Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

BrisVegas, Steve Irwin, and the Boundary Line

Hello again from a land down unda,

This past weekend I took a trip up north on the East Coast to Queensland, flying from Sydney to Brisbane and touring the city, visiting the Australia Zoo (RIP Steve Irwin) and traveling down the Gold Coast to Coolangatta!

brisb-flight-in Flying into the BNE airport!

For my first “big” travel while abroad, I would say it went quite smoothly, and everything we saw and did made any little bumps in the road worthwhile. There’s a certain confidence that comes with traveling abroad: you understand what you want to do and where you want to go, and you know you have to trust yourself that you’ll be able to make it from point A to B because you realize that there isn’t much of an option to mess it up. Especially while living in Australia without my normal access to a car I’ve had to figure out how to utilize public transportation, which means that I no longer can be independent in traveling but have to adapt to different systems that don’t wait for people who dawdle around and take their time. Truly, it has made me much more aware of the importance of being on time if not early, because it’s much more annoying to get somewhere half an hour late than to be 5 minutes early.

While in Queensland we needed to adjust to a different transit system and traveled much further distances (2 hours north of Brisbane to Beerwah, then 4 hours south to Coolangatta and back) which required checking on bus and train schedules hours in advance, then having transit be late or get on going the wrong direction, pulling ourselves back together once things went wrong and figuring out when the next train or bus would get us to the right place. By the end of the four days we had all felt much more confident navigating, since we’d collectively been making mistakes all weekend, but it just made us that much more appreciative when we finally made it to our destination.

Brisbane is such a fantastic city, and we met up with a friend of my traveling buddy’s who’s been studying in Queensland all semester who showed us around through the Town Center, Queen Street mall, and out to South Bank where we rode the Brisbane Wheel, got delicious ice cream sandwiches (featured below),

mr-fitz-ice-cream Pink Salted Caramel Ice Cream, Nutella Cookies, Malted Pretzels, Caramel (and probably some of my drool involved, oops)

We trekked up to Beerwah in the Sunshine Coast, and after some public transit snaffoos we finally made it to the Australia Zoo, where Steve Irwin’s legacy lives on, touring through the crocodile shows, red panda exhibits, visiting lemurs in Bindi’s Treehouse, patting some sleepy koalas, and many more amazing animals. Ever since I was a little girl when the Crocodile Hunter was most popular on TV my brother and I would watch him tackle crocs and wrangle snakes on an afternoon basis, therefore my giddyness while exploring the park was off the charts. The entire zoo is dedicated to his memory and his work, which made me feel both nostalgic a decade after his death but also respect how much his life truly meant to his community in Australia and education about wild animals all around the world.

crocoseum The “Crocoseum” at the Australia Zoo, famous for Steve Irwin’s daring croc shows

My two traveling buddies and myself were so excited to find the border of Queensland and New South Wales (and couldn’t help taking copious amounts of cheesy photographs while looking like very basic tourists), but it feels so bizarre to stand between two states– especially when they equal essentially about the same distance as the entire US east coast when comparing land mass. Something about that realization made me feel very small and appreciative of where I am.

border-nsw-qld Sitting on the border of NSW and QLD in Tweed Heads

After this weekend I feel much, much more confident about traveling and learning to be prepared for my flights, figure out the public transportation system, check in and out of hostels (as well as be respectful of the others staying in my room) as well as stay calm in some frustrating situations. So far, I feel like this experience has helped me be even more independent, and exponentially more excited for my next trip… New Zealand!!!



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