Be The First To Know ...


Northern Territory - Outback Australia

The Northern Territory can usually be found on the itinerary of most international visitors, especially those staying longer than a week or so. As a tourist there are lots of things to keep you busy, but as a student is it the kind of place you want to live and study?

‘Territorians’, as the locals are known, live primarily in Darwin and a string of cities and towns that line the highway leading from the southern states to Darwin. Apart from the cities there are lots of really small towns and communities and a whole lot of nothing, except for the Outback. And there is lots of that!

If you love the heat and humidity of the tropics, then the Northern Territory, along with Far North Queensland, are going to be at the top of the list for places for you to visit. Darwin receives the maximum number of lightning strikes in the world !

With maximum daytime temperatures of over 30 and the minimums still being in the low 20’s, it’s hot and muggy and great if you love to sweat.

Rain is also a big factor in what you can do when and where you can go at certain times of the year. With over 400mm difference between the wet and dry seasons (basically in the dry season it doesn’t rain at all and in the wet season – or monsoon season – it just rains all the time.

Facts about Northern Territory
Fewer than 200,000 people call the territory home, and with such a big area of land for them to live in the density is down around 0.15 persons per square kilometre.

Darwin is actually closer to Jakarta than it is Sydney, and is also closer to Singapore than Melbourne – there are a wide variety of nationalities represented as a part of this smaller community.

The alcohol consumption in NT is one of the highest in the world. The average level of consumption is 1,120 standard drinks per person per year. That’s a lot of cans of beer. You will, however, meet the odd non-drinker. Sometimes. Maybe.

Major cities in Northern Territory
Darwin is the capital city and just as elsewhere in Australia is the largest metropolitan centre. Other key towns include Alice Springs and Katherine.

Top 5 attractions in Darwin
With most of the things you need to see and do in Darwin being just a few blocks from each other, the usual attractions are on the list and there are lots of special attractions for the visitor.

Some of the more popular hangouts in Darwin are the beach (but don’t go in for a swim during the wet season due to the deadly box jellyfish). The Indo-Pacific Marine & Australian Pearling Exhibition is a good educational type attraction and Mindil Beach Market is also a cool place to just hang out and get something to eat.

Of course everyone has got to go and see the crocodiles while they are in Darwin and the best place to do that (other than out in the wild) is Darwin Crocodile Farm.

Most popular beer
Any beer is a popular beer in NT.

Major University
Charles Darwin University

Australian Capital Territory - Nation's capital

As a reasonably small city by comparison with Sydney and Melbourne, Canberra has a very high student population, which combined with its high focus on government, politics, and diplomacy makes it a top choice for most people – especially people focussing on higher studies.

As a high school graduate, fresh out of school and looking for trouble in your first few years at uni, you may be looking in the wrong place. Of course when ever you put a few thousand students together there are going to be some pretty wild nights out and some mischief to be had over the weekend, but as a city you might find the night life a bit lacking and the weekends a bit long.

Still, lots of people love it and more than a few are willing to stand up and defend Canberra and the ACT.

Bloody hot, bloody cold.
As an inland city a few hundred metres above sea level, when you visit Canberra you can pack both your summer and winter clothes if you’re planning on staying any length of time. Super dry and hot winds in the summer, combined with the infamous inland droughts of inland Australia are contrasted against the extremely cold winter nights where everything is covered in frost and ice till mid morning. As far as variety of weather – Canberra has it all.

Facts about the ACT
People who studied in Canberra often relate how rare it is to meet a person who was born and bred in Canberra. It just doesn’t seem to happen. Everyone is from somewhere else and they are in the city with a set objective, assignment, or a degree to get and then are on their way off to somewhere else.

Living in Canberra itself is pretty easy, especially if you are one of the thousands of people who live in a residential college. You’re whole life can just about be lived on campus and there may be little reason to leave. Perhaps this clouds a lot of international students views of Canberra, who arrive and take a quick tour, settle in to their college, find the nearest mall, the computer lab and their lecture hall and then graduate 12 to 18 months later with a pretty low opinion of the place.

Public transport is not really necessary if you are sticking to the main routes and into Civic and so on, but if you want to live a little bit out of the way and then go somewhere on the weekends without having to wait around a few hours for buses, then you really are going to have to get a car.

