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Big waves, blue ocean and beautiful sunsets sound all too familiar for those of you who’ve visited Hawaii. But in this “Aloha Abroad” post, we’re referring to a land down under – where the weather’s nice and the roos are hoppin’. A place outside of the islands where the Aloha spirit can be found wherever your camper van roams. We’re talking about Australia, mate!
The Aussies had style in the water, and man, were they cute and cuddly!
This summer, a couple of Hawaiians found themselves in search of the Wizard of OZ –starting with the surf and the meat pies. My boyfriend, sister and I ventured to Australia for a two-week trip that turned out to be quite the home away from home for us. We picked up some Aussie slang and tried weird foods. But although we didn’t quite find the Wizard, we did stumble upon constant reminders that the Aloha spirit lives on – beyond our island home, in this far off country.
We flew a comfortable 10 hours from Honolulu to Sydney before putt-putting our clunky camper van another 10 hours north to Byron and Coolongatta – otherwise known as the Gold Coast. And golden it was; the sunshine and warmth were a welcomed reward for all that driving, especially for us freezing foreigners who were still getting used to the opposites of OZ (as in, the roadways and the weather). Hawaii’s summers are Australia’s winters, so it goes without saying that we.were.cold for it being only mid-June.
VIDEO: Our surfari down under in search of roos, waves and the Aloha spirit.
Arriving to near-perfect weather on the Gold Coast was definitely a golden nugget in our trip. The white sand beaches of surfers and sunbathers looked like a slice of home to us. Complete with board rentals and surf lessons, the Aussie “beach boys” were hard at work. But the ocean – as beautiful and blue as it looked – was deceivingly cold! Ladies would willingly sacrifice flaunting their cute new brazilians to keep warm in these waters. It was all about the full-body seal suits, baby!
Nose rides for days…
…Seal suits that were but tiny specks at each surf break, as they rode the long rolling waves to shore. The surf culture in OZ is very much like Hawaii’s. You’ve got your sun-bleached mops, funky lingo and groms/grommettes busting huge airs…dude. In fact, one of Hawaii’s legendary surfers had a pig part in spreading the art of wave riding overseas. In the early 1900s, Duke Kahanamoku hosted a stand-up surfing exhibit at a local surf camp in Australia. He took a traditional Hawaiian surfboard out into the chilly waters of Freshwater Beach, impressing the crowd with his smooth style and agility. Duke left such an impression on the budding surf culture and “surfies” that they put up a statue in his honor. You can see it today, if you’re at Freshwater Beach.
And from surfing to sunsets – by late in the arvo (afternoon), we ended each day with sunsets just as magical as Hawaii – colored with a spectrum of pinks, purples and oranges that would make anyone melt. And as the colors faded into the horizon at the end of each day, we thought about the life we (temporarily) left back home. A new day was just about to begin in Hawaii, and here we were, having the time of our lives, finding Aloha Abroad in Australia.
Soaking in the warmth before enjoying another golden sunset on the Gold Coast.
Check out our “Aloha Abroad” series to see where else the Aloha spirit can be found:
Hawaii Meets Belgium
Hawaii Meets Colorado
Hawaii Meets San Fran
Photo Credit: Noa Myers