Hi everyone! My name’s Caelan and I’m one of the new international student bloggers here at QUT. This is my first blog post and I’m super excited to share what I’ve been up to lately, apart from handing in my final assignments and studying for exams!
Holiday is coming soon! I’m sure some of my dear readers have getaway trips planned already.
While studying in Australia, it is very popular to travel to South-east Asia during the holiday period. Some of the budget airlines like Air Asia and Jetstar always have deals to popular travel destinations such as Thailand, Bali and Malaysia.
I know it sounds like cliché but travelling does bring invaluable experience and make you more organised, independent and confident.
QUT offers students a one-week mid-semester break each semester. Earlier this year, I decided to take this opportunity and travel to Thailand for 9 days.
Bangkok left me with an impression of being busy, hot and crowded. I had a pretty funny bus experience: As you may or may not know, the traffic in Bangkok is pretty bad especially during the rush hour. Both the driver and ticket officer of the bus I was on had a newspaper with them. When the bus was stuck in the traffic, the driver started reading newspaper and seemed pretty chilled in the middle of all the cars just like reading in his backyard. Although many tourists choose to take cabs or metros while traveling, getting on a bus really gave you a sense of how local people live. So highly recommended!
One thing I enjoyed most while touring around Bangkok was taking the ferry along Chao Phraya River. Chao Phraya is the major river in Thailand which flows though Bangkok and then into the Gulf of Thailand.
The price varies a lot between taking a river cruise and taking a normal ferry. The river cruise is much more expensive with a tour guide while the normal ferry is cheaper with lots of locals on it.
Along the river, you will get the chance to see many famous tourist destinations like The Temple of Dawn and Wat Pho. For me, I enjoy observing the local people more than checking out the Buddha statues. There are usually three people working on the ferry: driver, ticket officer and boat guy.
Every time when the ferry is about to stop at a station, the boat guy would jump off the ferry and pull the rope of the ferry to get the boat close to the pier so people would get on. I was so amazed by the efficient speed of him and how hard-working he was. You need to be quick, have strength and endure the heat of the sun. Especially when I think the boat guy is much younger than me, I feel so lucky that I could get the chance to study overseas and hope he could or would get a chance of higher education too.
Another amazing part of the trip was that during the trip I made friends with people from all over the world. There were a lot of other backpackers and solo travelers, so making friends was very easy. However, you do need to be careful and make good judgement while travelling by yourself.
In my next blog, I will talk about some tips on solo travelling. I hope you can all nail the final assessment and enjoy the upcoming holiday. Until next time!
In my previous blog, I talked about studying in Aarhus University and some of the difference I observed between Australian students and Danish students. Today, I’m going to show you a bit around Copenhagen and Aarhus through my eyes.
Before heading to the second largest city Aarhus for my summer course, I landed in Copenhagen and spent a day just wondering around.
As you may know, Denmark as a country is really small, let alone Copenhagen. Therefore, I didn’t actually do much research on places to visit before I landed. In spite of that, I managed to check out quite a few tourist destinations just by walking around with my phone.
As expected, there were lots of tourists taking pictures in front of Little Mermaid. So it’s very hard to get a close shot of it considering the huge amount of people there.
Kastellet is right next to the Little Mermaid. It is one of the best preserved star fortresses in Northern Europe. You can not only see windmills, fountains, but also well-preserved church and powerhouse.
The next day, I took a bus to Aarhus which was roughly a 3-hour drive. The first impression I had of Aarhus was a bit plain compared with the historical and colourful Copenhagen.
Comparatively speaking, Aarhus is less historical but more modern. Still, you can see quite a few well-preserved traditional buildings. The thing that made me love the most is the little alleyways with typical Danish houses surrounded by plants and flowers.
We also got the chance to visit the famous rainbow panorama. It’s a circular walkway in all colours of the spectrum. Seeing the whole city through different colour was such an amazing experience.
Last but not least, although there aren’t many varieties of food in Denmark compared with in Australia, their national dish Open Sandwich (Smørrebrød) is a must-try!
I hope you enjoyed this short photo diary! If you get the chance to study one unit overseas, definitely grab it and have fun.
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.
Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef ecosystem in the world which includes more than 2,900 kinds of reefs and 900 islands. This natural precious just locates in Queensland and people can travel to this area from many “entrance cities”, such as Whitsunday and Cairns.
Today I will share my travel experience in Cairns’ Great Barrier Reef, including outer and inner barrier reef.
