Who knew a semester could go by that fast? The goodbye season started soon after the exams ended and no later than a week after I was done, it was my turn to leave Canberra. Leaving also meant that I wouldn’t be at the same place for more than a few days in 2 and a half months, when coming back home at the end of January.

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Get your seatbelt securely fastened for my attempt to sum up my frenetic past few months of travelling!

My exciting trip first started as a road trip to Melbourne and the Great ocean road. Put some sing along music and some really cool people with a lot of suitcases in a car and you can pretty much picture how we travelled for 4 days to the most amazing sceneries such as the twelve apostols, the loch and gorge or the amazing waterfalls along the way. We also found some very cosy places to stay which were perfect for bbqs, playing cards, movie nights and basically enjoying the holidays to the fullest. Sadly, once we headed back to Melbourne, it was time for me to say some very emotional goodbyes and head to the airport: New Zealand bound.

My trip to New Zealand was very intense as I travelled both North and South Island in 20 days. When getting on the plane, I had no idea I would see such breathtaking places and experience so many once-in-a-life-time activities. To sum up: I hiked, I skydived in Franz Josef above the highest mountain of NZ (Mount cook), white river rafted in river valley and black river rafted in the glowworm caves in Waitomo, stayed over at the Maori village and discovered the indigenous culture, hiked on a glacier, saw the Milford Sound, went to Hobbiton and met amazing people along the way thanks to the Kiwi experience. My favorite place would definitely be Queenstown or Franz Josef but let’s be honest, it’s hard not to be amazed when you’re constantly feeling like you’re in a movie. The sceneries are unreal.

Hopefully, my love story with Australia wasn’t over as I had the chance to fly back to Sydney. I was very lucky to meet my parents there and spend the holiday season surrounded by my family. After spending a few days in Sydney, we headed to the very (very) hot Alice springs. Another road trip took me along West MacDonnell national park with its numerous creeks and lookouts over the desert. The next stop was Kings Canyon, where we woke up at 5am in order to be able to hike under a bearable (they said) heat of only 40C. The 4 hours hike was a small price to pay to discover the amazing landscapes that the canyon has to offer. Have I mentioned how warm it was though? A very rocky and practically non-existent road lead us to Uluru, where I witnessed both a sunset and a sunrise over the impressive field of the lights. I know what you’re thinking but nope, it’s not just a rock. I must admit that I was a bit sceptical at first to travel all this way to see a rock in the desert. But it’s so much more, the place carries such a deep meaning for the indigenous people of Australia and is a very magical place to visit.

I next flew to Cairns where I realised my dream of diving at the great barrier reef. Diving professionally when I was younger, you can imagine how excited I was to dive at 3 different spots over a full day. Biggest achievement of all: no white sharks on the horizon but some armless sharks, clown fishes, turtles, clams and other beauties that the reef has to offer. My 20-days road trip also took me to Mission beach, Magnetic island, the Whitsundays, cape Hillsborough, Fraser island, Noosa heads and sunshine coast before arriving in Brisbane. In essence, beaches, beaches and some more beaches. I definitely won’t complain about it though, beach days are the best, especially when you know how cold it is back home.

I don’t think I could ever be able to describe how breathtaking those places are, in particular the Whitsundays and Fraser island. I’ve never seen a water this blue and a sand this white and to be honest, I could really Whitsunday every day. The journeys to those places were equally as amazing. In fact, I sailed on the Whitsundays and drove in Fraser on a highway entirely made of sand: how cool is that? I was also incredibly lucky to fly over the reef in Airlie beach where I witnessed the heart shaped reef and Whitehaven beach from above.

I spent my last days on Aussie territory in Brisbane, walking around the city and I even got the very cliché family picture holding a koala. I feel like I could be going on for hours talking about the incredible places I’ve been to in Australia but I will let you define that beauty by yourself 😉

I’m now taking my last flight to Hong Kong before going home in 4 days and I can’t wait to share my adventures around Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia with you guys.

I feel incredibly grateful for the amazing experiences and the people I met over my exchange. Being at ANU gave me the opportunity to realise my dream of travelling around Australia. Thank you Straya, I had a blast. Till we meet again ❤️

xx

Alix

If you’d like to see more of my travels, feel free to come by on my Instagram @ancalix

Kiwi culture:

Despite the completely different landscapes that the two countries can offer, you may think that New Zealanders and Aussies are quite similar and they are most of the time. However, slangs can still get you trapped in some pretty awkward situations…

  1. Sweet as: always followed by bro. Usually used instead of a regular ‘good’ or ‘okay’
  2. Bugger all: means nothing- literally. How much food did you get? I got bugger all mate.
  3. Yeah-nah: people in New Zealand talk a lot and can be very contradictive. Basically, you just have to pay attention to the last word that comes out and you’ll get it right.
  4. Something is a piece of piss: not to be confused with « it’s a piece of shit », it simply means that it’s easy
  5. Chur: means that something’s good – for some reason
  6. Jandals: thongs
  7. Chocka: if the highway is chocka, it means that it’s packed and the bus isn’t getting anywhere for some time
  8. Taking the piss: can either mean making fun of someone or if someone asks you if you’re taking the piss? It means ‘are you kidding?’
  9. Skull it: has nothing to do with an actual skeleton, it means downing your drink