Saturday, June 14, 2014

Aussie Adventure: Figure 8 Rock Pools

So today I woke up at 11 extremely hungover and had a huge marketing project due at 2.. Obviously instead of meeting with my group and handing in my part of the project, I went on a hike with my best friends. Two cars were driving and of course I got put into the one with this guy who I used to hook up with. Thats not so bad except for that fact that I was on the verge of puking the whole 30 minutes. Thankfully we got to the start of the hike. Within the first five minutes some of the boys had already ran ahead of the group, but I was the caboose. All is well since the guy with the music stayed back with my friend and I so we had a dance party and musical session for the hours of the hike. We missed the turn to the rock pools at first and were being screamed at by the rest of our group to turn around. My legs actually felt like jello at this point. When we got to the rock pool it was disappointingly smaller than any pool in my neighborhood. LEL. That's okay we swam, took pictures, and climbed some more. The hike back was almost more gorgeous than the hike there because of the majestic sunset that concluded our perfect adventure day.
^^^ That's us down there!!

 ^^^ Shout out to Jake for taking this picture #someonehadtodoit

Friday, June 13, 2014

Bondi Beach - Coogee Beach Walk

What better way to spend the day and get to see all Sydney has to offer than doing the Bondi- Coogee Beach Walk? The walk goes along the cliffs and beaches of Bondi, Bronte, Tamarama, and Coogee. Tons of walkers, runners, and sightseers line the path throughout all times of the day. It took my friends and I about two hours because we were stopping to take pictures and watch surfers. We got the best pictures and views when we hopped the fence and went climbing on our own (;

Beach of the Week: Royal National Park, New South Wales

The secluded beaches of the Royal National Park are so beautiful words cannot describe and pictures do not do them worthy. The sand is so fresh, it is squeaky and soft. The water was warm even in the Australian winter. The specific beach I hiked to, was an hour bush walk away (6 km). When we got there, there were other back packers that were camping out on the grass hill, but that was it. There were only a few empty boat sheds and the rest was nature to be seen for kilometers. I could have spent all day swimming and relaxing with the solitude of the waves breaking and my friends laughing.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

B A L I | B E A C H E S

Just got back from my wondrous travels all around the island of Bali. The island has so much to offer from party cities to honeymoon getaways to mountain, hippy towns and all of it is a step away from the beaches! The Bukit Peninsula on the bottom of Bali is home to the most pristine beaches I have ever seen. Some I checked out on the east coast were GeGe Beach in Nusa Dua which had a beautiful barrel ing surf break in the distance. The west coast had Karma Beach. I paid 25 dollars to take a gondola ride  at Karma Kandara Resort down a cliff to a gorgeous secluded beach complete with lounge chairs, umbrellas, towels and the luxury of not having to worry about my stuff being stolen while I went into the ocean. Also, 10 dollars of the beach voucher went to food and I had  delicious pizza for lunch. Another west coast beach is Dreamland that was a large stretch of white sand and we walked a little bit down further to get away from the tourist section of food and shops and lounge chairs. My favorite beach of all though was Padang-Padang (seen above).  A cave-like path filled with monkeys leads you down to the cutest little beach ever that has Bali written all over it. Beautiful water and beautiful surfers made the day easy on my eyes. For more things to do than just swim and tan, we went to Amed for amazing snorkeling. For five dollars we rented equipment and swam out to an underwater temple marked by a buoy. The fish were bright and exotic, but my favorite part were the fifty royal blue starfish that were lining the bottom of the reef.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Traveling: One hostel to another

It's in any sun worshippers life, that we flock to the warm weather and the sunny beaches. Many times we need to escape the winters of one place to keep our tan. That's what brings me to the southern hemisphere traveling along the east coast of Australia. Hostel life has become second nature for me at this point and could honestly be the most memorable part of my trip. Hostels aren't just a place to stay, shower, and eat, but I have been lucky to have met fabulous people. Most hostel dwellers are young kids 18-25 taking a gap year before University or backpacking to see the world before the 'real world'. I've stayed with people from Holland, NZ, Germany, Brazil, Canada, America, and a wide array of many other countries around the world. Since many travelers are alone hostels bring us together often in rooms of six or more and allow us to communicate and share our travel experiences with one another. My favorite question to ask the friends I meet is "where is your favorite place you've ever traveled and why?" The answers I've gotten have actually influenced my own travel and I am excited to say Fiji is now an upcoming adventure because one friend from Switzerland told me she was amazed by everything the country had to offer. After a delightful discussion of her trip and her recommendations, she shared with me some delicious Swiss chocolate. The mix of outgoing, adventurous youth provides for the greatest atmosphere of conversations and group activities. When one lad goes to the beach, all are offered an invitation and only the fools stay inside to sleep off their hangovers a bit more.

