A list of my top 5 favorite places I traveled during my semester in Australia, why they were my favorite, and some ideas on what you can do when you visit.

Blue Mountains

I traveled to the Blue Mountains with a group of university students as well as TEAN students. Just hop on the train in Sydney and in a few hours, you will reach Katoomba, a small mountain town with some great restaurants and awesome site seeing. There are a ton of different hikes you can take to see a bunch of different views in the Blue Mountains. I suggest taking the Charles Darwin Trail. It is more of a walk than a hike and you pass a couple of waterfalls during it. The trail takes you to a massive waterfall and in the surrounding area there are many different outlooks to see the MOST INCREDIBLE views you will ever see in your life. From there you can either take the Charles Darwin trail back out or proceed on a somewhat challenging multiple hour hike on which you pass many more views and waterfalls. I suggest taking the Charles Darwin Trail back out and then revisiting Katoomba Falls the next day. Be prepared there are A LOT of stairs. Also make sure you check out The Three Sisters, an iconic spot in Australia. You can walk to the lookout from the center of town and even walk into one of the sisters.

The Twelve Apostles

Take a trip down the Great Ocean Road and enjoy and incredible view of the 12 Apostles, another iconic spot in Australia. It for sure isn’t convenient, you will have to pay for a tour bus to take you there but I highly recommend it. The main destination is the 12 Apostles but along the way you stop along The Great Ocean Road to see breath taking views, eat lunch, and maybe even spot a kangaroo and koala. We arrived at the 12 Apostles just before sun set and ended up seeing the sun set which was just amazing. Take the time to walk around to all the different lookouts and even walk down the rickety staircase to the beach. If you are there at sunset as well and it is a clear day you will have some of the most stunning photos.

Hosier Lane

I am not a city person at all however, Melbourne was my favorite city I have EVER visited. After taking a walk down Hosier Lane I fell in love and I am sure you will to. Hosier lane is a little side street that is filled the most vibrant street art. The artwork ranges from political statements to funny pictures of cats and is breathtaking and a little overwhelming. Take the time to walk around and look at it all. While there I got the opportunity to talk to some of the artists and learn how to spray paint and leave my mark on Hosier Lane. Street artist have their own culture, take the time to learn about it if the opportunity is there.

Photo by TEAN Alum Melissa Pesarchick, Quinnipiac University

Caves Beach

Located in NSW just a short drive from the city of Newcastle. If you are looking for a place to adventure to this is the perfect choice. Make sure you go at low tide and you will be able to walk in and out of numerous beach caves. There are rocky points you can walk out on and look back at the beach and get a view of the caves from the beach. You can also go inside the caves and get a unique view of the ocean, a view I’m sure you have never seen anything quite like. After adventuring through the caves, sit back and relax on the beach. The day I went there was barely anyone on the beach. We brought food and drinks and had ourselves a day, swimming, adventuring and just having a good day.

Byron Bay

Byron Bay was by far my favorite place in Australia. Whenever someone asks me about my experience, my favorite part, or where to go my first response is simply, “Byron Bay”. I love everything about this place so I could go on forever. While the beach right next to town is awesome, go to Tallows bay. You look at the beach right in downtown and it is packed with people but head over to Tallows and it is so wide and long that you can feel like you are the only one there. This is the beach where the surfing happens and if you are lucky you might even get to see some dolphins. Byron has unique nightlife. Personally, I don’t enjoy going to clubs I would rather go to a bar and have it be more of a local feel. That is Byron nightlife. We went to this little shack called Woody’s and enjoyed amazing live music. This is how most bars in Byron are so adventure to all of them, each one is unique and super fun. Miss Margarita. I am a lover of Mexican food and I searched high and low for a good Mexican place while abroad. Miss Margarita was SO good and my top suggestion of places to eat in Byron.

Sarah Davis is a TEAN Alum and student at University of New Hampshire. She studied abroad with TEAN in Newcastle, Australia