By Victoria Kirkman ’20
Last week, I awoke to the sound of a shriek. My friend had found a cockroach crawling in her bag. We were waking up before the sun in a hostel room that felt like summer camp. Bunk beds, no air conditioning, or “air con” as they say down here, and of course, plenty of bugs. This is Australia after all.
We grabbed our waters and sunscreen (can’t be too cautious living under the hole in the ozone) and set off for the 3.6 kilometer (that’s 2.2 miles) trek to the Cape Byron Lighthouse. For part of the hike, we walked along the ocean that was already populated with a multitude of surfers ranging in age from young kids to grandparents. Hot, tired, and dripping in sweat after an hour of walking, we reached our destination. One of my friends called it heavenly. The sky was splashed with pink, the early morning sunlight was peeking through the clouds and reflecting off the ocean. The clear blue water was crashing over the jagged rocks at the base of the cliffs behind the lighthouse, and pods of dolphins leapt through the waves as if to greet us. It was like something out of a dream.
Later that day, we got to try surfing for ourselves, an experience that caused my respect for those early morning surfers to multiply immensely. The rough ocean conditions due to the cyclone brewing offshore definitely had nothing to do with it. Throughout the rest of the week, we visited several other cities along the coast of Eastern Australia, met people from around the world, held koalas, fed kangaroos, swam with sea turtles, sledded down sand dunes, and kayaked above shipwrecks. Now we are back in Melbourne preparing for our first week of class. The semester is just beginning, and I can’t wait for the adventures to come.
Scenes from Byron Bay Lighthouse, Australia