A little change of scenery

Hi blog! It’s Allison again.

The last two weekends I was blessed with the opportunity to take two amazing weekend trips: the first to Auckland, New Zealand and the second to Cairns in Queensland which is Northern Australia.

In Auckland, I really was not expecting anything crazy. The brief research I did about the city was not showing anything amazing or crazy, so I was expecting a typical metropolitan city with a few basic tourist stops. BOY was I wrong. I don’t think I have ever seen more beautiful landscape anywhere in my life than what I saw in Auckland. The main city is surrounded by a series of islands that offer everything from volcanoes, caves, beaches, vineyards and more. One of our days there we spent on Waiheke Island riding around on a wine/food tour. We went to three very different (and beautiful) vineyards – all with a very unique story of their history and why they make the specific wines that they do. I knew little to no information about the wine-making process so it was a very interesting and cool day.

Also in Auckland, we got dinner at the top of the Sky Tower, the tallest building in the city. The restaurant is at the very top and spins at an extremely slow pace so that as you eat, you can see the views of (literally) every angle of the city. If I had additional time at the end of my stay here in Sydney, I no doubt would be going back to New Zealand.

And this past weekend I was off to Cairns!

Northern Australia, although it is still considered “winter” there, similar to Florida in the winter months in the US, it is sunny, warm, and a popular beach vacation destination. The most popular activity to see and explore in Cairns is nothing else than the Great Barrier Reef – one of the wonders of the world. The reef was absolutely incredible – the different colors of the different coral were so cool and the different types of sea life that just casually swam past us when we were snorkelling were breathtaking. What wasn’t so great was the TWO HOUR boat ride from the mainland to the middle of the ocean where the boat was… I had never experienced motion-sickness ever before and my 21 years of living without it all hit me in those few hours. #itwasBAD

However, (!!!) they offer helicopter rides to and from the reef as well, so after spending the day out in the open ocean, I was able to take a helicopter back to Cairns which was worth every second of virtually dying on the boat ride there. The staff I guess felt sympathetic to me so they let me ride shotgun next to the pilot in the cockpit (my day clearly had a turnaround). The views from the sky were amazing, having windows all around me and even underneath me at my feet. When Oprah came to Australia a while back for her show, I remember her taking a helicopter over the reef so I felt special because I was practically Oprah in that moment.

Other than the reef, it was a nice change to just relax in the sun by the pool. Here in Sydney, we are all wearing layers of clothes and coats everywhere with temperatures in the 50s and 60s. As I am writing this, I am wearing a thick sweater, whereas at home, my dad is golfing in 92 degree weather.

My internship is going well and I get excited every day that I am here to see what I will do each day. A little over two more weeks and I will be on my way back to America! I am excited for the activities planned for the latter half of my stay.

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!!