Australia Revisited: Part One

Posted by mae on Monday May 30, 2011 Under General, Travels

Melbourne to Mt. Gambier – 13 May 2011

For pictures please click HERE

It has been close to two decades since my first trip to the Land Down Under back in the nineties. Between then and now, as time passes by, so much has changed and evolved. From a mere toddler to an aspiring adolescent (no kidding!), as far as I’m concerned this time around I was able to appreciate what I saw and experienced. I certainly wasn’t seventeen years ago. My life began at 4, thus everything I did before that was unconsciously done πŸ˜†

We flew with AirAsia X, a direct, 8-hour flight from KLIA to Melbourne Airport. Apparently, thanks to some unknown forces my dad managed to get us (my bro and I) a couple of cheap premium tickets, while he, mum, and lil’ sis had to sit at the plain, ordinary, economy-class seats πŸ˜›

Spacious, reclinable seats with a complementary pillow and blanket. (that’s my brother)

Nevertheless the inevitable in-flight boredom struck soon after. Tried my best to fast forward the journey by sleeping.

Sunrise, somewhere over Australia.

We landed at around 9am. After picking up the rented car we set off to the Great Ocean Road via Princes Freeway, passing through Geelong.

We stopped at a scenic lookout to snap a few pictures, our first of many along the Great Ocean Road.

Soon I learned that Australians love to install a towbar at the rear of their vehicles for towing purposes, for instance towing caravans and trailers.

The next stop was the Split Point Lighthouse in Aireys Inlet, fondly known as the “White Queen” among the locals.

A close-up look at the 34-metre high lighthouse.

A bit of its history and specs explained.

Footpaths from the lighthouse lead to a few more picturesque views of the Bass Strait.

Through the Alice in Wonderland-esque forest tunnel…seeing this kind of natural passageways always reminds me of that story, or anything mysterious, magical and mystical. πŸ˜€

Then, voila! Another lookout to savour.

At one point along the coastline sits the Eagle Rock, a column of rock called stack.

By the time we were leaving it was already noon and we had our lunch at a fish and chips shop in Lorne. En route to the small town there were rainbows and even more outlooks.

This is what I call a half rainbow.

And this is the small town Lorne.

Then we continued our journey to Mount Gambier where we spent the night. With various breathtaking, panoramic views along the Great Ocean Road, the idea of driving directly to Mount Gambier without time-consuming stops at the lookouts seemed absurd, at least for travellers like us. Nothing much to say, just enjoy the pictures. πŸ™‚

Cape Patton Lookout.

History of the Great Ocean Road and Cape Patton. Please click on the image to enlarge.

Castle Cove, Great Otway National Park.

The Twelve Apostles, another perfect example of stacks formed due to the harsh weather conditions.

The map of the Twelve Apostles Marine National Park. Please click on the image to enlarge it.

Again a rainbow appeared…for once I thought they were ubiquitous.

The apostles – bad lighting made it virtually impossible for me to capture this beautiful sight with the highest quality πŸ™

Yeah, I couldn’t figure out how there were twelve apostles.

Honestly I’m not sure what is this arch called. I did a research on Google but to no avail. Ah well…

At 5pm the sky was getting significantly darker when we were leaving this particular lookout…

…but hey, we couldn’t miss the opportunity for another pleasant viewing, so we stopped again a few minutes later πŸ™‚

Pictured below is the London Arch, which was formerly known as the London Bridge until 1990. That year an arch that initially connected the London Arch to the mainland collapsed, hence the gap between them.

Reached Mount Gambier that night for a very much needed rest.

Day one ends here. πŸ™‚

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Planetary Show

Posted by mae on Sunday May 22, 2011 Under General, Travels

This month presents a great opportunity for any night-sky enthusiast to witness with the naked eye aΒ quartet of planets in the sky – Mercury, Venus, Mars and Jupiter – cluster together, a sight that won’t be seen again for the next few decades.

Like this one.

The pic was taken during dawn, somewhere over Australia while on a flight to Melbourne. Venus, as always, is the brightest of them all, followed by Jupiter. To their right is Mercury, and below the trio is Mars, not as distinct as the others due to the rising sun – a few minutes prior they were even more brilliant! πŸ˜€

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Majlis Anugerah Kecemerlangan Akademik

Posted by mae on Sunday May 8, 2011 Under General

Majlis Anugerah Kecemerlangan Akademik
Dewan Besar Tun Abdul Razak, SDAR
8.30am, 7 May 2011

This is an event I’m very familiar with, which for the record I’ve attended every year since 2007. Knowing that I was not that good in extra curricular activities I vowed to myself when I was in Form 1 that I’d somehow find a way to get involved Β in this ceremony every year.

Well, actually I did attend the Majlis Anugerah Kecemerlangan Ko-Kurikulum last year, as the recipient of the less coveted award Anugerah Sinar Cemerlang. That was good enough for me. πŸ˜›

Yesterday I came again, but as an alumnus. Apart from being awarded the Anugerah Pelajar Cemerlang SPM (together with 37 others who scored straight A’s in SPM 2010), I was also thrilled to receive another one…

Haha English! LOL πŸ˜›

That Arif guy was my classmate and roommate, and though he frequently dozed off in the class, I believe he truly deserved that accolade. Teachers were saying that his curly hair was some kind of an info-absorbing device because regardless of how much, or how long he slept in the class daily, he never failed to perform well academically. Everyone knew it was all hard work, he was a diligent guy anyway πŸ˜‰

Oh, another thing worth pointing out is the fact that more than half of my dormmates were among the recipients – Weng, Doli, Zul, Hasnol, Udin, Noid and me – seven out of twelve haha! Yeah Dorm Cemerlang! πŸ˜€

The ceremony was okay. Besides from the sweltering hall, it was not much different compared to the previous four occasions.

An impromptu photo session at the end of the event.

And the prizes – the school gave us a branded watch each plus a nice token for those deserving 11 students πŸ˜€

Again I’m taking this opportunity to thankΒ those who have helped and guided me throughout the years – my family, my teachers and my friends – without them I’m nothing. πŸ™‚

People keep saying that academic excellence is not everything. Yeah, so is extra curricular activity. Soft skills? They are not everything either. But I can assure you that good education does affect your life in a positive way, and I believe it does play a bigger part, no matter how much, in getting a scholarship. Keep that in mind.

Cheers!

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