Category

Out and about

Category

Newcastle, Australia

We visited Newcastle during the Easter long weekend in April. We chose Newcastle because we hadn’t really planned anything properly to be travelling far distances. Also, two of my close friends grew up in Newcastle which has always made me want to visit this place after hearing stories from them 🙂

Since Newcastle is just over two hours over from Sydney, it was a trip we were able to wing without much planning. All we needed to do was find a hotel to book and drive off.

Trip duration: 2 days

Where we stayed: Noah’s On the Beach

Places visited:

Highlights:

The Brazilian BBQ at Meet was definitely my favourite food memory. I’m not a huge fan of BBQ places as they tend to lack in other options, particularly vegetables. But this place was absolutely wonderful, they are ever so vegetarian friendly and I was spoilt with so many choices! These pictures barely even show half of what we ate as most of it was brought to us gradually. They are equally as good with their meat. If you live anywhere near Newcastle, I highly recommend you check this out. But make sure you go there on an empty stomach as they only have a set menu to choose from and serviced buffet- you keep your cards up and stay in the game until you are full!

Quad biking at the Sand Dunes was another great experience as it was my first time quad biking. One of the challenges we faced was finding places that were open on an Easter Sunday. We eventually started calling up restaurants before driving over to them. I would highly recommend future travellers to take this into consideration. Other than that, nothing else can really go wrong with a trip down to Newcastle because it has beautiful beaches and pretty good food 🙂 what more do you really need?

Smoked salmon fettuccine and steak

Brazilian feast at Meet

Brekkies are better with a flatlay 🙂

Roasted mushroom bruschetta
Fish Tacos
The naughty Ferrero Rocher shake

Queenstown, New Zealand

Why we chose Queenstown?

Initially, we had thought of far locations like Hawaii and Santorini for our honeymoon. But both of us had leave constraints at the time and going to the other side of the world just wasn’t practical. We wanted to keep it close to save ourselves from the jet lag and long flying times. We were down to two options, Fiji or New Zealand. We ruled Fiji out after learning about the cyclone season in Fiji during summer, and decided we would visit Fiji another time.

 

A bit about our trip

Where we stayed:

Day 1-6: Hilton Queenstown Resort and Spa

Day 7: Peppers Bluewater Resort, Lake Tekapo

Day 8: Rydges Lakeland Resort, Queenstown

 

Places visited- highlights

  • Shotover Jet
  • Queenstown Gardens
  • Queenstown Hills
  • Walters Peak
  • Heli Tours
  • Skyline Gondola
  • Milford Sound
  • Lake Pukaki
  • Lake Tekapo

Where we ate:

  • Stacks Pub (Part of Hilton)
  • Mee Chinese (Part of Hilton)
  • Wakatipu Grill (Part of Hilton)
  • Toro Bar
  • The Ballarat Trading Co
  • Minus 5 Ice Bar
  • Heineken Bar
  • The Grill
  • The Lake Island Café (Part of Hilton)
  • Minamei Jujisei Japanese Restaurant
  • Walter Peak gourmet BBQ dinner
  • Skyline Gondola buffet dinner
  • Poppies Cafe, Twizel
  • Kohan restaurant, Lake Tekapo
  • Pier 19
  • Finz Seafood and Grill
  • Saigon Kingdom Vietnamese Restaurant
  • Patagonia Chocolates

 

Day 1

We were super excited as we landed at Queenstown airport. I will never forget how thrilled we were seeing the beautiful view of mountains as our plane descended! The airport was small and I loved how it just opened up to nature, I really appreciated the beauty of this airport coming from a busy, chaotic city airport like Sydney.

We had organised a car and drove our way to the Hilton Queenstown Resort. On our way, we could not stop appreciating how beautiful everything was looking. It was pretty as a picture! We got to our hotel room and we were even more amazed at the fabulous views our room had from both sides.  We had lunch at Stacks Pub and dine outside and enjoy the view, but it was starting to get a little chilly. We started to realise that maybe Queenstown wasn’t going to be that warm after all.

Fell in love with the mountains even before we landed!
Our first meal

Later that afternoon, we explored our way around the Hilton and walked around trying not to get lost! We were still in awe at how beautiful our surroundings were. The heavy pasta lunch was overly satisfying and carb-loaded so I wasn’t very hungry for dinner.

