An Ed­u­ca­tional Trip to Mel­bourne, Vic­to­ria

Malaysia BBC Earth School Challenge 2017 win­ners em­bark on an ed­u­ca­tional trip to Mel­bourne, Vic­to­ria

BBC Earth (Asia) - - Contents -

The win­ners of BBC Earth School Challenge 2017 – Malaysia, em­bark on an ed­u­ca­tional ad­ven­ture through Mel­bourne

As a re­ward for win­ning the Malaysia BBC Earth School Challenge 2017, the stu­dents and their teacher ad­vi­sor from SMK Con­vent Bukit Nanas were whisked off on an ed­u­ca­tional trip to Mel­bourne, Vic­to­ria. The win­ning team were treated to a spe­cially cre­ated itin­er­ary chock-full of ac­tiv­i­ties that show­cased the depth and di­ver­sity of Vic­to­ria. Known as the world’s most live­able city, Mel­bourne oozes a laid­back vibe and is a cre­ative cos­mopoli­tan that of­fers colour­ful street art, a rich cof­fee cul­ture and a labyrinth of hid­den laneways and ar­cades. Start­ing with an in­tro­duc­tion to the city, the win­ning team got to em­bark on a guided city tour that cov­ered ma­jor his­tor­i­cal land­marks which in­cluded the Fitzroy Gar­dens, St Pa­trick’s Cathe­dral, Shrine of Re­mem­brance, and Hosier & ACDC Laneways. Dur­ing the tour, the stu­dents were treated to

in­ter­est­ing sto­ries about the city and were en­light­ened about the his­tor­i­cal past of the im­por­tant mon­u­ments and land­marks.

Un­der strik­ing blue skies, the city of Mel­bourne is a sun-filled des­ti­na­tion that cer­tainly in­spires cheer­ful­ness and beck­ons vis­i­tors to step out­side and en­joy nat­u­ral and wildlife ex­pe­ri­ences lo­cated not far from the city. To the de­light of the stu­dents, the trip took them to sev­eral must-visit na­ture and wildlife at­trac­tions. From get­ting a taste of the gen­uine Aussie farm ex­pe­ri­ence at the War­rook Farm to ex­plor­ing an African sa­fari ad­ven­ture at the Wer­ribee Open Range Zoo and watch­ing the Pen­guin Pa­rade on Phillip Is­land, the stu­dents got to ex­pe­ri­ence dif­fer­ent wildlife at­trac­tions where they en­joyed en­coun­ters with a wide va­ri­ety of an­i­mals. In ad­di­tion, the stu­dents also had the op­por­tu­nity to leave the city be­hind to re­lax amidst nat­u­ral vis­tas at Brighton Beach and par­tic­i­pate in a Work­ing Wet­land Pro­gram at the Royal Botanic Gar­dens. Last but not the least, the stu­dents man­aged to squeeze in vis­its to themed at­trac­tions, Sov­er­eign Hill and Phillip Is­land Choco­late Fac­tory. Read on to see what the win­ning team had to say about their learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in Mel­bourne, Vic­to­ria!


As some­one who loves cities, I find that Mel­bourne has a unique cul­tural char­ac­ter that sets it apart from other cities and a cen­tral­ized ur­ban core where din­ing, shop­ping and en­ter­tain­ment are all eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble by foot. I was in awe of how the city is so well-struc­tured, of­fer­ing so many great sights to see as it oozes a sense of moder­nity while still pre­serv­ing its his­tor­i­cal and cul­tural build­ings. This is re­flected in an in­ter­est­ing mix of ar­chi­tec­ture and cool street art which I got to catch a glimpse of at Hosier & ACDC Laneways.

Dur­ing the trip, we par­tic­i­pated in ed­u­ca­tional ac­tiv­i­ties at the Royal Botanic Gar­dens and Sov­er­eign Hill, an at­trac­tion that recre­ates the gold rush era in Aus­tralia. We also got to get up close with na­ture by watch­ing pen­guins on Phillip Is­land and en­joy­ing a visit to a stun­ning beach. All of this had re­ally in­spired me to look into top­ics I had never re­ally been in­ter­ested in be­fore such as the his­tory of other coun­tries, the preser­va­tion of an­i­mals and more. The trip has truly given me the op­por­tu­nity to ex­plore a place far from home and mix fun with learn­ing. I made so many last­ing mem­o­ries with my team mates as we en­joyed each other’s com­pany and cul­ti­vated a strong friend­ship.


