Saturday, June 30, 2012

Flying like a kiwi

It would be a waste to fly 23 hours around the world to Australia, and not check out its neighbor New Zealand. Along with 3 friends, I traveled to NZ after finals finished. It was an interesting mix of nationalities with a girl from California, a girl from Mexico, and a guy from Australia. With only 6 days to see the country, our itinerary could only include the South Island, and not even the whole thing. Flew into Christchurch and rented a car before setting off on a journey to Queenstown.

The drive itself was gorgeous! We passed snow covered mountains and beautiful lakes and medows. And of course lots of sheep! We made many stops along to way for pictures (of the scenery, not the sheep). The whole thing looked like a scene out of a fantasy movie. I can definitely see why Lord of the Rings was filmed here.

We arrived in Queenstown just before sunset and booked accommodation at a hostel. Queenstown is a cute little town that is dominated by young people looking for adventures like skydiving or snowboarding or bungy jumping. Of course we had to take advantage of this. The four of us booked skydiving for the following morning before setting out to the bars.

The next day dawned sunny and clear- perfect skydiving weather. We listened to the briefing and got on a bus to go to our diving destination. At this point I was a little nervous, but mostly excited. The company had a 100% safety record in the 20 years they had been flying, and it was a tandem jump so all I had to do was smile at the camera and enjoy the fall.

Getting in the plane I was slightly more nervous. The all squished in got ready for the flight. My dive was from 9000 feet which was the lowest. Sadly it meant only 20 seconds of freefall. Sitting on the edge of the plane and looking over the edge my nerves got worse. I was really doing this. I was really jumping out of a perfectly good plane towards the ground 9000 feet below. The instructor pushed us off and I was freefalling.

The strange thing is that it doesn't feel like a drop on a rollar coaster where you leave your stomach above you. When you reach terminal velocity you are just falling. It was such an amazing feeling. I kept trying to smile at the camera, and before I knew it the instructor pulled the shoot and I was hanging there looking over the amazing view. This lasted about 7 minutes as we slowly descended towards the ground.

Arriving on the ground I had the biggest smile on my face- that was AMAZING!!! I can't believe I did it. I was all set to go again, but my wallet would not have been so keen on that. We headed back to town and got burgers from the famous local restaurant Fergburger. There is always a line for this place- thats how good it is. Throughout the trip I got Fergburger 3 times. Once a chicken burger, once a regualar beef cheese burger, and once a venison burger. All of them were delicous.

That night it began snowing. And the next morning, the town was covered in a thin white blanket- perfect day for skiing. One of my friends was skiing, one was snowboarding, and one wasn't going at all. I've never downhill skiied or snowboarded before, so I decided to try skiing because it was suposed to be easier. On the way to Cardona Mountain our bus hit the side of the road and ended up in a ditch. They soon got it out, but it was definitly an interesting thing to see.

Upon arriving at the slopes I put on the skis and tried to go down the hill towards where the lift was, and I fell. At that point I decided I needed some lessons. The morning was spent learning how to stop, slow down, turn, etc. And by the afternoon I decided it was time to try the real mountain. My first run down I wiped out several times, but on my second run I managed not to fall, albeit I was traveling very slowly. By then it was the end of the day, so we headed back- thankfully without ending up in snowcovered ditches.

We began our drive up to Fox Glacier the next afternoon. We'd been told it was a 4 hour drive, but that didn't take into account the bad conditions of the road as we later found out. During a stop in a small town along the way we were told not to continue for risk of our 2 wheel drive car not being able to make it up the snow covered hills. So we ended up staying the night and setting off early in the morning for the glacier.

The glacier was definitly worth the early morning drive. It was beautiful!! We took a guided all day tour that took us to the main part of the glacier. We had to wear special ice climbing crampons to prevent slipping. The glacier was cold, but we lucked out with having good weather. Apparently it snows or rains about 200 days of the year.

The ice formations were sooo cool (literally!). We got to climb through caves and crevices and around all sorts of ice formations. Our guide was really nice and very passionate about what she was doing. I was a bit cold by the end of the day, but had an amazing time and took so many pictures!

