On the Move from Melbourne

Hey guys!

After the all the hype of leaving work, finishing exams, and suddenly starting to pack my twenty kilo wardrobe, I was so excited for the adventures that were about to come.

My brother finally arrived on the Tuesday, and was surprised to hear about all that I had in store.
I decided to wrap up my time in Melbourne by driving the Great Ocean Road. The drive is four hours to the end, and consists of many coastal views and lookouts. Along the drive there are small surf towns, where the majority of the surfers drive to from Melbourne.The main attractions are unique rock formations, each on the coast, approximately 20 kilometres from each.

We ended up camping right beside the Twelve Apostles, falling asleep to the crashing waves.

Sunset at the Twelve Apostles

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London Bridge

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The London Bridge used to have a main arch on the left, however it deteriorated over time and cracked in 1990. There was actually two tourists on the second arch because there used to be a path down there. They had to be rescued by a helicopter after the main arch cracked.

Second view of the London Bridge

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After our drive back, we decided to stop at a wildlife sanctuary to see some dingoes. Dingoes are rare Australian-like foxes, that are believed to be dangerous. The sanctuary also had kangaroos, wallabies, peacocks, horses, and heaps of deer.

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After our adventure on the Great Ocean Road, I had planned to show my brother around the city that I had grown to love. I got to show him the unique alleyways, the beach, and the various forms of architecture.

Afterwards, my brother got the chance to meet all of my new friends that I have met here. It was pretty cool for him to meet so many people from different countries, seeing as he hasn’t really travelled outside of North America.

And four days after his arrival, we set off for our five week adventure. Starting with New Zealand…

Cue the Adventure

G’day everybody!

The exam period has been flying by- finishing up at work, starting to plan my travels, and studying for my two exams. My time at the Herald has been great and I couldn’t have asked for a better environment to work in. I looked forward to going into work each day and thoroughly enjoyed my days getting to know the employees in the building. After eight weeks of getting comfortable and familiar with everyone, I really didn’t want to leave. However, having so many travel plans for the near future did make leaving a little bit easier. I finished up on Halloween, inviting November excitedly and impatiently.

After finishing work, I went back to Albury-Wodonga to see my home stay family. I ended up surprising my eleven year old friend for his birthday so that was great. I have never felt so welcomed by people I have known for so little time – I felt as if I was returning home to my Australian family. The weekend was great. We left Melbourne at the early hour of 5am when it was pouring rain, but upon our arrival the rain had stopped. I spent the day on the trampoline with the three kids I have grown so close to – as they begged me to stay in Australia. This was a reality check as I hadn’t exactly realized how close my departure from Melbourne was. After explaining to the children that I must return home to Canada, I think I convinced them to plan an upcoming family vacation to Canada!

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Sunday was gorgeous so we planned a picnic along the Murray river. My three friends who stayed at their own home stay families’ met up with us as well. Myself, two Americans, and a German friend enjoyed our time outdoors with the kids. We played with the puppies and I finally got to learn the game of cricket.

Monday quickly approached, which meant I had to prepare for my goodbyes. Although I dreaded saying goodbye, it was only for a short time. The families are going to be travelling to the east coast in December so hopefully I will be able to meet with them again. This didn’t make saying goodbye any easier, as reality slapped me in the face: these upcoming weeks are going to bear a whole lot of goodbyes with my new friends. Some I may never get the opportunity to see again. But who knows, the world has some weird way of bringing people together when least expected. Also, now I have heaps of excuses to visit various locations such as Montreal, California, Chicago, Philadelphia, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, and perhaps return to Australia!

I returned to Melbourne to complete an exam and prepare for my travels to Tasmania. I planned this trip a few weeks ago but hadn’t really organized my schedule for the week (very unlike me). Thursday night I boarded the plane and landed in Hobart – the biggest city on the island of desolate Tasmania. Our five day stay in Tasmania was going to be spent hiking through the famous Freycinet national park and taking in the beautiful ocean views.

The city of Hobart reminded me of the East coast of Canada, more specifically Halifax, Nova Scotia. The marina and the small town feel of the city was very comforting, bringing back memories of visiting my family out East.

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The mountain shadowing the city of Hobart is Mount Wellington. We went up to the top of Mount Wellington to get an even better view of Hobart and its surroundings. Unfortunately, had we been to Mt Wellington a day before, I would have got to see snow (like everyone at home has this past week!). But all in all, this was really cool –  because it was a clear day we got an idea of where Bruny Island was (you can see it in the distance) and all the other islands surrounding Hobart.

