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.

 

 

Celebrating Chinese Culture – Mid Autumn Festival

Mid-autumn Festival is widely celebrated in many Asian counties to celebrate the season of harvest. In China, this festival is a time where families get together to enjoy the beautiful moon and eat sweet mooncakes.

This year, Mid-autumn Festival happens to be during the Chinese National Day period so that Chinese people get a long holiday of 8 days. Most of my friends back in China choose to go overseas for holiday or return to their home town to spend time with their family.

On the other side of the world, myself as an international student in Australia decided to celebrate this festival with the QUT community. I’m so glad that Mid-autumn Festival is one of the flagship events at QUT where students can come to enjoy the cultural performance as well as taste free mooncakes.

 

 

 

 

 

The celebration event included Chinese Tai Chi, traditional Chinese musical instrument performance, lantern-making, calligraphy workshop as well as lion dance. As the venue was located near the Goodwill Bridge, a lot of passengers passing by was attracted by the music and came to join the festival together with students.

 

 

 

 

 

Even though I cannot be at home to celebrate this festival together with family, I don’t feel lonely because Brisbane is so multicultural. I felt a sense of community seeing so many people coming together to attend this event, whether international students or domestic students.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mid-autumn Festival marks the end of autumn and the celebration of harvest. This period at university is also almost the end of the semester. Dear friends, let’s study hard, get through this busy period and celebrate the harvest of our effort soon!

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.

Malaysia’s 60th National Day Celebration at QUT

QUT Malaysian Students Association hosted Malaysia’s 60th National Day Celebration at Kelvin Grove campus. The celebration was happening from 11AM to 3PM on August 31st. The activities included Henna (body painting with a dye prepared from a plant), calligraphy, games, multicultural singing and dance performances. There was also Malaysia local cuisines food stall and free Teh Tarik (a hot milk tea beverage which can be commonly found in restaurants and outdoor stalls at Southeast Asia countries) distributing.

Photo: Eating Malaysia’s popular local cuisine, Char Kuey Teow in the campus.

Photo: Chinese traditional dance performance.

Photo: Dance performance by QUT Dance Society.

Photo: Indian dance performance.

Photo: Music performance with traditional Chinese instrument called ‘Er Hu’.

Photo: Games session, speaking Malay (the official language of Malaysia).

It was a great effort by QUT Malaysian Students Association to host this event in the campus for the celebration of Malaysia’s 60th National Day. Even though we are far away from home, we can still celebrate National’s Day even in the campus.

Ekka fun

This year is my third year in Brisbane and it is also my third time going to The Royal Queensland Show (Ekka).

Ekka is Queensland’s largest annual event which is held over ten full days in August at the heart of Brisbane. Visitors would have a chance to experience the best of Queensland with some carnival fun, animal competitions, award-winning food and wine, stunt performance and etc.

This year was a last minute plan to go for Ekka. I bought the concession ticket online which costed me $24 (Tips: It is slightly cheaper to buy the tickets online than the ticket counter). However, you can buy even cheaper ticket from a few travel agencies if you plan to go in advance.

Photo: This strawberry sundae could be the icon of Ekka. You shouldn’t miss it as it really tastes yummy!

Photo: You would have the chance to get very close to the animals.

Photo: Horse demonstrations.

Photo: There are various types of rides to play at Ekka if you are keen. However, the entrance ticket doesn’t include playing the rides. You may have to buy individual ticket for the specific ride.

Photo: Showbag Pavillion is the place where you can buy the various types of showbags.

Photo: People were having some fun games to win the prizes.

Photo: The stunt performance at the main arena.

Photo: The stunt performance at the main arena.

Photo: My favourite session of Ekka. The fireworks at the end of the day are incredibly spectacular. You shouldn’t miss it!

Photo: Ekka is the headlines news every year.

Even though this year has already been my third time in a row going to Ekka, I still have great fun with friends!

 

Girls day trip at Canberra

Canberra is Australia’s capital, inland from the country’s southeast coast. While we were travelling at Sydney, we bought the day trip to Canberra from the travel agency at Sydney CBD. The day trip costed us $35, however it didn’t include the tips for the tour guide, lunch and the entrance fee of the tourist spots. Anyway I think it is still considered a day trip with reasonable price so I would recommend it to the others. We departed early in the morning as the travelling time from Sydney CBD to Canberra is pretty long.

  • Australian War Memorial. It is a combination of a shrine, a world-class museum, and an extensive archive. It serves the purpose of commemorating the sacrifice of those Australians who have died in war and the mission of assisting Australians to remember, interpret and understand the Australian experience of war and its enduring impact on Australian society. re information can be obtained from: https://www.awm.gov.au

Photo: While we were exploring at Australian War Memorial.

  • Cockington Green Gardens. Walking into the gardens is like a venture into a wonderland with delightful and fascinating display of meticulously crafted miniature buildings set within beautifully landscaped gardens. More information can be obtained from: http://www.cockingtongreen.com.au

  • Lake Burley Griffin. It is an artificial lake in the centre of Canberra. A good place to enjoy the serenity of Canberra and the beautiful view of Lake Burley Griffin.

  • Royal Australian Mint. The Mint serves the functions of producing Australia’s coinage. Besides, it produces coins for other countries, along with medals, medallions, tokens and seals for private clients from both national and international. More information can be obtained from: https://www.ramint.gov.au/#

Photo: Being explained by the tour guide about the manufacture of coins.

  • Australian Parliament House. Although it is the meeting place of the Parliament of Australia, it is open for the public to visit as well. More information can be obtained from: http://www.aph.gov.au

Always have fun with girl friend no matter where we travelled! Furthermore, I got to know more about Australia history from the one day trip at Canberra!

Hiking at Mount Tibrogargan

Picture from Google

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mount Tibrogargan is one of the many mountains in the Glass House Mountains National Park. It is famous not only due to its steep cliffs, but also the resemblance to a gorilla. That’s also the reason why some people call it Mount Gorilla.

I went there with friends on a weekend by car. It’s about one hour drive from Brisbane city area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We got off at the car park and took the summit trail. One lesson we learnt from that day is: don’t bring too much things with you while you hike. Before we head off, we went to the supermarket to buy some food and carried the woolies bag all the way to the mountain top. It turned out to be very inconvenient.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a 30-minute hike, we arrived the cliff. It was actually recommended for experienced climbers only due to the steepness. You can see from the picture that the way to the top of the mountain is almost vertical to the horizon.

I was a bit terrified at the beginning because I haven’t done any proper training before. But my friends helped  me and I managed to climb up successfully.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you don’t have any rock climbing experience and none of your friends do either, It is not recommended for you to climb up because it can be quite challenging and difficult.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After climbing up the cliff, there is actually still a long way to go. But I didn’t continue because I’m a little terrified and didn’t have confidence that I would climb up safely. I thought it would be safer to stay at where I am and enjoy the current view.

When I get more experienced, I will try the track to the mountain top one day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I really enjoyed this all-green view and will sure come back to conquer more mountains in the Glass House Mountains area.