Awesome Australia

0

I'm finally back after nearly 2 weeks in the land of kangaroos, koalas and other cute animals. My initial grumpiness and nonchalance about the trip disappeared by the time I reached Changi Airport and I must say that I really had an awesome time there with my travel mates! ;D I can't emphasise how lucky we were to have free accommodation on both our trips to Sydney and Melbourne. We were still agonising over where to stay in Melbourne 'cos the hostel we had wanted to stay in was already fully booked when we tried to book it. Thankfully, Zhi Yi's aunt came to the rescue and we got to stay in their house. I'm really so very thankful for their hospitality and generosity, not to mention that I have saved a lot on this trip because I didn't have to worry about accommodation at all. Thanks Bro! =D

I really did enjoy the food I had there. In my 13 days there, there were only 3 meals that I didn't enjoy at all. Despite me eating ice-cream/yoghurt/froyo/smoothies and consuming so much good food every single day, I actually lost 3 kg there. At first, I thought that probably the pull of gravity in Aussie was less than that in Singapore (I weighed myself in both my friend's house and my friend's cousin's house using the electronic weighing scale LOL!). I wasn't convinced, so straight after I came back home, I weighed myself and I DID REALLY LOSE WEIGHT!!! O.O''' Must be the cold weather heh. Oh ya, all prices quoted here are in AUD$.

Tuesday 23/07/2013 (Day 1)
I met Farah at the MRT station and we took the train to Changi Airport. I checked in my luggage and it was already 14.7 kg. Gosh, what did I bring there? o.O''' Anyway, after checking in our luggages, we proceeded to the departure hall and lagged around 'cos our gate wasn't opened for boarding yet. I had wanted to get myself a cup of Starbucks since they had just recently released the new white chocolate pudding Frappuccino series and I was dying to try it. It turned out that they didn't accept Starbucks cards, which just totally didn't make sense 'cos I was STILL in Singapore and they still used Singapore currency. Whatever. I didn't get my drink in the end.

The panda shop in Terminal 2! So cute!

Pretty! =D

We finally boarded our plane although the queue was really very long. I had already seen people wearing their coats and downs even before boarding the plane, which made me wonder if I did the correct thing of not wearing any thermal inside. ._. Anyway, it was my first budget plane ride with Scoot (and in general, my first budget plane ride). The 8 hours spent inside the plane wasn't really very pleasant 'cos I kept sneezing and the air inside the plane was really very dry. I felt my lips chapping and I had to drink a lot of water. Being a budget plane, there was no in-flight entertainment system at all so I felt really bored. I couldn't sleep well either since I kept sneezing.

Landing was really very jerky and I had quite a bad headache due to the pressure in the plane. On top of that, I left my beloved Lulu bottle on the plane, which made me emo the whole day. It was really a bad start to my trip and I really felt like crying. ='(

We took bus 400 from Sydney International Airport to Zhi Yi's house. I totally appreciate Singapore's public transport system now, because nearly everything in Australia is more expensive than in Singapore, including the public transport. A one-way trip (40 minutes ride) can easily costs $4.60. There went my money. T_T

After putting down our luggages, we headed over to Burwood Plaza to eat fish and chips LOL. We spent $35 on the family platter. The fish fillets were really good. The fish tasted fresh. The chips, however, were really too salty and my tongue itched the whole day because of them. The Aussies also have a habit of literally spamming chips on whichever dishes that contain chips in them. It's their idea of getting carbohydrates, I guess. ._.

Our $35 fish and chips. Look at the number of chips we had. -.-'''

We went down to Westfield after that and shopped there. The shopping centre was really huge. o.O''' It turned out that there were many other branches of Westfield located all over Aussie. We walked past Payless and Kmart and found that they sold really cheap canvas shoes. I saw $10, $5 and $3.50 shoes which were really of very good quality. That was what you really call 'value-for-money'.

Cheap and pretty shoes!

I must say that I really enjoy shopping for groceries in Aussie's supermarkets. They really have so much more things there and they sell really pretty foods as well. The fruits there really look very glossy and nice, till the extent that they actually look like fake fruits. Never in my life have I seen such perfectly-shaped apples or humongous strawberries. *suaku mode*

Apples from Coles!!

Such pretty food!!! T_T

I was shocked to see so many Asians in Sydney, especially in Burwood. In fact, I did not remember seeing any ang mohs there at all, except maybe for one or two who were drinking coffee at Gloria Jean's. The place is totally filled with many Asians, especially Chinese and Koreans.

We went to Meet Fresh for Taiwanese desserts before going back to eat Zhi Yi's homecooked Japanese curry dinner, which was really yummy! ^^ Eating in Australia messed up my eating schedule though. I am used to eating dinner at around 7 pm everyday. As it gets dark in Aussie at around 5 pm, we ended up eating dinner at 5.30 pm too, which meant I was eating dinner at 3.30 pm Singapore time. Crazy or what? o.O'''

Our chin chow from Meet Fresh. It was cold and refreshing!

Wednesday 24/07/2013 (Day 2)
Got up, took the train from Burwood to Central. As usual, I nearly cried after paying for my train fares LOL. And it's so freaking inconvenient to travel around in Sydney 'cos they don't have the equivalent of our EZ-link card, which means that for every mode of transport you take, you have to pay upfront and a paper ticket will be dispensed, which is really very easy to lose as well. @_@

My paper train ticket

Train station of Burwood.

We arrived at Central after 15 minutes and I finally felt that I was in an ang moh country. I saw a lot more European-styled buildings and more Caucasians here. The weather was cold because the wind was very strong.


Sydney has double-decker trains. *suaku*

Central train station really looks very stately and grand.

The interior of Central train station. I now really feel that I'm in an ang moh country.

Anyway, we got out of Central station and took the tram to the Sydney Fish Market. Then again, we had to pay for the tram and all I got was a piece of receipt LOL. By the time we got off at the Fish Market station, I could already smell the sea. We walked around all the shops and wow, I really felt so suaku there. Never in my life have I seen so much seafood porn in a single place. The seafood there were nothing short of fresh and they were really so huge that they looked unreal. ._. Of course, with so much seafood around, there were many seagulls flying around and attacking people's food as well, especially the food of people who were dining outside. This place is really a must-go. We ordered 12 oysters for about $16 and oh my, when I bit into my first oyster there, I had already sworn to return to this place. The oysters there were so damn fresh that I could even taste seawater. Some oysters that I saw even had seaweed in them! Talk about being straight out from the sea. The lemon juice gave the oysters an added zesty taste to them and... I thought I had just tasted heaven. We also bought 500g of salmon sashimi and 100g of tuna sashimi for about $35, which tasted so good. That's it, this is really my to-go place should I return to Sydney again. The only alternative to satisfy my sashimi craving is to go to a Japanese buffet restaurant in Singapore and eat all the sashimi I want, but I'd choose the Fish Market anytime honestly. We also had an abalone for $10, but it cost an additional $10 to cook it, so it came up to be $20. It wasn't really that great, so I wouldn't recommend it.

Finally at Sydney Fish Market!! ;D

The interior.

Seafood porn. ;_;

HUGE ASS CRAB. IT IS REALLY BIG. The Sri Lankan crabs are no match for this at all! ;O

Our oysters. Best I've ever eaten. Damn fresh x100000!!!!!

Mad delicious sashimi! I love dipping it in soya sauce with wasabi.

After our really satisfying lunch, we took the tram back to The Star. Friends bought pastries from Adriano Zumbo which were really very pretty to look at but they also came with a hefty price-tag. So much for being a Masterchef heh. I took a bite of the mango and cream tart and wow, it did really taste as good as it looked. My life. ;_;

The super pretty and tasty pastries from Adriano Zumbo.

Anyway, I bought myself a black forest gelato cone for $4.30 from Messina. Awesome sauce, totally! It really tasted like black forest cake, and even the texture of the ice-cream was exactly like that of a cake. Eating ice-cream in cold weather just felt damn shiok. My life. ;_;

My black forest gelato cone. Since then, I've been eating/drinking cold food every single day.

We walked over to Pyrmont Wharf and wow, the view was totally stunning. o.O''' We saw many seagulls as well and they were totally not afraid of humans. I don't think they care even if they fly straight into us. -.-''' There were also many yatches and ferries parked outside the Australian National Maritime Museum. Gorgeous weather + gorgeous view = gorgeous life.

Pyrmont Wharf

Next came Darling Harbour, with even more stunning views. I finally know why my dad said that Sydney is a nice place to be in (he used to study in NSW too). I finally know why Sydney is on so many people's to-go place. I finally know why Sydney is Sydney. Because it really is damn gorgeous. The sunset made everything look so fairytale-like that the whole place looked like places which I can only dream of and not go in real life. I nearly wanted to cry because the place just took my breath away like that. T_T

We walked to Queen Victoria Building (QVB) and I really enjoyed seeing people ply their crafts on the streets. There was even an artist drawing on the ground, but I didn't dare to take a photo of him 'cos he did imply that if one was gonna take a photo, they'd better donate some money to him. We didn't go into the shopping centre itself but just stayed outside and marvel at the surrounding buildings. *suaku mode turned on again*

Even a shopping centre can look so imposing. ._. QVB sells many branded goods.

