One of the touristy highlights of Christchurch is the sprawling, 50-acre Botanic Gardens next to Hagley Park, right in the center of town. My favorite part of the gardens was the Cunningham House, which has a tropical collection of plants from all over the world. There is also an “Erica Garden”! You can easily spend a couple hours wandering around and getting lost in your thoughts.
I spent nearly a week in Sydney, my final week in Australia. Although I tend not to enjoy large cities when traveling, as I prefer the charm and peacefulness of smaller towns, Sydney had an undeniable energy and rich history that made my stay there more than worthwhile.
Highlights of the city included the gorgeous Botanic Gardens, walking from Coogee Beach to Bondi, and of course Sydney Harbour with the bridge and opera house as a backdrop.
I spent about six weeks total in Cairns, mostly working with teens at language schools but also doing a fair amount of hiking and other activities with a Meetup group, which as usual was filled with lovely, happy people. I was also fortunate because the school programs I was teaching for combined classroom hours with excursions, so I got to go on trips like taking the famous Kuranda Scenic Railway and visiting the Cairns Tropical Zoo – and get paid for the pleasure! It was certainly a departure from my typical budget-minded sightseeing style, and I was glad to be able to see so much.
It’s hard to believe my time there is over. Six weeks is the longest I’ve spent in one place in a long time, and it actually started to feel a bit like home. Of course it’s the nature of the traveler to move on, and my next Australian adventure lies in the Northern Territory!
St. Kilda is a trendier neighborhood to the south of Melbourne’s CBD and it’s very popular among backpackers and other travelers. I hopped on a tram and headed down there for a rainy afternoon of walking on the pier and looking at street art (separate post coming soon). A huge highlight was seeing the fairy penguins on the pier, though flash photography is not allowed and thus I couldn’t capture them for the blog.
The botanic gardens were also lovely and I’d highly recommend stopping by if you’re in the neighborhood!