Sunday, June 3, 2018

Australia Travel Recap

I'm back from two weeks spent down under! My oh my is the jet lag struggle REAL.

My dad says that for every hour difference in time zones, one day is needed for full recovery. Do you believe that? That means Chris and I need like 18 days to recover from this trip LOL.

Life certainly isn't waiting around for us to get our sleepy heads back in the swing of things :) 

But back to, AU. 


Australia is such an amazing place, unique in the country's sense of mateship and camaraderie, and literally crawling with wildlife.

Australia has the friendliest people and the deadliest animals.

Almost everything can kill you! It's actually a running joke for the country as a whole. 

Our first stop was Brisbane, the 3rd largest city in AU, and sort of a smaller cousin to Sydney and Melbourne. 

A free museum was not far from our hotel, where an array of Australian taxidermy is on display (rather creepily), including everything from wallabies to giant furry spiders.   

Perhaps more notable to Chris and I were the food options. We enjoyed a sushi train restaurant where the sushi winds its way on an automated conveyer belt, slipping just under your nose as if to say "pick me! pick me!".

And that's just it, you pick what you'd like from the little choo-choo parade of sushi plates that goes around. I was grinning from ear to ear the entire time. 

Additionally we came across a magical dessert bar with steaming, decadent hot chocolates, lavish cakes, and CHURROS for dipping or a churro ice cream bowl in which your bowl is literally made out of cinommeny churro heaven (which I opted for with much zeal). 

Our next stop was Cairns, AU, a 3-hour plane ride north of Brisbane. The city borders a tropical wilderness that expands past civilization to the very northern most point of Australia.

It's rumored that aboriginal tribes still linger in these forests, completely cut-off from the modern world, and the smoke from their wood-burning fires sometimes visible above the tree line.

If you're looking for adventure (and those deadly animals AU is so well known for) Cairns (pronounced CANS by the locals), is your place!

There's everything from skydiving and aerial trams over the rainforest to snorkeling the great barrier reef. Oh, and crocodiles and Box jellyfish in the water. No really, there are saltwater crocodiles at the beaches and you are advised not to enter the water in certain areas.

Chris and I opted for the aerial gondola ride and floated our way over the misty forests to Kuranda village, an extremely old settlement that is mostly just a tourist town now. 

We held a stinky koala for far too much money and headed back to Cairns via the Kuranda railway, which sort of felt like a tropical Hogwarts Express, minus the nice witch selling cauldron cakes and chocolate frogs.

The city of Cairns showered us with several light rains during our stay, even though it was technically their dry season. Lizards and jumping spiders (the terror those jumping spiders brought me) littered the walkways and there was one particular tree in town that housed a group of bats, which could be heard making whatever sound bats make whenever you were close to the tree. 

We enjoyed some amazing meals in Cairns and I was thrilled to learn that AU in general is very on top of their health food game. Everything was so so fresh and dairy alternative/gluten free options were abundant. 

My go-to order on most mornings was a fabulous charcoal lemonade from Little Loco Cafe

Myself and the other girls from the Tony Robbins Creative team noshed at this adorable eatery several times during the event we were working (did I mention the entire reason I came to AU was for my job at Tony Robbins? JOB GOALS) :) 

After my work was done, Chris and I took a speed boat out to Hastings reef. Finding Nemo is actually a very accurate portrayal of what reef life is like. 

After jumping into the ocean, rather nervously, I adjusted my snorkel goggles and dipped my head into the water, quite unsure of what I would see. There looming ahead was a vast gohstly mountain sprouting out of the depths.

Our little tour group paddled over, rubber flippers kicking wildly (Chris got kicked in the face several times), until we came upon the reef. I was shocked by how CLOSE everything was. If I wanted to reach down and grab one of the colorful fish cruising by, I could!

The coral was like nothing I've ever seen. 

At one point, we came upon a female sea turtle munching away at the bottom of the reef. She eventually came up for air and it was such a joyous moment just to be close to her.

A little while later our tour guide excitedly proclaimed that there was a shark. Chris and I immediately shot each other astonished glances through our goggles. A shark? F. 

It was a white tipped reef shark cruising the coral highway below and he or she paid us absolutely no mind. "They're highly misunderstood" our instructor informed us as the shark swam away. 

At one point, the instructor became so excited talking about coral photosynthesis in her thick french accent, that she didn't realize the tide had dropped and our group ended up ON TOP of the coral. 

Chris and I both cut ourselves and upon clambering back aboard the boat at the end of our snorkel session, blood was lightly spilling from my right ankle.


Chris was VERY concerned with the cut on his hand, which neither myself or the instructor could actually see ;)  

Despite our coral wounds, the two of us enjoyed a magical speed boat ride back to Cairns as the sun began to set.

It was actually magical.

You might notice our travel itinerary lacked some of the more iconic destinations like Sydney or the Gold Coast. I by no means felt slighted by the areas we did visit!

Our trip to Australia was centered around the two Tony Robbins events I had the honor of working and it was amazing to visit both Brisbane and Cairns, two cities that could have perhaps otherwise been overlooked on a purely pleasure trip to AU.

The recovery mode is real back here in sunny San Diego. I'm sniffling and coughing as I type this closing sentence, but my heart is full from the adventures I shared down under!

Have you visited, AU? I'd love to hear your recommendations!

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