We made it to the Final Part of the Destination Wishlist Series!
I’m finishing this crazy series in Oceania (where you can find Australia and New Zealand). Okay, this very well may be extended and/or updated to include more places as I randomly come across intriguing places and new-to-me ideas. For now, however, Part 5 of this series will cover Australia, New Zealand, and the island country of Palau.
When it comes to Australia, this is where I want to exploit my more adventurous side of my personality. In Sydney, there’s a place you can swim with sharks, cageless! Yay, free range humans!
You can choose between swimming during feeding time for 40 minutes or during any regular time frame for 30 minutes. They even have optional photos of you with the sharks and other sea life!
Once you finish up hanging out with the sharks, you get free admission into the Sea Life Sanctuary, which is known for reintroducing sea creatures back to their homes after rehabilitation. I really like knowing there are actual opportunities for the animals to return to their real lives after being treated back to health.
After a day recovering from the adrenaline rush of hanging out with sharks, I think I need to amp up the blood flowing in my veins at least one more time. However, instead of getting back in the water, I’ll be taking it into the sky!
A few years ago with my husband and son, we got to see an air show was put on at the Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi. While there, we got to see several antique small airplanes perform stunts like barrel rolls and loops. Some even did complete vertical barrel rolls! Needless to say, I was impressed by the stunts of everyday civilians.
Ever since then, I’ve been daydreaming about the opportunity to not just learn to fly, but do stunts like them too. Can you imagine how excited I got when I found Australian Aerobatic Academy’s U-FLY! Aerobatic Experience that will allow me to do just that?!? Seriously, I am going to make that happen! I just may skip breakfast before the lesson though!
Of course, I don’t want to overdo the adrenaline factor. Plus, I do enjoy learning new things about a city or country’s historical culture. Given the previous two activities that I want to do in Sydney, I think it would be a great time to wedge in something involving learning more on the Aboriginal cultures of Australia. What better way to do it than a guided Aboriginal Walkabout Tour in the Blue Mountains? This isn’t a tour about the mountains, but about understanding the Aboriginal ways of life. We should definitely have more of that!
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#26 NEW ZEALAND
Okay, have you heard about the glowworm caves in Waitomo, New Zealand? Seriously, the professional photos I’ve seen of this cave are so dreamy and beautiful. It looks like crystal garlands hanging from the ceilings of the caves. Although I haven’t been here yet, it looks as if it could give the movie “Avatar” a run for its money when compared to its “Tree of Souls.” That being said, I don’t know that I’d necessarily want to touch the hanging bioluminescent glow worm mucus in the caves.
You’ve probably noticed in some of my other posts that I’m a little geeky (and totally cool with that). That being said, I will make a point to visit the real life “Hobbiton” in Matamata, where the Lord of the Rings was filmed. This place is still an active sheep farm and can find the sheep coming and going through some of the retrofitted Hobbit holes from the movie. From what I hear, they opened The Green Dragon as an actual pub to enjoy a full pint or two after your tour.
Now, when I think of New Zealand, I think of mountainous terrain and splendid scenic views – and maybe the guys from the TV show, “Flight of the Conchords.” Despite being south of Australia and so relatively close to the South Pole, I don’t initially think about some pretty interesting opportunities to be had here.
In particular, it really didn’t occur to me that you can see a species of penguins in their natural habitat during the breeding season. I cannot explain to you how excited I got when I came across that tidbit of information. Seriously, my eyes got big and pretty sure my eyebrows raised so high that they became my new hairline. I’m also sure that if my husband wasn’t watching the new Saturday night movie while I was busy researching interesting things to do in New Zealand, he would have been asking questions about my crazy face. I think this would be especially true if he saw my face after reading that we could do an overnight stay in the village where the penguin colony is located.
If you also share a love of penguins, you ought to consider checking out this touring company who aids in the preservation efforts of keeping the little penguins safer from nonnative predators, like the ferret. Pohatu Penguin/Plunge in Akaroa helps in funding rehabilitation of sick or injured penguins, as well as breeding boxes to reduce fighting amongst the adorable little creatures and promote successful breeding. They also use funds to provide Ph.D.’s with the necessary equipment to properly conduct research regarding the different species of penguins in the area.
Compared to Australia, my New Zealand bucket list seems pretty tame. However, we can amp it up a little bit by exploring a glacier here! A glacier! Can you believe it? Want to make it even more fun? Let’s do the four-hour “heli-hike” offered by Fox Glacier Guides in the Westland Tai Poutini National Park. They offer several different options to fit your desires or physical needs (to an extent).
As someone who has never hiked before, I think I’d be willing to try for the sake of exploring an actual glacier. You also get to enjoy an aerial view of the glacier as well, via helicopter; hence, the “heli” part of “heli-hike.” I mean, how can I resist such an option? Could you? Nah, I didn’t think so either.
So we’re actually on the last country on the great, big wish list series! I’ll be completely honest with you, though. I seriously don’t know anything about the island country of Palau. And you’re probably wondering how it even made my list then?
Well, you know how Pinterest can just suck you in? Like, for an hour or two before you even realized it happened? Well, about a year ago, I saw this random screenshot – it might have even been in a non-travel search topic of Pinterest. It may have very well been one of those screenshots of a Tumblr post and the commenters were all “NOPE!” And there I was enthusiastically yelling, “Oh, yes!”
What did I see in this screenshot? A person snorkeling with jellyfish off the coast of Koror in Palau and looking happy about it! Y’all don’t understand – if I could afford a proper tank and the equipment, as well as the necessary funds for acquiring jellyfish, I would have jellyfish as pets. I don’t know why, but I love them. They’re my main reason for going to aquariums when I can. I could just sit there and watch them move about all stinking day. It’s oddly relaxing for me. Tell me I’m not the only one?
Have you been to Palau or plan to go for other reasons? Share with us in the comments section! I’d love to add things to do to my itinerary while there!
Seriously, though, you managed to get through 5 parts of my dream wishlist! I really do hope this little series got your own creative ideas going for your next vacation! Thank you!
I would really appreciate it if you would share the love by putting this on one of your public Pinterest boards or share on Facebook or Twitter. Thank you so much for reading my post!
If you started here and enjoyed my ideas on these places, I hope you’ll consider reading about the other worldwide locales to inspire you to travel, too!