Short trip to Perth

Perth is the capital of Western Australia, situated where the Swan River meets the southwest coast. I went to Perth for a short trip to explore a bit around the city region and nearby suburbs. The flight from Brisbane to Perth took me around 5.5 hours and another interesting fact is  that Brisbane is 2 hours ahead of Perth even though both cities are in the same country.

From my impression, Perth has a similar urban design as Brisbane so it gave me a familiar feeling. I feel Perth is more spacious compared to Brisbane as I had to walk quite to get from one place to the other.

Photo: Elizabeth Quay at Perth.

Kings Park is a big park located at the western edge of Perth CBD. The park is renowned for its spectacular views due to its prime location on Mt Eliza overlooking Perth City and the Swan River.

Photo: One part of the Perth CBD landscape from Kings Park.

Photo: The view from Kings Park.

Photo: A good spot at Kings Park to enjoy the breeze with an excellent view.

Photo: Beautiful view from Kings Park with lovely weather.

Photo: One of the parts of Kings Park.

There are quite a few historic buildings turned into shopping areas in Perth CBD, so people can do their shopping under the historic ambience.

Photo: One of the shopping areas at Perth CBD.

Fremantle is the place that I would strongly recommend you to pay a visit whilst visiting Perth. I really enjoyed spending my afternoon there and I believe you would love the ambience too! Fremantle is part of the Perth metropolitan area and it is a port city.

Photo: Fremantle.

Photo: There are some entertainment facilities provided at Fremantle.

Photo: Seaview at Fremantle.

Photo: There are some street performance at the outside of Fremantle markets.

Photo: Chill away our afternoon with hot tea at Fremantle markets.

Photo: Delicious food from Fremantle markets.

Western Australia is well known for its beautiful beaches so I didn’t want to miss the chance to have a coastal walk!

I enjoyed exploring Perth. I believe you will enjoy exploring the beautiful city too! 🙂

 

Till next time.

Now it’s finally time for my master graduation ceremony. Can’t believe time goes so quickly, my study journey in Brisbane has almost come to an end.

Coming to Australia to study was a big decision. After planning my study journey for a long period of time, taking all the factors into consideration e.g. tuition fee, living expenses, independent life etc into account, I eliminated the hurdles and eventually boarded the flight to Brisbane three years ago. I was working for a while before going abroad to save up some money for my education and also to gain some life experience.

Photo: Brisbane City Hall at Brisbane City. Keen to know more about the city that I was going to stay for the next three years when I first came.

Initially I thought I am pretty brave to leave home and go overseas alone, but there are actually many people that are doing the same travelling from all over the world. Attending the QUT orientation program  is definitely a good way to get to know people from all around the world who will be studying at QUT. I got to know friends from Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan and many other countries. I met up with my Japanese friends in Tokyo when I went for a graduation trip to Japan recently. I feel happy that the friendship we developed QUT could continued even though we don’t see each other regularly. Don’t miss the opportunity to make friends with the locals, they are all nice and friendly!

The adaptation period could be the hard time to go through. Most of the shops close at 5pm and the streets become quiet. No mummy’s dinner is ready for me while I go back home from university. Dining out could be a burden in living expenses, so I still have to prepare my own lunch for university to save money. I didn’t know cooking at all previously but now I think I would be able to cook a few dishes for the families.

Photo: My housemates and I prepared gathering lunch together.

Studying in an all English environment has been a challenge for me. My native language is Mandarin and I grew up in a mixed language living environment. At the beginning, most of the time I felt lost during the lectures, discussion and conversation with course mates. As the time progressed, I think I was getting better in communicating in English even though there is still room for improvement. Living in an Australia is definitely a good way to improve your English skills.

All the written exams, assignments, practical tests and oral tests have never been easy to pass through. You really have to study hard to pass the different tests. I am glad that it’s  over now!

I’m so lucky to have got a job offer before graduation. I’m  going to leave Brisbane soon after my graduation ceremony and heading to Perth to work as an optometrist. Thanks to the support of my family that helped make my dreams come true. Not sure how the future is going to be but I believe ‘If you can dream it, you can do it’. Lastly, I wish all the graduating students all the best with your future endeavors.