We took the train to Circular Quay and Sydney has shocked me again. From the station, I saw the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House basking under the rays of the setting sun. What more can I ask for? Sydney, you really are so beautiful. T_T We walked over to The Rocks, which really made me feel that I was in some European country. My heart. ;_; We had dinner at Pancakes On The Rocks where we had pork ribs and pancakes for dinner. Each person only paid about $13 which I thought was really very worth it, considering the fact that we were eating at a restaurant and there wasn't any extra charges like GST and the 10% service charge that the restaurants in Singapore charge customers for. In Australia, the prices on the menus are really what exactly you pay for. Although things in Australia are more expensive than in Singapore and a person is expected to pay at least $10 for a meal, but the food there is really good and of restaurant quality.

View from Circular Quay station. So beautiful I wanna cry. T_T

The Rocks.

Dinner at Pancakes at the Rocks. I didn't really like the chocolate pancakes because of some reason (couldn't remember if it was too chocolately or 'cos it was too bland) but the buttermilk pancakes (the white ones) are pancakes to die for! The pork ribs were also good, but for your information, Australian pork has a very strong 'pig taste and smell' to it so to those who are used to eating pork without any smell, you would probably find any pork eaten in Australia smelly.

Thursday 25/07/2013 (Day 3)
Zhi Yi had to go back to school, so we travelled and toured Sydney by ourselves. We went out for breakfast and I went back to Westfield to buy those cheap shoes. ^^ We went back to put down our things and started packing for our trip to Melbourne.

After reaching Town Hall, we went to have lunch at Menya Noodle Bar, which Zhi Yi had recommended to us before she left. Heehee, we totally didn't regret it at all! It was one of the best bowls of noodles I've ever had. I ordered the White Lover udon set ('cos it was cold noodles) which included chicken and udon soaked in a bowl of cold soya milk broth. Damn delicious I swear! The price was really reasonable as well. I think I paid about $7.50 for this.

My White Lover udon noodles...

We walked around central Sydney, QVB and other shopping centres. The shopping centres were really nice, but I didn't really have any mood to look into any of the shops closely 'cos my luggage bag was really heavy. Ying and I just ended up lagging outside the shops while waiting for the rest or sitting down when we had the chance HAHA. xD I bought a Mini-me Mango Boost just because I was on a 'cold' high haha.

The weather today was rather hot, because I felt the need to take off my coat, which I didn't bother to wear anymore until night fell. I wore only a wool sweater and felt that it was still pretty stuffy. Maybe 'cos the shopping centres were fitted with heaters. We then came across shops that sold food and we immediately went crazy. We bought some curry fishballs which totally tasted shiok 'cos the curry was really thick and hot and it reminded me of Singapore's curry. We also bought a crepe from Mother's Crepe which was so damn awesome. The smell of the crepe was what initially drew us to the shop. We bought their #2 best-seller which cost $7.90 and came with the Hokkaido milk ice-cream. Totally tasted heaven on the spot. Worth every bit of our $7.90!!

Mad delicious crepe from Mother's Crepe!! ;_;

We then made our way to Central to meet up with Zhi Yi for dinner at Leon's Food Bar before embarking on our trip to Melbourne. That place sold cheap food, but I found it rather unremarkable. I bought a plate of fried rice which cost only $4 (super cheap by Aussie's standard). It was actually quite OK, but I didn't really enjoy it 'cos it had too many peas inside, which I totally abhorred. This was the first food I had which I didn't enjoy in Aussie. We only decided to eat there because it was near our bus pick-up point.

Our bus trip to Melbourne was 12 hours. We had decided to take the bus there 'cos air tickets to Melbourne were so expensive. It was surprising since we were all expecting cheaper fares for domestic flights. The bus ride itself wasn't bad because the seats were roomy and the bus was actually quite luxurious. There were also stops every 3 hours so we could get down and walk about. It was also an overnight bus ride so the ride didn't feel very long. We only paid $60 for the bus trip to Melbourne. The bus-driver introduced himself on the bus and said that he was from Melbourne. That was all I heard before I fell asleep almost immediately after I got onto the bus because the dinner made me sleepy.

We reached our first stop at nearly 11 pm. By that time, we were already out of NSW and was probably in ACT, which felt REALLY REALLY DAMN COLD. That cold was so freezing cold that we could all see our breaths very very clearly, something which we didn't experience in Sydney. It was so cold that we were shivering and chattering our teeth.

Friday 26/07/2013 (Day 4)
We finally reached Melbourne's Southern Cross train station at 6.30 am. Our bus-driver was very happy to reach home LOL. We sat on the train to Box Hill in order for ZY's cousin and aunt to pick us up. I like Victoria's transportation system more than NSW's. Everything is really made easier with a Myki card because you can just use the card on any public transportation. Why isn't Sydney introducing the card system? Melbourne is also much more tourist-friendly than Sydney in my opinion. There are free tram services that bring literally bring you around the city's attractions and buses are aplenty. It's pretty easy to navigate around Melbourne rather than Sydney, not to mention that the buses and trams are a lot newer and faster than Sydney's, though I can still catch a glimpse of olden-times trams here.

The temperature difference between Sydney and Melbourne was quite pronounced. It was really very cold when we arrived (can see our breath) and it didn't help that it was actually drizzling quite heavily. *sigh*

Myki card, the equivalent of our EZ-link card.

Southern Cross train station in a major interchange station in Melbourne.

Train in Melbourne.

While waiting for ZY's ralatives to arrive, we lagged around at McDonald's. I bought a Belgian hot chocolate to warm myself up since it was that cold. ._. April and Katherine came soon after to pick us up. After putting down our luggages, we had some Singapore-style breakfast which included kaya toasts and half-boiled eggs. Yum! =D

Oscar, ZY's relative's dog. He is damn cute! ;P

Right outside ZY's relative's house. I would really want to live in a place like this. So tranquil.

After breakfast, we took bus 907 out to the CBD to explore the place. Thank goodness for free tram shuttles and shuttle buses. God bless you, Melbourne. ;_; We went to Federation Square, which also housed the Visitor Centre where we took all the necessary maps. Melbourne feels a lot more like a Western place than Sydney, probably because majority of the people there are Caucasians. That being said, most Asians here are Chinese. I hear Cantonese being spoken almost everywhere here, not like in Sydney where it's more of Mandarin and Korean.

State Library of Victoria. It is actually a library cum museum. It is worth a visit. The insides look really grand. *.*

The free tram shuttle. This is the olden-time one.

This is the newer tram.

Flinders Street station. One of the prettiest train stations I've ever seen. ;_;

St Paul's Cathedral. A very eye-catching landmark of Melbourne.

Federation Square

We hopped onto a free bus shuttle located right outside St Paul's and toured the city. We got off at the Queen Victoria Market (QVM) stop. QVM is a lot like our pasar malam, just that it's really, really huge. O.O''' They sell almost anything here, from food to clothes, souvenirs to shoes, meat to cheese etc... I totally regretted not buying a I ❤ Melbourne shirt there because QVM doesn't open on Mondays, so the time I went was the last time I got to step into QVM. My life. T_T Anyway, I bought 2 packets of flavoured chips from this Cantonese woman. Lol, she had such a strong HK-accented English that I couldn't help but to sniggle. ;P

A tourist bus. You need to pay for this though...

Queen Victoria Market

My $4 hamburger which I shared with Farah. Damn delicious and worth every bit my money. It contained a very juicy and succulent beef patty, bacon, cheese and egg with 2 very crispy and toasted bread patties. Best burger I've ever eaten in my life. Just shut up and take my money!!

QVM closed at 4 pm, so after finishing our hamburgers, we took the free tram back to Harbour Town. Harbour Town actually has many outlet stores which sold really cheap clothes. I found shorts for only $4.95 but I didn't buy them in the end 'cos they were too big for me. *sigh* Because we got the Tourism Card from the Visitor Centre in Harbour Town, we were entitled to some discounts. After walking around the shops, we felt game for ice-cream although the weather was already very, very cold. Thanks to the Tourism Card, we bought gelato from Rainbows Ice-cream Parlour. 4 scoops of ice-cream gelato for only $5. We nearly died from the cold, but it was really, really damn shiok! Farah is now influenced by me to eat cold things in cold weather. =D

'Snow' in Melbourne LOL!!! I think it is fake lah, but the weather was definitely cold enough for the 'snow' not to melt. ._.

