It’s true what they say…you can never dream too big. At the beginning of 2011, did I have any idea that I would be traveling across the world in November? Absolutely not. But sometimes life takes you places unexpectedly and it’s all for a reason. Most importantly, this gave me the opportunity to meet an incredible couple and document the beginning of the rest of their lives together. But one can’t travel around the world without enjoying the scenery too, right? So, we planned our trip and decided to travel into Sydney for a three day stay, and then make our way over to Melbourne for the wedding and to stay another five days.
To sum it up, going to Australia was a big dream come true and an adventure that I will never forget. However, as time passes and memories fade, we often forget all the small experiences shared on big trips like this: the food, the scenery, mishaps with navigating an unfamiliar city, and all the laughs too. This presents another reason why photography is so important. To be honest, I had not looked at my photos from Australia until last week. Fall wedding season was awesome and has kept me busy with orders and albums through the slow season, so taking time to look through personal photos was put on the back burner. When I finally had the chance to look through the files, I was able to relive the whole trip and remember all the little things I had forgotten. I realize a lot of these photos are probably insignificant to you and just look like touristy travel photos, but they bring me back to a place where I can remember the smells in the air, the surrounding views, and the feelings for the person I was sharing those moments with. So, humor me if you will with these posts on Australia because this IS my online journal, and these are the thoughts and memories that I want to remember.
Oh, and let me introduce the mystery man previously known as ‘B’ or my other half of ‘we’. Bradley is making his full debut on the JSP blog with this trip (not just photos of his hands this time!). Here we are heading out of Greenville’s airport, embarking on our LONG travel adventure.
So, what is up with the airlines not providing some kind of food for a 5.5 hour flight?! By the time we got to Los Angeles, we were famished. We were concerned with the time frame since we had to switch to an international terminal, so we skipped out on eating until we got to our final gate. We went ahead and picked up our luggage, exited the airport, took a bus to another area, walked back through two huge terminals (we were taken to the wrong place), rechecked our bags, and went through security again. We thought that since this was the international terminal, there would be no trouble finding food. Wrong. There was ONE deli on the whole side and they charged exorbitant prices. Two small premade wraps and a cup of hummus was $28.23. Completely ridiculous, but we were so hungry we didn’t care and the food was inhaled. We can laugh about this now and we’ll know better next time to not bypass all those food stations ahead of time.
Flying out of LAX (most awful airport ever)…
Around 15 hours later… arriving in Sydney and seeing the Opera House for the first time (right photo, bottom right quadrant).
Waiting for train to take us downtown…
5.5 hours in airport layovers, 21.5 hours in flight, and a train ride later…we stepped off the train, turned around, and saw this…the Sydney Harbor Bridge.
Yes, we had a super awesome hotel. This was the view from our room at the Sydney Harbour Marriott.
We arrived in Sydney early in the morning and even though our bodies were exhausted from travel and weak from the motion sickness on the plane, we didn’t want to waste our time in the city so we set out on foot to explore.
See those blue specks on the bridge? Those are people! We thought about doing the Sydney Bridge Climb too, but after finding out that you can’t use your own cameras during the tour and it takes hours to complete, we decided against it. Instead, we found that you can access amazing harbor views from the Pylon Lookout.
Right smack in the middle is our hotel!
Tallest palm tree I’ve ever seen. It rose at least four stories above the three story buildings below.
We had a recommendation for this place from a friend so we stopped in for a bite to eat (kangaroo pizza which was delicious and tasted like flank steak) and a schooner of cider (smaller than a pint).
Australians like their drink.
I know, I took a ridiculous amount of pictures of the Opera House. I wrote art history papers on the architectural design in college and I used it as an inspiration for ceramics pieces in my studio courses, so I do have an affinity to it. If you are bored, just keep scrolling.
Yeah, we are those kind of tourists…
It’s even more remarkable when you get up close.
Looking at me like “are you done with taking pictures yet?” The answer is and always will be, “no”….and there’s a wild rainbow lorikeet!
Australia has some crazy big trees and lots of them with weird roots, vines, and leaves. Just for perspective reference, in the photo below on the right you can see two people on the left of the sign at the bottom of the tree.
Day two: we had planned to go to Bondi and then take a ferry to Manly Beach to learn how to surf. Unfortunately the weather cancelled those plans, so we went sightseeing in the misty rain.
Another intriguing tree.
Don’t worry, we kept our clothes on!
Day three: at the train station getting ready to head out to Featherdale Wildlife Park, I wanted something to drink…or maybe not, at $4.00 for a Diet Coke!
…and $2.50 for a bag of chips!
It was POURING this day, but that didn’t stop us. We huddled underneath an umbrella built for one and made our way through the zoo. These photos were all taken with my point-and-shoot because I didn’t want to risk getting my big camera wet.
Cute little wombat.
Ok, so when we first started planning our itinerary for Australia, the VERY first thing that I wrote down and my number one tourist request was “Hold a Koala Bear and have my picture taken with it”. After reading through numerous travel books, I found that it’s actually illegal to let patrons handle the koalas in order to protect their health and keep stress at a minimum. But we found this wildlife habitat outside of Sydney that allowed guests to just pet the furry bundles of cuteness. I didn’t care that it took a 45 minute commute on a train then a bus to get there, I was gonna pet a koala bear! Well, first things first, it’s not a koala BEAR. I was misinformed (see photo below with bear facts). Aside from that though, these animals are truly the most adorable creatures I have ever encountered. You may have seen the YouTube video of Kristen Bell’s reaction to a sloth (if not check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5jw3T3Jy70), well that’s almost how excited I was to see a koala. I could barely contain my emotions. I don’t fully remember, but I think I might have shed a few tears.
I mean, seriously. It was so hard to resist picking him up and cuddling.
My trip was complete. I could have gone home after this! Haha.
Also, the animal handlers and habitat keepers at Featherdale were very professional and knowledgeable. With about 20 koalas in different open areas, they said the animals are rotated every 20 minutes or so to ensure that they don’t feel overly stressed.
Some of the kangaroos were allowed to roam freely through an area of the park and you could purchase cups of feed to bring them closer to you.
And then I almost died when I saw the baby koala at the end of our tour.
Taking a wet and rainy ferry ride before the end of our trip.