Sunday, February 27, 2011

Contiki Comes To A Close

So the day has finally come to say goodbye to the contiki crew. Can't believe how much we did in such a short amount of time and how fast it flew by! This was definitely one of the most amazing experiences of my life and I will never forget any of what I did or who I met. I am so fortunate to have had such a great group of people who were all so kind and welcoming to one another. Although I came out with a few bumps and bruises I wouldn't change any of it for the world. Dad, I don't have to get a tattoo to remember the trip now.. I'll have a wicked scar instead! A part of me doesn't want the trip to end but I'm also ready to get back to Sydney and start looking for work. I think my favourite part of the trip was sailing in the Whitsundays but it's a tough call! I had so much fun everywhere we went and it was so great to see so much more of Australia. The country is so huge though, I've barely made an indent in it! Overall, this was a great tour and I would reccomend it to anyone thinking of doing it! 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Bungee Jumping

After my accident on the river you would think I would take it easy, right? Of course not! Have you never met me before? I was already signed up for bungee jumping and I really did consider not doing it because of my knee but about half an hour before we were to leave I decided I could do it. We climbed 164 feet to the top of the tower and got our harnesses on. It was two girls and two guys doing it from our group myself included. The other girl is tough as nails and I have never seen her back down from anything but when she got to the edge her face went white as a ghost and she said she couldn't do it! That immediately made me worried. When it was my turn to go I think you could have heard my heart beating at the bottom of the tower. They counted down from 5 and I couldn't do it but the second time I just jumped! I have never screamed so loud in my life but once the rope snapped up it felt amazing! My knee was hurting a bit but the adrenaline helped take my mind off of it.
I got to the building to watch my DVD I had purchased and it wasn't coming up. I waited a bit and then someone who worked there came up to me and told me the guy hadn't recorded my jump so I had to go do it again for free. Lucky me!! Not. I did not want to do it at all, knowing what's coming is way worse even if you think it would be the other way around. I was talked into doing it backwards by the guys at the top so I could have a different feeling. Bad choice. Going backwards was so much worse! It took me a lot longer to jump the second time as you can tell by my video. I will try to get my video up soon but I'm not sure how long it will take and I am running out of internet time! Here are some shots a friend got for me though. I should have listened to my mother though because it ended up making my knee a lot worse and consequently I am now on crutches for the next few days. Oh well, it was an amazing experience!

Before the jump with Josh and Julia, missing Tom

Back to safety!

We survived!!

White Water Rafting (Dun Dun Dun..)

We arrived in Cairns on a Wednesday afternoon and had a pub crawl that night through four bars. The next morning I had signed up for white water rafting with about ten other people. I wasn't feeling too well after the pub crawl anyway not to mention the nerves for the rafting. It was a two hour drive to Tully where the river is so I had a good nap the whole way and woke up feeling better and ready to go! I didn't really have any idea what to expect but after the first rapids I loved it and was having a great time. And then it wasn't so great..
We got to a set of rapids called The Staircase and it was classified as Stage 4 out of a possible 6 on a scale of the intensity of them. We got down the first bit and our boat turned to the right so that my side of the boat was backwards. When we hit the bottom a guy on the opposite side fell forward hitting the person beside me who then fell on top of me knocking me into the water and underneath the raft. I was stuck under the raft for about ten seconds. Others on the raft said they were really worried when the two guys' heads popped up but I was nowhere to be found. After what felt like AGES I came up beside the raft but before anyone could grab me I was swept off by the rapids. I was told to put your feet up facing downstream and stay calm but whenever I got my feet up I was taken underwater and flipped around so much that it didn't make much difference. I have never felt like I was going to die before that but there was a moment where I barely had any breath left and I honestly thought that was it. Finally I caught onto a rock long enough to catch my breath and then I was taken down to the end of the rapids where I heaved myself onto shore and just started bawling and hyperventilating. I had a pretty bad cut on my knee and ankle and sore bits all over my body. After calming down I wanted to keep going but the pain was too much so I had to spend the rest of the day on the bus. It was a fun experience at first but it's safe to say I will never be white water rafting again!!

Before the first rapids

We survived the first set!
After my accident, being transported back to safety

Cyclone Yasi Damage

On our way up to Cairns from Daydream Island we passed through the areas hit the hardest by cyclone Yasi. The eye of the cyclone was so huge that there was half an hour of time between the two sides so people had time to get out of their house and look at the damage but then they had to go back in for the other half! The damage was crazy to see, the bark was completely stripped from most of the trees and roofs everywhere were caved in.

Farewell Party

When we got back from our sailing trip we had one night on Daydream Island where 7 people from the trip were leaving including my closest friend Kristen. We had a pool party planned but it ended up pouring rain so we had to bring it indoors so the DJ equipment wouldn't get wet. In the end we did end up in the pool but not till later. We had a buffet dinner at the resort and then dancing. It was sad to see her go but we've made plans to keep in touch and she wants me to come down to the shore in the summer. Maybe I can be on TV :p. We had a lot of laughs and it just wasn't the same without her but we'll always have the memories!