Day 2

We had to be up super early for our Shotover Jetboat ride which was located outside of the city. We had a very quick breakfast at Wakatipu Grill and left early to allow ourselves plenty of time to get there. Shotover jet was freezing with the cold morning wind but it was absolutely the most incredible thrilling ride ever! I highly recommend this one- there are other jet boating places but Shotover Jet is said to be ‘New Zealand’s most thrilling boat ride’.

Early morning view

 

We made it!

And off we go!

As much as I loved the experience, but I was freezing from the cold-water splashes and wind. We decided it was time to hit the shops for lunch and clothes-hunting. We made our way to the Queenstown CBD, we were expecting a huge mall coming from a big city like Sydney. I had a very interesting dish for lunch which was salmon ceviche. It was great, but I just wish I had something warm because I was still freezing inside from the Shotover Jet.

Off to explore the city
Queenstown Gardens
Salmon ceviche

We explored Queenstown Gardens in the afternoon which was located very much in the heart of the CBD. It was pretty scenic and we both enjoyed the walk. After having a very satisfying dinner at Ballarat Co. We went to Minus Five Degrees Ice Bar. Thankfully, they had hoodies and gloves for us to wear before we enter the ice. It was fascinating to hear that all furniture (tables, chairs) were made from ice, even the glasses cocktail/ mocktails were served in! It was nice to be able to experience a cold temperature I had never been in previously, we lasted about 25 mins.

Our drinks in came in disposable ice glasses

Day 3

We took our time getting out of bed this morning as there was no booking to rush to. We started our day with a very big breakfast in the city (to fuel our hike at Queenstown Hills).

Pre-hike brekkie
About to start our hike

Neither of us expected it to be as intensive as it was because we are both pretty good when it comes to walking flat surfaces. The hike itself was not a long duration so we did not expect it to be super intensive. However, what we didn’t realise was that it demanded medium to high level fitness due to steep and uphill surfaces, as we discovered. It was incredibly challenging but overly rewarding because the views got better and better as we hiked up. I do like to call myself as being ‘pretty fit’ so I wasn’t going to give up so easily. We were determined to push our way up and made it to the top! We had each other and the view that kept us going and we loved the stunning view once we got to the top, we felt it was worth it. Luckily, the descend was much easier, we were able to do it in 35 mins (going up took over thrice the time). On our way back, I convinced the hubby that we would hike more this year and work on improving our fitness.

Breathtaking view, almost near the top
Soaking up the view 🙂
We did it!

By the time we got back, most restaurants were starting to close or had closed. We were able to find one which was still open and it served perfect as a post-hike meal. We were pretty exhausted so we headed back to the hotel and relaxed for the rest of the night. We had dinner at Hilton’s Wakatipu Grill which was pretty fancy, as you would expect.

Post-hike lunch

 

Day 4

We started our day late as our heli tour wasn’t until about 11am. The heli tour had spectacular views, and also came with a surprise (snow landing). We didn’t think there was going be a snow landing so we were absolutely freezing in those few minutes. But the view was probably worth the cold.

About to step out into the snow!

View from the heli tour

We headed to the CBD afterwards for lunch. Unfortunately, it had started to rain so we didn’t get to walk around to explore a lunch place. We settled for what was closest to us which happened to be Japanese. The only Japanese food I have eaten a million times is sushi so I was excited to try other varieties in this cuisine. I absolutely loved the sashimi salmon don.

For the afternoon, we had booked for Walter’s Peak cruise and BBQ dinner after someone local had recommended it to us. It was still raining so it wasn’t very much cruise mood. They took us a to a lovely countryside place for buffet dinner which was pretty nice and we watched an hour of lamb shearing after dinner. It was a great to learn about how it’s done but we both felt the duration could have been shorter. The cruise itself was pretty uneventful, but we made some special memories that night so it’s going to be a cruise we will remember and cherish.

