So after a week of orientation with the University and my dorm… which consisted of weird get-to-know-people activities… I got to go away to Merry Beach with my CIEE program! There are 15 students in my program, 4 of us are from Wofford, and the rest are from all over the US! Our program directors, Wayne and Tonya, are pretty awesome. I wish we did more trips and things with CIEE because they are a great bunch of people!
Ok so they picked us up from our residence halls on Friday morning. Then we drove South down the coast and stopped at some random scenic places along the way! It was unfortunate that it was so cloudy and rainy but it was still fun! We then stopped at a mall, where they gave us each $50, and we got to buy our food for the weekend! We were going to stay in cabins of 4 people each, so with a combined total of $200, we did some damage at the grocery store. Let’s just say we were thankful we had enough money to include some quality purchases of Mars Bars cookies, cinnamon doughnuts, and a jar of much-needed Nutella.
Farther down the road we stopped and ate at a Subway and a McDonalds. Subway is definitely not as good here! Very disappointing. They didn’t have oil and vinegar, which is necessary for a good subway sandwich to happen. The McDonalds (of which there are like a billion) have these fancy McCafe’s in them… like a nice coffee shop cafe thing. They had a bakery shelf thing… we bought some delicious banana bread. In a McDonalds!! So weird.
So 3 hours of driving down the coast… we finally arrived in Merry Beach! Basically a camping hot spot where Australians spend their holidays. We walked over to this hidden beach called Pretty Beach, and it is definitely more than just pretty!! See my pictures on facebook for full coverage of this place. It’s part of a national park, which is also home to hundreds of KANGAROOS. They were EVERYWHERE!!! Basically a dream come true. They were literally just hopping around everywhere. We fed them some bird seed, apparently they like it. We spent a good couple of hours hopping around on the rocks of the beach and walking back to our cabins on this cliff that overlooks the beach! So cool.
That night we hung out with our group and our super awesome bus driver Scottie grilled us some steaks! Then we went back to our cabins, and my cabin found some very interesting shows on the Australian tv. Just very strange.
The next day we got to drive 2 more hours South down the coast and ended up at this mountain called Gulaga. (**side note** at the base of the mountain, we stopped to use the bathroom at this general store, and I found a cat. his name was possum. he was adorable and I wanted to steal him. only cat I’ve seen so far in Australia.) We were guided by an Aboriginal woman who told us wonderful stories about how the Indiginous people have climbed this mountain since forever, and done ritual initiation ceremonies at the top. It was a trek. Took about 2 hours to get to the top… on a constant incline! Once we got to the top, she led us into the bush, and I felt like I needed a machete to cut through the vegetation. But holy crap… once we got through, we found these awesome rock formations that are on the same level of awesome as like Easter Island or Stonehenge or something. They are arranged in such strange ways. It was so windy at the top I thought we were going to fly away. So cool though!
It took us an hour to walk back down the mountain and our knees were dying.
When we got back to Merry Beach, Wayne ordered us some pizzas. Delish. Then I got to take a shower in the beyond awesome shower in our cabin. It had 2 shower heads.
The next morning we left super early to drive back up the coast. We stopped at 7 Mile Beach where we had our surf lesson!!!!! I have surfed before when I went to Costa Rica, so I thought I would be fine surfing again. I didn’t know that the ocean was so much more INSANE here!! I can now tell you what a rip tide feels like. The current is so strong!! South Carolina beaches are so chill compared to this. It was so hard to get the surf board straight because the current would pull you sideways and make you fall off! It was so tiring but I stood up on my board a good number of times!! It was so fun. I want to go surfing again!!!
So that was my awesome weekend!!!!! Next blog will be about my first week of classes!