Well this is actually goodbye. Where did the time go? Sitting on the train to Sydney and saying bye to newy (newcastle). This place has been a safe haven. Where can you have a sleepover with your best friends every night. Where people you didn't even know existed 6 months ago have become your family. Newcastle is one of my favorite places. Between the cute little main drag near our apartment or the fact that there are 3 beaches near our apartment. Saying bye to everyone and our crappy apartment has been one of the saddest and heartbreaking things ever. Saying bye to the boys and all my Aussie friends. I'm going to miss everything so much. Trying to explain this experience and how life changing it was is impossible. I feel like apart of me is in newy and how different everything is after four months down under.  

Don't get me wrong I love America and the cheap food and well cheap everything. But I wish I had more time. I feel like I'm not done being here. Getting on the flight and heading to lax is just weird to think about.

  In the past 6 months I've been to 4 different continents( including America), been to 6 different countries (including America), I've rode 2 elephants, cuddled a koala, kicked it with some kangaroos, ATVed on the beach, hiked a volcanic mountain, visited some temples.. That's just some of my adventures. But it's not about the places I've been it's the people and experiences those adventures brought. 

Well I guess this is goodbye Australia.... For now at least! 

 
 
we have officially returned from our travels through asia! Man was it an experience since none of us spoke or speak thai. Also we have learnt there are no rules in Bangkok. Especially when it comes to driving. Tuk Tuk drives drove like mad man through traffic. if you wanted to get somewhere fast tuk tuks were the way to go. We stayed in Bangkok and saw the temples and grand palace decorated with jules and shiny gems! But after being in Austral
 
 
So Jason and Rayna and the kids took us to a dolphin cruise on Nelson bay. It was beautiful weather and a cool street market venders along the bay! it was so much fun and we saw dolphins in crystal beautiful water! there were 2 pods and they came right up to the boat! they were so majestic and reminded me of children. They were so playful and happy. I mean if I lived in Australia and had no worries I would be pretty happy too. I also get some great photos!! After we took a quick trip down a toboggan run! which totally fed my need for speed dare devil addiction!

After that we headed to a football game (soccer) I was so keen to go that my roommate and I got New Castle Jets t-shirt! We went with our new Aussie friends. It made me realize how much I missed soccer. The game was heaps fun and the Jets scored the first 2 goals of the season against Central Coast! but they ended in a draw which was a bit of a bummer! But the game and the crowd is so different over here! There was an entire section that didn't sit all game and all they chanted and they had a megaphone! they were very serious fans! they had a big flag and celery. The celery represented a ration often received...other than that I'm not too sure why. regardless it was heaps funny!

Later we met Joe who is a decedent of the Aboriginal tribe of the Awabakal people! he was very interesting to talk to and the boys got to try playing he didgeridoo...which was kinda upsetting since i was so keen to try playing it, but its tabboo for women to play the didgeridoo! NOT COOL! but I respect their culture and traditions i got to play the clap sticks.... Plus the spear and boomerang throwing made up for not playing the didgeridoo. Over all it was a great thing to be exposed to! Ive learnt some much too! to learn more I have included a link ( http://www.miromaa.org.au/Culture/Awabakal-Dreaming.html ) 

As for halloween, Im so thankful I live with americans because its not a huge holiday over here. the houses don`t put out decorations and old a few neighborhoods actually trick or treat. which is very sad. However we dressed like minions from despicable me and the 7 dwarfs and snow white (I was happy). We had a great time being different and bring a little bit of America to Australia. We even had our new Australia friends dress up, they were packman, bananas in Pajamas and various other costumes). Which made abbey wood a great halloween destination!
 
 

This weekend we went into Sydney to see the more natural wonders Sydney has to offer! We went to the aquarium to see some big sharks and manatees and sea horses! After went to our hostel in coogee beach. A lovely town with beach side property and more importantly a McDonalds next door! 

The next day we headed to the infamous Taronga Zoo and saw some native Australian wildlife and world wild life. We especially loved the sugar glider ,red panda, penguin, wombat and platypus exhibits! The whole place was so much fun it felt like we were like 6 years old! It was so much fun! I've learnt that I'm obsessed with sugar gliders, wombats and Quokkas! From the zoo we went whale watching and saw 3 pods and dolphins! It was so much fun! They didn't jump but we saw some tails and blowhole air! It was still a lot of fun and they are huge! Even at a distance!  So we did some major hanging out with a lot of animals! 

 
 
This weekend I volunteered and ran tough mudder in Sydney! It was amazing! Volunteering we met some other Americans but befriended Ethan from Queensland who helped build the course and was in charge of our station. We spent the whole day volunteering at arctic enema which can best be described as a big tub of ice and water that you have to jump into and swim under and get out and continue the course! Just because I'm not loud enough Ethan gave me the mega phone! 

