Student Exchange: From Beaches and Waterfalls to the Sydney Opera House

StudExchange_LadyMethodist_EWaxman_2016_2017_001Over the past week, I have gotten to see and do so much. Even though the weather hasn’t been the best, with rain almost every day, we did get two sunny days on the weekend. On Saturday, we went to Dee Why beach and I went into the Pacific Ocean for the first time. The temperature outside and in the water was great, and although the current was too dangerous to go swimming, we walked along the beach, went up a cliff and saw a great view, and then went swimming in an ocean pool. An ocean pool is a pool built on the beach that is filled with ocean water. It was really nice going in the pool because, unlike the ocean, there were no sharks in there!

After our day at the beach, we had fish and chips while watching the sunset over the water, and then we went home. The next day, we woke up early to go to the Blue Mountains, an area that got its name because of the density of Eucalyptus trees. We spent the day hiking to waterfalls, lookouts, and enjoying the nice weather. Our first stop in the mountains was at a national park where we saw wild kangaroos. I got a lot of pictures of the mountains and with the kangaroos. We then went from lookout to lookout getting tons of pictures. I saw the three sisters, a famous rock formation in the Blue Mountains, and then we went for lunch in a valley. The weather was great and we had an amazing time.

It ended up raining nonstop for the rest of the week but by the time the weekend came it cleared up again. I’ve only seen a live recording of an opera in a movie theatre with my grandfather, so seeing La Traviata Saturday night at the Sydney Opera House was a once in a lifetime experience. The Opera House was filled with windows that had great views of the harbour and when it got dark at intermission, Sarah, her mom Janet and I, went out on one of the balconies and took pictures of the Harbour Bridge and Luna Park, an amusement park in Sydney, all lit up. The costumes and the set for La Traviata were fantastic, and some of the notes the lead vocalists hit were amazing. I had such a great time and really enjoyed the performance.

On Sunday, we went to Darling Harbour to walk around and go to the aquarium. It was overcast again but we were able to take the ferry to the harbour. While the ferry got closer to the city, we could see the Sydney tower through the fog and a lot of new glass buildings along the water. Before going into the aquarium, we walked around the harbor and saw a model of the boat that James Cook used when he discovered Sydney. After a short but heavy rainstorm, the sky cleared up and it was really sunny outside. We walked around the water some more, and then went to the aquarium where we saw a whole bunch of different aquatic animals native to Australia. There were Jellyfish that changed colours, different types of coral, stingrays, dugongs, sharks, and many other types of fish and crustaceans. I really don’t like sharks but I found it very cool being able to go through a glass tunnel to see them swim over us.

Already three weeks in and I have seen and done so much. I have pushed myself to try new things and I have made so many memories that I am sure to remember for the rest of my life. This trip has been amazing and I can’t wait to experience everything the remaining three weeks have to offer. -Ella Waxman ’19, Student Exchange at Methodist Ladies’ College

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