After a whirlwind month adjusting to Australia, I’ve begun to explore Brisbane and the adorable beach towns just a few hours away from the city.
I can tell you the best places to get coffee in Brisbane. Actually, anywhere you get coffee will rank among the best you’ve had. Even the coffee places on campus here uphold Australia’s reputation as a country with a serious coffee culture. On-campus coffee here is above Caffe Strada quality, which sets a pretty high bar.
The best beach on Australia’s Gold Coast I’ve been to so far was Coolangatta. Just steps away from the Coolangatta’s sandy shores, lush vegetation flourishes, giving the beach a relaxed, tropical feel.
The best hiking spot is to Australia’s easternmost point, just past the Byron Bay lighthouse. Seeing whales at various lookout points along the hike makes it special. The lookout points along the trail are also the perfect places to take shameless selfies because you’re in Australia, and obviously your entire social media following needs to be reminded of that at least once per day.
However, I can’t tell you where exactly the wild kangaroos are. Apparently, they’re around but not in the urban areas, and the University of Queensland isn’t directly in the central part of Brisbane. In the months leading up the semester, I envisioned kangaroos casually hopping around campus. Much to my disappointment, the only animals on campus are bush turkeys and ibises, but nothing about these birds is casual. Honestly, they are pretty intimidating — aggressive, even. One bush turkey took over an entire portion of a sidewalk to create a nest. These birds are the equivalent to Berkeley’s squirrels but lack the squirrels’ charm. But at a local zoo, I entered an enclosure called “Kangaroo Heaven,” and the time I spent feeding the kangaroos more than compensated for the lack of kangaroos on campus.
One of my swim coaches even taught me how to call a wild kangaroo, though I’m fairly confident that calling wild kangaroos isn’t a thing and that he was probably joking with me. But now, whenever I see him at swim practice, I imitate the sound he showed me. If I ever venture to the Outback, I will consider trying to summon the kangaroos with “*skip,* *skip,* *click,* *click,* *click*.”
Even though I’m only a month into this semester, I am sure that studying abroad has been one of the best decisions I’ve made, just like everyone told me it would be before I left.
Contact Martha Morrissey at [email protected].