It’s starting to warm up here in Philly (whoo!) and my feet are getting itchy to get on the road. I spent some time today browsing through my TFT pics on my laptop and can’t wait to get back to Australia. Based on listening to our news and media here in the States, you’d think nothing happens in OZ, but here are a few things you might want to know:

Water/Seasons/Traffic—they’re all opposite from ours in the States. Yes, it’s true that the water drains the other way. Also, it does in fact rain in the outback. Before I went to the outback I thought it was filled with cows, dingos and maybe your occasional Ayers Rock/Uluru. Turns out the outback is unbelievably vast and really, really spectacular. We go to a cattle station for the first part of our TFT Australia trip and get some of the stereotypes about Australia cleared up. There are indeed a lot of cattle out there and they need tons of roaming area because the land is so scrubby. But, the fact is that we’re there to do more than look at cattle. While we’re at the ranch, we learn to throw boomerangs, crack a whip, ride horses across the property and more. Way more. What struck me the most about my time in the outback was just how friendly the people are. Australians are a happy group of people! The attitude of fun was so contagious.

You also might want to know that the wildlife down under is like no other on the planet. First of all, let’s switch gears to the roo. You can actually see wild kangaroos in Australia and they’re fast little creatures. Well, ok, so kangaroos are actually pretty large and we were able to see them while we took a 4×4 tour of the ranch. They’re wild, so of course they ran away naturally. Wallabies are the smaller of the “roos”. While on the TFT trip you get quite a few opportunities to get up close to tame wallabies. I went to Australia Zoo and was able to get a few pics of myself petting a wallaby. (Sidenote: I’m a serious animal lover, so this was the epitome of awesomeness for me.) The wallabies were actually pretty lazy when I was at the Zoo. One of them reminded me of a giant cat, sunning himself belly up in the warm afternoon rays. Visitors were able to come up to him with a handful of a sort of roo trail mix they had at the zoo. He’d shift his head over, nibble out of your hand and give you a “scratch my belly” type of a look. Another wallaby was hanging out in the trees with her baby in her pouch. The animals at Australia Zoo definitely have the life…

There’s definitely more to Australia than just the outback and just kangaroos. I haven’t even begun to talk about the food, the big cities, the sports or the culture. There’s more to come on OZ and NZ; for now I’m off to take a quick stroll outside in this lovely warm(ish) 50 degree weather. Check out this link for more on our Australia and New Zealand Service trip!