Written by Hannah Van De Stadt from the Penn State
This past weekend was nothing short of amazing. Once 1pm on Friday came around we all hopped in the Hertz van for a fun filled adventure. The hype was real and it lived up to all the expectations. On our way to what Wayne referred to as “cabins” we made a quick pit stop at the grocery store to get the food that we needed for the weekend. Each cabin was responsible for a meal and let me tell you- it was so fun to shop for what we each needed, I think maybe some of us got a little carried away! After we got back in the car and 45 minutes of anticipation passed, we made it to the Merry Beach Caravan Resort. Being from the States, we never get the chance to see Kangaroos, but here THERE WERE SO MANY! We were all freaking out and were in complete awe all weekend. Once we got settled in the “cabins,” we took a little stroll to get acquainted with the area. Lastly, we ate an amazing stir fry meal made by two of our own, Hogan and Grace. Then we talked about what to expect for the day ahead, not really aware of what was actually going to happen the next day on our hike.
Saturday came bright and early and a few of us decided to wake up early for the sunrise that we couldn’t see at all because of the overcast L But we did see more kangaroos, so that made up for the not-so-good sunset. We had a quick grab and go breakfast and headed out early for the day. We made a quick stop in a cute town, Narooma and then made it over to the Mt. Gulaga, an extinct volcano, where we met up with our Aboriginal tour guide, Lynn. She gave us a brief insight into her family history and her mob, the local Yuin people. We made it up the mountain after about an hour and a half where we had our lunch. None of us expected what was to come. After we finished, we were introduced to the Yuin culture first hand. We needed to be welcomed in to their sacred ground one by one and then learned some of their teachings. It was both an amazing and unforgettable experience that none of us will ever forget.
Once we made it back down the mountain, we had all worked up a pretty big appetite. We stopped at this cute restaurant right on the river, called Stingrays. The food was great and then some of us finished off our day with some tasty ice cream. Once back to the cabins we were all pretty drained from a long, but amazing day. We mustered up the energy to go to the beach and look at the stars. I have never seen as many stars as I did that night. We were even able to see a galaxy, it was absolutely breathtaking. To our surprise, early in the day Lynn told us that the constellations that they see here in Australia are completely different than the ones we see back in the States. We even thought we could see the “Big Dipper” here but we were definitely making that up, haha. Instead, Wayne showed us the Southern Cross, a constellation that we don’t have in the States. After this, we all went to bed because we had one more thing planned the following day that we all wanted to be ready for…
SURFING!!!! After we had a nice big breakfast and we said our goodbyes to the kangaroos, we made our way down to Seven Mile Beach for some surfing lessons – wetsuits and all. Seven Mile Beach was gorgeous and as our instructors said, the perfect beach to learn how to surf. Once we learned the rules of the road, we got right into the water. Surfing is HARD. It requires a lot of coordination and upper body strength (which I don’t have). Most of us got the hang of it pretty quickly, but I on the other hand was terrible. Towards the end I was able to get up a few times and managed to get in a rhythm. I definitely want to try it again and maybe I’ll be able to stand up easier – just maybe, but definitely no promises. Once we finished and washed out the wetsuits, we stopped at a little beach store and got slushies. They were so so good after a 90° day and an action-packed weekend.
I’m sure I can speak on behalf of everyone in our group, this weekend was one for the books, and one I certainly will not forget.