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Make-A-Wish trip is more magical than imagined

Taylor enjoyed putting together a Lego set of the Sydney Opera House, but the real thing was even better.

Shane, Taylor & Michelle enjoying Bondi Beach.

By Lisa Nicklanovich; photos courtesy of Michelle Easterberg

Taylor Easterberg’s Make-A-Wish trip to Sydney, Australia was not only action-packed with all the marine life he had dreamed of, but it also included many new experiences. Taylor traveled around Sydney by ferry, gondola, glass-bottomed boat, train, monorail, and even a sand jeep. The wait from 2010, when he was the recipient of the Make-A-Wish trip at Rock Canyon High School, was well worth it!

After a sendoff with bon voyage posters and treats for the plane ride by a large group of Taylor’s friends and several of his teachers, Taylor and his parents, Shane and Michelle, received VIP treatment the entire journey to Australia.

Upon arrival, the family spent a day on a private tour of Sydney. Their guide, much to Taylor’s delight, had the same accent as the dentist in the movie “Finding Nemo” (the original inspiration for Taylor’s wish to go to Australia). They visited Farm Cove, walked to the edge of the sea, and took photos in the one spot in Sydney where you can get both the Sydney Opera House & the Harbor Bridge in the photo. The tour continued around Woolloomooloo Bay (which Taylor had fun trying to pronounce and spell), King’s Cross, and Bondi Beach.

Taylor received a tour and sand jeep (dune buggy) ride from the lifeguards at Bondi Beach. He put his feet in the water and played in the sand. Taylor’s mom Michelle said, “I think he could have sat on the beach all day long just staring out at the ocean with longing. Alas, we had much more to see and we were off. I think a piece of Taylor’s heart is forever left in the sugary white sands of Bondi Beach.”

At the Sydney Aquarium, Taylor enjoyed seeing a long-necked turtle, a platypus, the penguins, and his favorite – the Dugong. Taylor fed the schools of tropical fish over the side of a boat and took in the array of bright colors and shimmering reflections.

Taylor’s visit to the Taronga Zoo began with breathtaking views of the city, but it was the interactive visit with the sea animals that thrilled him the most. Taylor got to hold a baby star turtle and an owl, pet a koala, feed the giraffes, and had his finger nibbled on by a sea turtle. Michelle remarked, “This is something we will never forget. I loved seeing Taylor so happy in his element. He absolutely shines when he is with animals and loves learning every fact on every sign along the way,” she said.

“We spent each day laughing and enjoying everything there is to enjoy in life. We are forever indebted to Sydney, Make-A-Wish, and our guides.”

To connect with Taylor and his family, visit his Facebook page at Taylor Easterberg’s Adventures.



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