Overall we had a great trip here. A total of 3 buses, 3 planes across 3 countries over a 36 hour period and 14 time zones/ the international date line. The students seemed to enjoy the planes - we were in larger jets so we were able to have movies and entertainment during the flights and the food was, well, OK…
With a large group like ours, it can be a challenge to get everyone through the airports and to the gates on time, but our group did great! The longest flight we had was 14 hours across the Pacific.
Fortunately the flight wasn’t a full flight so the flight attendants told the students they could move around and take advantage of the empty seats.
Once in Cairns, we all took VERY badly needed showers and met up for some appetizers and refreshments to welcome the students here, and the students went exploring around town. A couple of the students were looking a little “peeked” from jetlag, and a couple seemed almost energized (we will see how long that lasts!)… we haven’t seen them yet this morning, but I suspect/expect/hope it was an early night.
Cairns is a small, touristy kind of town and has a variety to restaurants offering different cuisine, pubs, shops, a night market, and of course the ocean! The waterfront here is not a habitable beach, so there is a manmade beach and swimming area in the middle of the Esplanade area.
This morning we will head to the Tjapukai Aboriginal Culture Center in Kuranda to spend the day learning a little bit about the Djabugay people -the first peoples to inhabit Australia – their society, their culture and ways of life. The students will get a chance to learn how to throw boomerangs, spears, get their face painted in traditional Djabugay designs, go on a “Bushtucker” walk (looking for food and medicinal plants), the Dreamtime Creation Story, a bit about the Aboriginals’ interaction with the Australian government, etc. This visit is the main reason we bring the students to Cairns – I feel that learning about the first inhabitants of this continent is integral to the students having a solid understanding of what they are experiencing here. We will post pictures on the next post.
Photo courtesy of https://www.tjapukai.com.au/tjapukai-aboriginal-gallery
When we get back into Cairns, we have arranged a private wildlife tour at the Cairns Wildlife Dome. We will learn about and get to feed many of the animals, and get pictures taken with koalas, crocs, and snakes! Stay tuned to see those!
Tomorrow has the students visiting the Great Barrier Reef for a day snorkeling tour, and then we depart for Melbourne Saturday morning! This is a short visit here, but it gives us time to visit the Tjapukai, see the reef, and start adjusting to the jetlag and time zone differences. Then “down to business” in Melbourne!