Saturday we went and walked through a few rain forest. My sister would be pleased to see how beautiful and preserved the rain forest were. Later that day we had tickets to do a cave tour in 300 million year old caves. After being able to repel down into the cave, we spent about an hour and a half in the caves, squeezing through the smallest holes. I didn't take my camera down because I didn't want to lose of scratch it but Gary took his. We will post all of our many pictures on facebook if anyone wants to see more. It was awesome though.
Sunday we went to a church in a small branch in an office building. Sacrament meeting was great, the Spirit was so strong. I love going to church outside of Utah. There were a lot of investigators and missionaries in the branch. The talks were so good and we really enjoyed it. After church we went to the most famous beach in Australia, Bondi beach. I didn't like it at all. Way too crowded!!! The water was cold in Sydney so I would only get in once to get wet, then I would lay out to enjoy the sun that we had for 8 days!!!
Monday we got on a plane and left for Cairns. That was my most favorite place on our whole trip. The hills were green with lush trees and rain forests. I thought it looked a lot like the movie Jurassic Park. Gorgeous!!! We rented a car (an Audi convertible no less) and drove to Josephine Falls and Boulders. I would get goose bumps just looking at the scenery. It was peaceful and calm. I can't rant and rave enough about it.
Tuesday was our big excursion to the Great Barrier Reef. We got on this huge boat and took a almost 2 hour boat ride to the reef. Gary opted to scuba dive with a certified diver and I just snorkled. It was so pretty, and yes, I did see a shark...2 of them! I was freaked out but we had been assured over and over that they wouldn't attack humans. Right. Didn't stop me from hyperventilating. I saw so many Nemo's and the coral was so pretty. We made three different stops. It was an all day excursion and they fed us a not so good lunch on the boat. Which brings me to my least favorite thing about Australia. The FOOD! It is disgusting. Not joking. Unless you are a seafood lover, which I don't touch, the food is horrendous. Gary thinks I exaggerate. I admit, I'm a picky eater but come on. You can't get a good steak for the life of you! Every fillet we tried tasted like old meat. Just not appetizing. Here is what I ate. Subway (their mayonnaise tastes like Miracle Whip, maybe worse), Hungary Jacks (aka, Burger King...good thing the fries tasted okay although the ketchup tasted sweet), Outback Steak House (this was the closest to American food we had), Lone Star (not a thing like America), Hard Rock Cafe, and McDonalds. Yes, it's sad, but true. I found some mashed potatoes I liked at one restaurant. I craved ranch dressing (if you could even find ranch, it was sour and strong and NOT ranch!) and milk. How hard is it to make milk? Our cows must be very different. The after taste was so nasty, plus the milk was thick. Okay, I'm done complaining about the food. We obviously didn't starve but it was the most disappointing part of the trip. Good thing for Baskin Robbins ice cream which we had twice. Not quite the same, but close.
Wednesday we got on another plane to go to Brisbane. It was the only day it rained for a bit but only for about 30 minutes. It smelled so fresh. We rented a car and drove to the Brisbane temple which was on the corner of a busy intersection. In fact, we almost passed it. It was closed when we got there so we couldn't go inside but just walking around the temple grounds had a spirit about it. We drove a little over an hour up the coast to Gold Coast. Fun Gold Coast. Too bad it was so dang crowded with "Schoolies." What are Schoolies you ask? Schoolies are high school graduates who come from all over Australia and stay for a week or two in Gold Coast. It happens every year...and it's CRAZY! These young kids drink and smoke and every other word is the "f" word. I started wondering if it's even considered a bad word there. The whole atmosphere kind of made me uncomfortable and each night on the news, it showed how many "Schoolies" had gotten arrested for being drunk and causing a scene. There were policemen every where. So I hated down town Gold Coast but Thursday we drove up the coast to an awesome Light House. The beach Surfer's Paradise was just that. It was a 7 mile beach and when we stopped at some of the non-crowded area's, it was great! The water is a lot warmer in Gold's Coast and with a slight breeze, it was heaven. Gary and I loved laying in the warm sand, listening to the waves crash and reading. Loved it!
Friday (Thanksgiving here in Utah) we went to a water park called Wet N' Wild. Once again I never got my camera out because it was low on battery. It was a pretty neat water park with some rides we had never seen or been on before. After a perfect day of sun and water, we went to a wild life park that night. We were starving and we had signed up 6 months in advance for a buffet then a night tour of the animals. We showed up at 7pm seeing that's what the confirmation paper in Gary's hand said. Well, come to find out, the buffet had started at 5pm. So we did not get any food but the animals we saw were cool. I had wanted to see a wild Kangaroo the whole trip and never got to see one. But don't worry, we got to feed hundreds of them at the park. It was a top highlight of mine. We sure missed Thanksgiving though and being with our families. It was hard to be away from home for this holiday but we loved our whole trip. The airplane ride home was even worse than the one out there but we are home safe and sound and I don't want to go on a plane for a long, long time. We have such great memories of Australia and I sure hope that one day I will have the chance to go back some day.
The Sydney Opera House. View from our ferry to Manly beach
I had to have my picture taken next to this sign. This is right after I got off the plane. We changed into our swim suits to head to the beach
Another picture of the Opera House
This is their Burger King. The food in Australia is SO EXPENSIVE!!!
Another view of Manly Beach
Houses are built right on the coast line
Getting ready for the Australian idol finale that Sunday. After eating dinner with two of Gary's friends, we headed over and stood outside the gate and heard the winner announced. There were fireworks over the harbor. It was pretty cool
Didn't have 31 flavors but still had my Peanut butter and Chocolate ice cream
Those 3 mounds are called the 3 Sisters. There is a legend about the 3 Sisters. Notice all the green
Closer look at the 3 Sisters
Jospehine Falls. Gary is sliding down a slick rock into the water
Our silver Audi convertible. Did I mention they drive on the opposite side of the road? Ya, I didn't even attempt a try at driving. I was closing my eyes most of the time.
It was raining in the distance
Surfer's Paradise coast line.
Me feeding the Kangaroos. Loved it! Their little tongues tickled my hands. The wild life park had little food pellets we used to feed the Kangaroos.