Down Under 2018

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Le sis and I first mooted the idea of going on a family trip sometime last year, since both of us are now working and felt that we should bring our parents on a holiday. After all, the last time we went overseas as a family was back in 2011, when le sis and I first stepped into Hong Kong. That was almost 7 years back!! Oh my, where has all the time gone to? ='( With our intention to go overseas together somewhat confirmed, sis went ahead to secure her annual leave, while I sent an email out to my colleagues, stating my intention to go on leave during the first week of April (the HR system was't opened for the new year yet).

I was really looking forward to this trip, because this would mark the first time in 7 years that my family has gone on a trip together. While we had a few places in mind (including Japan, Korea and New Zealand), we settled on Australia in the end because:

1) Dad used to study in Aussie, so thought it'd be good for him to see how much Aussie has changed over the past 30-40 years, a trip down memory lane of sorts
2) Mum hadn't been to Aussie before
3) Sis goes to Aussie very often, but has no chance to really explore Aussie due to her very tight schedule (she stays at most only one night for her Aussie trips, albeit in 5-star hotels)
4) Clinton had only been to Aussie once, during his army days, and that was to some remote part of Aussie which nobody would want to go
5) The period which we intended to go for our holidays was too late for cherry blossom viewing in Korea and Japan
6) Road trips in NZ would be too shagged for Clinton, considering that both parents haven't touched a car in YEARS, while both le sis and I have no driving licence

Thanks to the strong Sing dollar, the AUD$ was almost on parity to SGD$, which meant we didn't have to do a lot of mental calculations at the back of our heads LOL. At the point of changing money, AUD$1 was about SGD$1.01. ;P

Saturday 31/03/2018 (Day 1)
Friday was the Good Friday holiday, so us working adults did not need to work. As I wouldn't be seeing Grumpy Cat for the next one week, Grumpy offered to have dinner with me. I decided to grant Grumpy's wish of eating 4Fingers so that he wouldn't secretly eat that while I wasn't around. ;X I was super thankful to Grumpy for accompanying me till so late though, because I was on a late-night flight. He only reached home after 12 am (I had to force him to go home LOL), but thankfully he lives in Punggol.

Starbucks also jumped onto the sakura bandwagon lol. Found this strawberry cream quite good, but I wouldn't dare to finish it by myself. Look at those whipped cream on top!! D;

Clinton's whole family also came to see him off, so after taking a few photos here and there, we proceeded to the transit area after clearing the customs. Le sis had to redeem her air ticket from SQ (she still had to be in work wear somemore, like what?!) so she only joined us right at the boarding gate.

When we finally boarded, we were super shocked to see the plane almost empty? I thought it was really strange though, because le sis always complains that Aussie flights are mostly full flights, with SIN-SYD flight routes being one of the busiest routes. Also, I remembered that there weren't many choices of seats when I first booked the tickets. Anyway, I, for one, wasn't complaining, because it meant that I got the emergency exit row again, and therefore, LOTS of leg space. ;P I did mention that I do not usually get to sleep on overnight flights, but because there were so many empty seats around, I managed to make myself really comfortable i.e I could lie down across 4 seats and sleep. In fact, it was a ranking crew who suggested that I could put down the arm rests to make a makeshift bed. Shiok or what?

Le sis commented that the crew for this plane really got lucky with this flight, because there were just so few passengers to serve. xD

It's quite dark, but legroom ftw!

I managed to catch The Greatest Showman on the in-flight entertainment (IFE) system as well. Grumps and I had wanted to catch it in the cinema, but due to our busy schedules, we never got to see it. I loved the songs in the movie. They were really so soul-stirring and inspiring, and I felt that they really scored 'A' in the musical sense. However, I found the storyline quite lacking though, so thankfully we didn't shell out extra bucks to catch this in the theatres lol.

After supper (I chose the mee goreng ayam, which was quite tasty tbh) was served, I made myself really comfortable and fell asleep.

The mee goreng ayam that I had. It didn't look really palatable (swear it's the lighting), but it did really taste good in my opinion.

Le sis got bumped to a premium economy seat, 'cos staff privilege LOL. It felt like a smaller version of the business class seat. But still, I think I got the better deal with my normal economy seat, because I could lie down, while my sis couldn't recline her seat all the way back. Meow. xD

I managed to get more than 4 hours of sleep, before I was finally awoken by people who kept going in and out of the toilets, and because I thought it was getting too cold for comfort (not enough humans to utilise the air-con HAHAHA). Thankfully, it was also the time for breakfast to be served, so you could say that I woke up just in time.

I had the egg casserole for breakfast. It was slightly on the salty side, but I forgive, 'cos EGGS. ;P

We touched down soon after, and proceeded to clear the customs. Apparently, even though Singapore passport-holders still need a visa to visit Australia, we are now able to clear the Australian customs electronically. Unfortunately for me, the machine determined that I did not look anything like my passport photo at all, so I was still manually directed to come face-to-face with a custom officer. Thankfully, he was really friendly though.

As our first stop would be Melbourne, we had to take a T-bus to the domestic airport, where our domestic flight to Melbourne would be. At the domestic airport, we ordered 2 cups of cappuccino and a roast beef wrap to share. We were all particularly impressed by the cappuccino, which tasted really legit. Soon after, we boarded our domestic flight out, which was really very full. I fell asleep again. xD

The shiok cappuccino and our roast beef wrap.

When we were finally in Melbourne, we decided to take a UberXL because it was way much cheaper than taking the Skybus. Our fare for the Uber ride only cost us $68 for the 5 of us (inclusive of tolls), as compared to the Skybus, which would cost us $18 per person for a one-way ticket. Another good thing about Uber was that the driver dropped us off right at the doorstep of our apartment. It was really much-needed for us, as we had many pieces of luggage.