They sold board game versions of phone apps. I seriously have no idea how one is going to play these. o.O'''

I shared this ice-cream with Farah! Mad delicious! ;_;

At about 6 pm, we made our way to Docklands to watch the fireworks. The fireworks would only occur at about 7 pm, but we went early in hope of securing a good spot. However, the weather was too cold for us to wait that long, so we ended up trying to find a warmer spot. I think the ice-cream killed us lol... I had to take out my gloves in the end 'cos it was so cold that my hands felt very numb. But the atmosphere that night was really high! It was as if the whole waterfront came alive for a party. They even gave out free light sticks, so we ended up taking them and wearing it. There was also an awesome acrobatic show going on as well while we were waiting for the fireworks to happen. The fireworks finally happened at around 7 pm and lasted for about 10 minutes. I took a few shots of the fireworks with my phone, but shall only post one here. The rest are on Facebook! ;D

The awesome 10-minute fireworks spectacle!

After the fireworks ended, we took the free tram back to the CBD area (I love you, Melbourne!) and looked for a place to eat dinner. Ying, Farah and I ended up eating Thai food at Your Thai Rice and Noodle Bar, which sold really awesome Thai food. My life. Why does food in Australia taste so awesome?!?! To think that Singapore is supposedly known as a food's paradise. ._.

Such a cute shop! I'm told that they sell awesome pies here, but I didn't have the chance to eat it. Maybe next time! They're everywhere in Aussie though.

My super delicious phad thai. Only $8.90 and I didn't regret eating it. Ying ate the same thing as me.

Farah's pineapple fried rice which was also crazily yummy.

We made our way back and it so happened that the power in the house tripped after we came back. Oops, was it because all of us were charging our electronic devices at the same time? It was really scary 'cos Oscar suddenly ran into our (dark) room and I nearly stepped on him. -.-''' Thankfully the light sticks we got earlier on were still glowing brightly and it provided us with some much-needed light.

Melbourne was really cold and I couldn't believe how we managed to survive 3 nights in a room without any heater LOL. Maybe because 5 people were in a room so it wasn't that bad...

Saturday 27/07/2013 (Day 5)
We woke up at around 7 am and had such an awesome breakfast waiting for us downstairs. Katherine cooked cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and bacon with toast for us. I swear it was really delicious, especially the cheese and the tomatoes. I ate those two by themselves haha! After getting ready, April and Katherine drove us to Uniting Church to wait for our tour van to Phillip Island. I must say that joining a tour for such trips are recommended, especially if you do not know the place well since these places are out of the way. We signed up with Extragreen Holidays for both the Phillip Island tour and the Great Ocean Road tour which would happen the next day. I think the tour prices were reasonable and the tour guide did bring us to many other places besides the 3 main attractions in the island. However, only the Chinese tour is available for the Phillip Island tour so I guess you have to be able to understand Mandarin/Cantonese before signing up with them. Our bus was full of Hong Kongers lol. Besides us, there were only 2 Malaysians.

The trip to Phillip Island took about 2 hours from where we were picked up from. The sun that day was really bright, so I ended up taking off my coat. Oh I think I didn't mention, but the sun rays in Aussie are really merciless, which is no wonder why so many Aussies take to wearing hats and sunglasses. Not that they want to act cool, but because there is really a need for them. It is also because of the sun that the temperature difference between the day and night is so vast.

We stopped by Panny's Chocolate Factory first where we were given a tour on how chocolates were being made. It was really an eye-opener and there were even games that we could play in order to win chocolates. We were also given free samples of chocolates every now and then. I won't go into the specifics here though. We then went on to a few beaches, courtesy of the bus-driver who was really very nice. We went to see pelicans and when we arrived, it was their feeding time. The size of the pelicans totally shocked me. I didn't expect them to be so big and it was pretty scary when they started flapping their wings. ._.

Panny's Chocolate Factory!!

A huge dog near the place where the pelicans reside.

Huge pelicans.

After seeing the pelicans, the bus-driver took us to Woolamai beach, which really was so beautiful. I love it when I don't see many people on the beach. It just takes zen up to another level. We were told that there were sharks here too, so we didn't go near the waters. The waves were really huge though, ideal for surfing. We then moved on to Rhyll Trout and Bush Tucker Farm for our lunch, where we had salmon fish and chips. Yup, you saw it right! It was salmon. After being stuck in Singapore for such a long time, I really felt like a suaku. I've never had salmon fish and chips before, so I really enjoyed it very much. As usual, they spammed the chips, which I didn't finish.

My salmon fish and chips! ;D

Anyway, I did mention that our tour group was made up of mostly Hong Kongers right? This group of HKers joined us at the table and we didn't talk to them at all. Being the Singaporeans we are, we asked for chilli sauce to go with our meal (in Aussie, you have to pay for most sauces which are not given to you unless you ask) so the waitress gave us a bottle. This HK guy, hearing that we spoke English, was trying to act cool and was speaking English with his fake-British accent (or whatever accent that was). Erm, if you don't normally speak English with that accent, then save it lol. Anybody could tell that he was just trying to act cool. Stop attracting attention. -.-'''

Fishing pond which is located outside the eatery.

We proceeded to A Maze'n Things after lunch, which was a place with many optical illusions. I felt really giddy after coming out from that place, but it was no doubt, fun! ;D

A Maze'n Things

We went on to Churchill Island where all the farm animals were. It was really quite an eye-opener though the place was smelly heehee. I really love farm life. It has been 7 years since I came into contact with farm life. I really missed farm life in New Zealand, and I was glad to be able to relive the experience again here in Churchill Island. Now I know why so many Singaporeans have migrated to places like Aussie and NZ, because just seeing the wide lands is enough to liberate you from all your troubles.

The very smart sheepdog!

Horse.

Mother sheep with the newborn lamb. So cute! *squish*

Black calf. It's also very cute! ;P

Farm house.

The sheepdog rounding up the sheep during a demonstration.

Look at the how much land they have... ;_;

The Koala Conservation Centre was next, but I felt a bit disappointed with this because although we got to see the koala bears, they were all very high up on the eucalyptus trees and I had to make my camera zoom all the way in order to take a picture of them. Told Z about my experience and she had to rub it in by saying she got to take a photo with a koala bear and even got to touch it. My wish was to hug a koala bear but it didn't materialise. My life... ;_;

At the conservation centre...

I saw quite a few cute souvenirs but I was too broke to buy it hurhurhur...

Hello Kitty koala bear!

This shirt costs $35! T_T

It was getting dark, so we went on to have dinner before watching the penguins at around 6 pm. We had chicken schnitzel for dinner, which looked really pretty but I didn't exactly like it maybe 'cos I was so sick of having fried food AND it came with chips again. *sigh* I liked the salad though.

Arriving to see the world's smallest penguins! ;D

Chicken schnitzel for dinner.

On the plus side, joining the tour enabled us to have free cups of hot chocolate, which I cannot emphasise HOW NEEDED it was because I swore the temperature was freezing cold!!!!!! My hot chocolate served as a hand warmer for me LOL, but it turned cold pretty soon after. ._. After we've gotten our seats in the VIP box (joining the tour enables you to get into the VIP box where you can see the most penguins), the Little Penguins (as they're called) started surfacing from the sea and walking back to their nests on land. SO CUTE I SWEAR. THEY'RE THE CUTEST THINGS I'VE SEEN IN MY LIFE. I THOUGHT IT WAS BAD ENOUGH THAT I COULD ONLY SEE THEIR CUTENESS ON TV BUT NOW I GOT TO SEE THEM PERSONALLY AND AND AND... !@#$%%^&*( The way they waddled back home while flapping their wings (or are they flippers?) totally killed me. ;_; The way they would stop and wait for their house-mates (?) before waddling their way back home is so... HOW COME SUCH CUTE THINGS EXIST?!?! ^^ I was squealing like a mad girl throughout. Too bad no photos were allowed 'cos it would spoil the penguins' eyes but nothing beats seeing these penguins with your own eyes. Definitely the highlight of the tour and it cheered me up considerably. =D

After the penguins went back home, we went to the souvenir shop and found so many cute things, including a koala toy that totally imitates the way you talk and talks to you, in a very irritating way of course. Somebody needs to shut that toy up! ;O I wanted to buy a penguin fluff toy but I remembered that I still have Fluffy, so I bought a penguin bracelet instead.

We went back to the tour bus and it brought us back to civilisation. Apparently taxi fares in Aussie are really expensive, which is why people would rather have their own cars. A trip from Phillip Island back to civilisation would cost about $800 LOL. That's even more than the cost of my return air ticket to Sydney. Siao right? That's why everybody should get back on their tour buses at the stipulated times because the bus-drivers here really have no qualms about leaving you behind if you're late.

Sunday 28/07/2013 (Day 6)
Breakfast today was char siu baos, which tasted very different from the Kong Guan baos I eat back in Singapore. The baos here have a sweeter taste, maybe to cater to the ang mohs' tastes. Anyway, Katherine managed to squeeze the 5 of us into her car and she drove us to the CBD. Seeing that it was still early, we decided to go up to McDonald's and lag around. There were already long queues formed by the time we joined the queue outside Extragreen's office. We saw a few familiar faces from yesterday's Phillip Island tour LOL.

