As an inspiring world traveler…
…when the opportunity came up to go to Australia for work, I jumped on it! I figured if I could get a free trip over there, do what they want me to do for a couple of weeks, I could take the rest of the time to do what I want! So that’s what I did! Coincidentally, I had already booked a trip to Las Vegas the week prior to the Australia trip (talk about perfect timing) with my aunt for a girls week so I had a packed month planned!
This was my second time in Vegas as an ‘of age’ adult that can drink alcohol and gamble. I went once when I was 18 with my best friend and we weren’t allowed to do anything! Couldn’t drink, couldn’t gamble, couldn’t get into the club and now here I am at 26 years old and I think I might have had a couple of glasses of wine but no crazy drunk nights, no gambling my money away, and no crazy events like from The Hangover movie. I’m over all that now. lol So I just did a lot of tourist activities like see the Hoover Dam, shop, and walk the strip.
I went to work in Canberra for 2 weeks. When you tell an Australian or anyone who’s ever been to Australia that you went to Canberra, they look at you with this crazy face and ask, “why?” lol Canberra is the capital of Australia (not Sydney like most people think) but it is nothing like Washington D.C.! Canberra is 314.4 mi² and has 390,000 people compared to D.C which is so much smaller at 68.34 mi² but has double the amount of people at 658,893. Isn’t that wild? Canberra is a very quiet, sleepy town where everyone knows everyone. It was a little chilly to me in May because May is their fall, they were going into winter. *Fun fact if you didn’t know: Australia is below the equator so their seasons are flipped. So when America is in summer, Australia is in winter!* It was a nice change to be in a cooler climate and somewhere less populated. Very relaxing. I actually really liked it there. It was very quaint and homey. Probably not somewhere I would want to live as a single young adult but if I was older, married with some grandkids, it would be perfect. Truthfully, Australia is A LOT like America. We have some of the same stores, same customs, same language, etc. I think the biggest differences I noticed was that they drive on the left side of the road on the right side of the car and their accents (which I love)! lol Everyone was so nice to me! I honestly expected to be treated differently or to be stared at because I was one of the only black people I saw there but no one seemed to care that I was enriched with melanin! lol
Going to Australia, I knew I HAD to see a kangaroo! A wild kangaroo, not one in the zoo and I was on a mission to find one! I was told about a wildlife park called Tinbinbilla that supposedly had wild kangaroo and koala. *Fun Fact: Koalas are just koalas, not koalas bears because they technically aren’t bears*
While I was there, I actually ate Kangaroo! We bought it from the grocery store and it was actually pretty good. It tastes like steak with a slight gamey aftertaste but its very good for you. Very lean! lol
SOLO TRIP to Cirque Africa
I was one of like 20 black people that I saw my entire 3 weeks in Australia so when I heard there was an African Circus, I wanted to go! I hopped in an Uber by myself and drove out to Cirque Africa. It was wonderful to see these beautiful African people do all sorts of acrobats. They all asked me which African country I was from! I was flattered! lol
One day, I took the rental van that we had and went exploring! No one I was there with wanted to go so I went alone! I have no problem doing that but it was kind of intimidating to go alone, in a foreign country, and drive on the right side of the car on the left side of the road! lol but I made it! I went to the capital building and the Museum of Australia. They were both very informative and interesting!
Sydney is a BEAUTIFUL city. I loved it! They’re so much history, its clean, and I love how its right on the water. The sky was such a crisp blue and it just felt like a happy place! I don’t think most people think of or even know about the Sydney Harbour Bridge but it is also a very prominent part of Sydney’s skyline. It’s actually the world’s largest steel bridge but not the longest!
I think if you ask Americans what they could tell you about Australia, 9 out of 10 of them would probably just say The Opera House and kangaroos. That’s pretty much all I knew about Australia before I went so I felt like I had to see at least those things. So with having just marked off ‘see a kangaroo’ from my bucket list, next was the Opera House in Sydney!
While I was in Sydney, I heard that there was going to be a lights festival called Vivid. Basically, Sydney has light shows that play on multiple buildings including The Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Art Museum, and the Treasury Building. Unfortunately, I had already booked my plane tickets to New Zealand without knowing about Vivid and was scheduled to leave the day before Vivid started! Talk about bummed…I was! BUT God was looking out and they were doing practice the day before so I got to watch what Vivid would be like..from a ferry on the bay. It was amazing! I only wish I would have got to see the real thing!
I was already in the southern hemisphere so I figured I might as well go to New Zealand since I’m so close to it! Knock out two countries in one trip! So my coworkers John, some girl I can’t think of her name, and I booked a 3-hour flight for $300 to Auckland, New Zealand! I didn’t know and still kinda don’t know much about New Zealand except that they have kiwi birds. The girl we traveled with really wanted to go on this trip so I let her plan it. She and I ended up NOT getting along for a reason that I didn’t figure out until we got back. Turns out, she thought I was trying to get with or flirted with her best friends husband. Mind you, I don’t even know the guy’s first name, I just knew of him from tech school. But that’s all neither here nor there.
New Zealand was not my type of vacation location. To me, it was more for sightseeing or people who want to backpack and hike thru it because it’s very pretty and … just outdoorsy in my opinion or at least in the places we went to. We went to Rotorua, Lake Taupo, Auckland, Waitomo, and somewhere else I don’t remember. I did enjoy the scenery though and the hot springs were very cool. It’s basically like a vent for the earth to release all that hot air in the form of steam. There was a lot of driving on 2 lane roads with nothing around us but trees, cows, and alpaca. I did get some great pictures though!
*Fun Fact: They aren’t small like the size of the kiwi fruit, they’re more like the size of a large rabbit! I never saw one so I don’t have a picture
We went to Cathedral Cove and it was like nothing I’ve ever seen in real life. It looked like something on someone’s computer background. It was a good drive there and then about a mile or three of a hike to get there. We left so late that we were hiking in the dark! I kept telling them we should leave earlier but they didn’t want to listen so we were in the middle of this park, as foreigners, in the middle of the night and the park didn’t have any lights. I was so frustrated! Reason #454 why I don’t like traveling with others. lol but the picture was worth it!
My favorite part of this whole trip was the Polynesian Spa. They had about 4 hot spring pools with the water temperature ranging from 38 to 42 degrees Celsius (for reference, 40 degrees Celsius is 104 degrees Fahrenheit). The weather in New Zealand was about 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit which was cold to me so to get into a hot pool felt amazing! The water came naturally from the lake we were close by that is about 200 degrees but they filter it in and adjust the temperature. They also had a mineral pool that made my skin feel like it never had before!