CityHopper: Free Ferry Service in Brisbane

Did you know that there is a free ferry service in Brisbane? Yes, you can use a free ferry service, which name is CityHopper, if you want to travel along the Brisbane River for free. This is the only free inner-city ferry service in Brisbane. This ferry can be easily spotted by its red and white colour.

CityHopper

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First Time Travelling Outside Asia

In my life up till early 2017 I have ever been in several countries. Those countries are Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, China, Japan, Hong Kong and Indonesia (my home country). It was exciting to travel to those countries. But guess what? All of them are Asian countries which more or less have similarity in terms of the cultures, foods, and so on. I did not have the chance to travel outside Asia before.

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Fun Day Trip: Gardner’s Falls

Want an exciting, new place for a swim other than the beach? Look no further than Gardner’s Falls.

As an exchange student from the United States, I have been eager to get out and explore as much as possible in and around Brisbane. Located in Maleny, just about 90 kilometers’ drive from the city, Gardner’s Falls is exactly my ideal day trip. As much as I love the beach, it’s nice to swim in fresh water for a change. Gardner’s Falls is in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, so there are beautiful views of the mountains and surrounding land on the drive to and from the swimming hole. Once you are there, it’s a perfect location to set up camp for the day with a group of friends and have a picnic while soaking in the sun. Once you’ve had enough relaxing though… You have to try out the rope swing.

I personally am a huge adrenaline junkie, so when my friend told me there was a big rope swing we could go to, I was 100% in. It completely met my expectations too! These pictures don’t do the swing the justice it deserves. You can control how much air you get depending on how high up you perch yourself to start your swing. I may love a good thrill, but I sure am not as daring as the people doing flips off the swing. I’d rather be a spectator when it comes to those crazy feats! Be very careful if you choose to attempt any tricks when you visit Gardner’s Falls.

For those who are slightly intimidated by the height of the first rope swing, don’t fret–there’s a smaller rope swing for you to try out. Of course, the picture just so happens to be showing someone doing a flip… But no need to do anything fancy! It’s exhilarating enough to just swing through the air into the water.

If you REALLY aren’t feeling the rope swings, you can simply watch from the rocks and hang out! There were also people jumping off the rocks into the water. The water is very deep and is a safe depth to jump into. Just be sure the area you’re about to jump into is clear of any other swimmers!

Family trip in Brisbane and Gold Coast!

Brisbane and Gold Coast are two famous cities for tourists from all around the world to travel. These two cities are also the ideal traveling destinations for my family. Because I had a summer vacation and they also had holiday during lunar new year period which is the biggest festival for Taiwanese, they decided to come to Australia and travel with me. Moreover, I actually haven’t been back to Taiwan for more than one year, so it’s also the special reunion for us.

Today, I would like to share you some most-visited destinations in Gold Coast and Brisbane by a special way. I edited two vlogs about our traveling and share many important or useful information for travellers. If you are going to study at QUT or studying at QUT, it may be your travel guide for exploring these two cites when you are enjoying your holidays.

The main language of the videos is Mandarin, but I have already added English subtitles on them. No matter where are you from, hope you enjoy the vlogs!



Gold Coast

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnDBlcEAs2M



Brisbane

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkYGbM7ijQc

 

If you have any interesting experience or travel tips about these two cities, please feel free to leave your comments below for assisting more students to deeply understand these amazing cities. Also, don’t forget to keep following this QUT blog and hope everyone has a great semester! 🙂

New Year in Singapore

The famous Merlion

 

Guess where I am?

Can you recognise this Merlion?

Yes I came to Singapore. Merlion is the icon of Singapore.The fish body represents Singapore’s origin as a fishing town.

 

 

 

After my exchange in Japan and prior to my departure to Germany, I came to visit my friend Ada who’s doing an internship in Singapore at the moment and managed to catch up with two friends I met in QUT, one of them being my fellow international student blogger – Linette.

I have long been wanting to visit Singapore, a place people call Garden City and head of Asia’s financial hub.

As my friend was working most of the time, I visited a lot of places by myself. This was technically the first time that I travelled by myself. To be honest, I enjoyed it a lot. You can control your own pace and stop at places however long you want.

I spend my first day at Gardens by the Bay.

Sky trees in a rainy day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When getting out of the MRT(Singapore’s railway) station, I didn’t see Gardens by the Bay straight away. The reason I thought is that I got off one stop ahead of the stop where I was supposed to get off. So I took a stroll along the riverside and saw another Merlion and the Durian Museum.

Durian Museum

Another Merlion near Raffles Place

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I kept walking, I happened to see Marina Bay Sands where the famous infinity pool was located. This is the world’s largest rooftop pool. Imagining I have a hotel room there one day, I giggled and said to myself: You need to work harder and take a photo there one day.

