Asia Pacific Cities Summit returns to Brisbane

2011 Asia Pacific Cities Summit (APCS)

The 2011 Asia Pacific Cities Summit, takes place at the Brisbane Exhibition Centre between July 6 – 8 and brings together business and civic leaders from across the Asia-Pacific, Europe, Middle East and Americas. The City of Brisbane hosts this year’s summit under the theme “Business of Cities”, with emphasis on sustainability, connectivity, and managing growth.

Brisbane City
This summit is strategically tailored for business matching that enables businesses to meet and create opportunities with companies and contacts from the Asia-Pacific and around the world. The summit has already attracted more than 80 cities from Australasia, Asia, Europe, Africa, Middle East, and the Americas. It promises to be a grand event with over 500 delegates registered, including nearly 50 mayors, and 100 business organisations. This also marks an important statement that Brisbane is back to business after the January floods.

Brisbane - Open for Business
The program features over 40 expert speakers drawn from multinational corporations, leading world municipalities and global organisations. The exciting benefits for delegates include keynote speeches from –former Mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani, and founder of Virgin Group Sir Richard Branson.

Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group
Mayor Rudy Giuliani
Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Former Mayor of New York City

For more information visit the summit website

Personal note/Disclaimer/Hidden adgenda: The summit also hosts a Yong Professionals’ Program, which I hope I’ll be able to attend (given that I manage to prepare for my PhD confirmation that is scheduled for the same day). The Brisbane International Student Ambassadors will be there at the summit to participate on workshops, forums and seminars on professional development.

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Into the Wild with Araucaria Ecotours

I love traveling. I love nature. So what’s better than putting both together?

I’ve been to few places around Brisbane; Glass House Mountains National Park, Springbrook National Park and handful of beaches up and down the coast. Yet, I’ve never got a chance to experience the real Australian wildlife.

Nimal at Daisy Hill

Last week I got a chance be part of an Australian wildlife tour with some Brisbane International Student Ambassadors. It was with Ronda and Darren of Araucaria EcoTours, covering a three-day Wildlife Tour and the Tamborine Mountain day-tour, in one day.

Daisy Hill

I was partly awake after a sleepless night at university/office, but I manage to bounce back as the day progressed (I guess). Our first stop from Brisbane was Daisy Hill. The start was a bush-walk, through the eucalyptus and tea-tree forests while learning about the different types of flora and fauna native to Australia. We weren’t lucky enough to find any wild koalas that day, but we spotted a wild red-necked wallaby. We spent another half-hour at the visitor information center and for a short coffee/tea break.

Daisy Hill

Our next stop was for a walk to a waterfall, but the rain was not kind enough to let us continue with our plans for a picnic lunch in the national park.


We stopped next at the Skywalk on Tamborine Mountain, and a stroll through the tall forest floor to giant trees and mountain streams. After the Skywalk excursion, we found shelters for lunch at the Jubilee Park in Beaudesert.

Skywalk on Tamborine Mountain

Kooralbyn was our last stop for the day. It was rather a drive through into the wallaby and kangaroo land. There were plenty of red-necked wallabies, whip-tail wallabies and eastern grey kangaroos. They were roaming around houses like domesticated animals. We stopped near an airstrip for a relaxing chat before heading back to Brisbane.


Araucaria Ecotours also provides many wildlife tours such as bush-walking, wildlife-viewing, bird watching, rainforests/glow-worms night tour, and Coochiemudlo Island tour to name a few.

Check out their website at for more details on the available tours and Australian ecotourism. You can also get in touch with them on Facebook at


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A visit to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

I got an opportunity to visit the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary last week, with a group of Brisbane International Student Ambassadors. We got to travel on the frequent direct buses from Brisbane CBD to Fig Tree Pocket, where the sanctuary is located in. However, if we were to drive it is just a 20 minutes drive from Brisbane or 50 minutes from Gold Coast.

Koalas are one of the unique animals of the Australian continent. Lone Pine is the world’s first and the largest Koala Sanctuary, with over 130 koalas. Its main attraction for tourists and visitors is cuddling Kolas and photos with Koalas, which is a first time for me. Koala have a very low metabolic rate and rests motionless for about 16 to 18 hours a day, sleeping most of that time. So most of the koalas we could find were like soft toys on tree branches. Also the keeper mentioned that the male and female koalas are kept in separate areas to control reproduction, which I think they like next to sleeping.

Nimal with a Lone Pine Koala

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is not just for Koalas. It features a large variety of Australian wildlife, including Kangaroos, Tasmanian Devils, Wombats, and various species of birds and reptiles. We spent quite some time in feeding kangaroos. The Sheep Dog and Sheep Shearing Show, and the Bird of Prey Flight Show, are highlights of the day which were enjoyed by everyone. The day ended with feeding wild lorikeets and some of managed to feed from our heads as well.

