First few weeks in Oz

I’ve only been in Brisbane for three weeks but am doing my best to get stuck in. So far it’s been an incredible three weeks of exploring, and I could not be loving the Australian way of life more!

My first few days in Oz seemed fairly surreal. My mind and body were confused from jet lag and I had no real idea or concept as to where I was or what to start sorting out first- bank card, sim card, somewhere to live? It sounds like an obvious choice to find a house first, but when you need to pay deposits and you’re charged an arm and a leg to use a UK card you have to think about it a bit more. Even so, I got lucky as Alice (a fellow geographer at UoM) and I had decided to live together and as she had arrived one week previous to me, she had managed to find us a beautiful house in Brisbane’s West End. The only thing to note with Australian houses is that they only have single glazed windows and don’t have any heating, meaning that even though it is around 25 degrees celsius during the day, it’s still mid winter and gets seriously cold at night.

The city of Brisbane is divided in two by the Brisbane river, with the University of Queensland being on the other side of the river from me, so at first I was a bit nervous about how I was going to get to classes and how long the journey would take. As it turns out I actually have to get a ferry to Uni which is pretty fun. The journey only takes around 5 minutes and it’s a much smoother ride than the Manchester Magic Bus!

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Brisbane

In general, the city is a lovely place to be. It is much more clean than any city I’ve been to in England and everyone is so chilled out and friendly. There’s even a man-made beach with two free-to-use swimming pools on the opposite side of the river to Brisbane’s main shopping street which is crazy! The only down side to living in Australia that I’ve experienced so far is the cost of living. Everything costs a bomb and it’s very quickly draining my bank account- I guess that this is to be expected whenever moving to any new city for a year though as there’s many essentials such as bedding that need to be bought but quickly add up.

My best experiences in Australia so far have been had with QUEST (Queensland University’s Exchange Student socieTy). There have been many nights out organised in which I have met loads of new people, some of which I’m sure I’ll be friends with for a long time. Last week QUEST organised a visit up Mt. Coot-tha where we were able to see the sun set over the whole of Brisbane. The photos do not do it justice- it was so beautiful.

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The view from Mt. Coot-tha

This weekend a trip was organised to Byron Bay in which 250 members of QUEST descended on the seaside town for a couple of days of beach-sitting and surfing. The bay was an amazing place to be with white sand and clear blue sea. After the first evening at Byron a few of us decided to forgo a morning of tanning and view the bay from above by skydiving. As a person who is terrified of heights I was questioning my decision to throw myself out of a moving plane at 14,000ft, even more so when I saw the speed at which the friends that went before me fell to the ground, but it turned out to be one of the most amazing experiences of my life! I cannot recommend skydiving enough to anyone, even if you’re scared of heights, it’s worth it for the view!

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Byron Bay
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Skydiving above Byron Bay

I’m so excited to continue exploring this beautiful country and make many more memories. All in all, it’s definitely worth making the 24 hour flight for!

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