(Side note: I’m listening to Kasey Chambers to inspire my Australian writing.) I headed to the land down under for my first extended trip—5 days! I was off to Brisbane, Australia and Auckland, New Zealand. And what made this trip even better was that I went with Annie, who is American as well and we interviewed in New York together and trained together here in Dubai so it was nice to have a familiar face. So we were off to Brisbane. This was my longest plane ide yet at 13 hours, but the time went by so quickly. The passengers were pretty easy (for the most part), we got a 4 hour break in the CRC (crew rest compartment), and I had an amazing crew to work with which always make every trip better. We all discussed on the plane what we wanted to do when we got to Brisbane. We got in early that morning, around 9:00am. We arrived at the hotel and took a quick power nap for about 2 hours. Then we headed to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. It is winter in Australia right now so it was a bit chilly, but felt nice to get away from the Dubai heat. We had a great driver, Steve, take us who also made a quick stop at the McDonalds drive thru because we (well I) was starving and couldn’t take it any longer. Side note—going through the McDonalds drive thru on the other side of the road and car is totally cool! So then it was off to Lone Pine. I walked in and was like yep, I’m in Australia—kangaroos hopping around and koalas climbing trees. First we headed to see the kangaroos and I’m not going to lie, I was a bit freaked out to have them walking around me. Then we headed over for a koala presentation where we got to learn about how they live, what they eat, etc. And we even got to hold them!
From there we did a bit more walking and saw some dingos and other animals, then headed back to the kangaroos. I got some food and started feeding them. They were so much fun because they just wanted to be near you. But then the big kangaroos would come around and scare the little ones away. And I did see one kangaroo with a joey in her pouch, but wasn’t able to snap a picture. It was amazing just to sit in this field with them hopping around me and I just thought to myself… I can’t believe this is my life!
It was getting late and the sun was setting so we headed back to the city. The rest of the group went on back and Annie and I decided to walk to this little bar and get some dinner and have a drink. My first Australian beer.. loved it! I swear, I am going to be a beer expert by the end of my career!
The next day we were up and headed for Auckland. This was just a short trip, around 2.5 hours. So we got off the plane fully awake and ready to hit the town. So took a ferry from the city port and headed to this little wine island in the Hauraki Gulf called Waiheke Island. It is full of vineyards and famous for its New Zealand wine (which I had plenty of!). It was absolutely breathtaking. The ferry ride was about 40 minutes off shore and there were little mountainous islands all along the way. We went for a short walk around a part of the island and whenever we looked over, we saw a big drop and there would be the sea. I can’t describe the feeling I get when I see things like this and realize just how big this world is and how much I get to see of it. Sometime I just sit quietly and look out and thank God for every opportunity I am given.
We headed to this little restaurant right on the shoreline for dinner called Vino, Vino. Had some fabulous wine and a great dinner, and just sat for a couple hours and talked. It was getting late and we had to make sure we got the last ferry back to Auckland in time so we got out of there and headed back to the hotel. We had a few drinks at the bar of the lobby and then headed to bed.
So what made this trip even better was that Cali (who got me to apply to Emirates) was in Auckland at the same time as me as she had a Sydney/Auckland flight on the 380. The next morning I got up and we met for breakfast at this little restaurant along an alley in town and had a wonderful meal, but it was cold out. Kinda like November back home! After breakfast, we walked around town for a little while and did some window shopping. We both had flights in the afternoon, so we headed back to our hotels and got ready for them. Then I was off to Brisbane once again!
We had a quick trip once again and had another night in Brisbane. We arrived around 6:30 that evening and decided we would head out that night as it was Friday night. Everyone said Brisbane was the best layover city in Australia to go out in. There was a bar that everyone talked about called Fridays down the street from our hotel so we headed over there for the evening. We’ll leave it at that. As Annie and I say, we’ll always have Brisbane <3
The next day, well there wasn’t much of a next day. I’m going to say we all slept in because we were tired from the first part of the trip, but we all know the truth. In the “late” afternoon, Annie and I headed across the street to what we thought was Target. Had the Target name, had the Target look, but definitely was not Target! This store just brought shame to our US Target. We grabbed a late lunch and went back to the hotel to get ready for out flight home. Our long trip had finally come to an end and was definitely the best so far. Great crew and great friends <3