Hi everyone!

As part of my photography course, I have to track my development on a blog. The posts from September 2011 until January 2012 are part of a module called Project Management, for which I was required to work in a group of eight students to create an exhibition. The blog followed every step we took in order to create a successful gallery. The blog posts starting from September 2012 follow my final year on the course. I'll be documenting my research and analysis of my final year projects, as well as include notes of my Professional Practice unit - which prepares us for a range of post graduate options. Finally it also looks at a project called New Creatives, where I'll be working alongside an artists to help college students get more involved with art.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

East Coast Travels - Noosa

12th - 14th May

We left Brisbane at around 2 and arrived in Noosa at 17.00. The drive was really nice, but definitely didn’t need to take 3 hours. We went a bit back and forth, but it means we got to see a whole bunch more. The first stop was Sunshine Coast, which looked really nice, but we decided not to stop there and the other major stop was the Australia Zoo!! We had a special greyhound bus that had Australia Zoo written all over it, was yellow instead of red and had animal characters on the chairs inside. It was pretty exciting.

When we arrived in Noosa we just saw the end of a beautiful sunset (no where near as beautiful as in Byron Bay, but I can’t compare every sunset to that!) and checked into our hotel. We’re staying at the Noosa Heads Motel on Noosa Drive. It’s was a really easy 5 minute walk from the bus station, through Noosaheads town to get to the motel. We managed to get a room upgrade for only $14 to a King room, and we literally had the biggest bed I’ve ever seen! We also have a large balcony with a great view of the sunset. There wasn’t too much to do after 5 since everything was shut, so we had a delicious meal at a little restaurant down the street from the hotel, where you could create your own noodles just the way you want it. We also had a quick stroll through the town and bought some breakfast from Coles.

The following morning we decided to do the 3 hour walk from our motel to sunshine beach. The weather started off a bit up and down, it looked sunny one minute, and the next it was pouring it down with rain. For about 3 seconds. And then it was completely dry and sunny again. We decided to go do the walk anyway, we don’t mind it raining every now and then as along as it’ll be sunny most of the way. We first walked to Main Beach, about 10 minutes away from our motel. It was a really nice beach, but unfortunately the sand was wet from the rain and wasn’t as white as it would be. The water was amazing. It was that crispy clean cold feeling but starts to feel warmer the longer you’re in the water. It soon started to rain, but by the time we got off the beach is was dry again. 

We walked along Main beach and then up beside a road for a little bit before reaching Little Cove. From here it was a great walk with the beach on your left and the forest on your right. This was Noosa National Park. 

As we walked through the trees we saw a wild Koala! It was way up high in a tree so I couldn’t get a great photo, but it was so amazing to see! We’d seen tons of wild Koalas along the Great Ocean Road, but it was just as cool!

The walk was MUCH steeper than I thought it would be... it was exhausting! And after all the hills in Brisbane we were really hoping we could chill out in Noosa. That wasn’t the case at all. We continued the walk all the way up to Dolphin point where it started to get a bit grey. It was a really nice look-out but unfortunately no dolphins. As we continued our walk it just got darker and darker.... 

When we reached Alexandria Bay it started to drizzle a little. No big deal! Alexandria Bay was really beautiful, but with the weather conditions I couldn’t do it justice in photos. We walked all the way along the beach - which is much longer than I thought it would be - back up in the hills along Lion Rock and Devils Kitchen. This is where it started to rain. It was pouring down, not just a little rain that would go away in a few seconds, it just kept going and going and kept getting harder and harder. There wasn’t really any shelter so we decided to continue walking towards Sunshine Beach. We saw some amazing views of the beach, which would have been incredible if we could actually see.... Everything was just grey and foggy and wet. We made our way down to the beach where we found a tiny bit of shelter we shared with an Irish couple. They were just about to start their 3 hour walk. They showed us the way back to Noosaheads, through the pouring rain, and we walked back to the motel. We must have looked absolutely ridiculous because by the time we made it into the town, the sun was coming back out. We were literally soaking wet, I could squeeze my hoodie (we didn’t have any waterproof jackets with us..) and water would come out. It was insane!