The best thing about being a student in Canberra is that more often or not you are not going to have to look to far to find the things you need to do your coursework, assignments or thesis. With all the libraries and embassies and government departments you can usually get an answer with out too much trouble.

About Canberra
The thing you need to remember about Canberra is that not even 100 years ago the government sat down and decided to build a city there. There was a plan. There was a structure and everything is usually where it is for a reason. It is a planned city.

With the town centres spread around the city, and each centre having almost all the facilities most people need to survive – malls, service stations, restaurants, bars – if you do leave campus you’re probably not going to be going much further than your town centre or Civic if you really want to get out and about.

With lots of organisations for sports as well, you can also find some sort of association for what ever your hobby or sport might be. There are lots of ways to fill the hours with things other than study.

Top 5 attractions in the ACT
1. The old and new parliament houses. Always worth a visit, you never know who you might see.
2. Telstra tower – a great view and a good place for a photo
3. The War Memorial – especially for Australian students, but then maybe even more so for international students
4. The museum
5. The national gallery.

What should you be drinking in the ACT?
It’s going to be a pint of New. Probably. You can get most beers in the ACT, especially VB from Victoria.

Western Australia - The Golden State

Western Australia is simply huge. There is no good way to describe the huge open spaces of outback WA. It just goes on and on forever. Flat. Dry. Desert.

Perth is an amazing city. There is no other word for it. So clean and organised, it is probably Australia’s most liveable city, ahead of Melbourne, but the isolation and distance from anything else possibly gets in the way.

The land of the afternoon breeze
People who watch cricket on television have no doubt seen a game played at the WACA, the main cricket grounds in Western Australia. As the heat of the afternoon drags on and saps the strength from one and all, the commentators usually start talking about the Freemantle Doctor, the amazing afternoon breeze that sweeps across from the coast and brings a cool refreshing wind to everyone in the city.

Facts about Western Australia
Just a touch under 2 million people live in Western Australia, and about 1.4 million people live in Perth.

The majority of the population are of European descent, but a growing number of Asians are calling WA home.

Major cities in Western Australia
For most people Western Australia begins and ends with Perth. There are however some other small towns and cities across the state that have their attractions, particularly for people keen tot work in a particular industry.

Some of the larger towns include: Bunbury, Kalgoorlie, Albany, Geraldton, Port Hedland and Broome.

Top 5 attractions in Perth
On the top of most people’s list is the Botanical Gardens, a huge area of land located very close to the city centre.

This is closely followed by Perth Zoo, AQWA – the Aquarium of Western Australia, Shark Bay and then the Museum.

How many international students are there in Western Australia?
During 2003 there were 13,000 international students in Western Australia. That's less than Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, but more than Tassie and South Australia.

Most popular beer
A bit of a challenge here – some say its Export, others say Bitter and some swear by VB. It’s a hard call.

Major Universities
University of Western Australia, Curtin University of Technology, Edith Cowan University

Victoria - The Place to be

Melbourne, the capital city of Victoria, probably wishes that it was the capital city of Australia, and maybe even South East Asia.

While the city certainly has a lot going for it; a good transport network, lots of parks and gardens, an excellent range of entertainment and events, the more you travel around Australia the more you meet people who are anti-Melbourne. They will never really be able to tell you why, it’s just one of those places that everyone seems to love to hate. A bit like Sydney, really. In the opposite camp, however, are international travellers, international students and of course the Victorians themselves. They love the city and will tell you for hours about its good points and features.

And of course it has been voted as the world’s most liveable city by The Economist.

Country Victoria is full of great getaway places such as the Yarra Valley, the Dandenongs, and the Goldfields and with Geelong just down the motorway from Melbourne there are some ideal places for students to consider if Melbourne is not your first choice for study.

It’s always raining and cloudy in Melbourne (or so they say)
The first reason most people give for not loving Melbourne is the weather. ‘It’s always raining and overcast in Melbourne’ they will tell you. ‘Cold, bleak and windy’ are also common descriptions. Yet when the The Economist completed its survey to rank the most liveable cities, Melbourne actually came out ahead of Sydney due to its lower humidity.

The temperature usually hits an average maximum I the high 20’s for the summer months and the low teens during winter. Those stories about the 40 degree weather during the middle of summer are all true and you can be sure to find yourself heading to the beach to cool off.

