Road Trips and Cockatoos

Flinders Ranges was spent in a Wicked campervan with friends from the village. This was my first introduction to the Australian road trip. It is very popular as I learned over subsequent adventures talked about in this blog. At Flinders Ranges, some friends from the Village and I chased after emus and kangaroos, did a hike to Devil’s Rock, at burritos under the stars. Our camp sites were anywhere where we could find a free spot to park the van. On the drive home to Adelaide we drove past rolling fields of grass, large gum trees, and sprawling fields of canola flowers. Super dope.

The weekend after this, I started my scuba certification at through Flinders Underwater Club. It was taught by Dale Rawlinson– such a nice guy– for very cheap. I got to dive at Port Noralunga, where I saw a giant sea star, reefs, and massive crabs, Second Valley under an old jetty, and other locations.

The next weekend, some friends from the hall and the village, all girls, and I started our mid semester break extravaganza. We started on the Friday school let out and returned the Monday before school started. Two weeks in total. We drove till dark on the first night, set up the camper van, and rose early the next morning to drive to Grampians National Park. In Grampians National Park we drove around to amazing lookouts over the mountains, saw sheer drop offs from cliffs, took a shower in a waterfall, and fed bread to wild kangaroos. Each night on this road trip was spent under the stars, next to a camp fire, cooking out of the back of the camper van. The next day we drove to the Great Ocean Road and started that.

For the next two days we saw what millions of years of the ocean pounding on the Granite of the coastline can do. There were massive cliff faces, strange lone towers of rock in the ocean, and good views all around. Twelve Apostles was definitely the highlight of the Great Ocean Road. From the Great Ocean Road we drove to an island where penguins lived. We saw Australia’s native Little Penguins after watching the sun set over the ocean. They come out at night. From there we drove to Melbourne and one of the girls and I went out on a date in the city. We ate dinner next to the river, overlooking the city lights.

The next day I traveled around Melbourne with one of my mates from the states, drinking beers on rooftop bars, and visiting cool shops. That night we flew out to Darwin. Darwin was a chill time. One of the girls and I spent our days drifting around, seeing the city of Darwin, and partying during the night. Our hostel was situated right in the bustling center of bars. Three days later she left for the Gold Coast and I left with the rest of the girls for the second part of the road trip– Alice Springs bound.

The first day of spring break road trip extravaganza part two we got hit by a driving rain storm, so naturally we stopped the car and danced in the rain. That same evening we landed in Kakadu National Park. There we saw cool aboriginal rock art, beautiful sunsets, giant fruit bats, and crocodiles. We did some hikes in the outback, then sent it towards Alice Springs. One of the stops was at a natural tropical thermal pool. The water was crystal clear and back-flipping off trees into the water felt amazing. After that we drove to Devil’s Marbles and camped there for the night. We played around on the weird sandstone rock formations and then sent it towards Alice Springs.

In Alice Springs we took our first shower in three days at a campsite then watched a light show over the mountains near Alice Springs. There we did an amazing hike through a gorge, jumped in cold spring pools, and ate ice cream. After Alice Springs we drove to Uluru National Park and saw the great big rock! Kata Tjutja was cool as well right near by. The sunsets and sunrises were amazing!!! The next day it was flight back home to Adelaide. Two weeks of crazy times, burritos under the stars, and falling in love with the most beautiful girl I have ever met.

Back in Adelaide I have been exploring the local area, such as kayaking for dolphins at Port Adelaide, mountain biking in the Adelaide hillsides, buying colorful vegetables at the central markets, training with the Muay Thai Club at Flinders, and 22k runs on the beach.

Luke Ryan semester exchange at Flinders University from Montana State University, the U.S.A., Semester 2 2016

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