Photo: Myself with the view of Perth CBD at King’s Park. Perth, looking forward to meeting you again soon!

Bye Brisbane! Till next time 🙂

p.s: Hopefully my sixty posts make you understand more about the international students’ life at QUT. I wish you enjoy your QUT life to the fullest!

 

Road Trip with friends

One of the greatest memories from my student life at QUT will definitely be the road trips I have done with my friends.

Me and my friends planned to go on a road trip to experience the beautiful countryside. My friends have driving licenses and cars so we just had to decide on the destination. However if you or your friends do not have a car, rental car services are very common in Australia. Pay attention to the driver requirements from rental car companies especially if you are holding a international driving licence. Do some research on the computer and you will find plenty of information.

IWe were a large group of people going on the road trip and even if it was a while ago, I still remember the beautiful day and all the laughters.

Our first stop was Kooroomba Vineyard and Lavender Farm which took us around 1.5 hours from Brisbane CBD.

Photo: Beautiful landscape at Kooroomba Vineyard and Lavender Farm.

Photo: Beautiful landscape at Kooroomba Vineyard and Lavender Farm.

Photo: You can enjoy a good meal from the chef at the restaurant there with such a great view.

Photo: We were lucky to see some lavender blossoms that day.

Photo: There are some nice souveniers available for visitors to purchase.

The next stop was Queen Mary Falls, which is located at the Main Range. The view was magnificient!

Photo: It looks spectacular while we were down under the falls.

Photo: My friends climbed up the rocks to take the photos with the beautiful falls and rainbow.

If you have an opportunity to go for a roadtrip with your friends whilst studying in Brisbane, definitely do it. It will be a wonderful memory of your uni life.

Girl friends trip at Melbourne Part 2

Exploring the city of Melbourne  is one of the main things to include in your Victoria travel itinerary. You should also plan some time to see the wonderful nature and scenery of the beautiful state Victoria.

Great Ocean Road is one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives which spans 243km along the stunning coastline of Victoria’s south-west. There is a diverse array of things to do and see all across the region for examples the famous 12 Apostles, surfing and mountain biking expeditions, get up close to native wildlife and many more. The best and most fun is to rent a car and go for a roadtrip with your close friends. Otherwise, you can easily book a trip to Victoria through any travel agency.

Photo: The start of Great Ocean Road.

Photo: Somewhere along Great Ocean Road while we took a break from the long journey of car ride.

Photo: The view of famous 12 Apostles in a cloudy day.

Phillip Island is one of most popular attractions in Australia. You will be amazed by seeing the little small penguins returning to shore at sunset after a day’s fishing.

Photo: Saw a kangaroo in the bushes during the bus ride to Philip Island.

Before heading to Philip Island, we went to The Nobbies to walk along the coast and spent some time at the lookout enjoying the breathtaking scenery.

Photo: The boardwalks at The Nobbies.

Puffing Billy is Australia’s premier preserved steam railway. The journey onboard Puffing Billy takes you through the magnificient Dandenong ranges which is located only one hour east of Melbourne. I like the experience while on the ride of Puffing Billy so I would recommend a trip here.

Photo: Puffing Billy. You can still hang your feet out of the train.

Domaine Chandon is a winery located around 100 minutes drive from Melbourne CBD. There are a wide range of other wineries with beautiful surroundings in this area. You should try some of the lovely wines!

Photo: Domaine Chandon.

Photo: The beautiful backdrop that you can have there to take the photo.

Photo: We were lucky to see the double rainbows before leaving the winery.

Cape Schankck Lighthouse is the second coastal lighthouse built in Victoria. It is located at Mornington which is 1.5 hrs drive from Melbourne.

Photo: Cape Schankck Lighthouse.

Brighton Beach is the iconic beach which is well known for its colourful bath houses. Brighton Beach is located close to the CBD and easily accessible by a 30min train ride.

