As an exchange student even the first rain drop can be an exiting experience, but trust me when I tell you that this trip is definitely worth it.

The Blue mountains trip is organized by ANU Global Programs as part of their bucket-list trips! It’s run by a third party provider, exclusively for exchange students! The trip was just a week after Orientation week itself.

Just a few hours by bus from Canberra will be enough to reach this wonderful place and time flies when you have to wake up at 5 am to meet the group of fellow brave exchange students that will be your mates. You will either fall asleep and be the perfect subject for the “sleeping beauty selfie” or you can engage in collective karaoke activities.

Whether you are fond of animals or only interested in knowing something more about the local fauna, the Featherdale Wildlife Park is a perfect first halt and it’s on the way.

You will be able to feed kangaroos and wallabies, but first and foremost the always happy quokka. Watch koalas idly moving from one branch to another and try spotting the shy wombat.

For what concerns penguins, trust me, you are not as inviting as their personal swimming pool, so no matter what you do to draw their attention they will just politely pretend you were not there and enjoy the sun hitting their backs. Cuteness is their secret weapon… you cannot help smiling when seeing those tiny little bodies clumsily moving towards the water. 

Have a closer look to some of the animals and pat them, you’ll be surprised by their softness.

I know you will probably hate the thought of leaving, but the trip isn’t over yet: next stop are the Wentworth Falls, which will surprise you after a chilled walk in the bushes and astonishing panoramas. Maybe you will be lucky as I was and see a lyrebird resting on a branch!

If it rains, no worries, nothing could ruin this idyllic afternoon, just hold your umbrella with one hand and the camera with the other… it might seem difficult, but it isn’t, not even when you have to walk down to the waterfall and steps are slippery (if I did it, anyone can). Otherwise just put your raincoat on and enjoy the freshness of the drops.

Next, pay a visit to the picturesque, thanks to its street art neighborhood, town of Katoomba, maybe spending the night in one of the hostels, as we did.

Opt for a chilled night in the common room; this way, you can play games to get to know one another better and make new friends. Everyone here is so talkative you won’t have any troubles fitting in, even if at first you did not know anyone.

Second and last day begins with Scenic World, an awesome and unique place you can’t really miss. Choose among various rides (the steepest train in the world, the fascinating cable way, the skyway on a canyon or a walk in the rain forest) or do them all and pick your favorite one!

Small advice: if you are sort of an adventurer as I am, try prioritizing what you would really like to see, otherwise you will find yourself running to reach the assembly point on time.

Then, head to the three sisters echo point and admire this beautiful rock complex and purchase some souvenirs, either for you or for those waiting for you back home.

Don’t forget to buy an Australian mascotte for your group pictures and make sure it is always perfectly visible. An alternative could be the Australian flag… it’s up to you to decide which one is the most iconic.

Finally, challenge your friends and declare who has the most instagrammable picture at Lincoln Rocks… find the coolest spot and ask other tourists to take you the weirdest or the bravest picture ever…make everyone who didn’t come envious!

Try not to sleep on the way back on the bus, I spotted so many kangaroos I am glad I didn’t and it’s always a good chance to chat with people!