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On our second day in Hobart, we went to the famous Salamanca markets. This is a market that takes over a whole street with 300+ shops and venders, inviting thousands of locals and tourists. This was something to see, even after all the popular markets I have experienced here in Australia. The market offered more clothing and shopping than produce and food, which Is very different than the Queen Victoria market in Melbourne. We rented a car afterwards and set off for the famous Bruny Island.

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Bruny Island is known for its wilderness and evidently its pristine beach views. I have never seen such blue water, other than on the Great Ocean Road. Because it was a relatively cloudy day, it is difficult to see the elevated land on the far island. Both islands are attached by the long neck, as seen in the first photo.We drove over the neck to the south island in hopes of seeing a white wallaby. Bruny Island offers the scarce white wallaby, which is not seen anywhere else in Australia. Coming to Australia I had expected to see kangaroos in people’s backyards, jumping across the road, and eating grass in the fields. However this has not been the case. Up until this weekend I had only seen three kangaroos, which was in the first week in Australia – in the wildlife sanctuary on campus. After driving down the coast with great views of the ocean, we decided to drive down a gravel road with fields on both sides. I saw wallabies in people’s yards! I tried to get close to take a good photo but he jumped across the road. Also, we did get to see a white wallaby. He was hidden behind some trees, lying down. Unfortunately by the time I got out of the car and walked towards him for a close up photo, he had hopped away.

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After our visit to Bruny Island, we decided to head for Freycinet National Park. This is Tasmania’s pride and joy – attracting tourists from all over to hike the rewarding trails around Wineglass Bay. This was a few hours up the East coast of the island, so on our way we got to drive by heaps of open fields and wineries. A few hours later and we had made it!

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The highlight of my trip is about to come: Upon arrival and parking the car, I was greeted by a wallaby on the path. Wallabies are a smaller version of a kangaroo – they have pouches and eat the same things that kangaroos do, they just don’t grow as tall, making them even cuter (roos can grow to be like 5 feet tall!). Not fearing the female and her baby (yes, in her pouch), I decided to take this long-awaited opportunity to share my bread with the mama. She liked it so much that she started to stand at my feet and beg for more. Out from the bushes came another mama and her baby, looking for bread too.

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With this exciting and great start to the day, I didn’t want to leave them behind. But I headed for the mountains, with lots of extra peanut butter sandwiches just in case. A 30 minute hike up the mountain lead to this spectacular view of Wineglass Bay.


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The hike down was brutally steep with heaps of steps – talk about a leg workout (that’s been months overdue!). We made it to the bottom and got to enjoy the white sand and the view from below as well. The water was super chilly (Tasmania is pretty chilly normally because it’s so far South).

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Feeling adventurous, we went on another hike that was going to bring us to another beach instead of going back up those dreadful steps. The majority of photos from Freycinet National Park are of Wineglass Bay, so I had no idea what was on the other side of the forest.

Turns out there was another beautiful beach that was longer and with darker sand. The view from the beach was different as well, because we were far from the mountains. I liked this beach more – maybe because the sun had come out and made it even more pleasant? Or maybe because it was serene and empty – hardly anybody there, except a sailboat a bit offshore. Each side seems to mirror the other, but believe it or not – each photo is of a different side of the beach. The blue water and the blue sky could hardly be differentiated from one another – and the clouds add to the photo!

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On our way out of Freycinet, we stopped at another attraction called Tourville. This was pretty cool, we had a different view of the mountains from afar even though we didn’t sight any whales (which is common between April – November!). The ocean from this photo below is called the Tasman Sea. If you were to sail directly East (in a horizontal line on the map), you would land at the South Island of New Zealand! Here’s a taste of the blue skies and crystal blue water.

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On the way home back to Hobart, we made a pit stop in Bicheno – a small town that is along the East Coast. In Bicheno, the rocky coast has a popular blowhole. I’ve never seen a blowhole, so this was pretty cool to see even though the winds were crazy cold. Because of my lack of timing and persistent attention, I didn’t get any photos of the water spraying.

That concludes my trip to Tasmania, the petite island of Australia. Checking off another state of the country!

This week I write my final exam in Australia and then count down the hours until my brother arrives. I am so excited to be welcoming my baby brother to Australia and cannot wait to travel for five weeks before returning home for the cold weather. The weather here is warming up quickly so I am thinking of ya’ll back home as it continues to drop in degrees!

