First Visit: March 2009
Number of Times Visited: 1
Cities Visited: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Fraser Island, Airlie Beach
In late March of 2009 Alex, Tom, Shane and I took the long flight from Calgary to Sydney (19 hours total through Vancouver) and what followed was three straight weeks of partying, adventures and really fun times. We were the perfect age a few years into our working careers, still young enough to party hard and be good to go the next day, but earning good enough money that we could afford to splurge a little bit and not pinch pennies too much. Whether it was catching up with traveling friends we had met in Europe two years earlier, meeting new people and making new memories or just hanging out and having a few beers, it was constant GTs.
Favorite Memory: The whole trip was awesome, but the highlight was definitely the three days and two nights we spent driving around and camping on Fraser Island in a military grade 4×4 vehicle. Fraser Island is the world’s largest sand island, and is just a really cool place. There were 11 of us total in the jeep, and we got along so well and had such a great time. Some of the highlights of those few days:
- Singing Oh Canada in the pitch black on the beach with a bunch of Canadians while drinking boxed red wine, or “Goon” as it is known down under.
- Driving a standard, right hand drive, 4×4 on the hard sand along the beach.
- Rising at something like 4am, breaking camp and heading out down narrow jungle roads to beat the tide out, otherwise we would have been stuck another night. I did most of the driving while everyone else carried on drinking in the back until our supplies were exhausted!
- Swimming in Lake McKenzie, which is basically just a lake of rain water, and is amazingly clear. Swimming without goggles you could open your eyes and it was crystal clear.
- Not tipping over such a top heavy vehicle as we drove around!
- I’m not generally good at sleeping on planes, we left Calgary around dinner time on a Friday night after working all day, and due to the time change arrived in Sydney early on Sunday morning. I dozed for maybe 20 minutes on the flight. We then spent the day seeing the major Sydney Sights (Opera House, Harbor Bridge, Darling Harbor, etc.), and I went for dinner that night with some family friends. All told once I went to bed around 11pm Sydney time I had been up for about 48 hours straight, still stands as a personal record!
- Taking in an Aussie Rules football game in Melbourne (Footy). The game was played in the massive Melbourne Cricket Grounds (MCG) which holds over 100,000 people and was the site of the Summer Olympics in 1956. Footy is a cross between rugby and soccer with a little American football thrown in, and is highly entertaining. I would definitely be a fan if it was played in Canada!
- Meeting up for dinner in Melbourne with Maggie and Justine who we had met in Paris back in 2007 and would end up hosting on a few trips through Canada of their own in subsequent years.
- Seeing the tiny penguins come to shore on Philips Island
- Trying vegemite while in Brisbane for an Easter Dinner with our friends Sophie and Shelley who we had met in Paris back in 2007. Apologies to my Aussie friends, but that is one of the nastiest sandwich spreads I have ever tasted!
- Holding a Koala and petting a Kangaroo at a wildlife preserve outside of Brisbane. Sure it is a very touristy thing to do in Australia, but it was still very cool!
- Sailing around the Whitsunday Islands and snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef. We probably had the best weather of the trip during that excursion, and even though we weren’t on the most partying of a boat, we still had a great time, we were on a boat! Oh, and I destroyed Tom in a swim race from the boat to shore. If you want a nice relaxing thing to do on the Great Barrier Reef, sailing the Whitsunday’s are highly recommended!
The gallery may take a minute to load because of the number of pictures (54), too many great ones to choose from!