As a state, however, there is quite a wide range of weather conditions, making it another of those places where you can both going skiing in winter and head to the beach in summer.

Facts about Victoria
Victoria is home to 4.8 million people, with approximately 3.5 million living in Melbourne.

The revelation that Victorians love sport is perhaps not that surprising for people who have visited previously, but for those arriving for the first time by air one of the first things to notice is the large number of sports fields that can be seen spread across the city. While football (Australian Rules Football, that is) is by far the most popular code in Victoria, the competition has arrived with both rugby league and soccer both being quite popular.

Victoria is the smallest of the mainland states, and is about the same size as Minnesota. It does, however, have the second largest population which results in quite a high population density.

Top 5 attractions
With some great attractions and events through out the year, such as the Formula 1 Grand Prix and other major art and sporting events, you can usually find something on no matter when it is you are visiting the state.

Some of the more popular, around the year attractions include:
1. Great Ocean Road
2. Phillip Island
3. Federation square
4. Koala Conservation Centre
5. Melbourne Museum

How many international students are there in Victoria?
Based on 2003 figures there were 48,000 international students in Victoria. That's the highest in Australia, some 3,000 more than second placed New South Wales.

Most Popular Beer
Beer in Victoria begins and ends for most people with Victoria Bittter, or VB.

Major Universities
University of Melbourne, Monash University, La Trobe University, RMIT University, Swinburne University of Technology, Victoria University of Technology, Deakin University

Tasmania - The Holiday Isle

Tasmania is the only island state of Australia. Moreover, it is also the smallest and the least populated state of Australia. Tasmania reminds many travellers of UK. In contrast to the mainland, Tasmania is green, cold and Tasmanian cities resemble European cities.

With a lower cost of living than most other states, Tasmania also combines a unique and tourist friendly environment that already attracts a large international student body.

With the capital city, Hobart, home to around 190,000 people and the states total population numbers approximately 450,000. With a large amount of World Heritage Area, National Park and other reserves, the environment plays a key role in day to day life, and is a feature of most peoples recreational activities. Hobart offers a unique unmatched lifestyle which is the cause of envy for the people living on the mainland.

So you like the cold, huh?
For people after the refreshing chill of cold air in lungs, Hobart can be a pretty good place to start. With winter day time temperatures in Hobart and Launceston sometimes struggling to get about 10 degrees, you are certainly going to find Tasmania to be one of the colder places to live in. However, given its southern location, the summer time days are quite long and with day light saving will see sunlight until around 8pm. Summer temperatures are in the mid 20’s, although it is possible for the mercury to rise over 40 once or twice a year.

Facts about Tasmania
Tasmania boasts of the purest water and air in the world. It is also the safest Australian state with an extremely low level of crime. Tasmanians are known as the friendliest aussies.

Tasmanians are not as ethnically diverse as other regions, such as Victoria (well, Melbourne, really) and New South Wales (Sydney!). More than 60% of the population who were not born in Tasmania are from the UK, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, the USA or Canada.

Given that Hobart is Australia’s second oldest city, and home to a large part of Australia’s penal history, a lot of the tourism based activities are related to sites of historical importance. If you have no idea about or interest in old buildings and gaols, you are probably going to be more interested in the natural wonders of the state. Wander to any street in Hobart or look out from any window of a house in Hobart, you are sure to treat yourself to a million dollar view.

Major Cities in Tasmania
Hobart and Launceston, along with Burnie and Devonport are the only cities of any real size, and even then are smaller than most country towns in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

Top 5 attractions in Hobart and Tasmania
1. Salamanca Place
2. Mt Wellington
3. Tahune Air Walk
4. Port Arthur
5. Cradle Mountain

What should you be drinking?
It all depends on where you are in the state and who you are with. The basic rule is that if you are Hobart, or the southern parts of Tasmania, you should be drinking Cascade. If, however, you find yourself in the north, you’d better ask for a Boags.

Major Universities
University of Tasmania, Australian Maritime College

Number of International students
With just two major higher educational institutions in the state, the number of international students is suprisingly high. Tasmania has around 2,500 international students as per the data released in 2003. The Mainland universities have a majority of international students coming from South East Asian countries whereas Tasmanian institutions have a larger proportion of students from USA, UK and Germany.

