Last October I had the opportunity to travel to Australia for the first time. Here begins the chronicle of that epic 4 week trip!
My first stop was to be Brisbane, to visit a friend and hopefully have him show me a bit of what it’s like to go storm chasing in Australia.
When I arrived at the airport, I was so excited to run out and meet Dean that I jumped into the shortest customs line I could find, without paying close enough attention to realise it was an e-passport line and I would not be able to speak to a real customs officer.
Most people would probably be fine with this, as all you have to do is scan your passport and have a machine take your photo and confirm that you do appear to look like that old photo in your passport. However, I found myself on the other side of the camera going “that’s it? No fanfare on entering the Land Down Under?” As someone who has not traveled extensively enough between lots of countries yet, I treasure every passport stamp I can get. I should have just walked back over to a customs officer and asked him to stamp my passport, but I was in a bit of a daze so just walked into the lounge to look for my friend…but then it became a bit of a joke through the trip that I made it Australia for the first time without a stamp in my passport to prove it. 😛 (When I left the country I asked a customs officer if he could stamp it for me, but he sadly shook his head and said they don’t carry stamps upon exit. Sad times. At least I got my stamp when I returned to Sydney a month later, but that’s another story.)
It was evening when I arrived, so by the time I dropped my bags off at my friend’s place and we went back to the city for dinner, I was starving. My first delicious Aussie meal didn’t help the stomach pain, however, so my friend kept teasing me about how much more memorable it would be if I spent my first night in the country throwing up in the Brisbane River. Fortunately it didn’t get that far, and it was nothing a little walk along the river and a good night of sleep couldn’t cure.
Some of my friends know that when I travel to a new place, be it a new country or US state, I have to touch the ground as I bask in the excitement. It can’t be concrete or pavement, it has to be dirt or grass or something natural. Below is my photo not from my first evening of touching the ground outside the airport, but from my first full day. 🙂
On that first full day Dean took me on a little drive through some suburbs, to a couple beaches up the coast, to the Sunshine Coast, the Big Pineapple (a little amusement park that advertises the 6 days out of the week it is closed, rather than focusing on the one day it is open), and to a lookout toward the Glass House Mountains (first photo on this post).
I spent the next couple days exploring much of central Brisbane and going to Lone Pine Sanctuary (koalas!) while my friend had to work. More on those adventures coming soon, once I get through more photos.