Australia: The best of the last few weeks

So it has been a while since my last post, which I reckon is perfectly understandable considering I had heaps of things to cross off my bucket list in my last month Down Under. The idea of leaving a place I had so deeply fallen in love with was just as heart wrenching as the idea that I would also be parting ways with the friends I had grown so close to. Sydney had become a place I called my home, and I began to consider these friends as my family. We had made some memories together that will last a lifetime, and I had never grown so close with people so fast. Our love for travel and adventure is what brought us together, but our blended personalities and similar interests kept us inseparable as we formed lifelong friendships. Instead of letting the shortening time together loom over our every thought, we did our best to knock-out any/all places we had yet to explore. This included a trip to Luna Park, a full tour of the Botanical Gardens, a sunrise hike on the beautifully scenic eastern coastal walk, a trip to the Tarango Zoo, a day shopping at the Chinese markets for souvenirs, and a pub crawl to the top 10 night life places in Sydney. In the midst of all of these plans, we all had to make time for 3 to 4 final exams or research papers as well as wrapping up our internships. Time was definitely not on our side, but we were determined not to let it stand in our way.
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Thankfully a few friends and I had extended our trip an extra week, but the other half of our group was leaving when the program ended so we had a lot to cover in a few short weeks. That did not hinder us from living up every moment we had left, so one by one we managed to cross everything off of our bucket list. In an attempt not to write a novel, I am only going to touch on a few of my favorite memories. First and foremost, the sunrise at Coogee beach before our East Coastal walk was one of the awe-inspiring things I had done. Living in a big, metropolitan city that is surrounded by some of the most spectacular beaches has been my favorite aspect about Sydney.
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Now I have never been a morning person, so waking up at 5 am so make it to the beach for sunrise was quite the accomplishment for me. Saying it was worth it would be an understatement, because watching the sun peek over the horizon as it promises a beautiful day was one of the most spiritual moments I’ve encountered. We began the 5 km coastal walk as the sun was rising, but we stopped in a rocky cave area to peacefully admire the serenity of the sunrise. After absorbing the moment, we continued on the hike to see some breathtaking views of the coastline between two of my favorite beaches; Bondi and Coogee. The walk wasn’t too difficult, but by the time we had made it to Bondi we were absolutely exhausted from waking up so early. As tiresome as the morning may have been, I would go back ten times over to experience it again.
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The next and last memory that deserves a recap would be my trip to the zoo on my last day in Sydney. I had misread my departure date and thought I was leaving with everyone that Saturday, but to my surprise I found out I was leaving Sunday instead. This gave me an opportunity to make a trip to the infamous Tarango zoo, which you have to get to by ferry. Taking the ferry across the harbor had become one of my favorite photo opportunities, because it gave you a chance to view the magnificent Sydney skyline with the opera house and harbor bridge. Better yet, I came to find out that the zoo overlooks the city from across the harbor. This added a special touch to the already amazing and sentimental last day I had. The zoo was enormous with a variety of animals from across the globe, unlike any of the other wildlife centers I had been to thus far. Not only that, but the animals were all very active and not just lazily sleeping. My favorite encounter was with the lions and tigers, but the giraffes were oh so graceful and their exhibit gave the best view of the city.
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Overall it was a great last day, and I even got to meet up with a few of the Aussie friends I had made for one last farewell. Its unbelievable how fast the program had flown by; almost in the blink of an eye. The memories will never fade, and neither will the friendships I made while I was abroad. I would not trade anything for this semester of a life time, and I am bound and determined to return to the city that stole a piece of my heart. Cheers!
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