The rest of the journey mainly consisted of driving back. We spent the final day in Christchurch which was pretty uneventful. The town was badly harmed by the earthquakes it has had recently, and most of the touristy places have been closed. It was sad to see so much destruction. We flew out that night. It was a nice trip, but it is nice to be back in Australia.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Missing Apostles

With a week off between exams I thought I'd back track a bit and talk about some adventures I had before that I didn't have time to write about. One really fun weekend I had was going to the Great Ocean Road.

The Great Ocean Road is a famous trip in Australia with stunning beaches and sights like the 12 apostles. I went with 4 of my international friends on a tour with STA travel. There was a giant tour bus with a big group of other internationals (mostly American). Our first stop was Bells Beach- home to a famous surfing competition. The tour promised surfing lessons and all of us were very keen on try it ourselves after our touring the surf museum. Our lessons were on a beach a little ways from Bells with waves appropriate for beginners. After a short discussion about how to stand up we were sent off to the water. I got a few good rides in, but mostly just ended up falling.

After surfing we traveled along to see some gorgeous beaches. With a bright sunny, warm day, it was perfect beach weather. All the scenery up the coast was breathtaking.

The next stop was supposed to be a koala sanctuary, but we ended up taking a prolonged rest stop at a small town along the road. The bus was parked on a hill while everyone used the toilets- or we assumed it was parked. The emergency break failed and the bus rolled down the hill hitting 2 cars. Luckily nobody was hurt, but one of the cars was close to wrecked and bus was pretty badly damaged. We had to wait for another bus to show up to take us to Apollo Bay for our night’s accommodation.

Apollo Bay is a cute small town where we could see billions of stars. I don't think I've ever seen more in my life. It was a perfectly clear night away from the bright lights of the city. For dinner we all worked together to make sausages, burgers, and salad before staying overnight at hostels.

The next morning we drove to the famous sights of the Great Ocean Road, but first we stopped to see wild koalas! They just sat lazily in the trees- most of the sleeping, but all looking insanely adorable and cuddly!

First was the ever famous 12 Apostles, but there weren't 12. Apparently the site used to be called the sow and piglets, but that name was deemed not to be interesting enough. Some have fallen from erosion, so now there are only 8. Still it was a spectacular sight.

The next stop was Loch Ard Gorge which was my favorite. The gorge was home to a lovely beach and some caves as well as several short walks to see more the rock formations.
And the final destination was London Bridge. You know the song 'London Bridge is falling down'? Well this one actually did- There used to be a land formation connecting the rock pillar to the mainland, but it is long gone now although the beauty of the sight remains

Friday, June 8, 2012

Rain in the Sunshine State

Classes are done and finals are still a ways away, so what better way to celebrate than a trip to Queensland! Queensland is in the Northeast of Australia and it is supposedly far warmer than Victoria. It’s even called 'the sunshine state'. My friend Zhi and I had a whole itinerary planned out of sightseeing and adventures.

I stepped off the plane into sunshine and warm weather- the perfect escape from the cold rain that had plagued Melbourne this past week. We got a rental car and headed off to Byron Bay about an hour south of the Gold Coast airport. Todays itinerary featured sea-kayaking and seeing the famous lighthouse on the farthest east point of Australia. The weather had different ideas as it started pouring soon after reaching Byron. Kayaking got cancelled and the lighthouse was near impossible to see through the rain and fog. In an attempt to find the hostel we got lost and ended up in another town. The town of Mulumbimby ended up being really cute and was a good place to get a nice warm cup of chai tea before heading back to Byron.

The next day's weather ended up being a bit nicer and to make up for the lack of kayaking we went snorkeling. There were a bunch of fish and rocks and Zhi even saw a turtle. I didn't see any turtles, but I saw a giant seabird- or rather it saw me- and bit me! I was lying in the water and felt something grab my hand only to look up and see a giant gray bird glaring (yes glaring) at me. Needless to say I swam away quickly before he could get another bite in.

After snorkeling we drove to Springbrook and spent the afternoon hiking. Unfortunately it got dark earlier than expected, so we ended up not making it to our camping sight in Mount Tamborine. Instead we camped at a site in Springbrook. Dinner consisted of bread with nutella, oranges, and fudge for dessert. Sadly there were no campfires allowed at this site. Bright and early the next morning we were off to Mount Tamborine for more hiking. There were some beautiful hikes in the park including some waterfalls.

