Thursday, 19 July 2007

The holiday

WARNING... Picture FEST!! Although most of them are pretty average... my camera is one of the first generation of digital cameras... only 2.0 mega pixel... but is has its plus points... can take so many pictures in one memory card... the batteries last longer too due to less functionality.

Anyway, it's so difficult to choose a few GREAT pictures out of so many... so I'll put up most of the presentable ones...

Sunday, 8 July 2007

We arrived at Avalon airport at around 11pm. The aiport was REALLY small... kinda like the size of lecture room. The bus ride to Melbourne city took about 50 minutes.

We stayed at Greenhouse Backpackers. I found the place a bit dodgy... there were no windows in the rooms... the mattress were thinning (you can feel the springs underneath)... and there was no drinking water... we either had to use boiling water or buy from the vending machine (yes, I DO drink lots of water... so buying water was rarely an option for me). Also, the people around seemed so... backpacker-ey... yeah, that'll teach me to stinge and stay in a backpackers lodge.




Monday, 9 July 2007

After having our complimentary cereal breakfast, we started our by heading to Federation Square.


Spent about 30 minutes at the Visitor Information Centre, to get more details to plan our trip for the week.


Then we went to watch ACMI, where PIXAR cartoons came to live!


We then had souvlaki from Stalactite, a famous Greek restaurant. We wanted to dine in but there was a long queue and we wanted to keep on moving. The souvlaki didn't seem that great... the kebab from our nearby shop in Perth tastes better. Maybe we should have dined in.

Anyway, we soon had afternoon tea at Max Brenner at QV Square. I had the suckao and Li-Ann had the hug mug. I was a bit disappointed with the suckao... you just add chocolate pieces into hot milk... what's the big deal? I like Li-Ann's hug mug better...


We then made our way to Melbourne Museum. But on the way, we passed by Carlton Gardens and the Royal Exhibition Building.



Finally, got to the museum... we get to go in for free! Student concession... yes, I still like to think I'm a student... There were a lot of kids as it was the school holidays. They were giggling away at the naked displays at the human body display. The museum also has a rainforest in it... how cool is that?




You can guess that after that, we were pretty much worn out and head back for some shut eye.

That night, we met up with Li-Ann's primary school mate, Janet and her boyfriend, Jordan for dinner at Yoyogi, a Japanese restaurant close to Chinatown. It was really value-for-money, the food was great... the portions were big... reasonably priced... We couldn't finish it in the end... and you know how much I pantang not finishing food... but that night was my limit!


We went to Lygon Street hoping to try the famous durian gelati from Il Dolce Freddo... but it was closed. We carried on to Koko Black but there were too many people. So normal gelato would do...

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

We woke up at about 4.30am. We had to catch the 5.30am bus to Mount Buller. Also we had to pack our stuff because we had to change rooms (due to my carelessness of cancelling an extra night) to a 4 person dorm (the thought of sharing rooms with 2 other strangers... *shudders*).

We departed from Federation Square and the bus made two more stops (Box Hill and Ringwood) after that to pick up more people. We slept for most of the journey until we reached Alzburg Inn for breakfast at about 9am. There's also where we collected our gear. The other people were going skiing, snowboarding etc. While Li-Ann and myself, being less adventurous only hired toboggans... hahhah.


We arrived at Mount Buller at about 10.15am. I find the tour guide a bit harsh... he was like just giving orders, telling people that they must be on time etc. I mean tour guides are meant to be friendly, right? He barely smiled throughout the whole trip...

Anyway, Mount Buller was beautiful... we had fun! Although we realised that we should have rented JUST one toboggan rather than one each... as there were only 2 toboggan slides and they were filled with kids...




We sat the chair lifts... I didn't find the chair lifts scary... but what scared me was when the lifts bring us up to the mountain, there were skiiers and snowboarders everywhere... they could easily run us down! It was also the school holidays... AND CHEAP TUESDAY... so the place was packed!

We had lunch at Kookoora Kitchen on the mountain. The other restaurants and cafe were packed too. I was happy with my steak sandwich as Li-Ann was with her damper and dip.


We left the mountain at about 4.30pm. The Holiday was shown on the bus on the way back. Arrived at Federation Square at 8.30pm. Had a quick dinner... take-away Subway. There are more Subways thas McDonalds in Melbourne. And they have cheap 'Subway of the day' for EVERY day... only AUD3.50 for 6-inch.

We were told that our booking for the 4 persons dorm was not actually done. But they had another 2 person room available. And it was better than the first one we had... better mattress! Blessing in disguise, I say...

We actually went to a Jazz club on Bennetts Lane that night. It was my first experience... talended band, but they were playing their own compositions... so it gets boring after a while when you are listening to music you are unfamiliar with... and they were no vocals too...

