Most undergraduate students at Bond do not have class on Fridays, and some are lucky enough to only have class three days a week. Of course I am here to learn, as well as stay on track with my GPA and degree requirements. However, I also want to travel and gain many amazing cultural and travel experiences! Today we were able to have our first real excursion in Gold Coast.
After a morning spent at the school club fair signing up for activities, we visited the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. This has been on my Australian bucket list since way before I arrived, mostly because we get to pet kangaroos and hold koalas! We spent a few hours working our way through the exhibits, petting kangaroos, watching a bird show, taking a safari train ride, and holding a koala. America is definitely different than Australia when it comes to places like this. There was very low-key security (basically friendly sanctuary employees/guides), and you could walk in and out of many different open exhibits. These included animals like kangaroos, emus, lots of birds, and wallabies. We also saw koalas, wombats, echidnas, crocodiles, Tasmanian devils, and dingoes.
The kangaroos were definitely my favorite, mostly because you could see them up close. They were very mellow and soft to pet, and it was fantastic. Considering kangaroos can be very dangerous in the wild, it was truthfully a little disheartening to see them so mellow in the reserve, but also an incredible experience to be among them so personally. The emus were in the same area, yet not quite as friendly. They tended to stay more away from people, but were still very interesting creatures to see.
Kangaroo exhibit area
Kangaroo with a joey in its pouch
Petting a kangaroo!
At the end of the sanctuary a few of us took pictures with a koala! Of course we had to fall for the tourist trap of paying for a picture, but holding a koala has been on my bucket list since literally forever, and it was something that had to be done (zero regrets). Her name was Rochelle and she was very well behaved, soft, and very photogenic. Definitely an experience I will remember.
Holding a koala!
On the way back we decided to take a shuttle since we had about 10 people, and the driver offered to make a stop at Elephant Rock. It also was a breathtaking and well-worthwhile excursion. Essentially there’s this big rock on the beach, you walk up a short, steep set of rock stairs, and come out on a platform on the top overlooking the entire Currumbin Beach coast. It was quite windy, but a fantastic find.
The short climb up to Elephant Rock outlook
A view off the lower-level rock formation, facing the South side
Later that evening, we all took a bus to the Burleigh Beach area, about a 30-minute bus ride from campus. We had a calm get-together with friends on the beach, ate sushi, and shared our different adventures of the day. It was an incredibly relaxing evening, and our walk along the water at night was so peaceful. It was gorgeous to see the mountains and coastal landscape lighted up in such a picturesque way. We made our way back home after a day of making lifelong memories.
Nighttime view on Burleigh Beach, facing the South side