Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Hi guys,

The past month has been crazy! Tyler and I have been very busy with his parents visiting for a week and my parents visiting for two weeks and trying to juggle classes and midterms and essays! But it has definitely been some of my favorite experiences here so far! We had such relaxing, fun time out in the country with Tyler's parents and Bryce, and had an unbelievable vacation in the Whitsunday's when my parents came to visit! I hope you all were able to see the pictures on Facebook! I wish I had more time to rant and rave about how AMAZING everything was, but sadly, I am cramming for another midterm before I leave for our "fall" break! However, I thought I would squeeze in a few minutes to show you our itinerary for our 10 day break and make you all extremely jealous ;) Ready?

Fri 22 April
Day One
Brisbane - Hervey Bay
Accommodation: Hervey Bay
Meals: BBQ Dinner

8.30am - The adventure begins! Time to head north out of town. Australia Zoo is our morning stop as we visit the final home of the Croc Hunter. View all manner of Aussie creepy crawlies, as well as koalas, roos, crocs and other Aussie natives. Grab a bite for lunch before we take off for the gateway to Fraser Island, Hervey Bay, and check-in to our accommodations. Tonight is our welcome party (including 2 hours of san gria) which allows everybody some time to get to know each other and then after dinner, party time and the extreme traditional 'Naming Of the Roo'.
Sat 23 April
Day Two
Fraser Island
Accommodation: Extreme Bus overnight
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

7.30am - After breakfast we're off to Fraser Island to check out some awesome fresh water lakes, drive ON the sand dunes and check out the ship wreck. After a day of exploring, sun baking and beach football we head back to meet our ferry to the mainland as we head off to Airlie Beach. This is where you'll need to pack a small bag for 3 days of beach bumming! Our boats to the island paradise can't fit all you're big bags!! This is also where a travel pillow will come in handy, as it's an ALL night trip. time to catch up on some sleep!
Sun 24 April
Day Three
Whitsunday Islands / Whitehaven Beach
Accommodation: South Molle/Koala Adventure Island
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Reef Tax $7 (guide will collect from you)

8.00am - This is the start of the sailing and island adventure. Pack the suitcases away, its just swimmers and sun screen in this island paradise! While we have breakfast we'll give you a run down on what to expect and what you'll need to know about the sailing and our island home for the next three days. A bit of paper work to sign, then off we trot to meet your skipper and check safety procedures. Our vessel today is not a sailing yacht, but a couple of high powered lean mean cruising machines! They'll have you jumping wakes, making whirlpools and generally trying to scare the life out of you! If the ride doesn't wake you up, the beautiful locations we see will! Take a dip in the crystal clear water on Whitehaven Beach, go searching for the elusive turtles and take in the beauty of the area - at 60kph! Whitehaven is a Whitsunday icon, seen in television commercials the world over, with sand like sugar... After a wet and wonderful day we'll cruise into our Island home for dinner and a great party night.
Mon 25 April
Day Four
South Molle Island Free Day
Accommodation: South Molle Island
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Sleep In - Today is your day to get to know this island paradise, or just lie on the beach. Undertake one of the included activities like a small catamaran, paddle ski, tennis, or take one of the awesome hikes on the island and check out the local wildlife. Jet skis, water-skiing, mini golf and tubing are also available at great value prices. It’s your day to play however you choose but make sure you save some energy for tonight!
Tues 26 April
Day Five
Accommodation: Mission Beach
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

7.30am - Today we board our Maxi yacht to complete the must do's of the whitsundays! We'll put this baby through it's paces AS we glide around some more of the area, then make a stop to get in the water and do some exploring with a mask on. Here you'll also have the oportunity to strap on a mask and snorkel and spend some quality time with the locals. We will spend some of the afternoon here just soaking up the atmosphere and the sun on our multi million dollar vessel, before our final leg of sailing back in to the marina. We will head into Airlie Beach to quickly grab our bags and get refreshed before we head out north into the tropics.
After a long day on the boat, then the 6 hour drive our hostel at Mission beach and more importantly it's beds will be a welcome sight!
Wed 27 April
Day Six
Tully River Rafting-Cairns
Accommodation: Cairns
Meals:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
River tax $30 (guide will collect from you)

