Alright, a lot has happened in the last couple of weeks so I will do my best to fill y’all in. First off, classes finished up last Thursday and I successfully turned in all of my assignments, on time, and even knocked out my first exam of four. My next 3 exams are in the coming week, and I cannot wait to be completely finished with my semester, well educationally at least. Insert random thought, I am craving an Arnold Palmer like crazy at this exact moment. I digress, it is extremely difficult to even think about studying, not to mention actually picking up my notes and stuffing all sorts of facts in my brain for a 2-hour test.
As far as the fun and adventurous stuff is concerned, there has been plenty of that since I last posted. In fact, there has been so much going on that I’m sure I will forget something. 2 weekends ago a group of us went on a rainforest/countryside/wildlife tour to get a glimpse of the “real” Australia. Our first stop was Lamington Nation Park, which is southwest from the Gold Coast. Here I had the chance to sit inside a tree, walk on a swinging bridge and climb some sweet trees. There were a lot of wild birds, including some that enjoyed eating out of your hand. We enjoyed some morning tea and snacks before heading on a drive through the countryside.
On this drive, we saw several kangaroos, wallabies, mountains, cliffs, and other beautiful parts of this incredible island. We enjoyed some off road 4-wheel driving as well which is always a good time. I got to take in some breathtaking views and see what a traditional Aussie farm really is. The other main stop that we took was at Springbrook National Park, the set for Spielberg’s TV show Terra Nova. Sprignbrook is one of my favorite places in Australia. On this tour we only spent about an hour at Springbrook, as we saw the Natural Arch, home to many glow worms, which has a waterfall running through the middle of it. The Natural Arch was certainly a sight to behold.
A few days later, six of us rented a car and set off for the Currumbin Rock Pools. Here you can relax beside the water and jump off of some boulders that hang over the stream. This is a popular place to get your blood pumping by jumping off the rocks, and that’s exactly what I did. From there, we drove to another section of Springbrook Nation Park and found a few more swimming holes. This section of Springbrook quickly became my favorite natural area in Australia. There is a swimming hole, a little bigger than a hot tub, in between two waterfalls that you can kick it in. Or, that you can slide into. I decided to do both. Check out this video of my first attempt (I moved up higher on the rock after the first run went well). The waterfall that feeds into the swimming area goes down a slick rock, which makes for a perfect slide. For lack of better words, it was freaking awesome.
The last few days were spent in Byron Bay, New South Wales. This was a great chance to get away from Bond Uni and just relax, because life on campus is so stressful. Wade, Jared, Lauren, Alice, Lara, Shauna, and I rented a villa in Byron and we had a blast. We made several homemade meals, played trivial pursuit, watched Shark Week, and soaked up the sun. Did I mention that there was a pool in the back yard? Yeah, there was. Oh and the Pacific Ocean just across the street and a short walk through a National Forest away. The majority of the time spent in Byron consisted of relaxing, swimming, and eating. But what might have been the highlight for me came on Monday, when Jared and I teed it up on the links at Byron Bay Golf Club. I can now say that I played golf in Australia, which is dream come true for me. And considering my 3-month break from the game, I played quite well which was a bonus. A close second was hiking from the lighthouse to the most easterly point in Australia. I also knocked out some more gift purchasing, along with picking up a few toys for myself. I really hope I can get everything back home with me on the airplane, but I’m sure I’ll find a way.
I want to give a few shout outs to some people. First and most importantly, my little sisters, Sarah Grace and Hannah, to let you girls know how much I miss you. I put both of your pictures in my wallet and I smile every time I open it. You two truly are a blessing in my life and I love you very much! Can’t wait to see you on December 22, hopefully at the airport if Mommy and Daddy will let you stay up a little later than normal. Another shout out to all of my friends at HPU, I hope that you all do well on exams this week and have a fantastic Christmas break. Can’t wait to see you guys in January. Lastly, my man Evan who is studying in Finland and won’t be home for Christmas. But don’t feel too bad for him, he just got to see the Northern lights, dogsled, snowboard, and ride snow mobiles.
This semester has been such an incredible experience and something that I will remember for a long time to come. I have still yet to hear a Christmas song, see a snowflake, or wear a jacket this December. But getting a little sunburned, that I have experienced this December. I hope everyone is staying warm, although I heard it has been a bit warmer in NC the last few days.