Photo: Brighton beach with the colourful bath houses.

Melbourne is definitely a beautiful place to travel around with friends. Start to plan your trip and explore during your semester break! 🙂

Girl friends trip at Melbourne Part 1

I have visited Melbourne twice with girlfriends. The first trip to Melbourne was a placement trip which lasted for nearly a month and the second trip was about a week. Melbourne is a beautiful and interesting place and I have lots of fun and good memories spending time  here with my girlfriends.

If you are looking to travelling to Melbourne from Brisbane, the flight takes around 2.5 hours. I will share with you guys what we did in the Melbourne CBD in this post.

Melbourne has a beautiful city landscape. Wandering around the beautiful botanic gardens is a good idea for a  relaxing afternoon. The tallest tower that you can see in the centre of the photo is Eureka Tower. You can buy tickets to go up to the skydeck, if you like to get the best view of Melbourne, the view up there is amazing.

Photo: Melbourne city landscape.

Shrine of Remembrance was built as a memorial to the men and women of Victoria who served in World War I and is now a memorial to all Australians who have served in war. It is free for admission and the view from there is pretty good.

Photo: Shrine of Remembrance.

Melbourne Royal Exhibition Building is a World Heritage Site-listed building. It is a beautiful building both in and outside. We spent some enjoyable time to chill at the botanic gardens outside of the building. Melbourne Museum is just located a short walking distance from there.

Photo: Melbourne Royal Exhibition Building.

Cook’s Cottage is a historic landmark of Melbourne which is situated in the beautiful heritage-listed Fitzroy Gardens. Visiting Cook’s Cottage is like a fascinating step back in time. You need to buy tickets to visit and there is students concession price available.

Photo: Cook’s Cottage.

Napoleon is an exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria. The gallery hosts a wide variety of exhibition and it is free for entry.

Photo: Napoleon.

Photo: The entrance of Napoleon.

Flinders Street Railway Station is the landmark of Melbourne. It serves the entire metropolitan rail network. This is the popular place to take beautiful tourist shots.

Photo: Flinders Street Railway Station.

Federation Square is a mixed-use development in the inner city of Melbourne. I would recommend to spend some time at the concourse outside of Federation Square to enjoy the city vibe. Don’t miss the chance to take a ride of the free city tram to see the city.

Photo: Federation Square and free city tram.

Photo: The map of Melbourne’s Free Tram Zone.

St Paul’s Cathedral is a historic building with intricate architecture. It is free entrance for public.

Photo: The exterior of St Paul’s Cathedral.

Photo: The interior of St Paul’s Cathedral.

Photo: There are many other magnificient churches along the streets of Melbourne. How good will the view up there at hot balloon be. Hopefully I can visit Melbourne again to experience the hot balloon ride.

State Library of Victoria is a Melbourne landmark and cultural icon. Personally I think it is a very beautiful building and it provides a conducive learning environment as well. I would love to spend some time to study here.

Photo: State Library of Victoria.

Chinatown Melbourne is the longest continuous China settlement in the western world. It has many good restaurants hidden inside the alleys.

Photo: Chinatown Melbourne.

Queen Victoria Market is a major landmark of Melbourne. It is the largest open air market in southern hemisphere.

Photo: Queen Victoria Market.

Photo: My favourite churros cart at Queen Victoria Market.

I guess Melbourne is undoubtedly one of the best places in the world to do café hopping. I had lots of fun exploring the cafes, being a great coffee lover.

Photo: Café in Melbourne CBD.

Photo: My favourite croissants place in Melbourne: Lune Croissanterie.

Degraves Street is a short and narrow laneway at Melbourne CBD. Spend your time to explore the good restaurants, patisserie and hipster shops here.

Photo: Degraves Street.

There are still so many other places which I missed whilst exploring Melbourne CBD. Melbourne’s weather could be fluctuating even within a day, so do check the weather report before you head out to explore this wonderful city.

