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Published: January 23rd 2002
Uni of Qld
One of the best universities in the world where I did my MPhil in Environmental Engineering
TRAVELLING IS ALWAYS PART of my agenda in life. Being a Sagittarian, I always believe that my zodiac is destined to explore the globe. My travelling experience is coupled with two things: study/work and hobby. Most of my travels abroad are the result of my desire to pursue further studies and trainings in the field of my profession or basically just part of my job. The never-ending process of learning also gives me the adrenalin to go out of the country and meet a lot of people from different walks of life.
My two-year stay (2002-2004) in Australia was a rewarding experience. This was part of my postgraduate research program in environmental engineering at the University of Queensland (UQ). During my schooling, it was a privilege to travel around Australia, especially in its major cities like Sydney (New South Wales), Canberra (Australia Capital Territory), Melbourne (Victoria), and Brisbane (Queensland) where I stayed most of the time. Having a well-organized mass transport system, it is convenient and easy to reach the main attractions of the country. Being an international student, it was also a privilege to have a 50% discount commuting with trains, ferries and buses. To some extent, coming
from Australia airfare is a little bit desirable especially for short vacations in Europe, UK, New Zealand, Asia and some parts of Latin America. One of the good things of being a research student is that, I was not obliged to attend classes/modules, except in some cases that the university requires me to take some courses beneficial to my research project. Having such privileges, I decided to spend my extra valuable time travelling within Australia.
Queensland is the place for all the amusement parks/rides, beaches, zoos, koalas and kangaroos parks, marine sanctuaries, and rainforest. Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast are the most refreshing places to relax, unwind and feel the coldness of the summer wind. This state where Brisbane is located can be described as an ideal town for tourists and migrants who want to enjoy the rural-urban scene of a relaxed, fresh air, clean and stress-free community. Aside from UQ, this is the home of other top universities in Australia like Griffith University, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), and the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) where one of my close friends is a full time senior lecturer in remote sensing.
New South Wales
Fourteen hours by train
Another beautiful beach in Qld
from Brisbane, you can reach Sydney - the capital city of New South Wales. It is the most vibrant, busiest and urbanized place in Australia with so much to offer both night and day. Sydney is an ideal place for people who want to be free and to have fun with easy-go lucky spirit. Riding a ferry going to Taronga Zoo from the Sydney Harbour, you have a perfect panoramic view of the commercial district of the city, including the Botanical Garden, the Harbour Bridge, including the magnificent towering landmark, the Opera House. For people who want to do further postgraduate studies, Sydney can offer the best learning environment through the University of Sydney (US), University of New South Wales (UNSW), and University of Technology Sydney (UTS) campuses.
Another natural attraction in this State (NSW) is Bryon Bay - located in the boundary of Queensland and NSW as the most well visited area by tourists especially during summer due to its interesting landscape, excellent surfing areas, and where you could possibly watch school of whales having good, fun swim. Aside from Byron Bay’s attraction, the world famous Bondi Beach is the closest beach to the centre of Sydney which
also offers not only for swimming ground but also a variety of entertainment, shopping and festivities; and the place for the “blue bottle” jellyfish that everyone has to watch out.
Bus and train are always my preferred mode of transport (much cheaper) which also brought me to my next destination - Melbourne. Unlike Sydney, is dominantly of old low-lying buildings with its traditional mode of transportation, “tram” - touring around the CBD, free of charge. This is the place where you experience all the seasons in a day. This is also a popular location for tourists and lawn tennis enthusiasts as the venue for the annual Australian Open. Melbourne is the place where you could find the replica of black Sto. Nino housed at St. Patrick Church. There is so much to explore including a cool breezy walk along the city beach of St. Kilda area, the campus of Melbourne University at the middle of the city, and the Monash University facilities in the outskirt of the town. I also had a 4-km canopy walk in Marysville town, just a 2-hour drive from the city proper.
Australian Capital Territory
From Melbourne, it was easy and convenient to reach my
Bondi beach in Sydney
One of the 10 ten most beautiful beaches in the world
last destination - Canberra. It is the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) of the country offering spectacular green countryside; quiet, clean city life but rich in innovative urban structures that remind us of its history, culture and its people. It is the set of the government and the home of foreign embassies/consulate offices, hotels, galleries, museums and theatres. Lake Burley-Griffin is one of the main man-made landscape attractions of this expanding vibrant capital. Adjoining the lake is the prominent structure, The Parliament House with the effect as it is built in the grassy hillside. Unlike with my accommodations in the three previous major cities were hosted by close friends, my stay in the capital city was different. I decided to stay at the back-packers hostel sharing with a room with two other white strangers. For the desire to stay longer, I took the chance to visit the Australian National University (ANU) and looked for my friends (also students) who happened to stay inside the campus accommodation. Luckily, I was able to met them with full of excitement - meeting them at the first time in a 37 degrees C sunny day. Together with friends, we had a 4-hour walk from the
ANU campus, down to the lake looking at the slow pacing swim of the black and white swans; and then back to my hostel with anticipation that my personal belongings are safe and intact. We also had a half-day tiring walk going to the location of the different embassies/consulate offices, and fascinated the way this particular section of the city was zoned into this type of land use as the home of various diplomats! Sometimes life is really unpredictable. On my last day in the territory, a bushfire attacked the Buffy suburb where 530 homes were destroyed, including the ANU Observatory. Despite of what happened, my trip back to Sydney was safe on that smoky day. Having a 4-hour travel by train from Canberra to Sydney gave me the glimpse of the bushy countryside of the country.
Well enough, it was a wonderful feeling to look back the warmth-kindness and generosity of my close friends in Australia and made my long journey from Sydney back to Brisbane comfortable and hassle-free. It was indeed a great learning and travelling experience of having a one-of-a-kind atmosphere - there’s a place like home down under! With the hospitable friends, my short visits
to Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, and my two-year stay in Brisbane were worth reminiscing and inspired me to continue to explore the globe for the next 20 years.
(Note: This review is dedicated to Steve Irwin - the Australian Crocodile Hunter who was killed yesterday 04 Sep 2006 by a stingray in Great Barrier Reef - one of the world heritage sites found in Queensland)
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