Cheers,

Kourt ✽

Surf’s Up!

Oi Oi Oi!

The end of the semester has come, which means exams are quickly approaching. This past weekend I decided to join the La Trobe Surf Club on a weekend surf trip. I had only signed up for it because a few of my girlfriends were going and I thought it would be a great opportunity to meet some new people and try surfing for the first time. The surf club did not give us any information regarding the trip so we didn’t know where we were going, how far it was, where we were staying, nor did we know where we were surfing. I really don’t think they knew either!

In total there was around 20 of us on the trip. This includes 14 (mostly international) students and 6 members of the surf club. The people who organised the trip are very easy going and have the attitude to go with the flow. I’m not used to this, as I usually like to have some sort of structure and organisation when travelling. We got on the bus Friday evening and our first stop was the bottle shop. Next, we drove for a couple hours until we got into the town of Torquay. This is a small town along the Great Ocean Road that is known for iconic surf brands Quicksilver and Rip Curl. We only arrived when it had gotten dark so we decided to walk towards the beach to find somewhere for dinner (because there was no plan). We ended up finding one restaurant that was open and I had the pleasure of trying Thai food for the first time.

 For our first night, we stayed in a backpacker hostel and had a few drinks while chatting and getting to know each other. As the night got later, we got told we had to quiet it down. So we decided to relocate to our bus to listen to music, dance, and be as loud as we wanted to. Because our bus was parked on the side of the highway and was shaking, we had a few locals stop and try to join the party.

After our late night bus party, we woke up in excitement for a full day of surfing. We drove along the Great Ocean Road and got the chance to see the famous Bell’s Beach. This beach is one of Australia’s most famous surfing beaches, attracting professionals every easter for the Rip Curl Pro Surfing competition. This was super cool, as there were heaps of surfers in the water, and tons of tourists taking photos from the car park.

IMG_3246However, this wasn’t where were going to be surfing so we carried on down the Great Ocean Road. This is one of the major attractions that are right outside Melbourne. The entire drive takes approximately 6.5 hours to get to the end, with many surf towns along the way. The road runs along the ocean, winding up and through mountains and through national parks. The views of blue water were like nothing i’ve ever seen before.

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We ended up surfing at a place called Anglesea beach. As a first-time surfer, I thought it was going to be super challenging to get up and stand on the board as the wave crashed over you. However, this was not the case. The surf club members taught us the steps on how to get up properly, and then left us to try on our own in the water. In the beginning, I was too afraid to try and stand up but after forcing myself to do it, I managed to stand up successfully. It was such a good feeling to fail but then continue to succeed. It was very similar to learning how snowboard.

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After a long day of surfing, we travelled onwards towards Apollo Bay. We spent some time throwing the ball around on the beach during sunset.

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Afterwards, we headed back to the hostel to enjoy home cooked meal. This was great – everyone contributed to dinner in some sort and it all went smoothly. The hostel we were staying in was similar to a house and because there were so many of us, we took over the majority of the rooms within it. We finished the night off with some drinks, sitting outside, chatting, and meeting new backpackers. Throughout the night, we met a pair of Belgian backpackers who had only been in Australia for two nights. They were looking for jobs and had ended up in Apollo Bay. We invited them to come surfing with us the following day, as we had room for two more! We were initially supposed to surf in Apollo Bay, but the waves weren’t working out for us so we decided to drive back in the direction of Melbourne, driving the same route again in search for waves.

After a few hours of jamming to good music, fuelling up, and stopping to see koalas… we ended up at the same beach we surfed at on Saturday.

After surfing, we took the belgians back with us to Melbourne. Their initial plan was to find a job and live in Melbourne for a couple of months until travelling around. When we ended up back at campus, I had invited them to stay with me for a few nights while they figure out accommodation and employment. So a week later I still have room mates and have enjoyed some great belgian food.

Overall, it was a great weekend with some great people and I didn’t want it to end. Every time I go away for a week or weekend, I discover something new and begin to plan future trips and travels. This week I just planned another visit to my home stay family and also booked a flight to Tasmania, the island state of Australia. There are some great national parks and beaches there so I couldn’t be more excited to see a new state. As of right now I have visited the Northern Territory, New South Wales, and Victoria. By the end of this journey in Australia I hope to be able to say I have visited at least 5 of the 7 states in the country. With classes finished and my last week of work approaching, I have lots of planning to do. My brother is coming in 23 days to see the land of down under so we are going to visit New Zealand and the whole East Coast of Australia over the span of 5 weeks. I’m extremely excited to have my brother visit so he can meet my friends here and get to see a completely different lifestyle that Australia has to offer.

