Australia, day 3: The day Haley almost went to live with the animals

I’m going to keep this short, not because we leave for our flight back to Sydney in two hours or anything, but because we got to see animals yesterday at Port Douglas’s amazing Wildlife Habitat. Not only did we get to see animals – we got to cuddle with kangaroos. And as anyone who knows me knows, getting to cuddle with animals is my own personal version of heaven.

So, enjoy these pictures, everyone! Because that’s what 90% of this entry is. I’m still speechless from yesterday.

tiny green parrot animals
Our first little greeter.

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blonde man with blue eyes
My brother’s new headshot.
male eclectus parrot
This was Shrek, the adorable male eclectus parrot who followed us on our mini-tour.
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Cassie, the cassowary. Aptly named.
woman with koala
My brothers and my dad’s girlfriend got to take a picture with this Koala. His name is Samson.
frogmouth owl
Some cute tawny frogmouths relaxing.
female eclectus parrot
A beautiful female eclectus parrot.
rainbow lorikeet
A sweet little rainbow lorikeet.
rainbow lorikeet eating
Yum, yum, yum!
9 year old boy
My little brother’s headshot. I was on fire with those yesterday.
Not sure what species this guy (or girl) is, but they were super cute.
Not sure what species this guy (or girl) is, but they were super cute.

For dinner, we ventured to Bel Cibo in the main stretch of Port Douglas for some fine, Italian-infused fare. I think we had a little too much fun playing Odds Are, but if anything, we provided some entertainment to the bystanders who aren’t as used to people like our rowdy, awesome American family.

If you’re unfamiliar with Odds Are, the game goes like this:

  1. Person A says to Person B, “Odds are you won’t (insert something daring and/or embarrassing).
  2. Person B says a number between 1 and 100 that symbolizes how unwilling they are to do that thing. 1 is the lowest, meaning they would do that regardless, and 100 means that they would rather jump out of a moving can than do that thing.
  3. At the count of 3, both Person A and B say a number between 1 and the number chosen by Person B. If they choose the same number, Person B is on the hook to do the thing they were dared to do. If not, then they’re in the clear.

Take this game on your next trip. You won’t regret it. Actually, you probably will. See you guys tomorrow to recount our first real day in Sydney!

-H

Travel tip: If you’re intent on reducing your packing load, try to find a place to stay with on-site laundry. Assuming you can sure that the laundry facilities work, you can save yourself from a massive amount of packing bulk.

 

Australia, day 2: Under the sea and into the flames

Oh, wow. That’s kind of an intense title, isn’t it? But I actually found it a bit poetic, so I’m keeping it.

As I mentioned yesterday, yesterday’s adventure included some exquisite Great Barrier Reef-ing. Sadly, most of the pictures I took were on one of our newly-purchased disposable underwater cameras, so I tried to capture a few moments on the boat. I DID manage to capture how stunning all of us looked in our snorkeling suits, however, so no regrets there:

port douglas australia
Father and GF Christi photo-ceptioning is us before departure.
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My brothers Bo (23) and Declan (9) getting pumped.
port douglas australia
A sneaky little ocean about to lose its temper.

people in wetsuits australia

I’m conveniently missing from the last picture. 😉

While the water was misleadingly calm in the harbor and just outside it, we ended up traversing through the angriest, choppiest waves we’ve ever experienced to reach the outer reef. I experienced my first ever bout of feeling seasick and ended up in the back of the boat trying to meditate myself out of it for dear life. Rather than throwing up and succumbing to the utter chaos in my stomach, I closed my eyes, curled into a ball, and repeated the same mantra over and over again: “Snuba.” Weird? Yes. But did it distract me from barfing for 90 minutes? Somehow, miraculously, yes.

However, watching a giant sea cucumber being picked up, patting a giant fish named Angus on the head as our guide fed him, and swimming within inches of an adorable sea turtle made the long journey worth it. While the reef waters were a little murky and we weren’t able to visit some of the planned reefs due to weather conditions, we were all still awestruck just to know that we were in the reef at all.

That said, we are aiming to get our disposable pics developed within the next few days. I’ll be sure to update everyone when these are added to this entry. Please forgive me! I’ll make it up to you by showing pictures of our dinner shindig.

For our second adventure of the day, we paid a visit to the dinner extravaganza, Flames of the Forest, situated in an old rainforest clearing just a few minutes from our hotel. It was basically a large, multi-course, family-style meal with interludes of Aboriginal music playing and story-telling. Now, THIS is where the big girl camera finally came out to play. We listened to the calming, foresty sound of the didgeridoo, learned the Aboriginal origin story of the playpus, and…may or may not have tried kangaroo. All in all, it was an experience that definitely seemed to encompass the history and indigenous culture of Northern Queensland. I highly recommend it, though other vegetarians may find themselves eating mostly bread as I did. Hey, for someone like me who loves bread regardless, I’m cool with that.

kangaroo meat
My attempt at trying kangaroo…’twas a little steaky. Not that I really eat meat or know anything about meat.
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Dad, Christi, and my little brother’s waning life force.
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Mandatory group pic.

