Thanks to my Australian family for making this one of the most memorable experiences of my life!
At the end of 2014 I went on a trip to Australia to visit my cousins for a month. It was the first time traveling alone (as in without my parents) and it was one of the most amazing overseas adventures I've been on. This blog series will be taken from diary entries I wrote while I was there and of course there will be lots of pictures as usual.
After traveling for over 24 hours, and with only 2 hours of sleep I was so exhausted, and my body clock was confused due to the 9 hour time difference between South Africa and Australia. Although I didn't sleep much, the Qantas flight was good and the food was surprisingly pleasant for economy class aeroplane cuisine. I spent most of the flight either watching movies, or listening to music while watching the flight map, and it was slightly satisfying to check back every now and then and see the little plane icon had moved. As we started to fly over Australia, I noticed unusual place names, Like Wagga Wagga and Wooloomooloo. I can confirm that Australia has the strictest border security I have ever experienced, and the amount of documentation I needed to produce there compared to other international airports was quite surprising. Because I was an unaccompanied minor I was called aside to a different security counter at one point, and I swear I nearly shit myself scared because I thought I was in trouble - not that I had done anything wrong, but when a burly Australian security guard leads you to a separate desk you start to get nervous! After I finally got through security my whole family was waiting for me with big smiles and a traditional Australian hat, the ones with the dangling corks on strings! We drove to their house which is about 25 minutes from Sydney's centre and after unpacking I went to bed, jet lagged and tired.
I woke up early, very early, like 4am early. I somehow managed to go back to sleep after a while and woke up again at 6am to get ready and dressed for the day. My aunt and cousins took me to the neighbourhood's annual Christmas market,which was much bigger than I had expected and the stuff they sold there was really awesome. I bought a beautiful silver ring (which I have since then lost), two necklaces and a shirt. I could already feel the intense heat of the Australian sun so as soon as we went home, we all jumped in the pool and had lunch. My aunt made the most amazing banoffee pie, and we sat on the veranda eating dessert. After 2pm the weather quickly changed. It suddenly started raining and hailing out of nowhere (the hail was the size of small golf balls). And when I say raining, I really to mean cats and dogs. We had to move the table to stop it from getting hail damage and the cars had to be checked too. It was still quite hot and humid while this went on, so it was rather strange. Thunderstorms started as well. Because of the severity and the quick time between weather change, all my uncle's koi fish in his pond died - one's he'd had for years! There is a scientific reason for this, but I'm not going to explain it because it's long and complex. My one cousin and I went to play Sims in the study and then made supper.
Another early start and we put on our swimsuits to go to Wet 'n Wild Sydney, the Southern Hemisphere's biggest waterpark! We waited in line for a long time, and went on one of the biggest rides - a large blue and yellow slide with 2 loops, a steep (almost vertical) drop and a massive wall that you slide up and down in and then out to a pool. Four of us went in a tube, which was so much fun. We went to a fake beach and swam around for a while. We were about to go to the next ride - in fact we were in line - when the park got closed for the rest of the day due to another approaching thunderstorm. We were disappointed, but we had a lot of fun there so it wasn't a big deal. On the way home we stopped at McDonalds and we all ate junked on the way home. The whole family set up a big Christmas tree together after supper which was so much fun and we fooled around with the decorations while listening to Christmas music. I discovered the household cat, and I was instantly in love - being the self proclaimed crazy cat lady that I am I immedietly kidnapped her and took her upstairs to my room and from that night onwards she slept in my room right on top of me - needless to say I was very happy.
We woke up early again, and surprised my aunt with breakfast and present in bed for her birthday. After that my cousins and I all went to the gym for a morning work out, showered at home and then drove with my aunt to McQuarie, a large mall next to my cousin's university. I bought quit a lot of clothing. We had lunch a lovely eatery called The Missing Piece, and they had the most amazing drinks and food for sale. I had 'Pomegreatness' iced tea and a chicken ceaser salad, which were both amazing. We went home and prepared for my aunt's birthday dinner party. Lots of her family friends came over and most of them all had kids round about my and my cousin's age, so we all had a ball and ordered pizza for supper.
My aunt, cousins and I took a train from Wahroonga statin to the town hall in Sydney's CBD. From there we walked to Westfield Sydney to go shopping again. We picked up my beautiful Michael Kors bag, which I had preordered on sale before I even got to Aus and I fell in love the minute I saw it. We had sushi for lunch and afterwards shopped around the centre. We headed out onto the street to smaller shops, and found a guy drumming on plastic buckets and he was absolutely amazing. There was also a tap dance group who were bloody good. We walked in the rain to my uncle's office building, which was right near the Sydney harbour, so you could see the entire Opera house and a big chunk of the city from there. We took the elevator up to the 39th floor and went to the boardroom to take in the view and capture the city on camera. After a while we drove to circular Quay and had supper at a lovely restaurant with another set of my cousins.
My aunt, one cousin and I left early to meet a personal trainer at a Crossfit gym. We did a super intense circuit including boxing, running, skipping and ergo. At lunch time we popped over to a nearby mall to get a few essentials for my cousin who was off to Ireland the next day. I shopped for makeup at Target and when I got home I napped with the cat. The whole family packed a small suitcase as we were off to Avoca the next day, A small coastal town about an hour from Sydney where my uncle owns a holiday house.
I hope you all enjoyed the blog post, I will post the next part of the series as soon as I can, but it might be a few days because of school work etc.
Until the next post
-The Traveling Oyster xxx