Hello!!!!! I haven’t had internet for a little over a week now! When I actually type it out, it doesn’t sound very long – but it felt long! I still only have internet for a few hours here in our hotel in New Zealand. Then when I head back to Grafton I’ll have to see if the teacher I’m staying with this coming week has internet or not.
So a lot has happened during the school holidays, as they call them here. Frankie and I had an awesome time exploring Sydney and our now loving our time here in New Zealand! We did SO MUCH in a fairly short amount of time! I’d really need to upload pictures to truly show what we’ve been doing, but I’ll try to list it here just for now as a placeholder.
Since I last wrote…
Sunday – 10 hour train to Sydney, picked up by Frankie and her host
Monday – Dee Why Beach and Manly Beach (ate Manly’s famous fish and chips!)
Tuesday – Sydney. It was supposed to rain all day so Frankie and I brought our smaller cameras and wore rain gear. It ended up not raining too much, but it still wasn’t a super sunny and pretty day. I was still so amazed by the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, though, and seeing all the Sydney sights made me really realize I’m in AUSTRALIA!! On this day we saw the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, the Rocks, the Sydney Observatory, Darling Harbour, Paddy’s Markets, St. Mary’s Cathedral, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, and the Royal Botanic Gardens. I think that’s all, but it was fun to fit so much into a day and check so much off of our to-do list.
Wednesday – Taronga Zoo and back to Sydney Harbour. We spent the morning and some afternoon hours at the zoo before getting the ferry back over to check out the Opera House and Harbour Bridge again. This day we had our big cameras, and I had really wanted to get some pictures of the famous sites with my big camera, so we headed there after the zoo. This was the day we found out we could buy a student daytripper pass that gave us umlimited bus, train, and ferry usage for a day for only $11!!! We were so amazing and also mad that we hadn’t found out about the deal sooner! Since we had it though, we knew that we could head across the harbour after going to the zoo, so we did just that! My favorite views of the bridge and Opera House actually came while we were at the zoo though, and we could see it across the harbour. It constantly took my breath away!
Thursday – Bondi Beach. Today was the day I found out my Gramma died. We spent a few hours in the morning at a Starbucks while I talked to my mom. My Gramma hadn’t been doing well for a while, but it’s definitely hard missing someone when you’re used to them being there all your life! I love my Gramma so much, and since she could never travel up to PA to come to us, I figure she now even gets a front row seat to my adventures in Australia! My mom told me to continue on to the beach and have a cookie and an awesome day like my gramma would have wanted. =) After collecting myself in the Starbucks, we did just that. Before we got to the beach though, we rode one of the busses we had to take for about 20 minutes in the wrong direction! We laughed at ourselves before getting off and trekking to the other side of the road to catch the bus going the right way. We felt pretty out of place in the middle of Sydney with all the business people while we were in our bathing suits under little dresses and carrying towels. Once we got to Bondi Beach, it was so cold!! We met up with another PSU student who traveled to Sydney during the school holidays so it was fun to talk to her and hear about how her experiences are going.
Friday – Back to Sydney. Since we didn’t have much more on our must-do list, we thought it would be fun to have a relaxing day in Sydney. With nothing in our plans except a semi-cheap lunch, we set out to catch the bus and then the ferry that would take us into the city. This day was probably my favorite of the week because it was so relaxed and we just walked around doing whatever we wanted. I love that we went to the harbour 3 times and I really felt like I got to just sit and enjoy the opera house and harbour bridge.
Saturday – It POURED this day and we did laundry, packed for New Zealand, and watched tons of movies haha. We thought about leaving the house a few times, but then decided that we wouldn’t spend any money if we stayed home, so we decided to do that.
Sunday – A shuttle bus picked us up at 7:15 am outside of Frankie’s host’s apartment. We had booked the shuttle earlier in the week because Frankie’s host went away for the week. We got to the airport and checked in for our flight. When I packed for these two weeks away, I packed more than I thought I needed because I figured I’d just pack light for New Zealand and leave the extra stuff I brought at Frankie’s house. Well, since her host was going away, we needed to take all of our stuff to New Zealand! This meant that my bag was STUFFED full, and when we got to the airport, we realized I’d have to check my bag because carry-ons could only be 7 kilos! Mine was like 15, so I had to pay $80 to check it at the last minute. I was not a happy camper. I called my mom and I was pretty upset, but she said not to worry about it. I think she thought I was hurt or something because of how upset I was, so when I finally told her what was wrong, she was like “Oh my goodness, you could have said something cost $1,000 and I would have been relieved!” haha. Traveling is definitely expensive and the money aspect is quite a stressor, but I’m trying to be conscientious while still treating myself and having fun. It’s a delicate balance, and I’d love to travel at some point with unlimited money lol but I’m sure everyone wishes that. At this point, I treated myself to a $4 chocolate bar and a $4 bottle of water (see, things are expensive! and they were in the airport, but still) to have on the plane. It ended up being really relaxing to sit and read my book while eating my yummy chocolate, so I’m glad I did that. I sat next to the window seat for this flight, and I think it really helped with my motion sickness! I definitely felt better on this flight than any of the ones before. When we landed in New Zealand, we got bus tickets to take us to the city from the airport, which was about a 40 minute ride. We knew we’d have to find transportation when we got there, so we were happy to find a clearly marked bus with a ticket that would take us to the city and then back to the airport for our return flight all for $28. Our hotel is right in the center of Auckland, and it’s so much fun to be so close to everything! I’ve never stayed right in the middle of a city, and it’s a lot of fun already. When we got up to our room, we were confused to see that it was a suite with a kitchenette and a little couch and TV in one room, and a king size bed and bathroom in the next room. We looked a little harder at our reservation and it actually says we requested a king size bed suite lol. In reality, we had just found a room on Expedia for a great price, so we booked it without really checking the details I guess. You definitely learn from experience lol. We don’t mind, it’s just funny that we’re basically on our honeymoon. After changing clothes, we went down to explore a little and look for dinner. We stopped in the Sky Tower lobby (which is right up the street form our hotel!) to make a reservation to eat there later in the week (!!!), and then decided on some italian for dinner. We split a salad and a pizza, and it was really yummy! After getting ice cream, we headed back to our room and took showers before heading to bed.
Monday (today!) – We woke up early and had some oatmeal in our room (which we bought last night for cheap breakfasts) before heading down the street to the wharf. We caught the ferry to Waiheke Island and it was beautiful! Exactly how I pictured New Zealand, and it really looks like a fake place because everything is so pretty! We went zip lining, which was AMAZING!, and then headed back to Auckland. We ate kebabs for dinner (which is kind of like a gyro), and had chips (french fries), and L&P lemon drink for dinner. That’s a very kiwi (a.k.a. New Zealand) dinner, because kebabs are to New Zealanders what pizza is to us college kids back home, and L&P is a famous New Zealand drink. It tastes exactly like lemon heads and isn’t good!! Now we’re hanging out in the room for the night and are excited for our plans for the rest of the week!