3 tips for sabbaticals in Australia and Hawaii
Editor’s note: Clearly, many readers of this blog are interested in Hyland’s sabbatical program, a four-week period of time available to eligible employees that allows them to spend a month away from work to focus on other interests so they return recharged and reinvigorated. Following is our Global Healthcare Sales Department Coordinator’s take on the program. Enjoy!
After owning a restaurant for 30 years, taking a paid, month-long sabbatical was a dream. It was the longest my husband and I have ever been away from work. Thankfully, my husband is a contractor now and was able to take the time off with me.
We travelled to Australia and Hawaii last Feb 17th – March 12th. There were many highlights, but this will give you a good idea of how much fun we had.
Since I work for a great company, I wasn’t surprised that a fellow Hylander volunteered to pick us up at the airport. This was nice, as it gave us somewhere to go until we could get into our hotel. My colleague gave us a tour of the town and showed us some of the highlights we should see while we were there.
On our first full day, we had lunch with three other relocated Hylanders working on projects in Australia, did a walk-about the city and then enjoyed the White Night Festival from midnight to 7:30 a.m.
Fitzroy Park was right across the street from our hotel and a beautiful place to walk and enjoy the views. For other excursions, we enjoyed the public transportation and the ease of getting around on trams. We did a lot of exploring along the river and visited St. Kilda Beach on our last full day in Melbourne. This was our favorite stop of the cities we visited down under.
Tip No. 1: It’s pronounced “Melburn.” If you say “Melborn,” people will stare at you.
Unlike Melbourne, which was more laid back, people were more business-focused in Sydney. But everywhere we went, people were friendly. Sydney Harbor is beautiful, especially at sunset. We used a full day to do the Blue Mountain Tour, hopping on and off the bus in Katoomba. We enjoyed spectacular views while hiking and then pizza and beers at the Station Bar before getting back on the train to return to Sydney.
On our last day we did a hop-on-hop-off cruise of Sydney Harbor with lunch at Darling Harbor and swimming at Manly Beach. We wish we had more time to enjoy other areas around Sydney – maybe on our next trip!
We had a great two-bedroom suite for a week in this Miami Beach-like town and we were just a two-minute walk from the beach! Cyclone Winston had just blown through Fiji and the beaches were closed to swimmers for a couple of days, but with everything else there was to see, it didn’t matter.
Walking on the beach most mornings and sitting on the balcony enjoying the views gave us time to catch our breath before the Tamborine Mountain tour we had pre-booked. That day started in a four-wheel drive vehicle that took us up the mountain on a fire road precariously close to the edge of a cliff. In places the valley floor was hundreds of feet below. I asked our guide why they don’t have guard rails everywhere on the winding, steep roads.
He responded, “The trees should stop you if you go over the edge.”
From biscuits and tea, to wine tasting, to a BBQ lunch at a local ranch where we tried our hand at throwing boomerangs, we enjoyed every second. We saw Kangaroos, cockatoos, lizards and parrots and enjoyed our guides who led us through a rain forest to a treetop walk on elevated swinging bridges dozens of feet over the forest floor. The views were amazing!
A beautiful city with another great river ferry to enjoy. We spent our evening along the Riverwalk with a view of the lighted bridges along the river. Very nice people who kept us entertained.
Tip No. 2: If you walk on the right side of the sidewalk everyone knows you are a tourist!
We had last been to Hawaii 27 years ago, when we spent most of our time around Waikiki, taking tours and enjoying dinner and breakfast cruises. This time we decided to rent a car and explore.
Our favorite area was the windward side of the island where the local beaches were postcard perfect. We also had to check out the food trucks and surfers on the North Shore.
But after 24 days, we were ready to return home and were welcomed by news of the arrival of our niece’s new son. It was a great way to end our trip and now I will never forget his birthday!
My husband and I both agree that the sabbatical was the highlight of 2016! Even though it took some convincing to get my husband to spend so much time on airplanes (10 flights in 25 days), he said he would do it again.
So I’m already looking forward to my next sabbatical in four years. Maybe we will get to New Zealand next time.
Tip No. 3: Don’t wait 30 years to take a sabbatical!