The next day we took the tough mudder pledge and was sent on the toughest course built by tough mudder yet! A intense mix of electricity and water obstacles with some running thrown in. To be honest I loved every second of it and can't wait to do it again! Team 'MERICA kicked some major butt and didn't skip a single obstacle and completed it in under the average allotted time! We got shocked and faced some fears! The whole weekend was a huge success and we got our orange headbands to prove we made it! 

 
 
Kia Ora
Which means hello in mauri. After spending 9 days in New Zealand I've come to a couple of conclusions. it's beautiful even in the winter. It's a country that posseses unique and natural qualities. And if you like adventure and the whole granola vibe. You should seriously think about going to nz. While I was there I traveled from hahei to Hamilton to rotarua to waitomo to taupo to Auckland. From experiencing geothermic beaches and creating my own hot tub and kayaking a the very scenic and history rich cathedral cove in hahei. To visiting he glow worm caves of waitomo. To going to hobbiton when lord of the rings was filmed in rotorua. And the crazy beautiful and limit testing tongariro alpine national park in taupo. 

Each location brought something unique and beautiful to the table. That pictures unfortunately can't even begin to capture. Most of New Zealand looks like it's right out if a painting or extremely edited photograph. The untouched land even driving from place to place was breath taking. From the window we could see rolling hills or mountain sides. 

In hahei we was saw a fur seal and fairy penguin ( like on Phillips island) while we kayaked. We saw cathedral cove and learn about the first people to claim the land and why places are called what and how the kiwis protected their wildlife.

While in New Zealand we saw the hobbiton movie set and I learnt I could be a hobbit in the movies because I was small enough! 
The. We traveled to taupo and rode a sailboat out to see rock carvings and from there our adventure took is to hiking the tongiorio alpine crossing which was 15 miles of climbing mountains volcanos and see the emerald and blue lakes! Honestly pictures can do it no justice and it was like being placed in a post card or painting. You could see for miles and around every bend was a new obstacle and new beautiful sight! New Zealand was an amazing place and so different from their neighbors over in Australia. Kiwis defiantly brought some new perspective to the table! 

After New Zealand I traveled with Brittany, Caroline to cairns where the Great Barrier Reef is located and slowly shrinking. We snorkeled on a boat called to compass and saw sea turtles and sea cucumbers! We made friends with one of the crew members named Sebastian from Sweeden! And also made friends with Larissa from the uk from our hostel! Under the water in the Great Barrier Reef was like seeing a whole new world and I often found myself fallowing fish and free diving. Which was amazing. On our last day in cairns we held a koala named buster who was quiet sleepy and a pretty mellow mate! But he is extremely photogenic ( look on Facebook to see my photo with him). 

From cairns we traveled to bondi and got some rainy weather but the weather lucked out for me as I separated from the other so go see international fleet review in Sydney! I made tons of new friends! 

I've got to say wearing an American scarf lead me to meeting more people then I could have imagined. Especially when I went on a cruise to see all the warships coming in. I met the most amazing unique and beautiful family ever! All because we were both wearing matching scarves. I met Levi and Caitlin rose and mr. & mrs. Summerfield! Honestly it was so nice spending time with such a lovely family! And Caitlin and I have the same middle name and initials minus the face she spells with a c instead of a k.  But I got Levi and Caitlin to throw the alpha chi omega sign! But the cruise was amazing! I loved every second of it! It also helps that I had amazing company. The next  day I watched the helicopters and roulette fly. After that Sydney harbor was lit up by fireworks and the opera house was like a giant screen! It was amazing and so touching! After I met up with Amanda and we toured the battle ships in the naval based on garden island!  Honestly the history lover in me was going crazy! I also made friends with the Nigerian crew and got a picture with them ( because I was wearing my American scarf) but it was such an amazing experience since it was the 100th anniversary of the first fleet review! It was an amazing weekend! 

Needless to say my spring break was crazy and very adventure packed!!!

 
 

So Caroline, Amanda, Brittany and I went into Sydney a little earlier than the rest of the group. We arrived in Sydney just after 6 on Friday. We settled into our hostel and decided to explore Sydney at night since we always left for the train when it started to get dark previous times we had gone into the sydney. A couple of our flatmates had been to this bar called the O-Bar. It was on the 47th floor of this building on George Street. This bar however was different. It had a rotating floor which allowed you to get some nosh and drinks and watch from a 360 degree perspective of the city all lit up at night. The Bar was absolutely exquisite! it had a modern vibe and a mix of a younger and older crowd! It honestly was breathe taking and was just another point (among the many) that I had fallen even more in love with Australia. Australia has such a presence. its not like New York City or even Los Angeles. It has a feeling of difference and acceptance where I feel America is just starting to explore. While up in the O-Bar I honestly felt humbled, here I am in one of the most beautiful places on the planet and it gave me the opportunity to just soak up all that has happened and all that is still to come. So the Four of us sat in silence. Don't get me wrong we talked a lot but there were points in the night where there was silence and reflection, which is hard to come by when everyone is trying to experience everything in such a short amount of time.  We even met another American at the O-Bar, she was a waitress and came here to study abroad when she was in college and just felt like she didn't have enough time here and is now on a work visa. I was extremely jealous!  But as we left the O-Bar and made our way around the city we stopped at the Famous Century bar and then headed to bed to prepare for the bridge climb the next day.


