I would like to give a big thank you to all of you who followed me during my trip to Australia. The four months I spent down under were incredible. The beaches, rainforests, reefs, people, and weather were all incredible; to just name a few. I plan on going back to Australia in the near future.
Until then, I will do what Journalists do. Write.
I run another blog on tumblr called Off Into the Wild. This blog features original, and guest work on outdoor sports and travel. All of the pictures on this blog, plus many more, make up the majority of my blog. The writings will be both first and second hand stories that are written by yours truly. My hopes are that the blog will turn into a collaboration of pictures and articles that invokes a sense of adventure in my followers.
"The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun." -Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild
I finished up my last class in Australia on Thursday, Nov. 29th.
There are no classes during this week at Bond. They call week 13 “Study Week,” and give students a little break before finals start on December 8th.
Most of the study abroad kids planned trips to go to places like New Zealand and Thailand this week, but I decided I wanted to stay in the Gold Coast. I have already visited all of the places needed to keep me happy with my study abroad experience.
I have three finals coming up. I take my Dreamtime to Dust and Digital Photography finals on the 10th, and my Digital media and Society final on the 12th. I will be spending a great portion of this week focusing on the Dreamtime final. Surprisingly, it’s my toughest class.
Besides studying, I will be going to the beach almost every day. I love having such easy access to the ocean. I have already been to Burleigh heads and Broadbeach this week. I wish New York had these kind of beaches!
Beth, Justin and I are making a trip to Brisbane tomorrow to visit our friend Tom. I am really excited, for I really enjoyed my first stay in Brisbane.
I turned in my final photography assignment today. Here are some of my photos I took/edited!
This past Saturday, I witnessed “Il Fenomeno Vero” take the pitch.
Rizal, Ahman and I left for Robina train station around 2pm. The train ride took an hour and a half to get to Brisbane. The train ride was free thanks to our tickets to the game. Upon arrival, Rizal took us to a restaurant called “Nando’s.” Nando’s serves different types of chicken in peri-peri sauce. I ordered a half-chicken covered in hot peri-peri, and chips (fries). It was the best meal I have had since coming to Australia.
After dinner, we started walking to Suncorp Stadium. As we got closer to the stadium I began noticing more and more people in black and orange jerseys. We walked down a street with pubs on either side right before the stadium. The pubs were packed with fans decked out in Brisbane colors. They were buzzing about the game, and how badly they needed Brisbane to win. I felt like I was going to a big European fútbol match amongst all the chaos.
The first thing we did when we got to Suncorp was go to the team store. I wanted to grab either a jersey or scarf as a foreigner. I decided on grabbing a Roar scarf.
As we walked to our seats my heart began to race. I was so excited I couldn’t help but smile.
The stadium began to fill in at 6 PM. There were Del Piero Jerseys all throughout the stadium; most of which from when he played in Italy.
Our seats were two rows back from the field. It felt like we could touch the players we were so close. After we sat down the two teams began warming up. Del Piero and Sydney warmed up right in front of us! We got incredibly lucky. I could get some good pictures from our seats.
The players took the pitch and kicked off at 7 PM. Del Piero scored twice in the match! The first goal came in the 42nd minute with a left-footed strike from 20 yards. Del Piero scored his second in the 39th minute after beating the defender with a one-two and then sneaking it over the keeper on a one-on-one.
Despite Del Piero’s dominance, Sydney fell to Brisbane 4-2.
I couldn’t have asked for a better match. All of the scoring made the match incredibly exciting. The crowd’s energy was contagious. It was a fantastic experience being able to see soccer played in another country; I would recommend it to any sports fan.
To be able to see Del Piero play, and score (twice!), will be one of my best memories in sports.
Here are the game highlights !
This past weekend I was able to cross off one of the top things on my bucket list: exploring the Great Barrier Reef.
My friends and I flew out of Gold Coast Airport at 5:20 PM last Thursday. The flight took two hours to get to Cairns. When we arrived, a bus was there waiting for us to take us to Gilligan’s (Our Hostel). Gilligan’s was 1000x nicer than our hostel in Sydney. Our hostel was very clean, and felt much safer. Right outside the hostel there were three bars. One had an outside patio that played live music every day of the week. We spent the rest of our night listening to the live band before crashing.
We woke up bright and early Friday, and walked to a marina where our boat was waiting. Once we got on the boat we were given some snacks, and got a rundown of our day at the reef. First, all those who were going to scuba dive for the first time had to go through a 20 minute safety course. After the course, our captain drove us out to the reef. Before this trip, I had never visited any tropical locations. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I’ve always wanted to be surrounded by miles of aqua-blue waters; that’s my thought of paradise.
I was in group two for diving, so I immediately had to put on all of my scuba gear. I was surprised at how heavy it was. When we got into the water, we had to do two exercises for our instructor. First, we had to show that we could clear our masks of water by pushing on the top and breathing out. Second, we had to take our respirators out underwater, blow out some bubbles, and then put the breathing device back in and clear out the water. Each person successfully completed the tasks, and we began our descent.