7.30am - Pick up time for an action packed day of white water rafting. The rapids are up to grade 4 depending on the season. The Tully is an awesome river with plenty of boulders and great drops plus running through a tropical rainforest means warm water (yeah right we hear you say). You'll appreciate this AS you are thrown from the raft for the fifth time. Riverside lunch is included. Wet and exhausted you'll drag yourself from the river to head into Cairns via an afternoon tea stop. Our centrally located accommodation in Cairns is an upmarket backpacker’s that has to be experienced to be believed. With an open-air beer hall, lagoon pool with waterfall, beach volleyball court… you won’t want to leave. Beautiful group dinner then your night to look around; join your guides out on the town.
Thurs 28 April
Day Seven
Optional Adrenaline Day - Bungy Party
Accommodation: Cairns
Meals: Breakfast

8.00am Your Day – Cairns definitely has a lot to offer, so we give you the chance to either do your own thing or if you're up to it, take the chance to do an optional skydive. See your guides to book this!
3.00pm-Today is our Extreme Adventures exclusive: Bungy Party! We meet at the reception desk and head deep into the rainforest, where you'll hurl yourself off the AJ Hackett tower overlooking the bar below. You splash down into the tropical pond hanging only by the bungy cord. Of course it's safe.. Try the AJ Swing as well or just sit back with a few cold beverages and watch your mates take the plunge.
Fri 29 April
Day Eight
Great Barrier Reef
Accommodation: Cairns
Meals: Breakfast and Lunch
Reef tax $10 (guide will collect from you)

7.30am – We know it’s another early morning, but the Great Barrier Reef awaits! A luxury sailing catamaran will whisk you to the outer reef for a day of snorkelling and a scuba dive. Make sure you have your underwater camera available for a snap with Nemo. Lunch is provided on the boat and make sure you don't swim straight after eating (our mothers told us this).
Sat 30 April
Day Nine
Rainforest - Waterfalls - Woolshed Party
Accommodation: Cairns
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Morning– Free time to sleep in, shop and recover!
1.00pm – Enough of the saltwater, time to head inland to the Crystal Cascades. We'll take a walk through some rainforest, to get to our swimming hole -complete with a small rock jump if the water is high enough! then on to another spot for a bit of a relax in a natural spa. The fresh water will recharge hung-over heads before rocking back into Cairns for our final night party.
8.00pm – It’s on to our exclusive Final party and trip presentation at the Woolshed Nightclub. Our farewell balcony party eventually overflows into the regular crowds at this infamous Cairns Party Venue. A final chance to farewell your One Fish Two Fish friends and maybe make some new ones
Sun 1 May
Day Ten
Check out this morning!
Check out is at 10am. Getting from our accommodation to Cairns Airport is roughly $7 pp by shuttle bus or roughly $12 per cab.

I have a feeling this is going to be one of those vacations that we need a vacation after... but I'm not complaining! 

<3 Megan 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Aussie Life

Hey guys! I guess it's time for an update again! It's so strange because after seeing most of Sydney's sites and settling into our house, I'm beginning to realize that I actually have a life here, and it's not just a visit. I'm going to get to come home and say that I LIVED in Sydney, Australia for 5 months of my life. It's such a surreal thing for me to think about, and I am beyond blessed to be having this experience. This experience is also making me realize more and more how much I want to see the world and have traveling be a part of my life. We meet so many international students here, (sometimes it's actually difficult to come across Australians), who have seen so many different parts of the world that I now have a huge list of places I want to visit. Hopefully I continue to be blessed enough to travel throughout my life!

