Overseas Tours

2014 G’day USA

“The trip of a lifetime in a place where dreams are made.”

By Victoria (Student)

Tullamarine Airport is where the G’day USA tour began; after the goodbyes to our families and a long flight, we finally arrived at Knott’s Berry Farm Resort, settling into our hotel rooms and getting some well-earned rest. Our first day in America started off with a day at Knott’s Berry Farm. There was a lot of things to see and do, from listening to the story of an American Indian to having a ‘splashing’ good time on the River Rapids, to eating a funnel cake (which is a cross between waffles and pancakes). After a full day of fun, we left Knott’s Berry Farm and returned to the hotel to prepare for dinner at Pirate Dinner Adventure, where we all watched pirates singing, and dancing while eating a hearty meal, and taking a few photos with the actors after the show. Once our first day was over, we walked back to the hotel and thought about what the next day would have in store for us, some of us decided to take a shower before bed, but struggled to work out how to turn the water on. Their plumbing system is a little different to ours, but once we worked it out it was easy.

Disneyland was the second tourist spot on our tour and just like Knott’s Berry Farm, there were heaps of shows to watch as well as rides and attractions. Some of the rides we went on were Indiana Jones Adventure, the Jungle Cruise, Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough, Tarzan’s Treehouse, and Splash Mountain, where a few waterfalls equal a lot of splashing, hence the namesake. Some of the shows we were able to experience included the Disneyland Parade, the Disney Princess Fantasy Fair for the little ones to see and Mickey and the Magical Lamp, each show was simply amazing. After looking around, we decided to go gift shopping for a little while before leaving the Happiest Place on Earth. As soon as we arrived back at the hotel, we got organised for bed and looked forward to the next day.

Sightseeing in Hollywood was next, with everyone trying to get photos of the Hollywood sign first. As soon as we arrived outside an Egyptian cinema, we took a walking tour and learnt about how it used to look many years ago. The tour took in some of the ‘Walk of Fame’ down Hollywood Boulevard, the names of celebrities were written on each star that we walked past, including Muhammad Ali, whose star was the only one found not on the ground, but on a wall instead, as well as the Chinese Theatre. Here there were the hand and footprints of many well-known celebrities including Will Smith and Harry Potter stars, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson. The final stop on the walking tour was at Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, filled with life-like wax figures of almost every celebrity, heaps of students were taking ‘selfies’ with them, even the American President, Mr. Barack Obama had a few photos taken with him.

Destination number four on the trip was Universal Studios, where the majority of films are created. When we first got there, we went on a tour around the studio, viewing the sets of movies such as How the Grinch Stole Christmas, King Kong, Jurassic Park and Psycho, the tour guide even explained what equipment and props were used to create each movie and bring them to life, as well as almost being attacked by Psycho character, Norman Bates. After the tour, we walked around checked out some of the rides and show times, as well as taking photos with characters from some films such as Betty Boop, Dracula (who seemed to scare one of my peers) and everyone’s favourite mystery solving pooch, Scooby Doo! Some rides include Revenge of the Mummy, Transformers: the Ride, Jurassic Park: the Ride, The Simpsons Ride and the House of Horrors. Shows consist of Shrek 4-D, WaterWorld, The Special Effects Stage, Universal’s Animal Actors and The Blues Brothers, each show was amazing and some even involved quite a lot of laughs. After having had a great time, it was time to say goodbye to Los Angeles and catch a plane to chilly San Francisco.

We decided to relax on our first day and walked around Pier 39, where we could almost get a good view of Alcatraz Island and saw A LOT of sea lions. We all decided to get the Trolley (what a Melbourian would call a Tram) into the heart of San Francisco to go shopping and sightseeing on a Cable Car. One night, we celebrated the birthday of one of our peers; everyone dressed up nice and warm and prepared to go for a ride in a HUMMER LIMO. The sights we saw out the window were breath taking, the lights were so dazzling no one could take their eyes off them. On our last day in San Francisco we had a coach tour of the city that also included a walked down the worlds most Crooked Street: Lombard Street. We all decided to leave with a bang by walking across the Golden Gate Bridge, it was a long and cold walk but we all managed to eventually get to the other end without becoming icicles. We got back onto the bus and left for the San Francisco Airport and catch the plane to our next destination.

