Cruising Brisbane River with ‘cats’

04 Jun

With the theme “Brisbane is Back to Business” I feel there’s a lot that I am truly grateful for studying here in Australia’s New World CityBrisbane. Not only does the theme reflect on how much I have motivated myself to study harder, but more so with enjoying the city even more knowing you’ve got new friends to back you up.

After sharing to you the story of my childhood at my previous post, my life now as an international student in Brisbane is not always about studying and studying. Just like the proverbial “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” studying here is also about enjoying the activities in the community.

Last 22nd of May 2011, my friend from South Africa and I had the chance to experience Australian hospitality at its finest. Brisbane CityCat’s Philip Cox invited us over to one of his family dinners. Mr. Cox, whose name has almost become synonymous to the word ‘spontaneous’ made sure that we felt at home, both comfortable and relaxed. His brother Gary, son Alex and his mom made the night even special as we spent the night conversing just like old mates who have just reunited after a very long time.

We were introduced to Mr. Cox through one of our functions as student ambassadors in the city.  I remember the first time we met him was at the Brisbane City Council Presentation and Library Tour; he made sure everyone would get a chance to experience riding the CityCat now also back on its normal operations after the city was inundated in January 2011. But truly Brisbane is back to business and so are these vessels back to their fleet cruising the Brisbane River.


The CityCat vessels are catamarans (thus Cats), and named after the Aboriginal place names for various parts of the Brisbane River and adjacent areas. Passengers can enjoy free Internet connection as the entire CityCat fleet has been installed with WiFi which can be accessed while on board. Their English names are given in brackets, with the launch date below.

First generation

  • Kurilpa (West End) — launched November 1996
  • Mirbarpa (Indooroopilly) — launched November 1996
  • Barrambin (Breakfast Creek) — launched November 1996
  • Tugulawa (Brisbane River at Bulimba) — launched November 1996
  • Mianjin (Gardens Point) — launched December 1996
  • Binkinba (New Farm) — launched December 1996
  • Mooroolbin (Hamilton Sandbank) — launched October 1998
  • Baneraba (Toowong) — launched December 1998


Second generation

  • Beenung-urrung (Highgate Hill) — launched August 2004
  • Tunamun (Petrie Bight) — launched June 2005
  • Meeandah (this suburb is next to Eagle Farm and Pinkenba) — launched February 2008
  • Wilwinpa (Observatory) — launched June 2008
  • Ya-wa-gara (Breakfast Creek) — launched November 2008
  • Mahreel (Spring Hill) — launched April 2009


Third generation

  • Kuluwin (Wooloowin) — launched February 2010
  • Gootcha (Toowong) — launched July 2010
  • Walan (Herston) — launched Dec 2010


Like I said, living and studying in a new country is definitely a great challenge for me, not to mention the need for me to assimilate into a new culture, with diverse people and in a totally different environment. In my first year here, I could probably say that the greatest factor that contributed to fine-tuning my adjustment is the people of Brisbane; Brisbanites like Philip Cox and his family.

Once here in Brisbane, it is but standard for international students to get the opportunity to visit other exciting places in Australia and to meet not only Australians but people of diverse backgrounds. In line with this, in my humble capability as a Brisbane International Student Ambassador (Philippines) I am virtually launching my regular video blogging entitled “Au Courant’s Corner” as a supplementary column in my every post here at Study Brisbane. The term ‘Au Courant’ is French-derived which means up to date and well informed.


For the first webisode, this will feature my personal journey from my hometown in Dumaguete, Philippines where I both graduated, with a Bachelor in Mass Communication degree, and served as the former chairperson of the Corps of Campus Ambassadors at Silliman University, to my World Youth Day experience in Germany, a pilgrimage to the Holy See in Rome, Italy, various cities in Taiwan and China, and then finally across the interminable Australian continent. This heralds the birth of a new vlog—“Au Courant’s Corner”—that will feature the lives of many students in Brisbane and their beautiful experiences from their home countries.


Posted by on June 4, 2011 in Study Brisbane


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2 responses to “Cruising Brisbane River with ‘cats’

  1. Nimal a.k.a. TalkOut (நிமல்)

    June 4, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    Impressive writing as always… and an interesting webisode to start with…

    • Xavier Villagonzalo

      June 5, 2011 at 1:14 pm

      Thank you so much Nimal! I was hoping if I can post my interview with you here in one of my webisodes. I really appreciate your support. I know this Vlog would not be possible without the support of people like you. In many ways, I’m learning from you. Cheers…

      By the way, a big Congratulations to you for the article at Sunday Times!


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