We stayed in this AirBnB apartment, which was really beyond stunning. The photos were really true to picture, and the full glass view in the master bedroom was really to-die-for. In fact, if we had stayed here on a Friday night, we would have gotten spectacular views of the weekly fireworks at Docklands, right in the comfort of the apartment. D;

Look at this sick view!

Floppy and Grumpy Bear came along. ;)

After settling down and unpacking, it was around 6 pm already. We decided to make our way to Chinatown for dinner. Chinatown is only located about 15 minutes away from our apartment, by walking. We dropped by Rice Workshop for some truffle wagyu rice bowl, which cost only $9.90. This is really considered cheap by Aussie's standard. I shall be frank and say that I found the beef quite tough, and feel that the wagyu beef that my mum cooks is more to my taste and has more marbling, but the truffle sauce was really amazeballs. ._.

This truffle beef rice bowl was pretty good on the whole, but I felt that it would have been fantastic if the beef was softer and had more marbling. It didn't taste like wagyu to me.

Rice bento my dad got, which was good as well.

Dad, being the Asian that he is, was pining for some Chinese desserts, so we decided to eat at Dessert Story, which was where I had been 5 years ago. o.O'''

My mango black glutinous rice dessert, along with other desserts that le fam bought.

I had been wanting to try Aqua S when I saw it on Instagram a few years back, so yup, it was dessert round 2 for us. ;P However, Aqua S was a bit hard for us to find. On top of that, the weather was cold due to the strong winds. We ended up feeling colder after our ice-cream uh oh.


For the gram. Lavender and sea salt flavour. Sooooo goooood. $4.50 per cone/cup. The cone was a legit chocolate cone. Thumbs up!

Not for the purpose of the gram. The white one was elderflower vanilla, which was really good too. The cup version had a lot more ice-cream though. We ended up eating until super jelat LOL.

Woolworths was located in the same building, so we did some grocery shopping after that. Le dad missed grocery shopping in Down Under. ;')

Hugeass portobello mushrooms. D;

We made our way back to the AirBnB apartment after our grocery run, and retired for the day.

Peaches. Fresh from Woolies.

Super gorgeous night view... I can live with this everyday...

Sunday 01/04/2018 (Day 2)
I woke up naturally at 8 am, and basically just lazed around until le sis and Clinton came back with the car from the car rental company. As it was still the Easter holidays, Queen Victoria Market (QVM) apparently had free parking, so we had to make our way there quickly in case there was no more parking space. Although it was really cold in the morning, the weather got progressively hotter. -.-'''

I love QVM so much.

Such tall skyscrapers!

We walked around, and got some souvenirs. We also stopped by to watch some busking, which was so good that I even left tips. o.O'''

As it was nearing lunchtime, we decided to get oysters, a Fisherman's set, a box of crab nuggets, a breakfast set plus seafood salad for lunch. The oysters were really cheap, at $20 for a dozen. We had intended to dine alfresco, but got attacked by bees who were attracted by the oysters, so we had to run into the foodcourt to take refuge. Why bees of all flying things? -.-''' I'd rather have a seagull attacking my food. ;(

Easter Sunday at QVM with le fam.

Coffin Bay oysters are the best, really! So dopeeeeee!

The crab nuggets we got were really good too!

Seafood salad.

The Fisherman's set. I didn't really fancy this though, 'cos the batter was too thick. More flour than meat lol.

This brekkie set was quite good too!

Super dope banana milkshake and cappuccino. ;D

As we were feeling really full from lunch, we went our separate ways again, and that was when I finally found the I ❤ Melbourne shirt which I regretted not buying from Melbourne 5 years back. And of course, I just couldn't let it pass again. I paid only $4 for this shirt, and the quality was pretty good?! Even much cheaper than buying clothes from Thailand or Vietnam sia. Since the clothes here were really cheap, le sis and I bought another shirt which was really cute too. #siaoliao

We left QVM for Puffing Billy, but it so happened that we had missed the last train at Belgrave. I was really looking forward to sitting on the world's oldest steam train though, but I guess that shall wait till the next time I come to Aussie. The tickets weren't cheap as well, at $75 per person. They offer family pricing for those with kids though, so I guess it is only worth it if I come together with my future kids. ._. One consolation was that we managed to see a steam train pulling into Belgrave.

After about an hour's drive, we finally arrived at Puffing Billy, although we were just a tad too late.

Since we couldn't board the train, we just made do with whatever pictures we could take.

At Belgraves station.

The puffing train...

The musical box was really so interesting. Featuring the jolly old man. The monkey reminded me so much of Phantom of the Opera movie though... ._.

This bronze coin cost $4, all because of the stupid beech's inability to read instructions. ◔_◔

Le sis was wondering how come this machine didn't have step 1. Dude, step 1 was "INSTRUCTIONS", which she clearly didn't get. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Didn't spend any money at Puffing Billy, so bought a small cookie dough ice-cream from the shop. ;P So shiok I like!!

We made our way to Brighton after that. I guess it was a good thing we missed our train, because when we arrived at Brighton, it was already sunset. The sunset was really dramatic, and it was one of the most beautiful sunsets I've ever had the good fortune to witness. It really warmed my heart that I was able to witness God's masterpiece with my family, and I felt all the more thankful to be given this opportunity to witness this with my family, who is my everything.

This was taken when we first reached the beach. Love the settings rays...

Aww, what a cute seagull.

So many people...

With le parents.

Beech sis.

I very nice OK take so many photos for them.

Ohana means family.

A beautiful ending to day 2 in Down Under.

Clinton drove back to Melbourne CBD, where we decided to head to Spicy Korea for dinner. This place was listed as one of the most-go restaurants on TripAdvisor, and those reviewers were right! They served delicious Korean meals at affordable pricing. Because each serving was HUGE, it made sense for us to share. In all, we only spent $90 for 5 of us, and we left the restaurant feeling belly satisfied. Pricing wise, it's on par with prices charged at Singapore's Korean restaurants.

