Road Trip – Salmon Rocks, Genoa Falls, Green Cape Lighthouse, Broadwater Oysters, Tilba (3 Oct 2019)

Salmon Rocks

Packed up and it’s time to say goodbye to Orbost. We headed towards Salmon Rocks. As I love beaches, Dear had planned to visit this for me to admire the sea. And no, I did not google search this place. In fact, in case I did not mention at the start of journaling our Australia trip, Dear is always the one who plans our trip itinerary.

The place was empty and it felt like we’ve booked the entire beach. Took our time to walk and explore the place. I tried looking for seashells, but there was none here.

Genoa Falls

Head over to Genoa Falls after exploring Salmon Rocks. We missed the turn towards Genoa Falls. I had to do a U-turn ahead and head back on track. If I am not wrong, there’s a season for waterfalls. Apparently, when we visited, it’s only a gentle stream of water.

We went over towards the stream and felt the cooling natural water. We explored the place and saw a monitor lizard lazing on the rock. And I happened to spot an eagle from afar. Loving nature so far. Something we don’t get to enjoy much back home.

Green Cape Lighthouse

You need a car to get to Green Cape Lighthouse. It’s not a very accessible place and it’s very out of the place. The route towards the lighthouse ain’t smooth. It’s more like terrain and our little hatchback was a little difficult to control on the uneven route. We had to drive with care considering there’s no proper road and no lanes at all. There were a few close shaves with cars coming from the opposite direction from around a bend.

As it was a dirt route, our entire car was covered with dust and sand upon reaching the parking area for the lighthouse. We had to walk a little further towards the lighthouse. And it was worth the long drive!

I’ve always wanted to see a lighthouse and finally, I am there. The wind was strong that day and we were shivering. The view was mesmerizing and we could literally sit there the entire day just to admire the scenery before us.

The public toilet here is very different. When you look down the toilet, you could see where your “business” will be going. And I saw a rat way down below. Such toilet, ain’t for the faint-hearted.

Broadwater Oysters

Because when we Google search for road trip itinerary, we came across a few who said it’s a must to try out oysters. There were a few recommended ones and Dear decided to go to Broadwater Oysters.

The place looks like a mini-lake to me. The first sight that greeted me was a dog lazing by the grass next to Broadwater Oysters. Entered the small shop and ordered a plate of small oysters. We were told to take a seat while our oysters were being prepared.

In the meantime, we tried getting the dog’s attention but to no avail. Our plate of fresh oysters is finally here. We tried them with and without the lemon. Gosh… It’s the freshest and sweetest oysters we’ve ever tasted! Never regretted making a trip to taste these fresh oysters.

Tilba

We arrived at Tilba, a town stuck in the olden time. Unsure where to park the car, we alighted to look for our Bed & Breakfast host to enquire. I was told it’s OK to park the car right outside their place. We did a tour of our accommodation, rest a little before we head out for dinner.

Tilba is a small town in which you can finish touring within a day. It’s so small that everyone knows each other. And they’re all so friendly. Loving how their dogs are so well trained too where they walked off-leash.

Had dinner at Dromedary Hotel. Was told that’s the only place we probably could find dinner around the area. As most shops are closed or closing, we decided to tour Tilba the next day before we continue on our road trip journey.

Road Trip – Sale, Wild Honey, Raymond Island, Orbost (2 Oct 2019)

Breakfast at Foster

We woke up for breakfast at about 8 am. Yes, breakfast was provided by the bed and breakfast host. The first thing I helped myself was fruit salad which I couldn’t resist not having. And a nice cup of hot black coffee. The host even made us some toast which I spread with nice butter. It’s nice to have a different type of breakfast considering what we usually have back home. Something interesting I would say compared to the usual bak chor mee or char kway teow.

While we were having breakfast, we were greeted by a wonderful sight of wild colorful Lories. We also had a small chat with a couple who were on a road trip too, but they were on their way towards Melbourne which was where we started from. Part of traveling free and easy is that you get to meet people of different countries and cultures. Making friends along the way, even if it’s just a hi-bye moment doesn’t seem so bad.