The last part of our G’Day USA tour was located in sunny San Diego, where each student met his or her host families for the first time. I spent my time with my host student, Rebekah Dennis and her family, I also learnt that she is studying French and she plays the Clarinet in the school band. Some activities that my host family and I did were playing Tennis, going on long bike rides, playing some games of The Game of Life, watching videos on the X-Box, going to the movies to see Frozen etc and also buying several Caramel Coffee’s from Starbucks. I am still in touch with Rebekah, and my mum and her mum text regularly on Facebook. When the teacher and the rest of the students caught up together, we went to a couple of shopping outlets, the girls buying almost every clothing item in most stores. After that, we all went bowling, I did my best, but unfortunately, I am not that good at it.

Students also attended Mission Hills High School for a day, we all discovered that American students don’t wear uniforms, but free dress instead (sometimes I wish we could wear free dress everyday rather than our school uniform, haha! But I have to admit, since they introduced a Blazer, I love it, looks so smart!). Whilst at Mission Hills, each student attended classes with their host student; some of the classes I attended were Foods, Music, English, Mathematics and Science, I found each class extremely fascinating and participated in every activity.

Whilst in San Diego we went on several day tours with one of these to SeaWorld. There was again a range of rides, this time involving a lot of splashing or being sprayed by a water cannon used by one of the students. Some rides involve the Manta, Journey to Atlantis, Shipwrecks Rapids and Wild Arctic Ride, shows consist of One Ocean, Blue Horizons, Sea Lions LIVE, and Pets Rule! where we witnessed animals showing off their abilities from dogs playing fetch to cats walking the tight rope. We also saw Shamu the Killer Whale, and listened to his story, as well as getting splashed a few times. Before leaving Sea World, everyone went shopping again, buying more souvenirs for friends and family back at home.

On the last day of our tour, everyone said goodbye to their host families and thanked them for the wonderful time that we had spent together, with plenty of photos taken to remember them by. It was sad leaving, we’d had the most wonderful time. When the plane landed I was so pleased to see my Mum and Dad. That night when I climbed into my own bed, I laid there and thought just how lucky I was to have had such a wonderful experience. It took a while for everyone of us to get over the flight, but the G’Day USA tour is an experience that no one, including myself, will ever, ever forget.

 

2014 New Zealand Concert Tour

Thirty-four musicians from the Yarra Hills Senior Concert Band set out on an international tour to New Zealand in September, 2014. This was the second time the band had toured to New Zealand. The tour, combined with musicians from Upper Yarra Secondary College, saw the band perform in Auckland and Rotorua during the nine day tour.

Performances were given in Aotea Square in Auckland, and in Rotorua, the band performed for the local community in the City Square, at a Night Market, and at Malfroy Primary School. Many musicians have stated that their tour highlight was the primary school performance in front of 200 children – the primary school also performed to our students with a traditional Maori song.

As well as making music, our students were given a guided tour of the Rotorua Museum, the opportunity to go Jet Boating on the Waikato River, visit traditional Maori villages and taste the Maori Hangi [dinner cooked in the ground], luge down the side of a mountain and visit the Sky Tower in Auckland.

Day One – Sunday 14 September 

  • Depart Melbourne – 7:10am
  • Arrive Auckland – 12:45pm
  • Transfer to Base Backpackers

Day Two – Monday 15 September 

  • Breakfast at accommodation
  • Coach tour of Auckland
  • Lunch – purchase own in Aotea Square food court
  • Free time in Auckland
  • Dinner at La Porchetta

Day Three – Tuesday 16 September

  • Breakfast at accommodation
  • Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium
  • Performance No. 1 – Aotea Sqaure
  • Auckland Skytower

Day Four – Wednesday 17 September 

  • Breakfast at accommodation
  • Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium
  • Performance No. 1 – Aotea Sqaure
  • Auckland Skytower

Day Five – Thursday 18 September

  • Breakfast at accommodation
  • Performance No. 2 – Malfroy Primary
  • Whakarewarewa Maori Village
  • Performance. No. 3 – Night Market

Day Six – Friday 19 September

  • Breakfast at accommodation
  • Performance No. 2 – Malfroy Primary
  • Whakarewarewa Maori Village
  • Performance. No. 3 – Night Market

Day Seven – Saturday 20 September 

  • Breakfast at accommodation
  • Rotorua Museum guided tour
  • Performance No. 4 – City Focus
  • Dinner at Youth Hostel
  • Movie night at Reading Cinema

Day Eight – Saturday 21 September

  • Breakfast at accommodation
  • Rotorua Museum guided tour
  • Performance No. 4 – City Focus
  • Dinner at Youth Hostel
  • Movie night at Reading Cinema

Day Nine – Monday 22 September

  • Breakfast at accommodation
  • Coach to Auckland International Airport
  • Depart Auckland – 5:30pm
  • Arrive Melbourne – 7:30pm
  • Parent pick up time will be between 8:00pm and 9:00pm