Outer Barrier Reef
Most of diving lovers would choose this place to become their travel destinations. The underwater world is so magnificent where you can see thousand kinds of corals, see lives, and fish species. Except for scuba diving, there are still many activities you can enjoy in this area, such as snorkelling, helicopter tours.
Inner Barrier Reef
There are also several islands in the area of Inner Barrier Reef, such as Sudbury Reef, Double Island Reef, High Island, and so on. Furthermore, “Fitzroy Island” and “Green Island” are two most-visited tourist islands and I will personally recommend everyone to visit these two places if you are here for the first time.
This is a natural and quiet island where people can enjoy hiking, snorkelling, kayaking, canoeing, glass bottom boat tours, and so on. There are many beautiful coral ecosystems under Fitzroy’s water world. Enjoying your travel underwater and hiking are the best ways to explore this island!
It is the most convenient island in Great Barrier Reef. You can just arrive this island from Cairns in 30 minutes. Green Island is the place for tourists not only to enjoy water activities, but also enjoy food at many restaurants, and even go shopping or visit crocodile zoo. However, although you can see numerous fish in Green Island’s see, it’s not easy to find out coral environments here. Hence, if you are a coral lover, I would recommend you to visit other islands first.
If you wanna further experience the amazing underwater world in Great Barrier Reef, check my 1-minute vlog and enjoy this world class diving environment!
Cairns is absolutely one of the most famous Australia cities. Students may have many chances to visit this amazing city. However, where should we go?
Except for “Great Barrier Reef”, there are still many excellent places where tourists should visit. Today, I will list 5 top tourist attractions in Cairns and also share my travel experience to you.
Well, it’s actually Cairns’ South Bank (lol). This attraction has an artificial swimming pool next to the ocean and a large parkland for people to have BBQs, exercise, enjoy the sunshine, and so on. When you visit Cairns, it’s the place you would like!
How can we miss delicious food when we are travelling? Cairns Night Markets is the biggest night markets in this city where you can find creative products, numerous famous restaurants and yummy food. When you feel hungry in Cairns, come here!
Shopping is also the popular thing that tourists love to do. Cairns Central Shopping Centre locates next to Cairns train station and is quite closed to city centre. It includes many kinds of stores which usually provide discounts. If you wan to find somewhere to buy something back, this shopping centre is your good choice!
It’s a really special village that includes several cultures, music performances, beautiful views, and markets. The most popular way to explore this area is taking Scenic Railway and Cableway to see the breath-taking natural environment. Also, there are many delicious food, clothing shops, aboriginal culture experiences, and even zoos in this place. Kuranda is definitely an attraction which has multiple tourism values that can satisfy every kind of tourists!
5. Cairns Art Gallery
If you are a person who loves art and understanding local developments of art, this art gallery is probably your best choice. It exhibits several historical, Aboriginal, and modern art works regularly. What’s the better thing? It’s totally free!
Which one is your favourite one? Feel free to leave your comment below!
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Although I have been in Australia for two years, I have only been to Gold Coast about three times. Among them, I went to the theme park twice and surfers paradise once.
This time, I went to the beach area with my friend from Melbourne as she really wanted to have some fresh seafood there and check out the beach.
It has been about six months since I saw her last time and we talked a lot about our university life, future plans and career options while sitting on the sand.
The beach at surfers paradise goes all the way to where we can’t even trace. The coastal line is the longest that I have ever seen. Due to the cold weather, not many people were swimming in the water.
We then took a bus to Burleigh Heads Beach which is on the same coastal line to surfers paradise. To our surprise, there were much more surfers here.
It’s a pleasure to just take a seat on the grass and watch them challenge themselves and conquer the wave.
We also meet with a group of tourists from Sichuan, China, my friends’ home city. They all seemed to enjoy the view a lot.
I used to think those high buildings are CBD area in Gold Coast. But it turns out that they are all hotels or apartment. In spite of that, they blended into the surrounding very well and the view we saw from Burleigh Heads seemed almost like a miracle.
If you have a friend coming to visit you in Queensland, definitely check out Gold Coast!
One of my friends who was studying in Melbourne recently visited me and it reminded me that I haven’t wrote anything about my Melbourne trip yet. So today I will take you with me on a one-day fully packed Melbourne city tour.
Taking a photo among the cool graffiti 🙂
Chilling in a cafe with beautiful cakes?
Checking out the famous Flinders Street Station?
There are indeed so many things to see and do in the city. Let’s go!
Check out some local markets and crafts. The most famous one there is Queen Victoria Market where you can find all sorts of food and local crafts. They even have their own website and you know what? The trading hour is 5 days a week!
