I apologize in advance for the length of this blog post, but it was my Spring Break this past week and my sister was here to visit me. I have many stories to share!
Amanda, my sister, finally arrived in Brisbane a week and a half ago. She wasn’t expecting me to pick her up at the airport, so I definitely surprised her when she walked out to me standing with her favourite pop, Dr. Pepper, (very rare to find those here in Aussie) and a sign with her name on it. We explored Brisbane for a few hours, but then headed back to the Sunshine Coast for my night classes. I came home in between classes to make her supper (Grandma’s hamburger hotdish recipe), and then walked back for my final class of the day. She was zonked out by the time I came home from class at 9pm.
We went to the Steve Irwin Australia Zoo. There are so many animals to see there; I knew she would love it as much as I did. This time I was able to see the cheetah that we missed the first time. She was absolutely gorgeous! After making our way through the zoo, we went on a “Back of the House” Segway Tour. It was both of our first times on a Segway, and we both loved it! We went to the Sunshine Plaza on Friday night for supper and a movie. Bad Moms is one of the funniest movies I have seen in a very long time.
We were meant to leave by 6:30AM on Saturday morning, but I’m pretty sure it was closer to 8:00AM by the time we got on the highway. It was a long day of driving, but we finally arrived at Airlie Beach at 9:30PM. We ate kebabs for supper and went straight to bed.
Amanda was definitely ready to drink come Sunday. We bought the ingredients to make mimosas and lay out in the sun all day. Later that evening, Whitsundays put on a pool party with a DJ. Some guys we met were participating in the Belly Flop competition, so we cheered them on. Jamie had the biggest cheer until the final competitor blew him out of the water for a prize of $100.
Monday morning we set out on a two-day boat trip. I’ve never been sailing before so it turned out to be quite the adventure when they let us hoist the sail. Amanda and I went scuba diving in the morning. It was an unbelievable experience! It was her first time diving in the ocean, so it took a little getting used to. We saw the reef again that afternoon when we went snorkeling. When we finally set anchor for the night, the captain shut off all of the lights on the boat. I have never seen so many stars in my life; it was absolutely incredible!
Whitehaven Beach has the whitest sand I’ve ever seen in my life, and the view from the lookout as the tide moves out is absolutely picture perfect. We spent 3 hours on the beach relaxing, looking for stingrays and lemon sharks, and posing for the Spring Break Whitsundays photographer. We met the guys from the yacht trip for drinks at the Down Under Bar later that night. Tulio, a guy who works for Whitsundays, bought us drinks all night for helping him with promotional photography during the trip. We made our way to the foam party at Magnum for the rest of the night and had a blast!
Wednesday was our last day for fun at Whitsundays. It was pretty relaxed as we were all exhausted from the week. Our entire group of 40 USC students met in front of the stage at the Beach Festival to have our picture taken. The after party was at a club called Boom, which was packed for the rest of the night. Great way to end Spring Break.
We made our way back towards campus and had Rachel drop us off at a motel in Bargara. With only a few minor complications, we check-in to the hotel and crashed hard when we hit the pillow. We took a taxi to Kelly’s Beach Resort the next morning where we were meant to meet the rest of the group that afternoon. We couldn’t check-in without the group; however, the receptionist allowed us to swim in the pool and relax in the sun so I’m not complaining!
There were nearly 200 passengers aboard the Lady Musgrave experience on Saturday. Unfortunately, my friend Guro got sea sick on the way out and many others were on their way to the same. Amanda, Jonathan, and I were the first to go scuba diving since we were certified. The reef was beautiful here as well at the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef.
When we went snorkeling after lunch, a sea turtle swam just beneath us. It was such an incredible experience. The crew members gave us a quick tour of Lady Musgrave Island and a Glass-bottom boat tour of the reef where we saw four more turtles. We headed back to the marina. It wasn’t near as rough this time, and I slept like a baby for the full two hours.
You can’t come to Australia without at least attempting to surf, so I signed up with Amanda to do a surf school on Sunday morning. She did very well and we rode the same wave in side-by-side. I wish someone were there taking pictures for us. We rode the bus back to campus, and I was home long enough to eat supper and pack up one of my large checked bags to send home with Amanda, and then we were on our way to Brisbane. Of course we were hungry again as soon as we arrived so we dropped our bags off at the hostel, grabbed some chips (fries), and had a few drinks together before heading to bed.
Today was my last day with her and it was harder than I thought it would be to say goodbye. I don’t want this experience to end because I have experienced more in 3 months than I have in 21 years; however it is going by faster than I ever thought possible. I just have four more weeks of school until I begin my journey home by traveling to Tasmania, New Zealand, Fiji, and then back to the frozen tundra I call home. Amanda is already counting down the days until she gets to come pick me up from the airport in December.