I saw hundreds of different species of fish down in the reef. The colors of the fish and reef were incredible. It felt like I was on another planet. After some exploring, we went down to the bottom and sat in the sand around a giant clam. Before getting into the water, our instructor told us to try and put our hands in the clam. Naturally, I stuck practically my entire arm in. To my surprise, the clam closed rapidly on my hand. It was easy to get my hand out, so I didn’t need to amputate it off. Once everyone had their go at the clam, we swam over to an anemone to look for clownfish. I can saw I successfully found Nemo during my trip in Australia! The rest of our time we swam around the reef looking at all the different fish.
Our second stop at the reef was much shallower than our first. There was much more coral, which equated to even more ocean life. I spent two hours snorkeling around the reef while the other peoples got their dives in. I could have spent my entire day at that reef exploring. The ocean has always captivated me, and I just couldn’t get enough.
(Thanks for the underwater pics, Jack and Will!)
We got back on the boat, and grabbed some lunch that was cooked on board. We all sat at the bow of the ship and took in the amazing experience we had all just partaken in. Some had underwater cameras, so we also browsed through those.
On the way back, one of the crew members played the guitar and sang. He would change up the lyrics, and got some laughs from the crowd.
We got back and everyone was exhausted from the excursion. After resting for a little while Will, Tim, and I went out and got some pizza at a local bar. After, we met up with the girls and ventured through a night market. The market had hundreds of little stands. They sold opal jewelry, boomerangs, didgeridoos, and everything else Australian. The rest of the night was spent on the outside patio of Gilligan’s listening, singing, and dancing to live music.
Saturday morning Will, Tim, and I woke up around 11 and got breakfast at a local mom and pop restaurant. After bacon, eggs and toast, we then went back to Gilligan’s to get picked up by our whitewater rafting bus. On the bus, one of the guides gave us a rundown of the Barron River safety precautions. The river was a grade 3 of 5 in toughness, but I would have given it a 2. Upon arrival we had to put on water shoes, helmets, and life vests. Our raft was first to get into the river, and our guide had us practice rowing in the small pool before the rapids. The scenery was incredible. The lush green forests went deep into the hills on either side of the valley.
After the other rafts were in the water, our rafts lead the way down the river. The rapids were very manageable; it wasn’t as tough as I had anticipated. At one of the rapids, our guide had Katie and Beth sit at the top of the raft. The guide pointed the tip of the raft at the rapid, and we surfed a continuous wave. The boat slammed up and down on the rapid and Tim, Katie, and Erica got flipped out of the raft. We scooped them up in a small pool, and continued down the river. At various points down the river we could jump out and ride the rapids down with our bodies. This was my favorite part of rafting because my body was being pulled down the river at such a fast pace. The last part of the river was a small lake. We got back on land and there were photos we purchased from a photographer who followed us down the river.
We dried off and made out way back to the hostel. We spent the rest of our night at Gilligan’s for a Halloween party. None of us had costumes, but we still had a great time.
I didn’t want to leave on Sunday. Cairns was too beautiful for words. The Great Barrier Reef was an experience of a lifetime. I plan on visiting it again one day.
Week seven is midterm week here at Bond. These past two weeks I have been spending most of my time in the library and in class. I have three projects due this week, and had two presentations last week, so it has been a little chaotic. Thankfully, I have been able to buckle down and get the work done.
I leave for the Cairns/The Great Barrier Reef this Thursday. I am incredibly excited for the Reef. This is the one trip that I have wanted to do since I found out I was going to be studying in Australia.
I can’t believe that my stay in Australia is already half-way over. Time is flying by. Each day I get to spend here is a blessing, and I plan on continuing to make the most of it.
One word can describe my visit to Burleigh Heads this past Saturday: amazing.
Burleigh Heads is by far the nicest beach that I have ever visited. The miles of white sanded coastline looked like a picture off a post card. We spent theday hiking, whale watching, swimming, and laying in the sun.
When we first arrived, Katie, Beth, and I went for a hike up the Rainforest Trail. The trail had amazing views of the beaches. After about 20 minutes of climbing, we met a couple sitting on a park bench that overlooked the ocean. The couple pointed out humpback whales that were a couple miles off the coast. When I looked through my camera, I could see their long tails slapping the water.
When we got to the end of the trail, we stumbled across an inlet. We found a spot on the beach, and laid out until Tim, Justin, and Will caught up to us. When they arrived, a few of us decided to go swimming. The water was freezing, but it felt refreshing. There was a sand barge that laid in the middle of the outlet, so we swam out to it. We could walk for almost a quarter of a mile down the bar. As we walked, we found a Jellyfish and Sand Crab. We also noticed that there was a wedding going on.
One of the beaches we found was for dogs. There were tons of people at the beach with their canines running in the sand. Every dog I saw had a giant smile on their face.
I spent the rest of my time exploring and taking pictures. When I put my headphones in, and began snapping photos, I felt at peace. It felt like I was on a true adventure..
