Below you will find the detailed explanation of my first two months in Australia along with any framework of plans I have after that, as promised. For those of you who are already up to date, may this post act as a clarifier in case you were confused. For those of you who are not up to date, may this post clearly explain and answer any and all questions you might have. I am incredibly flattered about the interest people have in my trip and I hope that this will help clear things up for everyone!
I am only eight short days away from getting on a plane to Melbourne, the last week of a 13 month process that has seen many ups and downs. To say that I am excited is an incredible understatement. As I discussed in my posts before, I have three big trips in the works for while I am over there; backpacking New Zealand, touring Australia with the parentals, and then visiting Sara in Cambodia. New Zealand and the Australian leg of my parents’ vacation will be before I even start school and Cambodia will be once my semester is over. But I still have a week before all of that happens.
In addition to all the packing and last second preparation, I will be making trips to both Athens and Louisville before I leave the States. I’m going to help move Amy back into her dorm at OU tomorrow and will get to see Jessie for a little while, too. I’ll be in Cincinnati for two days after that and then will drive down to Louisville on Thursday to watch the basketball games and see everyone for the last time. Still not decided on if I am coming back Saturday night or Sunday morning, that will most likely be a game-time decision depending on how much time I feel I need to pack. That takes us within 24 hours of my flight, which I plan on filling with at least two Chipotle burritos. Maybe three.
As for my actual flight, it is going to be intense. Just like camping. Get it? Get it? I will be flying out of Cincinnati on Monday and will then proceed to airport hop to Chicago, San Francisco, Sydney, and finally Melbourne. Details and link to United’s flight checker-thing-a-majig below:
|Date||Airline||Flight #||Depart From||Arrive In|
|1/9||United Airlines||5931||Cincinnati 6:01 PM||Chicago 6:21 PM|
|1/9||United Airlines||0741||Chicago 7:05 PM||San Francisco 9:47 PM|
|1/9||United Airlines||0863||San Francisco 10:33 PM||Sydney 8:10 AM|
|1/11||United Airlines||0839||Sydney 9:40 AM||Melbourne 11:15 AM|
http://www.ua2go.com/flifo/FlightInput.do?lang=en&navSource=dropDown&linkTitle=flightstatus <– here is a link to United Airlines website and flight tracker for those who want to stalk me while I am in the air (creepers).
Cincinnati to Chicago will be 1h20min long, Chicago to San Fran will be 4h42min long, San Fran to Sydney will be 14h37min long, and Sydney to Melbourne will be 1h35min long. I will have approximately 44 minutes in Chicago, 46 minutes in San Francisco , and 1h30min in Sydney to get to my next flight. Didn’t really think about that when I booked it but I am optimistic because they are all United flights so they should be in the same terminal. One really cool thing about traveling to Australia is the time travel, though. I will leave San Francisco on January 9th and arrive in Sydney on January 11th. I would be upset that my 2012 is a day shorter than everyone else’s but unlike you I will get 48 hours of July 3 (or whatever day I come back). So ha!
Once I have arrived in Melbourne I have no idea what I am going to do. I don’t have a place to stay yet so I will most likely take a taxi to a hostel or hotel where I will stay for a few days until I leave for New Zealand. Unless of course some friendly Melbourne-ite reads this blog and offers me a spot on their preferably carpeted floor (I am going to assume that after traveling for over 24 hours straight that asking for a couch is a bit of overreaching). For those first few days in Melbourne, I have a few acquaintances who can help me get my bearings and help me out as I open a bank account, get a prepaid phone, and hunt down a long term housing option. I also plan on spending an inordinate amount of time on the beach.
My first stay in Melbourne will be brief as I am flying to Auckland, New Zealand on January 16th. My flight information is as follows: Air New Zealand, Flight #0726, Depart Melbourne @ 6:30pm, Arrive in Auckland @ 11:59 pm. I will get in late, which is unfortunate, but hopefully I will still be able to get up early and explore Auckland a little by myself before meeting up with my backpacking tour at 10am on January 17th.
