Sunday, May 3, 2009

Around the World in Wet & Cloudy Melbourne

Ask a Malaysian about major attractions in Melbourne, and you'll most likely get a list of food places to visit. Some places you go for the food, some...for the experience ;-)

It's been almost 3 years since I've been back to Melbourne. This would be my 4th trip to Melbourne, but my first as tourist! It is also my wettest trip...have not experienced so much rain in Melbourne before!

We stayed at the YHA Metro, which was a short walk to Queen Victoria Market. I've stayed at many YHA's before and this is probably one of the best (granted I haven't been back to the YHA's in Europe for a long time).

First stop, Queen Victoria Market!

Stumbled upon this sign at the market =) This one's for you, my beer-drinking buddies ;-)

Our first breakfast...yummy sausage in a bread from The Bratwurst Shop at the Queen Victoria Market. We tried both the mild and spicy sausage =)

...and coffee, of course!

The first day was spent walking the streets of Melbourne CBD. We stumbled upon this lane filled with grafiti, just opposite the Federation Square on Flinders Street. Absolutely loved it!

Loved the cobbled stone path...

Food for the rest of the day was:
- phở at Mekong for lunch (hmm...i think it used to taste better),
- gelato at Lygon Street, and
- McD for dinner, before heading to Regent Theatre to catch Wicked.

Wicked was wicked! Thoroughly enjoyed it!

Here's Victor with his phở.

The weather was lovely the next day. Drove to the Yarra Valley (thanks Andrew for loaning us your car!!). We didn't realise until it was too late that that Saturday, being Anzac day, shops in the Central Business District (CBD) would only open after noon.

We visited Yering Farm and...

...Domaine Chandon.

Domaine Chandon is a lovely winery and definitely a must-see if you visit the Yarra Valley. We were early for the 1pm tour so we walked the grounds of the winery and took in the wonderful autumn colours.

Charlotte was a sport! She doesn't even like wine, but joined in the wine tasting anyway =)

From Domaine Chandon, we made our way to Healesville Sanctuary. We were there in time to catch the "Birds of Prey" show, which was marvelous. It's amazing how the birds are trained so well.

We met our goal of seeing Koalas (though it would have been great to actually carry them as well ;-p (this is a cropped image...only had my 24-70mm with me)...

...and saying hello to the Kangaroos...and also saw the Wombat and Echidnas! =)

The next day, we made our way to St. Kilda beach to catch the arts and craft market at the Esplanade. Sadly, the weather was really really bad. Only a handful of stalls braved the strong winds and rain, but even these were closed after an hour.

Do not be fooled. These are not sweets...they are soap! =) Just one of the many interesting things you would find at the arts and craft market.

We met up with Hsu Mei, who drove us to Mt. Dandenong =)

We stopped at Sassafras and had scones at the famous Ms Marple's tea room. Yummy!!! Normally, the wait for a table at Ms Marple's is really long, but the bad weather meant less people and shorter wait for us ;-)

...even managed to toast marshmallows =)

From there we made our way further up to Olinda for the award-winning pies at Pie in the Sky. We were nearly denied our pies...but that's a story for Victor to tell.

All in all, I think we did well considering the weather =p

Even met this cute doggie at Olinda =)

Thanks Hsu Mei, for taking time out with us! =)

We booked ourselves on the Great Ocean Road tour the next day. Had to wake up really early coz the tour starts at 7am!
There were many tour agencies to choose from. We went with Otway, which caters for a smaller number of people (max 24 pax, I think).

The first part of the day was great, with sunny skies and mild weather.

We even had blues skies for about 10 minutes when we reached Split Point lighthouse.

But the dark clouds were a-coming...

But not before we've had some time spotting Koalas in the wild and meeting some friendly birds (don't know what these birds are called). This was was pecking on Charlotte's finger before it took off! =)

Lunch was provided...

...but we couldn't resist getting fish & chips to try hehehe...we had flake (shark), but if you didn't tell me, I wouldn't have known the difference =p

We had a short walk through the rainforest, which was lovely. Incidentally, it also started to rain about this time.

