G’day mates!

My sister and I have been travelling for two weeks, and every day is a new adventure, full of outdoor activities. Yesterday we flew from Wellington, New Zealand, into South Australia. It was about six hours of flying (with a layover in Auckland) and thankfully the trip was uneventful.

We’re currently in the city of Adelaide, where we’ll be staying for four days before driving along the Great Ocean Road toward Melbourne.

As I look back on the last couple of weeks, one highlight has been all of the outdoor activities and adventures we’ve had exploring these beautiful islands. Whether it’s hiking, biking, or other activities, there’s always something new to experience in the Land Down Under!

Hiking

I don’t consider myself a hiker—I don’t care to walk further than the distance between my couch and the fridge. But my sister (an avid hiker) has persuaded me to join her on some incredible hikes throughout this trip.

The hands-down highlight for us so far was the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, an insane trek up a snow-covered active volcano in New Zealand’s oldest national park. The full trek is 12 miles long and climbs over 2,600 feet in altitude to a total of over 6,200 feet above sea level.

Because it’s winter, the full trail was closed, but we still managed to hike 5 miles up and down the side of the volcano. It was without a doubt the most difficult hike I’ve ever attempted—but also the most beautiful.

I wore my processor at the beginning of the hike, when the temperatures were moderate and the wind wasn’t too intense.

However, I knew from the Cochlear lifestyle guide that my Cochlear™ Baha® 5 Sound Processor is designed to operate within the temperature ranges +5°C (+41°F) to +40°C (+104°F). The processor should not be subject, at any time, to temperatures below -20°C (-4°F) or above +50°C (+122°F).

When I felt the temperatures dropping, I decided to put my Baha processor in my DryCaddy by Dry & Store®, which was small and light enough to fit easily inside my backpack. This kept it protected from the elements, which gave me peace of mind as we climbed further up the volcano.

As soon as we got near the bottom, I took out my processor and put it back on. I was relieved to find that it was working perfectly and I was even able to stream music from my iPhone® to my processor on the walk back!

Biking

Adelaide is right along the southern coast of Australia, which means we’re just a few minutes’ walk from the beach and a gorgeous bike trail along the water.

Our hosts here have two bikes that they have been gracious enough to let us use while we’re here.

One interesting thing we learned is that it’s actually illegal to ride a bike without a helmet in Australia—you can be stopped by police and fined if you’re seen riding without one. Australia was the first country in the world to pass laws making bike helmets mandatory.

My sister and I wear helmets normally, but that was an extra incentive to buckle up. Thankfully, the helmet I was given fit perfectly and I was able to slide my Baha processor on too.

The Cochlear lifestyle guide says that the sound processor must not touch the helmet or straps, or feedback will result. It is not recommended to physically alter a helmet as this may reduce the protection it provides.

Horseback Riding

If you’ve read my earlier posts, you know that I’m an avid equestrian. One of my main goals on this trip is to explore Australia on horseback.

While I haven’t had an opportunity to hit the trails yet, I’ve already looked into several different rides, from coastal trails to the Australian outback.

My plan is to take my processor along, fit it under the helmet (similar to the bike helmet) and use my Mini Mic 2+ to communicate with the staff members leading the trail rides. Then I won’t have to worry about struggling to hear them as they talk about the history of the area and any passing landmarks. I’ll keep you updated and let you know how it works out!

That’s it for this week—stay tuned next week as I share my tips for living in a hostel and communicating with fellow travelers!

 

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Skylar Mason
As a journalism student, Baha recipient, and Anders Tjellström Scholarship winner, Skylar is excited to join the team at Cochlear as an intern to tell the stories of other CI and Baha recipients! She attends the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.