Sale

After breakfast, we loaded the car and bid farewell to our wonderful host. We arrived at a small town called Sale. After we parked the car, we decided to take a walk around. Visited a shop that sells practically everything. There are clothes, pet stuff, candies, and many others. I bought a collapsible bowl for our fur kids at AUD$2 and much better quality compared to the one I bought at Daiso years ago. Which eventually broke after using it a few times.

Entered a toy shop, and was greeted by a large size Mickey Mouse tsum tsum at the entrance. Which definitely caught my attention. There were two prices on the tag and we weren’t sure which is the right one. Head over to counter and enquire about the price and got to know it’s on sale! It’s AUD$20! And without hesitation, I bought it. Best purchase ever so far during the trip. It didn’t occur to me how we will be bringing this back to Singapore. But I’m pretty sure that Dear does know how to pack the luggage and this will be flying home with us.

Wild Honey (Cafe)

Head over to Wild Honey for brunch. Ordered a cup of flat white and smashed avocado to share. We weren’t that hungry yet since we had a filling breakfast before we embark on our journey.

I am not a fan of avocado, but I decided to give Wild Honey’s smashed avocado a try. And amazingly, it’s yummy. It doesn’t have the taste that I dislike in an avocado. Probably the other ingredients of the dish covered it up and making the entire dish amazingly nice. It was so good that despite being full, I finished it. But of course, not by myself but I had most of it. Now thinking back, I do miss this a lot. Asked Dear to try to replicate the taste and hopefully, it’s as yummy as the one I had.

Raymond Island

We headed to our next destination. And I totally have no idea about it till we get there. I parked the car and made our way to catch a ferry ride towards Raymond Island. Upon arrival, I saw the signs and realized that we were there to see some wild koalas. Part of the surprise planned by Dear without me knowing.

I was a little disappointed when we couldn’t spot any till a kind ranger asked if we were koala hunting. He told us one male koala was sleeping on a tree right outside his office. He even shares with us how the koalas on the island were cared for. Thank you for the information, appreciate the work that you and your team did for the koalas on the island.

It’s a small island with not much residency. As we followed the koala trail, we managed to spot a few more koalas. And also thanks to the kids around who seem too excited spotting the koalas that we get to see some hidden among the trees.

It’s a nice place to stroll even if you’re not there for the cute little tree huggers. Do bring along your sunglasses. The sun can be glaring when you look up at the trees to see the koalas.

Orbost

Address: 94 Salisbury St, Orbost VIC 3888, Australia

Arrived at Orbost to rest for the night. Stayed at Orbost Country Roads Motor Inn. After checking in, we parked our car right outside our room’s doorstep. We got greeted by a friendly neighbor staying next door. Unloaded our stuff before we head out for dinner.

Address:  63 Nicholson St, Orbost VIC 3888, Australia

Most places were closed, thus we decided to dine at Orbost Club Hotel. To me, it’s like an old school diner place. It’s quiet considering we were the first few customers for the dinner crowd. Ordered steak with fries and salad on the side. It’s a decent meal and filling in my opinion.

We didn’t stay out long as Dear had a scheduled skype call with her friend for some programming lessons. Yes, even on vacation, Dear didn’t forget that she needed to upgrade her skills.

Road Trip – Brighton Beach, Caldermeade Farm & Foster (1 Oct 2019)

Collect Rental Car

We got the checkout timing wrong and was greeted by a rude annoyed staff that was there to clean up the place. Packed our stuff in a hurry before we head towards Southern Cross Station to collect our rental car. Yes, our road trip has finally begun!

Did some paperwork, signed the agreement and we’re off heading towards the carpark to collect our Hyundai Accent. It’s a small hatchback but it’s good and big enough for the two of us and our luggage.

After we’re done putting our stuff in the boot and setting up our GPS, we’re good to go. The good thing about driving in Australia is that it’s the same as Singapore. Driver’s seat is on the right. Which make driving easier especially when it comes to changing gears.

Brighton Beach

First stop of our road trip, the famous Melbourne Brighton Beach. Apparently, it is a must-visit for tourists mainly for Instagram worthy pictures.

Although the sun was huge, sunny and bright, it was quite windy and chilly at the beach. Thankfully, we came prepared with sunscreen lotion and jackets. It wasn’t crowded when we visited Brighton Beach and we managed to get some pretty decent photos in my opinion.