Walter’s Peak Cruise
Walter’s Peak
Loading up on seafood

Day 5

Today was Valentine’s Day. Hubs had planned a Skyline dinner for us ages ago; he made sure he booked well in advance and secured us a spot. We had nothing on until the afternoon so we took our time getting out of bed. We did not want to drive all the way into the city for brekkie so we went for the buffet breakfast at Wakatipu grill again. In our attempt to burn it off, we went for a short hike following the Queenstown trail to increase our capacity for the buffet.  We also opted for a light soup lunch because we wanted to save space for our big buffet Skyline dinner.

Saving space for dinner

We took the Gondola up to get to the restaurant. The view from up there was absolutely breathtaking. It was however very cold and windy, so we found it hard to be outdoors for long. The buffet dinner itself was outstanding; I don’t think I can think of a time in my life where I had eaten so much! They had a huge variety and covered many cuisines, I tried to make sure I covered most of them. We were absolutely stuffed by the end  and in food coma #thestrugglewasreal.

 

View from Skyline Restaurant

Day 6

We had an early start this morning because today was our Milford Sound tour. We were very much excited to be seeing the 8th wonder of the world, but did not like the idea of spending 12 hours on the bus. I had planned on staying awake to watch the scenery but we both fell asleep multiple times. The driver made sure to stop at the scenic spots and gave us time to hop off and take photos.

We were told the water seeps through as there’s no topsoil here!
Isn’t it pretty amazing how it just continues to flow?

Can you spot the seal?
And then we saw a few more!

Milford Sound was very beautiful; the photos I took honestly don’t do justice to how it looks in real life. The ferry ride was very chilly, I tried to spend some of it indoors and be out for some time to take photos. It was a very exhaustive ride back. We got dropped off at a far location from our hotel, we just decided to walk there instead (probably was about 3km). We got back to our hotel just before 9:30pm and packed our bags as our stay at Hilton had come to an end.

Day 7

We started our journey to Lake Tekapo which is located 250 km from Queenstown. Unfortunately, our navigator decided to take us on a detour and took us to a private road which is sometimes closed off (we realised something was fishy when it landed us at a salmon fishery!) But at least we were able to enjoy the lookout stops on the way and had lunch in a little town called Twizel.

En route to Lake Tekapo, stopped at Roaring Meg lookout
Lunch at Twizel

My favourite stop was Lake Pukaki, the colour of the water was absolutely breathtaking. I was expecting to see some beautiful scenary but I had no idea it was going to be in my favourite colour teal, which made it even better.

Lake Pukaki
Taking sneaky shots of bae
Accidentally matching in my favourite colour 😉

We checked into our resort in the afternoon which ended up being a two-bedroom townhouse with multiple living areas. I found it quite hard to adjust despite having a much bigger space, perhaps because we had the Hilton Standard in our minds. Since we did not have long here, we wanted to make sure we have dinner at a well rated restaurant. We ended up going to Kohan restaurant which is rated #1 in the region on TripAdvisor. There was a bit of a wait to get a table, but the food was so worth it. The teriyaki salmon I had was very flavoursome. I wasn’t feeling too well (possibly fatigue and adjusting from the luxury at Hilton), so we headed home for an early night.

Lake Tekapo
One of the best Jap I ever had

Day 8

We started our day with buffet breakfast at the Bluewater Resort. Again, we thought the variety of food choices weren’t enough, but they had pancakes on the menu which kept us pretty happy (both of love pancakes). After fuelling ourselves with brekkie, it was time to hit the road to Queenstown again. We made an effort to stop at the lookouts again, this time Lindis Pass being my favourite.

Lindis Pass

After reaching Queenstown, we looked around to find a relatively fancy place that was still open for lunch. I decided to be little adventurous than usual and tried Paua shell which is a native food. We checked in to our last hotel at Rydges and took a long nap to recover from the drive- this was one of the best naps I’ve ever had.

Back at Queenstown

For dinner, we explored options on TripAdvisor for a well-rated seafood restaurant. I decided to try something a little different and went for pan-seared tuna which was delicious. To celebrate our last night, we went to a very popular patisserie that we had been eyeing for some time now. The passionfruit cheesecake we had was deeply satisfying and it nice to end our last night on a sweet note.

Pan seared tuna and veggies
Cheesecake from Patagonia

Day 9

There was one place on our list where we really wanted to have breakfast. We tried coming here twice before but at the wrong hour. Unfortunately, the brekkie was quite pricey and did not end up tasting as good as I had hoped for. After breakfast, we had a quick look for souvenirs and headed back to our hotel and checked out for the final time. We wanted to leave us enough time to fuel up and return the car.