Marina bay Sands. Does it look like a ship?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now I understand why people call Singapore garden city. It is a very very small country but is also the financial centre of south east Asia. Even in the city area where there are lots of skyscrapers, plants, trees and flowers fit really well with the high buildings.

City centre where plants co-exist with high buildings.

Night view of the sky trees

Back to the MRT station from Gardens by the Bay

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traditional Chinese Food Hawker Stall

China Town in Singapore

Indian Temple

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a lunch catching up with friends on the second day, I went to China Town and Little India to see the culture and shops. There is a very unique Indian Temple in Little India and the food was so authentic and cheap.

The third day was well spent in Singapore Zoo. It is literally the most amazing zoo that I have ever went. Not only did they have a wide range of animals, you get the chance to see them in an open environment. That is to say, sometimes monkeys walk pass on the trees beside you and there was no fence to separate you from the animals. I also saw Orangutan first time in my life. I guess you can only see them in Singapore or Malaysia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orang-utan eating food

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My last day in Singapore was well spent in Sentosa Island, the southern most point in southeast Asia and at friend’s place eating traditional Chinese Sichuan style hotpot. That day was the last day of 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sentosa Island is actually a famous tourist resort where you can spend the whole week and not feel bored. They have a range of amusement facilities which include casino, cultural cuisine, 3D museums, universal studio, beaches, high-end hotels and many many more.

Due to the short time-frame, I only went to one beach that day. Luckily I went there early enough because it started raining soon after 2 pm in the afternoon.

 

 

 

 

 

It started raining and a lot of people left the beach. That’s why there was nobody on the suspension bridge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you ask me what I miss the most from Singapore, my honest answer is food! The exchange rate of Singaporean dollar versus Australian dollar is almost 1:1. But the food there usually only costs 3-6 dollar from food court (also known as hawker centre).

 

 

 

 

 

There are quite a few exchange programs running between QUT and universities in Singapore. If some of the opportunities come up, please make sure to grab it because Singapore is truly a city worth exploring and a place you will fall in love.

 

Winter Exchange in Japan

Last year, I was very lucky to get the chance to travel and study in Japan. It has always been my dream to come to Japan since high school as I watched a lot of Japanese TV shows and wanted to experience the Japanese culture by myself. Now after almost one month of stay in Japan, I can say my Japanese improved a lot and I learnt more Japanese culture.

I came to Japan early before the start the program and went to Kyushu area for travelling. Even in winter, the mountains in Kyushu was so pretty. I still remember how nice the people I met there were. When I was trying to go to the mountain in Kirishima and was told there was no bus access, a taxi driver offered to drive me and my friend there. Not only did he charge us a little, he showed us multiple hidden spots on the mountain and tried to explain the history behind it.

As my cultural class in Amagasaki was about to start, I said goodbye to my boyfriend who was travelling with me and went to Amagasaki one day prior to the start day of the program.

This winter program consists of Japanese language study, school visits and home stay experience. I want to share with you my experience from each parts and what I learnt out of them.

Students From Brisbane and Fiji

Namba, Osaka – one of the most crowded shopping center in Japan

Japanese Language study

We are very lucky to have Fujiwara Sensei as our Japanese language teacher who is humorous and knowledgeable. Her style of teaching is very interactive and encouraging. In each of the class, we spent almost fifty percent of the time in speaking. As a result, at the end of the first week, we already known how to greet and order food in Japanese. Although the program has already ended now, I will continue learning Japanese. I hope next time when I come back to Japan, I will be able to communicate better with my Japanese friends.

Attending local students’ English class

School visits

This is another part of the program which I enjoyed a lot. We went to visited Amagasaki Junior High School for their English Festival. I was so touched by how much effort and time the students put in this festival. Both year 7 and year 8 students played skit, while year 9 students shared with us their experience in New Zealand as all of them just came back from a study trip there.

One thing I noticed from this English festival is that unlike individualism, Japanese education focuses a lot on teamwork and respect. There might be twenty students in one group and only ten characters available in a certain skit, but everyone gets the chance to go on stage and perform because one role can be played by three or four students.

Another unforgettable school visit happened in Ojiro Junior High School where we ate lunch with the students and had classes together with them. Unlike Amagasaki, Ojiro is a very small town located in the mountain with less population and colder weather.

We, as exchange students from overseas, got the chance to participate in their English and music class. The English teacher in the school told us that a lot of students there don’t have many opportunities to speak English, so they really appreciate our visiting. When the class started, each of us did a short presentation in front of the class introducing our own countries. All the students seem to be interested and took down some notes.

