I guess that I can never again say that I’m not lucky. Not only do I have the amazing opportunity to spend a semester studying in Sydney (kind of a big deal in itself for a German small-town-girl), but I was the lucky person to win the ActivateUTS East-Coast-Trip.
At the end of April, I flew 2700 km all the way up to Cairns armed only with a carry-on backpack for my very own East-Coast-Adventure. During my 9-days long trip, I visited 4 towns, 2 islands and numerous beaches.
Right at the beginning I got to check-off one point that’s on every traveller’s to-do list: diving at the Great Barrier Reef. As someone who had never even snorkelled before, it was something which I was very nervous about and it didn’t help that I had spent all of the cruise to the reef being violently seasick. But sitting on the sand submerged in water and starring up at the Great Barrier Reef while being swarmed around by masses of colourful fishes, was truly one of the most magical experiences of my life. And I even got to see a shark!
My next stop was Airlie Beach from where I joined a cruise to the Whitsunday Islands. And although cyclone Debbie had left signs of destruction, the Whitehaven Beach remains one of the most beautiful sights that I have ever seen. The sand was so white and smooth that it felt like walking on flour, and water coloured so light blue like I had ever only seen on TV. There I also got to snorkel again in between masses of fish, to the point that I was completely surrounded by them. And while someone throwing a portion of fish food at me resulted in a swarm of huge hungry fishes crashing right into my face left me slightly terrified for a moment, it was really great and I had so much fun.
From Airlie Beach I travelled down to Rainbow Beach. The first day there I spent enjoying the beach with its colourful sand and trying to spot dolphins while kayaking (sadly unsuccessful). The next day I got to drive shot gun in a truly ginormous truck (the driver kept laughing at my, rather inelegant, way of climbing in and out of it) while exploring Fraser Island with its vast rainforest, sandy beaches and deep-blue lake McKenzie. There I also got to see many of Australia’s famous creatures in the wild: a giant lizard and a Kookaburra joined us for lunch and we even passed some wild dingoes in our truck.
My last stop was Brisbane where I arrived just in time to spend the evening at the Buddha Birthday Festival at the Southbank. Brisbane’s luminous skyline looked even more beautiful with all the glowing red lampions. On my last day I explored the inner city and the botanic gardens before catching my plane back to Sydney.
This trip was amazing. I got to visit places that I had never been before and made many new experiences. The weather was perfect, I even got a tan, something that deemed impossible before. And while I was travelling alone, I met many cool people on the road with whom I could enjoy the different trips or spend the evening relaxing or celebrating, so that I never felt lonely. I will cherish this memory forever and am very thankful to UTS for making this possible.
What do you think of Nicole's trip! Let me know in the comments below!