Friday of my first week saw more tutorials with the other students. Very similar to what we have in NZ with video confrencing between other centres and specialists. I was relieved to find out I had a similar level of knowledge as everyone else so slotted right in! We learnt a bit about fluid maintenance and resus for paediatrics and had an interesting talk on multi-cultural health.

After class it was off to Traralgon to the Gippsland Medical School Ball!! The theme was masquerade and thanks to some excellent communication from some Aussie students I had brought a mask, dress and shoes with me from NZ! Mary also got hold of a ticket so I wasn’t the sole NZer! The function centre was decorated beautifully and the food was delish. We were some of the first on the dance floor and were there til the music stopped! Thanks to an open bar everyone was able to really let their hair down for the night. It was great for everyone to forget about med, study and exams and kick our heels up! I met some great people from all different year levels and all different backgrounds. Everybody was very friendly and excited to sit down and yarn as soon as they found out you were from NZ. It was a fantastic night and I was stoked to be here for the right weekend!

On Saturday A couple of the girls took me out to Raymond Island, a small island reached by ferry in the middle of one of the large salt water lakes in the district. Raymond Island is well known for its koala population. Koalas were first introduced to the island in the 1950’s in hope of creating a population to ensure the species if anything were to happen to the mainland population. The koalas thrived in the environment and the numbers are now close to 300. They are breeding so well in fact that a sterilization programme has had to be implemented to control numbers! We wandered along the koala trail and saw numerous dosing furballs! Only a couple were awake and feeding but one of these had a baby koala clinging on. Even the Aussie girls were excited to see this so I felt quite lucky!!

On Sunday we headed to a small town called Buchan which is well known for its limestone caves. There are a myriad of underground caves weaving through the area and are a popular tourist destination. Being the typical tourist I had to partake! We took a tour through the Royal cave and it was quite spectacular. There were huge rooms with thousands of stalactites connected by narrow, low, winding pathways. (NB: I finally learnt a good trick for remembering stalactites from stalagmites – stalactites come from the roof as they have to hang on tight!). Some of these structures were huge and were thousands of years old. A lot of the passageways sparkled with the tiny crystals and it really was spectacular! The caves stay at a stable temperature of 17 degrees year round. This was quite balmy for us as it was a cold day outside!┬áIt is so hard to describe how beautiful a place it was, you really have to see it to understand. I definitely recommend it to anyone if you find yourself out this way at some stage.

Well after a fun-filled weekend it’s back to medicine and what I am actually here for!! Check back in soon.