Great Australian Road Trip

September 30, 2013

in Australia, Elora Majumdar, Fall 2013, Oceania

Well, spring break (or mid semester break as they call it here) has officially come and gone, and I’m sad to say that I’m about halfway through the semester. How on earth that happened so fast, I have absolutely no idea.I feel like I just moved in! Anyways, mid semester break here lasts for a full two weeks! So of course five of my friends and I just had to take advantage of it and decided to rent a couple cars and go on a road trip up the east coast of Australia, from Sydney to Cairns (where the Great Barrier Reef is). Needless to say, it was an epic 15-day road trip and definitely a trip I will never forget.

Stop 1: Byron Bay

Byron Bay is basically the epitome of a hippie surfer town. It’s has the most laid-back vibes of any place we visited during our trip, and any place I’ve been to in general. It’s pretty small but full of lots of random surf shops and boutiques, restaurants, and bars. We spent all three days we were there lying on the beach, which (believe it or not) wasn’t overcrowded at all for such a popular tourist area. Apparently the population of Byron Bay consists of just 4,000 people, but on any given day there are about 30,000 people in town due to tourism!! Even cooler than that fact is the fact that Byron Bay contains the most easterly point in Australia at Cape Byron!

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Stop 2: Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast

Surfers Paradise is basically the equivalent of Miami in the U.S, a beachcity famous for it’s nightlife. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to do anything the first day we got there because it was pouring buckets! On the bright side,the terrible weather gave us a chance to meet people staying/working at the hostel. Because the hostel we stayed at was small, everyone hung out with each other all the time, and we even ended up exchanging contact information with quite a few of the people we met! The hostel also organized outings every night to check out different bars and clubs in the area, which gave us a nice way to explore the nightlife with locals. Our second day there it still rained a bit in the morning, so we decided to head to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary about a half hour away to hold some koalas! Let me tell you, holding Bebe the baby koala was one of the greatest moments of my life (I have a borderline unhealthy obsession with koalas)!!!! In addition to holding the koala, which was definitely the highlight of the day, we got to hang around and feed kangaroos, watch a crocodile show, and see various forms of exotic wildlife native to Australia. On our third and last day there theweather was FINALLY nice enough to head to the beach.  It was a great way to end three days in a city that lived up to its name. Well, aside from the rain…

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Stop 3: Brisbane and Noosa (FRASER ISLAND!)

Almost halfway through our trip, we spent most of the next day in Brisbane, and then headed further up the coast to Noosa later in the day. It was unbearably hot that day, so after walking around the city for just a bit, we decided to head to a manmade lagoon in the city. The lagoon was withouta doubt my favorite part about Brisbane! It felt like paradise with palm trees all over the place. The best part was the fact that the lagoon overlooked the Brisbane skyline, a sight to see for sure. It was a great way to cool off before we drove two hours north to Noosa! Since we got to Noosa in the late afternoon/evening we didn’t do much, but it was still a quaint little vacation town to walk around in. The next day we woke up bright and early for a day trip to Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world (five times the size of Singapore)!!! Hardly anyone lives on Fraser Island, but it has a few attractions for tourists, the main one being Lake Mackenzie, a large, crystal clear freshwater lake in the middle of the island. As if the beautiful lake waterwasn’t enticing enough, the lake was surrounded by silica sand, a very soft, fine white sand. We also got to see a rainforest, go four wheeling all over the island, and…wait for it…SAW A DINGO UP CLOSE!!!!!! For those of you who don’t know, a dingo is a bit like a dog but deadly when provoked. In fact some rural areas in Australia have had problems with dingoes eating livestock! And to think, I got to stand about 3 feet away from one. Terrifying, but thrilling, and definitely something I won’t forget.
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Well, unfortunately since I’m back in Sydney it’s time to get back on my school grind, but my next post will consist of the second half of my trip, which I’m already excited to share!
Hint: it just gets better and better!!!

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