Upside of being down under

During the last week of the summer holidays, I went on a research trip to Perth, Western Australia, under NTU’s University Scholars Programme (USP).

Last year, we went to Taiwan, with “culture” as the research topic. This year, the theme was “sustainability”.

In Perth, we were split into different groups and delved into topics like water sustainability, energy sustainability, sustainable tourism, and sustainable lifestyle practices. This year’s topics were more technical and thus much more challenging. Nevertheless, all of us did our best and put together a great end-product after weeks of research, discussion and editing.

Although it was a research trip, we had our fair share of fun.

As we were a big group of about 80 students and faculty, we arrived at Perth on four different flights. My group was on the third flight, and by the time we had landed and checked-in, all the shops were already closed. Unlike in Singapore, all the shops in Perth close by 5pm. However, that did not stop us from taking pictures of the wonderful city!

We took the free bus into town. The streets don’t look that different from Singapore’s, except that they are more cluttered with random buskers, but they still look beautiful. Or maybe the grass just looks greener on the other side?



On the second day, our first stop was the Caversham Wildlife Park, where we saw many Australian animals such as kangaroos and koalas.



The kangaroos were my favourite. The little guy in the above picture is white because it was bred indoors. It was hungry when we arrived, expecting its first meal of the day, and held on to my hand possessively, as though saying: “MINE. All mine!”

These buddies swarm around whoever is with the feed. Look at this shot of my friend!



And I call this: The Meme-able Kangaroo.

This one below is peering into my camera. Curious little dude!



Another highlight of the trip: koalas. They are apparently rarely awake. Also, they are extremely delicate; we could only touch their backs with the back of our hands. We were also told not to touch the leaves in the enclosure because the koalas would not eat leaves touched by humans.

Speaking of eating, we headed to the lobster farm afterwards, where we enjoyed a sumptuous lobster lunch. Their idea of lobster was along the lines of “crayfish”, as you can see from the photo below.


The crayfish was well-grilled, but the fries really stole the show for me. Maybe because they were freshly fried.

After the meal, we proceeded to take a tour of the lobster farm. It was a self-guided tour with handsets and signs around for guests to take their time around the place. Look at this gigantic lobster!


We walked around on a pathway built over the farm, which gave us a bird’s eye view of the area without disturbing the workers.


Everyone truly enjoyed the educational tour and satisfying lunch.



Just outside the shack, there was a beautiful beach with a breath-taking skyline. Many of the students came out to take pictures and to enjoy the sea breeze, while others interviewed the owners of the lobster shack for information for their research project.


After lunch, we went to the scorching pinnacles. The view was amazing.


And needless to say, we wasted no time taking photos.





After the pinnacles, we went sandboarding at the sand dunes. It was an exhausting climb up but the ride down was definitely worth it!




Afterwards, we went on a refreshing cruise boat ride, and ate fish and chips.


After lunch, we went shopping at Fremantle. It was like a flea marketplace, quite different from Singapore’s markets.


This stall sold coffee beans. I was attracted to its scent the moment I stepped into the marketplace!


Over there, busking and sharing of music is encouraged. Besides the live band performing at one of the day bars, there was a piano available – free for anyone to play.


Afterwards, we visited the Monument Hill Memorial Reserve. We combed the place and spent the rest of our free time taking pictures.



We did the usual Singaporean thing: take jumpshots and selfies anywhere and everywhere we could.

The mandatory jumpshots:G4_29



The typical pose that people like to imitate – from the movie You Are the Apple of My Eye:



The selfies: G4_34



All in all, it was a good trip – good for making friends and a good way to end the summer holidays.


But for now, it’s back to school!

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