Recently, my grandparents (Dad’s side) came to visit all the way from New York, and we went to explore New Zealand’s South Island. It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed having visitors from home. Right now, my other grandparents are visiting (Mom’s side) and it is awesome! We just got back from an amazing trip to NZ’s neighbor, Australia, which I’m going to tell you all about!
Prior to seeing Mami and Papi (French names for grandparents), the five of us flew to Sydney, a huge city in Australia built mainly around water; so much so that they have the equivalent of a metro on water, but you take ferries instead of trains. When we first got to Sydney, we got SO excited because like Wellington and Auckland, Sydney is a big city just like DC and it was cool to be back in a big city again.
The next day after settling into the hotel and checking out the city, we went to go do what I had been looking forward to doing for a while: seeing the zoo! Now, normally I’m not that crazy about the zoo, mainly because I’ve been to the one at home heaps of times before, but this was different. Along with normal zoo animals like monkeys and elephants, this was an Australian zoo with animals such as kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, and even emus!
I’d never seen any of these animals and when we got to their exhibit, it was amazing! The kangaroos were so big and seeing them bounce around with their enormous legs was really cool. And wallabies are pretty much mini kangaroos but with more mouse-like faces. Also the emus were huge; they kind of resemble an ostrich but with a shorter neck and legs! The last Aussie animal we saw was the koala! There were a lot of them, probably like five or six, and they were really cool to see.
I’d like to say that that koalas were running around chasing each other and it was super entertaining, but that would simply be lying; they are SO lazy. They are only awake for four hours a day (maximum) and they’re kind of just adorable balls of fluff that probably only smile once in their life: when they eat their first leaf. But even so, it was still really cool to see them, especially since we got to go up close to them and see them awake!
There was a heat wave in Sydney while we were there, so the day we went for a picnic at a campsite next to a beach. We had heard that there were wild wallabies just wandering around the grounds stealing people’s food like Yogi Bear, so we had to see it for ourselves. When we got there, we found the wallabies as expected, and we also found large lizards called goannas. They were about four feet long and looked like very big iguanas, but we were convinced they were related to alligators, so we decided to hang out more with the wallabies that were there. We had a great time, and the wallabies didn’t seem to want to invade our picnic as much as other people, which was good. When we left though, I saw a wallaby with its head in someone’s picnic basket and it was hilarious!
We also got to meet up with one of my Mom’s old friends from school, Erica, and her husband Scott who both own a tennis club, where I got to play. It was really cool meeting them because they are really nice and good at tennis. I also got some new rackets from them for free, which was very kind of them.
After a few days in Sydney just the five of us, it was time for Mami and Papi to come and visit! We had all been looking forward to this and I was so excited to see them again after six months and I couldn’t wait!
When they got the hotel, we were all so happy to see each other and it was awesome! After they got cleaned up after the plane ride, we packed up our stuff and went to a different hotel that was in a new part of town called The Rocks. Even though our hotel was located on top of an Irish pub with a band that played until midnight, we were fine and got enough sleep. Plus, there was plenty of Guinness beer for the adults. 🙂
After checking into our hotel, Dad, Mami, Chloe and I went on a scavenger hunt around Sydney, which was a birthday present from my aunt Sophie, and we all loved it! We got to go all around the city and see the Botanical Gardens, a cathedral, the shopping district of Sydney, and lots more. And even though Mami had just gotten off a 22-hour flight, she was perfectly fine walking 3 miles around the city, which we all found amazing and were all happy about!
After sleeping really well since we were all exhausted from the scavenger hunt, we woke up to find that there was a farmer’s market on the road of our hotel. It was fun and there were heaps of things to see and eat. I got to get a souvenir boomerang there and it is so fun (I recently tried it out and it really spins back to you)! Later that day we went to the Sydney Opera House where we saw a play called In the Heights by Lin Manuel Miranda, and it was spectacular. The Opera House itself is beautiful and with the sail shaped things on top and the steps up to it (we found out on the scavenger hunt that the steps are called the Monumental Steps), and the view of the bridge and the river was beautiful!
The next day, Mom, Dad and Julien went back to Gizzy, and Mami, Papi, Chloe and I flew to another big city in Australia called Melbourne, where we were going to see the Tennis Australian Open!
We had been watching all of the games before going so that we knew who was still in it and when we got to the Open, I was freaking out!
If you know me, then you’ll probably know that I’m a big tennis player, so going to this tournament was a huge deal. We got into the Rod Laver Arena, and the first match we saw was the equivalent of the Harlem Globe Trotters of tennis, and it was SO funny. The guys were retired pro’s playing doubles who were doing all sorts of trick shots, switching teams in the middle of a point, and even swapping out for linesmen and referees. Once that match was over we got to see Tsitsipas, a Greek guy who in the match before knocked Roger Federer out of the tournament! He was really good and we saw him beat a Spanish guy named Bautista and it was a very good match. Lastly, we got to see a women’s match with an American named Danielle Collins, who went to UVA, versus a Russian named Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Collins ended up winning, but we didn’t get to see the end until we got back to the hotel we were staying at. I also got a new tennis bag, which was part of my birthday present from Mami and Papi, and I love it! We had such a good time!
The next day we left on a flight back to Gisborne and showed Mami and Papi around Gizzy and it’s been a wonderful time. They’ve been here since when we got back and we’re so happy to get to spend more time with them for another week!
And we all agree that our trip to Australia was one to remember forever!