Our view at Daydream Island

The "Living Reef" pool, you do NOT want to swim in here!

Kristen and I

Farewell dinner

Dancing the night away

An appropriate last photo for us

Sailing the Whitsundays Part Two: A Full Day


In the morning I signed up for scuba diving with 5 other people on the boat. I'd never been able to do it on vacations before because I was too young but I'd always wanted to give it a try. It was so cool! I liked it a lot better than snorkeling because you can actually swim down with the fish and go through the coral walls. A couple people in the group had troubles with their ears or the breathing but I figured it out pretty quickly. We had to wear stinger suits (basically just a latex/nylon suit, not as thick as a wetsuit) whenever we went in the water in the Whitsundays because there are tiny jellyfish everywhere that can shut down your immune system within an hour if you get stung.
After the diving we went over to Whitehaven Beach which everyone has said you have to see and believe me, you do. The sand is 98% silicone making it the finest sand in the world. It was so soft and after rolling around in it my skin felt so nice. The water was like bath water which wasn't very nice after being in the heat all day but it was still gorgeous! After that we sailed to our next anchor point, had dinner and spent the night partying on the boat with the crew, lots of fun! On both nights we took our pillows and blankets onto the deck and slept under the stars. This whole trip went by so fast but the two days on the boat felt so much longer and I wish we could have been there longer. I loved it!

Off to scuba

Sailing to Whitehaven

A sea eagle, hard to see but if you click on the picture its a little bigger

Kristin and I in our extremely flattering stinger suits

Whitehaven Beach

Amazing <3

My room I shared with Kristin, luckily we didn't have to sleep in there because it was boiling hot

Sailing the Whitsundays Part One: Welcome Aboard!

The Whitsundays are a collection of 74 islands off the eastern coast of Queensland. We had the option of either doing a two day sail or a one day. The group was split basically half and half between the two but I chose the two day sail and I am SO glad I did! I've never stayed a night on a boat so I wanted to see what it was like. We got onto the boat around late afternoon and it was so hot and sunny which was a welcome change from all the rain we've had on the trip. Our boat was called Condor and it was a retired racing sailboat. Our crew were named Dave, Dan and Brendan and they were all really funny and nice and around our ages. When we first got on we all opened a few beers and just relaxed as we sailed to our anchor point for the night. We all took it easy for the first night because we were doing a lot of sailing and snorkeling the next day.

The boys on the boat

Hanging out on the side of the boat

My closest friends on the trip: Kristin from New Jersey, Colton and Brett from Ladysmith, BC and Trevor from Regina SK

All the canucks on the boat

Sunset on the boat

Rockhampton: A Night on the Farm

After driving for what felt like ages, completely in the middle of nowhere, we pulled up to a farmstead in Rockhampton, Queensland. Rockhampton is the beef capital of Queensland, my favourite! We were all a little apprehensive about staying on a farm but honestly it was one of my favourite parts of the trip. We stayed at a family owned farmstead that has been in their family for generations. Their property was 26 000 acres!! It takes two hours to drive from one side to the other and they have a helicopter to heard the cattle. The property was so gorgeous though and the family was so sweet you could just tell they were all really close. There was a mother, father, three year old son named Matty and around eight year old daughter named Samantha as well as grandparents and some aunts and uncles.
We got there around 4 o'clock and were told that there would be a tractor ride when you heard the tractor start and dinner when you saw the food come out. We saw a lot of the cows, very different looking from Canadian cows. They are called Raman bulls. After dinner we had karaoke and learned to crack a whip which I could not get the hang of. We hit the hay (excuse the farm pun) pretty early this night only to find hundreds of bugs around our rooms! The boys were on one side and the girls on the other, guess which side all the bugs went to. I could hear squeals and screams all through the night! Other than that, a great experience!

Dining Hall

Pierre retrieving a lost boomerang on the roof

Trevor playing a highly intellectual game of "Guess Who"with Matty

All the cowgirls getting ready for the tractor ride

Some of the cyclone damage

Our accomodation on the farm, built by hand by the family!

Raman bulls in the field

Sunset on the farm

Trevor, Colin and Charlie starting off the karaoke

Trevor and I singing Stuck In The Middle With You (he wanted to do teenage dreams by Katy Perry, you should be proud of my song choice Dad!)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fraser Island

Fraser Island is the largest all sand island in the world. It is a twenty minute ferry ride over to the island where we met up with a 4WD tour that took us through the island to Lake Mackenzie, a lake filled only with rain water and is crystal clear where we went swimming. Julia from Guelph and I swam across to another beach on the other side and it took FOREVER. It looked so much closer when we started off but it was a lot further. We had lunch on the tour and then went back to our accomodation which was eco lodges in the rainforest.

The ferry ride over to Fraser Island

The boys

Lots more girls

Lake Mackenzie

The eco lodge

Pool at our resort