In the music class, the students performed a local song to us and we danced and sang What Makes You Beautiful together. It was such a wonderful time to bond together with nice music.

Visiting Amagasaki Junior High School and attending their English Festival

Home Stay in Ojiro

My first impression of Ojiro is the beautifulness and peace of this little town. I still remembered some of my friends from Australia and Fiji were so amazed by the snow on the top of the mountain because it was the first time for them to see snow.

When we arrived at the Ojiro, our host family have already been in the city hall waiting for us. All of us felt a bit nervous to be honest as most of us haven’t been living with others before. At the same time, we also wanted to know where are we going to live and know our host family better.

My host mom came to the first meeting that day as my host dad was at work. She made me completely feel at home and prepared everything for me. When host dad came home, we had a really long discussion about Japanese culture, Chinese culture and Australian culture. Both of them were really humble and asked me lots of questions. Thanks to the similarity in Kanji and Chinese character, when we didn’t understand each other by verbal communication, handwriting came into use.

At the end of the homestay, it was so hard to say goodbye to all the nice people that I have met in Ojiro. I will always remember how pretty the mountains there are, how nice the locals are and how much fun I had there!

Snow in the mountain in Ojiro

 

Homemade meal by my host mum

One month of stay in Japan is definitely an eye-opening experience for me and I really find going overseas can open your horizon a lot. So my dear reader, if you come across such kind of opportunities in the future, make sure to grab it and make the most out of it!

 

Brisbane vs Sydney: The Differences of Christmas & New Year!

There are many different ways to celebrate Christmas and New Year in Australia. Last time I wrote the “5 events on Christmas and New Year in Brisbane” which illustrated some interesting activities that students can enjoy freely. This time I would like to share some experience of celebrating my second Christmas and New Year in Brisbane and Sydney and some interesting differences between these two cities that I found.

Brisbane vs Sydney

I love Brisbane!

Well… Brisbane is more chilled out. Although you may feel Brisbane is more crowded in this holiday, it is still much better than Sydney’s situation. There are numerous tourists from all around the world visiting Sydney during Christmas and especially for the New Year fireworks. It may make Sydney much more crowded than other cities of Australia. For example, if you want a perfect view of fireworks, you should prepare for it as early as possible! On the other hand, it’s no problem for you to arrive South Bank two hours before the New Year Fireworks.

About Christmas and New Year Events

According to Brisbane government, there are around 400 events held in December for celebrating Christmas and New Year. However, most of the events are local. On the other hand, Sydney indeed has more international events during this period. Although there are some differences of events between these two cities, there is one same thing. People all feel relaxed, happy, and blessed in this Christmas month and New Year!

Actually many Asian countries also embrace and celebrate Christmas and New Year, but it is still a little bit different from western world. After I came to Australia, I gradually love the atmosphere of these festivals and strongly recommend all international students to join the local events to experience Australian culture more.

Finally, please feel free to leave your comment below and don’t forget to keep following this QUT blog! Also, I am here to wish everyone a better year! 🙂

Unforgettable Trip in Bruny Island

dsc07562Hastings Caves and Thermal Springs

When you travel in Tasmania in winter, you will absolutely want something ”warm”. Tasmania is the southernmost state of Australia and its winter is freezing. At this moment, Hastings Caves and Thermal Springs would be the perfect attraction for tourists. People can enjoy the thermal spring pools, BBQ in natural forests. Also, Newdegate Cave preserves billions years old stalactite formation and people can see the spectacular view of Earth’s history.

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Bruny Island

Next, I am going to share the main topic of this blog, Bruny Island. It is similar to North Stradbroke Island that is closed to Brisbane, Bruny Island is near Tasmania’s main island and it is the place for tourists to have wilderness experience, eco-cruise exploring the stunning coastline of the island, and enjoy delicious seafood, handmade fudge, chocolate, truffles, berries, cheese, and premium quality wine. Moreover, Bruny Island is home to fur seals, fairy penguins, white wallaby and many people also come here for bird watching.

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dsc07767dsc07765The Neck

It is the isthmus of land connecting north and south Bruny Island and also the most popular attraction of Bruny Island. People just need climbing up the stairs within 5 minutes and can see the breathtaking view which includes ocean, beaches, islands, and the sky.

dsc07778Give me aurora, please!

