Australia, or Oz in short, is a country that is often referred to as "Down Under". When the British colonised Australia, with the earth being round, they believed that directly under their feet on the other side of the planet is Australia, hence called it Down Under.

Initially occupied by Aboriginal people for thousand of years, modern-day Australia began as a penal colony for British criminals in the late 18th century. The British government sought an alternative to overcrowded prisons and decided to establish a settlement in Australia to house convicts. The transportation of convicts continued until 1868, with thousands sent to Australia for various crimes. One fascinating aspect about that 'relocation' is the "lie" about the ships returning. In the early years, the British government claimed that the convicts sent to Australia would have the opportunity to return home once their sentences were served. However, this promise was often not fulfilled due to the costs involved, leading to a significant population of freed convicts and their descendants staying in Australia, shaping the nation's future. After the Europeans had arrived, thousand of aborigines died from diseases or systematically killed by colonists.

For the average visitor, Australia offers stunning natural landscapes such as the Great Barrier Reef, pristine beaches and vibrant cities. There is also unique wildlife, including kangaroos, koalas, and marine life. I rented a car after I arrived at Gold Coast airport, as Oz's public transport is not extensive.


Aussie wildlife

No trip to Australia is complete without a selfie with a kangaroo or a koala. A good place for that is the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, just outside Brisbane. Lots of iconic Australian animals to see, and some you can hold. The kangaroos are of course the highlight. You can go right into the kangaroo reserve, feed them, watch them hop about, etc. The kangaroos were surprisingly very muscular. There must be a secret underground gym where all the kangaroos work out. Don't let anyone tell you different. No one gets pecs and arms like that just from foraging.



Tangalooma Island Resort is on Moreton Island, about 40 kilometres off the coast of Brisbane. Beautiful beaches with crystal clear blue water gently lapping against its shore. There's a couple of shipwrecks that act as artificial reefs. No need to book a tour, the public boat is much cheaper and even includes a lunch voucher.


Byron Bay

In the summers, Byron Bay is a hive for sunshine and surf breaks. You can enjoy it Aussie style ie live in a van, surf every day, and eat mi goreng for dinner.


National Parks

Queensland has a few national parks of lush subtropical rainforest and scenic lookouts. Lamington and Springbrook are two that offer beautiful hikes.


Gold Coast

Gold Coast is a glitzy beach-side city that is famous its beaches, theme park rides, high-rises, mega-clubs and super yachts.



Brisbane is the capital and most populous city in Queensland. It's rapidly developing but maintains a laid back atmosphere. Brisbane was my first stop in Australia, and I almost needed a translation guide as soon as I got off the plane. Brisbane people talk about their "cobber" {friend}, feeling "crook" {unwell}, having a "sanger" {sandwich}, or a hard "yakka" {work}. Australian english will often leave you scratching your head.


Fraser Island

Positioned off the east coast, Fraser Island is a raw and rugged sand island spanning a staggering 122km with untamed beaches, forests, crystal-clear freshwater lakes, and plenty of wildlife. Driving on the island can only be done with a 4x4 due to the bumpy roads and risk of getting bogged in sand. You can either book a tour or rent a 4WD.


The Outback

The Outback is the name for the vast, unpopulated and mainly arid areas of Australia. You can get a birds eye view of it from the plane during the flight to Oz.


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