The worldwide Augustana College experience

Last Weekend in Sydney, Australia : Wine and Beaches

Dear Sydney,

It seems both achingly slow and extremely quickly that my time here as led to my final weekend in Sydney, Australia. Missing family, friends, and a significant other has let the time feel as if I’ve been here forever. In contrast, my internship and constant weekend plans and trips have let the slip away to where I’m not sure how I ended up suddenly being able to think, how did I do all of it already? Either way, my last weekend in Sydney has come and gone, and I must say it was a pretty well spent one.

It started with Friday when Lindsey, Ashley, and I woke up relatively early for a Friday (we don’t work Fridays here) and caught the first ferry out of Sydney Harbor to the Manly Wharf. I actually really enjoy taking ferries here even though they move much much slower on water than  I am used to on our boat at home. However, I think that is why I like them, if I am paying for the ride across the harbor, I would kind of like to enjoy the view and water as long as I can. Anyway, the ferry ride took about 30 minutes to get out to Manly Wharf, which is the closest water drop-off to the Manly Beach, which is now my favorite beach that I have seen during my time here. Getting off on the wharf, which is located on a peninsula jutting out into the water, you walk across the peninsula through a pretty touristy main street FULL of shops, seafood cafe’s, and beach rentals. It was very prettily decorated and had decorative fountains by your feet as you walked as well as green palm trees running along the center. Given all of this, it is pretty incredible that I managed to NOT shop along my way to the beach (which I think was the point of their location). When I got to the beach I was in complete wonder as to why this was my first trip to Manly since being here. It was absolutely stunning (pictures below). The beach was 3x the size of any other beach I have yet seen here, which immediately made me happy because I could finally go on legitimate beach walks. We posted up a little to the right of the main beach entrance plopped down in the softest sand I had yet had the pleasure to walk on, and poured on the sunscreen. It was not a blazing hot day by any means, it really doesn’t get that hot here like it does in Illinois because the humidity is never high enough for it to feel that stifling.  However it was the perfectly cloudless day with a nice light breeze. The perfect day to burn your skin off and have no idea it is happening until you get home that evening an attempt to shower (especially since the hole in the ozone layer is near here). So on went round one of sunscreen and we laid out for a solid 2 hours before I decided to move again. I was a little warm and so I dipped into the water for the first time and was pleasantly surprised to find how clear the water was. It was not as clear as Destin, FL where I traveled last year with Austyn’s family, but it was definitely second. I could see my feet 500 feet out and it was really great for swimming because it made it feel cleaner. Anyway, after my swim was walk number one along the beach and it took a full 30 minutes to go end to end which was really nice because I think walking on the beach is a different form of relaxation than laying out on the beach and I really enjoy it. After round 2 of sunscreen there was another hour of laying out during which time I very nearly stole a 6 month old little girl who thought I made funny faces and crawled over to my towel. Her name was Eden and I was extremely tempted to pick her up and play with her, but I figured that was probably frowned upon, especially since her father didn’t speak English. Going on 3:30 PM everyone started heading home because the sun really was strong and all of us knew were going to be fried (or fried even worse) if we didn’t leave soon. I did end up shopping along the way back, but since my shopping was gift oriented, I’ll leave those details out. The return ferry was again a really nice 30 minute chance for me to catch those last minute rays. I loved the smell of water and the wind the kept the heat at bay. Upon arrival back at the Sydney Harbor, Lindsey and I checked the availability of Opera House Tickets for the opera Carmen, and we were disappointed when they were sold out for the night. But we went home anyway to a great meal of steak, potatoes, and corn on the cob that Hailee had made for us. Given the sun had exhausted us all and we were to get up early the next morning for Wine Tasting, that was where the night ended and we all went to bed pretty early.