Seeing the aurora is one of our main goal of visiting this island. For achieving it, we checked the aurora forecast every day during our trip. Unfortunately, we still didn’t see the aurora in this Tasmania trip. However, Bruny Island is one of the best stargazing spots in Tasmania. The night sky is so beautiful that we almost see the galaxy. It is also the best ending of this Tasmania trip for me! Good bye Tassie!

dsc07855 dsc07865Hope you enjoy reading this blog and if you have any opinion that you want to share, please feel free to leave your comment below. Also, don’t forget to keep following this QUT blog! 🙂

 

Tasmania Trip #2

Last blog introduced some travel experience in Hobart and its surroundings in Tasmania. This time I will focus on sharing attractions in Launceston, the second largest city of Tasmania, and other smaller towns.

dsc06923Ross Bridge is similar to the “Richmond Bridge” that was introduced in last blog. It is the third oldest bridge still in use in Australia and was constructed by convict labourers. The bridge locates in the very picturesque and quiet town where also the scenes of famous Japanese anime movie “Kiki’s Delivery Service” was set by Miyazaki Hayao in 1980s. Walking on the street and sitting near the river is the best way to embrace this attraction!

dsc07070Want something exciting?

Penny Royal Adventures is the place that family and friends can try the cliff adventures, rock climbing, and even Tamar River cruises. It is so close to Launceston that people can just visit this attraction by walking from central city. If you are the person who like outside sports, this is the destination where you would love going.

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The night view of Penny Royal Adventures

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Reserve again? Yes, and you will love it!

Cataract Gorge Reserve, known locally as the Gorge, is also near Launceston city and a unique natural formation. There are three hiking tracks that tourists can walk on to the Cataract Gorge Reserve. People can see the magnificent river view along the cliff face by walking on two pathways originally built in the 1890s. Trust me, this reserve is absolutely attractive for nature lovers!

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People can see lots of funny jokes at every blind alley of Tasmazia & The Village of Lower Crackpot

Just bring your humour here!

Tasmazia & The Village of Lower Crackpot locates on Cradle Mountain and includes three main entertainment sections, The Mazes, The Village of Lower Crackpot, and Embassy Gardens. It has 8 mazes and also the largest maze complex in the world. People can try to escape these mazes as quickly as possible and see many funny jokes at every blind alley. Moreover, the Embassy Gardens contain sixty classic buildings from over forty countries for overseas tourists to discover. It is really touched that I unexpectedly found the traditional building of Taiwan, my home country, as well!

dsc07408Finally, there are still many lookouts or waterfalls that can’t be introduces in details in Tasmania. When we drive on the roads, we usually surprisingly found some beautiful and stunning places that are not easily searched on the internet. Tasmania is an island for tourists to explore gradually and create their own travel experience.

dsc07513 dsc07463Do you have any opinion that you want to share? Please feel free to leave your comment below and don’t forget to keep following this QUT blog! 🙂

Tasmania Trip #1

dsc06429Australia is a country where students can travel easily because of cheap airplane tickets, numerous official and industrial tourism information, and plenty of things to do in different cities or attractions. Today I will share my first travel experience in Tasmania which is also second city that I have ever been in Australia besides Brisbane.

dsc06459Where is Tasmania? Is it attractive?

Tasmania is the southernmost island state of Australia and there are almost 45% of Tasmania are reserves, national parks, and world heritage sites. Therefore, this is the perfect island for tourists who like natural environment and beautiful views.

Me and my friends decided to rent a car to travel around the whole island and it is also the most convenient transportation option in Tasmania. After you arrive at Hobart Airport, you can immediately see many car rental stores in front of the airport.

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Hobart, the capital of Tasmania, is our first destination and there are numerous amazing attractions in this city. For example, Salamanca Market locates in Hobart is Tasmania’s most visited attraction where you can enjoy the delicious food, art works, or music performances.

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Not just nature!

The Port Arthur Historic Site is also the famous attraction near Hobart and it was established in 1830 for punishing over a thousand of notorious convicts and became a timber station at that time. Now it is the perfect base for tourists to explore the history of Tasmania and the you can even take ferry to see this “unescapable” bay and island.

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The Port Arthur Historic Site

Richmond Bridge

Wow… it is the oldest bridge still in use in Australia and also the oldest stone span bridge in this country. It was also recognized the outstanding historic attraction added to the Australian National Heritage List few years ago. Richmond town is so quiet that I even felt that time was much slower than other places. Many local family come here to have picnics, feed the ducks, or shop in several special gift or food stores.

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Bay of Fires

I will personally recommend this attraction first to my friends! Bay of Fires is regarded as one of the most beautiful places in Australia and also Tasmania’s most popular conservation reserves. Binalong Bay is the area’s main beach where you can walk on sugar-white sand and swim, snorkel, surf in the impossibly clear ocean. Moreover, you can go to the rock section to see the spectacular and unforgettable natural scenery.

dsc06800Do you have any experience that you want to share? Please feel free to leave comment below and don’t forget to keep following this QUT blog! I will also share other interesting travel experience in Tasmania in next blog. See you soon! 🙂