Surfers Paradise followed. Its a very built up town but has a nice beach. On Wednesday nights they have a night market by the beach. There were a bunch of nice little stalls selling crafts, souvieners, art, and my favorite- logic puzzles- the kind where its metal loops intertwined and you have to separate them. There was also street performer who juggled knives and squeezed his body through a tennis racket.

Because it would be wrong to go to Surfer Paradise and not surf, we took lessons. For two hours I attempted to stand. I got a few good rides and many wipeouts, and had a blast. That evening was a pub for dinner and some of the local XXXX (pronounced four-x) beer while watching NBA then soccer.

The following day dawned rainy and gross, but my excitement could not be dampened because we were going to Dreamworld- one of the best amusement parks in Australia. Throughout the day we went on all but one of the wild thrill rides (one was closed due to rain). They were very fun, but the best part of the day came when I got to hold a baby koala and feed kangaroos! Yes I know those are super touristy things to do, but they were so fun! The koala's name is Button and she was the cutest little thing!! The kangaroos were so fun- they ate right out of my hand.

The final days were spent in Brisbane. Our time there started with a delicious Greek dinner on Boundary Street in West End and the good food continued with amazing pancakes at Brunswick Street Mall at Fat Boys the next day for brunch and a delectable chocolate pizza that night.

 Before returning the car we looked over the city from Mt. Coot Tha. It was foggy at first, but then cleared up and was an amazing view. The rest of the day was spent wandering the Botanical Gardens and museums. The following day was spent looking at the market in South Bank before going to a winter carnival. It was in the upper teens Celsius (around 60 F) but they had made snow and had a snowman competition.

In the afternoon was a rugby match. Brisbane Broncos vs Newcastle Knights. The stadium was packed with the maroon and yellow of the Broncos and every time they scored the stadium errupted in cheers. The game ended with a win for the home team, and we headed off for a comedy show. To get back to the hostel after the show we took the City-Cat boat. It was an amazing view of the city from the water taxi.

The following day was a tour of the city by a Brisbane Greeter. It was cool learning all the history and culure of the place. The day ended with a return flight to Melbourne. Despite some bad weather, this was a pretty awesome break from studying.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Camping with kookaburras

Kookaburra sitting in the old gum tree

Eating all the…pancakes?

Yes, on my camping trip to Cathedral ranges I saw Kookaburra, and he saw the rocky-road pancakes we were eating. One of the clubs I joined is the bush walking and orienteering club which does a ton of awesome outdoor activities including camping, rock climbing, kayaking, mountain biking and orienteering.


The clubs first trip was called Bumbly day out. At the time I thought it was because we were going to a place called Bumbly Lake or Bumbly national park, but no-Bumbly is the name for the new members of the club. I guess I just proved myself to fit the name. Anyways- the adventure was a day trip that gave a sample of several of the clubs activities. The first activity I did when I got there was mountain biking. It was muddy and gross, so by the end of the trail I was covered in mud. The ride was definitely worth it though because I saw my first wild Aussie animal- the wallaby! There were about 5 of them just chilling. Of course I had to get a ton of pictures.


Following a classic lunch of sausages on bread was kayaking. We had to practice wet exits on the kayak in case we flipped because they were closed topped kayaks. Once all of us had proven our ability we started a game of keep away with teams. The first team to get 10 consecutive passes of a polo ball got a point. I thankfully didn’t flip.

The last activity of the day was regaining which is running to find clues on a map worth different points. Well- we were supposed to run. By the end of the day my group decided to leisurely find the points and enjoy the beautiful scenery along the way. We saw more wallaby’s tooJ.

The next adventure was a Friday- Sunday trip aptly named Carnage. We drove down to the Cathedral Ranges on Friday evening and set up camp. My friends and I toasted marshmallows on the campfire. We got up bright and early the next morning for a full day hike. And by hike I do not mean a walk in a park- it was an intense 8 hour journey up Sugarloaf Mountain, along Jawbone Ridge to the summit of Cathedral Mountain. This trip included scaling up rock faces, climbing through narrow caverns, and several instances where I was scared for my life. However, we all made it to the top, and the view was amazing.


We had tacos that night for dinner. The next morning shared pancakes with our feathered friend before setting off to kayaking. There was no polo ball this time, but there were rapids and a strong current. The experience kayakers taught us how to paddle into eddies what to do on rapids. As to my success on this… let’s just say I became very good by the end on getting out of the overturned kayak. Still, it was a good experience.

