Aschbrenner shares highlights from Australia/New Zealand trip

On May 9, Sherry Aschbrenner showcased numerous photos and stories from their trip to Australia and New Zealand in January. They hiked through a rainforest, walked through a geothermal park, saw lots of wildlife, and industrial port cities. The library’s Arm Chair Traveler Series concludes on May 16. (Photo by Kim Brooks)
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

Sherry Aschbrenner took the Monticello Public Library on a trip to Australia and New Zealand. 

On May 9, Aschbrenner shared her experiences from her trip, which she took in January of this year. This was part of the library’s Arm Chair Traveler Series. 

Aschbrenner and her husband, David, took a cruise to Australia, traveling with about 700 others. 

“It was a wonderful trip,” she said. 

Aschbrenner said they saw lots of monuments and memorials dedicated to Australia’s soldiers from WWI and WWII. 

“They take great pride in their soldiers,” she said. 

They also take great respect in their indigenous people. 

“They try to protect their culture and history,” said Aschbrenner. 

She said their first impression of both Australia and New Zealand was the cleanliness of both countries. 

“They’re clean, friendly, and tourism is important to them,” shared Aschbrenner. 

Their trip allowed the Aschbrenners to see so much wildlife and nature. They took hikes and walked through many colorful gardens as well. 

One highlight was seeing the Great Barrier Reef, off the coast of Queensland. While some on the ship went snorkeling, Aschbrenner herself just enjoyed the views. 

“I’m not a swimmer,” she admitted. 

The Great Barrer Reef is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and can be seen from space. It’s the only wonder that is a living structure. 

They also walked through a rainforest, the Daintree, that is 100 million years old. 

“It’s the oldest tropical rainforest in the world,” said Aschbrenner. 

While in the rainforest, the trop were treated to lunch. How many people can say they ate lunch in a rainforest? 

While in Sydney, they toured the famous Sydney Opera House. They also took in the Harbor Bridge, which charges a pretty penny for people to walk the summit of the bridge, usually a three-hour climb. 

Bonnie Beach is a famous tourist attraction in Sydney, and has been featured in several well-known movies. 

Tasmania is an isolated island off the southern coast of Australia. The Aschbrenners spent time on a chocolate, cheese, and wine tour there. They also sailed through the fjords and saw many waterfalls. 

“It was just gorgeous,” said Aschbrenner. 

The seas got a little choppy near Tasmania, and the Tasmania experienced 15- foot waves. That was the only treacherous portion of their cruise trip. 

Once in New Zealand, they saw the massive amounts of shipping that takes place in and out of the country. 

“They ship a lot of lumber out of New Zealand,” said Aschbrenner. 

Wellington is the capital of New Zealand, and serves as a cargo port. 

“There are lots of industrious cities on the coast there,” added Aschbrenner. 

A highlight of New Zealand was the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park. This is an active geothermal park at the southern end of a volcano. Aschbrenner said there were many mud pools and geysers bubbling up. The park also contains craters with steam coming up through the earth. 

There are brightly colored geothermal pools within the park. Aschbrenner explained that the colors come from the natural minerals within the earth. 

All in all, the Aschbrenners had a fantastic time on their trip. Aschbrenner said if they could go back, they would definitely return to New Zealand! 


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