Field TripSydney, Fall 2010

I had been looking forward to the mid-semester break since I signed up for the study abroad program and the time had finally come! On Saturday, September 4th we departed Sydney for the Northern Territories to reach the adventure city Cairns.

September 4th

It was a cold and rainy day. But I was so excited I decided to wear my most summery dress. At first I felt a little out of place at the airport but my intuitions were confirmed when the tropical weather of Cairns enveloped me. As usual, IES provided us with about 5 hours of free-time after we checked into the Gilligans lodging. This was well appreciated after the flight. Later that night we ate at ‘Café Mondo’ which was so delicious!!

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September 5th

At 8am we arrived at the Cairns Wildlife Safari Reserve. We had breakfast with the beasts, which meant literally eating inside an area surrounded by lions. Then we walked around and saw pygmies, dingoes, rhinoceros, bears, etc. It was a lot of fun! Later we went to another wildlife park and got to see my Kangaroos, crocs, and Koalas (the national treasures). An Indigenous Australian then taught us how to throw boomerangs and blow the didgeridoo. I must admit I need more practice throwing boomerangs but lucky the guy was left handed like me! The same man then took us to see the Pamagirri Dance Show with a number of other artists. After the Dance Show they made three of the audience members get up on stage (one of them being me—so embarrassing) and try out the moves. But the fun didn’t end there. We then went on the Army Duck Tour in the Kuranda Rainforest and meet our very on Steve Erwin. And I brought my own boomerang from the near by Kuranda town by a local artist.

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September 6th

We left out early in the morning to board the Greet Barrior Reef cruise. As soon as we got on board they rushed us to pick out a snorkeling gear and gave a safety talk on scuba diving. Unfortunately I felt very seasick the entire time. I tried over-the-counter prescribed medication and natural tablets of ginseng to no prevail. I did a little bit of snorkeling but spent most of my time on the top deck.

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September 7th

The next day was more snorkeling and scuba diving. I got to see Nemo! However, I really wanted to see a sea turtle. I heard a few people in my program got to see one. At 4:30 we arrived back in Cairns and partied the rest of the night at the club in Gilligans.

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September 8th

This was by far one of the best days I spent in Cairns. We got to do a jungle ropes course in the Daintree Rainforest. Nothing beats swinging upside down and the complete freedom that brings. We also arrived at Cape Tribulations (I like how the name sounds like something off of the TV show Survivor!) and went Sea Kayaking. Everyone was so exhausted when we got back. But not me and my friend, we went swimming in the community pool. It was so beautiful at night. Great Palm trees and native plants surrounded us in a remarkable way.

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September 9th

At 8:45 am (notice how early) we went on a hike in the Daintree Rainforest. I learned a lot about the different species and got to take many amazing photos. Our guide even explained some of the history surrounding the area. Later that night we departed for an Aboriginal culture dinner. It was a very elegant atmosphere designed for tourists. In fact I think from that one experience I understand cultural tourism at its best. The dinner was incredible though and I was able to try Kangaroo meat for the first time. The ex-vegetarian in me hates to admit it, but it was the tastiest meat I have ever had.

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September 10th

Today was the day we were able to craft our own activity. Our group split into two: one went skydiving and the other did ATV (All Terain-Vehicle). I was apart of the group that did ATV which cost around 120 dollars for two hours. But I had a lot fun and was proud to say I was the only female. The course was full of twists and turns. At one point I almost flipped over my vehicle trying to go up a hill, in which I maneuvered my way out. The instructor told me that was a very skilled move for a beginner and called me a fast learner. I wear the complement with a badge of honor. But, I love horses so afterwards I snuck away to pet the nearby horses. One of the horse trainers came by and let me feed one. Let’s just say I had the biggest grin on my way back to Sydney.

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