Traveling North Queensland

26 Apr

Hello all… Time is flying over here.  I can’t believe my study abroad experience is almost over.  With so little time left, I feel it is a perfect time to share and reflect on all the experiences I have had and all the places I have visited.  Even though I have spent the majority of my time in the rainforest at the School for Field Studies center, we have had the opportunity to visit much of the surrounding area of North Queensland.  Some of our trips were through the SFS program and some were off-program time trips. 

We have been on two program trips.  outbackOur first trip was to Chillagoe, which was northwest of where the center is located.  Chillagoe offered some scenery that we cannot see in the rainforest.  It was a spot-on representation of what I pictured the Australian Outback would look like.  The landscape was beautiful with the occasional kangaroo hopping across the savanna. 
crocOur second program excursion was to the Daintree rainforest.  This was north of Cairns along the coast.  Daintree has some of the oldest rainforest in the world.  The highlight of this trip was the abundance of wildlife that we spotted.  We were able to see a 5 m saltwater crocodile in the Daintree River.  We also were very fortunate to see a cassowary cross the road when we were driving through the rainforest. 

However, my favorite trip was our mid-semester break to Magnetic Island.  I spent five days on Maggie Island with a small group of the students from my program.  We stayed at a hostel that was located on the beach.  We spent the majority of the time hanging out at the beach and eating food at all the local pubs.  We also went on a hike were we saw a koala foraging in the wild.  However, my fondest memory of my time at Maggie Island was renting scooters.  scooterAlmost everyone that I went with rented a scooter on our second to last day, and we ripped around the island in a giant scooter gang.  Later that night, I went out with one of the other guys, and we went on a night ride.  It is one of my most enjoyable memories of my time in Australia so far. 

Though all these places are magnificently beautiful, these experiences would not have been even remotely as memorable without the people I enjoyed them with at the time.  I was recently writing a postcard to send back home, and I was thinking about how fortunate I am to have such wonderful people in my life both at home and here in Australia.  I realized that it is not so much where I go or what I am doing that is important and memorable to me, but who I am with and sharing the experience with at the time.  I might someday forget the majority of the experiences that I have had here in Australia, but I will definitely remember all the people here at SFS.  The community that has formed from complete strangers in just 3 months is incredible, and it saddens me that it will soon come to an end.  However, my journey is still not over, and I plan on enjoying every last minute of it.

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