Oh, the toilet at Brighton Beach might not be for everyone. It’s not well maintained or clean. Bring your own sanitizer and tissues to clean the toilet seats. Bring enough tissues along as they do not provide tissues there. You can’t expect much from a public toilet. However, it’s decent enough for usage.

We strolled along the beach to enjoy the scenery and nice weather before we continue on our road trip journey.

Caldermeade Farm and Cafe

Address: 4385 S Gippsland Hwy, Caldermeade VIC 3984, Australia

We headed towards Caldermeade Farm and Cafe hoping to dine there for late lunch. Sadly, when we arrived, their kitchen was already closed at around 3 pm. We ended up touring the farm area instead.

It’s a large farm, and they do have a viewing gallery for you to see how they milk their cows using machines. They do have other animals around such as goats. Saw a few baby ones and you can even enter their playpen for an up-close experience.

We didn’t stay long as we didn’t want to drive in an unfamiliar place during the dark. Thus we continued on with our journey towards the next destination.

Foster

I have been telling Dear that we must visit Foster as many travel blogs recommended this small town for its coffee. We checked in at Litchfield Lodge, a bed and breakfast accommodation.

Address: 12 Hoddle Rd, Foster VIC 3960, Australia

We missed the entrance to our bed and breakfast accommodation as it was a small opening big enough for a car to enter into a long driveway. It didn’t occur to us that it’s the entrance. Got to know after we enter and meet the host of the accommodation.

Head out for dinner. Not much option left as most places were closed when we arrived. Decided to give The Rhythm Cafe & Restaurant a try.

Address: 3-5 Bridge St, Foster VIC 3960, Australia

Ordered the risotto, which was amazing. I am not a fan of risotto, but this was nice. I can’t remember what Dear had ordered, but hers wasn’t as fantastic. We decided to share half of the food that we’ve ordered. So we get to both enjoy nice food at least while we were in Foster.

Since most places were closed, we head back to our accommodation after dinner and decided to call it a day. We needed the rest before we continue on our road trip journey.

Melbourne – Tram Ride & St Kilda (30 Sept 2019)

City Circle Tram Ride

I was told that we will be taking the tram ride and it’s free as long as we took the right route and tram. Taking the tram ride allowed me to tour Melbourne the lazy way.

With a quick Google search, free tram ride includes ALL trams within the boundaries of Spring Street, Flinders Street and La Trobe Street. Additionally, routes along Victoria Street, William Street, Elizabeth Street and Docklands area.

So technically very pocket-friendly. As long as you plan your route, you can travel around Melbourne without having to worry about the transport fee.

Daiso at Flinders Street

Alighted at Flinders Street and went into a supermarket which I can’t remember if it’s Coles or Woolworths. We were stocking up some food for our road trip towards Sydney. These are for just in case we got hungry before we arrive at our next destination.

We did pass by Daiso when we were exploring Flinders Street and decided to check it out. And to stock up a packet of heat pack because I left it back at home. Ended up getting a Mickey Mouse sunshade as well for our car. Although Dear specifically said no more Mickey Mouse items, she said yes to the sunshade.

St Kilda

After our shopping at Flinders Street, we head back to our accommodation to unload our stuff. Dear said to bring the heat packs that we just bought and wear more to keep warm for the next destination on the itinerary. I didn’t understand why and she wouldn’t tell me. All she said was a surprise.

After we repack our bags and rest a little while, we head out for the tram ride again. Our next destination for the day was St Kilda. Once we arrived, we walked by the beach and managed to see the beautiful sunset.

Dear leads us towards the jetty area, it got windy and very cold. Despite us wearing layers, we were in fact shivering! Had to open the heat pack that we brought along with us in order to help keep us warm. We even witness seagulls trying to fly against the wind and some even had difficulty landing due to the strong wind.

Once we arrived at the jetty, I overheard someone saying they saw a penguin in between the rocks. That’s the moment when I realised Dear had planned this surprise for me to see wild penguins. Heard from the volunteer that these little cuties aren’t afraid of humans, they are used to visitors. Do note that we aren’t allowed to take pictures with flash or touch them.