Of course, as I’m typing this, I just watched a beautiful colourful sunset from our hotel room. Typical.

In spite of all that, Noosa is still a beautiful place. The day started off really lovely with blue skies and I took some great photos, the walk was really nice and we saw some really great hidden beaches and a koala! It would have been nice if we had another day to spend in Noosa, but we’ve seen what we wanted to see and it’s time to move on to Rainbow Beach and Fraser Island!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

East Coast Travels - Brisbane 2

I've split up my Brisbane posts into two since I've got so many photos! Click here to view the other post.
On our last full day in Brisbane, the 11th of May, we booked a helicopter with V2 (V squared). I saw a Scoopon a few weeks back for a helicopter ride over Brisbane CBD for only $99, I’ve always wanted to go on a helicopter ride and always get put off by how incredibly expensive it is, so for $99 I had to do it! We took a taxi to Archerfield - which showed up with a flat tire.... great - had a super quick 5 minute chat about the helicopter and then we went up in the air! It wasn’t scary at all, the helicopter rose really slowly, you could hardly feel that it was off the ground! we then started flying towards the CBD. We got really close to everything and I took some amazing photos! We also bought a video of our flight. The flight was only 15 minutes, but it was totally worth it!

CBD in the Distance.

Southbank & Streets Beach to the far right.


CBD and proof we're in a helicopter!

All the bridges, the CBD and Southbank!

That evening we had some dinner at Grill’d, the best burger place in Australia (tied with Mos Burger, but we’ve only gone there twice...) and then had a stroll along the Southbank to Kangaroo Point. The walk was probably about 2 hours? We crossed the Victoria Bridge and walked along the Southbank, which was beautiful at night too.

The Asian Temple and the ferris wheel were beautifully lit up. We continued our walk past the Goodwill Bridge to Kangaroo Point Cliffs. I took tons of photos of the CBD from there, with exposures up to 30 seconds.

I never really noticed, but Brisbane is such a colourful city! The photo to the left is the only photo I have of both the CBD and the Story Bridge.

We then went up the stairs to the top of the Kangaroo Point Cliffs. They are actually cliffs, it isn’t just a name. During the day there are loads of rockclimbers climbing up the hill, but we went up the stairs. They were exhausting, and when you’re finally at the top there isn’t even a bench!! We had some more amazing views from up there and continued our walk along the river to Story Bridge.

The photo to the left is taken from the Story Bridge. The Story Bridge is one of the three bridges in the world that you can climb over, same as the Sydney Harbour bridge and a third bridge. Although it’s really cool you can climb over this one too, it looked no where near as impressive as the harbour bridge. The lowest point of the bridge is only slightly higher than the pedestrian path so I’m not sure if it would really be worth it... That being said I climbed the Harbour Bridge so nothing can really compare to that. The bridge was beautiful in the evening lit up with bright yellow lights. Again we had some great views of the CBD from there.

We then continued our way along the river back to the edge of the botanic gardens and walked through the CBD back to our hotel in Spring Hill.

On the 12th we left at 13.45 and arrived in Noosa just after 17.00.

Overall Brisbane has been fantastic, but we found that it’s also a little lazy. On saturday evening everything was shut by 17.00 and the following morning we were trying to get some breakfast somewhere but at 10.30 we couldn’t find any place to eat! Maybe we’ve been spoiled in Melbourne! I’m excited to continue on our trip and see some more beaches and less city though.

East Coast Travels - Brisbane 1

8th - 12th May

I've split up my Brisbane posts into two since I've got so many photos! Click here to view the other post.

We left Surfers Paradise at 13.10 and had a very quick ride to Brisbane. It was just over an hour and arrived at Roma Street station at about 14.20. From there we had about a 10-15 minute walk to our hotel in Spring Hill. Note to self: don’t ever stay in a place with the word hill in it. It was such an incredibly steep walk to the hotel, and our huge rucksacks (front and back!) made it even harder.

We stayed at the Metropolitian Motor Inn. I was worried that it was going to be similar to Sydney’s hotel as we’re in a city again and we looked for a hotel that’s about $100 a night. Thankfully it was nothing like in Sydney. The room was an average size, had a balcony and a decent sized bathroom. It didn’t smell weird and there were no cockroaches. The location, other than being on the top of a hill, was great! It was about 15 minutes to the CBD going down Edward Street.