My ex­pe­ri­ence in Mel­bourne was a mind-open­ing one with met­ro­pol­i­tan city ad­ven­tures in­fused with his­tor­i­cal lessons. Our visit to Sov­er­eign Hill and its min­ing mu­seum showed us how Aus­tralia’s eco­nomic growth pro­gressed from the past when coal was used in abun­dance. It is a dif­fer­ent scene from our Malaysian palm oil and rub­ber in­dus­tries, which play im­por­tant parts in our coun­try’s econ­omy. The high­lights of the visit in­cluded wit­ness­ing a gold pour demon­stra­tion, tak­ing a ride un­der­ground to go on a fully-guided gold mine tour and try­ing our hands at pan­ning for real gold at the Red Hill Gully Dig­gings. My per­sonal favourite part of the trip, how­ever, is the Pen­guin Pa­rade at The Nob­bies Cen­tre. Watch­ing the adorable pen­guins march in a line, we could not help but smile and think about these beau­ti­ful crea­tures and our en­vi­ron­ment. Seated in the stands over­look­ing Sum­mer­land Beach, we got to en­joy an up-close view­ing of lit­tle pen­guins in their nat­u­ral habi­tat as they ea­gerly looked for their bur­rows at one of the largest pen­guin colonies in the coun­try at sun­set.


If I could de­scribe Mel­bourne in one word, it would def­i­nitely be ‘phe­nom­e­nal’. This par­tic­u­lar trip was in­deed a mem­o­rable one as the ex­pe­ri­ences gained and the beau­ti­ful mem­o­ries cre­ated were def­i­nitely one of a kind. I would like to first high­light one of my favourite tourist at­trac­tions, the Pen­guin Pa­rade at Phillip Is­land. De­spite the weather not ex­actly be­ing in our favour due to the light driz­zle, be­ing able to wit­ness the lit­tle pen­guins re­turn­ing ashore after a day’s worth of fish­ing was un­de­ni­ably a sight to be­hold. Through this, I have re­alised how im­per­a­tive na­ture is in our daily lives and how we should all take the ini­tia­tive to par­take in car­ing for our com­mon home, es­pe­cially in this era when mod­erni­sa­tion takes cen­tre-stage and things like na­ture, to a cer­tain ex­tent are con­sid­ered sec­ondary.

Se­condly, Sov­er­eign Hill was also one of the many at­trac­tions in Mel­bourne that had suc­cess­fully in­cor­po­rated fun and ac­tion into our learn­ing process. This out­door mu­seum ac­cu­rately de­picts Bal­larat’s first ten year pe­riod after the dis­cov­ery of gold,

oth­er­wise known as the Gold Rush pe­riod. Guided by friendly tour guides, we were given an in-depth ex­pla­na­tion about the thou­sands of peo­ple who trav­elled from all walks of life to Bal­larat in the 1850s with one main pur­pose – to strike gold. My big­gest take-away from this par­tic­u­lar des­ti­na­tion has got to be the im­por­tance of hard work and con­sis­tent ef­fort in the pur­suit of suc­cess and I’ve also gained pro­found re­spect for the peo­ple who trav­elled to great lengths all in the name of a bet­ter fu­ture.

A trip to Mel­bourne would be deemed in­com­plete if it were not for the beau­ti­ful tour around the Mel­bourne Cen­tral Busi­ness District. Thanks to our help­ful tour guide, An­drew, all of us got a splen­did glimpse of the Mar­vel­lous Mel­bourne, which is co­in­ci­den­tally the ti­tle of the oldest sur­viv­ing doc­u­men­tary of this Aus­tralian city. Lit­tle did we know that this breath­tak­ing met­ro­pol­i­tan city of­fers more than just good food and cof­fee. Land­marks such as Brighton Beach, Yarra River, Shrine of Re­mem­brance, Flin­ders Street Rail­way Sta­tion and many more make up this beau­ti­ful city that many Aus­tralians call home. A shop­ping spree at the iconic Queen Vic­to­ria Mar­ket, in my opin­ion, was an ex­cel­lent way to end our trip.