Dad wanted to try soju, so here goes. He didn't really like it though. Too bad they didn't sell fruit-flavoured soju here, which I'm sure our family would have enjoyed more.

Dad's beef bulgogi. It was supposed to be meant for one person, but I swear that both girls can eat this and still leave leftovers. ._.

How can you not eat fried chicken in a Korean restaurant? The fried chicken here was done so well - it was really very crispy without being oily.

Upsized beef bulgogi 'cos it was really that good.

Super love the pancake as well!

Before heading back to the apartment, we dropped by Coles to spam buy food and drinks for our road trip tomorrow.

Monday 02/04/2018 (Day 3)
As we were about to embark on our Great Ocean Road drive, we woke up really early, like 5.30 am, to get ready. Poor Clinton had to drive us through this epic road trip. It was a really long ride, and I sat till my butt hurt, but I was really thankful that I got to sleep at least, unlike our one and only designated driver. ;(

After a drive of around 3+ hours, we finally reached our first stop, which was London Bridge. The winds were really very strong although it didn't feel that cold at that point of time. We had to be really careful with our cameras and phones 'cos once they go down, you'll never ever get to see them again. ._. After staying around London Bridge for awhile, we headed over to Loch Ard Gorge.

The London Bridge

The waves were really strong.

Love the wide expanse of the ocean.

A sense of serendipity. Men seemed so small as compared to the great ocean.

As it was nearing lunchtime, we decided to pump petrol for the car and stop by for lunch. We eventually decided on lunch at 12 Rocks Beach Bar Cafe, which overlooked the Port Campbell Foreshore. It was really a beautiful spot, with so many seagulls resting. We took delight in seeing them try to fly, only to be blown off-course by the strong winds. ;P How cute!

At Port Campbell Foreshore, a place which I didn't visit the last time round.

Seagulls.

As the restaurants around this area only started serving lunch at exactly 12 pm, and they stopped serving breakfast about 30 minutes before 12 pm, we could only wait in the restaurant for 12 pm to arrive while ordering a piece of cake and cups of coffee to pass our time here.

I think we regretted buying one main for each of us, because we ended up being so full that we couldn't finish our meal, and had to ask them for containers to takeaway. Thankfully, they didn't charge us extra for the containers. ._.

Coffee

Honeycomb caramel cake, which was really dope! The cake slice was huge for $8, and tasted really moist and yet fluffy.

Mum and sis each had the scotch fillet steak sandwich. I shared half of this with my mum, and I found the steak too tough for my liking. Otherwise, it was not too bad, 'cos there was a fried egg heehee. ;P

Clinton and I had The Rocks burger each, which consisted of 200g beef patty with Swiss cheese, caramelised bacon, lettuce and tomato, finished with smoked BBQ bourbon sauce and a side of chips. I found this to be pretty good. Portion was insanely huge, but their chips were really good.

Dad had the beer battered fish and chips, which he didn't really like. I did not fancy it as well, 'cos the batter was just too thick. So far, I haven't really enjoyed much of the fried food here. ;(

After our extremely filling lunch, we drove to Loch Ard Gorge, where we spent a bit of time here as our next stop would be the 12 Apostles.

So gorgeous!

Spam spam.

With le fam + very gusty winds.

Plus Clinton.

'Twas getting dark...

We moved on to the 12 Apostles, where it was so crowded that even moving around was an absolute pain. Sigh...

I even had difficulty capturing this mere signboard without someone's hand getting into my picture, so I had to crop le photo LOL.

Deep #1.

Deep #2.

The 12 Apostles. Damn sunny couldn't open my eyes properly.

Some other part of the 12 Apostles Park.

Lost le dad in the sea of people (punny or not LOL), so selfie time without him. Plus cray winds.

A better shot with the 12 Apostles.

Nicest shot of the 12 Apostles without all the people behind, but WHYYYYY must the wind blow my hair into my face argh?!?! Can't stand how the wind didn't blow le beech's hair into her face as well. D;

Parting shot of the 12 Apostles.

As it would take us another 3 hours to get back to Melbourne CBD, we decided to head back as it wasn't really safe for us to drive back in the dark, especially when we weren't familiar with the road conditions here. We had wanted to drop by the Memorial Arch on our way back, so for the final time before we embarked on our long journey back, we dropped by Apollo Bay for a rest stop.

The beach by Apollo Bay.

By the time we set off again, it was already dark, therefore we had to give the Memorial Arch a miss. Oh well, no loss for me though, since I've seen it before. I just thought that it would have made a very good photo-taking opportunity. ;( Thus began our long and windy road journey back to Melbourne, and the end of our epic road trip. It was already very dark and there were no street lamps, yet Clinton had to navigate his way through carefully. So scary! Many thanks to Clinton for being our sole driver, and for bringing us safely back to our apartment. ;D

As it was already almost 9 pm when we reached the CBD, we decided to have dinner at Ninja Teppanyaki, which was located at the ground floor of our apartment building. It was also highly recommended by our host, so we decided to settle our dinner there as they would close at 9.45 pm. As we were the last diners there, our food, with the exception of my okonomiyaki, was served rather quickly.

Pork belly teppanyaki which my parents and Clinton ordered. It was so good! A pity the portion was rather small though.

Unagi that my sister had.

Agedashi tofu, which I had no regrets ordering. The tofu was fried very well, and paired perfectly with light soy sauce dressing. Super yummy!

My okonomiyaki was the last dish to arrive, and as compared to the other portions, this was a HUGE serving. ._. I ended up sharing this with everybody else, because I couldn't finish it at all (and because I was nice). I don't really fancy mayo on my food, but I keep forgetting that okonomiyaki comes with mayo, so oh well... I resorted to scrapping off the sauce lol.

This Japanese dinner gave me much-needed fibre for me to detox my body, which I hadn't done so since I arrived in Aussie. Together with the cold-pressed juices I bought from the supermarket earlier on, le shit grudgingly came out from my body. Oops, TMI. ;P With that, we retired for a much-needed rest, especially so for Clinton.

