Sunday, May 27, 2012

Billy tea! Our visit to the Daintree forest was amazing! All the fruits we got to enjoy that we have never tried before, mostly because some are not available in our grocery stores at home, such as dragon fruit, star fruit, sour sop, etc. Sour sop was my personal favorite! It was delicious and so unusual. Watching Finn make billy tea was also quite the experience; however, trying damper, a delicious bread made with fruits and nuts, was my particular favorite. It was very delicious as well. So many good tastes of unique food! What a great experience all together! 

Mayumi W-B

Lyre Bird in the Blue Mountains!

At the Blue Mountains, after a long day of hiking, we finally saw one! A Lyre bird! This ground dwelling Australian bird is very unique! They mimic natural and artificial sounds they hear through out their environment! They have very unique plumage on their tale feathers as well! Also used for the purpose of attracting a mate! These birds have been known to mimic other birds and even car alarms! We saw a male lyre bird. You could tell by the tale feathers.

Mayumi W-B


[May 1, 2012]
We took a bus from Sydney to Canberra.  This was a fun experience because it allowed me to see the area between the two cities and compare the trip with the train from Sydney to the Blue Mountains.  While in Canberra we visited the Parliament House and learned about how the Australian government has parallels with both the United States’ and England’s governments.  We also learned that the green and pink color scheme chosen for the House is based off eucalyptus trees and a specific variety of flower. 
Next we spent time at the US Embassy and learned what duties they have towards American citizens.  I learned that if I lose my passport I need to go to the US Embassy to get it straightened out so I can arrive safely back to The States!  They also offered us some very valuable information on a variety of internships and positions that are available through the government that would allow students to spend time in Embassies in other countries!
Our last evens of the day involved the ANZAC Parade and touring the War Museum.  Observing the ANZAC memorials gave me a further understanding of the pride that Australians feel for their country.  Additionally, it was an excellent illustration for the various battles that Australians fought in.  The entire experience was very humbling.  At the War Museum, we were able to learn about specific details from battles.  We saw a laser show that told the story of an individual fighter plane in battle!  Our group also got the privilege of staying for the closing ceremony.    
Kaitlyn Sterlace

Blue Mountains

[April 28, 2012]
We traveled from Sydney to the Blue Mountains by train.  On our trip there we were able to see the difference between the main city (Sydney) and the suburban and rural areas.  While in the Blue Mountains we hiked for a few hours and got to see different viewpoints of the rock formation “The Three Sisters”.  This was also where we first heard about the plants in the Australian Bush that need to burn in order to grow and flourish.  I learned about the four different types of forests present in the bush, including hanging swamps and rainforests.  
Kaitlyn Sterlace


[April 26, 2012]
After arriving in Sydney after our extremely long & exhausting trip, we started our day immediately.  First we went to the Hyde Park Barracks and learned about the convicts that were sent to Australia and the type of work they were made to do.  We also learned that they were punished for the strangest crimes including “wig stealing”! After that we visited the Australian Museum which was our first taste of aboriginal culture.  We learned about their style of art and how each picture tells a story!
The next day we spent at the Sydney Aquarium and at the Taronga Zoo.  At the aquarium I learned that some scientists in Sydney have been tracking individual sharks from satellites to tell where they have traveled over the course of a few years.  While at the zoo we got to see this amazing bird show that provided us with valuable information on many different birds!  I learned that one species uses a rock to break open an ostrich egg!
Kaitlyn Sterlace

Great Barrier Reef

May 10th: Snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef was harder (and saltier) than I though it was going to be! The first Island that we were dropped off at was a bird sanctuary... I never really though that I would have to walk out to the reef, it was so close. The first drop off was the hardest. Now, I had snorkeled before all be it in my pool... but the essentials I knew. The trickiest part was keeping the snorkel out of the water while trying not to kick the coral and trying to get the water out of the mask... it was a challenge to say the least. I didn't expect I was to have that much trouble with it... but I also didn't believe that the second stop would be in the middle of the ocean. The water looked deeper than it was (and it was cloudy) so I was suprised when the boat stopped and people were putting on gear! It was fun jumping off the boat and into the waves, though they are bigger when you are in the water. This was the best stop because I felt there was more to see and it was fun surfing the tops of the waves. Some of the coral were really bright greens and I even saw some pinks. This day also helped us with our paper topic on the reef.
-Abbie Austin'15

Lone Pine

May 3rd: This day was one of the most suprising days of the whole trip. We went to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane. Sure, when you think of "Koala Sanctuary," one only thinks about Koalas, but there was SO much more there. One of the first things we did was feed the Kangaroos. When I think about feeding animals, I always remember them being behind a fence and my hand streching between the bars. In the Kangaroo enclosure, they were all around you. The animals, both Walllabies and Kangaroos (and an Emu) could wander around the huge pen at their leisure. All of the creatures I approached weren't intimidated and didn't run at the sight of me. I loved being inches from one of Australia's most recognized icons! Seeing all the Kangaroos on the postcard didn't do them justice. It was great to reach out and touch their rough fur and their feet are SO much bigger in person! I also got the opportunity to hold a Koala and get a picture with it. It was a lot heavier than I expected, but it was cute the way the arms grabbed my shoulders... it seemed perfectly at ease.
Abbie Austin