Thanks to my Australian family for making this one of the most memorable experiences of my life!
This is the second part of my wonderful Australian trip I took back in December 2014. Here is the link for the first part of this amazing journey:
I woke up to the smell of my aunt’s freshly baked banana bread and had a couple of slices for breakfast. At noon we drove with my one cousin to the airport. We checked her into her flight to Ireland - she was going with her boyfriend’s family to spend christmas there. We ll had lunch at a restaurant and said our goodbyes. My aunt, uncle and I drove back to their home, packed the car and drove to Avoca, a small coastal holiday town about an hour away from Sydney. I went out onto the balcony, and I swear this house had to have one of the best views of the entire area. You could see for miles, and it was just tropical rain forest trees, a few holiday houses and the big, blue beach. Wild parrots are common in Australia but here they were abundant. We headed over to my other cousin’s boyfriend’s house (they also have a holiday place there). Their family and ours played Balderdash and watched a movie together after which we walked home in the dim streetlight and warm weather.
I overslept, and rushed to get dressed and ready for the beach. My cousin, uncle and I walked down a small path to the shore. There we met my cousin’s boyfriend’s family again. All the boys swam and my cousin and I relaxed on the beach. After a while, all of us except my uncle went to the rock pools and watched the surfers from there. We observed anemones and threw pebbles into the waves. We headed over to my the other family’s house and played cards with everyone. After 6pm, my cousin, her boyfriend and I drove down to Four Hnads restaurant, a gourmet pizzeria in Terrigal, the neighbouring coastal town. We met my uncle and aunt there and had tapas and pizza. After dinner we all went to Cold Rock, a place where you design your own ice cream with really cool toppings. I had cake batter ice cream with oreos, cookie dough and a caramello koala and it was easily the best ice cream I’ve ever had. My cousin, her boyfriend and I drove down to her Sydney house at 8pm, because the next day she had to go to a horse riding lesson and I promised her I’d take photos for her.
It was an early start - 6am and my cousin and I were at her riding school at about 7am. My cousin’s horse, Koda was being tacked up by her, while the most adorable dog (he lives at the stables) came to me, wagging his tail and begging for attention. He is known as a kelpie, which means he is half dingo (dingoes are Australia wild dogs who live in packs in a wolf like community structure). When I was done taking pictures, and my cousin had finished her lesson, we washed down the horses. I was sitting on the lawn chatting to my cousin’s friend, when her horse, sunrise almost knocked me over with her nose in an attempt to nuzzle me! We drove back to Avoca together and chatted and listened to music the whole way there. The we got to the house, there were more wild parrots and parakeets sitting on the balcony’s edge. My family was convicted that I wouldn’t be able to hand feed them as no one had ever done it before, so obviously I just HAD to prove everyone wrong, plus my love for animals immediately caused me to pick up bread and sit outside to try and lure the wild birds towards me. After about 10 minutes of me chirping and showing them the food, the first parakeet gave in. He hopped on the my hand and I started to feed him crumbs of fish, white bread. When the rest of the parrots saw that I wasn’t going to harm them they simply did the same, and at one point I had about 3 perching on me. My family was shocked to discover that I was secretly a Disney Princess, welt least that’s how I felt! We went over to my cousin’s boyfriend’s family for supper and had boerewors rolls! I was so happy because that was such a traditional South African food and I was craving that for a while. The family is South African as well so it made sense to have a traditional braai (a south african barbecue). We went home and my family and I watched a movie together and then went to bed.
My uncle, cousin and I walked down to the beach after an early breakfast. We lazed around in the sand for about an hour and hiked up back to the house after the heat started to get intense. When we got back, we turned on the TV to find that very new channel was broad casting about a major terrorist threat in Sydney. Yes the infamous Sydney siege in the Lindt Cafe´on Martin Place. 17 hostages were being held at gunpoint inside the cafe´and many were pressed up against the windows, with their hands held up against the glass. We packed up and drove back to my family’s Sydney home with the radio on the whole way to stay updated with this tragedy. So many of my friends and family contacted me to make sure I was alright, since everyone knew I was in Sydney. It was really scary to think that I was shopping there a few days prior to the incident, and had we decided to shop on that day we might have stopped by there. It made me appreciate the people who cared about me and made sure I was alright and it was a sobering thing to think that the people in that cafe´could have been me or one of my family members. At around 2pm my aunt and I went to the gym for personal training again, and it was fun but so intense! We got home to find that 3 of the hostages had escaped and later 2 more, which was relieving. My aunt’s friends came over for dinner and we had basil pesto pasta, which my aunt makes regularly and it’s the best pasta dish I’ve ever had. When my family’s friends left, we turned on the TV again. The police had shut down the cafe´lights and were using night vision goggles. They were planning to do a raid, which eventually happened in the early hours of the morning.
