Semester 2 at UQ

By Serena Graham (The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia)

By the start of semester 2, I was feeling much less of a tourist, and Brisbane felt more like home to me. I went into this semester feeling a lot more relaxed now that I already knew my way around, and it was a lot less scary than the start of semester 1. Time had flown so fast, I couldn’t believe that I only had four months left, so I tried to make the most of my remaining time down under. I scheduled my classes so that I was only in uni three days a week, which meant I could regularly go on trips for long weekends!

The first trip I went on was to Moreton Island. Although I had already been last semester I felt like I needed to go again since it was so much fun. We went with Quest (the International Society at UQ) and spent this weekend snorkelling round the shipwrecks, sandboarding, and visited the lakes.

My next adventure was my east coast trip! This is a must-do trip while you’re in Oz. We started by flying up to Townsville and then visited Magnetic Island for the day. Here they have wild wallabies all around the coast which are very friendly if you bring them food. Our next stop was Airlie Beach, which is a very popular place for backpackers and so there’s a lot more to do there. We took a kayaking trip from Airlie Beach and went around some of the Whitsunday Islands, where we also had the chance to snorkel on the amazing reefs. Then we took an overnight coach to Noosa, which is on the Sunshine Coast. Here I finally took some surfing lessons, and after about two hours of constantly falling off my surfboard, I finally caught a wave and managed to stand up! Noosa is also great for its walking trails and the views are spectacular. After Noosa we took a train back to Brissy, and after nearly two weeks of travelling hostel to hostel I was happy to see my bed again.

Regarding university, semester 2 was pretty similar to semester 1. I tried my best to choose modules that didn’t have clashing coursework deadlines, since I knew I was going to do a lot of travelling this semester. UQ is very similar to university in Manchester in the way that coursework and exams are carried out and marked. Each module has a tutorial group which is usually discussion-based, and all lectures are recorded and put on Blackboard.

Here are some photos of Moreton Island and my East Coast trip:

ect1 Kayaking around the Whitsundays  moreton 2 Moreton Island moreton Sandboarding – more scary than it looks!

magnetic island Baby wallaby (Magnetic island)

noosa Noosa Beach (Sunshine Coast)



Saying Goodbye to Manchester and Wales

By Jude Wiggins, Geography, University of Queensland, Australia

Even though my flight is tomorrow morning, it still doesn’t feel like I’m going to live in Australia for a year. Despite all the goodbyes, my booked flight, and my (overweight) packed suitcase I still can’t accept that I’m really leaving! I’m due to fly from Manchester to Abu Dhabi, and then onto Brisbane from there. In total it should take me just over twenty-four hours. For the first week I’m in Brisbane I’ll be staying in a hostel, just until I get onto Australian time and can find somewhere to live!

Continue reading “Saying Goodbye to Manchester and Wales”

Summer Holidays Down Under

By Serena Graham (University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia)

P.S. … This blog post is about my summer holidays in Oz (December 2014 – March 2015). I’ve been extremely busy in the past couple of months so I haven’t had the chance to upload it until now!

As the semesters in Australia start in March and July, I’ve had to do semester 2 first and then semester 1, which means I had a three month gap in between semesters. During this time, it was really hot and at times got to around 40 degrees. I seriously regretted choosing a house without air conditioning!

Over the holidays I did a bit of travelling. My parents visited me in Australia and we travelled up to Port Douglas, which is a really cute little town not far from Cairns. Port Douglas has lots of little shops, restaurants and bars that are all really nice and is also close to the Great Barrier Reef. So on Christmas day we decided to go on a snorkelling trip on the Reef, and got to see some turtles and an incredible variety of fish (a few people on the trip were lucky enough to see a couple of sharks). In Port Douglas there is also a wildlife sanctuary where you can see some kangaroos, wallabies, koalas and parrots. Unfortunately, during the summer months on the east coast of Australia it’s jellyfish season so you have to swim within the jellyfish nets and even then some jellyfish can slip through so you need to be careful (or wear a wetsuit). After spending about a week in Port Douglas we returned back to Brisbane and I spent a few days showing my parents around the city. As this was around Christmas time, there were various events on in the city centre such as parades, live music and shows.

After my parents left Australia I decided I needed to get a part-time job if I wanted to continue travelling. After over two months job-hunting I was finally able to get a weekend job in a Chinese restaurant in a nearby suburb. This job kept me busy for the rest of the holidays, and thanks to the generous minimum wage in Australia, I was able to book a few more trips over semester 2 – I’ll talk about these in my next blog!

Here are some pics I took over the summer holidays:

Port Douglas

DSC02354    DSC02423

East Coast Road Trip (2)

By Kate Bowmar  (The University of Queensland, Australia)

So, following on from my last blog post, I am continuing to tell you about my five week trip from Brisbane to Melbourne…

Surfers Paradise – Surfers Paradise is the main attraction of the Gold Coast region in Australia, just below Brisbane and once again easily accessible by public transport. It is known for its high skyscrapers, vast expanse of beaches and surfing!

BYRON BAY! – Byron Bay is one of the most famous spots along the East Coast, recently for being the location of the new ‘Inbetweeners’ film, but other than that it is a small hippie town in New South Wales – the most easterly point in Australia


Sydney –  After a grueling 12 hour overnight coach journey from Byron Bay to Sydney, we finally arrived in the most famous city in Australia. We stayed in the Kings Cross area of Sydney for five days, travelling to and from the city to see all the main sights such as the Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, and also doing the SKYWALK on Sydney Eye Tower, which involves walking on the roof of Sydneys tallest tower. As well as the SKYWALK we spent an afternoon  on a cruise around the harbour,  stopping at all the main sights. As well as staying in the city, we visited the famous Bondi Beach and visited an old school friend who showed me all the nontouristy areas of Sydney, which was amazing!

Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach

Melbourne – After another overnight bus we sadly reached the final stop on our East Coast trip. With only one week left in Oz, Melbourne was my final place to visit and explore. It safe to say that if I’d not gone to study abroad in Brisbane, I would definitely loved to have lived in Melbourne! I see Melbourne as a bigger version of Brisbane, apart from the bad weather in Melbourne. Before I came to Australia, I was well warned that if I was coming to Oz for the weather, do not live in Melbourne. Unlike Brisbane, where it is almost a constant summer, you have to prepare for four seasons in one day in Melbourne, even in summer! Nevertheless, Melbourne is a great city for shopping, eating, exploring and is well known for the quirky street art  that changes daily.

The Great Ocean Road – The Great Ocean Road is an expanse of ocean road driving on the coast of Victoria, famous for its limestone rock sculptures along the whole coast. The trip was completed over two days, stopping off at multiple bays, beaches and visiting the famous Twelve Apostles at sunset.

The Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road