I'm Candace and I'm a destination wedding & portrait photographer based out of the Washington, D.C. area. Chances are you won't find me in the DMV for too long. Come and explore my corner of the world with me!
March was a busy month for me… I was gone for dang near the entire month on another one of my Solo travels. If you follow me on Insta, you probably got a first hand account of my travels to Australia + New Zealand but Im super pumped to get to relive it all again. About 9 months ago, I was up late at night surfing the interwebs, specifically google flights, and stumbled across a flight that was too good to be true. I found a round trip flight with American Airlines from DC to Sydney for less than $800! THAT NEVER HAPPENS! I’ve been watching flights to New Zealand and OZ for months and wasn’t find anything for under $1,200 so I didn’t even think, I just booked the flight and died a little on the inside because New Zealand has always been a dream of mine.
This is probably going to shock you all but I really was not interested in Australia. Never really have been. Its a beautiful country with lots to offer, but Im a nature gal and Australia just lacks in the areas that I love most. Its perfect for beautiful weather and stunning beaches… but getting drunk and hanging out in the blistering hot sun covered in sand doesn’t sound like an ideal time to me. I love the ocean, I just hate sand so Im torn when it comes to beaches haha. Im WEIRD I know! There wasn’t much I really wanted to see or do in Australia besides their wild life. I NEEDED to see a koala, kangaroo and a wombat while I was in the land of OZ. Once I landed in Sydney I realized everything is SUPER expensive. Pretty much on point with NYC but maybe even a smidge more expensive in some aspects. Me being a budget kind of traveler, this didn’t settle well for me and my bank account. So my first day in town, I hopped in an uber and made my way to the zoo and knocked all three animals out in one day. It was a great way to spend a few hours on a gloomy day.
I even jumped the gun and booked a sunset dinner cruise on Sydney harbor that was perfect. Even with the overcast it was beautiful. The wind coming off the harbor with the sea salt smell and the views of the opera house while eating some of the best Salmon I’ve ever had. Worth every penny I spent. I should have checked the weather because it was a gloomy, overcast day I booked the cruise but the very next day it was a bright, sun-shiny day! Still worth it though. On the nice, sunny day, I let my inner tourist out and snagged a seat on a hop-on hop-off bus (Im very pro hop-on hop-off bus because it provides transportation for the entire day and you can knock out all the tourist stuff in one day). Again, not too much in Sydney I was interested in but I did want to hit up Bondi and walk their coast trail. IT WAS HOT. I sat on the rocks along the shore for about 10 minutes and my back was fried. Not sure how everyone was on the beach WITHOUT umbrellas. How do they survive? Bondi was BEAUTIFUL but super crowded so hitting the trail and getting away from the craze was super peaceful. The water crashing against the rocks was exactly what I needed to relax after 28 hours spent on planes and in airports the day before.
Even though your girl wasn’t too interested in Aussieland, I had to jump at the opportunity of seeing the Great Barrier reef! I had a choice between heading to Melbourne and seeing some of the Gold coast or heading north to Queensland and diving the GBR. Needless to say, the GBR won of course. I booked a quick 2 day trip up to Cairns, snagged a tour that offered intro dives and snorkel options and had the most incredible time! I wish I gave myself another day so I could have dived twice ( have to wait at least 12-18 hours before hopping on a plane after diving… I had a 10am flight the next morning). So I dived our first stop on the Upola reef and saw so many colorful fishes and coral. I really need to invest in dive filters for my gopro because there was so much life to the reef but the blue color of the water really drowns out all the colors my eyes were seeing. I saw a white tip reef shark, nemo, a HUGE barracuda, sting rays, cauliflower jellyfish and THE CUTEST SEA TURTLE. It was the best day ever and Im SO pumped I was able to knock out diving the Great Barrier reef while I could.
Lets take a second and appreciate this little fellow. I had one real goal, I REALLY wanted to see a sea turtle. I have snorkeled all over the dang world and have NEVER seen one until now. This little guy gave me a show. I waited patiently, fighting against the current, for him to come out from his little nook for air. My patience and endurance paid off because I had personal, one-on-one time with my little friend. We took selfies, he stared into my soul, took home videos together. We’re pretty much bffs. I was sad to have to say goodbye to him. His colors were incredible.
I only had 5 days in Australia. New Zealand was my crowned jewel and I CANNOT wait to show her off to you guys!