My first trip with my QUTIC friends

For my first semester break in TP2, 2017 at QUTIC, my classmates and I went to Cleveland to do some sightseeing as our beloved teacher Mr. Tim recommended. Cleveland? Well the story began when Lynn and I were assigned to work together for a presentation as we had lots of consultation with Mr. Tim. Since we have no prior experience with Queensland’s train system, and Lynn had never traveled “very” far away from her place, Tim suggested that Cleveland was close for a day trip. I didn’t have any expectations but I’m glad that I had Lynn and Miranda as travel buddies.

Raby Bay

We arrived to Raby Bay quite early in morning. We wanted to walk to Old Cleveland Lighthouse since it looked quite close on the map but after 2 hours of walking in the sun we gave up.

Old Cleveland Lighthouse

We soon to get bored with Cleveland Point and decided to go somewhere nicer.

Stradbroke Ferries

We got a good price when buying a ticket to North Stradbroke Island using our QUT student ID card. ($14 for return)

Point Lookout at North Stradbroke Island

We had lunch at Point Lookout while enjoying this wonderful view.

It took quite a bit of time for us to find the way to the nearest beach.

Stairway to heaven

We nailed it!

Lynn – on the left

Before the trip, Lynn and I were not that close. We were actually tired of seeing each other in the group meetings. At first, we didn’t work well together because we had different ideas, our learning style wasn’t similar due to our previous educational background and living environment. However, we put up with each other, and received a high score for the presentation. This achievement would not have happened without great efforts from both of us and a positive attitude during presentation even though we felt quite uncomfortable.

Looking back, working with Lynn was a good experience. It makes me realise that studying at QUT International College is not the only way to learn about different perspectives from other cultures. It also requires you to think about your own values and other culture aspects. Meeting Lynn is my first new friendship in QUTIC.

Harold Walker Jetty at North Stradbroke Island

I never told Lynn how grateful I am to have her as my friend, but I am sure that we have mutual feelings. After all the up and down with Lynn, she is my study buddy because we are very familiar with each others’ style of learning.

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.

 

 

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!

Girls trip at Sydney

Travelling with girl friends is like a venture into a wonderland. A girl friend and I decided to travel to Sydney together after we finished the exams.

Below are some places that we visited during our trip. Those places are recommended for you to visit there if you are planning your trip to Sydney.

  • State Library of NSW is the oldest library in Australia. It is a large reference and research library open to the public. From my perspective, the design of the state library of NSW is more vintage compared to the state library of QLD. However both libraries offer the very cosy and conducive environment to concentrate the study.

  • Art Gallery of New South Wales is one of the most beautiful art museums in the world. The Gallery presents fine international and Australian art. A definite place that shouldn’t be missed if you are arts lover. The general exhibition is free for entrance.

  • Sydney is a wonderful place to do café hopping. We went to Three Williams for brunch on a fine Sunday morning. The food was excellent and it made me drooling by just looking at the photo.

Photo: The delicate pastries from the other café.

  • Climbing up the bridge (walking up the staircase) may cost you penny. If you are budget traveller, the another good option is strolling along Sydney Harbour Bridge to enjoy the view of Sydney Opera House and also the hustle and bustle of the river with the ferries.

Photo: The breathtaking view from the sidewalks of Harbour Bridge.

  • Queen Victoria Building is a historic shopping centre that is delicately designed. The place to visit if you want to have a shopping spree.

  • St Mary’s Cathedral is located in the centre of Sydney. It stands as a Christian statement of grace and beauty. It represents the spiritual origins of the Catholic Church in Australia. Furthermore, it is one of Sydney’s most treasured historic buildings and one of the finest examples of English-style gothic churches in the world.

Photo: The interior design of St Mary’s Cathedral.

  • Blue Mountains is a rugged region west of Sydney in New South Wales. It is famous for the beautiful scenery by encompassing steep cliffs, eucalyptus forests, waterfalls and villages dotted with guesthouses. Galleries and gardens. You can plan your day trip there by taking train. Otherwise, you can leave all the homework to the travel agency by purchasing the day trip from them.

 

  • The Grounds of Alexandria is nestled in a former industrial precinct from the 1920s. It is a landmark coffee roastery, café and sustainable garden known for its abundance of fresh produce and hands-on experiences. By holding the philosophy of creating experiences for communities through quality products, innovations and an ever-evolving vision, The Grounds has attracted a large volume of visitors to pay a visit there.

  • Sydney Fish Market is a large marketplace featuring shops for seafood, deli items, wine and baked goods and restaurants. This is definitely one of my top 5 places to go in Sydney. How enjoyable to savour the fresh seafood, sushi, wine etc with the beautiful harbour view! I couldn’t ask for more!

  • Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) is located on the edge of Sydney Harbour. MCA exhibits a wide range of collections. The general exhibition is free for entrance.

Photo: While we were exploring the gallery.

