Sophie’s going to the Land Down Under to fill her sense of awe and wonder, with custom handbags for ladies by her side she’s going for another great ride.
If a novel was made about a place like Australia it would be deemed unbelievable, even for fiction. It’s a land of extreme diversity with beautiful, populous and dynamic cities on the southeastern coast; an arid, desert interior; and a tropical northern region. Much of the country is uninhabited. However, its isolation provides a unique environment for fauna and flora that dates back to pre-history. Kangaroos and koalas are only a couple of the animals that don’t exist anywhere else on Earth. There are also wombats, emus and several types of goanna indigenous to the country.
To paraphrase the fictional Australian adventurer, Crocodile Dundee, if a pterodactyl flew overhead no one would be surprised.
Sophie arrives at Sydney airport handmade leather bags, purse, cardholder in her tow and slowly went through the stringent customs routine before she is free to go. Sydney is the most international city of this international facing country in the middle of nowhere. It has all the trappings of modern urban life and it has beautiful beaches.
Unfortunately, it’s a little cool for beach weather this time of year but no fear as Sydney also has one of the world’s most renowned architectural structures built by man in the 20th Century: the Sydney Opera House. On Bennelong Point overlooking Port Jackson with spectacular views of Sydney’s skyline its white shelled roof has a different appearance depending on where you are viewing it and the time of day. It could be either look like jagged points or in a uniform configuration as if it is ready to set sail.
Despite the city’s dynamic nature Sophie was most at home in the city’s famous Taronga Zoo. Sophie had it on good word that it was the best zoo in the world and she concurs. It is huge with plenty of forest and greenery and waterways. It has many of the animals that live only in Australia that Sophie has never seen before. More importantly, it has giraffes and Sophie is more than happy to spend time and share stories with them.
Australia is an immensely large country, nearly the size of the continental United States, but with far fewer people, making its far flung destinations more difficult to access because of fewer travel options. Sophie understands this so she carefully planned her trip and packed her exclusive personalized bags.
Sophie headed north by bus toward Brisbane along the country’s east coast heading north overlooking the beautiful blue water feeling peaceful as the sun set. She nourished herself with two of Australian food staples, Vegemite, the brown gooey vegetable paste that is the butt of jokes inside and outside the country; and Anzac biscuits, a sweet, hard cookie made of rolled oats, flour, sugar, butter and golden syrup. Sophie enjoyed the cookies much more than the Vegemite.
As darkness covered the sky Sophie noticed a light beacon up ahead. It was the Cape Byron Lighthouse, which is perched on Australia’s most easterly point, a shining light over Byron Bay, alerting the ships. Byron Bay is where she got off to spend the night.
The next morning bright and early Sophie strolled the Cape Byron walking Track, a 3.7-kilometer hike that passes rainforest and across clifftops with stunning views of the ocean and hinterland. She wandered through the shade of bangalow palms and ancient burrawangs, across kangaroo grasslands, along picturesque beaches and up to Cape Byron Lighthouse. Near the end of her walk, looking out she saw the water part as a whale came up for air, ejecting a stream of water so long she could almost feel it. She was startled by such a spectacle.
After her walk, she hung out with the locals. They are three types of people here: backpackers, surfers and hippies. The one thing they have in common is they are young and happy to live a rustic life in order to pursue their passions, life Sophie and LUC8K. She smoked some weed with the hippies, played along in a drum circle and then headed to the water to watch the surfers.
In a country that’s also an island it is easy to see why surfing is so popular throughout the country. It’s almost a religious experience, at least it seemed that way in Sophie’s state of mind. Of course being the adventuring type, Sophie had to try it. Somehow she found a wetsuit that came close to fitting her and she ventured out on a board. It wasn’t pretty. After falling a few times she decided that for giraffes, surfing is best appreciated as a spectator sport.
Sophie then strolled along the beautiful city of Brisbane before flying north to the Great Barrier Reef. All of the things written about it, all the shows that display its complex beauty doesn’t compare to actually seeing it. Colorful fish and plants, predators and prey, live together in the challenging environment that is so large it can be seen from outer space. It is unlike any place on Earth.
There was so much more Sophie wanted to see but she couldn’t think of a better way to end her trip.