So, the weekend of February 11th I went to Byron Bay with my program provider, Arcadia. It was a free trip, so everyone on the program came, which was the first time we had all been together since orientation. It was weird being around everyone again, just because we have definitely formed our little groups and stuff, but none the less it was fun! We left on a Friday and drove about an hour or maybe a little more, south to New South Wales, which is a new state! NSW is the same state that Sydney is in, if that helps anyone out. But yeah, so we drove down there and we got settled in what was like a summer camp type place- there were a bunch of little cabins that had multiple beds in each room. We walked around the grounds a little bit, had dinner there, hung out together and then went to bed- it was a pretty low key night, because the next morning we got up at 4:30 am and went to see the sunrise at the Byron Bay lighthouse! It definitely was not my cup of tea getting up that early, but seeing the sunrise over the ocean was pretty priceless. Here are a couple of pictures...
|Climbing up to the lighthouse at 4:30 am|
|Sunrise over the Pacific|
|Hot air balloon over Mt. Warning at sunrise|
|Byron main beach|
|Justin, Mark and I jumpin' the waves|
|making Felicia a sand mermaid|
After being at the beach all day we headed back to "camp" and hung out for a while before having a BBQ. My friends Justin, Ang and I all went swimming in the lake next to the camp- it is supposed to have "healing powers" because of the tea trees that live on the edge of the water. For those of you who don't know, tea tree oil is very good for your skin and is supposed to preserve your skin and make you look younger. I didn't necessarily feel "healed", but the water made my skin really really soft and it smelled like tea tree oil which smells so good! We had our BBQ and then went out to this hotel/bar thing down the road that had a live band. It was pretty cool, but I definitely like the Gold Coast night life better! The next day we were up early again, heading back up to the gold coast for a day of kayaking with an aboriginal and an aboriginal tour guide. When we got back up to surfers we took the kayaks across the canal to a little island were we got to go snorkeling- we didn't see many fish, but it was cool to finally snorkel a little bit. After snorkelling we had a snack on the beach and listening to a story about the aboriginal people who used to live there. After that we got back on our kayaks and headed to another island not too far away. This island (I forget the name) is famous for its surfing beaches and for its native history. There, the aboriginal man (Jordie) performed an aboriginal induction ceremony on us, where he painted our faces with watery clay and welcomed us in the native language. It was a really cool experience seeing that side of the Australian culture. The aborigines are very attached to the earth and all that it brings to the human population, and it was really nice to hear about their thought processes regarding the sacredness of animals and the earth. One thing that Jordie said that really stuck in my head was "Take only what you need", which is very true and a lot of us don't think about today. After that we walked around the island for an hour or so looking for wildlife, but it was high noon, so it was super hot and not a very good time for sightings. After we were done we took a swim and kayaked back. I will post a couple pictures of that part of the day at the end of the post. SO yeah, that is an abbreviated version of Byron Bay, I definitely am interested in going back there, it was a lot of fun! The next thing i will be updating about is Cairns, which is where the great barrier reef is. Cairns is definitely my favorite trip so far- so much adventure and fun! It is kind of late so I am not going to do it now, but be on the look out in the next couple of days!!!
|Taylor and I in our snorkel gear|
|Kayaks on the beach|
|The group "bush-walking" on the island|