Pre-Semester Adventures Down Under

This past week and a half has been an absolute whirlwind. My parents and I decided that we would travel together for two weeks prior to my semester abroad in Kaikoura, New Zealand.  Last week Wednesday we landed in the busy and beautiful city of Sydney.  City life isn’t particularly my cup of tea, but Sydney is a unique city in its transportation system, laid back lifestyle, and harbour life.  My first impression, though, COLD.  When you’re used to 85 and humid, 50 feels like the next Ice Age.

It's even cooler in person
It’s even cooler in person

We spent 5 days in Sydney and managed to see quite a bit because of the great transportation system.  Among those were, Watson’s Bay, Bondi Beach, Sydney Olympic Park, Darling Harbour, Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge, Manly Beach, The Blue Mountains, and Hillsong Church.  Despite being such a large city, I found that Sydney runs at a much slower pace than most American cities and even most shops and cafes are closed on the weekends.  All in all, Sydney was great! Next stop: Cairns, Australia for some snorkeling and koala cuddling.

View from Watson's Bay on one of the cliffs...absolutely breathtaking!
View from Watson’s Bay on one of the cliffs…absolutely breathtaking!
May not make it to the Australian Open courts, but this is pretty darn close!
May not make it to the Australian Open courts, but this is pretty darn close!
Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains Katoomba, Australia
Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains
Katoomba, Australia
Man, I love me some good worship and no one does it better than Hillsong!
Man, I love me some good worship and no one does it better than Hillsong!

Despite being such a large city, I found that Sydney runs at a much slower pace than most American cities and even most shops and cafes are closed on the weekends.  All in all, Sydney was great! Next stop: Cairns, Australia for some snorkeling and koala cuddling.

One last night walk before the flight to Cairns
One last night walk before the flight to Cairns

Cairns (Pronounced “cans”) is in the northern part of Australia in the state of Queensland.  In our short 4 days we packed in snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, a trip to the little village of Daintree for some croc hunting and hiking, and a scenic train ride to Kuranda for some kangaroo feeding and koala cuddling.

This is Wally the incredibly large and incredibly friendly fish.  He even let me pet him!
This is Wally the incredibly large and incredibly friendly fish. He even let me pet him!
Note to self: don't breath in when the snorkel is underwater.
Note to self: don’t breath in when the snorkel is underwater.
I sure hope this cow knows what's over that bank
I sure hope this cow knows what’s over that bank
I don't think he was too amused, but I had food so he tolerated me.
I don’t think he was too amused, but I had food so he tolerated me.
I almost stuffed him in my shirt and took him home with me.
I almost stuffed him in my shirt and took him home with me.
Tilly the Koala before she decided to leave a present in my hand...
Tilly the Koala before she decided to leave a present in my hand…

It was also nice to have some warm weather before heading down to wintery New Zealand!  Our flight departs tomorrow at 6am for Christchurch, New Zealand where I will spend 4 more days with my parents before they fly home and I get to meet the rest of my group before heading to the little town of Kaikoura!

Australia, you’ve done well.  New Zealand, here I come!

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Bryce Talsma

Hey everyone! My name is Bryce and I am a junior from Hudsonville, Michigan. I am a biology major with a pre-veterinary focus and an environmental studies minor. This fall I will be studying sustainable living in Kaikoura, New Zealand. I love all things outdoors and am really looking forward to what I can learn about sustainable living and what our role as Christians is in maintaining this earth. I hope you follow along on this amazing journey and will take just as many of your own! Adventure is out there!

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