Tuesday 03/04/2018 (Day 4)
Today would be our last full day in Melbourne, before we depart for Sydney. I automatically woke up at 7 am (lol that's like 5 am back in SG), but lazed until 7.45 am. We needed to get out early because we had to return the car back to the rental company.

As the car rental company was very close to QVM, we decided to go over there again after returning the car. This time round, we took our time to tour the place thoroughly as it would be our last time here for this trip. Everybody spam bought the honey macadamia nuts, because it was relatively cheaper here, but I did not buy any, as I thought that it might be cheaper in Sydney.

QVM was relatively emptier as Tuesday wasn't a holiday for the Aussies anymore, so the wet market section wasn't as crowded as well. Felt a lot less stressful navigating around. ;P Since it would be our last day in Melbourne, we decided to go all out and buy all the oysters we could eat. We ended up buying a dozen of Tasmanian Bay oysters and Coffin Bay oysters each, which made it a whopping 24 oysters for 3 of us ('cos le dad and Clinton don't like oysters). Shiok sia! ;D

Coffin Bay oysters.

Tasmanian Bay oysters.

Breakfast for the people who don't eat oysters.

Spotted a van selling churros, and the only nice churros I've had was back in South Korea. So decided to try if this was any good.

Nubbad! It cost me $6 for 7 pieces of churros. They were freshly fried, so outside was crispy while the inside remained soft and fluffy. We had to dust off the excess icing sugar though, but otherwise, this was pretty good!

Holy shit if you ever come to QVM, PLEASE BUY THIS NO REGRETS GUISE!!!! Now we finally saw the hype over this! When we were here on Sunday, the queue was ridiculously long and I just couldn't fathom why people would join such a long queue just for mere doughnuts. But I swear these aren't just "mere doughnuts". They're one of the best things I've eaten in this market (besides the oysters). The doughnuts were freshly fried, and just before serving, the assistants would actually pump in jam into the doughnuts themselves, so you'll get to eat hot piping doughnuts with delicious jam in it! Super shiok I'd say! It's really a must-try!!!

As we had time to kill, we just found a place to rest (we lost the parents again) while waiting for le parents to read our Whatsapp messages. As we had too much to eat, we decided to have some fun by feeding the cute little birds with bits of plain doughnut, with the sugar dusted off of course. We didn't want the birds to be on a sugar high. ;P

One of the cute birds we fed.

Aww, look at its expectant eyes! *heart melts*

We decided to take the free tram back to our apartment, as we had bought quite a number of stuff, and it wouldn't be convenient to lug all the barang-barang around while touring Melbourne lol. I finally took a huge dump omg TMI again. ;P After nua-ing for awhile, we decided that we were still too full for lunch, hence we decided to take the free tram to the State Library for some photo-taking.

So much love for the free tram haha!

A statue erected outside the State Library.

The famous hexagon of the State Library.

We finally felt hungry at around 2 pm, so we walked to The Soup Place for some awesome soup and pitas, which totally blew our minds. The dishes we had tasted very homely. Best of all, each dish was less than $10. Although the place was small and squeezy, we left the place feeling super satisfied.

The Soup Place is located in an alley like this...

The bacon and potato soup was dope!

We ordered the lamb shoulder pita and the Italian meatballs pita. Both of them were really super yummy!

After filling up our tummies, we walked to Collins234 as le beech wanted to go over to Dymocks, before making ourselves to Hosier Lane.

It was about a 10-minute walk to Hosier Lane, and there were really so many people around, mostly PRCs argh. D; The graffiti was really cool though, great for photo-taking. Apparently, they change graffiti designs every few months, because the last time le sis was here, they had the graffiti featuring the Minions.

People mountain people sea.

So professionally done, featuring Lady and the Tramp.

Sakuras?

Some doggo.

???

Le dad and mum decided to take a break at McDonald's after that, so the three of us went over to Evan Walker Bridge, where we saw pretty autumn foliage overlooking the Yarra River. As I've mentioned, autumn is really my favourite season, and it still stands. It totally brought me back 'em Europe feels. ;')

St Paul's Cathedral.

Flinders Street station.

View from the Evan Walker Bridge. Love how blue the sky and water were.

Spot the autumn foliage.

I love you so much, autumn. ;')

Nobody to take picture with so I take with le autumn trees. ;(

Clinton had wanted to pay to go up the Eureka Skydeck, but as we needed to meet le cousin for dinner, we did not go up in the end. Next time, next time. After deciding that we've had enough of admiring the autumn foliage, we walked over to McDonald's to find le parents. Since our meeting with Jiang (and Nicole, his wife) was still about 1.5 hours away, we decided to buy some food from McD to fill our stomachs.

24 pieces of nuggets for only $9.95?! Huat ah!!!! Sauces in overseas McDonald's are not free, but because we ordered this set, we got to choose 4 types of sauces for free. Too bad they don't have curry sauce though. Curry sauce is really the best type of sauce McDonald's has ever invented, and so far, I only know that le home country has it. #UniquelySingapore We bought a large fries to share as well, which cost the same as what the large fries would cost back in SG. Their burgers were more expensive though - le favourite feesh burger cost $5 here, where $5 can get you a feesh burger meal set back in SG. D;

Jiang had asked us a few nights back what we would like to eat - le sis and I chose Thai food. As Jiang has been living in Melbourne since his university days (he's 9 years older than me), he knew where all the good food were. He recommended Dodee Paidang Thai Bar and Cafe for our Thai dinner. It was really so damn good, and reasonable in price as well. ;D I'd definitely come here in a heartbeat, should I come to Melbourne again.

Le sis ordered Thai green milk tea, while I had the coconut water. The green tea didn't taste very special to me, but omg the coconut water was damn dope?!