One of the at­trac­tions I thor­oughly en­joyed on our trip was the Royal Botanic Gar­dens. Dur­ing our visit there, we had the op­por­tu­nity to get our hands dirty and par­tic­i­pate in the Wet­land Pro­gram, which al­lowed us to learn about main­tain­ing the gar­dens. Per­son­ally, the ex­pe­ri­ence is truly re­fresh­ing as we were given the chance to en­gage in hands-on learn­ing out­side the walls of class­rooms. From the mo­ment I stepped into Sov­er­eign Hill, I was blown away by how closely the themed at­trac­tion re­sem­bles the old-fash­ioned towns we see in old black and white pho­to­graphs. From dirt roads to street shops, the at­ten­tion to de­tail was sim­ply amaz­ing. In ad­di­tion, there were also cos­tumed chil­dren and adults who were wait­ing to greet us on the streets that seemed to be stuck in time. That was a re­ally nice touch in cre­at­ing an im­mer­sive ex­pe­ri­ence for vis­i­tors. From the trip, I learnt so much about how thou­sands of min­ers made their way to the coun­try to earn a for­tune and it makes me feel grate­ful to be in a dif­fer­ent era. Our visit to Sov­er­eign Hill showed me that tak­ing the ex­tra mile and de­ter­mi­na­tion re­ally pays off.


Over­all, the trip to Mel­bourne was an in­ter­est­ing and mem­o­rable one. We have a won­der­ful guide, Penny who gave us valu­able in­for­ma­tion about life in Mel­bourne. Our tour guide and driver, An­drew was also very pas­sion­ate and en­thu­si­as­tic in in­tro­duc­ing our des­ti­na­tions as well as im­por­tant sights. All of us en­joyed the tour of Yarra River and South­bank which gave us a taste of the city life in Mel­bourne. Dur­ing our visit to War­rook Farm, we got to en­joy farm ac­tiv­i­ties that in­cluded milk­ing a cow, which was a new ex­pe­ri­ence for the girls. The Phillip Is­land Choco­late Fac­tory tour gave us an in­sight on the la­bo­ri­ous ef­fort in­volved in pro­duc­ing its choco­lates and we thor­oughly en­joyed help­ing our­selves to the de­li­cious choco­lates. For me, the Pen­guin Pa­rade at Phillip Is­land was one of the real high­lights of the trip. It was re­ally worth the wait watch­ing the lit­tle blue pen­guins emerg­ing from the sea one after another to make their way back to feed their lit­tle ones in the bur­rows. Sov­er­eign Hill was also a very in­ter­est­ing and en­gag­ing learn­ing at­trac­tion for those who en­joy a dose of his­tory, lit­er­a­ture and per­form­ing arts. See­ing the en­joy­ment the girls got from learn­ing to mine for the gold flakes at the at­trac­tion was an un­for­get­table mo­ment.

Shop­ping spree at the iconic Queen Vic­to­ria Mar­ket

Sov­er­eign Hill re­sem­bles the towns we see in old black and white pho­to­graphs

Meet­ing lo­cal farm an­i­mals at War­rook Farm

Sov­er­eign Hill, an at­trac­tion that recre­ates the gold rush era in Aus­tralia

Learn­ing to mine for gold at Sov­er­eign Hill

Cos­tumed chil­dren and adults were wait­ingto greet us in Sov­er­eign Hill

Mel­bourne oozes a laid­back vibe andis a cre­ative cos­mopoli­tan

Phillip Is­land Choco­late Fac­tory

Ex­plor­ing an African sa­fari ad­ven­ture at the Wer­ribee Open Range Zoo

Royal Botanic Gar­dens

Brief respite from the city at the Royal Botanic Gar­dens

Wer­ribee Open Range Zoo

Ex­cited to par­tic­i­pate inthe Wet­land Pro­gram

The Nob­bies, Phillip Is­land

Hav­ing fun tak­ing pho­tos at the Wer­ribeeOpen Range Zoo

Mixing fun and learn­ing with the Wet­land Pro­gram

Ex­plor­ing an African sa­fari ad­ven­ture at the Wer­ribee Open Range Zoo

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