Guest Post: Discovering Australia On My Own

0395AUSD2013This week, we’re celebrating all things Australia as part of the Contiki #NOREGRETS Adventure Challenge – and we just launched our new Contiki Australia and New Zealand brochure! 

What better way to showcase the Land Down Under than by welcoming our new US Marketing Coordinator, Christy, to the team!  She recounts her first trip abroad sans parents and tells you what you should keep your eye on when you travel to Australia.

Check it!

 

Guest Blog Post by Christy, Contiki Marketing Coordinator

“FREEDOM” is the initial thought when embarking on your first trip without your parents. While the adventure is unforgettable, you soon realize buying things for yourself can be expensive. During the summer of 2006 at the ripe, rebellious age of 15, I went to Australia for a month on a student ambassador program. As it turns out, traveling with counselors instead of your parents is not as “free” as I thought (tape on hotel room doors is a real thing). Representing America in a positive light was a challenge, especially when the hit song of the time is Petey Pablo’s Freek-a-Leek and you catch yourself singing it in public… whoops! Aside from these personal problems, it was a great experience!

0416AUSD2013

Australia is the perfect trip if you want to get your feet wet about traveling alone. Accents aside, even though they are a completely justifiable reason to visit Australia, it’s a country as diverse as the United States. It offers the comfort of the same language and cultural similarities, but has enough differences to be very exciting and adventurous. The realization that I was going to be visiting during Australia’s winter may have crushed my dreams of returning a bronzed goddess, but that by no means meant my trek from Cairns down to Sydney wouldn’t be the ultimate summer holiday.

The month-long ambassador program gave me the opportunity to see the incredible sights from a tourist’s point of view while also feeling like an Aussie. From farm stays where I learned to milk a cow, crack a bull whip, and jump in a river (which I later found out was teeming with crocodiles), to home stays where I saw what the school experience is like. I was able to sample the culture of Australia as well as enjoy some of the more adventurous cuisine- crocodile, kangaroo, emu…oh my!

Here is my Top 7 “Must See” list of the East Coast of Australia:

1. Great Barrier Reef (on Contiki’s Snorkel to Adventure)

145AUSD2006Nemo’s been found, but you can still find some of his relatives and friends while seeing one of the top sites in the world! Beware of the jellies!

2. Whitsunday Islands (on Contiki’s Island and Rainforest)

WhitsundaysA wonderful and picturesque place to take a breather after a few days of intense travel.

3. Surfer’s Paradise (on Contiki’s Sun Seeker)

138AAUSD2006Gorgeous surf and people, entertainment center of the Gold Coast, all around great city.

4. Sydney Opera House (on Contiki’s City to Surf)

1355AUSD2013Touring the Opera House is a great experience, but try to go to a concert there to fully appreciate the acoustics.

5. Sydney and Sydney Harbor (on Contiki’s Sydney New Year)

 1275AUSD2013Take a tour on a boat through the harbor and then wander the city.

6. Bondi Beach (on Contiki’s Reefs and Rainforests)

0612AUSD2013The quintessential Australia beach.

7. Aboriginal Sites of New South Wales (on Contiki’s Rock and Red)

 alice springs

Every trip needs history and what better way to learn it than testing out a didgeridoo and throwing a boomerang?

——–

210849_10151061799634001_524690529_oI embarked on my trip with more than 30 strangers. I returned utterly knackered with “thong” tans (not what you think), a new vocabulary, and 30 friends. I’m looking forward to my next trip, when I can drink with the locals and shout “Aussie Aussie Aussie, oi oi oi!”

About Christy

Christy is Contiki’s Marketing Coordinator and hails from Lake Arrowhead, Calif.  She graduated with a BA in Communications and a minor in Spanish.  Her great loves include traveling, Disney, pop-punk, food, craft beer, snowboarding, and the San Diego Super Chargers

Guest Blog Post: My Contiki Memory

Guest Blog Post by Jenny E., Contiki traveler

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had an unexplainable love for the United Kingdom, despite having never been there. Then in July 2013 I made the leap over the pond for three weeks with a few friends. I did the London Explorer with Contiki, a self-guided, 4 nights, 5 days package during one of the weeks and spent the other two weeks traveling the country.

Our first week was spent exploring Birmingham and towns near there. We went to Warwick Castle – which was very informative and entertaining but also slightly gimmicky and full of tourists. We also went to Cadbury World (not worth the trip, trust me) and Stratford-Upon-Avon (very much worth the trip!).  We saw Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus at the Royal Shakespeare Company, which was an amazing performance – but I wouldn’t expect anything less. As for Birmingham, there isn’t much sightseeing there, but the produce at the Bull Ring Markets is to die for, and the Museum and Art Gallery is fairly impressive.

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Marie Digby in Ireland with Contiki

@mariedigby on Instagram

@mariedigby on Instagram

YouTube musician Marie Digby traveled to Ireland with Contiki to get in touch with her Irish roots and she has released this beautiful travelogue detailing how her first visit to Ireland felt like a homecoming – a #NOREGRETS moment if we do say so ourselves!

See stunning panoramic shots of Giant’s Causeway, The Cliffs of Moher and the luscious green landscapes of Ireland in Marie’s video below (and be sure to click through to see Contiki’s Ireland video!)

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FDLFNT Contest: Jerri’s First Trip Abroad

Only a little over a week left until the April 8th deadline for the Friends Don’t Let Friends Not Travel contest from our friends at Do It While You’re Young (DIWYY).  DIWYY co-founder Jerri Stephenson shares her first trip abroad in our series of FDLFNT stories.  Nominate your friend and let them create their own story!

 

Guest Post by Jerri Stephenson, co-founder of DIWYY

“Is the fog in London really ‘thick as pea soup?’” my best friend from back home in Texas, Rose, asked me in an email.

“Yes, yes it is!” I replied. But in all honesty, I had not seen any fog during my summer long study abroad in Oxford, England.

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