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  • Writer's pictureLisa Burcher

Discovering the Treasures of Australia and New Zealand: A Journey Down Under

Departure and Crossing the International Dateline

Our adventure began with an exciting leap across the International Dateline, propelling us a day ahead and setting the stage for our discovery of the treasures of Australia and New Zealand. The anticipation was palpable as we embarked on this journey to explore unparalleled beauty and captivating culture.

Cairns, Australia - Where the Adventure Begins

Our first destination was Cairns, the tropical gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. This UNESCO World Heritage site, established as a marine park in 1975, is a sanctuary for thousands of species of sea life, as well as turtles and birds. The warm welcome and the vibrant atmosphere of Cairns set the perfect tone for the beginning of our tour.

Exploring Cairns and Its Natural Wonders

We spent the morning at leisure, absorbing the tropical vibe of Cairns. Some of us opted for the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, which offered an unforgettable aerial view of the pristine rainforest. The afternoon was equally thrilling with a visit to Hartley’s Croc Farm, where we saw crocodiles in their natural habitat and learned about local wildlife from a naturalist.

The Great Barrier Reef

A highlight of our trip was the excursion to the Low Isles on a catamaran. We had the chance to dive into the underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef, choosing between a relaxing day on the pristine beaches or an adventurous snorkeling session. The interaction with a marine biologist added an educational twist to our experience, enriching our understanding of this ecological wonder.

Journey to Melbourne and the Victorian Charms

Next, we flew to Melbourne, known for its vibrant arts scene and picturesque Victorian landscapes. Our city tour included the lush Fitzroy Gardens and the bustling laneways, offering a glimpse into the city’s dynamic cultural tapestry. Some of us ventured to Phillip Island to witness the fascinating parade of Little Penguins, an unforgettable natural spectacle.

The Outback: Alice Springs and Uluru

As we moved into the heart of Australia, Alice Springs offered a deep dive into Aboriginal culture with the inspiring Drum Atweme, a musical group of at-risk youth. Our exploration continued at the majestic Uluru, where the natural history and cultural significance of the monolith were illuminated against the backdrop of a stunning sunset.

Sydney: A Cultural Metropolis

Arriving in Sydney, we were swept up in the energy of this bustling metropolis. A city tour showcased iconic landmarks like the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Our stay culminated in a delightful dinner cruise, offering panoramic views of the city’s skyline and its glistening harbor.

New Zealand: From Christchurch to the Southern Alps

Our journey took a scenic turn as we flew to Christchurch, witnessing the city's rebirth following the 2011 earthquake. The journey through New Zealand’s Southern Alps was breathtaking, with stops at Franz Josef Glacier and the adventure capital of Queenstown, where the landscapes served as a stunning backdrop to our activities.