We’ve only been traveling for 9 days and we’re really starting to feel exhausted from moving from place to place so quickly, so we decided to be a bit more relaxed in Brisbane since we’re there for 4 nights. The day we arrived we just had a stroll through the CBD and the shops, had some quick dinner, walked back to the hotel and had an early night in.

Throughout our stay in Brisbane we kind of created our own walking tour, we searched around what the top attractions are and where real walking tours would go past, and based on that we created our own route. We started our tour walking around the CBD shopping areas. These include Adelaide Street, Queen Street Mall, Elizabeth Street, Albert Street and George Street. The streets are all in a big square and in the middle is Queen Street Mall, this is just for pedestrians so no cars. It’s a really spacial street with a few lovely dining places in the middle. There is a huge range of shops in this area. Most of them are affordable like Cotton On, Factorie and that price budget, but in the Queen’s Plaza Shopping Centre you can find Louis Vuitton and Chanel. The CBD is really nice and I feel it’s a little easier to navigate through compared to Sydney or Melbourne.

There is a really nice foodcourt in the Wintergarden centre where we had breakfast and dinner several times. It’s got some cheap yet healthy fast food places including sushi and some delicious Japanese meals. I would definitely recommend staying away from the bus station on the corner of Elizabeth Street and Albert Street. It’s another huge shopping centre but it was overwhelmingly busy when we were there!

We then moved away from the shopping streets and had a closer look at Brisbane architecture. We started off at Anzac Square, a nice little park area surrounded by skyscrapers. From there we crossed the street and walked through a beautiful lane called Market Street. I love how Brisbane’s architecture combines the old and the new, the traditional and the flashy.

We walked to St Stephan’s Cathedral, which was also surrounded by skyscrapers. I have always loved to take photos of abstract buildings, but what I loved about Brisbane is that there were so many mirrored buildings creating some really unique photos. 

We also walked in the other direction to King George Square. Along George Street there are “city roos”, which were really cool! George Square is where a museum is, City Hall, the library and another beautiful but very out of place church. From here you can cross the Victoria Bridge to Southbank. 

Southbank is my favourite place in Brisbane. It’s so relaxed and non-city like! They’ve created a rainforest and an artificial beach called Streets Beach, which I was honestly a bit unsure about, but everything was so beautiful! The rainforest feels like a completely different place, you’re surrounded by nature, trees and huge lizards. The beach was just like a real beach, the sand felt as soft as the sand in Byron Bay and the water was such a crispy clean cold feeling. We actually saw later on that the water is recycled rainwater.

From Southbank we slowly strolled to the Goodwill Bridge and crossed the river to arrive at the edge of the City Botanic Gardens. We first walked along the Mangrove Habitat Walkway. It was a really nice stroll along the river and we walked past some beautiful mangrove trees. The thing that stood out to me the most were the roots, they looked like tons of little sticks sticking out of the ground. 

As you walk to the edge of the botanic gardens, you’ll have quite a nice view of the Story Bridge. From there we walked into the Botanic Gardens. 

The gardens are much smaller than in Melbourne and Sydney, but they were still beautiful. There was a sign showing the flood levels in 1974 and 2011, it’s unbelievable how high the water level rose! They also had more of the huge lizards in the gardens as well as bush turkeys and the large birds we saw in Sydney. 

East Coast Travels - Surfers Paradise

6th - 8th May

We left Byron Bay at 10.15 on the 6th of May and arrived in Surfers Paradise at 13.10. Along the way we drove past a place called Tweed, where we had a beautiful view of Surfers Paradise in the distance. We then drove through Palm Beach and Miami and arrived in Surfers Paradise.

I had heard a lot of bad things about Surfers, that it’s very Miami-like, commercial and fake. I didn’t want to form an opinion before I arrive and dislike it before I even get there, so I stayed very open minded. I absolutely loved it.