That's Bernie, our fantastic tour guide with a hearty laugh. The entire trip was made so much more interesting with him as our guide =)

This is my 4th time on the Great Ocean Road, but my first in the forest. Definitely a treat for me! =)

And finally...the 12 Apostles (well...9 more still standing). By this was "pouring" (by Melbourne standards).

For dinner, we decided to try Chinese takeaway, just to have the experience of eating out of the boxes like those we see on tv! ;-p By the time we got back, it was 9pm++

The next day, we visited the Suga shop at Queen Victoria Market. They were making rock candies for a wedding. If you look closely, you'll see the words "James & Leanne".

We wanted to get on the free City Circle tram, but we kept missing it somehow! haha! But finally got on one lah. There's one every 12 minutes between 10am - 6pm.
Melb (48)

Charlotte's sole started to come off (probably due to the amount of walking we did), but not a problem that super glue couldn't fix ;-)

We had lunch at Shark Fin House, Chinatown with Ivon and Imelda, then headed to Koko Black for hot chocolate. (Note to photographers: Koko Black welcomes you to photograph your friends while having a cuppa in their restaurant, but no photographing of their products, shop, etc.)

We continued the day discovering the little lanes in Melbourne and stumbled across yet another lane filled with grafiti. This one is much smaller than the one we saw on the first day.

We went on a tram along St. Kilda road to the Shrine of Rememberence. You get quite a nice view of the CBD from the Shrine.

We saw this bird on the ground in front of a souvenir shop and reckon that it flew straight into a glass window and "pengsan'ed". It was still alive but looked quite badly hurt. Poor 'lil fellow...

Soon, it was evening. We walked along Southbank. Great to capture the city lights before it gets too dark.

We went into Crown Casino and watched the music/water/lights display.

We met up with Andrew & Jessey & friends for dinner and had 6 different types of pizzas! Can't remember the name of the place, but the sign board simply says "PIZZA".

Victor looking really happy with his pizza!

Ohoh...can't remember everyone's names except Debbie =o

Ooh....and my favourite photo for the entire trip...a self-portrait with Saphie, a 9-year-old Siberian Husky, whose humans were dining at the next table ;-p Such a darling!

We then headed back to Crown Casino to watch the fire show, which lasts for less than 5 minutes, every hour on the hour starting from 8pm. It's quite something. You can feel the heat from the fire just standing near the pillars.

Final day at Melbourne. We had breakfast at Le Croissant des Halles, which was open on Wednesdays even though Queen Victoria Market is closed. The swallows noticed our yummy croissant and came over to join us!

After a visit of the State Library of Victoria, we hopped onto a City Circle tram, and managed to finally finish the entire round, which took about 45 minutes.

45 minutes on the tram could be quite boring actually, but 'tis the fastest way to get around the whole CBD square.

Victor fell asleep while I started snapping photos of myself! ;-p

We had two food places we wanted to visit. So we had two lunches. First was at Sushi Burger, which was really good! Then immediately after, Stalactites for greek food!

So, up until now, we've had:
- Aussie - sausage in a bread
- Vietnamese - phở & broken rice
- American - McD
- Italian - pizza & pasta
- British - scones & fish&chips
- Chinese - tim sum & takeaway
- Spanish - donut
- French - croissant
- Japanese - sushi burger
- Greek - slovaki
and finally......Korean!

Andrew & Jessey treated us to yummy Korean food before finally sending us to the airport. Thank you both of you! For the car, for a place to dump our things on the final day, for your hot shower, for a wonderful meal! Have been so blessed!! =)

Well....that's it! Will leave you with a photo of this interesting busker on Burke Street. How in the world did he get his old beat-up piano there???!!


Jessey Chin said...

The restaurant place is called Oscar and they only just serve pizza! U guys covered a lot of Melb in one week. Love your shots!

Oli - Stilling Your Moments - said...

Oscar!!! NOW i know!! =) =) tq!!!! =)

Sze Yoong said...

Awesome pictures Oli, thanks for the recommendations. I can't believe you did all that in one week. Looks like lots of fun, but the rain is a real damper! Anyhow, lovely pictures especially the graffiti walls :DDD