South Australia - The Festival State

Ask a lot of people about South Australia and they can tell you that the Adelaide Oval is the most beautiful cricket ground in the world, that the wines are first class and that there is nothing in Adelaide other than churches and parallel roads. Pretty harsh, huh?

It is probably true that Adelaide is one of the most picturesque cricket grounds in the world, and the wines are certainly top notch, the founders of Adelaide had a lot to do with the churches and the city layout. Times are changing, though, and night spots are now greater in number than churches and as Adelaide's suburbs sprawl, the roads wander more.

The city, with is gardens and parklands and well organised systems is nestled up against Mt. Lofty ranges and nearby is the Gulf St. Vincent, and in times past was a pretty straight laced place, calm, relaxed and dignified. Today its probably one of the more liveable cities for a student, and for some one looking to keep their head in the books and still enjoy the sights and lifestyle of Australia with out the built up pressure of Sydney or Melbourne, Adelaide and South Australia might be just for you.

Feel the desert heat!
Don’t go to Adelaide looking for cool weather – the proximity to the desert and the direction of the wind often means that temperatures are up around 40 during the summer months. Winter does see quite a bit of rain, but less than the other states.

Statistically you should get about 270 days of sunshine a year in Adelaide.

Facts about South Australia
Adelaide, the capital city, is home to just over 1 million people, which is about 73% of the population. The next biggest cities are Whyalla, about 25,000 people, and Mt Gambier with around 21,000 people.

About 20 of the population was either born or has a parent who was born outside of Australia in a non-native English speaking country. Multiculturalism is a big deal in South Australia.

South Australians love sport, and are absolute fanatics when it comes to cricket and Australian Rules football. If you live in Adelaide for any length of time you are sure to get involved in someway in either playing or spectating at a sport competition of some kind.

The Adelaide Festival is held every second year in March, and is a must attend event.

Top 5 attractions in Adelaide
1. Walk around the city, being sure to visit the Botanic Gardens – one of the best in Australia
2. Take a drive down to Kangaroo Island
3. A picnic is Murphy’s Haystacks is always popular
4. Head over to the Barossa Valley for wine tasting
5. Head down to Glenelg for a seaside getaway

How many international students are there in South Australia?
During 2003 there were 7,000 international students in South Australia, quite alot less than the most popular state, Victoria, with 48,000.

Most popular beer
If you’re in South Australia, you’re probably drinking a Coopers, and it’s going to be in either a pint or a schooner.

Major Universities
University of Adelaide, Flinders University, University of South Australia

Queensland - The Sunshine State

Queensland. More than coral and warm water?

Ask most people about Queensland and they will tell you its home to The Great Barrier Reef, the world famous 1200 km long reef that provides some of the worlds best snorkeling, diving, beaches and, for those that live nearby, an enviable lifestyle.

The warmer weather in Queensland makes it an ideal place to study for a lot of students. But there is more to the state that beaches and surf. Head inland and you will find rainforests, the Outback and lots of mountain experiences among the hills of the Great Dividing Range.

Amazing weather
Queensland is such a big place, and so varied, that the wettest town, Tully receives 4,500mm of rain per year, compared to Birdsville in Outback Queensland receives only 150mm per year (on a good year!)

Facts about Queensland
There are approximately 3.6 million people living in Queensland – or about 19% of the population of Australia.

Queensland covers 1.7 million square kilometres of north-east Australia.

North to south, it extends 2100km and measures 1450km east to west. The one thing that raises a lot of eyebrows is the fact that Queensland has 7400km of coastline, including islands in the Torres Strait and the Coral Sea. That’s a lot of beaches.

Brisbane (a quick guide)

For people who have never been to Brisbane, what are the first 5 things you should do when you get there? Here’s our list:

Top 5 attractions in Brisbane

1. Go and hug a koala, or at least look enviously at them sleeping way up in the gum trees without a care in the world.

Where? Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

2. Go to Moreton Island and see some of the highest sand dunes in the world. A short barge trip across the river from Brisbane and you’re right there on the beach. Lovely!