We stayed at the Beachcomber Resort, which is just next to the beach and incredibly tall, I think it had 30 floors? We stayed on the 20th floor and had an ocean view. I feel like every hotel just gets better and better! The room was pretty large with a great view and a balcony that goes around the corner, meaning we had a view of the beach, the city beside us and the sunset behind us.

We arrived at a great time and meant we had the majority of the day to explore. We started off strolling along Surfers Paradise Beach. It was another one of those moments where I’d seen tons of photos of the place, and now I’m there in real life. It’s the complete opposite of Byron Bay. Byron Bay was really relaxed and quiet and the beach was surrounded by the rain forest, but Surfers Paradise is busy, glamorous and modern. The beach itself was really great, the sand was light and soft and the water was cold but not freezing. When you look back though, all you see are skyscrapers! It’s a bit of a weird sight, but I quite liked it!

We then decided to walk through the town and grab some lunch. We found the most amazing burger place. We’re pretty loyal to grill’d, it’s a fantastic place with healthy burgers, but Mos Burger is in a league of its own. I had the Wagyucado, I’m not sure how to say that, but it was amazing, and the burgers are presented beautifully too. As part of the meal deal you also get an iced tea, which is literally iced tea. I had the peach flavour which was infused with real bits of chopped up peach. It’s a Japanese brand so I have a feeling we’ll be going when when we’re in Tokyo!

Everyone says Surfers Paradise reminds them of Miami and I totally agree. I went to Miami a few years ago and loved it. As we drove into Surfers Paradise it had the same layout as Miami, the thin island on the beach divided by a river which has all the expensive looking houses. In Miami we loved going to Lincoln Road Mall, an outdoor shopping street with amazing shops. The shopping area in Surfers definitely has a similar feel to it. It’s very modern, spacious, clean and new. We did some shopping and just walked around the town. There are a lot of club promoters trying to offer you the best deal to the best clubs etc, which I guess is the stereotypical view people have of the place.

We watched the sunset on the beach, which was no where near as spectacular as it was in Byron Bay since the sun sets on the other side, and then went back to the hotel. The next morning we actually got up to watch the sunrise, but that was a bit disappointing too unfortunately.

On the second day we didn’t really do too much more, we strolled along the beach and sat in the sun for a while. It was an amazing day with bright blue skies so a great day to be on the beach. The water had pretty strong currents so you were only allowed to swim in designated areas. The rest of the day we spent walking around and exploring the place. We finished the day off by watching a beautiful sunset from our balcony and going to a night market.

The market was amazing! It wasn’t an ordinary market, but a real Surfers Paradise market, with shirts that light up and creating your hand in wax and other weird things. It was more of a young people market. I actually ended up buying a mothers day present there...

We absolutely loved Surfers Paradise. It had a completely different vibe from all the other places we’ve been so far and a nice change from Byron Bay. I’m not sure why Surfers Paradise has such a bad name and why we heard from so many people that it’s rubbish, because there was nothing about it we didn’t like. We had some amazing food, the beach was great, the shops were great, the market was great, the hotel was great, the weather was great. It was just a great atmosphere overall.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

East Coast Travels - Byron Bay

4th - 6th May 

We left Port Macquarie on Sunday the 4th of May at 14.20 and had another long journey on the Greyhound to Byron Bay. It was a really nice journey. We drove through Coffs Harbour, saw the sunset, a few wallabies and the big banana. We arrived in Byron at 21.00, and immediately checked into our hotel, the Byron Bay Side Central Motel. The hotel is great, the room layout is a little strange, as the room is pretty large but the bed right infront of the door... the door just about opens! But other than that, the room is really big and it has a huge balcony! We didn’t do anything that evening since it was 21.30 when we finally got to the room.

The 5th of May was a beautiful day!! It was clear blue skies and 21 degrees. Our hotel was about a 2 minute walk from the beach and less than 5 minutes from the Greyhound bus stop, perfect location! We took a stroll to the beach and were amazed with how beautiful it was. Byron Bay really looks and feels like a holiday place. Main Beach was the most amazing beach we’ve seen in Australia so far. The sand was really light and incredibly soft. We walked along the beach through the water towards the most eastern point of Australia. The water was pretty warm, I read that the average water temperature in summer is 26 degrees and 21 degrees in winter. From the beach we decided to walk to the lighthouse. The lighthouse is probably the most iconic point of Byron Bay. It’s an incredibly steep walk up, but definitely worth it! 

