Wow, the mid-semester break was amazing!! It went by too fast, but it was my favourite part of my exchange so far!
I started out by driving the Great Ocean Road to Melbourne with my other Canadian friend and her Australian roommates. It was really nice because we got to stay at her roommates’ homes along the way and they all had such kind welcoming families. My favourite parts of the road trip were the town of Beachport and the Twelve Apostles. Beachport is a cute little surf town with some really beautiful views. I loved it there because we got to spend the night in a cool old van that belongs to one of my friends’ family friend. The Twelve Apostles were amazingly beautiful. They looked just like a postcard in real life. We ended up staying there to watch the sunset and it is one of my favourite moments.
Some other highlights of the trips were Gold Coast and Byron Bay! They were by far my favourite places! We were in Gold Coast during the end of the Commonwealth Games, so there was lots of festivals and events going on. We got to see some of the events, as well as some performances and concerts, and we watched the closing ceremony from the beach. Gold Coast, in general, has a really fun, relaxed, surfer vibe. There are lots of people walking around barefoot with a surfboard everywhere you go.
From Gold Coast, we rented a car to drive to Byron Bay which ended up being a really good choice because there are a lot of beautiful hikes and waterfalls to visit and it is a lot easier to have a car to get to them. Byron Bay was my favourite place of all, it was magical. We only had about three days there and I wish I had stayed for longer. I promised myself I would go back someday! The town has a really fun vibe and even on a Monday night the whole town is really busy and everyone is out doing stuff. It is also quite beautiful. The beaches and the hills there are amazing. I really wanted to go on a hot-air balloon trip while I was there, but it was a bit pricey. I really hope I am able to go back one day.
We finished the trip in Brisbane, which I can’t say that I loved. There isn’t a whole lot to do there. It is just a big city without much character. Looking back I would have planned the trip without Brisbane and just stayed longer in either the Gold Coast or Byron Bay.
Overall it was an amazing trip! I am officially in love with Australia! I still have about a month and a half until I head back to Canada, but I am already trying to plan when I will come back here.
Piper Matus on semester exchange at Flinders University from University of Calgary, Canada during Semester 1, 2018
Read Piper’s 1st blog here