On saturday we met up with the rest of the group at our amazing hostel right near the sydney harbor! it was called the YHA, even though it was expensive it was one of the prettiest places we have stayed. It had a roof top view of the harbor and the bridge that we would be climbing. The Hostel sat right on the rocks and the hostel was built on top of an old excavation site. It was BEYOND cool! but from there we walked over to the bridge climb which consisted of 3,000 steps and stairs! Since I`m a little bit of a thrill seeker and adrenaline  junky this was going to be an absolute blast! We suited up and learned our gear and practiced on an indoor small scale version of the actual bridge climb. Our Climb leader Brett was amazing and we were lucky enough to be his last bridge climb, since it was his last day working there. As we began to climb we saw an arial version of Sydney and learnt more about the bridge. Everything from the stone from the aboriginal people who believed with one touch it could give you strength and courage to the 6 million rivets that make up the Sydney Harbor Bridge and the people who worked on the bridge and even lost their lives. It was crazy and such an amazing experience!  I bought a photo of me at the top of the bridge climb which you can see of facebook! but honestly it was one of the coolest things ever and it was so liberating! I loved every second of it and learnt that I have no fear of heights whats so ever and have pretty good balance! haha. After the bridge climb we got ready for dinner at this place that serves Emu and Kangaroo and Alligator Pizza! it was called The Australian Bar where my roommate Melissa and I split a pizza and Then I headed off the Pasha Ivy which is a club in Sydney that has 5 floors and is part inside and part outside! It was so cool! and i got a 10 dollar dress which I wore! lets just say the night was very fun and I had a great time and day for that matter!!!

Sunday we went on a speed boat that whipped us around the Sydney harbor and did all these donuts and got us soaked! we wore purple ponchos which made me with of High Point and how President Qubein would be very excited about the vast amount of purple present! The mix of speed and water was enough to get the guys screaming too! We all by the end of it were drenched in harbor water. Again the thrill seeker in me loved every second of it! which was the perfect way to end the weekend! 

slideshow of more photos!

 
 

Our adventure first started off at 830 pm the night before our flight took off. Which was the only train that could get us to our flight on time. So once we got to central station in Sydney we had just missed the last connecting train to the airpor. So we hailed a can to the domestic airport. Which turned out to be closed.. Really who closes an airport! So we heard that we could sleep in the international airport. After walking around a great deal we finally called another can to take us to the international airport we arrived at 130 am meaning the only sleeping spots available where direction in the path of the door and it's cold wind. After 4 hours we headed back to the domestic airport via train where we went through security if you can even call it that. We didn't have to remove our shoes or jackets just liquids and laptops, no Identification checks nothing. Which was a little alarming! It was a quick flight to Melbourne where we took the tram and stopped at Luna park where we got a special announcement over the intercom just for us "Americans". So much for blending in. We walked around and checked into our hostel and passed out for a bit after not sleeping for over 24 hours.

The next day the rest of the group met up with us at queen Victoria's market where we did a lot of damage and had a laugh at all the crazy things being sold. You can find anything from wigs to clothes to American food which defiantly gave us a good laugh. After that we went to the eureka sky deck at the 88th floor where we saw the whole city and a storm come in and if we weren't lucky enough to see a storm and stay dry we also saw a double rainbow! We returned to base x hostel where we packed and prepared ourself for our tour that began early the next morning! But I've got to say the first hostel we stayed in was with a group of 8 that were very close and seemed to be living there for a while. Where base x gave the same family vibe but had a bar and a ton of cool stuff!

The next morning we began our adventure on the great ocean road with our charming and witty tour guide Ben! We saw the 12 apostles and 88 steps of Gibson and a gorge and beaches in beachs all equally beautiful but in their own way. Of course I could resist writing in the sand and playing around and throwing that I know ( alpha chi omega for those who don't know :) haha). But the Victoria weather held out for us and made it a beautiful day. After that we saw a koala in the wild and Melissa names him Steve.. Apparently touching a wild koala can result in a fine of 10,000 AUS dollars... Say what?! So we did not touch Steve. But it was still really cool! After we stopped in a little town called Lorne, along the great ocean road. Where Ben cooked is an amazing dinner and we tried kangaroo meat! Sad part is I really liked it which makes me feel kind of like a bad person. Because they have personalities like dogs so I feel like I'm eatin a pet!

