In 2010, my sister & I were given the opportunity to go on an Australian vacation. The brother of my dad is a general practitioner in Mackay, Queensland and he invited us over for 2 weeks. I was beyond excited as this was an amazing blessing!
After we got our visa (Check this website for visa requirements and processing vfsglobal.com/australia/philippines/visitor_visa.html), I immediately started researching:
- What were the best places to visit?
- What shouldn’t I miss out on?
The thrill was just crazy. I had so many lists, so many itineraries, and so many website links that I read and re-read. I knew our uncle and his boss had plans for us but I loved researching and planning.
TRAVEL DATE: MAY 2010
I flew with QANTAS – One of the best airlines in the world!
I had a lot of stops though. My flight going to Mackay went something like this:
- Manila to Brisbane
- Brisbane to Sydney
- Sydney to Brisbane
- Brisbane to Mackay
Can you imagine the take offs and touchdowns I had? Too many I must say.
They were supposed to fix my flight and just make it Manila to Brisbane but I already planned an itinerary in Sydney so I asked for them not to change it. I had 6 hours to spend in Sydney.
When I got to Sydney Airport, I checked in my baggage for my next flight and ran fast to the train station.
My point of destination was the Sydney Opera House.
When I got there, it was raining heavily but that did not stop me! I was already there, so I made the most out of it, wet of course. Take note, I just came from an 8 hour flight with 1 stopover and with no sleep at all because I was too excited! The Sydney Harbour and Opera House were so beautiful! I just watched the view for an hour even if it was raining. It was so clean and refreshing.
After an hour, I passed by Mc Donalds, bought breakfast and went back to the Airport for my flight to Mackay. It was already 1 pm when we were told to board. I arrived in Brisbane around 3 pm. The wait for the next flight was fast.
I arrived at Mackay around 7 pm. I was so tired so after my uncle picked me up at the airport, we had a quick dinner, and he let me rest.
The next few days, Uncle Ronald took me to a few beaches up north of Mackay. We went to the northern beaches specifically Shoal Point, Bucasia, and Black Beach. These beaches were amazing!
They were so clean and beautiful and THEY WERE FREE!
You will not see any commercial establishments or people asking for any entrance fees. The beaches were in its prime.
The next day, my sister arrived. Uncle Ronald took us to Marina Harbour Village and Austral Hotel. It was very clean and very windy at the harbour. At the hotel, we had drinks and had very yummy steak.
For the next few days, our uncle made sure we had a lot of activities. He set us up with a cooking class with his friend Marilyn who made us try VEGEMITE, a very salty spread which I did not like. He also took us to Slade Point. A hill with an amazing view.
After Slade Point, he took us to his friend David where we saw a collection of fish teeth and jelly fish. He gave us good lectures which were very interesting.
On another day, He took us fishing with Patrick and his family at a dock.
During our first Saturday night, Uncle Ronald and his boss allowed us to go out and spend time at the town bars. We met a lot of cool people.
We partied with a lot of them too. Lots of hot guys! I still remember JUSTIN. A guy who took my camera and took pictures of himself and his friends.
Some girls also led us to a bar which they said was the best bar in town. THEY ACTUALLY TOOK US TO A STRIP CLUB! I was so surprised. I have never been to a strip club and did not plan on going to one but we were already there.
It was so funny because I went to the bathroom and a stripper was there, she asked me if I was okay. I just smiled at her. I was really surprised at what was happening. I felt like I was in a movie and everything was fake. But overall, it was a great night. An eye opening experience for me!
For our second week, Uncle Ronald, his boss (Peter) and Peter’s wife (Maggie) took us to a few more places:
(A) Botanical Garden Cape Hillsborough where we saw kangaroos! Lots of them! 🙂 We also walked a mile on a great beach – Hillsborough beach.
(B) We also went to a beach called Airlie. This was really interesting because people were not hanging out at the ACTUAL beach. Everyone was at the man made beach near the actual beach.
(C) Thai restaurant.
During one of the work days (Peter, Maggie & Uncle Ronald were very busy at the clinic), my sister & I went to the supermarket to buy gifts for Lola, Mom, and Ina. After that, we went to Blue water Lagoon as advised by Uncle Ronald.
This was a free swimming pool. IT WAS A PUBLIC POOL. IT WAS FREE AND CLEAN. AND YES AGAIN, FREE. There were free shower rooms and lockers as well. I am sure if this was in Manila, there would be entrance and other miscellaneous fees.
Australia was amazing!
I am truly grateful to Uncle Ronald, Peter, and Maggie for this great travel experience. This trip ignited my passion for TRAVELLING. And I will always be grateful for this opportunity.