Gold Coast, Byron Bay – first impressions of Australia

About a month ago I got off a plane after more than 30 hours of travelling and a lot has happened since. I’ve found a great house near campus to stay in for the year, enjoyed every bit of the weather at the Gold Coast and Byron Bay and settled into university life at UQ. So let me tell you what I’ve been up to these first weeks in Australia:

Gold Coast

While Brisbane itself does not have a beach it is not too far away from the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast. So after international orientation day (BBQ, orientation talks and so on..) I got on the train with a couple of friends and headed to Burleigh Heads, a suburb of the Gold Coast.

One of my housemates knew a little path that led you past the crowded area of the beach and took you to a little cove we had to ourselves. I would really recommend walking along the coastline simply because the views are amazing, but also you’ll inevitably find less crowded areas secluded from the touristy parts of beach towns.

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Gold Coast

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Byron Bay

So this has probably been the best adventure so far, a whole group of students crossing the state border of New South Wales to spend a weekend at Byron Bay. The trip was organised by the Queensland University Exchange Student Society (QUEST) and was a great start to university life at UQ. Byron Bay needs little introduction as it remains renowned for its relaxed vibe and coastal surf culture.

The weekend consisted of spending time on the beach, BBQs, checking out the town at day and night and other activities such as surfing and kayaking. While the most spectacular thing was the weather (remember, it is still winter here), the most fascinating thing was the lighthouse walk at 5am in the morning to see the sunrise at Australia’s easternmost point (most fascinating perhaps because nobody had slept more than 3 hours). While a part of my sleep-deprived brain regretted trekking up a coastal hill at such an early time in the morning, another part of it was more than glad to do it. Here is why:

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Me (red jumper, clearly deep in my own thoughts)

I will always maintain that pictures do not fully capture the beauty of such views but I hope these photos serve as an indication.


Now I am into my second week of classes and it does seem I will have to focus more on essays and exams in the near future.Therefore in my next blog I’ll tell you all about the academic side of things here, definitely something you’ll want to know about before coming here to study.

 

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