Erica’s Australian Adventures

Lecture Recess: Part II
Hey there UNH,

The last I wrote, I had depicted the journey that was diving the Great Barrier Reef! I honestly hope you guys enjoyed reading last week’s adventure as much as I did writing it. This week, we shall continue with the activities of Lecture Recess.

Erica and her friend Tom suited up and ready to go (Photo by Erica Naugle/Charger Bulletin photo)
Erica and her friend Tom suited up and ready to go
(Photo by Erica Naugle/Charger Bulletin photo)

Day three set off with a slow start. It was about noon by the time everyone was up and moving and we decided to spend the early afternoon in the botanical gardens. We chose the rain forest path and took an easy stroll along the boardwalk. We spent about an hour moving through all of the beautiful foliage before heading back to the hostel to get ready for White Water Rafting!

The bus retrieved us from the hostel and we set off on our way up the riverside. At the top, we were geared up with life vests, helmets, and paddles. We carried our raft down to the river from the road and were taught different maneuvers by our team leader. After learning the basics, we practiced rowing in-sync in a small lagoon-ish area and then we were off! As we paddled towards the first rapids, I felt top heavy with excitement and adrenaline took over. It wasn’t long before we hit a rough patch and were moved about backwards. After successfully making our way through the rocks and out of the current, we tied off on the side to watch the rest of the teams work their way down. There were a few close calls and then one raft came in too fast and a member was thrown from the raft! He was tossed about for some time in the rapids until he caught the throw bag and was pulled to the side and out of the strong current. As he neared our raft we grabbed hold of him and hoisted him in. We stayed to put until the last raft came through and then we returned our new addition to his original raft, which was waiting downstream. After the first few sets of rapids, we came to a calm stretch of river and jumped from the raft for a swim. We floated along easily while our team leader drifted in the raft further down stream to a pickup point. As we neared our team’s pickup spot, we swam over to the side and out of the current in order to pull ourselves into the raft. The rest of the experience went by in a flash and before I knew it we were pulling the raft from the water and drying off while enjoying some hot tea.

Upon returning to the hostel later that evening, we were starting to feel a tad hungry and decided to head over to the night markets for some dinner. It came to the groups attention that some people have never had eaten at Pie Face before, so it was a unanimous decision to have assorted meat pies for dinner. After dinner, we wandered through the night markets picking out souvenirs to bring home (*ahem* Christmas presents: aka, Everyone is getting a boomerang) and then we returned for another early night.

Day four had a pretty early start, as we wanted to beat the Sunday traveler’s traffic on our way up to the Daintree Rainforest. It was about a two-hour ride to the river crossing, a fifteen-minute ferry ride, and then another half hour to the Daintree Discover Center. In the Discover Center, we explored the rainforest canopy on the aerial walkway and learned about the eating habits of Cassowaries on the boardwalk circuit. After completing the circuit, we checked into our hostel and then set out on a hike and found a swimming hole, which the guys immediately took advantage of. After a swim we ended up at a local restaurant for dinner and watched the Rugby League Finals game. Attending uni in Townsville, it was absolutely incredible to experience the Townsville Cowboys come out with a one point win over the Brisbane Broncos in over time. The energy was palpable as the final play completed the season and the restaurant erupted in cheers from all of the rugby enthusiasts.

That night, we walked back to our hostel and we were able to see every star in the sky. The eerie lack of street lighting allowed me to experience one of the most beautiful night skies I’ve seen in my time in Australia. After lying on a side road for an extended period of time, one of the guys suggested that we head back to play the Australian version of “Cards Against Humanity.”

The fifth and final day of our adventure was met bright and early as we scurried to eat breakfast and pack up the car before checking out of our hostel and catching the bus to go zip lining. In the next half hour we were fitted with harnesses and helmets and making our way up to the lift. As we were raised into the canopy, our guides told us about the history of the land and pointed out some indigenous plant species. Some parts of the tour were set up in partners while others were solo runs. After an hour in the trees, my partner and I raced to the finish of the last leg of the tour and we de-harnessed and were on the bus back to the hostel. Once we arrived, we piled into the car and settled in for the eight-hour car ride back to uni, but after this I’m seriously thinking on moving to Australia, so I just finding out how much will it cost to move overseas and start planning for it.

The Daintree Rainforest had one last surprise for us, however. As we were winding our way along the coast towards the ferry stop, a wild cassowary emerged from the brush to cross the road directly in front of our car. Awe filled the vehicle, as it     was truly a magnificent creature.

I can say with ease that this trip has been one of the greatest experiences in my twenty years of life and it has been a time that I will not soon forget.

Aussie Slang of the Week:
Barbie- barbecue
Earbashing- nagging
Outback- inner Australia
Thongs- flip-flops