Anyways, we finished our third week of classes (aka - 9 days of actual class!), and we finally decided that we better at least open our course readers. And, because Tyler's parents are arriving tomorrow and my parents the week after, we want to try to get any homework we have during that time out of the way. But don't be fooled, I am still spending my days without class by the pool and the beaches! I'm starting to worry that the weather is going to be cooling down soon (meaning 70's rather than 80's), but I try to keep that idea out of my mind:) Tyler and I also get to travel to the Whitsunday Islands with my parents for a long weekend (click here to be extremely jealous) and up the east coast for spring break.. errr or mid-semester break... or reading week? -- whatever they call it here...and it will be nice and warm there! 

I also wanted to show you all pictures of the house I am living at in Sydney. Tyler and I live here with two other girls from Madison - Taylor Christensen and Ali Vogel, a girl from Canada - Tricia, and two other guys - Michael who is from China and Ahmed who is from Saudi Arabia.  They are all really nice and easy to live with! The only downfall is that we don't have a dryer, therefore, we have to hang-dry everything (which doesn't mesh well with my obsession with non-wrinkly clothes) and there is no air-conditioning. We bought fans right away and our house doesn't get that hot, so we're doing good! Also, cockroaches tend to take residence in our living room, but as long as they stay out of my room I think I can contain myself from passing out when I see them (however, I doubt the screaming at the top of my lungs will ever cease). Below are the pictures of our house - it gets the job done! 

My and Tyler's room 
 Closet!! (the other half is Ty's but I'm invading most of that space as well!) 
Living Room 
Living Room 
Dining Room - See mom, we study! (on very rare occasions) 

Other than that, I'm looking forward to our parents visiting, planning some weekend trips around Australia, and impatiently waiting for spring break! 33 dayyyys! 


Monday, March 7, 2011

The longest blog post ever...

I know, I suck. But I promise to get you updated now! Since we found our housing, we have had a lot of time to explore Sydney. Of  course, we have been to the Sydney Harbour a few times, and while we were there, we checked out the sydney aquarium.

These Upside Down Jellyfish were my favorite! 


I took this picture with my DSLR, and I'm in love with the colors. 

We also did a day trip hiking in the Blue Mountains, which were breathtaking!! We took a train, which was about a 45 minute ride from Sydney. Once there, we did a hike that consisted of climbing 900 stairs down and 900 stairs up! The hike took us about three and a half hours, but it was definitely worth it for the views of the waterfalls, rainforest, and cliffs. We were warned to be careful, though, because in the wet parts of the hike leeches will crawl up your shoes and onto your legs... luckily we didn't have any encounters with them!

Of couuurse we had to visit all of the beaches close to Sydney! While house hunting we came across Tamarama Beaeh, which is a smaller, more secluded beach close to the famous Bondi Beach. We didn't swim, but it was the first time we got to put our feet in the ocean, so I was happy! 

The next beach we visited was Bondi Beach, which is a 15 minute train ride and a 10 minute bus ride from downtown Sydney. It is such a beautiful beach and a great place to travel to for an afternoon. We have been there twice so far, but I'm praying the weather will stay beautiful and 80 degrees out so we can have more beach days! 

My favorite beach around Sydney is Manly Beach. You have to take a 30 minute ferry to get there from the Sydney Harbour, but I love it! Probably mainly because there is lots of shopping right by the beach and also my new favorite ice cream! (Copenhagen's - a scoop of chocolate and scoop of fresh banana.. yummm). I could literally spend probably 10 hours at Manly... if only I could convince Ty to stay and shop with me!! 

We also went on a sunset cruise around the harbour which was a super pretty view!

Hmm.. what else?! We just started our second week of classes.. if you can call my 3 days of classes  a week? But it is still really hard to have motivation to go to class for those 3 days and do homework! All I want to do is lay by the beach and poool. Our campus (aka Hogwarts) is gorgeous. And it has a park with a pool... enough said. 

