A Day at the Steve Irwin Zoo

By on 10-02-2012 in Australia 2012

A Day at the Steve Irwin Zoo

G’ Day Mates!

Yesterday all 13 immersion participants along with the Davisons took a trip to the Steve Irwin Zoo. We met in the parking lot of our hotel, and then set off to endure a three hour drive to our destination. Upon arrival we grabbed our tickets, checked our itineraries and communicated a meeting time and place. Soon after, we separated into small groups and began our sight-seeing journey. The groups were as follows: Carl, Barend, Brother and Quinn; Cierra and Brittany; Joy, Ericka, myself and Kelsey and Caprice and Megan.

Our first stop was to see the Komodo dragon. I should mention that I am the epitome of a “girly girl” and most insects and reptiles scare me half to death. However, I was not as afraid of the reptiles as I thought I would be. There was something about the creatures that made me see them in a different light. I am not sure if it is because I am in Australia and am learning to step outside of my comfort zone or if it is because I have outgrown some of my childhood fears. I was not ready to pet them or anything close to that, but I left the reptile display with a new appreciation for their beauty.

As we walked and tried to use our handy dandy maps of the zoo Brittany, Cierra, Kelsey, Joy, Ericka and I were given the opportunity to pet a baby crocodile. I was not surprised that everyone was more than excited to do so and felt like a stick in the mud for not joining in the fun. Yes readers, I am a chicken. Cluck, Cluck. After about an hour, we finally got the hang of the zoo map as well as the layout of the zoo. We were able to get on a shuttle for a very short trip to feed the elephants. Have any of you ever fed an animal at the zoo? If so, what zoo did you go to and how was your experience?

My experience feeding the elephants was pretty memorable. I was so nervous that I clung to my camera—which was located in my left hand—very tightly. You are probably thinking: “Why would you be scared to feed an elephant?” To be honest, I am not sure why I fear animals and insects, but I do.  As a result, I have no happy snap to show for that experience, but am very glad that I had the opportunity to do it. It was not that bad after all.

The best part of the zoo trip for me was the Wild Life Show. Somehow, all of the immersion participants, excluding Caprice and Megan, attended the show. The audience was welcomed by a swarm of beautiful and vibrant birds that flew from trainer to trainer. Then, we were introduced to Charlie, a very aggressive crocodile who made one of the trainers, Kelsey extremely nervous.

Charlie, like other crocodiles, is very territorial and threatening. Though I would not want to get in the water with him, he was full of entertainment and kept me wondering throughout the show. I was secretly praying that none of the trainers got hurt because Charlie did not seem to be enjoying the crowd. The show was my favorite part of the zoo because it involved a demonstration and was easy to follow, not to mention the animals were not close enough to touch.

Overall, I enjoyed my time with my peers at the zoo. I will never forget the day I pet a Koala and fed the elephants. I am confident that I will always remember Charlie and am fortunate to have had the opportunity to go to the Steve Irwin Zoo. I did not know much about him prior to the trip, so I am glad I was able to learn a few things and see his life through photographs and memorabilia.

Fun Fact- Steve Irwin’s daughter Bindi, was three the first time she made her debut on The Crocodile Hunter Diaries.

 

On the way to feed the elephants.

Carl, Ericka, Brother, LaTanya and Caprice

Here is a photo of Charlie being Charlie

 

 

 

 

 

A Day at the Museum

By on 10-02-2012 in Australia 2012

A Day at the Museum

G’ Day Mates!

Yesterday a couple of the immersion students, including myself decided to take a trip. We went on a small and inexpensive outing to the Hervey Bay Historical Museum. (The entire trip cost: $2.00 and was in walking distance of where we are staying) Upon arrival I was not very impressed and thought that it was a bit run-down. However, after a couple of minutes, a few happy snaps and amazing conversation with the locals, I quickly discarded that idea. After speaking with one of the volunteers, Jan, I realized that it was not run-down, but indeed a historical sight. The museum is filled with objects and machines that are over 100 years old. I don’t know about you guys, but that is pretty impressive to me. The fact that the workers are able to take care of their old pieces shows just how proud they are of their Australian history.