We didn’t stay long as it’s quite crowded at the jetty, so we left after admiring and taking some photos of the cute penguins. Entered a cafe and ordered a cup of coffee to keep us warm before we take the tram ride and head back for dinner.

Yi Bu Dao Wei Tasty Spicy Hot Pot

Address: 212 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia

We alighted a few stops before our accommodation as we saw another Daiso along the way. Decided to pop by before it closes for the day. Daiso is one of our favourite places to shop, so it’s like a must-visit for us even when we’re overseas.

After Daiso, we decided to get dinner but weren’t sure what to have. We happened to walk past Tasty Spicy Hot Pot and decided to give it a try. Also because it was empty and I’m hungry. An empty restaurant means I get my food fast. It might be kind of weird for others to think that why are we in a caucasian country having Asian food when we can have it back at home.

Sometimes, trying out Asian food abroad can be quite an opener I would say. It’s either yummy or not very nice.

Dear ordered the spicy chicken hot pot to share. It came with rice to go along with the dish.

It’s spicy definitely, but I’m amazed at the taste. It’s very much different from home and quite authentic Chinese cuisine in my opinion. And it does warm us up during the cold night in Melbourne.

Also ordered a plate of dumpling and it’s amazingly good! Both dishes didn’t disappoint us. Highly recommended if you’re looking for Chinese cuisine when you’re in Melbourne.

We strolled back after dinner and enjoy Melbourne as much as we can. It’s our last night in Melbourne before we head off on a road trip towards Sydney.

Melbourne – Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (29 Sept 2019)

Queen Victoria Market

Address: Queen St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia

Headed to Queen Victoria Market for grocery shopping in the morning. Dear planned to get some ingredients to cook us a meal since we have a kitchen that we can use at the apartment.

Upon entering the building, it is like Singapore’s version of a wet market but with air conditioning. There is a wide variety of seafood and meats. We were spoilt for choices. We decided to continue exploring the market while we think of what to cook for dinner. As we walked further, we arrived in the pastry section. Lots of bread and pastries as well as some shops selling cheese. The vegetables and fruits are in the outdoor section. And Dear bought a bag of tiny avocados at AUD$2. Each avocado is around my palm size. Quite cute I would say compared to the ones we usually bought back at home.

Queen Victoria Market is a large place. Bigger than I expected as there is another section where they sell clothes, accessories and souvenirs etc.

Did a tag for Twix at AUD$15. Price is inclusive of engraving. There’s an additional AUD$5 if you would like to add another phone number to the tag. Always wanted to get her one but it is expensive in Singapore. Finally got one, although it isn’t cheap, the price was reasonable.

Cafe Victoria

Decided to dine at one of the cafe nearby for brunch. After seeing a few different cafe menus, I chose Cafe Victoria. Mainly because it’s wallet-friendly and it’s not crowded.

Ordered a cup of latte for me and Dear tried their flat white. We were asked if we would like it in a cup or mug. We weren’t sure what that meant and we asked what’s the difference. Apparently, it’s the size of the drink. Cup is small size while the mug is the bigger size. We both ordered our coffee the cup size because we weren’t sure if we’re able to finish if we were to get the mug size.

It’s our first cup of coffee in Australia. According to my research, Melbourne is filled with cafe and they do have really nice coffee if you know where to go. Quite amazed at the taste. It’s rich and roast-y, amazingly refreshed.

Food-wise, I ordered a big breakfast as the description made it sound so yummy. To my surprise, it really was a big breakfast. I gave all my bacon to Dear as I’m not a fan of it. Don’t really enjoy if my food is too salty and bacon happened to fall under that category.

Dear ordered her all-time favourite, egg Benedict. She seemed to enjoy it and according to her, the portion was just right.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

One of the highlight of the trip, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I’m a huge fan of Harry Potter and after knowing that they will be playing in Melbourne during our trip, I told Dear that I want to go. We bought the tickets a little late, we ended up sitting separately. Although it was a restricted view, we managed to get the first few front rows and at a cheaper price!

We watched both part 1 and 2 on the same day at Princess Theatre which I got to know it’s walking distance from where we stayed. So we literally walked home after part 1, cooked and had dinner before walking back in the evening for part 2.

