This past semester, I spent four months in Brisbane, Australia studying at the Australian Catholic University. ACU is among Australia’s fastest growing university networks with over 35,000 students between the various campuses throughout the country. During my time in country, I was fortunate to meet some exciting and kin-hearted people both from “Oz” and around the world and to have many breath-taking experiences. Among them were visiting the Australia Zoo, where the Steve Irwin famously fed the mighty crocodiles and brought people closer to wildlife, swimming at Noosa beach and the Gold Coast, and befriending emus, kangaroos, & koalas at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. The high point of my time in the Land Down Under though was my vacation week spent in Cairns farther up north along the coast.
Cairns is a marvelous seaside town situated in northeast Queensland roughly two hours away from Brisbane by airplane travel. The town is situated within a bay looking out to vast Pacific Ocean and is surrounded with mountains covered with lush, emerald foliage. The backbone of the town was the Esplanade, the two-kilometer boardwalk sandwiched between the water and multiple shops, restaurants, and community picnic areas ending with a public pool on one end and a children’s playground on the other. Though the tropical climate and scenery was relaxing in its own right, Cairns served as a launchpad for the many other activities available to visitors. Within the span of a week, I had snorkeled on the Great Barrier Reef (which lies just off shore from the city), toured on cruises around the bay, traveled inland to Kuranda to behold the Australian rainforest, and witnessed first-hand the ferocity of the infamous saltwater crocodiles being fed at Hartley’s Crocodile Adventure. For the subdued moments between all of my hardcore adventures, I found relaxation with some friends at the easy-going eats along the Esplanade and swam in the public pool, for Cairns has no sandy beaches of its own.
Cairns and all of its beauty will be forever etched in my mind and remain the highlight of my Australian excursion among the other fantastic experiences that I had over the past semester. Should you decide to study in ‘Straya, make sure to plan out well in advance because it is a big country with much to see!