We signed up for the English tour, but the tour guide ended up speaking Mandarin for most of the trip, with the ang moh bus-driver just speaking periodically. -.-''' No wonder we thought that we were in the wrong group when there were so many PRCs in our group. We embarked on a 3-hour bus ride to Great Ocean Road. It is a 300 km stretch of road with 1000 over windy roads up the mountains, making driving very difficult. It is also best to follow a tour group if you're not familiar with this area as some of the windy roads are difficult to navigate around. I had no idea how our bus-driver managed to navigate such a big tour bus around those roads.

Finally at Great Ocean Road!!! ;D

They said that Melbourne has 4 seasons in a day, and I finally experienced it today. It was drizzling slightly while we were on the road. After that, it stopped drizzling and the sun came out. A while later, it started drizzling again before stopping and the sun came out again. As a result, we saw 6 rainbows that day, although the tour guide told us that the record was seeing 20 rainbows in a day. I've seen my fair share of rainbows back in Singapore, but to see the full arch of a rainbow is extremely difficult in SG due to all the high-rise buildings, unless you're living very high up. Seeing a full rainbow in the ocean is really a first for me. Blue skies, even bluer waters plus a rainbow on top. This is my life, I'm really living it. ;_; The beaches here in Aussie, especially on Great Ocean Road, have a strange calming effect on me. It is really in those places where the sky and water meet. When you look to the furthest end of the ocean, it is as if if you had walked to that point, you would fall off planet Earth itself. That was how unobstructed the view of the (Pacific) ocean was.

Double rainbows!!!

It drizzled even harder when we stopped by for lunch. Lunch was really good and it was reasonable as well. We ordered a large George's Special pizza, pasta of the day and a whole roast chicken.

Here for lunch.

Pasta of the day, topped with cheese for $9! It was delicious! ;D

Our whole roast chicken!

Our large George's Special pizza. Made on the spot.

It was raining for real after we finished our lunch. We then made our way to the 12 Apostles after that. It was super cold by then, with gusty winds turning umbrellas inside-out. Despite that, we still made our way down the steep steps and onto the beach itself.

Look at the steps we had to climb on such a rainy weather. It wouldn't be so bad if the weather was fine, but it wasn't. ;(

We made our way to the 12 Apostles park and that was when we met with the fury of Victoria's weather. The rain was no joke. The cold was also really no joke. We were literally freezing our asses off. Rain + gusty winds = body freeze. Umbrellas were all flipped inside-out. I didn't bring my umbrella to Melbourne, and at that time I was glad to have just my hood on. My hands were freezing to the point that they felt really very painful, and then numb. I didn't put on my gloves 'cos I couldn't use my phone with them on. All of a sudden (literally), the skies cleared and the sun came out. It stopped raining and the temperature wasn't freezing anymore. It went back to a pleasant cold. Talk about bipolar weather. ._.

Finally at the 12 Apostles!

A few of the apostles?!?! ._.

The wind was really no joke, as Zhi Yi's umbrella showed. o.o'''

Their warning sign is really a warning. ._.

I have no idea why the waves looked like this. It's strange...

Our last stop was Loch Ard Gorge, which had quite a tragic story behind its name. ;_; We went walked down the stairs and it looked really magnificent, with all the limestones standing against the test of time.

Loch Ard Gorge

The limestones.

The beautiful sunset... My life... T_T

Panorama of Loch Ard Gorge.

We left this place at around 4.30 pm in order to reach Melbourne at 7.30 pm. I slept on the way back hur. Since the bus dropped us off near Chinatown, we decided to explore Melbourne's Chinatown and ended up eating there too.

The entrance and exit of Chinatown are marked by this thing LOL. Same for Sydney.

So many signboards!

After much deliberation, we ended up eating at a Chinese restaurant called China Red, which served such damn good Chinese food I could cry. My life... T_T It was one of the best meals I've ever had (I think I've been saying this) in Aussie/my life.

Menu.

Damn good salted fish fried rice. ;_;

Damn good xiao long baos. ;_;

Damn good fried dumplings. ;_;

Damn good zhajiangmian I can't even... ;_;

Since we felt like pigs, we went to Dessert Story for desserts after dinner. Awesome cold desserts in cold weather is totally the life I want to live! ;D

Receipt!

Cold dessert with assorted puddings and pearls. Nyam!

Cold pulot hitam (they just call it black glutinous rice here) with mango. Delish!

Took 908 back to Doncaster from CBD 'cos 907 had already ended its service. I have full appreciation for Singapore's public transports 'cos Aussie's ones end at 9 pm, or probably the latest 10 pm. How inconvenient for those without cars! Luckily ZY managed to contact her aunt to pick us up, if not we'd have to take a 25-minute walk from where we got off in the freezing Melbourne weather. I'm definitely not game enough for this. ;X

Monday 29/07/2013 (Day 7)
We woke up pretty early to pack our things since we would be leaving Melbourne for Sydney. ZY left earlier on 'cos she had to rush back to school. I'll definitely miss Oscar and ZY's family members. Words couldn't describe how grateful and thankful we were to them for agreeing to let us stay with them, and it was a very last-minute decision as well. We didn't pay for any check-in luggage but it suddenly dawned on us that we were taking a flight back to Sydney, so we ended up paying $15 for the check-in luggage lol. Katherine drove us to the tram stop and we bade farewell to her there. We took a nice and new tram back to the CBD, where we stopped at Crown casino.

I'll definitely miss Oscar though I don't fancy any type of animals sharing my bed with me heh.

The view that I see when I come down for breakfast every morning. It's their balcony. I'll definitely miss the cold, crisp and fresh air and the tranquillity here.

The tram we took. I love Melbourne's transport system so much more than Sydney's!

The tour guide from yesterday's tour told us that any new member to Crown casino would get a free $5 token upon registration, which you could choose to gamble or just keep it. We didn't get our $5 at first 'cos apparently that front-line staff who handled our enquiries told us that we weren't eligible for that. As we made our way into the casino, two managers approached us and asked if we wanted to sign up for their membership. We did and we were presented with a lifetime membership card which looked very nice and we got our $5 in the end. It wasn't much, but I ended up keeping it anyway. ;P

We went to Ming's Restaurant for lunch after touring the casino and word to those intending to go there, DO NOT EVER GO THERE. It was the worst meal I've had in my days in Aussie. The soya chicken noodle soup that I ordered was so bland and tasteless that I felt I was just drinking water that had been used to wash the vegetables. The worst thing was that I effing paid $13 for this meal that made me so grumpy. I also spilled some of the stupid soup on my coat, which left quite an ugly oil stain there. I was in quite a bad mood due to the unsatisfying meal and also because I had to lug my hand-carry luggage around LOL. >=(

The weather today was pretty warm, probably due to the strong sun rays. I made the mistake of wearing my thermal with my jumper (had been wearing thermal in Melbourne since I reached there 'cos it was really cold) 'cos I felt really warm. Apparently Sydney was 23°C today! I think my tolerance for cold has shot up and my tolerance for heat has gone down, thanks to this trip.

The sun was really strong. I couldn't open my eyes properly. ;_;

Saw a black swan for the first time in my life. *suaku*

We walked around the CBD area for a bit more before hiring a cab to go to the domestic airport. Cab fares in Aussie are really scary. A 15-minute ride already costs $45 (we split this among the 4 of us, so it was still better than taking a train which cost $17 per person/per trip to the airport), and that was the fare we got after negotiating with the driver, if not I think it could have been more. The fare jumps $1.70 for every 150 m or 200 m if I didn't remember wrongly. The good thing is the passengers are able to agree on a price with the cabbies from 10 am to 5 pm, but still, it is still best to get your own car. ._.

Budget airline is really budget airline lol. Our flight was delayed for about 1/2 hour, but I didn't really have much grouses 'cos the fares were cheap and it was only a 1.5 hours flight. I touched down at Sydney without wearing my coat though it was already 6 pm and the sun had already set. It went to show how hot it was lol. Winter, for the first time, didn't feel like winter to me. ;(

We had to walk to the tarmac to board the plane. A first for me haha. Very interesting experience, especially in the cold weather, but the airplane fuel really stunk! D;

Look how quickly the sun set...