Keaw tod, which were fried crispy wantons that had quail eggs in 'em. BUY ME MOREEEE.

Pineapple fried rice, which was so damn good as well.

Phad Thai was loveeeeee. ;D

I had picked out this sun dried pork, but this was one dish (only) which I didn't really enjoy, as I found the pork quite dry and tough.

The pork skewers were really juicy and succulent though. No wonder Jiang ordered this! Super yummy!

Thai-style noodles which I have never seen back in Singapore. The noodle dish is one of their musts-try! ;)

After an extremely satisfying dinner, le sis and I had originally intended to head over to Aqua S as they had released new flavours for the fortnight. Moreover, Melbourne and Sydney stalls would be selling different flavours, so we were kind of on a gotta-try-'em-all mission for Aqua S. However, Jiang and Nicole had wanted us to try another place which was located in Lygon Street, the Little Italy of Melbourne. As we did not have transport cards with us, we took the tram till the end of the free tram zone, and walked about 30 minutes to our destination. ._. Thankfully the weather was cooling though.

When we finally reached our destination, there were already so many people queuing up for their share of gelato at Pidapipo. The shop had so many choices of gelato and I felt so very tempted to try them all. Best of all, they even had a Nutella tap which you can top your gelato with for an extra $1. D; Luckily Grumpy didn't come on this trip with me, if not he'd have gone crazy.

It was quite cool hearing le cousin place his orders with the Aussie accent too. ;P

Didn't help that this shop had eye-candies. ;P

Look at that Nutella!!! Guess they're meant for the Nutella tap. D;

I got myself the hazelnut, and holy moly, it tasted exactly like Ferroro Rocher!! NO REGRETS. Le sis and I totally didn't regret not going Aqua S HAHAHA. BEST GELATO IN MAI LYFE. It was so creamy and yet, so rich in flavour. I had a try with the other flavours (chocolate, pistachio and triple cheese) and omfg, they tasted damn good too? No wonder the long queues sia. Super legit! I'll definitely return should I come back to Melbourne.

After our satisfying dessert, Jiang and Nicole hailed Uber rides for us, and we made our way back to our apartment. So thankful to them for their hospitality, and it was really good to catch up with them again, since the last time I saw them was back in 2014, when they got married, and when my grandma was still around. How time really flies... *sobs*

When we reached the apartment, we had to start with some packing, as tonight was the last night we'd be spending in Melbourne. I'll miss Melbourne so much huhuhu. T_T

Wednesday 04/04/2018 (Day 5)
As we had to check out, we had to clean out the fridge, including the leftovers we took away from the Great Ocean Road drive and the frozen pizza. It was really filling and tasted good.

After checking every nook and cranny of the apartment, we booked a UberXL for our trip to the airport - love the convenience Uber brings about. I really have no wish to pay the exorbitant transport prices here. :X

Our domestic flight to Sydney got delayed by 40 minutes zZz, so since it would be awhile before we could board the plane, we decided to have an early lunch, which comprised of char kway teow, beef pho, fried pork stickers and Boost (with Chobani yoghurt in it). The Boost tasted super sour because Chobani Greek yoghurt was used in it. Otherwise, it tasted really clean and healthy. Can cry at the prices food is being sold in Aussie though. They cost at least $15 per dish leh... ;(

Pork stickers which tasted quite legit.

The beef pho was really good too!!

This plate of char kway teow tasted really good too - got wok hei sia!

Boost x Chobani.

After finishing up our lunch, it was just in time for boarding. We got relegated to the last row in the very-full plane again...

Spot the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. ;D

Once we landed, we decided to hire another UberXL as we had no wish to pay for exorbitant transport, but got quite a scare when the car that arrived couldn't fit all our luggages. In the end, we had to place one of the lighter luggages on our laps as the boot wasn't big enough to fit 4 pieces of luggage.

Once the driver dropped us off at our AirBnB apartment which was in the heart of Chinatown, I was given a set of instructions by the host on where to find the key. It felt like a treasure hunt of sorts to me. ;P After finding the key, we finally got to our apartment, which was much bigger than the apartment we had stayed in back in Melbourne. The bad thing was that it only had one bathroom. Not exactly ideal when we have a group of 5 leh.

Making le companions feel as comfortable as possible before we head out. Beech's companions always annoy le companions though. ;(

As it was near to dinnertime, after unpacking our luggages, Clinton went to make a reservation for Pancakes on the Rocks. The place which he had made reservation for was about a 20-minute walk from our apartment.

Some lightshow.

I had really enjoyed my meal at Pancakes on the Rocks 5 years back, so I ordered what I remembered was good, which included the ribs the buttermilk pancakes. Le dad also ordered some garden salads 'cos he needed greens, while le beech ordered the steak. The garden salad tasted super vinegary though. D;

Hello, it's been awhile! ;D

The ribs we ordered still tasted so good sia! The potato crisps were exceptionally good omg!

This was a bad buy. Booooo... Too tough and dry. Yucks.

The potato crisps were so bloody good we ordered seconds! I must say that we were shook af by this dish. MUST-ORDER. ;D

The buttermilk pancakes were still as dope as I remembered it to be. Too bad we only ordered 4 pieces of pancake, which was hardly enough for the 5 of us.

After dinner, we walked across the Darling Harbour Bridge - the view of Sydney's CBD was really beautiful...

CBD view at Darling Harbour.

We had to have our desserts, so we walked over to Regent Place for our Aqua S fix. ;P Since it was the new month, there were new flavours for sale. Le sis relented and bought the cone, 'cos she wanted to post it on Instagram LOL. I actually preferred the new flavours more than the lavender which they had last week probably because we ordered the cone and therefore, felt less jelat? Lol...

Touf x sea salt + matcha x sea salt. SO GOOD CAN CRY. I loved the tofu one especially - it tasted somewhat like Mr Bean's soya ice-cream, but not exactly the same.

