Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Land Down Under!

So I definitely just wrote a post for the past hour, but decided I didn't like the format of it, so I'm starting again.  haha.  OCD much?  Or maybe I just haven't blogged consistently for so long that I don't remember how!  Either way, here goes round 2!

Australia!  Oh man, it was the greatest trip ever.  2 weeks was not long enough!  There is so much to see and do!  Having said that though, we definitely packed a TON into 2 weeks.  Brandon had time off school and hadn't done much exploring so we rented a car, grabbed our GPS and Lonely Planet, and checked out the sites!

The first day I was there, I was SUPER jet lagged, but there was a crew of people heading toward the Gold Coast for a hike, so we decided to join them.  SOO beautiful!

Seriously, this picture does not do this place justice. Everything is so green and lush, and the most beautiful waterfalls ever!
 DSC00661 DSC00671 And then there's this guy. Mr. Red Belly Black snake. One of Australia's top 10 most venomous snakes. Just thought he'd block our trail for a bit. Let's just say I jumped at any little creature on the trail after that. DSC00673
That night we went for a little stroll down by the river in Brisbane. Which is so beautiful! And let me tell you, someone was thinking when they developed this area of Brisbane. Walk-out pool, great walking paths, cliffs for rock climbing, grassy areas, and public BBQ's. And it's all free! Such a great little family spot actually. IMG_2193
Easter Sunday we got up bright and early to make our 6:00 AM flight to Cairns! It was very easy to fall in love with Cairns, which I did almost instantly. 28 degrees, right by the water, everything in walking distance, little markets, the best burger of my life, and TONS to do! IMG_2328 IMG_2294 Monday we headed out to a little place called Kuranda, which is a village just outside of Cairns. We rode the gondola up over the rainforest, made a couple stops along the way, spent the day in the markets and seeing the sights of Kuranda, then rode a train back down into Cairns. The markets were great!  Brandon tried out a couple of didgeridoos and we both bought kangaroo shaped postcards for our little brothers that were made of kangaroo hides.  Best postcards ever! DSC00700 DSC00712
One of the waterfalls on the way up DSC00721 DSC00726 IMG_2200 2 IMG_2215 IMG_2217 2 IMG_2231 IMG_2235 IMG_2246
Tuesday was the day we had REALLY waited for...the day we headed out to the Great Barrier Reef! The reef is so unreal! It's like nothing I have ever seen in my life! We headed out bright and early Tuesday morning and rode out to our liveaboard boat, the Kangaroo Explorer. DSC00735 DSC00752 DSC00740 As SOON as we got there, we got a quick rundown of boat rules, schedules, ect., then went for our first dive!
I hadn't been diving for 6 years, so it took me a little bit to adjust to wearing the gear, checking my depth frequently (learned that one the hard way when I accidentally went to 27 meters when they wanted us to stay above 18...oops?) but seriously, the diving was AMAZING! For the sake of time, Brandon wasn't able to get his open water certification before we left, so he did 3 snorkels and 3 dives, and I did 6 dives. Including a night dive! Which turns out, kind of terrifies me a little. Something about going deep into the ocean with only the light of a small flashlight at night just makes me slightly uneasy. But seriously, we saw EVERYTHING! Turtles, sharks, clams, insane amounts of every kind of fish...I loved every minute of it! Pictures 111 Pictures 112 DSCF0304 DSCF0322 DSCF0325 DSCF0358 oooo...barracuda (note the guy in the top left corner. this thing was huge!) Pictures 117 Pictures 118 DSCF0332 IMG_2353
After a successful day of diving! IMG_2356 DSC00747
And even more diving the next day! Starting at 5:30 AM. No rest for the wicked on the Kangaroo Explorer.
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Our dive map of the Moore Reef.  I'm basically a pro navigator now. (ha! yeah right...)
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On the boat back into Cairns IMG_2383 IMG_2391
 (Don't mind all the pictures...we rented an underwater camera and as you can see, we got our use out of it!) Thursday morning we headed back to Brisbane, picked up our car, and went off to see the sights again! It was kind of rainy, but we decided to go down to the Gold Coast anyways. One thing I noticed about Australia is how amazing their beaches are. The sand is so white and fine, and the water is an incredible seafoam green. I guess that's where seafoam gets its name? DSC00754 DSC00757 DSC00759 DSC00761 DSC00770
The money shot! It took several attempts and adjustments to get that reflection of the rainbow in there! IMG_2393 Thursday night, since we were already in the area, we decided to go up toward a place called Natural Bridge to see the glow worm caves. BLEW MY MIND! Seriously, it was up there with diving as the coolest part of Australia. We used my phone as a flashlight as we hiked down toward the caves, then we saw some little green spots in the bushes so we shut the light off. Once we got into the cave they were EVERYWHERE! Here's my attempt at a picture: IMG_2408
(One day I'll go back with a tripod and do some long exposure work). Cave + waterfall crashing into a pool inside the cave + glow worms = incredible. Gah! Just thinking about it makes me want to go see it again.

Friday was zoo day! We went to the Australia Zoo (home of Steve Irwin!) So many cool creatures to see!
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Oh just Steve's kids feeding the crocs!
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We decided to take the scenic route home from the zoo...
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Saturday was another of my favorite days. We headed north toward a little touristy/hippie town called Noosa. It's fantastic. So laid back, lots of beach, and not super crowded or busy like the Gold Coast was. We stopped at the markets in Barramundi, made a little picnic and ate it on the beach, then lounged at the beach for a few hours. Turns out Brandon isn't much of a beach hour laying on the beach and he was spent.  Which I quickly shut down.  haha.  What can I say, after living in Hawaii for a year you just get used to wasting your life away while lounging in the sun!  He just hasn't lived in Australia long enough yet...DSC00801 DSC00803 DSC00804
And then came last day! We listened to some conference, then went for a little drive over to the University of Queensland, where Brandon goes to school. And by that...I mean he studies Wizardry. This place is totally Hogwarts! IMG_2500 IMG_2502
He's "studying medicine". Riiight.
We stopped by the temple quick to get some pictures too! The Brisbane temple has the most beautiful grounds! And it overlooks the river. Beauty.
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So there you Aussie adventure in a nutshell. A very large nutshell that is. haha.  Check another continent off my list!  3 down, 4 to go!


  1. Very cool Amy! It looks like you had so much fun.

  2. I love every picture! Australia is so beautiful and so are you, you are glowing Amy! Is that too cheesy to say? But seriously, you are so gorgeous! And you two look so happy together- this post is just full of awesome!

  3. Loved every second of this! Beautiful pictures, and I'm so jealous you got to go!!

  4. very, very AWEsome AMY!!! I loved living through your adventure!!

  5. You are probably the coolest person I know. Can we hang out soon?

  6. It looks like you had so much fun! I'm so jealous!!

  7. You are such an adventurer. What the scuba diving in Australia with some cute med student for two weeks?!?!? lol. I guess I haven't talked to you in a few years!!!!!

    You are gorgeous. And so grown up!

  8. WOW! Jealous I am!
    Looks like it was an incredible trip! And I agree with Amy, you ARE glowing! You look so great!

  9. Looks Awesome! Next time I'm coming with you!!

  10. um i'll definitely come visit you.

  11. i come and look at these every so often to live vicariously through you...these are all amazing. you are beautiful & brave (diving!) &look so so happy!