Getting to Lady Elliot Island

Not knowing where you’d want to go, can take you to the most beautiful places. On the recommendation of an Aussie in the Gympie area, we decided to go to the southernmost island of the Great Barrier Reef: Lady Elliot Island!

The coral cay is lying completely isolated in the ocean. We came in on a little 15 person propeller plane. Since it was full to the last seat, the pilot asked me if I wanted to sit next to him…Awesome!

So after we had left the mainland and headed in northeastern direction out over the Pacific, it was blue sky and blue ocean all around us. Eventually, we got through some clouds and then the pilot pointed forward: “There’s your island.” The airstrip to land on is stretching 600m over the entire island and it’s a grass strip. So, landing there is apparently more difficult than on concrete lanes.

We circled twice around the island and could enjoy the great view over this circle shaped coral cay with turquoise water around it. Then we started to descend towards the runway and landed safely on the airstrip. We had lots of speed so we used the runaway all the way to its end so that we could just turn at the end in order to park the plane on the side of it.

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From the metropolis to dirt roads

Abendessen unterwegs

After having spent 9 wonderful days in Sydney, we have boarded a plain today to fly out of the now rainy weather. From the at times strong rainfall we came to Brisbane into a warm climate. After we had our private pickup at the airport, we got our car for the next 12 days: a Toyota Corolla.

Two rounds of Tetris and all of our luggage was packed and we were off further northbound. We had reserved a place to stay not far from the highway so that we could keep going even further north the next day. We found ourselves getting in the area of Gymsie when it was pitch-black outside with beautiful stars up…now find the place we wanted to spend the night!

We got off the highway, onto a smaller road, which led to an even smaller road. This one had impressive climbs and drops on it with steepnesses beyond the 10%. Finally, we turned on a dirt road and only at the „No through road“-sign did we believe, that this was not the good one. So we made a U-turn, went back and finally arrived at a beautifully remote house at the end of the other dirt road. The moon is up, the stars are out.

Welcome to Queensland!

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Welcome Party

Janek, Laura, Flo, Mel

Janek, Laura, Flo, Mel

We had the Welcome-Party to kick off the Pre-Convention. After having met with all other facilitators of the workshops, we have then gathered at the Star Bar to celebrate the Convention spirit. It was great meeting so many happy and enthused Rotaractors, literally from around the world.

Rotaract is connecting people across countries and continents. We can experience this here in Sydney. Besides, it’s so easy and it’s fun.

I’ve been asked in an interview today, if every young person should join Rotaract. I just answered „yes!“. I also explained it, even though you can’t really explain it. You have to experience it!

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Planting activity at Wanda Beach

Planting at Wanda Beach

In order to do a social project, we were about 15 Rotaractors to go to Wanda Beach south of Sydney to help a planting project. Local volunteers are working to replant a huge stretch of the coast in a project which is estimated to take until 2020. The goal is to stabilize the beach and to help preserve the landscape.

We then took gloves, shovels, spades and the plants and set about on the dunes. It was much easier opening the ground for the plants and putting in the little plants than it had been planting trees in Germany. Isn’t it great that we got to do a social activity which is in line with our Bundessozialaktion (

Rotary has made a short film about the planting acivity and I’m happy to see that my words fit to the occasion:

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The other side of the world…?!

I have to admit that I was a little disappointed of not feeling totally amazed by being on the other side of the world. People speak english…I have seen that. The houses look like those I had seen in the US and in the UK…so no jaw-dropping either. Life seems so comparable to all I knew…and I had hoped to feel something special being that far away.

Today, this changed. We were walking across the Harbour Bridge and I tried to get my directions straight, thinking that we probably are heading northbound and the opera is in our east. Always double-check your assumptions when risking to walk for quite a way in the wrong direction, I was glad I did. Since it was around 11 and bright sunshine, the sun would have to be somewhere behind me if I was heading north. I looked back. No sun. Strange! I looked right and left. No sun. (Can you imagine how strange it feels to have a blue sky and looking for the sun? 😉 ) And then, suddenly, I realized that on this side of the equator, the sun is in the north at lunchtime. I looked up and there it was, bright and shining. It’s probably hard to imagine, but I got goose-bumps from realizing that a fact that had been one of the most absolute in my life so far, had just changed.