My saving tips for the daily life of an international student

I think money issue is one of the main worries for most of the international students in Australia. Being an international student in Brisbane, I have to keep a close eye at the digits of my bank account to make sure that I have enough money for my rent, food, transport, social activities, travelling and last but not least, the tuition fee.

1) Groceries

There are many options to do your groceries in Brisbane for examples Aldi, Woolworths, Coles, IGA, K mart, Big W, Costco, Asian Groceries Stores etc. Normally the large grocery stores may carry most of the stuff you need but different brands. Compare the prices between the grocery stores and the different brands they carry (grocery home brands are often cheaper)  if you want to save some money! Furthermore, the big grocery stores may have discount for different types of products every week, so join their mailing list and keep an eye on their specials.

Other than the regular promotion, some products which are approaching expiry date will have a further price reduction. I always buy discounted ice coffee which makes my day haha!

As a member of one of QUT’s student organisations you may have discounts for stores across Brisbane. For instance, QUT Malaysian Students Association provides special discounts for members who shops in one of the Asian grocery stores in the city.

I would suggest you buy fruits and vegetables from the markets, as it’s normally cheaper  than the grocery stores. You can find out more about Brisbane markets from my previous post: https://blogs.qut.edu.au/student-life-in-brisbane/2016/11/01/markets-culture-in-brisbane/

2) Transport

I have shared some saving tips in my previous blog post: Public transport in Brisbane.

3) Accommodation

There are many options for accommodation for examples homestay, students apartments, shared acommodation etc. The weekly rent could range from AUD $100+ to $300+. Personally I think shared accommodation is the cheaper option, however, it all depends on what your requirements are.

4) Travelling

Travelling could be very affordable if you plan well in advance. Brisbane has a great geographic location and is near most of Australia’s major travel destinations.  Join the airlines’ email list so you don’t miss the cheapest ticket. Instead of flying, you can choose to do a road trip to any of the beautiful places surrounding Brisbane. You can read my previous post regarding my visit to the beautiful places surrounding Brisbane.

If you plan to visit some tourist spots which require entrance tickets e.g. Lone Pine Sanctuary or all the theme parks on the Gold Coast, I would suggest you buy the ticket in advance. Check out some travel agencies in the city or suburbs as they would be able to sell you the tickets with a better price than the venue. You can read my blog post with some travelling tips about Gold Coast Theme Parks.

5) Social activities

I enjoy dining out with friends, however dining out in Brisbane could be  very expensive. Some restaurants serve very big portions, so it is a good idea to share with a friend if you have small appetite. The portion of food sold by food trucks is normally not that big. You could check out my previous blog to know more about the food trucks culture in Brisbane.

Hopefully these tips could save some money whilst studying as an international student in Brisbane!

Road trip to Toowoomba

Toowoomba is a city located in the Darling Downs region of southern Queensland. It takes around two hours to drive from Brisbane CBD. A friend of mine and I planned a road trip to Toowoomba for the Carnival of Flowers which occurs in September every year. Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers is an award winning event about spectacular gardens, live music and local food & wine etc. It’s an event loved by locals and visitors travel from all over the country to take part.

The first place we went to was Queens Park which had many beautiful flowers.

After watching all the colourful flowers, we went to Picnic Point to have our lunch. Picnic Point is and excellent lunch spot with a wonderful view of Table Top Mountain.

Photo: Tabletop Mountain.

After finishing our picnic, we went to the Japanese Gardens to see more flowers.

After relaxing at the Japanese Gardens, we went to a mountain in Highfields, which is around twenty minutes drive from Toowoomba. We didn’t know a lot about the place before going there and there were no clear signs telling you which trail to follow, so we didn’t explore too much. However, we got to see a wild kangaroo jumping in the bushes.

Toowoomba is a great destination for a road trip. Nonetheless, I would suggest you going on a day with good weather as it could get very hot and cold.

 

 

Byron Bay Getaway

Byron Bay is a coastal town in New South Wales. It is a popular holidays destination for beaches, surfing and scuba diving. It takes around two hours to go there by car from Brisbane CBD. It is a perfect destination for a day trip when you want a getaway from heaps of assignments.

