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Trip to Cairns

On June 24, me and my mom traveled up north to Cairns. The first thing we did there was visit the Cairns ZOOM and Wildlife Dome, located on top of The Reef Hotel and Casino in downtown Cairns. This place is basically a dome with an artificial rainforest that contains many indigenous wildlife and plants for visitors to see as well as facilities to zip-line, rope climb, and walk around the dome outside. Me and my mom did the dome walk which was very fun and exhilarating. We also marveled at the beautiful wildlife inside the dome.

Here are some photos of the wildlife that were there:

Some photos of the Dome walk:

The next day we went on a boat cruise towards the Great Barrier Reef with a stop at Green Island. We saw stunning views of the hills near Cairns, as well as the ocean and Green Island, a resort island east of Cairns. At Green Island, we took a submarine and glass bottom boat tour of the reef, where we saw lots of vibrantly colored fish and coral.

View of Cairns from the sea
Panoramic view of Cairns and the hills nearby
Green Island
Coral as seen from the submarine tour
Another view of Coral
Pretty fish seen from the submarine
Fish seen on the glass bottom boat tour
This fish kept following us around from both the submarine and glass bottom boat tours!

Aman Kukal is a senior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Economics. Aman is spending the spring semester in Newcastle, Australia with the ISA Newcastle, Australia: Courses with Locals program.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

Trip to the Coastline South of Sydney

On June 23rd, my mom came and visited me and we visited the coastline south of Sydney towards Wollongong. We drove there with family friends who live in Sydney and were thus able to experience many beautiful sites along the way. I’ll explain my magnificent coastal journey through some nice pictures I took from the trip.

A view of the southern coastline. It’s not visible in the picture, but at this lookout at Bald Hill Headland Reserve, you can see the city of Wollongong in the distance.
Austinmer Beach, a beautiful beach near Wollongong.
A nice park area in Kiama, a town along the southern coast.
Another scenic view from a park in Kiama.
The Kiama Blowhole, the town’s famous natural landmark where, under certain sea conditions, water will shoot up high in the air from the hole shown in this picture.

Aman Kukal is a senior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Economics. Aman is spending the spring semester in Newcastle, Australia with the ISA Newcastle, Australia: Courses with Locals program.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

Trip to the Capitol

On June 14, I took a magnificent 1 ½ day trip to Australia’s capitol, Canberra. Getting there was simple, I took a train from Newcastle to Sydney and then another train from Sydney to Canberra. I had to start the trip at night to make it to Canberra early so I could make the most of my time there. I boarded the train to Sydney at almost two in the night and off I went to Sydney. After reaching Sydney Central station, I lounged around in the beautiful grand concourse section of the station. The station is very old and historic. After taking in the surroundings for about an hour, I boarded the train for Canberra. Unlike the train from Newcastle to Sydney, which is paid for with the Opal public transportation card, the Canberra train must be pre-booked online. The train journey to Canberra was one of the most beautiful train journeys I had ever taken in my life. I passed through various sheep grazing fields, mountains and hills, and cozy small towns along the way. I was even able to see a few wallabies! The journey was overall very picturesque to say the least!

Me in Sydney Central Station
Train from Sydney to Canberra
View from Canberra train

After reaching Canberra station, I walked to a nearby convenience store and purchased the local public transportation card. Canberra is in its own state, the Australian Capitol Territory. The state is situated within New South Wales. Because of this I had to purchase a new public transportation card, as Opal cards won’t work in Canberra. Once I got that situated, I walked to my hotel. Canberra isn’t a very big city, so it can easily be traversed by foot.

Reached Canberra!

After getting refreshed, I headed out to the Parliament building for a tour. The Australian Parliament building gives out public tours which is a wonderful way to check out the building and learn about the central government. The tour was very informative, and I learned a lot of interesting things about the Australian government and the building itself. I learned, for example, that the Australian government has a senate and house of representatives and that the parliament building was designed by an Italian-American architect. The parliament building is itself quite an architectural masterpiece.

Parliament of Australia!
House of Representatives chamber
Senate chamber
Another view of Parliament

Afterwards, I traveled down and toured the Old Parliament Building which is situated right across from the current Parliament building. The Old Parliament Building is the original parliament building that was the seat of government during the early to mid-20th century. This building has a more traditional colonial architecture and both chambers of the bicameral legislature are built to resemble the British house of lords and house of commons.

