My last weeks in Australia

Once university had come to a close I still had more than 2 months before I had to be back in Malmö for my next semester. I spent this time working and travelling.

After I handed in my last exam I started working a few hours north of Brisbane. Most of my days were spent under the hot sun planting trees. But on my days off I was able to enjoy the coast. After working, I had saved up enough money to spend some time in South East Asia. I visited Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore.

This is how I spent most of December, planting trees!

On one of my days off, Vappu came to visit me!

I explored Thailand by scooter!

The Grande Palace, Bangkok

One day we found some baby elephants taking a bath at the beach!

The bust streets of Bangkok, Thailand

The lush rice fields of Bali.

Our temporary home in Lombok.

Lombok

My tour guide in Singapore!

Back in Malmö.

These past six months have been a great experience. Not only was I able to live and study in Australia, but it also gave me the opportunity to explore a part of the world I had never been to. Now I will try to settle back into a very different pace of life here in Malmö. I am glad to be back.

Last month in Australia!

After the final exams it was time for travelling! With three friends I flew to New Zealand for a week and drove through the northern island witha campervan. The next three weeks I drove with two friends from Cairns all the way to Brisbane, and from Brisbane I flew home. Now I’m happily back in Malmö ready for Christmas. And here are the highlights of the last month! -Vappu

Thermal Wonderland in New Zealand. It smelled like rotten eggs but it sure did look amazing with all the rainbow colours.

Definitely one of the best activities in ZN called the Hot Beach. Underneath the beach there was flowing a hot underground river. Thus, we shovelled a little pool for ourselves that got filled with hot water. At times the water was burning hot so a little dip in the cold ocean was welcome.

Bridal Veil Falls in Waikato, NZ. On my travels I saw a million waterfalls but this was the most lush and beautiful one. The falls were 55m high so it was a nice climb.

Mount Manaia definitely had the best views. On our way up we ran into a local man who told us to get off the route to see the best view, and holy moly he was right. The most turquoise water and rich forests I’ve ever seen.

So this was my home for three weeks in Queensland, AU. Sharing it with two other people is definitely challenging. However, I highly recommend as it gives so much freedom and the capability to see things that can’t be reached with public transport.

Always remember to use sunscreen in Australia! The UV scale ends to 11. Quess what the UV classification was in Australia on most of the days? 13!!! Despite all the sunscreen and my sunhat I burnt while e.g. surfing. This pic was taken at a completely deserted beach north from Cairns, absolutely beautiful.

This is from a lookout in Townsville which is a bit south from Cairns. Again, it is just gorgeus in Australia. And nice and warm hehe.

On the shores of Townsville there is Magnetic Island. It was named so by James Cook whose compass stopped working there. The island isn’t actually magnetic but otherwise a wonderful place to visit with plenty of wildlife and you can snorkle at the Great Barrier Reef. I snorkled at Cairns but I don’t have pictures of it.

Rock wallabies! There was plenty of tourists trying to see them but at sunset when all the others left, a local man showed us how to communicate with them. The baby wallaby was adorable!

Louise joined me and my friens for a couple days and we visited Rainbow Beach and Noosa. We saw dolphins and the endless and breathtaking shores of the area.

Aother waterfall but we visited so many I don’t remember the name. I enjoyed it all, walking and making an effort of seeing these beautiful scenes.

And the best part of the whole trip, skydiving!!! I did not realise what I was doing until I saw people disappearing from the airplane door into the air, and then I was in the air myself! The views were amazing, surprisingly, and on top you got a huge adrenalin rush from the free fall of 60 seconds.

One last shot hehe. The instructor let me steer the parachute, the most fun thing ever!

Mid Semester Break Road Trip

For mid-semester break, I was lucky enough to have my brother and my father visit me. We rented a car and explored Victoria and New South Wales. We saw the ocean and the desert, and tried to spend as much time possible in the sun. Here are some photos from the trip!

My dad, brother and the Sydney Opera House

Nymagee – an old mining town

Crimson and King parrots!

The London Bridge along the Great Ocean Road

 

Mid-semester break=travelling!

So in South Australia there is a spring holiday for two weeks, some say it’s meant for studying but surprisingly I spent it on other activities… In two weeks I travelled to Byron Bay in New South Wales, Surfer’s Paradise in Gold Coast and to Kangaroo Island on the shores of South Australia, the best two weeks of my stay in Australia for so far! 🙂 -Vappu

First destianation was Byron Bay known for surfing and undescribable beaches. With friends we visited an almost desolated beach with crystal clear water, we watched the sun set sitting on a hill next to a lighthouse while sipping wine, and we kayaked our wau through mongrove trees and wildlife. This picture is taken from the kayaking tour and the view were amazing.