We woke up early and my aunt, her family friends and I drove up to Featherdale wildlife park (West of Sydney), where the animals kept there are all native to Australia and some are rescued. I took a photo with a koala and petted him, and let me tell you, they are soooo stinky! I fed many different species of kangaroo and wallaby and petted an echidna, an Australian monotreme that is similar in appearance to a small porcupine. There was also a petting zoo, where I fed a hoard of goats, sheep and a small cow. All of the farm animals frenzied around the food and jumped all over me! At around lunch time we left the park and drove to Eden Gardens for lunch. It is a huge garden centre and also sells homeware. It also has little parks and large sculptures where you can sit down and take lots of pictures - there was even a small amphitheatre for live music performances. For dinner we went to my cousin’s boyfriend’s house again, which was just a couple of blocks away. Again we had boerewors rolls with lots of sides and condiments plus frozen cheesecake for dessert.
We woke up early and met up with the same family friends as the previous day. We all drove into Sydney and went for lunch in Darling Harbour. After that we went to Sea Life Sydney, which is the biggest aquarium and marine wildlife centre I have ever encountered. Sea life Sydney is also the only aquarium in the world that houses manatees. This is because both manatees are reduces. Their home is a massive glass environment which leads partly out into the ocean (but there are barriers to stop them escaping as they would not be able to cope in the wild). The aquarium goes through kilograms of lettuce a day. There is also a really cool starfish, seahorse and coral display and the gift shop is massive and has such cool stuff. There was even a manatee shaped tea infuser! After we finished at the aquarium we went to Pancakes On The Rocks and my aunt and I shared Nachos and a pancake. We said goodbye to the family friends and went shopping at a nearby Sydney mall. We walked around Darling Harbour and we spotted a Starbucks. I went in, planning to buy a travel mug when I was told that I got a free drink with it, my day got so much better! My whole family and I shared it because it was Venti, so it was way to much to have on my own. We found a really awesome play park and of course my cousin, her boyfriend and I had to test it out. We drove through China town to get home and the city lights were so beautiful.
I woke up early, and my aunt and I made fudge together in the kitchen and it was so delicious. Us two drove to Bobbin Head, a nature reserve. I bought coffee for my aunt and I and we both had a snack on the pier. We walked on a boardwalk and bridge that lead to a beautiful mangrove area, and my aunt pointed out a hiking trail that takes you to her neighbourhood, but we didn’t walk it because it would have taken us 2 hours. We had a salad at home for lunch and at around 4pm we left with my cousin, her boyfriend and my uncle and aunt to go to Cirque Du Soleil. We first had dinner at the Bavarian beer house and then at 8pm we entered the circus tent. It was the most beautiful performance I have ever seen, and the tour we watched was called Totem, which entered around evolution and nature. The theatrics and mechanical aspects of the show were outstanding and the performers were out of this world. I got a T-shirt to commemorate the experience and we all drove home very late after an exciting evening.
My mom’s cousin and her daughter came to pick me up and we drove to Taronga Zoo, which is opposite the Opera house across the harbour. We walked around a little and had lunch at one of the cafe´s there. You could see the entire harbour, opera house and bridge from the lunch table so we stopped for a photo opp. We toured around some more and then went to the giraffe enclosure where we got to feed three beautiful, tall giraffes. later that afternoon, we took a walk down to the bottom of the zoo, and then hopped on a cable car, which took us all the way back to the top. From the cable car you could see the whole city. When I got home, my aunt and uncle took me to Manly have dinner at White Water restaurant, and we had the most attractive brattish waiter, I must say, accents are always hot! After dinner, we had dessert at a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream parlour and walked along the beach.
We drove to a farm which belonged to my family’s family friends. The owner gave us a tour while we sat in the back of his truck. We went to see his miniature ponies while we were followed by a small bunch of puppies - what more could you ask for? My cousin and I rode the farm horses for a little while and we all went inside for lunch. I went with the boys after lunch to where the quadbikes, gator and motorbikes were parked. I decided to try and ride the motorbike which didn’t end well.. I didn’t really understand the concept of a clutch yet, and so I gave too much petrol, released the clutch and went flying into a wheelie… I immidietly pulled on the break but I was way too scared to try again! I hopped on the gator with one of the boys instead and we rode around the farm, until we got to family friends who had managed to get the truck stuck in the mud. Since there were about 5-6 families on the farm that day we ALL went to help, we tried everything, from using the gator and a chain as a tow rope to making everyone stand at the back and push. Eventually we had to use a tractor, and after an exciting 2 hours of rescuing the car we were all covered in mud and sweat! We all swam in the pool to rinse off and cool down. When I got home I fell asleep on the couch, and woke up at 2am, not knowing where the hell I was. I had to drag myself up to bed and try to go to sleep for the next day’s adventure.
I hope you enjoyed the second part of my adventure! Stay tuned for the final part 3, which I will post later this week
Until next time
-The Traveling Oyster xxx