My most recent camping trip was to the Arapiles for outdoor rock climbing. I’ve done indoor before, but never outdoor climbing, so this was a different experience. When I went to the gym to practice I’d been doing around a level 8 (this is Australian levels, I’m not sure how others are graded around the world, but here it’s from 1-32. All of our climbs were top rope. I tried an 8 first and was so happy at getting to the top. By the end of the trip I’d successfully completed a 16! I was so proud of myself. I like outdoor climbing better than indoor because there is more freedom to pick your own path rather than having to follow what was given.


The Sunday of the trip was Easter, so the leaders of the trip hid chocolate eggs along the paths we climbed up. It was such a treat to make it half way and find a little chocolate egg sitting there. The climbs were really fun that day. One of them included a cave. After taking a second to explore the cave, the way to end the climb was to do a flying fox jump which meant swinging out and turning around to catch yourself with your feet against the wall before being belayed down. Another activity I got to try was abseiling which is essentially belaying yourself down the cliff. At the top looking down I was terrified! I didn’t want to step over the cliff- it just goes against human nature to walk off a rock ledge! The first few steps were the worst, but then it was pretty interesting.

I’m really glad I found this club to do trips with. The people I’ve meet through it are so nice, and I’ve gotten to try so many fun things I wouldn’t have done otherwise. I hope I can continue to do these types of adventures when I get back to the US too.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Food, sports, and ferrets

   So I've now been in Melbourne for a while and yes I know the last entry was talking about scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef, so this is a bit out of chronology. Anyways, so far I'm loving Monash. In Australia most students live off campus usually with their families. Of the 20,000 students at Clayton campus on around 3,000 or so live on campus in Halls. I'm in Farrer (the coolest hall). I know I've already said this, but the people here are so friendly. When I first checked into MRS (Monash Residential Services) they directed me to my room. One of the RAs went out of her way to show me where to go. Then when I was walking past the kitchen I was immediately welcomed and invited to join a group cooking for burgers.

  We have to cook mostly for ourselves here. There are a bunch of brands that I have never seen before at the supermarket, but would love to have back home. One of these is Shapes which are crackers with different flavorings. And of course the Tim Tam cookies that I tried and loved in Sydney. To solve the cooking situation I joined a cooking group with 3 of my friends. I make a meal for the 4 of us each Tuesday night then don't have to worry about making dinner the rest of the week. At first everyone was a little nervous with cooking skills, but now each week we feast on delicious stews, burritos, stir-fry, pizzas and more. Before this I'd never had to cook for myself, so its been a great learning experience.

   My floor is awesome. It is a combination of Australian students (usually ones who don't live near Melbourne) and Internationals. I have friends from England, Singapore, Canada, New Zealand, and more. There are constant debates about the correct word for something. One example of this is flip-flops which are called thongs in Australia and jandals New Zealand. I've had several lost in translation moments...Me: "I'm making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!" My friend: "What- who puts jelly on a sandwich?" Me: (very confused) "everybody in the US does". I take out the jar. My friend: "that’s jam!- jelly is the wiggly sweet stuff". Me: "that’s jello!" And to this day there is still and argument about what the sweet fruity substance that goes on toast is.

   Food is great for sharing culture with. I have to say I really enjoyed the ANZAC biscuits (since they are Australian they are biscuits instead of cookies). They are in commemoration of the troops in the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps. ANZAC day remembers the soldiers who fought in WWI. In return for the biscuits, I introduced my friends to s'mores- my favorite camping treat! Another food I've tried while in Australia is vegemite. I tried it on my own earlier by spreading it on toast in a similar fashion as one spreads nutella, to great disgust. However, when one of my Aussie friends made it for me it was delicious! The trick is to put a lot of butter and a little vegemite. I now have my own tub of it.

   Another great sharing of culture is through sports. Early in the semester Halls had a Quidditch match (yes Quidditch!)muggle style of course. Farrer supporters came out proudly wearing our green (does that make us Slytherin?) with banners that included our mascot the ferret. The game is played on a turf basketball/soccer court with the basketball hoop as a 30 point goal and two vertical hula hoops hanging off the soccer posts as the 10 point goals. There are 7 players all of whom run with pool noodles between their legs. The chasers throw a net ball into the goals, the keeper protects the goal, the beaters throw dodge balls at the other players to make them drop the ball and run a lap, and the seeker catches the snitch. The snitch is a cross country runner provided by one of the other halls who runs around the whole campus while the seekers chases him. The seeker who catches the snitch scores 150 points for their team. I played chaser and had such a blast. It was really intense and physical, but after much blood sweat, tears, and jinxes Farrer came away Halls Quidditch champions! Much of the credit goes to our awesome seeker who really ends up scoring most of the points in this game.

