Name: Jillian Spies
School: University of Vermont
Program: Tropical Rainforest Studies, Australia
One of my favorite things we’ve done so far is camping in Chillagoe, a small old mining town in the drier part of Australia, many hours west of our home in the rainforest.
We saw limestone caves formed from the time when that part of the continent was covered in ocean and it was full of coral reefs. It was fascinating to see little pieces of our rainforest growing in these wet caves, smack dab in the middle of the savannah. Most importantly, we saw amazing wildlife: our first kangaroos, tons of wallabies, gallah birds, and rainbow lorikeets were abundant! Chillagoe also created a great opportunity for us to see the stars and look at the sky and some of our constellations that we’re used to seeing back home from a whole new angle.
From Chillagoe, we went right to our homestay weekend. Small groups of two or three of us went off to stay with a local family from somewhere in the Tablelands. It was great to see how people live in this area and how proud they are to be Aussies. I had a great time driving around and seeing some spectacular waterfalls, spending a lazy Sunday morning at Etty Bay, and even seeing a movie at the Malanda cinema- the oldest working movie theater in Australia. What a fantastic and busy few weeks it has been!