[188/365] Top of Mount Victoria, Devonport, Auckland, New Zealand

At Devonport, we did a short hike up to the top of Mount Victoria. 360 degree views of the surrounding areas could be seen from up there. Across the water is Rangitoto Island, a volcano that we hiked to the top of the very next day. The weather in New Zealand was chilly and rainy, so we were all soaked by the end of this day.

[187/365] Quote, Travel Journal, Devonport, Auckland, New Zealand

This quote was found at the bottom of a travel journal I found at a bookstore in Devonport. I liked it.

[186/365] Heart on a Bench, Devonport, Auckland, New Zealand

A short ferry ride from downtown Auckland, New Zealand, brought us to the quaint suburb of Devonport. Using the self-guide map, I acted as a tour guide around the town. As we walked along the water, a number of the benches had these cloth hearts on it. I wonder what the story is behind it...

[185/365] Palm Cove Beach, Queensland, Australia

What a fitting last day in Cairns! We were headed next to Auckland, New Zealand where the forecast was cold and rainy, so we had to make a trip to the beach for the day! Perfect weather to lie out, tan, read, nap and enjoy the surrounding views of islands, palm trees and waves. The town of Palm Cove was about a 40 minute bus ride north of Cairns.

[184/365] Koala & Baby, Koala & Wildlife Park, Rainforestation Nature Park, Kuranda, Queensland, Australia

Finally got to see a koala up close (and even carry one)! If you look carefully, this koala is carrying a baby koala! You can see the arm and the little nose. Soooo cute. Cute animal overload haha. They're such relaxed little animals. After we saw all the koalas here, we paid to get a picture holding a koala. The person that worked there just grabbed their arms up and put it around my shoulder. It smelled of eucalyptus leaves appropriately enough.

[183/365] Kangaroo Feeding, Koala & Wildlife Park, Rainforestation Nature Park, Kuranda, Queensland, Australia

The kangaroos and wallabies are so cute! Before we stepped into the Koala & Wildlife Park, we bought some "Roo food" before actually seeing them. Just as we stepped inside, we realized that they were all over the place, just lying around and jumping around the grassy area. No fences or anything! They are so friendly. This one in particular was eating from Julie's hand, and even put one hand up on her hand. How adorable!

This park was located in the town of Kuranda, a 45 minute public van ride from Cairns.

[182/365] Hides Hotel, Cairns, Queensland, Australia

I really liked the hotel we stayed at in Cairns. It was in a great location and rooms were comfortable and cute. The hallway had colorful painted walls and posters of photos of the Great Barrier Reef.

[181/365] Turtles, Great Barrier Reef, Green Island, Queensland, Australia

We were already walking towards the ferry to leave Green Island when we spotted these big turtles in the waters just below us. There's 2 of them - one was swimming over the other one. I was so excited!! Yes, I know this isn't the greatest picture but they were swimming up and down in the water, in and out of visibility. Sad, I could have been snorkeling in that area too if we had gone on the other side of the walkway - and potentially swimming WITH the turtles. One day I'll make it happen somewhere in the world...

[180/365] Cairns Lagoon, Cairns, Queensland, Australia

We left Sydney in the evening and took a few hour flight to far north Australia, to the city of Cairns in the state of Queensland. What a weather change! Nice cool weather at night and warm temperatures during the day. Back to shorts and tank tops!We came here as a jumping point to explore the Great Barrier Reef. This photo is of the lagoon (large public swimming pool) that was just a few blocks away from our hotel. During the day and into the evening you can actually go here and swim! From one end to the other, the water gradually gets deeper. So pretty at night!

[179/365] Pocket Watch Necklace, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

This was my new purchase at Paddy's Market and it was so useful throughout the trip. Time was crucial to our travels and I always had this handy around my neck. In the background is a ferris wheel we saw as we walked to Darling Harbour. Last few hours in Sydney! Next stop: Cairns, Australia!

[178/365] Bondi Beach, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Our short trip to the beach makes me want to come back during an Australian summer. It was chilly because it was later in the day, but I still made sure I walked out on the sand and close to the water. Beautiful beach - next time I want to be in that water!

[177/365] Swimming Penguin, Taronga Zoo, Mosman, Sydney, New South Wales, ustralia

Cute penguin swimming around in the water at the Taronga Zoo, just a short ferry ride from the Harbour. :)

[176/365] View from Atop the Sydney Tower, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

From atop the Sydney Tower in the downtown area, there are views of all the high rises, as well as the Harbour Bridge in the distance. I love looking at city skylines by night!

[175/365] Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House, The Rocks, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

After leaving Espiritu Santo, I had a stopover in Vanuatu's capital city of Port Vila where I spent a couple of hours. After departing there, I headed back to Sydney. On our first full day in Sydney, we explored the areas around the Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. We made our way to the Rocks area of the harbour where we got great views of both the bridge and Opera House. The Opera House was smaller than I imagined it to be.