While abroad during the tragic incident that has occurred in Ottawa this week, I have never felt so proud to be a Canadian. The front page newspapers here in Australia have represented my home country as a strong and close-knit community and it is so comforting to know that this is true. By being across the globe and still noticing how so many Canadians have come together to pay their respects during the highway of heroes, and how fellow Canadians have displayed protection and initiative through this sad and scary time, I can continue to confidentially identify as a proud Canadian even overseas.

Cheers,

Kourt

Bringing Spring Break to Australia

Oi!

I just got back from a Spring Break trip with a few friends. Some friends and I had organised a vacation two months ago, and ended up with a large group of 9 (two from Spain, four from America,two Canadians, and one Dutch).

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Many of my friends had paid for an organised spring break through a travel agency to see the East coast of Australia – where all the beaches, surfers, and parties are. However, because I am doing all of that in December with my brother, I thought it would be cool to go to the northern point of Australia to see something new. Darwin was going to be our destination! Yes the place where you can’t swim at the beach because of saltwater crocs, yes the place that is hot as hell and has the highest humidity, and yes the city where many backpacker’s end up living. Looking at a map, Darwin is pretty much the most northern point of the country, which is very close to the equator.

With a total of ten nights and eleven days off of school and work, we decided we were going to stay at two different hostels, and split the time up with some camping. When we first arrived at 1 am, we couldn’t believe the humidity. The temperature at night averaged to be around 24 degrees celsius, and throughout the day the temperature stayed between 34 degrees and 42 degrees. I meant it when I said I wanted heat over spring break (Melbourne’s weather is horrible).

As a young female who has never stayed at a hostel before, I was so excited to be staying in a hostel with 8 friends. The hostel we stayed at was rated one of the worst hostels in Darwin, but we thought we could save a few dollars and take the chance. After waking up in small room, covered in sweat, we were welcomed by backpackers from all over. Some from Sweden, Ireland,  England, and Germany. It was great talking with these people, as they have been everywhere and have some of the wildest stories. The majority of them had been staying in the same hostel for months, so they were very much like a family. Their lifestyle was completely different from what I’m used to – they woke up early for free breakfast, and proceeded to sit outside and drink and smoke … all day long. So for the first few days we walked around Darwin, got familiar with the beaches, shops, and the many aboriginals laying around on the streets.

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With all the heat, we got away to the beach quite often. Because Darwin is a very small city (I’m surprised it’s considered to be one), and we lacked our own transportation, we were able to walk nearly everywhere. The famous Mindil Beach was approximately 5 kilometres away (yes, we got our exercise). The beach was rather small and the water was very warm. In all of my beach experiences, I have never felt ocean water above 75 degrees but the water in Darwin was “only 28 degrees” (as the lifeguard said). Because of all the stories you hear about crocodiles in Darwin – “you can’t go swimming because of the saltwater crocs”, I thought it was necessary to chat with a lifeguard on Mindil Beach to get the professional and local scoop. He had told me that we timed it perfectly, because if we had of arrived a week later, the water would be around 30 degrees which is when the box head jelly fish surface (they have venom inside them and you have to go to the hospital immediately if stung).

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Another great thing that Darwin had to offer was their sunsets. Living in Melbourne, it gets dark super early (even in the spring) and the sunsets aren’t anything special. But in Darwin, there are markets along Mindil beach every Thursday and Sunday afternoon/evening. Here you can find a variety of food, clothing, jewellery, souvenirs, and entertainment. We frequented these markets on Sunday and Thursday, and enjoyed the performances. For the first time since July, I had finally heard/seen someone playing the didgeridoo so that was exciting. As everyone is perusing the markets and venues, the sun is setting quickly so families, tourists, and even locals gather on the beach to watch the sunset (approximately thousands). This was something to see – children playing catch, parents enjoying picnics, elderly couples sipping on wine, and tourists taking photos all at the same time.

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 We decided we were going to go camping for a few days, to fully experience what Darwin has to offer. We bought groceries for 9 hungry college students, bought three tents, and rented two cars for three days and set off for the Northern Territory’s famous  Litchfield National Park. Here we were, immersed in the outback of Australia in 30 degree weather, with limited bottles of (warm) water, and lack of cellphone service.