Anyway, we went to eat Korean food for dinner. Poor ZY had to wait for us till nearly 9 pm to eat dinner 'cos of our delayed flight. ;/ The banchan were crazily awesome! I swear banchan always make me full because we can ask for refills whenever we have finished ours. It was on par with Big Mama's banchans. Didn't take any photos 'cos I didn't bring my digital camera out hur. T_T Just had to know that I had an awesome pot of army stew, awesome plate of bossam which totally melted in my mouth and an awesome plate of chicken. My life... ;_; My initial grumpiness from lunch immediately dissipated and we only spent $15 per person for this dinner. Mad awesome! ;D

Although we were filling full from dinner, we went over to Noggi which sold awesome froyo. Yay for cold food again! ^^ We ordered the original and biscotti flavours, which included 3 toppings for only $7.50!! Cheap cheap cheap! ;D

My guts felt thoroughly cleansed after eating so much Korean food and having yoghurt for dessert. Nyam! Happy is me! =)

Tuesday 30/07/2013 (Day 8)
We woke up pretty late 'cos we slept late last night. Bought the 7-day MyMulti pass for zone 2, which allowed for unlimited travel on Zone 2 routes for $52. Nearly died from having to pay so much just on transport but I had to keep reminding myself that I was in Aussie and not SG. We wanted to return to Menya for lunch again but it wasn't opened yet so we went over to World Square to buy some gourmet tea from T2. There were so many quirky flavours sold there, like toasty nougats, strawberries and cream, very berry, vanilla slice and I swear most of them smelled really good!!! I felt so tempted to buy up all the flavours (except the chai tea) but limited myself to the toasty nougats and strawberries and cream in the end 'cos they weren't exactly cheap either. I spent $40.50 just on 3 gift cubes hurhurhur. They better taste as nice and they smell. ;_;

We spent some time there already, so we went back to Menya for lunch. We ate rice this time round 'cos we swore to try the rice there when we left for Melbourne. The menu also looked really good, so we had a hard time deciding. I went for the garlic butter chicken rice in the end, though I was struggling between the terriyaki chicken and the raw tuna rice. I still preferred the noodles, probably because there was too much rice for me to finish. I had also thought that the chicken would be marinated in garlic butter, but it turned out to be plain chicken with garlic butter placed on the side. I think it would have been better if the marinate used for the chicken was garlic butter because butter, when eaten by itself, can get a bit too oily and too cloying. The food was good still, not disappointing, just that I had expected something different. ZY's raw tuna rice and Farah's Japanese curry with cheese were good though, so if I had the chance to go back there, I would probably eat those. Still, I highly recommend you to eat at Menya if you pass by one, for the affordability and the good food!

My garlic butter chicken rice with the half-boiled egg, which I added for $1.20.

We took the bus to Birkenhead Point (BP) for some shopping after lunch. I bought a pair of shorts from Cotton On for $10. It's definitely not the cheapest pair of shorts I have seen, but the design and colour were very pretty, so I gave in. *sigh* We walked around and I saw cheap Vans and Havaianas but didn't buy them in the end hurhurhur.

Look at how much they value family time. ;(

While walking to BP... Chio right?

At BP...

View from the 2nd or 3rd floor of BP...

Cute room beside the toilets.

After so much window-shopping, we went to the basement and wow, we were so glad that we found it. YES DONUT KING, I'M TALKING ABOUT YOU!!! One of the best desserts I've had in Aussie. Every dollar spent there was totally worth it!! ;D

At Donut King! ^^

PRETTY DOUGHNUTS!!!! TOO PRETTY TO BE EATEN. AND THEY SOLD BOXES OF TAKEAWAY DOUGHNUTS FOR ONLY $5. ;_;

The super duper awesome and delicious ice-cream! It's ice-cream DOUSED with maple syrup, with a very warm cinnamon and sugar doughnut hidden right at the bottom, all for only $3.90!!!! The girl serving us looked pretty blur, so I think she gave us the wrong cup (ZY told us that the cup wasn't supposed to be that big LOL!!!), which meant we had more than enough ice-cream to be shared among 5 people! 赚到了!!! My life!!! ;D

Even their drinks look so awesome. I didn't have the chance to try them unfortunately. ;(

The cinnamon with sugar doughnut was so awesome (especially when eaten hot with the ice-cream) that we decided to just buy the doughnuts themselves and NEVER REGRETTED!! They were made and cooked right on the spot, so what you got was a piping hot doughnut, absolutely perfect for cold weather! Madness or what? They were also pretty cheap as well. The more you bought, the cheaper it got. I think I paid less than $1 for mine! WHAT IS LIFE?! ;_;

These muffins from Muffin Break looked really good. $4 per muffin was a bit too expensive for me, but they were having a 1-for-1 offer 'cos they were closing soon... WHY DIDN'T I BUY IT?! T_T

Made our way to ZY's university after that. Ang moh 大学就是 ang moh 大学... It looked super grand and so much like Hogwarts. No kidding here. I love Harry Potter and my dream is to go to London and personally visit the Harry Potter filming locations, especially the place where they filmed Hogwarts. I probably won't be able to go to the other side of the world in the near future, but this will do for now. I love how the ang moh universities have castles and even dungeons. I was really being damn suaku but aiyah who cares? My heart. WHY AM I NOT BORN IN AN ANG MOH COUNTRY? So sick of having to see the same old buildings with the same designs here. And you know, when those ang moh universities give out their prospectuses, they always like to photograph students sitting on the grass right? Now I tell you the grass there is really so perfect for sitting or lying down for a good chat or reading a book. WHY CAN'T I LIVE THIS KIND OF LIFE? ;_;

The grand hall...

Does this not look like Hogwarts? ;_;

It started to rain just when we were about to leave the school. We made our way to Max Brenner for a cup of hot chocolate in this cold weather, though we had to walk quite a distance. I totally don't mind exercising here, especially with the cold weather. I just can't find any motivation to make myself move back in humid SG. -.-''' I bought back some bars of Max Brenner chocolates. The caramel bits with sea salt totally appealed to me. I hope they'll taste as nice as their hot chocolates.

Max Brenner's cafe...

The interior was very dark but cosy. Good for snuggling here with a good book and hot chocolate.

Farah and I shared the American Dream White Chocolate with marshmellows. It was sweet, but as a fan of white chocolate, I really did enjoy this. Farah didn't really like it though haha. I think she got a sore-throat after drinking this. ;X

What we got...

We went back for ZY's home-cooked dinner, which was curry again HAHA! But I don't deny that my bro cooks damn awesome curries. I really liked her curry instant noodles though I had said that I wouldn't eat much 'cos I was still full from the chocolate. I ended up eating more than a few strands of noodles. Can marry liao ah!! ;D

The 4 of us then stayed up late to watch 2 documentaries after watching our Great Australian Bake Off reality show - I Shouldn't Be Alive and Air Crash Investigations. They were really very interesting, but I don't deny that they were also scary and gruesome at parts. Definitely not for the faint-hearted, especially for the former, when the main character kept screaming in agony. Totally resembled screams from a horror movie. ;X

Wednesday 31/07/2013 (Day 9)
Yay yay yay yay! We went back to the Fish Market to satisfy our sashimi and oysters cravings again! I swear if there is one thing I miss the most about Sydney, it will have to be the Fish Market. I was still pining to eat sashimi at the Fish Market even when I was in Melbourne. As usual, the sashimi really tasted great and I don't think I'll ever get tired of eating sashimi. The oysters were good too but somehow I felt that the oysters we had exactly a week back were better and tasted fresher. Maybe they were bought from a different store? o.O''' We ate crab legs too, thanks to Mr M for introducing it to us. They tasted really cold and fresh, just perfect! Mr M joined us for the subsequent activities though. ._.

My dear dear dear dear sashimi. I'll never get sick of you, really! ;D

Oysters... No pearls inside though.

Huge crab legs which tasted as good as they looked.

We went on to The Star 'cos we wanted to take a look at the casino. There was nothing much though. I guess all casinos look the same haha, though Melbourne's casino was really way much bigger than this. They didn't give out free $5s as well, so nothing worth noting about heh. Visited Adriano Zumbo again and I finally caved in to eating their macarons. After hearing my travel-mates rave about them last week, I was determined to give it a try. OMO I SWEAR IT'S SO GOOD I CAN'T EVEN... The macaron was really huge and literally melted in your mouth. Worth every bit of my $2.50!!! I took the salted popcorn flavour and the popcorn flavour totally burst right in my mouth. I had my first macaron from Bakerzin when I was in Year 6 and I found it too hard and sweet for my liking, which made me thought that macarons all tasted like that. I swore never to buy another one ever again, which was why I was hesitated to buy the Zumbarons (that's what macarons from Adriano Zumbo are called) when we first came. But but but, if you come to Sydney and happen to pass by Zumbo's, the queue is there for a reason! Don't hesitate to buy one to try first. It's only $2.50 after all (quite reasonable if you don't factor in the currency exchange rate heh) and I don't think you have anything to lose ($2.50 if you don't like it heh) by just trying it. ;P Mr M didn't really like Zumbarons though and he preferred Lindt's, which we went in the end, but more on that later on.

Not a very flattering photo of my popcorn Zumbaron, but I was in a hurry to eat it hence the sloppy picture. I swear it really tasted very good though!

Walked over to Darling Harbour again, where we took the ferry to see the Opera House itself. On the way, we passed by Wild Life Sydney Zoo where I saw koala bears really upclose this time round! The koala bears were in full view of the public's eyes and I was really delighted after the somewhat disappointing koala bear sightings in Phillip Island.