   Our next inter-hall sport was footy or Australian Rules Football. Its played on a field with 18 players using a combination of kicks and specialized passes (known as handballing) to advance the ball down the field and kick it through goal posts to score either 1 or 6 points. This sport is only played in Australia and is most popular in Victoria where 10 of the 18 AFL (Australian Football League) teams come from. I watched and cheered our boys team as they played several exciting matches. One of the matches later in the day was an all girls match combining multiple halls to make up the teams. With some coaching beforehand one of my Canadian friends and I started the game. Since I was the tallest player on the court I got to do the 'ball-up' which is the footy equivalent of a tip-off in basketball. I really enjoyed playing footy. It was disappointing girls only had one match.

   The next sport to be played was netball. This was a league instead of a one time event. Unlike Quidditch most people playing netball had actaully played before on our team and I had never even seen a match. Its not a popular sport in the US. People told me it was like basketball, but it had some key differences. First off, you can't run move with the ball, you must stay 3 feet away from the person with the ball, players have certain zones they are allowed in depending on their position, and there is no backboard to the basket. I constantly got called for breaking pretty much every rule there was. I promise I really did try to be 3 feet away, but I just never moved backwards fast enough. My teammates were always very helpful and supportive (I'm glad they even let me play). By the last game I began to get a handle on what I could and couldn't do.

  Still, it was a relief to go back to familiar basketball. All the halls we usually compete against teamed up to play a basketball game against a rival hall, Mannix. I played center for the team and it was so much fun. A bunch of my friends came to cheer us on- I'm so lucky to have such supportive friends :) Thanks to the hard work of the whole team, we beat Mannix!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Surrounded by Sharks (and turtles and coral and fish)

I’m not sure what it is with me and transitioning to new places, but it never seems to work out. I arrived in Cairns at 11:00 pm and take a shuttle to the hostel I already booked (for a bargain of $13 a night I might add). I lug my bags to the door only to find it locked with a sign saying reception closed- check in at bar. I go to the bar only to find it closed as well. So I find myself alone in a strange town with no place to stay.

A few guys who were staying at the hostel heard me knocking on the door and let me in. They helped me carry my bags up and let me stay in an empty bed in their room. There was no sheets for the bed, and I had to borrow one of their keys to get to the bathroom, but it definitely beat roaming the streets alone at night finding another hostel. I’m so grateful for all the kind people I’ve meet on my travels.

The bus picked me up early the next morning for diving. I was so excited. We got on a boat that was packed full of people and I was wondering how were we supposed to all stay on here. The live-aboard diving was supposed to be 3 days and 2 nights. We stopped at a spot about an hour and a half off shore and prepared for the first dive.

And oh my gosh it was AMAZING!!! I saw so many spectacular fish and corals. The best part of the first dive was Wally. Wally is a very friendly Humphead Maori Wrasse which is a blue-green fish over a meter big. He let me pet the top of his head and scratch his chin. I never knew how friendly a fish could be!

Next dive I saw a white fin reef shark. They’re harmless to people. I also saw a giant clam which closes its shell whenever someone gets too close to it. And drum roll please… I found Nemo! Yes, a sweet little clown fish sitting by his anemone.

We switched to a larger boat with more space and more experienced divers. The afternoon continued with more dives. On the third one of the day I came face to face with a sea turtle! And all this in addition to seeing some truly phenomenal coral structures.

The final dive of the day took place after the sun set. We put on our gear and grabbed torches (flashlights) and followed the dive masters into the water. Since I only have a PADI Open Water certification I’m not qualified to dive alone at night. We followed the guide down to see the Giant Trevally hunting. As I swam up towards the surface and did a safety stop everywhere I shined a light there were… SHARKS!!! Yes 4-6 foot long beasts swimming gracefully through the water. I didn’t want to leave- it was so cool to see!