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Litchfield National Park has got to be one of the most popular parks of the country, providing fresh and refreshing natural swimming holes and breathtaking waterfalls – all in a somewhat croc-free zone. The swimming holes were like nothing I’ve ever experienced. Normally when you see waterfalls like these, it is dangerous and not advised that you swim in them. However, we were able to jump into/swim/lounge/relax in these swimming holes as the current passed around and over us.

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Florence Falls

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Swimming in Florence Falls

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Swimming/Climbing Florence Falls

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Swimming in Burley Rockhole

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Swimming/lounging in Burley Rockhole

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Natural swimming holes

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Tolmer Falls

On our way back, we had planned to go to the Jumping Crocodiles where you take a cruise down the river and they hold raw meat on rods so that the crocs jump up to eat. However, because there was such a large group of us, we weren’t able to do it. So instead, we made a pit stop at a different beach.

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For our five remaining days, we decided to relocate to a nicer hostel with air conditioning, clean pools, and a bar. This was great fun, as we didn’t have to leave the hostel and had the chance to meet some great people. We ended up becoming close with the bartender and scored some awesome Corona bucket hats.

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 Overall, my experience in Darwin was great. It was a very eye-opening experience in its own unique way. I ended up getting used to drinking warm water as there weren’t very many alternatives, got used to sleeping in 26 degree weather, and managed to responsibly apply sunscreen. I couldn’t have asked for a better Spring Break.

Should be keeping ya’ll updated with travelling plans for November/December – as exams are quickly approaching (and two months of holidays!).

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Cheers,

Kourt ✽

I Reckon it’s Been a While

Howdy!

These past few weeks I haven’t had the time to make a proper meal, let alone update the blog so my apologies. Heaps of exciting stuff has happened since I last posted! First off, I have gotten myself a job. After being rejected by Maccas (McDonald’s) and KFC, I really thought I stood no chance. BUT, things fell into place quite well – I am now working at the Herald & Weekly Times in the city… You got that right, the highest circulating newspaper firm in the country! I work five days a week as the trolley dolly so I am in charge of stocking my trolley with lollies, cakes, cinnamon rolls, donuts, cookies, veggies & dip, cheese & crackers, drinks, and fruit. I go to the 18 different floors in the building serving the workers (journalists, editors, executives) their daily dose of sugar. It is honestly the best job … very similar to my beer cart days in the summer. Although it is tiring and challenges my time management, I really enjoy this job and it will help to pay off some of the travelling expenses.

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On top of that I am doing a placement for an internship at my university doing digital marketing. This is quite an experience too, as I am learning all sorts of techniques and strategies from doing them rather than just studying them from a textbook. I’m not sure I would have this opportunity at home, so I’m trying to learn as much as I can while I’m here.

Other than lots of work, I have been trying to enjoy myself as a student. The weather is warming up here which means that we can spend time outside, make more trips to the beach, and get out to see more of the city. A few weekends ago, a group of us internationals went to the beach. Even though the beach is just in the bay of Port Philip and there aren’t many waves, the weather was perfect so we got to play some volleyball and soak up the sun.

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 I have met a lot of people here – from Australia, Spain, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, to Canada, and various states in the US. I have grown close with each and every one, as we all live close together and see each other on a regular basis. One person from California stands out the most, who’s name is Christian. We happened to have met on my first night here and have bonded ever since, as he lives in the same building as I do. We hang out with the same group of people and have a lot in common so it makes for a great time when planning things to do. After working my first week, I wanted to do something new and exciting in the city so Christian and I decided to go check out a remembrance memorial with a great skyline view, and the Botanic gardens. I have never been to anything like a botanic garden before so this was super cool. I couldn’t believe the wildlife it had to offer, I felt as if I was in the rainforest. It was a perfect day so we decided to lay down in the sun and enjoy the view for a bit, before heading to the beach to see the sunset.

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After seeing a wedding at the beautiful botanic gardens, we decided to grab some drinks and pub food in St Kilda. We walked along the pier while the sun set and we happened to see penguins! I guess the penguins hide beneath the rocks along the pier at this time of year, so that was a nice surprise.

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 As St Kilda is located south of the city, you can see the city skyline from the pier, across the bay. The sunset at the beach was gorgeous, providing a pretty shot of the sailboats in the bay.

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This Monday I had the pleasure of celebrating my 20th birthday in Australia. I didn’t expect to do much, as it was a monday and I worked all day. However, my friends managed to throw a surprise party without me finding out about it. I have never had a surprise party thrown for me so I thought that was pretty great. My friends surprised me with Tim Tams and avocados! We had a birthday dinner at a local hotel (which is an Australian term for pub) where they offer 2-for-1 meals. There ended up being over 30 of us for dinner so it was great to have everyone in one place a the same time!