Cuddly cute koala bears aww... Let me hug you the next time round OK? ;_;

We toured and took photos over at the Opera House before visiting the Royal Botanic Gardens. I had wanted to go right inside the Opera House to have a look but didn't in the end. I'll go inside the next time I come here though. We did nothing much at the Royal Botanic Gardens though 'cos the place we wanted to visit there was so far away from the entrance and the park was going to close anyway.

Funny tree LOL.

The Aborigines having a street performance. One of them even posed for me LOL. Their music sounded really very cool though; it was very catchy!!

The Harbour Bridge...

Nice cafe we spotted on the way to the Opera House! It's really very nice to dine alfresco here due to the cool/cold weather.

I FINALLY SEE THE OPERA HOUSE!!!!!! =D

Panorama of the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House...

The entrance of the Royal Botanic Gardens...

You now know why people here like to sit on grass.

The Rocky Road ice-cream was easily available in Melbourne, but not in Sydney. I had searched every shop that sold ice-cream for it, and I finally found one near the Opera House. It cost $4.95, which I was sure severely inflated since the ones I saw in Melbourne cost less than $4, but heck lah. It was really delicious. Chocolate coating with strawberry marshmellows and jelly fillings. How awesome can this get? ;D

We then went over to The Rocks again to buy bee-related products since my mum wanted it. I bought bee pollen, honeycombs and a bottle of honey for only $5! Mad cheap! ;D Mr M bought honey sparkling juice which tasted really good as well! A bottle of it costs only $5! I wished I had bought a bottle of it as well. ;( We made our way back to Circular Quay where it started to rain. I saw a rainbow over Circular Quay, which was really big!

The flowers at The Rocks. Super pretty!

The Rocks has a very European feel to it. I love this place so much!

I couldn't manage a panorama of the rainbow this time 'cos it started to rain really heavily.

We took the ferry back to Darling Harbour, where I saw one of the most beautiful sunsets ever. There was a HUGE (I really mean it) rainbow over the arch of the Harbour Bridge. I wish I had the means to capture such a beautiful sight but unfortunately I don't own a pro camera. However, I was really glad we were able to take the ferry so many times and saw the Sydney skyline during different times of the day. It was really very beautiful. ;_;

The beautiful sunset. ;_;

The huge rainbow over the Harbour Bridge. ;_;

A bit of the rainbow could still be seen on the right side of the picture.

The places doused in the beautiful rays of the setting sun. ;_;

The sky looked quite threatening as we made our way to Harbourside...

We went to Harbourside Shopping Centre for dinner at Hurricane's Grill while ZY and Mr M went elsewhere for dinner. Both Z and ZY didn't like the food at Hurricane's Grill very much, so I had quite low expectations for it. We ordered a full rack of pork ribs only, so the waitress who was serving appeared quite shocked because other people ordered a lot more than us LOL. To be honest, I found the pork ribs too charred, so I didn't really like or enjoy it, but I must say that the dining ambience was really excellent! The restaurant was located right next to the waterfront, so the people who had window seats were really lucky 'cos they were dining right next to the water. Our seats weren't too shabby either 'cos we got to see the water and the skyline. I can understand why you have to make bookings prior to coming (which we didn't, that was why we didn't get the window seats).

At Hurricane's Grill.

Excellent dining ambience! It was quite romantic LOL! xD

Our pork ribs. There were quite a number of charred bits which totally marred the food experience for me. If I were to come back here again, I wouldn't eat this anymore. The pork ribs at Pancakes On The Rocks were so much better! Mr M said that the beef steak was quite good, so perhaps I will try that next time.

Our bill...

At around 7 pm, Mr M and ZY came to meet us after having their dinner somewhere else. I bought a Tropical Crush Boost in the original cup (the largest cup) for only $3.20 'cos there was a 50% discount. Mad cheap or what? But the weather was cold so I nearly got a brain freeze from drinking that. ;X

Thanks to the offer on top, I had a Boost for only $3.20!!

We went over to Cockle Bay Wharf to try out Lindt's macarons since Mr M claimed that they were nicer than Zumbo's. I couldn't really remember what flavour I bought but at $3 per piece, I'd rather eat Zumbo's. Lindt's macarons were nice, but it was really hard to top the love I had for Zumbarons 'cos they were really the best macarons I've ever had. Z even said that the Zumbarons taste even nicer than Ladurée's.

I saw so many yatches while on the way to Cockle Bay Wharf.

Finally at Cockle Bay Wharf!

At Lindt's. They sell really pretty chocolates too.

The macarons.

This is the type of heaters they place outside their eateries during winter. Temperatures at night can be nearly 15°C lower than during the day, so heaters are a must. These heaters use real fire, which means that you can't really get near to them or you will get burnt. I could feel the heat from the heater as I approached it. Very hot!!!

Thursday 01/08/2013 (Day 10)
ZY had to go to school, so the rest of us woke up at 7 am to take the 8.26 am train to Katoomba, which only arrives every hour. I prepared my Mac and Cheese for breakfast. How can that thing be so delicious? ^^ I think we got scammed into paying $16.80 for the return ticket to Katoomba 'cos there weren't any ticket machines in Katoomba at all. ._. Anyway, it was a 2-hour train ride so I fell asleep during the journey.

Blue Mountain was really very cold. The moment we got out of Katoomba station I already felt the chilliness, even with my coat on. ._. We went to the Visitor Centre which was located right outside the station and bought the $72 combo ticket, which allowed for unlimited rides on the Blue Mountain bus (brought us to Blue Mounatin), cable cars, the world's steepest railway track and the scenic broadwalk.

At Katoomba.

Scenery at Katoomba.

The Blue Mountain bus.

We sat on the cable car, the world's steepest railway track and walked quite a lot too. But I didn't mind walking for so long as I didn't sweat, which I didn't. Why can't SG be a country with a temperate climate? =( Anyway, the ride on the world's steepest railway track was really fun! It was really super steep that I felt as if I was going to be flung out of my seat. o.O''' Had it gone faster, I swear it would make a very thrilling roller-coaster ride, especially downhill.

The world's steepest railyway.

Lunchtime soon came and we settled down for some kid's meal which already costs $10. ._.

The place where we had our lunch.

All of us ate the kid's meal except Li Ting. This made me surprisingly full though it just contained 6 pieces of nuggets, a piece of bread, some chips and a cup of Lift, which is actually lemonade soda. I really liked that! ;D

We continued touring the place and arrived at 3 Sisters, which essentially is just 3 pieces of tall rocks sticking out heh.

At the 3 Sisters!

Say hi to my new friend! ^^

These people were crazy!! I understand that taking such dare-devil poses are definitely Facebook-worthy, but a slip and they could really die. They actually climbed over the safety fence and were literally standing on the edge of cliffs. One of them even said that he wanted to do a handstand on the cliff. o.o''' They were all like "YOLO!". Then I was like "Yeah, you really only live once..." *rolls eyes* I didn't even dare to watch them climb back to the safety fence after they were done with their poses for fear of seeing one of them fall way, way, way, way down below.

Anyway, we continued with our tour and arrived at Leura Cascades. I think we walked the wrong way because we didn't see the waterfalls in the end, but still, the mini-waterfall was pretty! ;D

Leura Cascades.

Waterfall.

The huge and old eucalyptus tree. The trunk is so white...

I don't mind living here honestly!

Koala bear sitting on a swing. So cute! ;D Farah said this shot was scary though. -.-'''

Anyway, we had to make our way out because the last bus was at 4+ pm so in order not to get stranded in the cold, we had to make sure we were on time. It was also on the bus that I saw Jing Yuan. I was totally shocked because I had never expected to see anybody I know here. It's understandable if I bump into someone I know in SG, 'cos SG is really a very small country. But to meet your old classmate in a foreign land as vast as Aussie is totally unbelievable. I then also found out from Z that so many people I know were and are still having their holidays in Sydney. Such a coincidence!!! ;O Jing Yuan got down at the stop after we boarded, so I didn't really get to talk to her. Should there be another class gathering, we'll definitely share our Aussie tales!

The bus-stop was just marked by chalk markings...

Sunset at 4+ pm while waiting for the bus.

The bus-driver then started introducing places that we drove past to us. I swore the weather here was bipolar. I saw autumn, winter and spring all together in one place. There were still trees that had autumn leaves, trees that were totally bare, and I also spotted some cherry blossoms! The cherry blossoms looked really super pretty, but I didn't manage to take a shot of those. The bus-driver said that the plants were confused about the weather LOL.

The tree that still hasn't shed its leaves LOL. The colours were damn pretty though. Now I really want to visit Korea during autumn. ;_;

Anyway, we finally reached Katoomba station and it was time to bid this beautiful place farewell. We spotted and ang moh eye-candy and started stalking him like a pro stalker. I won't post any pictures here heehee. It was another 2-hour train ride back to Sydney.

Sunset in Katoomba.

