Hello everyone! Long time no blog! I’ve decided to do this post a little differently since this week was chock full of activities and adventure. So here’s a video recap of our week long vacation to Cairns, the home of the Great Barrier Reef.

Other things not included in the video
Day 1
-Activities: Flight to Cairns and checking into our hotel
-Stories: Our hotel was kind of weird but it had a kitchen and three separate beds (no repeat of the Gold Coast) so there were no complaints

Day 2
-Activities: Trinity Beach. Dinner with Ruthie, Dante and Augustin @ Fetta’s Greek Taverna
-Stories: We were roped into participating in some random girl’s birthday celebration at dinner. This consisted of us all getting into a circle and dancing with her to a Greek song while other patrons of the restaurant threw plates at us and broke them on the floor. I have never seen a group of people look so uncoordinated
-Notes/Observations: The beaches in Cairns are nowhere near the city which is kind of weird. Also for how big of a tourist destination that Cairns is, the city is quite small and run down.



Day 3
-Activities: Boat trip to the Great Barrier Reef with Down Under Dives. Dinner with Ruthie, Dante, and Augustin @ the Night Markets
-Stories: We purchased a package which included two scuba dives along with snorkeling gear for our trip to the reef. Unfortunately, our boat ride to the reef was very rough and almost everyone felt sea sick. On the bright side, a group of boys from our program were also on our boat so it was fun to hang out with them all day.
-Notes/Observations: Scuba diving is scary!! I wasn’t really nervous at all until we had to perform safety test underwater in case we were to get water in our masks or our mouthpieces. But once I got that down (and got used to breathing underwater for the first time), it was smooth sailing. Also, I’m pretty sure that the Great Barrier Reef changed my life. It was honestly one of the coolest things that I have ever seen and I’m still in shock that I actually got to experience it.

BU does the GBR
Day 4

-Activities: Palm Cove Beach. Pizza and an unsuccessful viewing of Nashville with Sid and Nat for dinner
-Stories: Palm Cove was beautiful and pretty empty which was kind of surprising. Also the sun is very strong here so we were all feeling pretty toasty after two days on the beach and a trip to the reef.
-Notes/Observations: Although the beaches in Cairns were pretty and definitely way better than the beaches in the States, they didn’t compare to those in the Gold Coast. So far, the Gold Coast has undoubtedly been my favorite beach spot and I really want to go back.

Day 5
-Activities: Grade 4 whitewater rafting @ Tully River. Dinner @ Grill’d.
-Stories: Soooo sorry that there was no video of our whitewater rafting adventure. Literally right as we were about to begin walking to the river, I broke my GoPro case, therefore rendering it susceptible to water. This made me very sad. But it’s okay because we still got some great pictures! Other than that, our trip was pretty awesome. Our guide was super fun and we had some very cool people in our boat. We went through some rapids backwards, got very wet, and even flipped over once. Such fun!
-Notes/Observations: A lot of Asians come to Cairns. That’s all I’ll say about that.

Day 6
-Activities: Trip to Fitzroy Island (kayaking, snorkeling, paddle boarding, and hiking). Homemade dinner in our hotel.
-Stories: When we weren’t kayaking or paddle boarding, I basically spent all my time snorkeling around the island. The GBR is so diverse and interesting, I couldn’t get enough of it. Also the turtle!!! Probably one of the most magical experiences I’ve ever had. The turtle wasn’t bothered by me at all, he just kept eating his lunch on the ocean floor as we bonded and became best friends. We swam together for about 30 minutes before he waved to me and was gone forever. We also saw a wild echidna while we were hiking to one of the beaches! For those of you who don’t know, an echidna is like a cross between a porcupine and an anteater that walks like a little bear. He was so cute and some guy that was on the trail behind us even stopped to pet him. There was no way that I was going to do that though, that thing has some scary spikes.
-Notes/Observations: Fitzroy was breathtaking. The water was the exact color of blue Gatorade and some of the clearest I’ve ever seen. There wasn’t much sand on the beaches, only this weird calcified coral looking stuff that sounded like glass when stepped on and was super painful on your feet. Still really cool though.

Day 7
Activities: Kuranda Rainforest. Naps on naps on naps. Questionable night.
Stories: We took a bus to the rainforest expecting, well, rainforest, but instead we were met with a small town filled with markets and restaurants.  We went to go fulfill my lifelong dream of holding a koala (which was amazing) and then shopped around the town for the rest of the day. No rainforest hiking was involved.
Notes/Observations: Holding a koala is illegal in all of the Australian states except for Queensland, isn’t that weird?
Because I just love this so much
Day 8
Activities: Cairns Lagoon. Flight back to Sydney
Stories: The lagoon is just a giant swimming pool with some sand around it located next to the ocean. It was pretty convenient though because my skin was tired of being in salt water all the time. Lake Michigan did not prepare me for this. After a couple hours lounging by the pool, we did some souvenir shopping and then headed to the airport for our flight.
Notes/Observations: While we were gone, the state of New South Wales (where Sydney is) had day light savings time so now I’m 16 hours ahead of Chicago instead of 15. Why different parts of Australia do day light savings time at separate times is a mystery to me. On another note, we’re happy to be back in Sydney!!
This week we start the second half of our semester here in Sydney which means the start of our internships! I will be interning at Lucas Gardens, a school for kids with special needs. I will be working in classrooms of all ages and basically helping the teachers with whatever they need, as well as observing and aiding the PT that is on staff at the school. It should be pretty fun and I’m looking forward to it! I shall update you more on my internship in my next blog once it actually begins.
Til next time readers.
Peace. Love. GBR.