Kondalilla Falls “rushing water”

 

Because we had a car we decided to take a little road trip to the Kondalilla Falls. This was not the smartest idea because it was the middle of winter and it was raining. We figured we wanted the full effect of a rain forest while it was raining because if you go to a rain forest when it’s not raining then it’s just a forest right?

Pictures do not describe how beautiful this place actually was. To see real waterfalls and the green trees as they sparkled with fresh rain water was more than beautiful. A little wet and cold, but beautiful.

Friends of ours had visited this place in the summer and were able to jump into the water by hanging ropes and enjoy the scenery around them. Well, Andrew, Shaun and I decided we were not going to let a little winter slow us down from enjoying the beautiful water. So, we decided to bring our suits along and jump into the water, for the experience right? Wow, I have to say that was probably the coldest water I have ever been in. I mean, SO cold that as soon as you got out of the water you probably lost 50 calories because your whole body goes into overdrive and suddenly you’re warm, really warm. I have to say though as cold as it was it was 100% worth it because we all had to do it twice.

You cannot tell by the picture but I am literally shaking it was so cold and rainy but wow was it amazing. I’d do it all over again if I could. :)

Driving in Aussie

Not many people can say they have driven on not one but both sides of the road in their lifetime and I am lucky enough to say that I have. At first I thought it was going to be extremely scary I mean you even get in on the passenger side which blew my mind the first time I got into a person’s car. But I guess I was merely over thinking it because once I got behind the wheel it felt as natural as driving back home. Well, as natural as it can be. The petals were still in the same place and the seat was positioned just the way I liked it but back home I drive a jeep so driving a tiny car was a little strange. Plus the turn signals were on the right side and up was to go left and down was to go right. What I learned right away was if you mistake your lefts and rights and put up the left lever by accident and not the turn signal you get the windshield whippers instead. Let’s just say the first few times getting behind the wheel it should have been raining. 

What I had to drive through

I was lucky enough to get the shift where we drove through the mountains, day and night. By driving through the mountains I mean at some points there weren’t any lines on the road which was confusing and some parts were so narrow you felt like if a car drove beside you you’d for sure crash. Not only this, but there were so many hills that the car was exhausted and kept making loud sighing noises. But it was fun and it kept my eyes on the road. And it was beautiful. Although it wasn’t the nicest day out the trees were an amazing green. It was definitely a sight to see.

 

 

G’day Outback

Our initial plan was to rent a car and drive the 9 hour journey to a highway that would hopefully lead us to the glorious outback. Well, that was the plan at least. But as we were talking through the mini road trip and going through google pictures our Australian friend Emily goes, “All these pictures look like my home town, what do you guys really want to see?” “Nothing” Andrew and I responded. And we didn’t because we wanted to be on a road where we saw nothing, just like the Outback Steakhouse commercials. Emily showed us pictures of her hometown and we figured we should go to her house which was only a 2 1/2 hour drive and see her hometown. This way we could stop and see pretty nothingness AND see her hometown which she considers is in “the bush”. So Andrew and I did a large leap of faith and rented a car (you have to have your open license in order to drive in Australia which not many Aussies have until their middle-20s and American’s automatically have theirs).

Our cute little rental car for five days

Our first stop was at Hannibal’s Bucket which is basically a GIANT bucket, we could have even fit the car in it! But it was a rental so we didn’t.

Our first stop

Entered the small town of Nanango which means "a place of water"

Next, we went to a partially scary little town called “Cherbourg”. It’s an Indigenous town in the middle of no where that Andrew and Emily learned about in their Indigenous Australia class. This would be compared to a Native American territory in the states. It was interesting to see how the Aboriginals lived. Even more interesting was the sign right before you got into Cherbourg that prohibited large amounts of alcohol to be consumed in this town. Namely, there was only allowed to be a case of beer (36 beers nothing stronger) per person or car each night. This was the first place in Australia that I saw that there was a limit on alcohol.

Outside of small Indigenous town called "Cherbourg"

Our next stop was my favorite of the whole trip; Coomba Falls. This place would have been amazing to swim and visit in the summer time but it was just as beautiful in the winter.

Standing tall at Coomba Falls

We ate our lunch here and because it was winter we had the place to ourselves. We took full advantage by taking funny pictures by the pretty rocks and the amazing scenery.