Look at how expensive the things in Aussie are... But their minimum wage is about $20/hour even for those working at McDonald's... O.O'''

We went to eat Chinese food, or more specifically, Cantonese food for dinner after we went back to Burwood. Living in Burwood does really have its merits. There are so many shops within walking distance of the house that you can really never get bored. Anyway, I spammed Cantonese with the store owners heh. We ate this 三拼 which cost $20. A bit pricey by Singapore's standards, but they were really daebak! The store owner was quite surprised we only ordered that dish 'cos there were 4 of us (Li Ting didn't join us), but we had free refills of Cantonese soup. Yum, I really miss drinking soups, especially on a cold day.

The restaurant that was about a 3-minute walk from ZY's house...

Yummy! ;P

Our soup, which tasted good too!

Our roasted pork, soya sauce chicken and roasted duck. All of them tasted so good I can't even... ;_;

After dinner, we went to the mama shop-equivalent which was next to the restaurant and bought many snacks. I bought blueberry cheesecake Pretz and green tea matcha Pretz. I'm not sure how they'll turn out like, but the flavours are so exotic. ._. We headed over to Westfield again to shop for groceries. I can't emphasise enough how much I love the supermarkets in Aussie. Even the normal supermarkets here totally resembled our most atas supermarkets so much. T_T

Friday 02/08/2013 (Day 11)
We went over to Surry Hills for brunch at Le Monde. It was my very first time eating Eggs Benedict and I really enjoyed it very much. My sister had just Whatsapped me a picture of her Eggs Benedict last night and I swear my stomach was growling the whole night. Thank goodness nobody was sleeping with me. That would have been so embarrassing! >.< For $14.50, I felt that it was really worth it 'cos it was very delicious and I felt really satisfied after that. I sent a picture of my Eggs Benedict back to my sis. In her face. ^^
At Le Monde cafe! ;D

Hot chocolate which the rest ordered but I didn't. It was $4 per cup and I was told that it wasn't very nice heehee. Thank goodness I didn't order it. ;P

The super delicious Eggs Benedict!!!! The second picture looks a bit gross to me haha, but I really love how the yolk totally spilled out. *salivates* ZY, Ying and I all ordered the Eggs Benedict.

What Li Ting and Farah ordered. Theirs looked so good as well! ^^

Took the train to Bondi Junction and then 333 to the beach. I was, and still am, totally awed by the beaches in Aussie. How is it possible that beaches in other places can have such blue skies and turquoise blue waters whereas the ones in SG don't make me feel like going near them at all? Beaches are all natural, aren't they? ._. Anyway, even though there were quite a number of people on the beach, I didn't spot any litter on the sand or anything weird in the waters. Their beach was extremely clean to say the least.

The shops and stretch of road at Bondi.

At Bondi Beach!

Very nice graffiti on the walls...

Look at how white the sand was, how blue the sky was and how beautiful the water was... ;_;

Panorama of Bondi.

The houses surrounding Bondi.

Making our mark in Bondi... ^^

As I've mentioned before, the sun rays in Aussie can get really strong, so hats and sunglasses are more of a need than fashion accessories. The weather that day was cool, not really cold 'cos of the strong sun rays. We made our way to the beach. I had to take off my shoes and socks in the end because the waves at Bondi were really very strong. I thought I was already standing quite inland, but the waves washed up and there went my shoes and socks. I was totally caught off-guard. -.-'''

The sand felt cool, but the water felt really cold. Nevertheless, it was very nice to be frolicking around in such a beautiful place, with beautiful weather and beautiful scenery to boot. We spammed photos here. When we decided to go, ZY and I had to walk barefooted to the shops 'cos our shoes were the wettest and we needed slippers. It was quite an agony to walk barefooted 'cos the ground was still cold. We both finally bought a pair of I ❤ AUS slippers each. Haha I think everybody was judging us because we were wearing slippers while having our winter coats on. >.<

We walked around and explored Westfield Bondi and Bondi. Bondi is a very quaint little town and it's pretty tranquil. I really enjoyed walking through the shops and buying the souvenirs. Despite being a touristy area, the things sold in Bondi were pretty reasonable, though some shops have things that were more expensive that in the urban areas. The accordion was also played by a busker and the music really made me feel that I was in Europe. Ah, all the feels. ;_; Bondi also sold quite a variety of cheap food (really cheap by Aussie's standards) that also looked aesthetically pleasing to the eyes. My life... I ended up buying a salmon sushi roll for only $2.50. I never regretted 'cos the sushi roll was STUFFED with fat, chunky slices of raw salmon and avocado. My life... ;_;

He played some very good music which totally made me feel I was in some exotic place in Europe. T_T

Cinnamon and sugar pretzel from Mr Pretzel for $4! I really love this combination so much! =D

Pretty plates sold at the market in Bondi! That market also sold many other nice things, among them food! ^^

OK, the salmon didn't look very chunky in this photo, but I swear there was so much salmon inside! ;_;

We took the ferry back to Darling Harbour and while waiting for the ferry, I saw such a beautiful sunset. Sydney, you make me cry. T_T

Sunset...

The Opera House.

The Harbour Bridge...

Houses by the waterfront...

No more sun?

After we got down, we made our way to Chinatown and wow, the crowds there were really no joke!!! It was easily the most crowded place I had ever been to in Aussie. I soon found out that it was because the street food vendors only came on Fridays, which was why it was so crowded. Everybody was wanting to eat the street food and gosh, the queues for the food were really very long!!!!

Aussie's Chinatowns all have this kind of entrances LOL... To mark the start of Chinatown I guess?

Our takoyakis! The queue for this was really long as well! Just look at the number of people crowding at the stall itself! I didn't manage to take those who were by the roadside waiting. The balls were really special though. Never seen a crab claw in a takoyaki before. *suaku*

The queue for this was really very long! God knows how long we waited for this $6 piece of sotong. The spiciness of this was also really no joke! Enough to numb your tongue!!! O.O'''

After getting out of Chinatown, we went over to Oden House, which sold Taiwanese food. I shared the salt and pepper king mushrooms with ZY. That thing cost us $6. -.-''' I found it so-so only 'cos the seasoning for the mushrooms was rather bland. The mushrooms were crazily huge and juicy though, which I really liked. I should have bought the salt and pepper chicken, because that tasted really good and it was also $6! Argh... Farah bought the braised minced pork rice which was really good! Nyam! ;D

On our way back, we saw two young girls (they look at most 15 I swear. Moreover, ang mohs tend to look older than they really are, so they may be only 12 or 13 for all you know... o.o''') who looked really drunk. They were talking incoherently and were doing all sorts of acrobatics on the train. It was quite scary 'cos they didn't look like they knew what they were doing. It was also my very first time seeing somebody drunk. I've only seen people getting drunk in dramas. ._.

I ate my limited edition Strawberry White Crumble from Magnum (it's called Streets here in Aussie) and I totally didn't regret! ^^ I bought a box of 4 for $8, which was much cheaper than buying it by itself outside. The Strawberry White Crumble was really nice and it tasted sweet 'cos of the white chocolate outer covering. The white chocolate also contained crunchy bits (I assumed those were biscuit pieces) which really complemented the white chocolate and strawberry perfectly! Yummy!

The limited edition Strawberry White Crumble. Why aren't these nice ice-creams sold in SG? I want to eat also cannot eat! T_T

Saturday 03/08/2013 (Day 12)
Both Farah and I ate the chocolate mousse that we bought for breakfast. I really liked it very much. It was so chocolately and smooth; very surprising, considering that this was packed food. How come Aussie sells such nice food? ;_;

It was on offer, so Farah and I bought the lemon cheesecake and the chocolate mousse. Each box contained 2 packs. Damn worth it, not to mention that they were really delicious! =D

We took the train to Central, then bus 378 to Paddington Markets, which had many nice stalls that sold very quirky items and food. We bought a box of strawberries coated with chocolate for $5. Totally didn't regret, 'cos the strawberries were effing huge and damn sweet. My life. ;_; I also bought a packet of brandy plum chocolates for $11 that were so awesome that my family finished it the day after I came back from Aussie (although part of it finishing so quickly was 'cos the packet was small). T_T There was also a group of musicians who played such good music that I felt as if I was in Europe, AGAIN. Oh, that damn accordion. ;_; I really want to pick it up some day.

Chocolate-coated strawberries! They were really good. ;_;

At Paddington.

Finally at Paddington Markets!

I bought my brandy plum chocolates from this stall.

The group of musicians who made me feel like I was in Europe. ;_;

Although the stalls sold really very pretty and interesting things, they weren't cheap either, so we didn't buy anything else except for food haha.

Some of the things sold at Paddington Markets.

So many stalls set up for tarot card reading! Those people really looked like gypsies. ._.