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A big thank you goes to all of my friends who celebrated with me here. I had the best birthday yet and it wouldn’t have been possible without each and everyone of them. A big shoutout goes to Christian, who organised the surprise birthday party, and supplied heaps of Tim Tams.

Sending my love to everyone back at home. Will be updating shortly, I have more news worth a separate post!

Cheers,

Kourt

Entering a New State

Hello Hello!

I hope everybody is enjoying the last bits of summer before they start getting into the school routine. With September quickly approaching, I am starting to think I’m going to miss my professors, my friends in all of my classes, and of course Frosh week. With that being said, I am trying to keep myself busy so that I don’t get the September blues.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to go on a weekend break and stay with a family out in Albury-Wodonga. This is just four hours (by train) north-east of Melbourne – halfway to Sydney. The two cities are really close to each other but they are separated by the Murray River. The Murray River is Australia’s longest river, starting in the Australian Alps and extending for 2500 kilometres where it ends up in Adelaide (South Australia). Wodonga is located on the south bank of the river, which is still the state of Victoria. Where my family lives is in the city of Albury which is located on the north bank of the river, in the state of New South Wales. Super excited to explore a new state of Australia!

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All of the exchange students

I was so excited to be in the countryside, away from college, and to be part of a family again. I had the pleasure to stay with a lovely lady named Melissa who has a daughter named Tahlia who is thirteen.                                                                                        On Friday, I was welcomed with open arms and lots of food. They have tons of pets – two dogs, a cat, 3 guinea pigs, 3 budges, and 2 chickens.                                                                                                                                                                                   I knew the weekend was going to be great when I was woken up with fresh eggs and bacon for breakfast. It was a gorgeous weekend so for the day we went hiking with another family and an exchange student from the US. We hiked through old goldfields and eventually we made it to see a place called Cascade Falls which was located in the mountains. I thought this was really cool because I’ve never seen anything like it at home. Not to mention it was quite a change from being in the city of Melbourne.

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Tahlia (home stay sister) and

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We enjoyed the rest of the day having a picnic up on the rocks, and checking out a little town called Beechworth. The town reminds me of my hometown, with lots of little shops, and a very authentic vibe to it. Here I got to try my very first potato cake!
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Later Saturday evening, after enjoying dinner at a typical Australian pub and playing pool, we went to a bush dance. Essentially a bush dance is a live folk band playing in a barn (they call it a hole) while you dance. The dance style is very much like line-dancing. The event attracts heaps of locals, where they all bring treats and beverages. We met up with a few other families with exchange students, so by the end of the night there was 7 of us who all knew each other. I had so much fun spending time with the other exchange students and each family.

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I cannot get over how welcoming the families were to us exchange students. They were so excited to learn about our countries, show us around their town, and have us in their homes. I got so attached to the kids and didn’t want to leave because they treated us just like siblings, although we only knew them for 30 hours or so (One of the kids named Joel plans to come back to Canada with me). Tahlia was so excited to have a sister for the weekend and it made me so thankful for having a sibling. Because my stay was so great, I am planning to visit Albury again. Maybe next time we will be able to enjoy the sunshine at the park.

Other than my great weekend away, I have been busy trying to find a job. Luckily, I happened to have scored one where I will be working throughout the week serving at The Herald Sun – Melbourne’s newspaper firm. On weekends I will be serving/catering/bar-tending at functions and luncheons. I’m excited to start something new and this will help to pay for some adventures around Australia while I study. ALSO, I have gotten a placement for my internship and will be doing marketing at my university. Needless to say, I will be a busy beaver and will try to take some time to see some more.

I will keep ya’ll updated with next weeks adventures of being an adult!

Cheers,
Kourt  ✽

Victoria: The place to be

G’day!

This past week I have been quite busy settling into my classes, however I have gotten the chance to get into the city and see what Melbourne has to offer. As Melbourne is considered the home of Australian football and cricket, it is a must that I attend a football game and cricket match while living here. I came here hoping to choose a team to follow, in order to immerse myself into the culture of the football scene. After heaps of deliberation and research on the Melbourne teams, I have decided to “barrack” (for the term ‘route’ means sexual intercourse in Australia) for the Carlton Navy Blues. So this weekend I went to a football game with friends to watch the Carlton Navy Blues play against Gold Coast Suns.

