Our journey started with a taxi at 4am. We took a taxi, then a plane (bags underweight, babay) then two trains and a bus all while dragging our huge bags! We felt a little ridiculous (I was just with Jessica and Heidi by this point) but we figured at the very least we might brighten someone else’s day because they could get a good laugh or maybe be grateful they at least don’t have to carry so many bags! We were lucky to make all of our trains/bus on time so we could meet up with or host, Cheryl at the bus stop near her house. (ps the public transport here is SO much better here than it is in Auckland, so we can actually go to the places we’re trying to! Almost a foreign concept at this point)
We wasted no time in getting to Featherdale to see Australian animals that afternoon. They have the wallaby’s and kangaroo’s just running loose around the whole place and they come right up to you to so you can pet them! They had tons of koala’s, and we could pet some, but we couldn’t hold any (apparently its illegal, lame). I had zero expectations for this, but can I just say I had NO idea how cute koala’s were! I don’t know why, but I was just melting the whole time. Also, have you ever actually seen a wombat? I don’t know what I thought they were before, but they are hilarious! Like a huge hairy pig/guinea pig that sleeps all day and waddles when it walks. That place was just great.
That night we tagged along with a local youth group to do baptisms at the temple. It’s a beautiful temple (as opposed to all of those ugly ones…?) and we were treated like royalty as we got to go first at everything and were welcomed as special guests several times.
We got up early on Saturday to go to the flower market, aka heaven in a warehouse, with Tamara and her boyfriend, Luke. Tamara is the girl our age in the family we are staying with (an old friend of Mckenna’s! Thanks again for the set up!) Right after that we went into the city and started walking around town, to Darling Harbour, and just exploring the town. We grabbed some lunch and took it on a ferry ride (because our bus passes give us unlimited bus, train, AND FERRY rides, sweet as) around the harbour. Their ferries system is just like any subway system, but of course way more fun to ride, so we actually went on two long ferries and didn’t get off anywhere, just went for the scenery. Hope that’s not weird. Recognize this place, anyone? You’re right, its in Finding Nemo. Opera House!
On Sunday we got up and watched conference, and just hung out around the house with the family. It was a very relaxing Sunday, the first one in a members home since we left the states! We were so lucky to be staying with this famiy, they have done so much for us and we are so comfortable in their home!
Monday morning we got up and went to Café 5 for breakfast with Tamara and Laura which was delicious. And right at the beach, so I am a fan. We had a little photoshoot with the girls before they took us over to Manly beach for our “scenic walk” hike. We call this our “boy band cover” pose, we could be the next big thing, eh? Laura is on the left and Tamara is on the right, we have had so much fun hanging out with them this week! We spent the day on our scenic walk and then just laying on the beach at Manly (manly being a proper noun in this case, not an adjective, just for clarification, but as far as I could tell it could be both…).
That night we had a YSA FHE at the house, so we went out to a chocolate café called Max Brenner and just completely indulged. It was divine! Jess, Heidi, and I shared a chocolate soufflé, a hot chocolate with chocolate covered waffle cone bits, and a chocolate lick (aka shot of pure melted chocolate). Tamara told us we should go before our last day in Sydney just in case we wanted to go again and that night we realized the wisdom with which she had spoken.
This was also a very big night for us because it was the first night in 3 months that we got to use a flat iron and hair spray (thanks for the flat iron, Laura and Tamara!). We were a squealy giggly bundle of joy through the whole straightening process. We even took shots in the mirror :) Felt so good!
For our last day we had a beach day at Bondi Beach. Within 2 minutes of sitting down on the sand, an Irish man came over and sat right next to us and talked for an hour. He said many odd things, even asked us if we were brainwashed by the church (while trying to flirt, interesting tactics), so we finally told him we were going to get some lunch and we just walked down the beach a little further to an Irish-bachelor-free zone. We went back to Manly beach to find out if the rumors were true about Ben and Jerry’s free scoop day (ps they were) and to get a Max Brenner gift card. We figured while we were there, why not try some more chocolate, so we got the most fantastic thing I’ve ever tasted: Italian Thick Chocolate and drank it on our last ferry ride around the Harbour!
I am now in the airport for 9 hours because we met up with the rest of our group and the girls who aren’t going to Samoa had an earlier flight, but we had a great breakfast of tim-tam-slams so I think I’m set. Australia was such a great trip, chill but we still did a lot, now one more trip and I’ll be home in one week!