It has been a long time since I have updated this blog – and a lot has happened in that time. My last update occurred right after mid-semester break, and now, I am writing this blog during my last few days in Sydney.
One thing that attracts many people to studying abroad in Europe is the thought of traveling the world. Studying in one place while being able to see thirteen other countries in the same semester is the typical drawing point for the European experience. And do not get me wrong, I understand the appeal, but if that is what is drawing you to studying abroad, do not count Australia out. The Australian abroad experience can consist of travel and new adventures just as much as other locations. Australia is a big country itself – hosting many unique and gorgeous environments in all its corners – as well as being closer to many Asian countries and islands that would be hard to easily travel to from America. On the plus side, Sydney itself is only a few hours away from many of the hidden gems of Australia.
Here is an overview of some of my “out-of-sydney” trips and little highlights of each place.
Gerroa: A 2 hour car ride south of Sydney. Has the most beautiful beach (7-mile beach), surrounded by a quaint and quiet coastal town. A good place for a relaxing getaway for natural beauty.
Melbourne: Only took a 1 ½ hour flight to arrive down in Melbourne. Located in Victoria, this city boasted a stronger “city” feel than Sydney. Filled with a lot of shopping malls and good restaurants, Melbourne is recommended for more of the city experience than a beach one. Highly recommended to go to Melbourne for the Great Ocean Road, to see the Fairy Penguins, and to take the Tram.
Jervis Bay: A 3 hour car ride from Sydney. To make the trip even better, my friends and I took detours to places on the way (Wollongong, Minnamurra, Kiama). Jervis is home to some of the whitest sand and crystal clear blue water. On my trip we even had a friendly Kangaroo show up in our backyard!
Port Stephens: Going up toward Newcastle, just 2 ½ hours driving from Sydney, you will find yourself in Port Stephens. A place with 24 stunning beaches, sand dunes that you can slide down, and host to hundreds of dolphins, Port Stephens is a place of natural beauty that could be a day-trip destination or take up an entire weekend.
Whitsunday Islands and Airlie Beach: A MUST see. Take a 3 hour flight up into Queensland and you will find yourself in a postcard environment. The Whitsunday Islands are an idyllic place, filled with the most pristine beaches, bluest water, and pieces of the Great Barrier Reef. While here, my friends and I sailed to Whitehaven Beach, snorkeled the reef, saw whales, and soaked in the sun (which is much hotter, and way more intense in Queensland than NSW – make sure to wear sunscreen, even if it is “winter”).
There are many other places you could go: many of my friends went to Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Byron Bay and even departed the country to arrive in New Zealand, Indonesia, and Fiji. If you are put off by studying in Australia because you think there is nowhere to travel, you are wrong! The options are endless and all that matters is how you take them on. And in the end, for me, my favorite memories were spent at my home base in Sydney, not amongst the crazy traveling experiences (even though they were still exceptional).