After a 15 hour red-eye from LAX to Sydney, and a three hour journey from Sydney to northeast corner of Australia, I arrived in Cairns. The geography of Cairns reminded me of Maui due to its blue water, lush mountains, and mangrove forests. The air was warm, humid, and breezy, and the clouds often gathered at the horizon on the peaks of low-lying mountains. Laughter and music wafted up from the walkways below, creating an easy-going atmosphere. For the following week, I stayed on a boat in the Great Barrier Reef.
Our scuba trip was incredible. For four days, my family and I dove on average four times a day in the most spectacular parts of the reef. The coral was so vibrant and I dove up to 90 feet deep. Since I had recently gained my scuba certification the past summer, I was so excited to explore the Great Barrier Reef. One night, I went on a night dive in which I could swim with the sharks. It was surreal to reach out and stroke them while kneeling in the sand thirty-five feet down. From the pentacle dives to the drift dives, I’d go back in a heartbeat. After the scuba trip, I flew from Cairns to Perth to visit my Aunt Cheryl. Here, I was able to visit the Botanical Gardens, pet kangaroos at a Zoo, kayak to Penguin Island, visit Rottnest Island to see the quokas, and sail on an old boat throughout a local marina. Penguin Island has over 1,200 little penguins and was one of the coolest places to visit!
A week later, my family and I flew to Sydney to stay in Coogee, a popular city suburb. Our house was three blocks away from the city center, leaving us in close proximity to a variety of great restaurants! I’d highly recommend checking out Coogee Pavilion, which had a wide variety of pizzas, burgers, and Mediterranean fare. On the opposite end of the beach, Sugarcane Restaurant offered spectacular asian cuisine. My family enjoyed a wide variety of the dishes, including rice cakes, atlantic salmon, pad thai, and stir fried greens. We also visited Bondi Beach, one of the most famous beaches in Australia. Although it was crowded, we had a great time roaming around and browsing the shops. After relaxing in Coogee Beach, we spent a few days in the Blue Mountains and then visited the Contemporary Art Museum, the Sydney Opera House, Royal Botanical Garden, Darling Harbor, and the Sydney Bridge. In the Blue Mountains, my sister, Sabrina, and I spent most of our time on the local hiking trails. We were able to see the famous Three Sisters sandstone rock formation, the Katoomba Scenic World, Mount Solitary, and the Scenic Skyway.
Australia was one of the most special trips of my life. From the kangaroos to the amazing underwater sea life, I couldn’t have asked for a better trip. If you have visited or want to visit Australia, let me know what your favorite city or destination is in the comments below.
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