[174/365] Seacrab in Garlic Chili Cream Sauce, Aore Island Resort, Aore Island, Vanuatu

This is has to be the best crab I've EVER eaten. It cooked just perfectly, in a savory garlic chili cream sauce. It took close to two hours to eat it - I wanted to make sure that I ate every piece of it because I knew I wouldn't get to taste it again anytime soon. Doesn't hurt that I ate it at an outdoor table overlooking the beach. Naturally, being surrounded on all sides by water brings opportunities for the freshest seafood possible. Yum!!

[173/365] Snorkeling off of Aore Island, Aore Island, Vanuatu

Just off of Aore Island, I went snorkeling in the calm waters. Amazingly, just a few feet from shore in shallow waters, there were corals and fish everywhere. I was in awe of the underwater world that I got to experience. So glad that I have an underwater camera case!

Vanuatu is a great area for diving and snorkeling, and it makes me want to get a diving license so that I could explore deeper under the water!

[172/365] Cocktail on the Beach, Oyster Island, Vanuatu

Wow, paradise. Sipped on a cocktail while admiring the beauty of the beach and the surrounding islands... We took a day trip to Oyster Island for some relaxation under the sun. It's a small island that we attempted to kayak around - didn't quite finish because it started getting dark...

[171/365] Palekula Public Beach, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu

The waters of Vanuatu are just lovely! Swimming in the warm water on a nearly deserted beach - can't get better than that. The sun was starting to set around 5pm and it created great reflections of the sky onto the water!

[170/365] Wreckage of Plane Crash, Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu

The Americans used the Espiritu Santo island of Vanuatu as a Pacific military base during World War II, so remnants can be seen all over the island, both above ground and underwater! On the way to the beach on my first full day there, we stopped on the side of the road and walked a couple minutes to the remains of the wreckage of a plane. So fascinating to see things like this, outside of a museum setting.

[169/365] Air Vanuatu Plane, Vanuatu

From Sydney, I continued on my journey to the country of Vanuatu, an island nation comprised of 83 islands a couple hours east of Northern Australia. I spent the majority of my time on the island of Espiritu Santo, in the city of Luganville. My trip there was 4 flights and took over 30 hours from the time I left Los Angeles, but it was well worth it! They also lost my luggage and took until the 4th day to return it to me, but thinking back, I'll let that slide since I got it back eventually!

[168/365] Rainbow over Sydney Airport, Sydney, Australia

Hello friends! I am finally back! I think this has been the longest period of blog inactivity because internet was minimal and I was always in a rush when I did have it. I am going to try to do make-up blogs in chronological order.

I have returned back to the states after a couple weeks of traveling to the countries of Vanuatu, Australia and New Zealand. I think I took about 9 flights - I was all over the place. To start off my trip, I flew into Sydney, Australia to catch my flight to Vanuatu. When I arrived at the Sydney Airport, I was greeted with a rainbow!

Blog Update: Out of the Country

Hello friends! I am out of the country for a few weeks so I haven't been able to update. :( Be back soon I hope (when I have easy internet access). Take care!

[167/365] July 4th Fireworks Show, Almansor Park, Alhambra, California, USA

I hope everyone had a great July 4th weekend! It has been several years since I've been in the US for July 4th. The past couple years I've been out of the country and celebrating with other Americans wherever I happen to be traveling. So, this year it was nice to actually be able to enjoy the fireworks and BBQ festivities of this summer holiday! We went to go see the show in Alhambra where there were hundreds of people enjoying the cool weather, sitting and lying out on the grass waiting for darkness to descend and the light and music show to begin. Happy Birthday, USA!

[166/365] Molten Lava Pot, Fireworks Show, Los Angeles, California, USA

We had our own fireworks show! This was the Molten Pot one - it was a series of colorful lava-like spews followed by sparkles and crackling sounds. What a show! This was my favorite of all the fireworks we got. This photo was a 3.2 second exposure.

[165/365] Baby Kylie, West Covina, California, USA

Kylie is my friend's niece. She's just so adorable when she's sleeping! I did a baby photo shoot and easily took a couple hundred photos in an one hour span. In this one, we used a basket (as inspired by some baby photos my friend saw) and a toy friend of Kylie's. :)

[164/365] Colorful Chairs, Interior of Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, California, USA

Inside the expansive Walt Disney Concert Hall, there are hundreds of perfectly lined up chairs in a multitude of colors. I like how there's not a pattern to the colors, but it still goes so well together.

[163/365] Wimbledon Championships from Henman Hill, All England Club, Wimbledon, London, United Kingdom

About a year ago today, I was on vacation in London. We headed to the All England Club in the London suburb of Wimbledon to watch the Men's singles match between Andy Roddick and Andy Murray outside on the screen on Henman Hill. The very next day, I was in a room of fans watching the intense final between Roger Federer and Andy Roddick. I can't believe it has already been a year. Both Roddick and Federer are surprisingly out already, so let's see who takes it this year!