G’Day Mates from Cairns, Australia
Today is a sad day, as we wait to board our plane back to LAX. Although we are all missing our loved ones back home, it is difficult to leave this amazing country. We have truly enjoyed every moment of this experience, as we soaked up the culture and beauty of both New Zealand and Australia. The students (and chaperones) are already planning their return trips.
The last two days in Cairns, Australia have been unforgettable. We visited two of the World Heritage Listed Sites , the Great Barrier Reef and the Kuranda Rainforest. This is the only place in the world where two live side-by-side!
As we rode the 1.5 hour ferry out to the largest of the 7 Wonders of the World, The Great Barrier Reef, we were excited and ready for the sights, but had no idea what we were in store for. Although cloudy, and a bit rainy, on the outside, under the water was bright, lively and full of color. We saw so many species of coral, tropical fish, giant clams, Sharks, turtles and more! It was truly magical and an experience that will forever be treasured. We had lunch, went on a glass bottom boat and a semi-submerged submarine and went on a privately led snorkel tour with a marine biologist. Amazing time!
Yesterday was another terrific experience. We rode a gondola thru the Kuranda Rainforest, stopping along the way for nature walks, talks with the forest rangers and time to take lots of beautiful pictures. At the end of the trip, we walked thru the village and visited Koala Gardens. We fed kangaroos and wallabies, held a baby koala named Yoshi, and enjoyed a fascinating talk about wombats. It was amazing and everyone loved it! We had some time scattered in for shopping, eating and a little pick-up soccer game. Then we headed back to Cairns on the Kuranda historic steam-engine train (still runs on coal!) from the rainforest, thru the tunnels and across the bridges. We saw waterfalls and gorges and amazing views. It was an unforgettable day!
Last night we closed the trip with a group dinner and talent show- America’s Got New Zealand Talent in Australia. The students performed their skits of culture, activity and fun for the others. The judges picked a favorite, and gave the yummy prize of Australian cookies (which they of course shared). The students got to finish their shopping at the nigh markets and had one last Australian gelato. It was a wonderful ending to this magical trip.
Now as we wait to board our plane, we share pictures, memories and favorite activities from our trip. We are sad and not ready to go, but excited to see our families at home. See you soon!
Signing off ~ The MD Kiwis/Koalas