The next morning dawned very early with a 6 am dive. Although it was a terrible hour to be awake at, the dive was spectacular. All of the big fish and sharks are just going to sleep and the little fish are waking up. I saw not one, not two, but 3 lion fish! And a ton of other fish as well.  Throughout the day we did 5 dives.

The following day we began at 6 am again and completed 3 dives before heading back to shore. It was sad to leave the boat- I’d have loved to stay on a dive more. For dinner I joined some of the other divers who’d also just finished their cruise, for dinner at a thai restaurant. And then for dessert we had the most amazing freshly made gelato at Dolci + Gelati. It was some of the best gelato I’ve had! I can’t believe I had such an amazing opportunity- I got to do 12 dives in 3 days and see some amazing Australian reef critters!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Shore, Seagulls, and missed trains

Monday turned out to be a nice day as well, so I joined some other backpackers for a day at Double Bay Beach. This isn’t one of the more visited ones, but it is a beautiful (albeit small) beach. There was a wooden platform part way out that was perfect for a game of king/queen of the raft. We spent the day swimming, relaxing, and eating Tim Tams. Tim Tams are a delicious treat which is crème covered sandwhiched between 2 cookies then dipped in chocolate. They come in tons of flavors including honeycomb, white chocolate, and mint which I tried.

After the beach day I went to the Super bowl party with the friends I meet at the pub. On the way I stopped for a famous Harry’s meat pie since I’d been told that was a mandatory experience to have while in Sydney. I have to say people in Australia are some of the most helpful I’ve meet. When I got lost trying to find the address, I asked a stranger if he knew where it was and even though he didn’t he looked it up for me on his phone.

The Super bowl party was fun. It was nice to have that at-home feeling. There were even nachos and wings. And they had an adorable dog. I headed back to the hostel that night thinking it had been a pretty good day- except when I realized I’d gotten burned on my back! That was not fun to sleep on.

The following day I went to see the Sydney Opera house. Amazingly it was not the bright white it always apprears. It’s a slightly off white color with many tiles. Standing next to it was spectacular and then going inside was even better. I took the tour, but I wish I could have seen a show there. The theatres were very impressive.

That afternoon I joined some people from my hostel in walking across the Sydney Harbor Bridge. No, not the top where you have the climbing ropes and pay $200; the bottom footpath. But still, it was a great view of the harbor.

That night I joined my friend from the tour for dinner at Darling Harbor. We wandered around and saw  the pretty harbor complete with a memorial to the Olympics, whale skeletons hanging in the stairwell, and many trendy restaurants. We settled on a place that overlooked the harbor. I got prawns and my friend tried crocodile. I sample his sandwich, and I have to say crocodile tastes a lot like chicken.

On my last day in Sydney I went to Manly beach which is just a short ferry ride from Sydney. It wasn’t exactly beach weather, but it was still a necessary experience to have while being in Sydney. The ferry ride made me appreciate just how big the harbor really is, and how many small islands and pennisulas there are around it. For lunch I grabbed a sushi roll and headed to the beach. The water was very rough and full of rip tides today, so instead of going in, I watched the surfers. I was innocently enjoying my sushi when a seagull swooped down and stole it. Mine! Mine! Mine! I guess Finding Nemo was pretty accurate. Resigning to a small lunch, I took the bus to Spitz Bridge and Reserve- an upper class district near Manly. I hiked around the boat docks and past some of the houses. There was a nature trail that was supposed to be very nice, but it would have taken too long and I needed to get back to Sydney to leave for Cairns soon.

After taking the bus, then ferry, then hike back to my hostel I packed up and headed to the train station. I had plenty of time and unworriedly took my seat with my massive bags of luggage on the train that had just pulled up to platform 6. The train ride seemed to take a lot longer than it had when I went from the airport to the hostel. And there were so many unfamiliar names. Eventually I asked somebody “Is this train going to the airport?” To my horror the answer was no. In a panic I got off the train at the next stop and asked the conductor what to do. They told me what train to take to get back to where I started from then to transfer on one to the airport. I was terrified that I would miss my flight. When I got off the train finally at the airport counter I sprinted (luggage and all) to the bag check in which thankfully had no line. My plane left in just over half an hour. I got my tickets and made it to the plane just before they called my section to board. I sank down in my window seat (yes I got another window seat with nobody sitting next to me) and relaxed. I’d made it. Cairns here I come!