After 24 hours of travel and more than 40 hours of no sleep, I finally landed safely in Brisbane. It was 6 o'clock in the morning. So I could see the sunrise from the plane. Wow, I was in Australia. On the other side of the world. I still cannot believe it... At the airport, I went through all the immigration stations and finally left. There was a chauffeur that brought me to Byron Bay. It took us about two hours from Brisbane to Byron Bay. I was able to enjoy a wonderful view during the drive and got first impressions from Australia.
The first thing that really confused me here in Australia was the reversed driving direction and the place of the driver's seat. During the drive, I always tried to understand how one should drive here. Actually, I have no idea. Everything is on the left side now; the complete opposite. I think, I never could become accustomed to that! But I didn't just watch the highways, in fact, the vegetation fascinated me even more. There were very high, big and unusual (to me/european people) trees just all around in the south of Queensland (north-eastern state of Australia / sunshine state). Everywhere were forests and lot of nature. Once, we drove through a bridge which even had a forest on it. The driver explained me that it was built as a crossing way for the animals of the big National Park. Coming down to New South Wales (south-eastern state of Australia), the nature changed. It reminded me of a steppe, more brown tones and less green trees.
The driver bent left to Byron Bay after two hours. Now I got excited. It was totally different to what I've expected: First, most houses looked broken and old. Then there came the shopping street which reminded me of Hossegor (Quiksilver store, surfshops etc...) and then I saw people who looked crazy (which is normal here). Also the green nature with lots of trees was here again. I arrived at my guest family's house (it is so beautiful; a mix of modern and old furniture). My guest family is very kind. Claudia is my host mother, Byron my host father, Liam and Mia my host siblings and Shadow is their lovely dog. There is also another student here, Mayu from Japan. After a short sharing, I immediately went to bed because I would have flaked out soon.
I slept seven hours (I've put the alarm clock for three hours...) and then at 5 pm, Claudia, Mayu, Shadow and I went for a walk to Byron's main beach. The sun was setting and it became dark thirty minutes later.
We returned home and enjoyed a delicious dinner Claudia had prepared (risotto with meatballs). After that, I already went to bed again because I was still tired. I had a good sleep while the rain was pelting onto the roof and woke up at 5 am (maybe I skip my jet-leg because of my tiredness?).
Today was a very rainy and cold day (unusual for this time of the year they say). At 7.30 am, Claudia, Mayu and I went for a walk/hike through the Cape Byron State Conservation Area. For more information about the Park, CLICK HERE. We had to go uphill through the bush (where I observed my first Australian animal. It was a wallaby! Wallabies are small kangaroos with a brown/grey hide. We continued our walk and after about 200 septs and a short path, we arrived at the lighthouse. The rain was gone, the sun reached a way through the heavy cloud cover and a rainbow appeared. This was marvelous. The Cape Byron Lighthouse was built in 1901 and is the last of the 19th-centrury Victorian era lighthouses.
Next, we descent from the lighthouse and had a view at Cape Byron, Australia's most easterly point (of the mainland). Cape Byron was named by Captain James Cook in May 1770 when he passed the area, to honor his friend and British explorer John Byron, the father of Lord Byron.
During our further descent, we were able to see some dolphins and a splash of a whale (hunchback)! After our almost 4km tour, we set off home and did a slight detour to the school I'll visit for four weeks (Lexis English School). The rest of the day was still very rainy. I was at home, wrapped in many clothes and blankets and relaxed. I also had a sleep for about three hours. We had an Indian dinner, which was very good. Tomorrow will be my first day at school. I'm wondering how it will be. See you soon and carpe diem!