By Kalei Munsell, Foster Undergraduate who last year participated in an exchange with the University of Sydney in Sydney, Australia
Almost every single exchange student in Australia ends up doing a trip down the Australian East Coast at least once during their time abroad, and there’s an obvious reason why—the purest silica sand beaches, snorkeling the great barrier reef, and driving 4×4’s along the largest sand island in the world. This was an unforgettable trip, but it wasn’t quite as memorable as the 4 days I spent backpacking, camping, and hiking through Tasmania with 9 of my closest friends.
Tasmania is often overlooked by travelers as it’s a separate island from the main body of Australia, and there’s nothing to do but hike. I ended up planning a four-day trip to backpack the Freycinet Peninsula loop, and it was the best thing I’ve ever done. We had backpacks that weighed 20-30 kilos each, we were tired, dirty, and sweaty, but it was breathtaking. Not only was it some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever seen, but we had it all to ourselves for the majority of the journey. The trek was a challenge, but at the end we could all say we did it together. There’s no better way to bond with a group of people than to do a multi-day hike like this one. We had a blast on our road trip from the airport to the hike itself, and spent 4 days laughing and “complaining” together.
This was a weekend trip that nobody else I know did during their time in Australia, and it ended up being the most special part of my time abroad. For anyone else studying abroad, I recommend doing something off the beaten path, because those are the moments I remember most.