(Excuse me I'm late for Defense Against the Dark Arts) 
(The Graffiti Tunnel in the middle of campus)

We have also had some great nights out with great friends! 

("Beachball" - the all campus party)

(Maaardi Gras!)

Sorry if this was as painful for you to read as it was for me to write! but I will try my hardest to do a better job of keeping up with the posts!! OH yea-- MY PARENTS ARE COMING TO VISIT!!! and Tyler's mom, stepdad, and brother will be here in two weeks!! woohoo for free food -- KIDDING :) can't wait to see you guys!! 


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Life is good.

Hi guys!!! It's been hard to get online lately, so I'm sorry I've been slackin on posts! WE SIGNED A LEASE FOR A HOUSE YESTERDAY!! and Tyler and I get to live with friends we met from UW-Madison and a girl from Canada... so all is good in the world! The house is in a great location and less than a five minute walk to campus. We really lucked out, and a huge weight is lifted off of our shoulders. We spent the first few days frantically looking for housing, so now we finally get to explore Sydney! On Valentine's Day, Tyler and I walked down by Sydney Harbor and saw the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House for the first time. The view was just as amazing as the pictures! We wanted to eat there for the night and look out at the view, but the prices are ridiculous because it is such a touristy spot. Instead, we walked down towards Darling Harbour, which is also very pretty. We ate at a seafood restaurant with outside seating looking out at the harbour. Lobster was $95 a plate!! so obviously I didn't get that. Ty got the seafood basket and I got salmon. It was a perfect valentines day as cliche as it sounds...fireworks even went off over the harbour as we were eating (no literally!!)  Ty did good. Yesterday we met up with some other friends and walked around the opera house and the bridge again, had a beer outside ($9!), and went to the Syney Aquarium. We also took a walk by Tamarama Beach and put our feet in the ocean while we were house hunting. We got a glimpse of Bondi Beach, as well, but I am looking forward to the 85 and sunny forecast we have coming up for the weekend to hit the beach. Saturday is the start of the world's largest gay/lesbian MardiGras in Sydney.. it lasts for 3 weeks! It's gonna get cra-zayyy. ;) (We will behave oursleves mom and Jan!) Other than that we are stuck in a hostel for the next 10 days until we can move into our house. Miss you guys!

<3 Megan

Friday, February 11, 2011

Live and Learn

Hi Everyone!!!

I only have a few minutes to post, but I wanted to let everyone know that we made it to Sydney safely, and we are soooo excited to be here! The area we are staying in right now feels a lot like living in New York City or any other big city. Yesterday was very warm and sunny, but today is cloudy and a little cooler, so we didn't get to a beach yet. I'm so excited to see all that Sydney has to offer. With the beaches, big city, diversity, and scenery, I know this is the perfect place for me to be studying abroad. Everything is extremely expensive in Sydney (usually double what we pay at home) and we are learning A LOT by trial and error. For example, one smirnoff ice costs $10.. whoops! And buying cheap towels to shower with will result in blue fuzz all over your body. And caesar salads are $18 here :(. And you should definitely grab a cart at the airport for luggage when you have 2 large suitcases, a rolling carry-on, and a backpack. And if you forget that you have an apple in your backpack from the airplane you WILL get ridiculed for being a stupid American by security at customs. Oh well, this is exactly what studying abroad is about right? I'll keep you guys updated!


Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Hey everyone! I thought it would be a good idea to start a blog to keep in touch with everyone from home while I'm in Australia!!! It will be easier than emailing everyone individually, and you can leave comments for me here too. Tyler and I were officially accepted to the University of Sydney, and we are booking flights this weekend... WaaHOOO :) We have to be in Sydney by February 14 because we have a mandatory orientation that day. We also have an orientation here in Madison this Friday, Dec. 3 to meet other students from UW-Madison who are in the program as well!

I'm getting soo excited to get out of this winter weather and into sunny Australia! I'm sick of the cold already :(  I'll keep you guys updated once I know more!! 

<3 Megan