We went back to Central again, and that was when we decided to have Krispy Kreme since it was our second last day here. I bought the original glazed and the cinnamon traditional doughnuts. To be honest, I don't really know what and why there is a craze for Krispy Kreme. They are just doughnuts and I don't know why people have to get their friends who are overseas to bring it back for them. The original glazed doughnut was good and I liked it. As a fan of the cinnamon-sugar combination, I had expected the cinnamon traditional to hit the right notes for me, but I will eat Donut King's cinnamon doughnut anytime over Krispy Kreme's. That doughnut was totally DA BOMB for me. Krispy Kreme's one kinda fell flat. If I had not eaten Donut King's one before, I might like what Krispy Kreme had to offer, but too bad. ;X

The doughnuts do look really pretty!

I really love the packaging 'cos I love polka dots! This looks like St Magaret Girls' School's uniform though heh.

My orignal glazed and cinnamon traditional doughnuts.

We made our way to Chatswood afterwards and shopped there. We had lunch at Makanai Ramen Noodle House and I really did enjoy my meal. ^^

The shop-front is so pretty! *.*

My wagyu beef don! It was so delicious that I swear those who don't eat beef are missing out. The beef was damn soft, chewy and was very fragrant. =D

What the rest ordered. The broth was very good as well, but there was some disgusting vegetable (I later found out that it was seasoned bamboo shoots) inside that soon made the broth really unpleasant. I was glad I didn't order the ramen/udon heh.

We went over to Market City to buy souvenirs and food. I think I spent quite a lot there. It's something like Melbourne's QVM, just that QVM was very much larger. I think Market City kinda resembles some area in Chinatown, with so many dried goods, clothes and souvenirs sold there. I regretted buying only 250g of honey cashew nuts and honey macadamia nuts each 'cos they were really mad awesome. I feel like asking my friends to bring some back for me when they're back. ;_; I also got a I ❤ Sydney shirt for $7. I'm still feeling a bit regretful 'cos I didn't manage to get a I ❤ Melbourne shirt and I really love Melbourne. ;_; We went back to Chinatown and it was really less crowded. Farah and I bought our drinks from Chatime too. I got the lemon yoghurt smoothie which cost $5 LOL. Heartpain max 'cos bubble tea in SG doesn't cost that much. But it was really good. T_T

Our drinks from Chatime...

Lagged around at Darling Harbour while freezing with my drink before going to Strathsfield to eat Noggi for the last time. This time round, we got the multi eat-in, where we chose 4 flavours with 6 toppings. Siao haha. I finally got to taste how taro yoghurt was like and I really loved it. Nyam. We went to a Korean supermarket after eating and I saw Pororo and friends. I wanted to buy back some Korean ramen back 'cos those flavours aren't sold in SG, but I decided not to in the end. Sigh... We went back to Westfield Burwood to shop for groceries for the very last time. ;_; I bought so many boxes of Mac and Cheese and potato chips. I swear I blew $34 just on all these LOL.

I'll definitely miss Noggi so much. And I'll miss the Koreans here HAHAHAHAHA!!!

Pororo and friends. So cute! Ying and I immediately thought of Haha! =D

I like how Aussie's supermarkets show you the price for every 100 g. It helps you compare which good is more worth it than the other.

SIAO LOL.

Buffalo wings-flavoured Pringles. HOW COME SG DOESN'T SELL THIS AH?!

We went back home and started packing... Haiz...

Sunday 04/08/2013 (Day 13)
Last day here in Sydney, and in Aussie. We all woke up to ZY's home-cooked breakfast. I felt really very touched. After breakfast, I ate my Strawberry White Crumble for the last time. I did some last-minute packing and left the house. I couldn't really remember how I managed to leave the house 'cos my luggages were damn heavy. I now know where all the bruises on my legs came from. It must have been due to the luggages knocking against my legs while I was dragging them along.

We took 400 from ZY's neighbourhood to the airport, but we were damn suay lol, 'cos the bus-driver told us to get down halfway and board another bus. I nearly died 'cos my luggages were heavy beyond words and if possible, I did not even want to touch them.

We finally reached the airport and started checking in. My check-in luggage was 18.2 kg LOL, and the ang moh woman was raising her eyebrows at me and saying, "It's a lil heavy you know...". ._. I had to transfer some things to my hand-carry luggage, so my hand-carry ended up being 9.3 kg. Nearly died lugging that shit around. My luggage needed two air stewardesses to hoist it up the overhead cabin. -.-'''

The time came when we had to bid farewell to ZY. I felt really very sad 'cos I did really enjoy myself here. Bro, see you back in SG in December, which is about 4 more months from now. A huge thanks and big shout-out to you for being such a great host and planning all our activities despite being so busy with school. I feel damn touched. ;_;

We boarded the plane, but the plane only flew off at about 1.20 pm when we were supposed to fly off at 12.50 pm. I still had no idea how we managed to reach SG at 6.55 pm, 5 minutes earlier than the scheduled time. ._. The food on Scoot was really good to be honest. I had the beef goulash which was really very soft and chewy. It totally didn't taste like airplane food.

Due to the lack of in-flight entertainment system, I ended up helping Farah, the budding entrepreneur, brainstorm ideas for her shop. It was really fun haha! I can't imagine how her future shop will turn out like should it really materialise. All I can think about now is food. ;P

Touched down in SG and the first Whatsapp message I got was from my sister, who asked me to buy Baileys LOL. What an alcoholic. I bought 2 bottles in the end anyway. -.-''' Meepy came to pick me up and I decided to eat at McDonald's LOL, after 2 weeks of not eating fast food. Told Z about me eating McD's for dinner and she was so happy for me 'cos the sauces in SG are free. *tears* I had to sit a taxi back 'cos I totally was not in the condition to take the public transport back home. Even the taxi-driver commented that my luggages were damn heavy HAHA. Oops...

---------------

This marks the end of my adventures in Aussie. I have no drive to upload the rest of my photos on Facebook 'cos I don't even go to Facebook nowadays and the thought of having to change all the dates on the photos uploaded just puts me off haiz... I love Australia, I really do, but I don't think I'll be returning any time soon. They really mean it when they say that Australia has one of the highest (and also costliest) standards of living in the world. I was really shocked when I first came 'cos nearly everything there was much more expensive than in SG, especially for food and transport, which I really spent the most on 'cos we had to eat and travel everyday. If the cost of living in SG is already considered very high, then Aussie is right at the peak! I had already expected things to be more expensive, but not that expensive. Imagine having to pay $5 for just a stick of ice-cream. Imagine paying $4 for just a bottle of Coca Cola. Times everything by 1.17 'cos the Aussie currency is still bigger than ours, though it's so much better than its high of SGD$1.30 per AUD$1. Thank goodness we had free accommodation this time round. I shudder to think about my expenses if we had to pay for our accommodations. Once again, thanks so much to ZY and her relatives for their hospitality! And to Z for lending me her room all this while. I'm beyond grateful. ;_;

After coming back here, I really think that everything in SG is now cheap, which is definitely not good 'cos I'll have the tendency to spend more. I have more appreciation for SG's transport system 'cos the fares are so much cheaper and they run till the wee hours of the morning. Efficiency wise eh... I actually think Aussie is better 'cos their buses really arrive ON TIME, and no kidding about it, though the intervals between each bus is long. They don't even have the electronic bus arrival boards. All the bus arrival times are printed at the bus-stop, which people just refer to. Never once have I waited more than 5 minutes for a bus from the said arrival time. I really don't know how they manage that.

That being said, the culture in Aussie is really very different from SG's, especially in terms of customer service. In Aussie, whenever you enter a shop, whoever is working at the shops will VERY CHEERFULLY ask you "Hello! How are you?/How are you doing?/How's your day?", to which, I have no answer for, except to smile. Not because I'm unfriendly, but because I really have no answer for that. In SG, it's very easy to just tell any shop assistant who approaches me "I'll just look around. Thanks.", to which they'll walk away and mind their business while I mind mine. But the same approach seems curt and rude when dealing with the Aussies, which was why I just smiled at them during my first few days there. They must have thought that I don't understand or speak English LOL. I decided to say "Thanks. I'm good. How about you?" for the rest of the days I was there. I still find it very unnatural for me to "act friendly" with the shop assistants especially when I'm sure I'll only see them once, so I shall just act as per normal in SG. If I go back to Aussie, I'll strive to be more friendly towards the shop assistants HAHA. =P

Parents are thinking of going to BKK next, which I guess should be more friendly on the pockets. KOREA, PLEASE. BE KIND TO MY POCKETS. I think I should be prepared to pay at least $1k for my air ticket there because autumn/winter is the time when everybody wants to go to Korea. I don't think I'll fly budget 'cos it is not a direct flight and the stopover is pretty long from what I heard. Time is money you know... I just hope that the food and accommodation there will be very, very much cheaper. I'M STILL A POOR STUDENT. GAMSAHAMNIDA! ;_;

0 comments:

Post a Comment

I am a very nice person, so just post away! =D You are welcomed to post as Anonymous if you are not comfortable in leaving down your name. ^^