Le dad was still feeling hungry, so while we were busy Instgramming our Aqua S ice-creams, he found Sedap, which sold Malaysian cuisines. Over here, we spent almost another $50 on food. The fried pork belly was really damn sedap. It cost us $18 though, super heart pain sia lol. We also ordered two cups of teh tarik and a bowl of assam laksa, which were really good as well.

We ended the day with a grocery run to Coles. I bought cold-pressed juices to aid in my digestion and bowel movements. ;P

Thursday 05/04/2018 (Day 6)
The host had said that there would be a building inspector coming by to inspect the house for defects. The agreed time was 9 am, but in the end, nobody turned up at all. We wasted 1 hour just waiting for the inspector, and I was really so pissed off. The host really messed up our appointment.

After deciding that we would not be waiting for the host any longer, we made our way to the Sydney Fish Market, with the means of just our legs 'cos we cheapskate; we had wanted to save on transport fares, wherever possible. ;X

Look at those gigantic crustaceans!

Look at those cheesy goodness!

Felt super tempted to order this, but we decided not to, because we thought that we'd get too cheesed out by all those mozzarella cheese. They smelled super good though. D;

We found seats at Peter's, and bought oysters, sashimi, scallops, some fried rice (le dad is super Asian and therefore can't live without rice) and prawns. However, I must say that unlike the previous times I have come here, I found this visit the most underwhelming, mainly because I remembered that the food used to taste much better and fresher 5 years back, and also because I had really good food back in Melbourne. The sashimi tbh was still alright, but it just didn't elicit a OMG-YOU-MUST-EAT-THIS reaction from me, mainly because it wasn't the salmon belly. The fried rice was quite meh, and wtf I still had to pay $10 for that? The Sydney Rocks oysters were the worst of the lot; it left a very strange aftertaste in my mouth. I thought that it was just my tastebuds messing with me, but apparently my mum and le sis agreed that the oysters were just weird af. The ones we had back in Melbourne were really the best man. Moreover, oysters in Sydney cost $24 per dozen leh? What a rip-off, considering the fact that they weren't even half as good as Melbourne's. ;(

Onwards to the good stuff. The scallops that we got were really good though. They were aburi-ed with roe and some marinated rice hidden from sight, and the whole combination just tasted heavenly. We decided to get some prawns to try, and got about 20 HUGE prawns for $35. The prawns tasted really clean and fresh, so thumbs-up from me. It would have been perfect if we had some Thai dipping sauces though.

Omg I really missed this. It still looks so inviting. *salivates*

Disappointing af oysters... Sigh.... *BIG* sigh...

500g of sashimi fillet. I hope that I can buy salmon belly sashimi from here, if I ever return to this place.

Bought 20 of such gigantic prawns. Very juicy and clean-tasting.

A close-up. Believe it or not, my fingers were about to break from the sheer weight of the prawn! O.O'''

Since le parents and sis needed their coffee break, we walked over from the Fish Market to Social Brew Cafe for another food pit-stop. Omg go holidays really is to eat and sleep one. D; Their menu looked really good, and we did feel very tempted to order more, but we just blew almost $120 at the Fish Market LOL, so #brokeaf.

Love their kitchen set-up. The lines are so clean. ;)

Dad got himself the watermelon, passionfruit and pineapple shake. He said that this was really good, as he could taste all the 3 different kinds of fruits very distinctly, and yet these flavours melded together very well. I agree.

I got myself the Green Blend, which comprised of avocado, apple, kale, banana, almond milk, yoghurt and honey. It sounded super healthy, but omg, I swore that was one of the best smoothies I've drunk in a long, long while. I'm shook.

Le sis got the Acai Amazon Blend, which comprised of apples, banana and honey. This tasted super refreshing and good too, but I loved my Green Blend too much LOL.

Coffee for le mum.

Coffee for Clinton.

Sweet potato fries that we decided to order on the whim, and NO RAGRETS GUISE!!!!! So good that I could cry OMG!!!! T_T

All in all, we were very pleased to have find such a good cafe, and I have no doubt that I will definitely return to this place should I come back to Sydney again. I highly recommend Social Brew Cafe, if anybody here is thinking of making a trip to Sydney. ;)

As we were feeling really stuffed from all the feasting at the Fish Market and the cafe, we decided to walk to the University of Sydney, where the famous Harry Potter-looking Quadrangle is located. It was located almost 2 km away from the cafe, and the weather wasn't exactly cooling as well, so the walk felt more tiring than it should have been. D;

Finally at USyd!

At the Quadrangle.

All 'em Harry Potter feels... I think they did away with the large tree that used to be in the compound though... ;(

After touring the grounds of USyd, we proceeded to make our way back towards town area, by WALKING again. I swore le legs were gonna give way. D; As walking really sapped a lot of our energy, we soon felt hungry again. As such, we stopped by Queen Victoria Building for a much-needed rest. Clinton, le beech and I went to Haigh's Chocolates to buy some chocolate. ;P

Queen pose.

This sweet and sour pork noodles that we bought from some foodcourt at Westfield was damn good?! Omg the Asian foodie in us APPROVED of this!! The sweet and sour pork was really damn legit sia! #shookaf

This beef pho soup didn't look like much, but it was damn good too?! What sorcery is this?

For some sugar rush, Clinton bought us desserts from Zumbo. Thanks a lot! ;)

When Grumpy was in Sydney two weeks before me, he had recommended me this particular Thai restaurant to try. As it was our intention to eat at Spice I Am for dinner, we headed over to the supermarket to buy whatever things we wanted to, before heading over to the restaurant for dinner, as the restaurant would be closer to our apartment.

Spice I Am was packed when we were there; in fact, we couldn't sit together due to the limited number of space, and also because our grocery bags took up quite a bit of space as well. In the end, when one group left, we finally could get tables which were next to each other, though they couldn't be arranged so that we could sit together.

