Shanna, CISabroad staff member, shares her experience budget traveling along the Great Ocean Road while studying abroad in Australia.
We all know that studying abroad can be hard on the pocketbook, but worth it in the end. My friend and I turned to more alternative budget friendly trips while studying abroad in Australia, and ended up with some great memories from it! While studying abroad at the University of Newcastle in Newcastle, Australia my friend and I made a trip to Melbourne to see the city and also wanted to road trip along the infamous Great Ocean Road. We had originally planned on renting a car for a week and driving the road by ourselves, stopping along the way to take photos of everything and anything, spending the night at hotels and trying new restaurants. After crunching the numbers we realized this just wasn’t feasible.
So instead of taking the typical route we decided to hop on a low budget camping trip with ten other travelers and ended up having the time of our lives. We met people from all over Europe, South America and Asia. This camping trip was led by an overly enthusiastic, but informative, Australian tour guide who drove us down many miles of the Great Ocean Road, winding along the coastline and stopping to take photos of beautiful rock formations, Aussie animals and critters and clear blue water as far as the eyes can see. We spent two days and three nights getting to know the road and landscape as well as each other. We cooked meals together over the fire and slept in tents under the stars from the Australian farmland to the base of the foothills in the Victorian countryside. One morning we even woke up at sunrise to find a field full of kangaroos surrounding our tents. It was unbelievable! At times we were frustrated with the “roughing it” aspect of our trip; however, I wouldn’t have traded a shower and shampoo for the inside of those tents and the memories we made every day of the week! There is something fantastic about sitting around a camp fire having a conversation and laughing with people from several different continents and all relating about the fabulous time we were having together. It’s surprising how much fun you can have when life just goes back to being simple. This is one of many memories I will never forget about my study abroad experience in Australia!
Have you ever “roughed it” while traveling abroad? Leave a comment and share your story!