We departed from Brisbane CBD at 8.30AM and arrived at Cape Byron Light House at around 10.30AM. Other than seeing the breathtaking view from the viewing platform near the light house, you can also do some light hiking there.

Photo: From the car park to Cape Byron Light House.

Photo: Beautiful view along the hiking trail.

Photo: On the way to another viewing platform.

Besides going to the well-known Cape Byron Light House, Byron Bay is also the place famous for skydiving. I gave myself a birthday challenge last year which was to fly in the sky.

Photo: The helicopter brought us high up to the sky before jumping off.

Photo: Extremely nervous and frigtening while waiting for your turn to jump off.

Photo: The breathtaking view of Byron Bay while I was flying in the sky.

Photo: I was lucky enough to see the small rainbow circle.

Photo: Feed the eyes with the magnificient view while we were hanging in the sky.

Photo: When we were about to touch down.

Can’t believe that I did it still! If I never challenge myself to do skydiving, I will never get to enjoy the breathtaking view up there. It’s the same in our daily lives: If you don’t challenge yourself, you will never realise what you can become. Become a better you from stepping out of your comfort zone.

Wandering around QUT Precincts

If you have some free time to just hang out at QUT Gardens Point, QUT Art Museum, the William Robinson Gallery and Old Government House are the places that you should visit!

QUT Precincts is Australia’s leading university cultural precinct and home to world-class venues. It consists of QUT Art Museum, the William Robinson Gallery, Old Government House and The Cube which located at Gardens Point campus. Another one is QUT Creative Industries Precinct located at Kelvin Grove campus.

I have shared some photos of The Cube and QUT Creative Industries Precinct at the blogposts of QUT Gardens Point campus and QUT Kelvin Grove campus separately before.

Today I would like to share some photos that I took while I visited QUT Art Museum, the William Robinson Gallery and Old Government House.

Photo: The entrance of QUT Art Museum.

Photo: Exhibitions at QUT Art Museum.

Photo: Exhibition at QUT Art Museum.

Photo: The exterior of Old Government House.

Photo: The interior of Old Government House.

Photo: The panorama of Brisbane at 1872 exhibited at Old Government House.

Photo: The exhibition at Old Government House.

Photo: One of the corner at William Robinson Gallery.

There are all free so you can always visit if you have some time at Gardens Point campus.

Placement at the outback

QUT is an university for real world. I can’t agree more.

I was lucky enough to get selected for the placement at Ngaanyatjarra Lands which is located at the outback of central Perth. This was the coolest placement experience I have so far.

The Ngaanyatjarra lands includes twelve aboriginal communities. Eleven of them have a health clinic built in the communities. The placement was a vision screening trip to the Ngaanyatjarra lands. The vision screening team of the trip consisted of an ophthalmologist, an optometrist, two optometry students, one nurse and one registrar. For your information, vision screening is an efficient and cost-effective method to identify the visual impairment or eye conditions that possibly complicate with the vision loss, therefore a timely referral can be made to the appropriate eye care professional for further examination and management.

All the communities scatter around the Ngaanyatjarra lands. Due to the remote location, we have to take the jet charter to access to those communities. We departed from Fremantle at Perth early in the morning to kick start the five days vision screening trip.

Image: The interior of our jet charter. It was a pretty comfortable ride.

Image: We were above the clouds when the sun was rising. The sky was coloured with pink and light blue.

Image: My course mate and I were offered to be the co-pilot. It was such a cool experience for us!

Image: The photo of I and the jet charter.

Image: The vision screening team.

Image: The photo of the friendly pilot and us.

We have screened around 180 people during the five days vision screening trip and dispensed numerous sunglasses. QUT provides this rare opportunity for the students to experience whatever that may happen in our future career.

Other than doing placements locally, students are also allowed to seek the placement opportunities worldwide. I went back to my home country for the summer holidays and finished part of the placements at one of the eye centres in my country in the meanwhile. The placements enable me to expose myself to the eye care system in both countries. It also prep myself with the these experiences before I kick start my career once I graduate.