Winterim 2017: Australia

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Winterim 2017: Australia

Photo taken from the Australia Winterim blog.

Photo taken from the Australia Winterim blog.

Photo taken from the Australia Winterim blog.

Photo taken from the Australia Winterim blog.

Evie Witty

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For their Winterim, seniors Evie Witty, Olivia Tirril, Kate Sullivan, and Hailey Lund traveled to Australia to work with the Tamworth Regional Council, as the council prepared for the Tamworth Country Music Festival. Here is a collection of their blog posts, written by Evie Witty. To view the blog on its original website, go to: https://tackytourist.travel.blog/blog/

January 3, 2017 (Day 1)

After nearly 20 hours of flying, Hailey, Kate, Olivia, and I touched down in Sydney around 8:00 A.M. on  Tuesday, January 3rd local time, and 3:00 P.M. on Monday, January 2nd in Nashville, TN. The time change couldn’t be more confusing! However, we were able to sleep on the plane and start our day fresh in Sydney with a coffee or two in hand after we stopped for breakfast at The Fine Food Store neighboring our hotel.

We spent the day taking in our surroundings by walking around the harbor and, of course, doing a bit of shopping as we looked around the city. It was difficult for us to compare Sydney to another city in the US. Between the bustling streets full of well dressed workers on their lunch break , the rush of busses and cabs, driving down the left side of the road, and the tall, modern buildings, it was a bit like New York city. But when you threw in the older, stone buildings it gave the city an antique look like something you might find in Paris or London.

city of sydney.jpg

After a few minutes of walking, we already had to stop one more time to grab a cup of coffee from a vendor on the street. Shortly we began talking with the young man selling the coffee. He told us his name was Dylan and he was from Scotland. It was interesting to see and meet so many people who travel all over the world and make their home in Sydney.

January 4, 2017 (Day 2)

Well fed from avocado toast and another cup of coffee, our second day in Sydney we were able to take the ferry to the famous Taronga zoo, then onto Watson Bay, and finally to Wilson Beach, all just about 20 minutes from our hotel. From the ferry we took a gondola to the top of the zoo and walked down from there to visit all of the exhibits including the animals native to Australia such as kangaroos, Tasmanian devils, and wombats.

day-2-breakfast                      taronga-zoo

The meerkat exhibit allowed us to step inside the meerkat’s enclosure and get close to the animals and see them interact with each other.





After the zoo we took the ferry to Wilson Beach, first stopping in Watson’s Bay.

watsons bay.jpg

Just 10 minutes went by before we made it to Wilson beach. It was a large strip of shops and stores that lead down to the water.


There we could see hundreds of people enjoying the sunshine and summertime playing beach volleyball, soccer, and surfing.

wilson beach.jpg

I couldn’t imagine anything better for an authentic Australian beach!

January 5, 2017 (Day 3)

On January 5th, after a short, 1 hour flight from Sydney, we arrived in Tamworth, Australia!


Our experience here working with the Tamworth Regional Council has been one that we will never forget. This past week we have been busy non stop! From handing out fliers to the shops lining the main street (Peel Street), to running errands to the post office, library, the capital theatre building, and the ever so popular laminating of paper, we have been helping prepare the town for the country music festival which begins on Friday, January 20th.

Peel Street 


View from the Tamworth Regional Council Building 


Guitar honoring the Nashville Sister City Relationship-Hanging in the Tamworth Regional Council Building


Every day we sign in with John Sommerlad and begin our day in  a meeting room where we are then told what needs to be done for the day. While some of our daily jobs have been working outside in the heat, we also have been able to stay in the the cooler air conditioning with more creative tasks like painting capes for the clowns to wear in the parade! We’re looking forward to the busy week ahead.

Posted on January 17, 2017

While Hailey, Kate, Olivia and I didn’t think it could get any better, we were asked to do an interview with the media for the local newspaper and news channel. On Thursday morning we drove to the Riverside park where many people have already set up camp for the festival. The temperatures have been ranging from low 30’s to low 40’s, which means high 80’s to even over 100 fahrenheit! These campers sure are troopers.


The Tamworth Region Mayor, Cal Murray, was there at the camp grounds to interview some of the campers himself and get pictures with us as well. The photographer snapped a few pics of all of us and then Kate and I were interviewed for the news. We were a bit nervous but everyone was so helpful and easy going it made the interview more enjoyable. That night my host family and I turned on Prime7 News North West and got to watch ourselves on T.V. When we woke up the next morning we saw ourselves in the towns local newspaper!


Pictures Taken for the Newspaper

Then, on Monday this week we were asked to do a radio interview with ABC New England North West. So, at 7:15  on Monday morning the 4 of us were again asked questions regarding our stay in Tamworth about what we do here, how we are liking the town, and the relationship between Tamworth and Nashville. Just talking about our time here in Australia as we are asked these questions has given me time to reflect and appreciate this amazing opportunity. With living in such a small town and having been seen by other people on the news and in newspapers, complete strangers have come up to us to introduce themselves. They have all been incredibly friendly and welcoming in this town they call home.

Posted on January 18, 2017

Although we are staying in different homes, Hailey and I have been blessed with two great host families who have taken us to some pretty neat places over the weekends. Similar to Nashville, Tamworth is also known for horses and the different events that go on here such as horse racing and other English and Western events. Knowing I ride horses, my host mom for the first weekend in Tamworth took me and Hailey to her friends breeding farm outside of town. We were able to see some of the horses they had there and check out the river in the back.



Hailey and cat.jpg

The next day I went with Hailey’s host family to a town called Gunnedah where they have a park where you can pet koalas and see other animals indigenous to Australia like emus, dingos, kangaroos, wombats, and different types of colorful birds. We were able to walk right into their enclosures and pet the koalas on their backs!

koala hanging.jpg        koala pt 2.jpg

This past weekend Hailey and I went were her family to the coast! The town, Port Macquarie, was a beautiful three hour drive through the countryside so we left at 6am and got to spend the day at the beach, the shops in the town, and go karting. The kids were trying to teach me and Hailey how to “catch a wave” in the ocean or body surf. The water was freezing but the sand was so hot we jumped in and had a go at this Australian way of life.




The beaches are lined with rocks that people have painted on over the years so we walked along the shore to admire the artwork!


Even though it started raining, we were able to spend some time inside shopping and were able to go back to the beach one last time to say goodbye.

beach after storm.jpg

On our drive back to Tamworth, we stopped along the side of the road to take pictures of perhaps the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen. As the sun set more, the colors in the sky grew more and more vibrant. The pictures do not do it justice!

sunset 2.jpg


Sunday morning I woke up and drove 30 minutes to Lake Keepit, a dam outside of town to spend the day with my host family and their family friends. We brought their ocean kayak, food, and blankets and spent the day playing cricket in the water, catching the frisbee, and having a picnic under the shade. It has been amazing to see as much as we have during this trip and I am so thankful for our host families who have taken us out to see more of this amazing country.

lake keepit.jpg
Lake Keepit


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