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Checked out of Greenhouse Backpackers. Met up with Li-Ann's brother, Pok Xian and his friend, Adam at Budget car rentals at 8.30am. Got a Toyota Yaris! We then made our way to Great Ocean Road. Was a bit worried about driving out of the city... cars keep on the left lane to turn right to make way for the trams... weird huh? Good thing I had little trouble making my way out...

We arrived at YHA Eco Beach, Apollo Bay at about 12pm. Now THIS is what hostels should look like. The rooms had paintings on the wall... the toilets are like those at 5 star hotels... it even had lounges with a fire place! And not too expensive too... only AUD100 per night for a family room of four... AUD 90 if you are a YHA member...





Had lunch at Buffy's... Li-Ann was so fascinated with the paintings of a fat lady all around the restaurant. The food was good too... I had fish and chips... Li-Ann had spinach and ricotta gnocchi.


We then headed to Otway Fly tree top walk. Driving through unsealed road was a bit scary. It rained a bit too... so it was COLD and WET when we were trekking.


Dinner time... in the shared kitchen, Li-Ann and Pok Xian cooked pasta! Li-Ann wouldn't approve of me posting up this candid picture of her!




Thursday, 12 July 2007

For breakfast, we had the bread bought from IGA supermarket nearby. The shared kitchen provided peanut butter, jam and... Nutella! We left at about 9.20am. We first went to Cape Otway lightstation, about 45 minutes away.





It rained again as we were about to leave. It was about 11.30am. We then made our way to Port Campbell to see the 12 Apostles (although there are only about 8 left). We got there at slightly past 1pm. The place was done up pretty nicely... boardwalk paths... viewing decks... Our Malaysian tourism ministry can definitely learn a thing or two from this.



We then went to see the Loch Arch Gorge... which was few minutes away. Also nicely done up...


Had a quick lunch at Port Campbell town... bread rolls and wraps at a bakery. Then headed back towards Melbourne city, we had to be in time for Miss Saigon musical at 8pm, tickets which we bought on Monday. It was about 3pm. We arrived at Melbourne city at about 6pm... dropped Pok Xian and Adam off...

Went to Richmond... thought we could squeeze in a bit of window shopping... but we were mistaken... only the city opens for late night shopping on Thursdays and Fridays.

So we had our dinner at a little oriental place... had Mongolian noodles... kinda regretted it because the MSG content gave us sore throat for days after that...


I was pretty impressed by the musical. It was played at Her Majesty's theatre. The performers were good, they could sing really well. But my appreciation of musicals is somewhat limited (it was my first). What I found impressive was the act... how fast they move the props around... and there was a scene where the background cast were in slow motion while the main cast were singing... yes, I'm a visual person...


We then met up with my aunty... who so happened was also watching the musical... brought us to her home in Doncaster, where we would stay for the next few days.

Friday, 13 July 2007

We left for St Kilda at about 9am. St Kilda was meant to be a pretty place with heritage buildings and riverside ports. But the place was pretty much under renovation, so there were construction fences and sand everywhere. Nevertheless, we had our fair share of tourist-things to-do...

Breakfast at Europa Cake Shop on Acland Street...


Some shots of the famous St Kilda Baths...


...and Palais Theatre... now, what was that fire truck doing there?


We made another trip to Richmond... it was unplanned as we wanted to go to Philip Island that afternoon. So we rushed through Bridge Road on Richmond, where all the factory stores are. Li-Ann saw a few things she liked at Cotton On...

Lunch time... we saw that most of the restaurants were full. Came to one... Dolci La Strada... told the taukeh that we were in a bit of hurry... he told us that we ordered pastas, he could make them in 5 minutes! And the pastas were good too!


A funny thing... Li-Ann actually went shopping while I finished up her share of pasta that she couldn't finish... I went to get the car and I got her to meet me at the road side... that's how fully packed our itinery was!

The drive to Philip Island was quite far... almost 2 hours... personally, I find the sights in Melbourne are all too spread out...

We got to A Maze N' Things... I supposed the place would be more suitable for kids... it's difficult to impress these 2 VERY critical young adults!


We finally got to the Penguin Parade at 5pm. Again another nicely done boardwalk. The boardwalks are actually built over the penguins' homes. We sat by the beach watch them returning from the sea to their homes. They came out at about 6pm. The penguins are a scaredy-cat bunch. They're so cautious... we saw a few batches returning home... but we waited for one batch that kept on swimming back into the water... they were afraid of the sea gulls!

We found out that we should have returned to the boardwalk a lot sooner... rather than wait for that cowardly batch in the cold... as we could see penguins up-close at the boardwalk...

Hahhah... I like this sign...



The drive back was dark... Philip Island is actually quite big... we didn't like our chances of finding a place to eat dinner on the island... BUT we managed to find a place just around the corner... and it was a REAL CATCH...

Aaaaahhhh... gourmet fish and chips...