  • The Rocks is nestled on the edge of Sydney Harbour and framed by Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera house. It is an unrivalled blend of the old and new. Personally I really enjoy hanging around at The Rocks.

  • Darling Harbour is Sydney’s great celebration space. It is always busy no matter day and night.

Photo: The night sky of Darling Harbour was brightened up by the fireworks.

  • Watsons Bay is a harbourside which located at the eastern suburb of Sydney. A good place to go for a coastal walk and enjoy the comforting sea view. It takes less than an hour ferry ride from Sydney Harbour to get there.

Photo: Enjoying the breeze during the ferry ride.

  • Bondi beach is definitely one of the most popular beaches in Australia as its golden crescent and clear, turquoise waters never fail to impress. Even though you are not a beach person, you can still easily occupy your time as Bondi beach is packed with restaurants, bars, fashion boutiques, alfresco cafes etc.

  • Paddington Markets is a Saturday market at Sydney since 1973. If you are a fan of crafts, you absolutely shouldn’t miss visiting Paddington Markets as you have the opportunity to find some exclusive Australian designed and crafted products at there. Paddington Markets is easily accessible by the public transports.

We had so much fun while travelling around Sydney. Hope you have as much fun as we have while travelling with your friends at Sydney!

 

One Week Back to Home Town

It has been almost one year and six month since I came to Brisbane. My original plan was to come back to my home town after I graduate from QUT as my program lasts only for two years. My plan changed as I was offered a short term course in Japan to study Japanese language and culture. The flight time between Japan and Shanghai is only 2 hours, so I decided to visit my family when the program in Japan ended.

Here I am, lying on the couch at my cozy flat where I spent most of my teenager life and writing blogs.

I went to visit my grandparents and they made very delicious food for me. I also met my childhood friends and we watched a very artistic movie about Shanghai after our dinner.

My college friends

One the railway in Shanghai

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coming back home after such a long time away makes me feel both both excited and nostalgic.

I feel happy being able to meet my family friends, eat Shanghainese food and walk through the streets that I’m familiar with.

Chilling at home

Grandma’s cat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the other hand, I miss how Aussie people interact with each other. China, as one of the Asian countries, has more conservative culture compared with Australia. Thus people rarely say Good Morning or smile to each other on the street.

Anyway, I feel very lucky to be able to go overseas and study in another country. I’m also very proud of my home town and cherish the place where I come from.

 

 

 

 

Happy New Year!

I love the festive season. I went to the lighting of Christmas tree at King George Square in Brisbane city with friends.

Before they started the lighting of the Christmas tree, there were some Christmas carols singing performances on the stage!

Finally Santa Claus was coming right before the moment of lighting up the Christmas tree!

Brisbane City Hall and the Christmas tree with the confetti. The moment when the lighting of Christmas tree was on like magical. It was so pretty!

Brisbane City is donned with the Christmas decorations. I can feel the Christmas spirit while walking around Brisbane City.

Brisbane is so happening and fun during this festive season. There were also many other free activities and events for the whole family happening at Brisbane. You can easily find yourself occupied if you are keen.

Wish everyone a Happy New Year!

Tips for Travelling Alone

Since last year, I started travelling alone partly due to the difficulty to organise a trip with friends and partly because I want to challenge myself to step out of my comfort zone.

Solo trip to Sydney

Solo trip to Thailand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To be honest, when I first booked the ticket, all I felt or thought was how amazing the trip would be and that I would meet new people while exploring the local scenery. It was only until the trip was about to start that I felt a bit terrified and scared. Therefore, I did a lot of preparation such as reading travel blogs to see what I should keep in mind while traveling alone.

 

 

 

 

 

The following are three advice based on my own experience:

  • Always have a working phone

When you are at a new place by yourself, you might get lost or feel unwell. It is extremely inconvenient to try to communicate with the police or locals especially in a non-English speaking country. It is always handy to have a phone where you can get access to GPS and dictionary.

 

  • Do not trust strangers 

Last time when I was travelling alone in Copenhagen near the Little Mermaid statue, an middle aged man approached me seeing that I was by myself. He started conversation by small talk and said that he could show me around as he was free. I was not suspicious at the beginning but it turned out he just wanted to “take advantage of girls”. I walked away immediately as soon as I detect the red signs because he asked me many personal questions such as “where are you living?”,”are you travelling by yourself?”,”do you want to find something to do together?”. It is better to keep your address to yourself instead of giving it away to strangers.

Always trust your instinct and keep yourself safe.

  • Research before you go

As a tourist, we can be easily be recognised and some of the scammers just take advantage of the fact that you are not familiar with the area. One good example is that many tourists pay a much higher price than local people when taking a taxi. Another personal example of mine is that: When travelling around Thailand, I was told that the temple where I planned to go to was closed and the tuk tuk driver offered to give me a ride to another temple. The fact, however, was that it was a way to make money for those drivers if they could get customers for another temple.