Saturday was wine tasting! I’ll be honest, I was really looking forward to this day trip for a few reasons. 1) I am from country area so I was really excited to get out of the city and see green and fields again 2) I’m finally 21 and do these types of things 3) I really do enjoy a great glass of wine. Anyway, we started the day getting on the bus at 7:30 AM for 3 hour drive out of the city. It was a pretty nice charter coach and we even got to pick the movie that they played. Given the obscene amount of females on this trip with me, we had a unanimous vote for Disney’s Hercules, and none of us were disappointed. I’m pretty sure I sang along for a majority of the movie, unfortunately for Ashley’s ears my skills are not what they used to be. But it helped the trip go by decently quickly. The views once out near Hunter Valley were phenomenal. Rolling hills and valleys covered in miles of grape vines surrounded by mountains that were all green with luscious trees; with the back ground of an electric blue sky, I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful setting for my first wine tasting. The first place we went to was my favorite. They had won best international wine seller in 2008 and 2011 and you could tell. They were very professional in their tasting, their explanations of the wines we tasted, and the palate they designed for the series of wines we were going to try. We got try 8 different wines there and they were predominately sweeter wines with some mix in’s of a drier red and a bourbon infused port wine. I could drink all of them and would have gotten about 3 bottles but I knew we had more places to visit yet, so I only got 1 bottle of a semi-sweet red that was said to go well with BBQ meat. After that we went to lunch at a nearby small outlet store of wine sellers, restaurants, and cheese sellers. I got a nice, fancy hot dog to wash down all that fancy wine for lunch and then went tasting around the wine sellers in the area for more free samples. I didn’t get any there, but I did get to try a really amazing feta cheese with pesto in it. When our bus shipped off from there, we stopped at our next winery where the Phi Beta Dingo (company organizing the trip) prepared a small cheese tasting experience for us. I tried a goat’s cheese, and cheddar, and an absolutely fantastic Brie. With our palates cleansed, we split into two groups and my group moved on to the next winery while the other group stayed. I liked this one the least for both the dryness of all their wines and their limited selection. However, I wanted to get a bottle from every winery so I picked up a bottle of Riesling that I thought I might be able to enjoy for the fruitiness. I did like this place for it’s view and history though. The winery had been passed down through single family for over 100 years and the winery itself was mostly still intact and in use from 100 years ago, so I thought that was pretty neat. Lastly, we went back to the winery to switch with the other group. This winery was my 2nd favorite and last of the day. I liked about 50% of the samples they had us try but the man helping us was not very knowledgeable on the wine and didn’t provide much professionalism throughout the tasting. I got 2 bottles from here that I liked, both white wines with one having an sweet apple flavor and the other having a semi sweet green grape type flavor. Armed with 4 bottles of wine, I was sleepy from the wine and was ready to head home. One the way back we watched “The Blind Side”, which is always a favorite, and we arrived back at the Meriton around 7:30 PM. Nothing else much happened that evening so that’s about it for Saturday.

So Sunday I woke up to a BEAUTIFUL day in Sydney. Clearly nothing productive was going to happen that day with weather like that, so I got up, got breakfast, packed a beach bag, and headed to Coogee Beach (the beach closed to our apartments). I got there around 11 AM and didn’t leave until 4 PM, hopefully giving me at least a bit of a tan before I go to New Zealand and lose all of it. It was a really nice day at the beach and I enjoyed my lunch of a pineapple, mango, banana, and orange smoothie. When I got home I wasn’t feeling too great from all the sun though and didn’t get much of a dinner for it. I did watch my favorite show “The Block” though and got to journal as well. So it was a pretty good day overall I guess.

Yesterday, Monday, was the start of my last week here at my internship. I spent a majority of the day working on my final presentation for my internship. I actually present tomorrow now, so wish me luck! But it wasn’t anything too amazing, just another day at the office really. But I am pretty excited to present everything about what I have done and learned here because I really am truly grateful for all the experiences, time investments, and opportunities that I have been given here at Brown-Forman and I know it is going to make the biggest difference when I go to apply to future internships, grad school, or eventually jobs. So wish me luck on that and I’m sure I’ll let everyone know how it went afterwards. 🙂

Anyway, I will stop babbling now. Just want to give a shout out to all those I can NOT wait to see in 10 days. Mom, Dad, Sarah, Austyn, friends at Augie, friends at home, Jess my big  and Taylor my little, and even our new baby bug in our Delta Chi family that I will be soon be meeting. 🙂 I love all of you so very much and I couldn’t have done this without any of you. <3

Goodnight Australia!



3 Responses to “Last Weekend in Sydney, Australia : Wine and Beaches”

  1. megan, we are really amazed at everything you’ve done and accomplished in ten short weeks. It went fast for us and looking forward to your blogs help brighten our llllllooooonnnnnggggg winter. we’re looing forward to seeing you soon. Love you bunches and have a safe flight. We’re saving some of our cold weather though so you don’t forget what you left behind.

    love and kisses from

    grandma and grandpa M

  2. Megan, I can’t believe it’s time for you to come home. But I’m anxiously waiting for you to be back home again. You’ve seen and done sooo much, your photo memory must be over flowing. What an experience!!
    Safe travels and see you soon,
    Love you,
    Grandma Jean & Grandpa D

  3. Awh 🙂 You guys made me smile! Thank you so much for reading and thinking of me. It’s been a blessing to have all of your support throughout this whole process and I appreciate everything you’ve done from giving me gifts before I left to reading my blog and keeping in touch. I love you so much and I can’t wait to see you in a few short weeks! Almost there! <3

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