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Our next adventure that we’ll be taking today (remember, it’s currently a Friday morning here in Oz) will be to the wild animal park near our hotel. Since we have only today left in Queensland, we are going to make it count, dang it. Fair warning: the next entry might break the internet with animal cuteness. I am not responsible for any damage done as a result.

-H

Travel tip: Go to the GB reef between June to November for the best visibility and conditions.

 

Australia, day 1: A triathlon of a trek (+ an announcement!)

It’s 5:00 am on a Thursday here in Australia. My body thinks it’s noon on a Wednesday in California and that I should either be at work or devouring buckwheat pancakes at brunch (if only). Alas, here I am, hunched over my brightly lit laptop and likely the only non-beach jogger awake right now at this hotel.

Oh, right. It might be good if I mention what’s going on with the trip in the title. Yes, I will be in Australia for the next nine days! The last time I wrote about traveling was some fourteen months ago and, since then, I’ve been inundating you with hypothetical letters to teenage girls and job search pep talks. What can I say? We’re not known for having a niche market over here at IC. I write what my frantic little mind deems appropriate to write at the time and I cross my fingers that you guys get something out of it each time. Knowing that I have 2 or 3 of you who do just warms my heart, let me tell you.

Now, I’ve experimented with different types of travel blogging in the past – some more review-focused, some more story-focused – but I think the approach I’m going to take this time is going to be much more visual. After all, I have a big-girl camera now. One does not complain about camera crappiness for so long and not buy a new one to take nice pictures with. Especially in freaking Australia. Australia!

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a logophile if you’ve ever met one. Words were my first love and I want to write hundreds of them on pages all the time. But I’m learning that so much can be said with so little. I will likely put a funny/interesting story or two in each entry, along with a few travel tips, but I’m really hoping that you get a new desktop background out of one of my entries. I’ll try to blog every single day, though it’ll always be 14-17 hours ahead of you stateside homies. Yes, I’ll be writing to you…from the future!!!!

Anyways, since today was our first day in Port Douglas, Queensland, and the five of us (my dad, my dad’s girlfriend, my two brothers, and I who are on this trip together) are the real-life embodiment of the walking dead, we didn’t go crazy today. Sadly, the big-girl camera was too tired to come out, so these are pretty Snapchat-esque. As in, directly from Snapchat (with some ethical saturation editing to match what my little eyes actually saw, of course). Voila:

small blue jellyfish
We found a tiny blue jellyfish on the beach in Port Douglas. He was too cute, even if he wasn’t with us anymore. Is that disrespectful?
cairns beach australia
Sorry in advance for keeping the geotag intact.
port douglas beach australia
The beach near our hotel, the Pullman Resort, in Port Douglas.

I didn’t eat dinner last night, because I figured I had begun my day with Ruffles and ended it with french fries and that I’d be good. A mistake was made there. I’m about to eat my lampshade.

Up ahead in just a few hours: snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef (yeah, I never thought I’d say that in my life. Ever). Hopefully, tomorrow’s entry will NOT put you to sleep like this one might have.

Speaking of sleep, before I go catch, like, 30 more minutes of it, I have a special announcement. I am starting a new blog! It will be called Building Your Bold and will be focused on helping women (or anyone, really) find confidence in their twenties and beyond. I know that confidence has been my biggest issue for the majority of my life and the world we live in doesn’t make it any easier on me (or, rather, us). We tend to think these issues will subside after teenagedom, but we are more often than not sorrrrrely mistaken about that. Since I know many of you feel the same way, I think it’s time that we have a safe space specifically to deal with and talk about this issue. I hope to launch the site by the end of the month, so I’ll keep you posted! Yay for building confidence!

That said, IC will, of course, continue in full swing, but I might be narrowing my niche back down to experience/lifestyle/travel blogging. My goal is to try to return to my roots by focusing on local (as in, LA area) adventures as well as outside travel, but we will see how that works out (don’t you love how sure I sound??). In addition, I will try and post at least once a week consistently on here from now on. Yay for goals!

Until tomorrow (er, 15ish hours from now), my cornsnakes! If you’re stateside, have a fantastic rest of your day. You’re in for a treat tomorrow.

-H

Travel tip: For long flights, pack a small, easy-to-access bag in your carry-on with a toothbrush, a razor, deodorant, face wipes, moisturizer, a hairbrush/comb, and a change of at least some of your clothes (I like to do a new shirt, new underwear, and new socks). You won’t just look way more fabulous, you’ll feel a lot better. Go on, girl (or boy, or however you identify)!