Beach of the Week: Hot Water Beach, NZ

Hot Water Beach, New Zealand

This is hands down, no doubt about it, by far, the coolest beach I’ve ever experienced solely just on the sand. The Hot Water Beach is on a part of the earth’s crust that is unusually thin. This creates hot springs that happen to run just under the beach. So what happens is you dig a hole into the sand is it fills up with “hot tub” temp water. There are even parts of the beach sectioned off because the water that comes up is so hot it boils. The beach is quite touristy and is well known so it was a bit busy, but a worth while experience. There is a local booth that sells shovels just in case you want to join the crowd and give it a shot.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Studying in Straya! (University of Wollongong)

Studying in Straya~ a course called Happiness- investigating causes and conditions

O week unraveled!
So orientation week in Australia is a little different then the states. I was expecting endless lectures and instructions about not drinking or something along those lines, but that’s not it one bit. It is a week of parties sponsored by the Uni, starting with a pub crawl, followed by a music themed party, an ABC (anything but clothes) party, an under the sea party, a graffiti party, and of course Uni night. I don’t understand how we made it through the week alive, but nothing could have been better for our first taste of Wollongong. I mean really, what gets students bonding and talking more than a little goon. By the end of it all we had stories galore, friendships made, and no voice left to say more.

Celebrating the holidays- 
St. Patty’s day just rolled around and if you’re not sure if Australia celebrates it, well let me elaborate our day for you. Clear skies led us to the beach all morning and then the drinking started at one. We made it to a house party by Uni at about four and were proud to see the green envelope the backyards of two houses. 
People were everywhere, playing beer pong, rolling around in a giant ball, spinning goon bags around a circular clothes line, jumping from trees and one from a roof, on the dance floor, and conversing on the grass (or even making out). It was just ten when the cops came and dispersed the students. Most of which of us just ended up at the bar to continue eating and drinking.  At the end of the day MJ’s sprained ankle, Allie’s broken hand and lost phone, and my lost room key were all tokens from 12 hours of partying. Here's a local newspapers description of the celebration

The festival way of life- My friends and I were fortunate enough to be in Australia for Future Music Festival in Sydney. With plans to make it a great day, MJ and I boarded the train into Sydney with full cups of goon at 9am. We weren’t going to waste anytime to drink because we knew alcohol inside the festival would have been costly. When we got to Sydney we took a cab to a house party complete with music, some wild Canadian girls, and our friends. By three we were heading to the festival. Right away, MJ and I were welcomed by some crazy, masked guy who felt the need to lift us on top of his shoulders. After that excitement we ventured into the main area where we were consumed by a foam party. We played and danced and got soaked and lost track of time. By the time we were out we were onto our first stage; Tinie Tempah you might know him for the song Pass Out. Front row and yet still we managed the need for men to hold us on their shoulders. The security guards in the front were popping champagne into the crowd which everyone loved and took advantage of. 
After that MJ and I were lucky enough to stumble upon the stage where Macklemore and Ryan Lewis were singing. Everyone loved the classics from these fellas like Thrift Shop. By then the sun was setting and after a taco, ice cream, and beer session MJ and I hustled back to see Hardwell. It was the most phenomenal performance I have ever seen! I can’t say I have ever had more fun dancing. Right after Hardwell, Deadmou5 was on and the light show and staging was unreal. It concluded our spectacular festival and our sweaty and muddy bodies piled on the train back to campus.

Nights out- 
Let’s start off with Australia tradition for partying. Wednesday nights is called Uni Night and UOW provides us with transportation to and from the clubs in town. I am not sure why they promote drinking on school nights, but I’m not going to complain. 

What Wollongong has to offer- It might seem like all we do it party, but we manage to see the sites too. Fairy Meadow beach is the beach about a 2 minute walk from my dorm room and we go to nap, tan, swim and see people whenever. Then there is North Gong beach which is a more towny and less campus east residential beach. With cute cafes along the road and the lighthouse and harbor to the right, there is definitely a larger crowd, but we enjoy the atmosphere a lot. Also next to North Gong Beach is the Rock Pools! These are so beautiful and cool, we love walking down to them for a waveless dip in the ocean. 

Wollongong also has a neat hike. It starts at Uni and heads to the top of Mt. Kiera. It starts off stairs and you think to yourself, “okay I got this” and then the stairs feel like they will ever end and then they do and it becomes a vertical climb complete with straddling fallen trees. The top was so satisfying to see and I will be doing it again soon. The mountain overlooks all of Wollongong and we are looking forward to seeing the sight at sunrise one time.