So I have been waiting to get my hands on the Ravenclaw house scarf to complete my collection. And was hoping that the price would be reasonable and not ridiculously expensive. During the break for Part 1, we headed to the merchandise store immediately. Thankfully, the scarf was within the budget that I’ve set. And yes, finally I am able to complete my house scarf collection.

I will be writing up a review on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in another post do keep a lookout.

Melbourne – Arrival (28 Sept 2019)

Singapore to Australia, Melbourne

Have been looking forward to this trip when we bought our flight tickets last year. It’s my first trip to Australia and the first English speaking country that I visited. Stepping into Singapore Changi Airport means that our trip has finally begun.

It was a 7-hour direct flight and all I could remember was I slept most of the time. Only stood up once to move my legs was when I needed to use the toilet.

Thankful that the flight towards Melbourne was a peaceful journey and the seat next to me was empty. Which means we get more space to put our stuff during mealtime.

Arrival at Melbourne

We arrived at Melbourne’s airport at around 8 pm, their local time. The time in Australia is around 3 hours faster than Singapore’s which means it was around 5 pm back home when we arrived.

Upon arrival, we were pleased to know that our passport can be used at their electronic machine for immigration clearance which they called it the e-passport. It was a fast and hassle-free experience and I’m pretty impressed. It was like a good start for my trip to Australia. The only downside upon arrival was the long wait for our luggage.

So, Fluffy Bunny was the one who planned all our itinerary and the one who did research for most of the routes such as how to get there. I am basically of no help at all other than researching on places of interest that I would want to go or that both of us might be interested in.

We took the Skybus from the airport towards Southern Cross Station. As my Australia’s sim card takes about 24hour to fully activate before I could use, I tried the wifi provided on the Skybus. It didn’t manage to connect and even when it was connected, the data speed was slow in my opinion.

We bought two sim cards, Telstra and Optus. As we will be on a road trip, getting two different company’s sim cards will be a better option in case one doesn’t have any connection. And thankfully we did, as Telstra takes longer time to be activated and we didn’t know till we register it online.

Tips: When traveling in pairs or groups, it’s always good to purchase different company’s sim cards. When one doesn’t seem to connect well, you may tether the data to one another in order to stay connected to the internet.

It took us quite a long while to figure out how to purchase their myki card through the machine. We couldn’t find someone to ask and their customer service counter was already closed. So we had to press each option to see what it meant before we manage to purchase a card each.

Their myki card can be used only in Melbourne and for all type of transportation within that city. So remember to tap before and after boarding to pay for your transport fare.

business apartment in the CBD

We will be staying at an apartment in the CBD area for two nights. Upon entering the building, we were greeted by a very nice cute interesting buttons in the lift. It took me a while to realise that pressing the button once is enough. Pressing it again twice in a row will reset everything and the lift wouldn’t move to the level you wanted.

You may check out this place where we booked through Agoda here.

When we arrived in Melbourne, it was around 8 degrees. A pretty cold night and the only downside staying in this apartment is that the heater provided is very small. It doesn’t warm up the entire apartment, let alone around the bed area. We had to wear our jackets to wrap ourselves up to stay warm. Other than that, it’s a nice cosy place to stay at, as long as not during the winter.

Dinner from 7-Eleven

I have been hearing from friends who had been to Australia, that the shops close as early as 5 pm. Thus, it can be difficult to find dinner if we don’t have an early meal. Unless you get some ingredients at the supermarket and cook a meal yourself. Provided you stay in an apartment that has a kitchen for you to use.

Since we landed late and after checking into our apartment, it was already past 9 pm. There were bars and pubs around our apartment that was still opened, but what we needed was a proper dinner. Unable to find a restaurant that’s open at that timing, we visited 7-Eleven instead.

Got ourselves instant noodles and a packet of microwavable spaghetti. It wasn’t a proper meal, but at least we get to fill up our tummy and rest for the night. Also bought a Krispy Kreme doughnut as my dessert for the day. It wasn’t cheap, but I just had the craving for something sweet that night.

Travelling can be tiring and we were exhausted after a long flight. Finally, we get to rest before we start exploring and see what Melbourne has to offer.