The next morning we left and went to this rehabilitation center where we pet wallabies and kangaroos and met ice an albino kangaroo! It was so cool!!!! And spring is in the air because ice has a mate and has a albino baby!!! Then the best part was we went to Phillips island to see the little blue penguins march on the shore at dusk as they make their way to their burrows! Ben told us exactly where to sit so we could see the penguins and omg they were so cute! And they traveled in packs and it was so cute and they kept getting hit by waves and waddled and so cute! We even got to see all the peguins as we walked along the board walk! They were so close I could touch them. It was amazing how ignorant and selfish people can be, we were told not to have cameras or anything with a flash out because it can blind them and result in their death. People still took pictures and when confronted they would just run away. It was just very sad that people can't fallow the rules especially in an animals home and your invading their living space! So when I got to the gift shop I bought a stuffed blue penguin and it has a sweater, the money goes to the oil spill releif for penguins and the sweater on my penguin is the same kind I sweater worn by oil spill penguins to keep them warm! But my penguins name is Ben, after our tour guide and Melbourne (since it's pronounce MEL-BEN). He is very cute and I love him.

The next day we just enjoyed the city and took the free visitors shuttles to all the touristy places in Melbourne! After that we walked to TOTOs the first Italian pizza place in Australia, it was absolutely amazing! We went to celebrate Audries birthday, I had an amazing garlic and broccoli White pizza and I went and talked to the owner (Sam) about Audries birthday to see if we could do anything special for it and he gave us a mix bowl of gelato on the house! He was so nice and by the end of it he was telling us to call him Uncle Sam and about his background and how he came into this business. It was so cool! Which was the perfect end to an amazing trip! Because sadly Melissa and I left on the early flight..

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It's a 5000 dollar fine for sleeping outside of the domestic airport... Ouch
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Travel life right here
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The storm rolling in
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12 apostles
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Hello double rainbow
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Throw what you know
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Us at TOTOs ❤
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My ticket to the penguin march
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Meet my new friend ice the ALBINO kangaroo
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Ben my new friend :)
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By Melbourne :)
 
 

Hello america! I'm

Going on my first adventure! I leave for Melbourne... in just 3 short hours  I will be getting on a 3 hour train to Sydney. Wait in the airport for precisely 7 hours and begin my adventure! Yeah I know the 7 hours in an airport doesn't seem very thrilling but regardless! Melbourne here I come! It's still crazy to think I've been here for over a month! And every day I find more reasons to fall in love with being here. The beach. The people.. Everything! I'm so luck to be in one of the most beautiful places ever! But as for Melbourne I've heard nothing but good things! I'm traveling with 6 other girls but we are visiting Phillips island and the penguins and the great ocean road! I still wake up every once in a while and still think I'm back in the states and haven't left yet! And don't get me wrong i miss home but I'm not in quite a rush to get back just yet! Sorry mom and dad and Liz!!!! 

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Packed and ready! T-minus 3hours!!! ❤❤❤❤
 
 

Today was probably one of the coolest things I have done in Australia so far. We went to this place called quad bike king, which is in Port Stephens (where Oakvale farm was). Basically we went there to drive ATVs on the sand dunes of Australia. Pinch me am I dreaming?? So i signed my  life away and proceeded to drive out to the dunes. We were given fashionable hairnets and helmets. Then I picked the last red ATV in the line and waited for Dean (our tour guide) to give us instructions and explain the hand signals. After a 5 minute breakdown we were off. oh yeah and since I got the last ATV that meant I would be first in line right behind Dean! WOAH talk about going right into it! But honestly Im so glad I got the last ATV because being First was amazing! 


We did some trails as we made our way to the shipwreck! I loved the factors of speed and jumps. It was like flying over sand! at one point it was just James, Nick and I fallowing Dean. Some how the other half of the group fell behind! But the hour and a half was possibly one of the best feelings ever! Once we got to the ship wreck he gave us some history about the storm that hit and was the catalyst of the ship wreck. The Ship was the Sygna (Norwegian freighter) which was hit with a cyclone in 1974. The crazier thing is in 10 years it will be completely overtaken by the sea. 

The ride back Dean took us on a trail that had more twists and turns and jumps and hills then the last. I didn't thing it could get any better, but I was gladly mistaken! Driving on that ATV was the most freeing and adrenal pumping experience. I was very sad to see it end so soon. But earlier in the tip Melissa, Brittany and I were joking about how we wanted to go on a date to Sydney and go to the zoo and Darling harbor at night... But Ive come to the conclusion that I want to go on a date there! Needless to say I will find some excuse to go back to the dunes. Dean said that I was pretty good and Im not gonna lie, it TOTALLY went to my head! 


But if you want to see more here is the link:  
http://www.quadbikeking.com.au/

all geared up and ready to go!!!!