Grumpy had insisted that I try Spice I Am's pad see ew, and so I did. Fuggin' no regrets guise! I felt so touched eating it. The wok hei game was really strong in this one, and omg, this dish was just bursting with flavours. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. ;_;

Green curry is a must-order whenever we are in a Thai restaurant. This green curry's got fire man! It was really damn spicy. It also had cubes of pork blood jelly in it - le mum was so excited because the last time she got to eat these, she was just a wee little kid, before Singapore banned the sale of pork blood. It reminded her a lot of her childhood. Glad to see le mum happy though, even if pork blood jelly ain't exactly my cup of tea. ._.

Another must-order whenever we are in a Thai restaurant is tom yum soup. Omg this soup was also overly spicy!!! D; I am no stranger to spiciness, especially coming from a Southeast Asian country, and having been exposed to nearly all kinds of spices available, but this really takes the cake. The soup itself was delicious tbh, but I was really very distracted by the overwhelming spiciness, which prevented me from enjoying this dish further. ;(

After our satisfying (and extremely spicy) dinner, we walked back to the apartment, alongside with our heavy groceries.

Chinatown on a Thursday night. Note the inscription on top lol.

Friday 06/04/2018 (Day 7)
The building inspector who did not turn up yesterday finally came today, on time. Luckily he did, if not I would have raged at the host and left him a less-than-stellar review. He did ask to view the toilet, on top of tapping on the walls and checking on the lightings in the apartment.

We went to Mother Chu's Taiwanese Gourmet, as it was located almost right outside our apartment. We ordered the tau hway, century egg porridge, egg pancake and some char siu baos. The food wasn't that bad; tasted pretty decent in fact. Being a Cantonese, I liked the century egg porridge and the century egg tofu especially. ;D

This one bao cost $3?! #siao

This was really good. In fact, I think century eggs pair well with bland-tasting food like tofu. Of course, with a dash of light soy sauce. Super yummy! ;D

As this would be our last full day in Sydney, we went over to Paddy's Market, which was just located about a 2-minute walk from our apartment. Paddy's Market did resemble QVM, but I thought that QVM was a lot bigger, and what drew me to QVM was its selection of food; I did not find brunch spots/cafes/restaurants in Paddy's at all. Maybe I was at the wrong section or what...

Paddy's Market retro-looking signboard.

We went about visiting different souvenir stalls for items to give colleagues/relatives etc. Le sis and I also bought scented soap bars which were organically handmade. Those soaps smelled super good, and after giving them away to my colleagues, I kinda regretted not keeping some for myself. But as my sis put it, our family does not have the habit of using soap bars, so it's very likely that the said soap bar would end up being an air freshener instead LOL.

When I was at QVM, I remembered kicking myself over not buying any honeyed macadamia nuts, because the nuts were only going for $40/kg. I had to praise myself for my foresight, because while nearly everything was more expensive in Sydney than in Melbourne, we managed to source out a stall which sold honeyed macadamia nuts for only $38/kg?! Of course we had to spam buy lah! Not sure why the lower price though, because the other flavoured macadamia nuts from this stall were retailing at $44/kg leh... Everyone of us, except le dad, bought 1 kg of those honeyed macadamia nuts each, thereby wiping out the shop's stock LOL. Anyway, we weren't the first group to wipe out the shop's stock leh. A group of Hong Kong tourists liked the candied ginger slices that they tried so much that they also wiped the shop clean of its candied ginger stock. ._.

As the nuts were quite heavy (they weighed a few kilos HAHAHA), we walked back to the apartment to put down our items, before setting out again for lunch.

We decided on going vegetarian for lunch, so Clinton had suggested going to Bodhi Restaurant Bar as this restaurant had high ratings on TripAdvisor. As we chose to walk there from our apartment again, we had to walked through Hyde Park and St Mary's Cathedral.

St Mary's Cathedral - such a pretty church with gothic architecture. I'm not sure why it reminded me so much of the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Ho Chi Minh City though...

Inside the church. I've always found Catholic churches to be very grand-looking...

Bodhi is just located next to the church, so we found our way there quite easily. Le mum, Clinton and le beech had already ordered some food while waiting for le dad and I to finish touring the church grounds. This restaurant apparently serves food in the yum cha-style, which means that you have to stop the waitresses/waiters if they bring out food that you fancy.

The vegetarian food here tasted... very vegetarian, and tbh, it did not really suit our palates. Back in Singapore, while vegetarian food meant that no meat was used at all, at least the food still mimicked the real thing in terms of taste. Green Dot and Green Signatures do their vegetarian dishes EXTREMELY WELL, in the sense that their rendang mushroom tasted almost better than some of the rendang beef I have tasted, and the cereal tofu tasted so damn like the cereal prawns they were supposed to imitate.

In this restaurant, all we had were just mashed potatoes after potatoes, and turnips after turnips, no matter the variation in appearance of the food we ordered. After awhile, we just felt that we were just eating the same things over and over again. We just felt bored as there was no dimension to the taste, and on top of that, potatoes do make one full rather easily, so we got jelat after awhile.

Spring rolls.

Sesame rolls.

My super clean-tasting veggie juice. ._.

After our lunch, we began our walk to the Royal Botanic Gardens, as le dad had mentioned that he wanted to make a trip there.

Archibald Fountain. Sibeh hot sia the weather.

Queen Vic still standing tall.

We stayed in the Gardens until sunset since we decided that there was no point in us rushing from point to point on our last full day here.

I love this kind of flower. ;D

Dunno what kind of flower this is though...

This season's theme is "pollination". I loved being here though 'cos it was air-conditioned, as compared to the hot weather outside. D;

Spot the bee!

Wah who so sweet sia, make such a dedication on a bench? ♥♥♥

We proceeded to walk to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, while le dad just laid on the grass, enjoying the glorious sunshine. ._. The walk to the Chair was really long though. If I knew that it would be that long, I would have proceeded to laze on the grass like my dad LOL. xD

Such a nice view of the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.