This past weekend, my friends and I journeyed to Beerwah, Australia to visit the Australia Zoo. The Zoo, founded by Steve Irwin, is the most famous zoo in all of Australia. We left Bond at 5:45 AM, and took two trains, and a bus to Beerwah. The trains were really cheap. It only cost me $5 for the three hour venture. The Zoo was huge. I’m going to highlight my favorite points, so I don’t bore you with all of the animal exhibits.
My favorite exhibit was “Roo Heaven.” The exhibit was a large caged area that had 15-20 Kangaroos, and some wallabies. You could walk inside and feed the animals for $2. They were very friendly, and would hop over to you to be fed. Coming in I figured the Kangroos would have coarse fur. However, it was very soft.
My second favorite part of the Zoo was the Elephant exhibit. We went to the Elephant feeding. We got the chance to get up close and personal with the beasts. There were buckets of fruits and vegetables for them. Each person went up in lineand grabbed some food, and the Elephant would reach it’s long trunk to your hand, snag the food, and pop it into its mouth. The trunk felt funny on your hands. It felt like a moist vacuum cleaner was sucking the food from your grasp.
My third favorite part was the Crocoseum. The Crocoseum is a small stadium in the middle of the park. It hosts shows that Steve’s family puts on with crocodiles. We witness history for the Irwin family at our show. Steve’s son, Robert, was bitten by a crocodile for the first time! I expected his mother to be concerned. Instead, she congratulated him! Apparently its a right of passage to be bitten by a croc in that family. Steve’s daughter, Bindi, was also a part of the show. She had her own musical performance before the crocs were brought out. It reminded me of a disney channel movie. It seems like they are trying to make Bindi into a child star.
Coming into the museum, I didn’t know that Steve Irwin was such an important part of Australian culture/history. There were rooms entirely dedicated to Steve and his work. It’s amazing that he has such prominence in the wildlife community after passing away six years ago. I gained a new respect for Steve Irwin after visiting his zoo.
Last Friday, five friends and I traveled to Sydney, Australia. We planned our trip in advance through student flights. We took a bus to Gold Coast Airport Friday night, and flew out at 8:45. After arrival, we hailed a taxi, and drove to “Westend Backpackers”. The hostel we were staying at was in the middle of the city: perfect for a group of college students visiting for the weekend. The room had three sets of bunkbeds and a bathroom. We all unpacked our things and settled in for the night.
We woke up early Friday morning to explore the city. The first thing we did: walk over to the Sydney Bridge
We climbed up an observatory on the bridge and could see all of Sydney Harbor, and the city.
After the bridge, we stumbled across Lunar Park, an old amusement park near the bridge. The admission was free, so we wandered around until we found a ferry that would take us across the harbor to the Opera House.
The ferries were huge, they could easily fit a couple hundred people on board. There were all kinds of ferries and water taxi’s in the harbor that could transport you to different parts of the city.
We spent the next couple of hours exploring the Opera House. It was the most amazing piece of architecture I had ever seen.
After the Opera House, we visited the Botanical Gardens. There were all kinds of plants and flowers in the gardens. After, Katie and Beth did a tour of the Opera House. Justin, Will, Tim, and I explored the city a little more and picked up some gifts for back home until the girls were done. When the tour finished, we all headed back to the hostel for the night.
The next day the guys and I went to the Sydney Aquarium. There were so many amazing exhibits. My favorites were the tunnels that you would walk through with water on all sides. There were huge nurse sharks in one of the tunnels.
Next, we hopped on a bus to Bondi Beach, where we would spend the rest of our day. There were a lot of surfers at the beach. It appeared that there were some lessons taking place out in the swell. There were also a lot of shops on the boardwalk next to the beach.
We packed our bags the next morning and headed home. Sydney was an amazing trip. It is the nicest city I have ever visited. I would recommend stopping by to anyone who plans on traveling to Australia.
For most of my life, I have been afraid of heights.
Today: I skydived.
16 Bond Students and I departed for Byron Bay this morning at 7:15 AM. We arrived at “Australia’s #1 Skydiving Destination,” and proceeded to fill out the necessary paperwork. I hadn’t known this prior to signing up, but our dive was going to be from 14,000 feet; the highest skydive one can do with an instructor in Australia.
The plane was tiny, so only six/seven people could jump at a time. Beth and I were the first of our group from Bond to do the jump.
I thought that I would be terrified as the plane ascended. However, I was not. To the contrary, I was smiling. I couldn’t wait to cross skydiving off my bucket list. We flew around the bay, and got a scenic view of the bay’s beaches. About halfway into the flight my instructor pointed out a group of humpback whales swimming off the coastline. I was amazed, I had never seen a whale before.
Once we reached 14,000 feet we began emptying out the plane. As I came to the door I felt a huge rush of adrenaline. I sat on the edge with my instructor, and he pushed off. Free falling at over 200 km/h.
We free-fell for 60 seconds. A photographer followed us and took pictures until the parachute opened around 5,000 feet. As Walker and I descended to the landing point I began to fathom that I had jumped out of a plane. The view of the bay was gorgeous, it was something that you would see off of a postcard. After about six minutes of floating to earth, we landed.