This afternoon, another dream came true.
After two days of being so, so, so incredibly close to the Australian coast, I was very eager to finally walk along the sandy beaches that I have dreamed about for so long. So…
After lunch today, Isa, Sara, Annabell, and I paid $4 AUD each and took the bus from campus to the beachfront in town, known as the Strand. It took us about 20 minutes to ride the bus, and then we had to walk about 5 minutes or so before we hit the Strand. It is about a 1.25-mile paved path that winds along the beach edge. It was a perfect day to go; a postcard perfect day. But then again, I can hardly imagine any day that would not be this beautiful.
Once we saw the water, be bee-lined our way to it. Although we all wore swim suits under our clothes, we were content today to just get our feet wet. The water felt so warm compared to the Pacific Coast that I am used to. With palm trees blowing in the breeze, warm water at our feet, and little shells all around, I was truly walking around the dream I have dreamed for so many years. But this time it was reality.
I don’t even know how many times I said aloud, “We are in Australia” to my friends today. But really, I think I was saying it out loud to myself even more than I was saying it to them. The views were incredible. We could see Magnetic Island. It looked as though it was only just out of reach. I can’t wait to go exploring around there soon.
We slowly walked our way from one end of the Stand to the other. There are so many condos and apartments right along the coast. If I had a million dollars, I would buy one today. I cannot imagine living here and seeing that perfect view every day.
There are multiple play areas for kids along the Strand, as well as this water park that looks like a blast! There are also barbeque picnic areas that are free and open for public use. Or, many restaurants to eat at if you prefer. While there were quite a few people around the area today, it was not busy at all. I had to keep reminding myself that this is winter for the locals. It blows my mind that views like this and warm weather like this is what they get in winter time.
Next, we came across a pier that had more incredible views. Some people were fishing off of it. We found it to be a great photo-op place, not surprisingly.
Behind the Stand is Castle Hill, a giant pink granite monolith that is 938 feet tall. Hiking to the top is on my Australian bucket list for while I am here.
As we continued along the water front, it was still surprisingly early in the afternoon. Once we got to the opposite end of the Strand, we all bought gelato from Juliette’s. The shop was crowded elbow-to-elbow when we walked in. I had two scoops: Ferrero Rocher and After Dinner Mint. Although I absolutely love Ferrero Rocher candies, I preferred the mint flavor for gelato because the former was just a bit too rich, even for me.
As I sat and ate my gelato while basking in the just-beginning-to-set Australian sun while chatting about anything and everything with new international best friends while sitting on the Pacific Coast of Australia, I once again had to remind myself that today, this was not a dream; it was a dream come true.
After we finished our gelato, we walked back along the Strand, taking many more photos along the way. And then we expertly navigated the streets back to the bus stop without a single wrong turn. (While we were first headed to the Strand, I was making notes of unique land marks along the way such as murals, interesting sign posts, and other things like I remember my Daddy teaching me.)
We got to the bus stop a perfect ten minutes before it arrived and then enjoyed watching the sun begin to set on another incredible dream-come-true day in AU while we rode the bus back to campus.
Even as I sit and write this, it is the photos with me in them that proves to me that I am really here right now, that this is all really happening. I truly am counting my blessings, and today I feel as though it is impossible to count them all.
Thank you, Lord, for creating such incredible postcard perfect places for us to explore.