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!

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.

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.

Visiting Queensland Museum

Queensland Museum tells the changing story of Queensland through natural history, cultural heritage, science and human achievement. It was established at South Brisbane over 20 years ago.

Image: Queensland Museum is located at South Brisbane with easy accessibility.

Image: The animal model looks so real.

Image: The skeleton of one of the dinosaur species in the past.

Image: You can get the volunteer to walk you through the exhibition halls if you are keen to know more history verbally.

Image: The exhibition of Queensland’s unique animals and their habitats.

Image: Some interesting facts of Queensland.

Image: The discovery centre of Queensland Museum.

Image: Some exhibition at the passageway outside of Queensland Museum.

Queensland Museum is free entry for the public. It is definitely a  good place to visit when you have families and friends visit you at Brisbane.

Studying at State Library of Queensland

Personally I like to study at library because I can concentrate more easily and hence absorb what I am learning efficiently. Other than QUT libraries, sometimes I like to go to the State Library of Queensland which is located at South Brisbane with convenient accessibility and conducive learning environment.

The State Library of Queensland is the main reference and research library provided to the people of the State of Queensland.

Image: The exterior design of the state library of Queensland.

Image: The aesthetic and modern interiors of the state library.

Image: One of the study areas.

Image: My favourite reading zone.

Image: My favourite reading zone with the view of Brisbane river.

Image: One of the reading zones with natural lighting.

Image: Library members can rent the room to practise the instruments.

I really enjoy the ambience of the state library. If you want to change the environment to study or doing your assignments, the state library of Queensland will definitely satisfy you.

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!

 

Attending Lord Mayor’s International Student Friendship Ceremony

Lord Mayor’s International Student Friendship Ceremony is an event that provides international students the opportunity to receive a signed friendship certificate from Lord Mayor and have the photo taken by professional photographer. Besides, there are music performance, live performance by Aboriginal dancers presented to the students. If you would like to receive some information regarding studying in Brisbane, there are booths set up at the entrance as well. After the ceremony, there are also some light food and drinks available for the attendees.

I registered to attend Lord Mayor’s International Student Friendship Ceremony with a friend through the following link: http://www.choosebrisbane.com.au/study/news-and-events/lmisfc?sc_lang=en-au

Image: My friend and I took the photo with Brisbane Lord Mayor, Graham Quirk.

Image: My individual photo with Lord Mayor.

If you are interested in attending the ceremony, do check out the website and sign up as a member to receive the email or simply follow them at FB!

Visiting The Institute of Modern Art (IMA)

I spent one of the Saturday morning with a girl friend at The Institute of Modern Art (IMA) which is located at Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley. IMA was one of the first contemporary art venues to appear on the Australian soil.

Image: Art exhibition at IMA.

Image: Art exhibition at IMA.

Image: Traditional game. We called it ‘Gasing’ in Malaysia.

Image: Some videos and images displayed at IMA.

IMA is free entry for public. Although it is not as big as Queensland Art Gallery but it is definitely worth visiting if you have some free time or a respite from the study.