Last brekkie

We got to the airport and had plenty of time so we decided to have lunch before we board. We treated ourselves with burger and pancakes. The compote was very sweet but both of us love pancakes so we didn’t mind. We had a final stop at the airport souvenir shop and caught our plane back to Sydney thinking about when the next getaway would be.

Leaving Queenstown on a sweet note
Goodbye!
Hello again, Sydney!

Final thoughts

Queenstown is such a beautiful place and I will never forget how I felt when I first the majestic mountains. While our honeymoon ended up being more exploratory than the usual kind, we absolutely loved every bit of it. Also, glad to see our destination made it to top 10 honeymoon locations on Bruised Passport’s blog who happen to be one of my favourite travel bloggers. I’d definitely recommended travelling during summer months (November-February), unless you want to experience the freezing cold 😛

From Queenstown, with love.

 

DAA conference | Hobart, Australia

Day 1 

I got very sick two days before my flight so I was feeling rather cynical during the flight. Part of me was wishing I didn’t have to go; I just wanted to be in my bed. But seeing this amazing view as we descend made me pretty excited again. I told myself I will do everything I can to speed up my recovery and enjoy my time here.

Let the #TasteTassie adventures begin!

We dropped off our luggage at our accommodation (Airbnb). We were feeling very hungry as it was almost 3pm. We ate at Brook St Pier and absolutely loved our lunch with a view. I loved the abundance of mushrooms in my dish!

We walked around the harbour to soak up more views; we all know that first day views are always the best!

We bought some groceries to make dinner and headed home early as it was getting very cold. Luckily, our cute cottage had a fireplace and one of my friends knew how to light a fire. While I tried to rest and keep warm, my girls made the most delicious pumpkin, red lentil and soup. It was one of the best I ever had and just what I needed for my throat!

Soup for the soul!

Day 2

Initially, we had planned to go to Wineglass Bay which is a long drive from Hobart. However, we decided not go as it would be too hectic to drive for 6 hours on the same day. Our plan B was to catch a cruise but we realised it would be super windy and might make our health worse. This also did not work out as none of us were feeling very well this morning so started our day quite late which left us enough time to have lunch and only see one place. We only had time for brunch and see either Richmond or mount Wellington.

Buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup and whipped vanilla cream

I’m so glad we chose to go with Mount Wellington. The view was absolutely spectacular, so breathtaking! We were freezing- it was about to 6 degrees but the chill felt like 2 degrees (according to our phones).

I had my presentation the next day so I decided I needed to rest my body and stayed indoors that night. I drank lots of soup and tea with lemon and ginger and hoped for an overnight miracle recovery!

Day 3

Let the conference fun begin!

Today was the first day of conference and I presented my first ever oral at DAA. To be honest, it wasn’t quite how I imagined it to be. I would’ve liked to have a healthier voice to speak, but at the same time, we can only control so much, right?
On a brighter note, I managed to get through 15 mins without having a cough attack 😛

We felt very tired after a long day at the conference. We went home and had soup + roast chicken. One of my girls had her 25th birthday today. Unfortunately, all of us in the house had a rough start to our day so wasn’t able to do anything during the day. But as we all know that birthdays must end with cake, one of my other friends was able to find this beautiful Belgian chocolate and salted caramel roulade from one of the top patisseries in Hobart. It was very rich but deeply satisfying!

Day 4 

Since my sickness didn’t improve yesterday, I had almost given up. We had our workshop today in the afternoon and I feel like I could have done a better job. I was feeling a bit disappointed with myself but I realised, I should stop beating myself up over it. This is not the end of presentations, there will be many more to come. So it is completely okay if one does not go as planned. We finished a little early and hit the shops. We were walking into town to find a place for dinner and came across the cutest welcome message!

We looked hard to find a nice place for dinner- this was supposed to be our big celebratory night so we wanted it to be something all of us would enjoy. I had planned to eat some Tasmanian salmon tonight but the sicker me ended up going with risotto when I saw it on the menu. I’m so obsessed with risotto, especially when I am sick. I must find it easy to go down. I’m so glad I did though because it was one of the best I’ve ever had, filled with a decent amount of eggplant, spinach and mushrooms (my favourite).