Falling off rocks

This road trip lasted three days and we were lucky enough to stay in Emily’s hometown of Yarraman. This town only has a population of 700 people so it was quite small. Here is where I enjoyed my first home cooked meal for the first time in months!

Emily's hometown named Yarraman which means "wild horse"

But what was even more amazing than that was I got to feel like a real Australian because I got to see red dirt. Not just any red dirt, no, Australian red dirt. This did not seem so exciting for Emily or even for Shaun who has been here for a little while but for Andrew and I to see red dirt we finally felt like we were in the Australian Outback. We got to feel and see red dirt which not many Americans can say. I was more than excited to say the least. Overall it was an amazing road trip and I’m so glad I was able to see how Australian’s really live.

 

Having to say goodbye

Our home cooked meal

Saying goodbye is never easy, ever. You want to tell them, “See you later” or “See you soon” but you never know if that will actually happen. On the plus side, most of the people leaving go to schools around the U.S. so it is possible to see each other again. But as a last little celebration for the one’s leaving soon we decided to have a little family dinner that turned into a large feast. This consisted of all different kinds of food including, spinach and artichoke dip with baguette bread, potato bake, pasta bake, macaroni and cheese, lasagna, chicken and shrimp skewers, na’an bread, and quesadillas with tomato, sour cream and guacamole. That wasn’t all, we also had cupcakes, tim tams, hot chocolate, and brownies for dessert. Needless to say, we were in a food coma after eating.

The Family Dinner

Everyone brought something and with 12 people it was definitely a lot of food and a lot of leftovers. It was pretty amazing, it was like going to a restaurant but having all your favorite foods readily available, you didn’t have to choose just one. But by the end of the night it started to hit the people that were leaving the next morning that their Aussie journey was coming to an end. Friends that we have made throughout the semester came to say their goodbyes and wish each other luck in the future.

The girls one last time all together

Although it was sad to see them go I was lucky enough to have become friends with them throughout the semester. Thankfully, I changed my ticket to stay just a little longer and have a little over 3 weeks left on my journey. But I know I cannot take these last few weeks for granted and do as much as possible before I come back to the states. Well, I could always do things I don’t do now on my next visit because I know this will not be my last time in Australia. ;)

Time to Study

Unfortunately it is that time of year here at the Sunshine Coast where it is starting to get chilly and not so sunny. Instead of my tank tops and short-shorts I’ve been wearing jeans and a sweatshirt. But on the bright side, it is almost exam time so everyone is studying away which with the cold weather is A LOT easier because you aren’t nagged by the weather to go lay out in the sun. In saying this, I do not mean to say I’m excited about writing exams, no, far from it. Especially because unlike at Queens, my two psychology exams count for 40% of my final grade. So these next two weeks are going to be filled with personality theorists and health psychology. Fortunately, the school gives a whole week for study break and my exams are not until the second week so I have two weeks to study. So no more Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest for me. Time for studying.

Wish me luck! :)

A Day at the Races

 

 

In North Carolina everyone told me about how big Carolina Cup is and I was disappointed to have to miss it another year. Fortunately for me, in Australia they also have horse races and at UniCentral (where I’m staying for the semester) everyone was excited for them. The races started early so we had to wake up pretty early to get ready. I mean people went all out just like it was the Kentucky Derby with the big floppy hats and the wedge high heels. I got out one of my nice Lilly dresses and got prepared for the races.

Joe and I

Shane and I

Before heading to the races, we all met at ‘The Pav’ (which is basically the hang out place with a pool table, ping-pong table, etc.) to pictures, I mean, we were all dressed up of course we had to take pictures. It was really fun to see all the girls and guys dressed up to the nines for this fancy (and what I consider Southern) event. We ended up going to the races at around 12:30. There was live music, really good pizza, and a lot of horses. Which I have to say didn’t make the place smell as bad as I thought it would. Unfortunately, it wasn’t that nice of a day out and was a little chilly but it was still exciting. No, I did not bet, everyone asks me if I put money on a horse but I’m not one for gambling so I was not about to waste money on a running horse. We still picked our favorites and hoped they won..Just weren’t crushed and out of $50 if they didn’t. Overall, it was a really fun day and it felt a little bit like being back in North Carolina for the day.

the girls