My name is Elisabeth and I've studied at UTS in Autumn 2020. Due to the pandemic, my semester abroad turned out slightly differently than planned. Nevertheless, I still got to see beautiful places, which I would like to share with you.
In February, right before Orientation Week started, I made my way to Tasmania for a whole week. Tasmania is scenically spectacular. Lonely white beaches and hidden bays, but also great hikes to waterfalls and mountain lakes are just some of the things that you can see and do. I have never seen that many wild animals in my entire life. Among others, I have seen fairy penguins and wild wombats. They were incredibly cute. The most famous place to see little blue penguins is in Bicheno. In case you prefer a less touristy place to see them, I can recommend the 'Low Head Penguin Tours' in the north of Tasmania. That is where I went. Not only the penguins were super cute to watch, but also the sunset was fantastic.
I saw wild wombats in St Clair National Park. They were literally running into us. I was also highly impressed by the changing nature as we climbed up that little mountain in St Clair. My tip for you: do not miss out that waterfall track, it is worth it, and most people miss it.
I highly recommend a visit to Eaglehawk Neck to see its impressive cliffs. I also loved to explore hidden bays in Freycinet National Park. Also, the Bay of Fires was excellent for a relaxing day at the beach. The red rock pools filled with crystal clear water were just perfect for discovering underwater life. Do not forget your snorkelling gear if you go there - you do not want to miss out!
Furthermore, I can highly recommend Horbat. In my opinion, the city had a unique character with all the small bars, beer and wine. You can feel that a lot of students are living there. Also, it has a great art and culture scene due to MONA. I was a bit unlucky because MONA was closed when I was there. Seems like I have to come back.
Wild Wombats in St Clair National Park
Just before the lockdown, I had the chance to visit Jervis Bay to see one of the most fantastic natural spectacles: Bioluminescence plankton. It is glowing plankton, as you may have seen it in the movie 'Life of Pi'. It was just beautiful to see the whole beach light up when waves were breaking and to swim in the ocean surrounded by lots of shining little stars in the water and in the sky.
Nelson Bay is a more relaxed place with stunningly beautiful bays. It is very famous for its large sand dunes that give you the feeling of being in a desert. You can also "surf" them. My highlight in Nelson Bay was an early morning hike up Tomaree Mountain to see the sunrise. It was quite hard to get up that early, but the walk was worth to see the sun rising. Also, the view over the bay was just incredible.
Tomaree Mountain sunrise hike
As a small reward for reading until the end, I would like to share my most favourite place in NSW with you: Yamba. This beautiful little town is all you need when you are an ocean lover. You will find stunning sunsets and sunrises here. Honestly, I have never seen as many dolphins as in Yamba in my entire life. The village also has world-class surf breaks. The locals are incredibly friendly and there are heaps of good restaurants in town. It is definitely not a party place. If you spend your days surfing or fishing, and you are looking for a less overhyped place, this is where you want to go.
One last tip before we end: Start taking trips right from the beginning. Do not wait too long. Time passes by very quick and after one month you will be busy doing assignments. I hope you will enjoy your time in Australia as much as I did.
Yamba's famous sunsets - it is like that almost every single evening
Name: Elisabeth Schmid
Course of Study: IT Management (Postgraduate)
Home University: University of Regensburg