The water was so warm and clear you could just hop off and push the kayak instead. Tha sand was white and you could see fish swimming around. It was a paradise.

Here is our group on a snack break on the kayaking tour. We learnt a lot about the ecosystem of the river and saw a pelican! Not to mention the tan hehe. As you can see from the picture, I haven’t spent nearly as much time in the sun as my friends.

Next destination was Surfers Paradise. In Australia university teams compete against each other in different sports and I participated on this year’s Australian University Games. We went there with a beachvolley team from the Flinders’ volleyball club. The week was wonderful, days we spent on the beach playing beachvolley, and evenings we spent on theme parties and making new friends across the universities. The best part to me was jumping to the pool with the team after a long day of sports. And the sand got stuck to your skin because of the sunscreen so one can imagine what we looked liked after the games hehe. But Surfers Paradise definitely was a paradise in a sense, not for a minute did i think about school work during that week.

And here are the sealions! Most adorable creatures ever. Mostly they were laying on the beach and chilling but some of them were curious and came to sniff us. Did you know that their closest relative on dry land is a dog? For sure I didn’t.

This picture was taken at the Remarkable Rocks in Kangaroo Island. They are a strange rock formation that was created when magma cooled down after a vulcano eruption. We took the chance to sunbathe on the heated rocksand admiring the ocean and enjoying life. And currently I’m back at the university focusing on school work but for some reason I have a huge urge to travel haha.

The last destination was the desolated Kangaroo Island where there was no phone reception in most places and we were surrounded by amazing nature and wildlife. This picture is taken from FLinders Chase Reservation Park where we saw turqouise ocean and some fur-seals laying in the sun or playing in the water.

The night we spent in a woolshed turned to a hostel, again no phone reception in the midst of nature. We were served with amazing BBQ through out the trip and we definitely enjoyed it after hiking. Surprisingly we didn’t see that many kangaroos but echidnas, seals, sealions and loads of birds.

Adelaide highlights

Life in Australia has been quite extraordinary for me for so far. Due to technical issues I haven’t posted in the first month of my stay here but here is an overview of the best moments here in Adelaide since my arrival! -Vappu

Trip to Cleland Wildlife Park

On the very first week the international services of Flinders Uni arranged a trip to the Cleland wildlife park where kangaroos, wallabies, Tasmanian devils and all sorts of birds go free (okay not the Tasmanian Devil, it’s called devil for a reason). Kangaroos are super social! The koalas were unfortunately napping so not that much material on them. The nature in general is much richer and greater than in Sweden or Europe. Even in the midst of the campus here we have a lake and woods. On the other hand, the campus is in the suburbs so it’s fairly peaceful here.

Hallet Cove Beach Day

Hallet Cove Conservation Park is located in South Australia on the coast, and with some exchange students we made a day trip there. It’s very hilly full of cliffs and beaches and great views as you can see. As it is the Australian winter now it’s still pretty chilly, around 15 degrees daily, but the sun is very strong so on a sunny day it gets nice to spend a day outside. After hiking we returned to Adelaide to the Glenelg beach to check out the sunset. There is nothing more beautiful but a calm ocean and the vibrant colours of the setting sun playing on it.

 

 

Wine tour to Barossa Valley and wine tasting

Australia is known for its wines and especially Shiraz. Wine is also much cheaper than in Nordic Countries, cheapest we have found is 4 litres 10 dollars (around 7 euros/60 Swedish crowns) hehe. Again we joined a trip organised by the Flinders international services. We visited two wineries with excellent wine and some magnificent viewpoints on the Adelaide hills.

 

In general Australia is a very welcoming country and people here are helpful. Life is joyful here and I imagine when it gets warmer Adelaide will truly blossom. The university takes very good care of the exchange students and there are a lot of activities at hand. I play volleyball at the Flinders volleyball club and on mid-semester break I’ll also be joining Australian University Games in Gold Coast, I’m sure that will be one of the best times here.

-Vappu

Barossa Valley Wine Tour

This Saturday, Vappu and I went with some other international students on a wine tour in the Barossa Valley. We went to two different wineries, as well as the whispering wall, and some other points of interests. Here are some pictures from our most recent adventure!

The Whispering Wall – What can be said at one end can be heard perfectly from the other.

Delicious chocolate wine, by the fire!

Vappu and a Magpie!

Louise’s first kangaroo sightings

A view of Barossa Valley