If you want to dig deep into the culture and history behind this city and know how it turned from a gold-rush town into the modern metropolitan, check out the Melbourne Museum, Royal Exhibition Building, state library and the historical arcade.
The place I live is on the edge of the city. Therefore I chose to walk home simply because I want to feel part of the community, checking out what is happening on the street and slow myself down to enjoy the beauty of the city.
I enjoyed my short stay at Melbourne a lot because this city gave me a new perspective and feeling. It’s different from Brisbane but also similar in some way I can’t really explain.
So now my one-day city tour officially came to an end, next time let’s hit the countryside and explore more of the rough and tough side!
I was so lucky to grab the last spot to participate in the University life in Japan (Oceania) programme 2016 in December which hosted by Sonoda Women’s University.
This is one of the best trips in my life so far. I kind of having some Japanese culture contact since young through anime and entertainment. I have been longing to travel to Japan for a long time. I was extremely excited for the long awaited trip when I received the email from David regarding to my successful application!
On the first day of the programme, David (the person in charge) fetched us from Kansai airport to our hotel at Amagasaki. The coach journey from Kansai airport to Hanshin Amagasaki station was so enjoyable due to the excellent scenery and introduction given by David along the way. David brought us to tour around Amagasaki and introduced us some places near our hotel. I can feel the kind hospitality of Japanese from the very first day of the trip. I feel like the living expenses at Japan is similar to Brisbane. However, I was so spoilt with the various options of food and products. On the other side, the size of the accommodation is much smaller if compared to Brisbane. Regarding to the transportation, the train lines there are very confusing so do bring a map with you in case you get lost. The buses are always on time so do arrive early at the bus stop if you can’t take the risk to miss the bus.
Sonoda Women’s University doesn’t offer as many courses as QUT so the size of the campus is also much smaller compared to QUT. We don’t have the chance to explore the student accommodation because we were arranged to stay in the hotel nearby the campus during the program.
I always have the interest to learn Japanese language. I have the chance to learn some basic Japanese language during the cultural exchange programme at Sonoda Women’s University. Even though there is communication problem, however Fujiwara sensei tried her best to make the class become an interesting one for us. Now I am so proud of myself because I am able to introduce myself in Japanese language. The another class I enjoyed a lot is the Japanese crafts. We learnt to make some beautiful Japanese crafts and got to bring it home as well. We got the opportunity to be clad in two types of Kimono and also being introduced about Shinto and tea ceremony. It was an interesting experience indeed to learn about Japanese culture this way. I also got the chance to handmade ichigo daifuku (strawberry mochi) and savoured it after that. It tastes so yummy and I am craving for it now.
The two highlights of the short-term program are the visit to primary and junior high school and the homestay at Ojiro. I am so impressed by the friendliness and discipline been cultivated in Japanese since the young age. I had so much fun while spending time with the adorable and polite students. During the homestay at Ojiro, we were so lucky to see the snow. My first snow in life was so beautiful and I will forever remember it in heart. I have been assigned to homestay at a sensei family consists of grandmother, father, mother and two little girls. My host father is a vice-principal of a primary school and my host mother is a primary school teacher at Ojiro. My two little host sisters are studying at their high school and junior high school separately. My host father tried his best to communicate with me in English and introduced me Japanese culture in English as well even though he is not familiar with the language. I got to know more about ‘yukigassen’ (snowball fighting) from him as he is one of the judge for the game. I had wonderful time spending with the family and also the visit to the primary and junior high school at Ojiro. I will definitely plan my visit to Ojiro again whenever there is a chance.
Even though the program schedule is quite packed, we still have the time to do some travelling.
The following photos are the scenery where we managed to arrange the time to travel to.
I am grateful for being one of the members for this cultural exchange programme. This trip gave me so many wonderful cultural exchange experiences. I cherish the rapport relationship we forged among the members and also with the host family. Big thanks to Sonoda Women’s University and the host family for hosting us so well at Japan. And also thanks QUT Global for giving us such a good opportunity to have this type of experience during our university journey. It made this trip possible for me with the bursary provided by QUT.
I collaged some small clips during the trip into a video, here is the link for you if you are interested to know more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wptNWklDOKs&feature=youtu.be
Have you ever wondered where to walk around and relax in Brisbane? Or do you want to hold an outdoor event in Brisbane? Or maybe you want to do volunteering work in a parkland environment in Brisbane? Well, Roma Street Parkland is the answer!