After our minor photo shoot outside of the museum, we were greeted by some of the volunteers, then encouraged to go on our own tour. The group and I walked through the location, snapping photos and marveling at the beauty that is and was Australia. We then headed out the back door and into the yard filled with a little bit of this and a little bit of that. We saw a total of 18 beautiful rooms and numerous historical pieces.

We stopped by the dairy station, which according to the museum’s website was built in 1898, and contains implements used in the early days of dairying in Australia. The group and I also viewed happy snap worthy items from the local product shed. There were many items related to local products including: bottling machines and a wire mattress weaving machine from way back when. Though most of the items were imperative articles people needed to survive in the past, the most important fact we learned was from our newest friend—John. Like Jan, John is a volunteer at the museum and very much a people person.

He included “The Americans” in his rope tutorial, and then took us to a shed where he demonstrated the importance of corn simultaneously teaching this student reporter the importance of having gratitude for what we already have. In the past, not only were there limited resources, but there were also limited funds for food and other basic necessities. So, people used the corn cob to wipe themselves after trips to the bathroom and to make smoking pipes. They also used corn husks to create fashion forward dolls and stuff their beds for comfort.  Lesson learned: there is more to corn than adding something nutritious to your meals.

During our mini- excursion, we were treated with nothing but respect and many of the locals were nice enough to take group photos of us while we walked around to view the many tourist attractions. We stayed at the museum and I can tell you from experience: time flies when you are having fun. Have any of you taken any trips to a museum or gallery lately? If so, where did you go?

Phrase of The Day:  “No Worries.” This simply means no problem, it is alright, you are welcome, etc..

 

Central Penn Students at the Hervey Bay Historical Museum

We are very thankful for stores that have rope. That was hard work.

 

 

Blue

By on 10-02-2012 in Australia 2012

Blue

Our view after hiking up Indian Head rocks.

As long as I can remember, whenever anyone asked what my favorite color was, my reply was “blue.” I never gave it much thought until a few months ago when I was walking on the Stone Harbor (NJ) Point Beach. I was experiencing pure bliss and was trying to put my finger on why I was so totally happy there. Then it hit me! I was surrounded by blue. The blue water and blue skies were enveloping me. The whole town seemed to glow with it. My condo was on the bay and the view from my windows was nothing but blue skies and blue water there also. I’ve had that same blissfulness here in Australia; first while on the whale watching trip last week and again on our Fraser Island trip.
I almost passed on the whale watching trip. I’ve been on many half-day boat trips in New Jersey, but I would always opt for the fishing trips over the whale watching trips. I’m more of a doer than a watcher. I’m glad I chose to go on this trip here in Australia. As when on the fishing trips, just being on the boat was enough for me. I positioned myself on the bow and just sucked it all in. The whales were awesome, they put on quite a show for us, but the blue renewed me.
The blues I experienced on our Fraser Island excursion were exquisite. I didn’t want to leave. When Professor Davison said at one point that they could leave me behind, I replied “please.” The first day we went to Lake McKenzie and Basin Lake. The white sands were so beautiful, but it was a little overcast and we didn’t get the full effect represented in the travel brochures. The next day was my favorite, though. We drove for a long time on the beach, I took a plane ride, and we swam in the Champagne Pools and Eli Creek and climbed Indian Head for some unbelievable views. I was in heaven. I allowed the blue to wash over me and gained an appreciative perspective of the journey that led me there. Life is good. God is great.
The third day we hiked to Wabby Lake and Lake Birrabeen. The sands were wonderful and the weather was cooperating, but the ocean is my touchstone. I may go back before we leave Australia next month.
What is your touchstone? Where do you feel the most at peace?

Chasing Kangaroos

By on 10-02-2012 in Australia 2012

Chasing Kangaroos

Mama and Joey

G’Day Mates

This is professor Davison. My wife, Mary Davison (aka Mama D) and I are escorting 13 Central Penn students on a cultural immersion program in the land down under, Australia. We are staying in Hervey Bay, Queensland for 7 weeks. Students are earning credit by interviewing local people, reading books about Australia, planning and participating in learning excursions to different parts of Australia and conducting research on selected topics.