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Even though I’m not a huge sports fan (and don’t even follow hockey!), I enjoy watching footy.  It’s a fast pace sport, where the players don’t wear any form of equipment. As far as the rules go, some of them are quite arbitrary but the sport reminds me of a combination of rugby, soccer, and football. The atmosphere at the stadium was great – parents and children all decked out in their team’s colours, lots of drinking, and tons of enthusiastic cheering. It’s awesome to see children at such young ages cheering and demanding players to “step it up” (similar to young hockey fanatics in Canada I guess!) The finals are in a few weeks so I’m hoping to go check that out, as it is a huge event held in Melbourne.

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Here are some photos of before and after the game when we walked around the city and grabbed some brunch. This city is known as the cultural city of Australia, offering so many cultural festivals and restaurants to choose from. My favourite part of the city has to be the architecture and the street art that is hidden in alleyways. While most cities strive to keep their walls clean and consider graffiti to be vandalism, Melbourne approves and even welcomes local artists to paint on walls for the public to see.

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The Eureka Skydeck (refer to last post) in the distance from Federation square.

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The Eureka Skydeck (refer to last post) in the distance from Federation square.

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The Eureka Skydeck (refer to last post) in the distance from Federation square.

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The Eureka Skydeck (refer to last post) in the distance from Federation square.

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These are some photos taken from Hosier Lane – which was recommended by my TA. Actually saw someone at work spray-painting.

Later this week my friend’s brother visited from California, so we took him out to a few new bars in the city. We found one called Naked for Satan which is just outside of the city that has 3 floors and a rooftop patio. The rooftop patio provided a great view of the city at night.

Again, here is an example of the popular street art that is found throughout Melbourne. We found another really cool bar in the city which was at the end of a hidden alley (entrance is under the red lights below). It is called the Croft Institute, where cocktails are served in syringes.

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I have been asked numerous times, “haven’t you gotten homesick yet?” and my answer has always been no. Even though I’m really close with my family, I’m not much of a home body and I don’t miss home when I am away. Aside from all of the great people I have met, this city is so hard to not enjoy – with its vibrant street art, cultural attractions, and natural elements. It’s no wonder it has been ranked as the world’s most liveable city. It reminds me so much of Ottawa back home, as the Yarra river flows through the city just like the Rideau Canal runs through the city of Ottawa. Melbourne isn’t built up over a large span of space, making it feel less like a metropolitan city (which I hate).

IMG_2836 OH! To all who thought I wouldn’t be coming home… I have booked my flight home. I am leaving Australia on December 25th – yes I will be on a plane over Christmas day. But I’ll be able to celebrate New Years at home! With only 128 days left in the country, I have lots planned so I promise the blog will be a little more exciting these next few months!

 This upcoming weekend I am going up north to stay with a family in Albury. I’ll make sure to post about the home-cooked meals and hiking when I get back!

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Cheers,
Kourt ✽

Out and About

Hello everybody!

Summer break is over now that the time has come… I have officially returned to being a full-time student as of this past week. Although my summer only lasted a total of 2.5 months and consisted of spending my days days working at a golf course, it is exciting to be starting classes in a completely new place. It was similar to my first day of uni in 2012 – becoming familiar with buildings on campus, finding classrooms, and of course meeting people in classes. It’s weird but I actually enjoy the hype around classes starting, where I can organise myself and get into a routine around my classes and assignments. In terms of classes, I enjoy the majority of them but some of them are quite boring because they are first year level (and make me feel old). I am currently on course overload, taking 5 courses – one of which is a professional internship.This should be good, providing me with an experience that I probably could not get at home. I hope to network and meet heaps of contacts within the marketing field which will demonstrate to my uni that I didn’t just get by with a pass (as great as the pass or fail system is!). 

Other than school, things have been great. I have been introduced to some great people who have made me feel at home. If it weren’t for all of the people I live with, I’m not sure what I would do with myself. I wasn’t expecting to meet so many people so quickly but I have learned so much from each individual I have met over the last 25 days. With a few friends this past weekend, we got up to some touristy things such as walking around and trying new ciders and beers at local bars, taking photos, and going up the Eureka Skydeck. The Eureka Skydeck is the Melbourne version of the CN tower which is directly in the heart of the city overlooking the Yarra River and the city skyscrapers.

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(Above) To the south side of the city you can see the ocean! This is Port Phillip bay, where a few beaches can be found. I plan to make day trips to check out the beaches once it starts to warm up in September.

