Study Melbourne partnered with Melbourne Writers Festival 2017 to host a storytelling competition for international students. ‘A Victorian Experience I’ll never forget’ by Carla Trigilia from Italy was shortlisted in the English Language Training category.

A Victorian experience I’ll never forget

Australia is the land where everything is possible, a place where your imagination turns into reality and your dreams come true. This is what I felt the first time I came to Victoria and experienced the Great Ocean Road and its amazing landscape.

It was during the last Easter holidays that my husband and I decided to explore the Great Ocean Road without having a precise travel itinerary in our minds. We had only a map of the South of Victoria and an immense desire to drive and see extraordinary things. We didn’t have an established destination and agreed to live an adventure losing ourselves in this astonishing corner of the world. We firmly believe that in a continent like Australia, travelling and intentionally losing ourselves is the best way to soak up the real atmosphere of the places and have unique encounters with the wildlife.

Our journey started in the early morning from Williamstown, the suburb we live in, and after driving for nearly two hours we reached the small town of Aireys Inlet. We decided to stop there as we saw some road signs that indicated the presence of a lighthouse. And there it was, Split Point Lighthouse, a white column of 34 metres with a red winter cap on top. Absolutely amazing! We were so excited when we discovered that we were allowed to visit the lighthouse with a guided tour. We reached the top, under the lantern, and enjoyed an extraordinary panoramic view of a long coastline which carried our gaze to the town of Lorne. It was a windy day and we felt the sensation that the lighthouse was slightly bending under the weight of the wind. It was amazing, I will never forget that sensation.

However the most thrilling experience was when we reached Port Campbell National Park and went to Gibson Steps via an 86-step staircase down the cliff face. When we got to the beach, on our right there was the perfection of Mother Nature’s power that was introduced to us. I will never forget the colour of the sky at sunset, a very bright ray of sun that cut through the grey clouds and painted the big rocks golden rose, and the sound of the waves on the water’s edge. I have never seen something so spectacular, I felt touched by that breathtaking scenery, my eyes were glittering with emotion and a tear of happiness slowly rolled down my cheek. I will always be grateful to Mother Nature for giving me such a wonderful gift and I am sure that Australia will continue to make me feel moved and enthusiastic about life and the future landscapes I will see.