3. Walk around South Bank, where there is always something going on.

4. Go out and night and experience the nightlife. Some people say you should head to The Valley, and others say you should avoid it like the plague. Make up your own mind, maybe by starting at The Monastery

5. Go and take some photos up at Mount Cootha and enjoy a picnic or a BBQ while you're there.

How many international students are there in Queensland?
From 2003 figures there were 35,000 international students in Queensland, making it the third highest in Australia, behind Victoria and New South Wales.

Other useful information for Queensland

Most popular beer (important things first)
XXXX is the most popular beer. You are going to have to order that in a ‘pot’ By the way, that beer is really called XXXX, as in Fourex. Just in case you were wondering.

For more on this, and other Australian beers, check out the website

The Queensland BBQ
If you stay in Queensland (or even Australia to for that matter) for any length of time, you are sure to come across an invitation to a BBQ. Be prepared for meat, salads and beer. If you are new to Australia the bes thing to do is to sit back and enjoy the feast.

Major Universities
University of Queensland, Griffith University, Queensland University of Technology

New South Wales - The First State

No matter where you are in the world you will meet people who want to talk about Sydney. no, I don't live there, you explain. No, it's not the capital. Yes, it's very beautiful you reassure them. the Harbour Bridge... very good! Ah, yes, the Opera House. Excellent, you tell them. Is that all there is to Sydney? To most tourists, probably. Ask a local, however, and the answer is a very strong No way!

While Sydney certainly has a lot going for it, it also has a lot against it and it is probably the most avoided city in Australia. It’s super high real estate prices (and cost of living in general) is often cited as a reason for not living there.

If you are a person who loves the big city, then Sydney is the place for you.

For people looking to avoid the big city and all of its distractions, then Wollongong, Newcastle and even Wagga Wagga are probably your best bet.

Maybe even Canberra could be more your style?

6.6 Million people call NSW home, and the mix of races is about 92% Caucasian, 7% asian and 1% aboriginal. Just in case you were wondering.

Does it ever get cold in Sydney?
If you close your eyes and imagine Sydney, the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and beautiful blue skies are (hopefully) going to come to straight to mind. Beautiful Bondi with its golden sand and bronzed bodies; Sydney is home to perfect weather. Sometimes.

The reality is, and lots of people seem to forget this, is that it is going to rain, it does get cold and even during summer it’s going to rain. The good news is, however, that most of the time there are more sunny days than rainy days.

Inland NSW includes the mountains of the Great Dividing Range and the western plains. Temperatures here can sit around 40 degrees during a summers day, or get down around 0 degrees on a winter evening.

The highest temperature recorded in NSW is 52.8 degrees, at Bourke and the lowest is -23 at Charlottes Pass. The most rain falls in Dorrigo, with an average rainfall of 2,004mm per year. So it's not all beaches and boardshorts, though there is plenty of that too.

Facts about New South Wales
NSW, on the east coast of Australia, runs from just north of the most easterly point in Australia at Byron Bay, down to Eden in the south, a distance of about 1000 kilomters. NSW stretches out across the mountains and out into the plains and then the desert, where it meet the SA border.

The Great Dividing Range is a major attraction for a lot of people and is a great location for a range of outdoor activities from hiking to sky diving to mountain biking.

The population loves to live near the coast, and that is where you are going to find the biggest universities. Farming and agriculture is the big feature of inland NSW. Lots of big, big farms.

Major Cities in New South Wales
NSW is divided into 4 regions: Northern, Southern, Sydney, and Western and the majority of the population can be found in the first three.

Top 5 attractions in Sydney
1. Take a walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The hard way! Not for the faint haearted or the tourist short on cash. Bridge Climb, Sydney Harbour Bridge

2. Sit back and relax and enjoy the harbour views: Take the Manly Ferry and visit Manly

3. It's reallynot just for kids y'know: The Powerhouse Museum

4. Time for lunch? Head into the city and then up into the sky for a buffet meal with a view at AMP Tower

5. And now you're totally bloated and exhausted, head out to Bondi Beach and watch the sunset. Ahh, what a day!

How many international students study in NSW?
Based on figures for the year 2003, there were 45,000 international students in New South Wales. That's the second highest in Australia, behind Victoria.

Most popular beer
Tough to call, this one, but Tooheys New is probably in the lead. You’re going to have to order it in a middie or a schooner.

Major Universities
University of New South Wales, University of Sydney, Macquarie University, UTS, University of Wollongong