Found our way back to Melbourne city... dropped in Crown casino... It is a lot bigger than our Perth Burswood one. Here, we had coffee and cake... again...



We got back to Doncaster at slightly past midnight... everyone at home was already asleep...

Saturday, 14 July 2007

We woke up early to clean the car a bit before returning it. We left the house before 8am...


After returning the car... it was a bit too early to go to the Queen Victoria Markets. So for breakfast... we went to Notturno on Lygon Street for... coffee and cake... again!



It was one of the BIGGEST mistakes I've ever made... my combination of bavarian chocolate cake and hot chocolate beverage was just too much for me... and look at the servings of ice cream and whipped cream... we normally only get either NOT BOTH! I was feeling sick for most of the day...

But the walk at Queen Victoria Markets did some good... and the place was HUGE!

The deli section had all sorts of gourmet food... this is actually BUTTER!



And the retail section was like Pasar Malam... I got myself a pair of casual shoes for AUD30...


After that, we made ANOTHER trip to Bridge Road, Richmond (obviously just one night of looking at closed shops and one afternoon of RUSHED shopping wasn't enough...) We took the tram there... there were a lot of people because the footy was on... Geelong was playing... (sorry, I know NUTS about footy... but I rather support a team closer to home... go, West Coast Eagles!).

We had lunch at Zorba's Souvlaki and Pizza...


We went to Cotton On... Li-Ann just loves Cotton On... hehheh... but turns out... the shopping was was more fruitful for me... I got myself a collared T-shirt and a long sleeved shirt both for AUD10 each.

We met up with another one of Li-Ann's friend, Tze Ching... from secondary school this time. Had coffee at The Richmond Hill Cafe and Larder. Tze Ching ordered this thick chocolate... it was REALLY thick... like chocolate sauce! I should have ordered that too... but I was having a bit of chocolate phobia after that morning's breakfast.

We got back to Melbourne city by tram at about 5pm. Was rushing to buy some gifts for my aunty as shops closed at 6pm. We managed to get some chocolates from Haigh's.

Tze Ching had to watch a dance performance at the Melbourne Arts Centre at 7.30pm. So we made our way to Southbank, where parted... and Li-Ann and I had dinner.

Wanting to make it in time to catch the bus back to Doncaster... our dinner was a quick one... in a food court in Southbank. But we still had time on our hands... so we went to Crown again for... CAKE!


But the queue at Greco was so long... so we had take-away coffee-toffee cake...

We caught the 9pm bus and got back to Doncaster slightly before 10pm. But everyone was already asleep... they really do sleep early! And we were trying to catch them... so that we won't feel so bad not seeing them at all while staying at their place...

Sunday, 15 July 2007

My uncle brought us out for breakfast at McDonald's. I noticed the McDonald's here have more variety compared to our Perth ones. After that, we went shopping at the nearby Westfield Doncaster Shoppingtown. We also got my relatives a bottle of Jacob's Creek Riesling as we thought that the chocolates were not enough.

Again, the shopping was more fruitful for me... I got myself a pair of jeans for AUD30 from Myer's Stocktake Sale. So now, I've got one T-shirt, one long sleeve shirt, a pair of shoes and a pair of jeans!


My uncle dropped us off at Southern Cross Station at Melbourne city at noon to catch our shuttle bus back to Avalon airport.

That pretty much sums up our Melbourne trip... for more pictures click *here*.

Overall comments...

Good:-

Everything is BIGGER and BETTER... especially food and shops...
The cakes are all so TALL and TEMPTING....

Not-so-good:-

Melbourne drivers are more aggressive than Perth drivers...
Generally, people in Melbourne are less friendly compared to people in Perth...
The city is not as clean as our Perth city...

5 comments:

Jasmine said...

wow.. indeed that was a LONG one..

I agree with your Good and Not-So-Good points. And Greco's fantastic!!! :)

Though I've been to Melb twice in the last 3 yrs, I am still in love with it.

oh btw, NICE PHOTOS!!

-kev- said...

Thanks, Jas... I did take pains to make it look presentable... so any acknowledgement is very much welcomed...

You know... even as you posted your comment, I was still editing the post... still not sure what link to include as my shared Shutterfly album.

The current one needs me to sign in as a user... I'm such not a techy..

bola2api said...

wow.. food galore! melbourne looks like a nice place to visit - especially for food!! :) nice pics kev

-kev- said...

Hahhah thanks, Aini. Actually we missed out on a lot of good food already. We didn't try a lot famous eating places... can't fit into our busy sightseeing schedule!

milktea said...

Hello Kev, wow so many photos! It's always nicer easier when you have photos than trying to describe everything you saw/did.

And you were in Melbourne too~ ! I'm staying at QV you know?

You say you like Perth better. What's nice over there? I wanna travel around a little and have been scouting around for interesting places to travel to. If you don't mind, can recommend some places in Perth?