Old Parliament Building
Prime Minister’s room in Old Parliament Building

By the time I got done touring, it was five in the evening and all the other landmarks were closed so I walked down to the National Library of Australia and chilled in there while checking out their historical literature collections.

National Library of Australia

The next day, I woke up and went to the Royal Australian Mint where they manufacture the country’s coins. There I also took a tour and learned about the history of currency in Australia. An interesting fact I learned is that during Australia’s early colonial period, coins were used from all over the world as the colony had a shortage of coinage, so the colonists used anything they could get of value from Spanish coins to raw gold ingots. The mint also produces medals and currencies for other countries around the world.

At the Royal Australian Mint!
Coin manufacturing area

After seeing the mint, I traveled to the National Museum of Australia. Like the Parliament building, this museum is also an architectural wonder. I toured the museums various exhibits, all of which display a comprehensive history of Australia and its peoples. The museum is a great place to learn Australian history and culture through various artifacts and exhibits.

Entrance to National Museum of Australia
Cannon from Captain Cook’s ship, the Endeavour

The last landmark I saw on my Canberra trip was the Australian War Memorial. The Australian War Memorial is a breathtaking site. The landmark hosts a museum dedicated to Anzac history and service as well as a memorial to the Anzac forces who served in wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping missions. The most striking part of the memorial was a wall with the names of those who died in service. Seeing the wall was a humbling experience as I learned about how Anzacs played pivotal and heroic roles in major conflicts throughout recent history from World War 1 to Iraq.

Australian War Memorial
Inside the dome of the Memorial

Canberra is a beautiful city and I enjoyed my time there. I wasn’t able to see all I wanted to see due to time constraints, but I was satisfied with what I was able to experience. The city has many museums, galleries, and monuments. They provide a great opportunity for learning about all things Australia. If you ever visit Australia, make sure Canberra is on your itinerary!


Aman Kukal is a senior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Economics. Aman is spending the spring semester in Newcastle, Australia with the ISA Newcastle, Australia: Courses with Locals program.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.

Trip to Melbourne

After the Canberra trip, I took another 1 ½ day trip to Melbourne. On my first day, I took a hop-on hop-off bus tour. Like the one I took in Sydney, this provides a great way to tour the city as the tour takes you to all the city’s major landmarks and also provides narration throughout the tour giving you great insights into the city you’re touring. Here I’ll explain my trip through the pictures I took throughout my tour and from on foot.

Federation Square. The structure on the left is an art gallery. The structure on the right with the “i” sign is the Melbourne Visitor Centre.
Flinders Street Railway Station. This is one of Melbourne’s biggest transportation hubs.
St. Paul’s Cathedral. Located across from Federation Square.
The Immigration Museum. This museum explores the history of immigration in Australia.
Eureka Tower. This is Melbourne’s tallest building. It also has a skydeck where you can view the city from the top floors.
Some interesting architecture!
An Olympics training facility I spotted on the bus tour!
St. Patrick’s Cathedral. A very cool looking cathedral with Gothic Revival architecture built in the late 1800s.
Melbourne Cricket Grounds. This is one of Australia’s largest and most premier sports and entertainment centers.
The Arts Centre Melbourne with its iconic spire.
Luna Park near St. Kilda, a nice beach and port area near Melbourne.
The Spirit of Tasmania. This ship takes passengers and cargo all the way to Tasmania from Melbourne.
View of Downtown Melbourne from the tour bus
Entrance to Melbourne Chinatown
Delicious pan-fried dumplings I had in Chinatown!
Cook’s Cottage. This house was built by Captain Cook’s parents and was brought to Australia all the way from England in 1934. It is located in Fitzroy Gardens in Melbourne.
The gun and cartridge bag used by Ned Kelly, one of Australia’s most famous “bushranger” or outlaw from the 19th century. This is located in the Victoria Police Museum.
This is the City Circle Tram. A free tram that runs throughout Downtown Melbourne. It is one of many trams in Melbourne, which has the largest tram network in the world.
The Shrine of Remembrance. This monument honors all the Australian men and women who died in service throughout the various wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping missions of the 20th to 21st centuries.

These pictures are just a few of the many I took in Melbourne. Melbourne is packed with interesting places to visit and see. If you really want to experience all this city has to offer, I would recommend coming here for a few days or even a week.


Aman Kukal is a senior at the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying Economics. Aman is spending the spring semester in Newcastle, Australia with the ISA Newcastle, Australia: Courses with Locals program.

Student blog entries posted to the Roos Abroad Blog may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UMKC Study Abroad and International Academic Programs. The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.