We came home and had some leftover cake from the previous night. Ending our last night with chocolate made it even more perfect 😉

Day 5 

Our checkout time was around midday so we needed to pack before we left. I always underestimate how long packing takes me. I thought there wouldn’t be much to pack as we had not purchased anything to take home at this point.

The weather was pretty spectacular today, didn’t have to wear my beanie and gloves for the first time!

After the conference was over, we went straight to Salamanca Markets. I had heard about this market from a few people, so was very excited to see an open-style market. Unfortunately, I could not purchase my souvenirs here as there were too many stalls, I found it hard to pick! Also, because some shops did not take card (tip for future self would be to carry cash to places like this!)

#FromWhereIStand

For lunch, we decided to try our luck at the famous café we had planned to come two days ago. Luckily, it was a short walk from the markets. Their menu was outstanding- I couldn’t decide what I wanted to eat. In the end, I decided to go with a dish that had salmon so I can get it off my list. This was one of the places on my bucket list and having salmon here just made it even better. I felt very satisfied after finally getting some Tasmanian salmon in my belly. For anyone who’s in Hobart, I highly recommend you visit this place- they have awesome savoury and sweets! You will not be disappointed 🙂

Nori and sesame crusted salmon fillet on black rice pickled ginger cake with buttered leeks

Calm before the storm!
Goodbye to our yellow door!
En route to airport

To make up for my lack of souvenirs, I shopped at the airport before I hopped on to the plane.

Home bound

Reflection

Overall, the last couple of days have been so incredible and has gone by so quick! I’m honestly so grateful for all the wonderful experiences I’m getting from my PhD journey. I always find conferences to be so great because it opens my mind and helps me put my work in perspective. Now it’s time to go back to work and THINK BIG for Sydney. I’ve always been and will be a Sydney girl, so can’t wait to showcase our city to the rest of the dietitians around the country 🙂
As for Tassie, I know my adventures here aren’t over yet, in fact this is just the beginning! I’d love to come back someday and explore more because this trip has made me realise how much there is to see in this beautiful land.

Summary

Travel month: May

Where we stayed: with Airbnb on Barrack Street (historical workers’ cottage)

Places visited:

  • Brook St Pier
  • Constitution Dock
  • Mount Wellington
  • Pilgrim Coffee
  • Rockwall Bar and Grill
  • Salamanca Market
  • Jackman and McRoss

 

International Congress of Behavioural Medicine | Melbourne

 
My flight faced major delays due to severe thunderstorms in Sydney. We had to wait for over two hours, most of which were on the plane so it was incredibly exhausting. Thankfully, the weather in Melbourne was much better. It was pretty cold and windy, it felt nice to get out of the scorching heat 🙂
Leaving behind a stormy Sydney
After reuniting with the bestie, we went out for dinner to a local Malaysian restaurant close to our home.
Sweet and sour prawns with rice 
Nasi Lemak

Pineapple fried rice and seafood stir-fry
I had one whole day to myself before the conference began on Wednesday, and we wanted to make the most out of this. 
 
Oh, hello there, new friend!

We had breakfast at Myuna Farm which was a few mins from our house. I loved their veggie focacia. 
Brekkie at Myuna Farm 


Veggie focacia ($9)


 
Sweet treats at Myuna Farm
Next stop was archery, my bestie has been an archer for sometime now, and we have been wanting to go for a long time. But majority of the archery clubs don’t offer try outs. I loved my first experience of archery, it was initially challenging to get my arrow to go in the right direction. It did not look like a much of a physically demanding sport to me, but it does get quite exhausting after sometime. 

Archery time 🙂
We had lunch at Dosa Bite, it was nice to try proper dosa for the first time but did not like it that much.

Dosa Bite
Last stop for the night was go karting. It was a thrilling experience! Initially, I did not like it because I’m not really into speeding or car racing of any sort. But part of the reason was the freezing wind, my fingers were freezing! The second ride however, was much more enjoyable. Perhaps, I had gotten used to the wind by now and had a better control of what I was doing. 


Go Karting in Dandenong


Always there to greet us at night
The next day was conference day. I was living near Dandenong so it was a long commute from home. I caught a bus, train and tram to get to the conference at Albert Park. Last time, I was reluctant to catch the public transport alone, but this time, I felt more comfortable travelling on my own.
 
First day of conference, with a rainbow!


View from the conference hotel
This conference was quite different to the last one. It was a much bigger conference. There were people from all over the world (every continent except Antartica). They were from a range of professions, including psychologists, medical doctors and nurses. The presentation topics were very broad so it was often difficult to find a session that was fully relevant.
 
Albert Park and Lake
During my lunch break, I went out to explore Albert Park and Lake which was just across the road.
Albert Park
Albert Park and Lake
 
 


 

My bestie and I stayed home that night and cooked together for the first time! 
Grilled salmon and egg salad + ricotta and spinach agnolotti with creamy mushroom sauce 


“Can you stop taking photos of me and give me food?”

Melbourne showed its true form the next day, it was pouring in the morning.  We went for dinner after the conference in St Kilda, and was very close to getting drenched! 
 
Calamari salad at Bistro Bakini
On Friday, we went to Dex2rose and did some late night shopping. 
Dex2rose at Little Bourke Street


 
Salted caramel and mango sorbet
Obligatory cone shot
 
Charcoal Chocolate Chip Belgian Wafflles ($17.95)
We ordered a Belgian waffle and an ice cream. Sad to say, we were very disapointed with the waffle. I had not seen a waffle before that looked so dark. I was wondering why it looked like a ‘tyre’, the flavour of the waffle just wasn’t right. The matcha brought further disappointment because it tasted worse once the matcha was poured. I had seen a lot of matcha being used on Instagram so I was curious to try it. The rainbow meringues were done well. The only thing that made this dish somewhat okay were the ice cream, but there wasn’t enough of it. So we ended up wasting most of the waffle. The waffle was a huge letdown because we travelled for a long time to get there and faced city traffic. 


Little Bourke Street


Tasmanian salmon + brown rice + Greek salad (~$18)

Saturday was the last day of the conference and headed home back to Sydney after that.

Goodbye furry friend!


En route to airport
Highlights
1)      Although we planned a lot of outdoor plans for us to do, my favourite moments were made in the home. I got to spend a lot of quality time with my bestie rambling about anything and everything!
2) Motivational interviewing workshop at the conference- it made me realise the importance on the collaboration between a patient and counsellor.  
3)  Salmon and brown rice at Costi’s- this was definitely my kind of takeaway I could eat everyday. It was my bestie’s favourite too, so we ended up eating it twice!
 
Trip summary
 
Food
  • Local Malaysian Restaurant near Doveton
  • Vietnamese Restaurant in Springvale
  • Myuna Farm, Doveton
  • Dosa Bite, Point Cook
  • Dex2rose, Little Bourke St, CBD
  • Steve Costi’s Famous Fish, Fountain Gate
  • Bistro Bakini, Mantra, St Kilda
 
Other places
  • Pullman Melbourne Albert Park
  • Albert Park and Lake, St Kilda
  • Le Mans Go Karts, Dandeong South
  • Liverpool City Archers, Moorebank
  • Westfield Fountain Gate

Floriade 2016

Hello everyone!
Please excuse my lateness for posting Floriade pictures. I can’t believe it took me well over a month to get this out. The past month has been very busy and I somehow forgot about this?!

My visit to Canberra was a very short one but enjoyed every moment of it. It kind of made me realise that I should go away more often. I came back feeling very refreshed and happy!

The last time I went to Floriade was 2014, so it was nice to come back after two years. I tried to do a little experimenting with my camera, and happy to say, I think I’ve improved from last time 😛
I’m starting to realise my love for detail photography, the close up flower ones are probably my favourite.
Hope you like the pictures 🙂

Vivid 2016

As you probably know, winter is my favourite season and I love this time of the year. I was really looking forward to Vivid but I could only go once due to the bad weather and other commitments. Unfortunately, this meant I didn’t get to cover all the precincts, but I’m glad I saw some of it, at least.
My favourite was the Cathedral Of Light at Botanic Gardens. It certainly received a lot of attention this year, a lot of people thought it was overrated (which it probably is) but I still enjoyed it 🙂

Here are my top 30 🙂

Cathedral of Light
Almost there..
Cathedral of Light view from the top (my favourite)
Central Park
Central Park
Central Park
Martin Place
Martin Place
Martin Place
Sydney’s Hidden Stories
Sydney’s Hidden Stories
Laser Fountain Water Theater
Laser Fountain Water Theater
Laser Fountain Water Theater

DAA conference | Melbourne

Being a tourist 🙂
Day 1:
Reunited with the bestie at the airport.
*Incessant chattering*
Next stop was food.  
First sunset photo


We chose an Italian restaurant called ‘Vapiano’, based on another friend’s recommendation. It was quite busy; we had to wait to get a table. We decided to order both pizza and pasta.
Ordering pizza was pretty straightforward. However, the pasta line took forever. It took so long that we received our pizzas but still hadn’t been able to order the pasta.


We tried garlic and one zucchini and eggplant pizza. I liked the latter but the garlic one was a bit hard, it got a bit cold by the time we started eating.
The pasta was quite nice and flavoursome but nothing extraordinary and not worth an hour wait!
Vapiano
Spotted a cute florist, on our way to dessert
For dessert, we wanted to go Om Nom but unfortunately they had no space so ended up going to Pancake Parlour Lovely. It’s meant to be a Melbourne version of Pancake on the Rocks. We ordered plain vanilla pancakes and chocolate pancakes to get a combination of both, along with milkshake and coffee. However, we were quite disappointed with the pancakes. Vanilla ones weren’t too bad, but the chocolate one wasn’t done right. Chocolate is one of those things that tastes great with almost everything, but the flavours weren’t balanced for this one. The presence of the chocolate chips made it worse, in this case.
The Pancake Parlour Lovely
Vanilla pancakes stacks + chocolate and strawberries (~$45)
Looks can be deceiving sometimes!
Nightlife
Day 2:
I did not sleep well at all. I kept waking up few times during the night and stayed awake after 5 am. We left the hotel just after 7 am and we were starving! We wanted to go to Hardware Lane but it was in the opposite direction to the conference, and we knew we wouldn’t make it back in time for registration.
7:30AM: ready to go!


We decided to go somewhere else but had a hard time picking and finally went to Five66 Cafe. To be honest, we were reluctant to order here as the inside atmosphere didn’t look very inviting. However, the food wasn’t that bad (don’t judge a book by its cover!)
Big brekkie ($20)
Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre


After the conference, we walked along Yarra River and went to DFO (retail therapy), then caught a metro from Southern Cross station to Melbourne Central Mall (found nothing to buy here). We kept dinner relatively simple went for sushi.
Yarra River – afternoon walk
It rained!
Melbourne Central: first time on a Metro!


Day 3:
I slept much better than I expected. Maybe I’m getting used to the hard pillow after all. We also turned on the air con so it was cooler to sleep. We had a fairly relaxing morning and had plans to brekkie at a famous crumpet place (Cumulus Inc.)
Beautiful morning!


It took us nearly 30 mins to walk there, and there was a line. We had a workshop to get to so we decided to go elsewhere. On our walk back, we picked Café Kinetic. We all ordered the same dish: smoked salmon and poached eggs with creamy hollandaise.
Kinetic Atlantic: soft poached eggs, smoked salmon, creamy hollandaise on wood fired Turkish bread ($14)


It was really yum. I haven’t had smoked salmon and eggs together in a while so I loved it. Their service was relatively quick; we had spare time to take a long walk along Yarra River. We went to St Paul’s Cathedral and accidentally discovered Graffiti Lane. Unfortunately, there was no good graffiti to take photos with so we left after taking one picture.
Beautiful interior detailing at St Paul’s Cathedral
Hosier Lane Graffiti Art
Other side of Yarra River


After the conference, we went to Greek restaurant for dinner called ‘Tsindos’. We had originally booked elsewhere but changed our mind because we realised the other place would be too loud to make conversation. 

This Greek place turned out to be pretty amazing; we started with a big entrée and got full without even starting our mains. We didn’t realise how big their portions would be, or we would’ve ordered less between us. We did not want to waste a whole plate of food; we sat there for a long time and tried to eat as much we could!

Eggplant dip ($7.50) – one of their famous dishes


Saganaki ($10)
Mix platter
What we ate- minus the mix platter and Moussaka mains (~$190)


Overall, their food was delicious and good value for the amount we paid.  We left feeling super full and definitely exceeded our sodium levels (mostly from the cheese dishes- saganaki and haloumi).
Close up view 🙂
Moussaka ($26)


Day 4:
We had plans to catch the tram and go to Hardware Lane for brekkie. However, our plan failed once again. We ended up picking a place closer to our hotel which was recommended by a friend.
This morning was chilly, about 7 degrees. I did not take a coat, so I was freezing and liked the idea of not walking far.
Drooling over this..


We ordered a sourdough and poached eggs, but we wanted something extra (something naughty). We went for chocolate pancakes.
Having dessert at brekkie was a good feeling as we don’t do this often. We devoured the pancakes and the poached pears.

Chocolate pancakes: poached honey pear, jaffa mascarpone, strawberry meringue ($18)

Two free range eggs with sourdough and tomato relish ($11)

Coconut semolina porridge and brulee banana with rhubarb and pistachio ($15)

Happy brekkie at The Grain Store


The brekkie made my day, but I did not realise there would be something else later today that would make my month. We were walking to our last conference lunch, and I happened to walk next to my poster. And I noticed something had been pinned next to it. It was the ‘Best Novice Researcher Poster Award’. I honestly couldn’t believe my luck because there were so many great posters! It almost felt like a dream!!


After the conference, we went to Bourke Street Mall and treated ourselves to more retail therapy. We went for dinner afterwards at Dumpling Plus. We got two plates of dumplings; they were so delicious. They served us a special sauce (caramelised brown sugar, chilli and soy sauce). We were too full to eat our main dinner so packed us a take away instead.
Pork and vegetarian dumplings (~$18)
Overall, this trip was beyond amazing, and I enjoyed every bit of it. It’s something I’ll always remember as it was my first ever conference, and for the award which will always be special to me! 🙂

Trip summary:

Food:

  • Vapiano: 334 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
  • The Pancake Parlour Lovely: Centrepoint Arcade, Bourke Street, Melbourne
  • Five66 Cafe: 566 Flinders Street, Melbourne
  • Cafe Kinetics: 103 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
  • Tsindos: 197 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
  • The Grain Store: 517 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
  • Dumpling Plus: 269 Swanson Street, Melbourne

Other places:

  • Melbourne Exhibition Centre
  • Southbank
  • DFO, South Wharf
  • Melbourne Central Mall
  • St Paul’s Cathedral
  • Hosier Graffiti Lane
  • Bourke Street Mall

Sculpture by the Sea

My homie and I took off to Bondi today.  It has been raining all week but today’s weather looked promising.

Unfortunately the beautiful weather did not last as long as we would have liked, but we managed to get some pretty good pictures.

For lunch, we had plans to eat at The Grounds by the Sea but it had started raining and there was no place to sit indoors. So we started exploring and ended up at Mojo’s Tapas Bar.

We discovered this place by accident but it turned out to be fabulous! Both dishes we ordered were vegetarian. Shown below is a potato and onion omelette, served with a side of aioli.

Tortilla Espanola ($9)

The cous cous dish was quite different to what we had expected. The inner filling was cous cous mixed with roasted vegetables, parmesan and spices. The outside crumbed layer definitely added the to the presentation, along with the yoghurt and cucumber salsa on top.

Bolas De Cous Cous ($10)

Overall, great value for money and definitely a place worth visiting twice!

Mojo’s Tapas Bar
32 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach NSW 2026

Sculpture by the Sea ends this Sunday, 8th November 2015

Winterlight


Winterlight?

What’s that? I hear you ask!

Well, no one seems to know what it is because it’s such a small event. So I thought I’d write about it and make it all trendy haha 😛
So basically it’s a local winter festival happening in Parramatta. It’s kind of like a mini version of vivid but it’s on during the day as well. Activities include ice skating, workshops for kids, various food stalls and much more!
Oh, and did I mention there are big bunnies too? 😛
Winterlight is at Prince Alfred Park and finishes on 12th July.