Adventures in Oz, last day!

Our final day in Sydney has been just as wonderful and full of adventure as any other we’ve had here in Australia! We started the day with brekky at the hostel, then headed out the door to our bridge climb just a few minutes away on foot! We couldn’t have asked for a better location to stay so close to all the attractions.  The students took on the challenge with gusto and excitement. Encouraged by all the previous accomplishments and efforts along the way these past couple of weeks, every single student got up and out there to reach the full summit of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The spectacular views were well worth the climb but even more so, the knowledge that we can conquer anything we set our minds too! Directly after the climb, we headed out to the wharf to catch a short ferry to Manly beach for the surf lessons. We were pleased to see many of our kiddos be quite successful on a surf board. And of course we had our  pro photographer, Fred, catch some action shots of the students catching some waves!

We finished up our final evening with an amazing meal at Papi Chulas followed by a meaningful debriefing back at the hostel. All in all, it has been a wonderful trip and we are certain to be changed for the better for all the amazing experiences along the way. What a fantastic group of kids! We teachers couldn’t be more proud!

Adventures in Oz, snorkeling and warmth!

Days 9 and 10 in Cairns were spent mainly in the water and learning about the marine life of the inner and outer reef. On the first day we took a ferry out to Fitzroy Island where we met up with our personal marine biologist, Amber.  First, we headed straight for the turtle rehabilitation center to learn about the beautiful green turtle that is most commonly found nearby.  We made a donation and adopted a turtle in the name of Pace Academy! He will be named Sir Winsalot!

After a safety briefing, we all suited up and swam out from the beach to explore some of the marine life of the inner reef. We then had a lunch and discussion of the findings, as well as a test of the water quality. The students were all so engaged and eager to learn. It was a wonderful day!   

On day 10, we all headed back to catch the ferry for a longer ride to the outer Great Barrier Reef.  We were met with spectacular crystal blue water and had an amazing guide, Pablo.  He took us out in small groups for a guided exploration of the reef. We saw several green turtles and other tropical fish as well as some lovely coral and colorful giant clams. A major bonus was the slide attached to the diving platform. Big fun! Both Amber and Pablo were full of energy and passion for the Reef. We learned so much!

Day 11 began with a hunt for good brekky and then we said goodbye to Cairns, caught a flight to Sydney and got a nice glimpse of the Vivid light exhibit in town.  It is really one of the most spectacular art installations we’ve ever experienced! For dinner, we had an amazing Italian meal, full of pasta and pizza, including Nutella pizza for desert!

 

 

Adventures in Oz continue!

We’ve had a few days of really poor wifi connection so I need to fill in some blanks!

On day 3 in Melbourne, our crew set out for a 25k bike tour around the city. We passed by several amazing attractions such as the MCG sports center, St. Kilda and the pier (where we stopped for lunch and the kids claimed had the best quesadillas EVER), Albert Park and the Grand Prix. After a quick stop at the nunnery to freshen up, we headed out again for dinner and the footy match.

On day 4, our final day in Melbourne, we split up into three smaller groups and set out on an amazing scavenger hunt all around the city. The kids tackled using the local transit, communicating with locals, and collecting items from some shops. We finished out the evening with a lovely Greek meal.

On day 5, we said goodbye to Melbourne and caught a flight to Uluru, aka the red center. Temps were a bit chillier but the amazing night sky, sunset and camel ride were all worth the trip! Some other highlights include a full day tour of the aboriginal lands in the Cave Hill area. We learned some history of the aboriginal tribes in the area and saw some amazing cave paintings that were 20,000 years old! Our braver students even ate a witchity grub, a common bush tucker treat for aboriginal folks.

On the evening day 7 we landed in Cairnes and headed straight to the table lands of Queensland, first Mongolia and the Kundera village the next morning.  The kids had a fun day of team building activities such as an obstacle course and raft building challenge. We finished out the evening with a sky rail trip back down to Cairns and our hostel. 

Adventures down under, day 2!

We had an incredible day, book ended by a couple of our favorite events thus far! Immediately following a lovely brekky at the Nunery where we are lodging while in Melbourne, we hopped on our bus heading to St. Leonard’s College.  The kids met up with their buddies and spent a good half day “in the life of” participating in classes such as science, programming, P.E. and maths as well as lunch and a short recess. Meanwhile, us teachers had a chance to explore the campus, including their cozy teachers lounge, where we had a lovely chat with the head of schools.  Some of the faculty joined in a bit later and we assisted in helping them practice for their upcoming faculty trivia night. Fred of course was elected “American game show host” and read off the trivia questions like a pro.

After our cheerful goodbyes and well wishes, we set off for Phillips Island, first to see the koala sanctuary followed by the amazing penguin parade! Definitely a highlight of the day was witnessing those pint sized cuties make a run for their homes for the night. Unfortunately photography is strictly prohibited but it is an extremely memorable sight! Another full day of adventure ending with wonderfully exhausted kiddos (and adults), signing off to put in some much needed hours of sleep.

 

Adventures in Oz, day one!

The Aussie crew successfully traveled through time to land in Melbourne approximately 7 am, June 1, 2017!  Not to be deterred or slowed by jet lag and stiff legs, we headed straight for the incredible Healesville Sanctuary. Home to many important and several endangered native Australian species, Healesville is doing wonderful things to educate the public and help conserve the natural habitats of these animals. Highlights include koala and kangaroo sightings, a fun presentation with a platypus and an incredible bird show.  Sufficiently fed and exhausted from a full day’s travel and adventure, a full nights sleep is on everyone’s wish list tonight.