Some of these common scams can easily be avoided if you do enough research beforehand.

To summaries; Keep an eye out for yourself and be prepared while travelling alone, it can be a great experience!

Australia’s largest Oktoberfest!

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Oktoberfest is the world’s largest beer festival and it has been originally started in Munich, Bavaria, Germany since 1810. After many decades, this festival becomes more and more popular and now there are several cities all around the world also hold Oktoberfest celebrations. For example, Oktoberfest Brisbane is Australia’s largest Oktoberfest and I would like to share some interesting experience about this event today.

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What is the special points of Oktoberfest?

There are more than 40,000 people participate in this event every year. People can have cultural experience of Oktoberfest Tent, singing, clapping, dance with popular Bavarian Oktoberfest Band, relax in the Munich Biergarten, and chat with friends here. Also, there are many entertainment facilities outside that family and kids can enjoy together. The most famous point of the event is that it is the great place where you can have delicious food, tasty beer, wine, and other drinks. When you drink your alcohol, you can also see the performances of traditional dancers, bell-ringers, leg-slappers and yodellers.

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Is it Australia?

The most interesting thing for me was that most of the culture-seeking enthusiasts were all dressed in traditional German clothes and so engaged in this event. When I just came in the event area, I was even wondering if I was still in Australia or not. However, this is why I love this festival, the fantastic atmosphere, well-design performances, excellent food and drinks are all unforgettable for me. Moreover, just like Ekka, the event is held at Brisbane Showgrounds that is closed to city and QUT and it is so convenient for students to experience it.

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Do you have any interesting experience that you want to share about Oktoberfest with others? Please feel free to leave any comment below and don’t forget to follow this QUT blog continuously! 🙂

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Japan or Australia? Brisbane Botanic Gardens Trip!

img_0325I am sure that almost every QUT student knows there is a City Botanic Gardens next to the Gardens Point campus. You can enjoy the river view and the amazing atmosphere or have a wonderful picnic time at that park. However, did you know there is another botanic gardens near Brisbane city where you can also experience natural environment and release your all pressure!

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The name of attraction is “Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mount Coot-tha” located on Mt Coot-tha Road in Toowong which is so closed to the city that you can even take the bus there. It is recognized as the premier subtropical botanic gardens of Queensland and includes several distinct gardens that display different thematic and geographical arrangements.

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It is bigger than your expectation!

56 hectare Brisbane Botanic Gardens was established in 1970 and now are opened every day. Me and my friends spent more than half a day and still couldn’t see all of the gardens. It is a great attraction for people to stay quietly and relax for whole afternoon. Also, just like other national parks such as Springbrook National Park, D’Aguilar National Park, and Kondalilla National Park, the best thing is that the gardens are all free.

Wait! Am I in Japan?

When I first time came to “Japanese Garden” of this park, I just couldn’t believe I am still in Australia. This garden was designed by Japanese leading landscape architect and the theme of Japanese Garden is “tsuki-yama-chisen” which means “mountain-pond-stream” and stone, water, paths and vegetation are four key elements to build this style of architecture.

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img_0268The Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium  

This is Queensland’s first planetarium and also located in Brisbane’s Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens. It is home of the Cosmic Skydome, a 12.5-metre-diameter projection dome. Students or the public both can come here to understand lots of secret of universe and see numerous beautiful pictures or projections of outer space. If you are a big fan of universal or astronomical things, you will absolutely not want to miss this place!

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img_0384JC Slaughter Falls

Finally, we decided to go hiking to the nearby area to see “JC Slaughter Falls”. It is not a really high water falls in Queensland, but you can still see a gorgeous view of this very natural water falls. Some Australian family also like to come here for picnic or BBQ. It is so convenient for not only individuals but also groups to travel or enjoy holidays!

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Photo from Tourism and Events Queensland

If you also have any experience about Brisbane Botanic Gardens or other things that you want to share, please feel free to leave your comment below and don’t forget to follow this QUT blog continuously! 🙂

Hidden treasures around Mt.Coot-tha: Enoggera Reservoir hiking trail

It was just three days before the new semester could begin and I was just sitting at home planning the one final adventure prior to immersing myself into busy uni life. There were so many options available that my mind was in a complete state of confusion! Not knowing which trail to choose I got in touch with a friend who recommended the Enoggera Reservoir trail.

Now the next question that dawned on us was when would it be the right time to go? Morning? Afternoon or Evening? Again, working out the “math”, we decided to set off on an early morning hike.

Waking up early in the morning at 5am, we headed off towards the trail- braving the cold winter chill. As we arrived at our destination freezing, we wondered was this a wise decision? As we started walking along the trail contemplating, the scenery that unfolded made us well feel that we had done the right thing.

 

Start of the trail towards the Enoggera Reservoir

Start of the trail towards the Enoggera Reservoir

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