Adventures in Australia | My Family Travels
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This summer, for some hard-core family time we planned a three-week trip to Australia! We have a pen pal family who live in the Blue Mountains outside of Sydney, New South Wales. They visited us in 2005 and helped us plan our Aussie trip, giving advice on what to do and see and how to get there.

We took a plane from our home Fairbanks, Alaska to Seattle, Washington. Then L.A and straight to Sydney: a fourteen hour flight! Lucky enough, there were movie players for everyone!

 

Our trip was late July, Australia’s winter. I didn’t even think of researching the weather before we left!  I just brought my shorts and t-shirts. I’ve never felt so cold and I’m from Alaska!

 

Our pen pal family, the Bedfords, guided us through the Blue Mountains where we saw the Three Sisters, and had fantastic hot chocolate in Katoomba. We went up the Sydney tower and saw the breathtaking view over the city. We walked through the Rocks Market and past the Sydney Opera House. We took a boat across the harbor and I looked for Nemo, but I couldn’t spot him. We saw dozens of kangaroo mobs in the country, bouncing along, and little joeys hanging from their pouches! I never imagined seeing kangaroos so close!

 

We flew to the Red Centre where we hiked around Uluru, or Ayer’s Rock. We woke early to watch the sunrise. It was striking: the rich red of the earth and the colors it evolved into as the sun came up and went down. I wasn’t thrilled by the big spiders and snakes, though! One night my mom and I walked went to do laundry. On our way back we saw a black lump in the middle of the path. My mom was convinced it was a snake and we agreed to take a longer route around it. Back in our apartment we told my dad about the “snake” and he trotted off with my mom to find it. They came back with my mom’s Smartwool sock in hand and from that moment we referred to it as the “Smartwool snake” teasing my mom constantly!

 

We flew to Caines where we discovered the beautiful and homey town called Port Douglas – our favorite part of the whole trip! We went snorkeling with Poseidon Adventures and my eyes were opened to the amazing underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef. I saw Nemo, too, as fish swam right up to me and passed in front of my goggles. We found the coolest cafe, Rehab, downtown Port Douglas where we started our days with a superb cup of coffee! We saw giant crocs at Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures, where every Australian-bound tourist should be required to go!

 

Our last leg of the trip was the Great Ocean Road. We drove for five days enjoying the picturesque coastal view. I bought an extremely helpful Great Ocean Road Traveler’s guide featuring history, animals, plants, hot-spots and a map. Locals from Torquay advised us to stop at Cape Otway National Park, outside the Kennett River, where we spotted dozens of wild koalas! It was magical – sure to be koala heaven!

 

It was a trip of a lifetime: we did and saw things I will never forget! My family had so much fun together, singing songs and playing games. Discovering side roads, finding different hotels every night and eating Australian’s greatest chocolaty invention, Tim Tams, 24/7 of course! But we saw less than a quarter of what Australia has to offer! There’s so much more out there and so much to explore!

 

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