The sun, we learned, can never be north of you. Yes, it can. It doesn’t matter if life is very comparable to ours back home. Now, I’m so amazed of being on the other side of the world!!!

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Harbour Bridge, Olympic Stadium and Manly Beach

One of the public ferry going in front of the Sydney Opera House

One of the public ferries going in front of the Sydney Opera House


Today we did get some mileage down and I got a good first impression of this great city of Sydney.

Crossing the very large Harbour Bridge and having a look from high up over Sydney Cove and the majestic Opera House, I could understand why it is so well-known across the world. It’s such a sight!

We took the ferries to move along the Harbour and went into the hinterland to the Olympic Stadium on this fast catamaran. Standing in the breeze, looking at the changing neighborhoods of Sydney and enjoying the sun and 20° weather is great. At the Olympic Stadium, everything is ready for the Convention. It looks exciting!

To finish the day, we went out eastbound to the Tasman Sea at Manly Beach. The water is still warm enough for us to walk in there for more than 1 hour. Knowing that I cannot be considered being a Penguin in this respect, this does mean something. Besides, it’s winter in Australia. This was also the case, that we had a sunset very early. When we arrived at the beach at 16:30, the sun had already set and at 17:30 it was pitch-black. Since we still had 20° out, it felt like around 11 at night at the French riviera.

Coming back on the boat, we had a splendid view on the light installations and projections on the Opera House. In Sydney, they have a light festival going on these days and since it was so dark, the lit up Opera House contrasted impressively against the black sky. On our way home from the Quay, we go to see, feel and interact with even more and very interesting and inspiring light installations.

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First evening in Sydney

Lightshow at the harbor

After arriving at our splendid apartment, we took a walk across downtown and saw this fabulous light show with nice classical music at the Darling Harbour.

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Stopover in Malaysia


Stopover in Malaysia

After an almost 12 hour flight, I’ve safely arrived in the capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur.

Even though the weather in Frankfurt was rainy, we had a great view from the Czech border almost to the end.

It was impressive flying over Ukraine for two reasons. You can feel how huge and scarcely populated this country is. The second reason is that from 10,000 meters, cities like Donezk look like many other cities but knowing that there are violent fights going on, makes it special. Since I was watching a Hollywood movie while flying over Ukraine, I was reflecting on our daily problems and theirs. It’s impressive how some people have to fight because they long for freedom and others because they’re afraid of freedom.

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From Pasing to Australia

Abfahrt in Pasing

Departure in Pasing

I started my journey to Australia with a great sunrise over Pasing. When my train was arriving at 5:35 in the morning, I had this impressive view. Even though my trip takes me to the South-East, I stated in northwestern direction towards Frankfurt.

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Ehrliche Politik

Großspurig schlagen wir immer gerne auf unsere Politiker ein und attestieren Ihnen, dass sie ja eigentlich von der ganzen Materie nichts verstehen. Wenn wir schon keine bessere Lösung anzubieten haben, so sind wir doch immer sicher, dass die, die von denen vorgeschlagen wird, stets nur auf Grund von bösem Lobbydruck und Eigeninteressen zustande gekommen sein kann. Dass sich „die Herren Politiker“ auch mal eindringlich mit der Materie beschäftigen und lange Nächte in heftigen Auseinandersetzungen die Köpfe rauchen lassen, um eine Lösung zu finden, die für möglichst viele Beteiligte akzeptabel ist, wird nur in Ausnahmefällen unterstellt.

Jetzt bekam ich heute einen Brief „meines“ Bundestagsabgeordneten. Er informiert die Mitglieder in seinem Wahlkreis, warum er für den Euro-Rettungsschirm stimmen wird. Also schon im Voraus erläutert er sein Verhalten und nicht erst im Nachhinein, was möglicherweise ja wieder nur taktisch ausgelegt würde („Ich hab’s ja schon immer gewusst!“).

Einfache Lösungen gibt es auf so schwierige Fragen wie das Zusammenleben von 80 Millionen Deutschen oder 500 Millionen Europäern nicht. Deshalb wählen wir Leute, die sich intensiv damit auseinandersetzen sollen. Schön, wenn diese ihrer Aufgabe nachkommen und dabei nicht vergessen, uns Bürgern zu erläutern, warum sie sich so verhalten. Exemplarisch: Danke, Herr Uhl!

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