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Oceania

Victoria 2011

The Great Ocean Road. It was a full bus as the group of 60 international students left Victoria University for the orientation trip to the Great Ocean Road. The"no-worries" vacation started off with the bus breaking down and getting stranded on the highway. Luckily our tour guide Chappy assured us that there were a few minor problems but we'd be on our way soon. An hour and a half later rolled by and after taking pictures on the beautiful beaches we wove our way through the national park. I've never seen scenery like this before, it can't compare to anywhere. We drove to bells beach and then on to Lorne where we learned to catch some waves with the local Aussies. We slapped on our SPF and hit the waves. I surprisingly stood up a couple times and minus the fact of being cold it was great. We headed back to accommodation which consisted of a tent in the middle of a tropical forest. Parquets and tropical birds swarmed our tents as well as towering plants and smoking Germans.
The following day we hit the trail by hiking the Great Otway Ranges in the National Park. We saw Koalas, Kangaroos and stunning coastline views. After lunch we had direction of AFL rules football by a couple of old timers. Ive grown to enjoy the sport more and more, maybe because it's the look of the high cut shorts and singlets.
It's Sunday and after a full day of traveling we've hit the road touring the magnificent beauty of the great ocean road. Driving past the London bridge, the 12 apostles and loch and gorge. Ironically each of these landmarks have been withered away and are on the verge of eroding away. Being able to experience on of the top scenic drives in the world was an accomplishment.

Up Close and Personal

Bunking up with 10 internationals in a Newhaven hostel was a pure highlight to a fun filled weekend. Organized by the ever clever Kristina, the group of 11 hit the road to Phillip Island to see the sights of koalas, kangaroos and baby penguins. Mostly the kangaroos stole our food, the koalas slept and the penguins were apparently too cold. The weekend consisted of bus stops in the middle of nowhere, frustrated cab drivers, teaching curse words to parquets and babysiting Stephan, the cigarette rolling, beer drinker from Bulgaria. Fitting 11 people to a closet sized room was truly memorable, in the hostel dubbed " family friendly". Embarking to the penguin parade late saturday night we saw little baby penguins only a foot high waddle from the shore to their homes. It was an authentic and amazing experience. That until the park warden told us off for taking pictures, disturbing the penguins course...
On Sunday we hit the wildlife reserve which reminded me of a childhood petting zoo. As we entered, we had to wait for Stephan who was downing a beer and rolling a cigarette on the way. Scaring young children in our path, we took endless photos and gave white Parquets turrets. Our group separated as the girls hit the shops and the guys went out surfing for the day. Feeling completely drained, we boarded the 2 hour bus ride back to Melbourne. Making it onto the night train to Footscray, looking around, we realized that our babysitting skills had failed. Stephan had been left back in Melbourne. Apparently we hadn't been close enough.

Brittany Hayward