Along the way we walked past Wategos Beach, another stunning beach which was a little quieter than Main Beach. We actually saw some dolphins there! Unfortunately they were too far away to photograph, but they were in this direction.

Up at the lighthouse we were at the most easter point of Australia. We had some drinks at the cafe (which is cash only!) and then walked down the other way. The lady in the hotel told us that this would a rainforest walk, but it was a little disappointing because we walked next to the road the whole time. About half way we managed to get back onto the beach and stroll back along the water to our hotel. We bought some food from Aldi and had lunch in our room. After doing our washing we went back to Main Beach to watch the sunset! 

It was literally the most amazing sunset I’ve ever seen, and it made my love Byron Bay even more.

We finished the day with the most delicious pizza.

Byron Bay is super relaxed and a little alternative. We would have loved to stay longer, but definitely feel like we’ve seen all we wanted to see. If you’re looking for a relaxing place along the beach I’d definitely recommend Byron Bay!

The following day we took the Greyhound to Surfers Paradise. We left at 10.15 and arrived at 13.10.

East Coast Travels - Port Macquarie

3rd - 4th May

We left Sydney on the 3rd of May at 7 in the morning. In was a dark, cold rainy morning so it was the perfect time to move on from Sydney. We’re traveling along the coast using the Greyhound busses. We bought a hop on hop off ticket from Sydney to Cairns for $464.10. You can hop of and hop off the bus as many times as you want between the two places, but you can only travel in one direction, which isn’t really a problem! We pre-booked all our busses before we left and our e-ticket showed all of our trips, times and locations.

The bus was really organised, the large bags are put in the hold and sorted by where people are getting off the bus. There was a section for Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Byron Bay etc. We then showed our tickets and ID and got on the bus. We has USB chargers so we were able to charge our phones during the drive - thankfully because it was a7 hour drive and my phone battery is rubbish! After about 3 hours, just after Newcastle, the bus stopped for a food break of about 40 minutes and then continued on to Port Macquarie. The bus itself is great! It’s really clean and comfortable, and you get the chance to see a bit more of Australia. We drove through Foster which looked like a beautiful place.

We arrived in Port Macquarie at 14.20. As soon as we got off the bus, there were tons of people asking us about accommodation. These were hostel representatives. Port Macquarie is the only place where we’re staying in a hostel so when we found the representative we were driven to the hostel (which was only about a 2 minute drive). It’s a great service because although it’s only a short drive, we large heavy bags.

We stayed in YHA Ozzie Pozzie hostel. I have never been in a hostel before, and I didn’t have the best idea of what hostels would be like, but this place as amazing!! It was almost a teeny village, the rooms have 6 beds and are like a little house of their own. It was really cute, colourful and clean. There was a TV room with tons of VHS tapes, a game room with a pool table, air hockey table, foosball table in the main area there was a table tennis table and just behind there was a pool. They had huge lockers where the large rucksacks could be stored and in the room there were small lockers for any valuables.

After check in we decided to walk around Port Macquarie. The Iron Man even was in the process of being set up in the town which was really exciting. Young kids were drawing all over the paths saying things like “go dad” and other supportive writings.

We walked from the hostel on Waugh Street along the beach to Town Beach. The highlight of Port Macquarie are the painted stones along the path. There are hundreds of rocks painted with all sorts of sentimental images and dates. We saw paintings from 2008 all the way up to 2014. 

We also found out that Port Macquarie is the official Bodyboarding capital of Australia! After walking along the water we sat down on Town Beach. It’s a really lovely beach with very soft sand.

We then made our way back to the hostel and had some pizza from domino’s using the Ozzie Pozzie deal for only $5.50 for a large pizza!

The next morning we walked through the town centre and and bought some food from Coles. We then used the bus service from the hostel to be dropped off at the Greyhound bus. We were only in Port Macquarie for 24 hours, but I think that was long enough. Now on to Byron Bay!!