Orientation

AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND

Intern Down Under celebrates the best of Auckland and Sydney with a five day orientation in both locations. We take students to the wild corners: from remote beaches to mountain trails. Learn about the Aboriginals and the Maori people who first roamed these lands. Discover wildlife unique to the Pacific. Hear from locals on what makes their homes so unique.

AUSTRALIA

Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains caught my imagination some fifteen years ago when I first traveled the country. The chance to share the eucalyptus-covered canyons with Intern Down Under participants was surely the highlight of my trip. The Park is home to waterfalls, steep cliffs, and both dry and wetland forests. Our crew emerged from the trails a tad redder, but all the better, for the experience.

My Impressions of the Blue Mountains

By Alana Elliott

We started our Blue Mountain adventure at the Culture Center in the town of Katoomba. Here we learned a little about the mountains and the animals that call the place home. We found ourselves in a beautiful exhibit that had projections of local plants and trees up on the wall and sounds of the animals completed the ambiance. After taking in some facts, I headed to the trails with a new perspective and excited to witness one of the most fascinating areas I have been lucky enough to visit."

 

Since I'm not the biggest hiker, I decided on a short 30-minute trail called Three Sisters Walk. Hannah and I were delighted by the trail we chose. The mountain views were stunning. There were plenty of lookouts to take photos. They showed the natural beauty of Australia and let us brag a little to our friends and family back home. The trail was very easy which allowed us to joke around and dance as we meandered, as opposed to the guys and their five-mile intense mountain climbing. Thirty minutes later we finished our loop.

With nearly three hours before the boys would return, we decided to walk up the road towards town and see what other fun things were in the area. We first stopped at a small chocolate shop which had free tastings, the perfect reward after our strenuous (a little bit of an overstatement) hiking! We continued and found ourselves in an amazing alleyway called Street Art Walk Katoomba. We explored the alley and found colorful murals sprawling over all the sides of the buildings. We had an impromptu photo shoot with some of the images in the background and after about twenty minutes made our way back to the trails.  Once the boys had finished their hike, we all hopped back in the van for our two-hour journey back to our new homes, filled with the excitement of the day!

Royal National Park

Royal National Park was an off-the-beaten-track stop on our Sydney tour. Our crew wanted to visit places that they might not otherwise see and Royal certainly met the criteria.  An hour drive south of the city, Royal boasts hiking opportunities where you start in the lowland hills and end up on secluded coastlines. Pulling off the scenic road, we only had to walk a hundred yards into the bush to discover the unique wildness of the area. Together we discussed the philosophy of Park preservation and how the idea is one of the great exports of the West.   A popular destination in the Park are the Figure Eight Pools. They provide a stunning reward after a bush hike.  

Bondi Beach

Bondi Beach is one of the most happening places in Australia. Coming over a hilltop, we caught a glimpse of the swarms of people with sunburnt flesh. There was a collective “wow” that came from all seats in the van. In short, this was THE beach that they had seen in pictures and imagined when they got on the plane to Australia. We had some “foodies” who spent their time in search of unique cuisine. Others were content to shed their shoes and walk near the shore break. Still, others curled up under trees to read a favorite book. Like many of our stops, this was a place where everyone got to do their own thing. One of the highlights of the area were the “Icebergs” – man-made pools with waves crashing over their sides.