5 things I learned Down Under

1. Beaches in January are the place to be

. . . as long as you’re not in Wisconsin. My personal favorite was Bondi Beach in Sydney; the sand was soft, the waves were calm, the views were stunning, and it was not too touristy. A close runner up is Sumner beach in Christchurch, New Zealand.

2. The Kiwis and Aussies are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet

They’re willing to explain to you the basics of a cricket game, willing to help give you directions (without throwing a fuss) and are interested in finding out where you’re from. Even the Air New Zealand safety video highlights their friendly demeanor.

3. Kangaroos and wallabies will let you pet them

Going down under means that you have to feed a kangaroo (and get a pic – otherwise did you even go?). The hopping creatures, along with wallabies, actually will eat from your hand and let you pet them. They’re super soft, and little Joeys in their mother’s pouch are as cute as expected.

4. The food in Australia is delicious

From Vietnamese to Korean to British, the food is to die for. Australia’s iconic Tim Tam biscuits are the perfect treat to finish a meal.  Even kangaroo tastes good (seriously, it tastes just like a tender steak – just try not to think of the cuties you just pet). Ironically, the only bad meal I had was American food.

5. It’s possible to survive a double digit length flight

I wasn’t too sure, but the experiences down under are more than worth it in the end.

Photos courtesy of Katie Hackbart, Laura McGlynn and Samantha Mintz-Agnello.