All posts filed under: Asia/Oceania

Countries visited: Australia, Japan, Philippines

A Day with the Indigenous: Healesville Sanctuary

Planning activities to do in Melbourne can grow into quite an ambitious list. While there is plenty to do within the city limits there is a substantial amount to do outside of the city. If you’re a huge animal lover like myself then seeing native fauna is definitely on the To Do List. Melbourne Zoo is your typical city zoo with a mix of animals from all over the world but if you really want to see some rare creatures then the Healesville Sanctuary is where you want to be. The sanctuary first opened in 1934 under Sir Colin MacKenzie Sanctuary for Australian Flora and Fauna. In the 1940’s it’s popularity grew and by the end of the 1970’s the sanctuary was under the management of the Zoological Parks and Garden Board of Victoria. Today it proudly boasts as one of the best zoos/sanctuaries in Australia. We arrived just in time to catch an early showing of Spirits of the Sky, a presentation of their larger predatory birds. Visitors sit in an outdoor amphitheater while …

Road Trippin | Cairns to Cape Tribulation

After Sydney, we flew up to Cairns to experience that part of the country for a few days. During our planning stage, we decided that we would stay 2 nights in Port Douglas. The best way to get around the area is by car and so our first road trip abroad was in the books. I was nervously excited about driving in Australia. This was going to be my first time driving on the left side with a right sided vehicle! The morning after we arrived in Cairns we were picked up by the rental car company to sign some paperwork. I said to the employee, “Any tips for my first time driving in Australia?” His eyes widen and he replies, “Uhm…stay on the right side.” Great advice, man. Before we take off, I check to make sure the mirrors, seats, etc. are all to my liking. We snap this momentous occasion and drive north. We actually had to make our scheduled Jungle Surfing Adventure just after lunch before finally settling into Port Douglas in the …

Road Trippin | Great Ocean Road, Australia

My laid back attitude has a big influence in the way I travel abroad. I always have a general idea of where I’m going with a loose “must see, must do” list because I love doing things on a whim. That’s what happened when my friends and I decided to drive the Great Ocean Road to see the 12 Apostles. It was suggested by our new Melbourne friends to see the natural wonder. I had heard of the 12 Apostles before but had no idea it was a relatively close drive from Melbourne. So on our second day in the city we booked a car for the very next day. We started early to give ourselves enough time to get there and back within the day. Luckily, there was a coffee shop just a few steps away from the car rental and we fueled our bodies for the long day ahead. We quickly learned that Gloria Jean’s Coffee shops are almost as frequent as Starbucks shops are in America. It was decided that I would drive …

Jungle Surfing Canopy Tours | Cape Tribulation, Australia

Doesn’t Jungle Surfing sound so much more fun than zip lining? When I saw this listed under things to do in Cairns I immediately told my friends that we were doing this. No excuses. For an activity under $100 they didn’t hesitate. However, it wasn’t exactly located in Cairns but a scenic 2.5 hours drive north to the Daintree National Park. So we rented a car (my first left side driving!) and bunked a couple nights in Port Douglas. The drive through the rain forest was quite windy but had picturesque scenery. Since October is their Spring season, the mild sunny weather was the perfect day to be active. The drive was pretty much a straight shot along the coast with signs directing us to the meeting place of the canopy tours. We arrived to a quaint souvenir store with the bus waiting just out front. But before we could even step into the bus we had to sign our lives away in the form of a waiver. A 10 minutes drive through more rain …

Hiking Adventures | Mount Fujiyama

In 2007 I accomplished something that I had never previously dreamed of doing before visiting Japan – hiking it’s most iconic mountain. During June and July I had the opportunity to visit this beautiful country for four weeks. I stayed on an American military base that was settled at the foot of Mount Fuji. I went to bed and woke up each day with a scenic mountain view. Standing at 3,778m (12,388 ft), it’s snow-capped most months out of the year. Thankfully, during their summer season (July-August) most of the snow melts away and the mountain climbing/hiking trails open up. [Please excuse the extremely amateur pictures. This was before I had a DSLR and proper picture-taking skills] So just before I was hauled back to America, we reserved a spot on the bus that would take us to the beginning of our hike. As my first legitimate mountain hike, I had no clue as to  what real hiking entailed. I was an athlete during high school and physically sound. However, my sports involvement post high …