Semester II has already started now and here is my last post about my first semester at UQ in beautiful Brisbane (:
During the semesterbreak I went travelling for 3 and a half weeks and made many many awesome experiences I would love to write about!
I started my journey with two german friends (who had also studied in Brisbane) and a Wicked CamperVan. The plan was to drive up to Cairns within 10 days. We had already booked our tour to Fraser Island and a Sailing trip to the Whitsundays in advance. Both for 3 days, what forced us to hurry up the rest of the 10 days to be in Cairns in time.. So we probably should have planned more time for that. Anyway the tours were absolutely worth it! On Fraser Island we slept in tents and cooked our own dinner in our group of 10 people from all over the world. Unfortunately it rained most of the times, so that the tide was too high to visit some of the famous places (e.g. Lake McKenzie). But nevertheless we had a great time, mostly due to the fun tour group we had, and those 3 days were really adventurous!
The Sailing tour to the Whitsundays was pretty much the contrast. We had perfect weather and could do all the amazing activities that were planned. We stayed at the White Heaven Beach (like paradise!!), saw the beautiful reef while snorkeling and enjoyed our time on the cute sailing boat.
Also in our Van we had a lot of fun! In Maroom (a small village near Bruce Highway) I saw Kangoroos in wildlife the first time!! They were just hanging around in people’s gardens.. We couldn’t believe it!
We had a quick stop at the Josephine Falls, which are really beautiful! We took a bath (more or less on purpose..) and finally arrived in Cairnes.
I stayed in Cairns for 10 days. More than I actually planned, but there were no flights to Darwin during that period. The first time I stayed at Gilligan’s Hostel, which I can heartly recommend. The parties they have are a lot of fun and you can get to know people easily. My two german friends left Cairns earlier than me to fly to Perth and I met up with another girl I knew from Brisbane. The best thing of Cairns was the Scuba Dive! When I was under the water everything reminded me on “Finding Nemo”, because it really looked like that.. Bright and colored fish and plants and the absolute highlight was that biiiig turtle dancing around us! It was so cool and curious! Probably the most impressive animal I have seen here in Australia so far.
We also made a daytrip to the Cape Tribulation, walked around and cooked in the rainforest (: As it was not that good weather we couldn’t stay at the beach and enjoy the sun. We also visited Kuranda for one day, which is a village in the rainforest. We got up there by skyrail, so we could enjoy an impressive view over the rainforest. Kuranda itself was not that exciting, though. Very touristic as it pretty much consists of souvenir shops, cafés or tourist attractions. But the walks through the rainforest around it are nice and I got a little idea about what this landscape must have looked like before the white men arrived. We went back to Cairns by train. The Scenic Train that goes there, drives slowly and stops at the waterfalls so we could enjoy the ride through the forest.
The remaining days in Cairns I spent shopping or relaxing at the lagoon.
The next destination was Darwin. And I really liked it there! I guess it was the nicest city I have seen on this journey. As I arrived there at a Thursday I had a look at the Sunset Market in the evening. During the day I got to know two nice Swedish people so we went there together. It was a big market with loooots of awesome smelling food and music and the beach with the sunset just behind a sand-dune. For me Darwin had a little bit the atmosphere of the wild west Maybe that’s why I like it so much It was hot, really hot, and sandy everywhere. We also tried whipping at the market as there was a guy selling them and showed how it worked. We weren’t very good at it, but it was funny to watch each other trying^^
The next day we visited the museum. It’ very interesting, because it showed how Australia developed with a focus on the Northern Territory, the history of Darwin and exhibited animals of the sea and the country. The rest of the day we relaxed at the lagoon. It was really funny, because our group consisted of random people that all just had met each other. But that’s what travelling is about J
I then met some girls from uni and we took the Ghan to Alice Springs. I was a little bit disappointed by that, because I thought we would really drive through the red heart of Australia, but it was always pretty green and yellow outside the windows. But nevertheless it was a comfortable way of travelling and a nice alternative to flying all the time.
In Alice Springs we had booked the Rock Tour, which was really, really cool! It was an adventurous 3 day trip to the outback with hiking around the Uluru, the Cata Tjuta and Kings Canyon. The landscape was amazing and I have never seen something like that before! Especially the red color.
We spent the nights sleeping under the stars around the campfire, for which we had collected the wood during the day. So as I wasn’t sure if it was worth it to visit the Uluru due to high costs and long distances I’m really glad now that I did it!! It was definitely worth it.
From Alice Springs we took the flight back to Brisbane Airport. It was nice to be back home! Even though Brisbane looks different when most of your friends are gone. But I’m now back for 3 weeks and already met new nice people to hang around with.
To conclude this blog I can just say that I had an awesome time here in Australia and that I am happy to stay here for another semester! I learned to love all the differences to Europe and also learned a lot about my home continent and country. Going abroad for a longer period can change some of your views and gives you a lot to think about. I also got to know myself a little better and can heartly recommend an exchange semester to everyone. Of cause especially at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia!