Thursday, June 24, 2010

Melbourne - Phillip Island Part 1

I found that last entry is unbelievably long so for this and the following entries, I will break them down into parts so that the reading won't be too long and cumbersome.

Anyway, picking up from where we left, we drove a long long way back from Great Ocean Road to Melbourne City. There were several discoveries along the way:
1) Their expressways are nothing like the expressways that we see in Malaysia or Singapore. The expressways only have one lane for each direction and rely solely on reflectors to light up the road(no street lamps at all).
2) Their truckers drive either REALLY FAST or REALLY SLOW.
3) No matter how fast Australians drive on the road, they will obey all the speed limits in suburban and city areas.
4) It's much easier switching lanes when driving in Australia compared to Malaysia.
5) Parking in Melbourne City is FREAKING EXPENSIVE - we're talking about 2 AUD an hour AT LEAST here. Luckily we managed to find the cheapest parking lot in the city and paid a flat rate of 5 AUD after 6pm.
6) Some parking spaces only allow you to park for 1 or 2 hours max. Talk about inconvenience...
7) Hook turn. I literally went WTF when I was first told about it.

So we reached Melbourne City at night and met up with Myn Wee and Terence(who are awesome hosts and helpful in every way possible) for dinner. We went to this Greek restaurant(forgotten the name) and all I remembered was that I had meat, LOTS of meat.
Meat platter - every carnivores' wet dream.

After dinner we went for dessert and hot chocolate at San Churro
The hot chocolate was gooooooooood. If you ever go there, get the thicker hot chocolate - very very rich and sinfully delicious.

And this was our dessert - Chocolate and Churros. Churro is also known as the Spanish Donut.

After dessert we decided to call it a night and get some rest. The next morning we went to Queen Victoria Market for breakfast.
Queen Victoria Market(or Victoria Market) sells a wide variety of things. It can be divided into four main parts: poultry, meat & seafood; fruits & vegetables; cooked food & pastries; and finally souvenirs.

We sat outside and enjoyed some sunshine(and great light for photos too).
The little red riding hood and uhhhhh... the big bad wolf?

There's also a legally blind(or at least close to it) singing his rendition of Enrique Iglesias' Hero, earning a fair bit of shillings from passersby.

After breakfast we began our journey to Phillip Island.
There was one problem though - it was raining on and off; and the mood was generally gloomy in Phillip Island(not to mention my mood too thinking of the prospect of exposing my camera to potential downpours).

Regardless, we were already in Phillip Island and determined not to put the day to waste. First stop in Phillip Island: Churchill Island.

Churchill Island was the first European settlement in Victoria. Here we saw the first house built and its expansions.
That was the first home... more like room because that really was all. The table and the fireplace were all within one room. And a whole family lived in it, a WHOLE FAMILY!! We would've moaned and whined if someone else is sharing room with us... how pampered.

This was the device they used to tell time:
A sundial, which relied on sunlight to generate shadow that would point to the numbers to indicate the time. And if it was rainy day, like the day we visited, there's absolutely no way to tell time unless you're rich enough to own a watch.

We also visited the farm to get an idea on the activities they did to sustain themselves.

Then we had lunch at a fish and chips restaurant in Cowes. The fish they served were very fresh and received Elaine's seal of approval. She was even happy enough to pose for an advertisement shot:

After that we proceeded to the Koala Conservation Center to find...

But a big one found Yen Ping:

Koalas are generally a lazy bunch... sitting and hanging about on tree trunks and tree branches. Apparently their diet consists of about 1kg of leaves per day so they have to conserve as much energy as possible by minimising their movements. Their lack of motion makes them hard to spot.
Yi Wang and Yen Ping trying hard to spot one.

And then Yi Wang found one:
He was immediately infected by the motionless Koala and induced to sleep.

Then we found one sitting around rather than hanging about on the branches:
Motionless as ever.

Then the rain got heavier and we had to run back to shelter. The rain was also the reason we visited the following place. Stay tuned to find out where that is. ;)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Melbourne - Great Ocean Road

It all started somewhere in the middle of October 2009 when Wai Seng sent us an email to tell us about a promotion from AirAsia. One look at the list of destinations and Melbourne immediately caught our attention - it was dirt cheap flying there in June 2010!! The promotion was going to end very soon so we sprung into action right away and promptly booked the tickets, figuring that even if we end up not going there the losses would have been minimal.

What followed were a few months of procrastination and some frantic last minute planning as June approached. We managed to finalize everything and do all the necessary bookings just a few days before the trip started.

Without further ado, the characters:

The two girls - Elaine and Yen Ping

Yi Wang

Wai Seng

and yours truly

On 3rd June 1.10am we boarded the plane and flew to Melbourne. There were of course people who were fast asleep...
and then there were 3 of us.
We couldn't sleep for the most part of the journey because the seats were uncomfortable. Then again we paid very little for the airfare so this was a form of compromise. For all the lack of sleep I was rewarded with this:
First of the many stunning views that I would get throughout this journey.

We touched down at Tullamarine Airport at about 11.20am(Australian time),
rented a car,
and hit the road right away.
Little did we know then that we were witnessing the rise of Queen of Snooze rivaling even Nobita:
As the trip went on, we got progressively amazed at the amount of sleep Yen Ping was clocking in. At one point we were betting on how many minutes it took for her to fall asleep right from the moment she entered the car - we got even more amazed at the actual result.

Regardless, the coastal drive was awesome - we were feasting on the scenery along the way:
which was a very very refreshing change from all the trees and hills you get when you drive long distance in Malaysia.

We stopped along the way to camwhore a bit...
and found time to play with some random dog.

But the Great Ocean Road was a VERY LONG drive so we had to stop at Apollo Bay to spend the night. The sun set at around 5.30pm so we were basically driving in the dark for about 2 hours before we reached the backpacker hostel in Apollo Bay. Apparently many suburbans and small towns in Australia were so safe that they didn't feel the need to install street lamps in their residential areas, resulting in dodgy looking residential areas at night. When we first arrived at the hostel, we felt that the place was ultra dodgy and were wondering if we made the wrong choice choosing that hostel.

Fortunately we were directed to another branch within the same town, which was closer to the coast and rather well-lit. This was the first of the many backpacker hostels we stayed in:
The shops in Australia generally close earlier(compared to Malaysia and Singapore at least) so we quickly went for dinner after checking into the hostel.
That was our first proper meal in Australia(McDonald's Cheese & Bacon burger and water DO NOT count as a proper meal). After dinner we retreated to our hostel to shower and get some well deserved rest.

Then we set off again the next morning. First stop: The Twelve Apostles.
Breath taking... we stood there awe-stricken, taking in as much of the scenic view as we could. The chilly breeze was forgotten, the morning sleepiness was driven away and we did what we do best:
A proper one with a proper background.
A proper one with a proper background using PHONE.
A proper one with a not-so-proper background.
A classic sunglasses reflection shot.

And then entropy kicked in for some of us:

That's when we realized that we had exhausted all the scenic views available to us there. So we moved on to the next stop: The Arch.

But we took a wrong turn along the way and ended up in a town - as a result we were semi-lost. No need to worry, we resumed once again to what we do best:

We even brought in another important member to camwhore with us!!
(The car was the important member in case you haven't already seen the obvious)

We went back on the road and finally arrived at
the mother of all archs - The Arch.

Due to the limitations of the lookout point, we had to be contented with using the sea as our background.

And the final stop for our Great Ocean Road journey: London Bridge

Yi Wang learned from Elaine and started to emo.
He became suicidal and wanted to jump off the rail.
At the most critical moment Yen Ping appeared and had Yi Wang swooning at her.
They did a Titanic pose, Yi Wang became happy and all was well again.
I had no one to do Titanic pose with =(.

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