My name is Julie, and I am from the Norwegian University HVL Sogndal. I am currently studying at USC Sunshine Coast and have for the last year. As travelling is one of my biggest passions, I thought I would share a few tips for “weekend getaways” you could do whilst studying at USC Sunshine Coast.
The closest city for that “big city feeling” is Brisbane, only an hour train ride away.
What to do in Brisbane? Visit the Lone Pine Sanctuary, the biggest koala sanctuary in the world, where you can hold koalas and feed kangaroos. During the hot summer days, Southbank is the place to be. Eat Street Northshore is also a must in Brisbane. Open every night Friday to Sunday, Eat Street is the best food market you will ever visit with food from all over the world and the craziest desserts you can think of.
You can also visit North Stradbroke Island or Moreton Island by ferry from Brisbane, either for the day or a few nights! Moreton Island is perfect for a day-trip and has the famous Tangalooma shipwrecks. North Stradbroke Island (or Straddie) is a beautiful island filled with wildlife and amazing beaches. Absolutely recommend the North Gorge walk, on this hike we spotted dolphins, whales, kangaroos and a turtle.
Rainbow beach (Inskip point)
Camping at Inskip point is a highly recommended weekend getaway! Either in a camper van or tent – or both. Crystal clear water and a view of Fraser Island. One of the highlights from my year “down under”.
Fraser Island (K’Gari)
A ferry ride from Rainbow beach is the famous Fraser island, the biggest sand island in the world. It was formed during the ice age by sand blown for New South Wales. It is also voted as the number seven “must seen beaches” in the world by National Geographic.
What to do? Except for the beautiful beaches, there is a shipwreck- the Maheno wreck that can be visited. As well as the famously known Lake McKenzie that is also on the island, which is a beautiful lake to go for a swim in. However, remember to respect the dingoes and follow Fraser Island rules as they roam free on the island.
Tip! Check out the courses on USC as some of them travel to Fraser Island. I went there on a school trip with OES104 (recommended for international students!)
Gold Coast is a popular holiday destination, no surprise as it has a lot to offer. It has major shopping centres, more than 500 cafes and restaurants, rural hinterland, great nightlife, and is the home of several theme parks, including the Wet’n’wild and Warner Bros. Movie World. If you have the chance, you can also see the city from above in the Q1 tower.
Cafetips! I recommend “The Paddock Bakery”, a cozy backyard café with great food and a changing menu. I also recommend the vegan café “The Cardamon Pod”, offering great food and is very “insta friendly” (heheh).
One of my favourite places in Australia – if not the world – is Byron. Just under 3 and a half hours by car from campus. It’s famous for the surfers, beaches, (the Hemsworth brothers) and the most powerful lighthouse in the country. I absolutely recommend the hike up to the lighthouse (alternatively an uber ride up there). It’s also the most easterly point in Australia. Look for whales and dolphins as they can be spotted from there.
Tip! If you don’t have a car, Adventure Dudes does trips with USC students a few times each semester, might be worth looking into at the International BBQ in Orientation Week.
Hope this gave you some inspiration for travelling around while studying at USC. For more pictures, check out my Instagram @julievaga, where I will also be more than happy to answer any questions you might have. You can also email email@example.com for more information.
– Julie Våga