The company who does my tour is called Flying Kiwi Tours. I am doing what they called their Grand Traverse tour which is a 15 day bus/backpacking tour of the North and South islands. The group will be around 25 people and we go to 17 different locations. The predominant accommodation is camping and I will be sharing a tent with another person on the tour. Food is included on the tour and the group will take turns preparing meals. I’ll join the tour in Auckland and stick with it all the way until Queenstown, where the tour ends on January 31st. In between that time I will go through Coromandel, Rotorua, Turangi, Otaki, Wellington, Picton, kaikoura, Christchurch, Rangitata, Mt. Cook, Oamaru, Catlins, Hollyford, and Te Anau. Along the way I will sea kayak, bungie jump, skydive, swim with dolphins, white water raft, and tour a brewery. When I am not doing those I will be hiking around our campsites, many of which are isolated along the coast. At the end of the tour, I will spend an extra night in Queenstown and then on the February 1st I will return to Auckland and then fly back to Melbourne for an even shorter period than the first time.
Upon my return to Melbourne I will take multiple showers in quick succession, do laundry, repack my bag, and sleep. Lots of sleep. Once all of that is accomplished I will go to the airport and fly to Adelaide on February 4th to meet up with my parents (Quantas, #JQ776, Melbourne @ 10:45am to Adelaide @ 11:35am). I do not have very many details about what all we will be doing but I do know that we will be in Adelaide for a few days before flying to Ayers Rock, which is in the middle of the Outback and is one of Australia’s most famous landmarks. From there we will go north to Cairns to see the Great Barrier Reef and then will travel to Sydney. After a day or two in Sydney we will part ways on February 16th with me going back to Melbourne (this time for much more than 48 hours) and my parents flying to Phnom Penh, Cambodia to visit Sara.
There is no way for me to even imagine how it will feel to finally be in Melbourne for good, but I have no doubt that it will be incredibly relieving. By that time I will be only four days away from the start of my orientation at Swinburne on the 20th, six days away from my 21st birthday on the 22nd, and a week away from the start of my semester. I will also have to find a place to live.
As far as I can tell the orientation program is just a week of registering for classes, meeting other international students, and getting my bearings around the campus and city. It has perfect timing too because it means I have a higher chance of having friends to celebrate my birthday with. If not, well then who wants to schedule a Skype date?
I will be taking four classes (12 credits) while I am at Swinburne. One of them will be an online class through Bellarmine and the other three will most likely be economics or business electives at Swinburne unless I can find classes on scuba diving, surfing, or under water basket weaving. The one class that I Bellarmine would let me take for major credit was a graduate-level class at Swinburne and so they didn’t clear me for it. Talk about an awkward moment. Thankfully, I am in a very good position as far as credits go and I can afford to go an entire semester without taking a major credit class so that has definitely made that bad news easier to take. My semester starts on February 27th and the last day I can have a final is on June 15th with my “spring break” from April 5th to 11th.
Over my spring break I hope to either go to Western Australia to Perth or back to Northern Australia to the Great Barrier Reef or Darwin. Perth is far away enough that I would need more than just a weekend to make it worth traveling to and there are so many national parks in the North Territory that I would love to experience so I may have a tough decision to make. Trips to Sydney and the cities and landscapes surrounding Melbourne can be done easily enough on a weekend so I am not too worried about planning those out in advance. As soon as my finals are over, I will fly up to see Sara in Phnom Penh for a week or so. This will only work if she is still there and if she is not than I will probably go to Bali or somewhere in Oceania. I am operating under the assumption that Sara will still be on that side of the world though and once my visit to Cambodia is done she would then fly back with me to Australia. She’d stay a week or so and then fly onto New Zealand.
That brings us to July where it is now time for me to time travel once again (remember how I get two July 3rd’s?) and come back to the States.
Now that you are all caught up on my plans for Australia (so far), make sure to subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss any more of my posts and fall behind on my adventures!
Oh, and listen to this song…
Happy New Years! ‘Till next time…