So when you are in Brisbane or Gold Coast, make sure to visit the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary for an unforgettable wildlife experience. Entrance to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is by a nominal entrance fee of AU$ 32 for adults, while students (with student ID card) and backpackers (with YHA, VIP etc. card) get a concession fee of AU$24.

For more details on wildlife, shows and activities, and visiting information visit:

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Reading Again, Books

Libraries used to be my favourite hangout location during my school days. I had memberships in many libraries in town, where I would read anything that is not related to schoolwork. I always think my addiction to books came from my father. The Colombo Public Library was close to my school and there was a time when I visited there every other day. I preferred both fiction and non-fiction, almost all in Tamil. Those days English was just a subject at school that I had to pass. Towards the end of high school, I started reading some books in English, but they were all on Electronics or Physics, mostly related to the crazy experiments we used to do.

The days of excessive reading ended after high school and I kept a good distance from books and the library during my undergraduate days. Except for the mandatory registration at the library every year, I went to the uni library less than ten times in four years. It was the time when stopped reading books and I started reading more online. Now, I am one year into my PhD, and reading has become the major part of my life. It is the bulk of research papers related to my work.

There is still that little thing in the back of the mind about libraries and reading books, which is the reason I joined the City Council Library in Brisbane. Recently I had an opportunity to take a tour of the Brisbane Square Library. It is not the largest or the greatest library, but it is definitely one of the coolest.

Now, having started reading again, I have already warned myself to keep reading to minimum to focus on real work.

Brisbane Lions vs Fremantle Dockers: My First AFL Game

Its 2am on a Saturday night. I came back from the Brisbane Lions vs Fremantle Dockers AFL game at The Gabba around 1. It was a very close game and Brisbane Lions lost be by 2 at 92-94. However, Sri Lanka has just won the match against England in the Cricket World Cup quarter finals.

The Gabba, Home of the Brisbane Lions
The Gabba, Home of the Brisbane Lions

Today is another wonderful day with the Brisbane International Student Ambassadors, and for many of us this is our first AFL game. They say footy is like carnival in Australia, but it was literally a carnival outside the Gabba. There was lots of interesting stuff going around for us to spend almost an hour outside, before getting into the stadium.

Free stuff from Brisbane Lions
Free stuff from Brisbane Lions
African Drummers
African Drummers jamming with a group of children
The BISA Photographers
Photographing a photographer photographing a photographer photographing.

I have known Gabba as a cricket ground, but as AFL games are also played in cricket grounds. It was not a very packed stadium today, with a crowd around 25,000.

Brisbane Cricket Ground
AFL games are played in cricket grounds
Brisbane International Student Ambassadors
The Ambassadors...!
The front row seats
The front row seats were wonderful, thanks to Brisbane Lions for the free tickets.

When we got into the stadium, we still had some time for the start of the game. So our own Aussie student ambassador Sam offered a quick tutorial on AFL rules for us, dummies.

Sam & Ming
The Quick Start AFL Guide for Dummies. Sam explaining how games are played for Ming's video.

I was wrong to think AFL and rugby league would have a lot in common. After this game I could see more differences than commonalities. AFL more fast-moving game with less restrictive rules than rugby league.

Play time
Play time

In a AFL game players are allowed to do all sorts things, pushing/pulling each other to bumping on each other intentionally. It might look like a more rough from of football, may be next to American football, but that is what makes it a more fast phased game.

Kick for the goal...
Kick for the goal...

The end of the game was not in favor of the Brisbane Lions. They were leading until the last 5 minutes before the last two goals by Fremantle Dockers, and losing the game by 2 points.

On the grounds after the game
On the grounds after the game

Another interesting aspect of this game is they let us go into the ground for sometime to kick the balls ourselves.

The Gabba
The Gabba. Time to leave.

AFL might not be the great sport in the world, but it is not of the highly intense, fast-moving and active sport I have seen. (Disclaimer: I don’t follow any sports that much to make a proper comparison though.) We had a great time as a group of ambassadors at the games and it’s one another wonderful chapter of my student life in Brisbane.

How students can buy discounted Lions tickets?

Brisbane Lions offer tickets their home games at a discounted rate for student. You can buy tickets from Ticket Master either online, over the phone or in person.

  • Online: (Input code: STUDENT11)
  • Phone: 1300 136 122 (Mention code: STUDENT11)
  • Ticket Master Outlet: Show student card

Study in Brisbane