Can you believe that I’ve been in Australia for two months already? Two months that I packed all my life in a 30kg suitcase and left my home country Belgium and my home university in Maastricht, the Netherlands to move to Canberra. Despite being the capital, this city gives you the cozy feeling of being in a much smaller town and you are soon unable to go out of your place without seeing someone you know. I must admit I did have a shock when arriving in Canberra, although not a cultural one but rather a thermic one… I left the warmest summer has ever experienced to face the coldest winter Canberra has ever seen: pretty frustrating right? Don’t get me wrong I’m not to be blamed, the weather is getting warmer and travelling makes you forget largely about the cold.
Before I start getting emotional about how half of my time in Australia has already gone by, let me rewind back to some of my recent adventures such as my trip to Blue mountain or my trip to the gold coast over the semester break.
Blue mountain was a trip that I booked before even coming to Australia, and it turned out to be an amazing experience. I had the chance to meet and travel with a bunch of other exchangers, who made the hikes under the rain really fun. Luckily, we managed to see the three-sisters on our first day there, it would have been impossible the next day because of the fog! It was a great opportunity to further learn about the aboriginal culture, as well as an opportunity to hike in a typical rain forest. Not to mention the fun evening spent playing cards before ending the evening dancing in a live jazz music bar.
Two weeks ago, I arrived in Byron Bay. If you can picture the Australian cliché as being a town full of surfboards and surfers, a chill and laid back atmosphere, beach and hipsters restaurants, you probably already know what Byron Bay looks like. In my time there, I had the opportunity to see wild dolphins while kayaking, watch the sunset at the lighthouse (fun fact: it’s one of the few places in the east of Australia were you can actually see the sunset), and I even managed to bike to Whitesbeach. Although it may not have been the greatest idea to bike there, I’ve rarely seen such a beautiful beach and since it’s pretty hard to find, it really makes you feel like you’re the only one there.
My journey went on to the Gold coast: Burleigh heads national park, eating out in Surfers paradise and Springbrook national park (turned out to be a pretty clever idea considering that it’s snake mating season and not many-basically none- public transports to get there): all those places make you feel peaceful and wanting to see even more of Australia. Finally, my trip ended in Brisbane where I had the chance to hold a Koala and feed kangaroos at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. Is it cliché? Probably. Did I absolutely love it? You bet I did. Brisbane is a beautiful mix between culture and art, hip restaurants, gardens and it even has a man-made beach in the middle of the city. Morteon island was another highlight of the trip: stand up paddling, snorkeling in shipwrecks and eating ice-cream on the beach.
Those trips got me even more willing to discover the rest of Australia, starting with Melbourne next weekend, followed by a Surf camp in Sydney, before travelling to Perth, Cairns, as well as other countries such as New Zealand and a bunch of Asian countries before going home.
Can’t wait to share more memories with you guys,
Ps: If you want to follow me on my adventures around Australia follow me on my Instagram @ancalix
Arriving in AustralIa, I must admit that I underestimated the Aussie slang, which got me into a few awkward situations. Here are a couple things to know about Australians and their slang:
- Aussies will finish every sentence by ‘Hey’: ‘How are you doing hey’ ‘What do you rekon hey’
- Aussies abbreviate everything, literally everything: it would go from Straya, arvo, defo, brekky (or brekkie), sunnies, barbie, bottle-O to the less obvious Uey, cupa, tinny or sanga
- Maccas isn’t a nickname for McDonalds… it is McDonalds
- Aussies wear thongs are the beach, that’s just how they call flip flops
- Woop woop: isn’t a cheerful sound but is a place far from everything
- To pull a sickie means to call a sick day off work… when you’re not actually sick
- Footy, rugby and football are complete different things. No one can actually explain you what the difference is but don’t go mess them around if you don’t want to have an aggy Aussie.
- Half of the shelves in the supermarkets are dedicated to Tim-tams
- You’ll probably visit more of Australia than an Aussie will ever do… but they’ve probably seen more of your own country as well