It’s Adventure Time!

First and foremost, congratulations to all the seniors who graduated on Friday!! I may not have been there physically but I was in there in spirit! And thank you to IU East for sending me some of my own grad gear so I could be a part of it as well!

Now onto the stories! There was one story I accidentally left out in my last blog so I am going to start with that one. When I was back in Wodonga, I was riding with Spanny in the passenger seat and three of his friends sat in the back. They all were just talking in the back while me and Spanny were in the front. But mid sentence, one of the guys in the back says, “Spanny, do you have arachnophobia?” He replied no and everyone was a bit confused until he added, “Well you have a huntsman crawling across your windshield.” And right after he said that, I saw this HUGE spider crawl across the INSIDE of the windshield!! So we pulled over and it took us about 5 minutes to find it again and kill it. To put in perspective how big a huntsman can be and what was in the car, I’ll add these two photos.

 This one here is a little bigger than what was in the car with us.But this is how big they can grow to be!

We have no idea how it got in there, but either way, we were glad it was spotted before Spanny or I spotted it in the front!

Now I did do a bit of traveling these last two weeks as well! I flew up to Cairns (pronounced Cans here). First, I want to talk about how different airports here are then back home. I got to the airport two hours early like you do at home. I got through security so quickly that I sat, had a meal, and still waited an hour and 55 minutes. It was insane!

But alas, I did make it on the plane and to Cairns. On the shuttle trip to the hostel I was staying at, the driver informed us to be very careful because there were crocodiles everywhere. He pointed out where they would be along the drive and how the only people who use the sidewalks by that area are backpackers because otherwise, the crocodiles have a good chance of getting a hold of you. He also told us that backpackers are killed by crocodiles at least twice per year in Cairns alone. Some interesting, and definitely scary facts that kept me away from that water!

I got to to the hostel just fine with no croc sitings, or at least not the animal. I tried to check in but the hostel only had me staying there one night instead of the four I had booked for! It took us a good thirty minutes or so to realize she had spelled my name wrong so we were then quickly able to find my reservation. She then gave me a voucher for some free pizza and sangria later that night and off to my room I went!

I stayed on the third floor and man did I have a good view!

Of course after I got settled in, I went and got some free pizza and made a couple new friends! But unfortunately, I couldn’t stay too long because I had to be ready by 6am the next day to go rafting!

I have never been rafting before so to do it here was really awesome! In my boat, there were six tourists and two guides. All of us besides two Swedish girls had traveled alone here and knew no one. So I guide was asking if we knew each other and of course we didn’t so then he asked if we had ever been rafting before. None of us had. He then told us a bit about rapids. They range from grade 1-6, 6 being impossible. He said low 5 is the highest a raft can go but kayakers can do all levels just because they have more control. He followed this with, “and today we are doing high 4’s.” You could tell after that, that everyone instantly became a little bit more nervous.

But it wasn’t near as bad as we thought! It was a ton of fun!! We all ended up talking throughout the trip and became friends. Here are a few pictures of this really awesome experience!

I only fell out of the boat once but I wasn’t the only one! One of our guides fell out of the boat twice as did one of the other guys. We all made it to the end though so it was totally worth it! We were also able to get out and float along the river during the calm parts. So of course we did. We then found out later there were freshwater croc in the river. But we shouldn’t have anything to worry about because the freshwater crocs just nibble where the saltwater crocs will kill you. It didn’t make me feel much better!

Day two, I went on a waterfall tour! I can’t remember the name of the first stop but it was pretty underwhelming. We went on a small path through the rainforest to look at them but we weren’t able to get close or anything. One thing we did see that we didn’t see anywhere else was a Golden Orb Spider! It was a pretty giant spider but it was really pretty as well!

After that spot, we traveled to Josephine Falls where I was able to slide down the waterfall and swim! The water was a bit chilly but it was very much worth the experience!

On our way to the next waterfall, I was able to try a new fruit! It has a very interesting look don’t you think?

It is called Rambutan. You peel away the outer coat and eat the fleshy middle part! It was actually very nice!

After eating that, we made our way to Milla Milla falls. This one in my opinion, was the most gorgeous waterfall we would see that day! I mean, look at it!

 I was also able to get a sick new profile picture as well with this amazing hair flip!

The last place we went for that day wasn’t a waterfall but instead a crater lake. That means we went swimming in a volcano! The water there was super clear and very warm!

The third day was what I was most excited about! The Great Barrier Reef!! It was absolutely gorgeous! I only went snorkeling and did a little free diving but the pictures say everything you need! Some of these photos are from the professional photographers there that day and some are from the underwater camera that I rented.

I was able to swim with a shark or two though even though I was just snorkeling! But the reef was just an amazing thing to see! These are not even half my pictures though from the reef so be sure to check out my Facebook for more! (Link will be at the end).

The last day, I was in Cairns, my friend and I just walked around and explored a bit. We found a small little market area where I got a necklace and we went to the mall for a bit as well! We also found a really awesome stone shop where they had geodes and other precious stones that were carved out into different shapes. I wish I had taken pictures of them because they were stunning!!

Throughout the week I didn’t do too much but this weekend, I did make my way to Sydney and finally got some really good photos of the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge!

We just walked around Sydney for a bit and we made our way to a Harley Davidson shop as well, as request from a couple people back home. Now the Harley Davidson shop we found was in a very nice part of town as it was next to a Bentley, Aston Martin, and McLaren dealerships. Pretty awesome to look at but you could tell we were out of place!

I think I have talked enough for this post but to see more pictures from Australia be sure to look at my photos on Facebook at and for the Great Barrier Reef photos at

So congrats again to those who have graduated this weekend!! I’ll talk to you guys later!

About Erin

Hello there! My name is Erin Hoodlebrink and I am a senior Biochemistry major studying at the University of Wollongong in Australia for the semester! I will be sure to take as many pictures of kangaroos as possible for you all!

One thought on “It’s Adventure Time!

  1. What a wonderful blog Erin – exciting stories of some amazing destinations and splashed with great photos …. well except maybe except for those of the spiders, not my favorite I’m afraid. You no doubt count yourself as one of the lucky ones having the opportunity to study in Australia and it sounds like you are thoroughly enjoying it.

    As an Alumnae myself I think it is important to current and even future students of IUE that you are blogging your experiences – it will encourage others to strive not just for learning but also adventure.

    Well done

    ~ Harmony (alumnae)

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