Circular Quay where your tour finishes.

It was sweet as!!! We also met some cool people on the tour (there were about 18 of us), and had like the BEST tour guide ever!!! He was hilarious, and let us in on a lot of the Aussie lingo. He ended up taking us to a candy shop as a "surprise" during the day, and he showed us how to throw a boomerang - that was cool! Nomz and I also dominated the didgeridoo playing contest….2-0 Canada!!! Yea yea! lol. If you ever come to Australia, you HAVE to go on that tour!

Thursday was another good day…more relaxed, and we headed to the harbour late afternoon for supper and then a show at the Opera House. We saw the Narcissist…not sure if I would recommend it, but it was pretty funny and really good acting of course! We got all dressed up and had a lot of fun with it!

Friday morning we got all packed up, took a shuttle from our hotel to the airport, and waited for the mystery YWAM staff who promised they’d be there to pick us up at 8:00 a.m.