‘Roos on the Ridge

One of the delightful things we encounter in Australia are the kangaroos. They run wild in Australia much like deer in the United States. The kangaroo is a truly unique animal. It is one of the most efficient runners (or should I say hoppers) of all animals. It can go at high speeds for long distances. The female kangaroo, once mature, is always pregnant. Her pregnancies are of varied length, depending on whether there is a joey in the pouch. Once the pouch is clear, and not until then, the new kangaroo (joey) can be born.

So, a few days ago, at about 6:00AM in the morning, Mama D and I ventured out to see if we could find some wild kangaroos. We had great success. Just on the outskirts of Hervey Bay we found altogether 15 kangaroos, including mothers and joey’s, both in and out of the pouch. Since then I have been taking car loads of students (4) to look for kangaroos at 6:00 AM every morning. The first group (Brittany Woodard, Caprice Taylor, Cierra Warner, and LaTanya Gilbert) saw altogether 20 kangaroos from the car. While driving down a dirt road, a kangaroo jumped out of the woods just 10 feet from the front of the car and bounded down the road ahead of us before disappearing in the woods. The second  group (Quinn Wetherall, Barend Woode, Marilee Houtz, and Joy Graves)  saw a similar number. This group was not satisfied with seeing them from the car, however. They got out of the car and followed the kangaroos through the woods. Unfortunately, the kangaroos were quite a bit faster than our students.  Tomorrow we all embark on a three day exploration of the World Heritage site, Fraser Island (look for another post from one of the bloggers), but when we get back, the rest of the students (Carl Roberts, Kelsey Berkheimer, Megan Champagne, Brother Dent-Bey and Ericka Joseph) will get their turn at chasing kangaroos! (By the way, there is a very good book by that title).

Mama and Joey in the pouch

Cheers, and enjoy the photographs!

Professor Davison

I’m on the Other Side of the World!

By on 10-02-2012 in Australia 2012

I’m on the Other Side of the World!

Hi, my name is Marilee Houtz and I will be sharing my journal entries from Australia with you. I hope you enjoy these posts.

30 Sept, 2012

I’m in Australia!  I’m on the opposite side of the world and everything is opposite.  I guess I should share what got me here.  I’m not your normal college student.  I’m a 54-year-old woman with 5 daughters and grandchildren numbers five and six due in April.  My life has taken some wild turns in the last few years.  I finally got out of an abusive marriage, lost 60 pounds, got a great job, made a bad career move, lost a great job, went back to school, and am now living the life.  That about sums it up.  It has not been a total piece of cake, though.  I lost my only sister this year, and that still breaks my heart every day.  I took my classes online last semester, and fulfilled a lifetime dream by spending the entire summer at the beach. Now I’m on a beach in Australia!  What a wild ride it’s been.  Sit down, shut up, and hold on!

LaTanya is teaching me how to blog, as I am a dinosaur and have never blogged before.  I hope to give readers a different (i.e. older) perspective on our journey.  I hope I don’t bore all you young whippersnappers too bad!

The trip here was a grueling 30 hour ordeal, with an 8 hour layover in LA, a 14 hour flight to Brisbane that took off at 1:45am our time, and a 3 hour bus ride to Hervey Bay.  Our motel is directly across the street from the beach with a beautiful walkway that goes on for miles.  The weather is not conclusive to the beach yet, but it is turning from spring to summer here, so we should be having beach days soon.

We’ve been exploring the town, and I went on a 3 hour walk the other day to find where my Weight Watchers meeting would be the next day.  It didn’t look that far on the map, but my blisters proved me wrong.  I found a lot of interesting and useful places along the way, so the girls and I took a bus trip to the mall I found the next day.  Hervey Bay is a small quiet resort town, and there is not much in the way of urban conveniences or nightlife, but it is beautiful.  It is totally different than Stone Harbor, where I spent my summer, but I am learning to appreciate it.  As the sun gets brighter, the water is turning a tropical turquoise blue.  We are taking a trip to Fraser Island next week that has beautiful white sand beaches, and I am planning an excursion to the Great Barrier Reef.  Life is good.

I enjoy walking and exploring when I travel.  What do you enjoy when traveling?