Mrs Macquarie's Chair. It just looked like stairs with huge steps HAHAHA. But of course, Mrs Macquarie must have enjoyed such a good view just by sitting here.

For you readers to read if you don't want to make such a long walk to the Chair. xD

After walking back from the Chair, we decided to leave the Gardens, as it was almost close to closing time. We then walked over to the Opera House for some sight-seeing.

What a cute little seagull we saw on our way out.

Opera House!

Such a magnificent-looking bridge. This was taken from the Opera House itself.

Zumbarons for some desserts. ;P

As night fell, we decided to buy a one-way ferry ticket for $7 to Pyrmont Bay. We were granted spectacular views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, and even le sis thought that the $7 was very well-spent. I agreed too, because while I found $7 really very expensive for just a short trip, it was really worth the money. I had taken this ferry before, but never with my family, so this made it even more special. ;')

Crying at this perfect sight of the Opera House. ;')

Luna Park theme park.

Harbour Bridge + Opera House. A bit of a blurry shot as the ferry was moving, but $7 for this? Take my money man.

We dropped by The Star because I wanted to go to Adriano Zumbo Pâtissier to look for more Zumbo pre-mixes to buy for Grumpy's mum, but it seemed very different from the previous time I was there. 5 years back, it was a cosy cafe with some tables for dine-in customers, but this time round, it seemed that all the Zumbo outlets (including the one we saw at QVB) had undergone some revamp, so the branches we saw were all open-concept and had no sitting area for dining guests. I was quite disappointed to know of this change, since I thought that The Star's branch would be the main outlet and therefore, would have more varieties of pre-mixes, but it turned out that they also stocked the same items as those I had seen in the supermarkets, at marked-up prices moreover!

I decided to console myself with having Messina lol, in order not to make my trip to The Star a wasted one.

This macadamia crunch cost be $4.80 a scoop, but shiok sia! ;D

We walked back to the CBD, and bought ourselves dinner at Westfield. Le sis eats Sushi Hub's abalone salad whenever she's here, so we tried it as well, as it was rather cheap at only $4. Holy shit that thing was damn good?! Definitely warrants a must-eat from me HAHAHA! As it was a Friday night, most of the shops were already closed by the time we reached at around 7.30 pm.

3 dishes with noodles going for $10, because they want to clear stock. So we just anyhow whacked those more expensive-looking sides. And they gave out big portions as well. Shiok sia! And it was quite yummy too!! ;D

The mutton rendang came with 2 pieces of naan, instead of the usual one. This tasted damn good too! Super legit!

24 pieces of McNuggets attacking us again. Also $9.95, so it wasn't just limited to Melbourne. ;P

This abalone salad from Sushi Hub was damn dope too! I had wanted to buy a second box, but they were closed by then. ='(

We walked over to Regent Place for Aqua S ice-cream, for the very last time this trip. After that, we also brought a lot of groceries from Coles/Woolworths to bring back to Singapore.

As it was Friday night, we decided to tour Chinatown for its night market, but didn't find anything really particularly outstanding and they were overpriced, so after spending a bit of time there, we decided to head back to our apartment to start packing.

For me, as majority of my items needed to be refrigerated, I couldn't start my packing, so I decided to just wash up and rest.

Chinatown was a lot more crowded and lively on a Friday night.

Saturday 07/04/2018 (Day 8)
We woke up earlier to finish up our packing. This time round, because we had an extra luggage, an UberXL would not have been able to accommodate all of us and our luggages. As such, we decided to hire 2 normal Uber drivers for ourselves. Each of our Uber ride only ended up costing slightly more than $40?! Still so much cheaper than taking the airport train LOL.

Unlike our flight to Sydney, our return to Singapore was very full, so we had to settle with cramped seats and major inconveniences when wanting to use the toilet. ;( The good thing was, we had the new touch-screen IFE loaded with loads of new movies. I managed to complete Jumanji (which I really loved LOL) and a few other Marvel movies. ;D

Oh, and 'cos le sis' batch boy was serving on our flight, he managed to ask a ranking crew if he could offer us some champagne which was only reserved for the passengers in first class. As nobody from first class wanted it, he got the permission to offer it to us. He wanted to serve it in a proper champagne glass, but honestly, it would just elicit stares from the other passengers LOL, so we got damn expensive champagne, served in disposable cups to us. The champagne definitely didn't taste cheap at all. In fact, I felt that it had a very strong alcohol and some other layers of taste to it, and oh well, I must say that it just wasn't my cup of tea bubbly. One bottle of this cost at least $1000 leh. #siao #nojokeatall

Not le sister LOL.

Menu for lunch.

Menu for refreshment lol.

I got the chicken for myself.

Clinton got the beef goulash for himself.

Super yummy Magnum ice-cream. ;)

We flew over the Uluru Rock. ;)

Pasta is one of my favourite!

As we were about to land, Clinton and I stumbled upon this cute Tsum Tsum video. ;P

We touched down uneventfully, and omg, as I stepped into the arrival hall, my Grumpy Cat came to surprise me. ;') Omg bb, I really wasn't expecting you leh. I've missed you so much. T_T On hindsight, it was good that he came as well lah, because I wanted to pass him the Zumbarons I had gotten for him, so just nice lo.

With that, our week-long family trip came to an end.

-------------------------------------
Oh my tian, I can't believe that this family trip took 7 years in the making. o.O''' I'm just so glad that we managed to make this trip happen, despite our conflicting schedules, and that there were no major hiccups. I'm also glad that we still managed to figure out what to do in our itinerary and hunting down AirBnB apartments, while I was juggling studies and work at the same time. No joke I swear.

The most important thing that we really enjoyed each other's company, and I wish to continue this, while time allows.

To many more family trips together, and thanks for always having our backs, dibbies! 💖💖💖

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