The photos below are from a bar/restaurant we  stumbled upon. It is it’s own island, located in the middle of the Yarra River beside the pedestrian bridge. The entire place is just a patio with heaters, where you can sit outside even if it is pretty chilly out.  It was a beautiful day so we got to sit on the patio for a while and try new drinks. 

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My uni is an hour tram ride out of the city, which secludes us from the hustle and bustle. The city is a great place to be on the weekends because we get to see the diverse races and ethnicities of Melbourne’s population. There are plenty of tourists, making the city extraordinarily busy with different attractions and events each week. On my first visit to the city I got to see the Queen Victoria market. The market has anything you could need – produce, meat, dairy, and clothing all at a great price. I frequent the QV market on a weekly basis to get my fruits and veggies even though it is quite a trek. The supermarkets here are expensive, charging a whopping $8.00 for Fruit Loops or $6.00 for a dozen of eggs. In terms of alcohol, I cringe each time I go to D Murph’s (the liquor and beer Costco of Australia). Beer is expensive, but liquor is twice is as expensive.

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Variety of fresh produce at QV market

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My uni campus is massive, with lots of bushland and natural landscape covering around 250 acres. It has its own Wildlife Sanctuary that is open to students and the public. It contains some of Australia’s finest wildlife such as kangaroos, possums, emus, and probably snakes. I went on a twilight tour through the sanctuary and happened to see four kangaroos, and a few possums in the trees. Even though it was dark, the kangaroos did see/hear us from about 15 feet away. It was cool because they carried on with their business and didn’t hop away when we were close. The possums  in the trees remind me of brave racoons that are shaved (minus their tail). They climb and hang from branch to branch regardless of how high or thin the branch was. After the tour, we had a barbecue and sat around a fire (to keep warm) inside of the sanctuary. There’s a worldwide recipe in this photo  featuring friends from Sweden, America, and Spain! The guy to my right and the girl behind me are my fellow Canadians! 

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The city of Melbourne has free fireworks in Docklands every Friday night through July and August, so I went with a group of friends. We (me, a friend from the Netherlands, two Spanyards, and two Americans) went into the city with no plans but to eat dinner at a pub and then watch the fireworks, but we wound up walking around the city hungry beginning to get grumpy. But at the end of the night everything played out perfectly and we made it to the Docklands in time for the fireworks and enjoyed cheap meals. We had cheap drinks (five dollar beers!) and burgers on the pier, with live music and fireworks. 

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Anywho, this weekend I plan to go to a Footy game to get the true Melbourne experience. I also plan to go hiking and get outside (if weather permits). I will keep ya’ll posted next week!

Cheers,

Kourt ✽

Finally up to date

Hey friends!

As we all know that keeping in touch is not my strong suit, I thought it would be neat to create a blog where I will post once a week to update ya’ll with what I have been up to. As I have been in Australia for a total of 15 days, I apologise for the two week delay to get this thing started.  

I left Canada on a Sunday and arrived in Melbourne on Tuesday morning. After sitting in three airports and flying, my travel time totalled 27 hours, which of course came with terrible jet lag. However, I felt as excited to be down under (even if it is colder than home) as I do on Christmas morning. When waiting in line at immigration, I happened to see a girl wearing a University of Guelph  “jumper”. Ironically, she happened to be an incoming exchange student for La Trobe Uni as well! 

I managed to get settled in to my room on campus and meet a few people on my first night. They too were exchange students, mostly coming from the US. We have all grown close rather fast, with no class leaving lots of time to socialise and see the city. 

In terms of the weather here in Melbourne, it is freezing cold compared to July weather in Canada. Australia is upside down (as we exchange students say), so their winter runs from June until August. So far I have had a few days where the weather lingers around 10 degrees. Good thing I’m used to the cold, eh? Finally the sun has come out and it seems to be warming up, although it is always windy. On the bright side, it will be warming up here as it gets colder at home! I’m looking forward to celebrating Halloween in the Spring here. 

I can’t think of much else to say about my arrival and settling in, other than telling you about the many people I have met so far. I have met people from all over Europe, lots of Americans, as well as “heaps” of Australians. ALSO, I think it’s awesome that I am friends with the other two Canadians that are here on exchange, with whom I can discuss my love for poutine and Tim Horton’s (because the American’s don’t know either of those). 

Anyways, I will update by the end of the week after classes! 

Deuces,

Kourt ❊