6 Days in Western Australia

IMG_5254I’ve spent some time working in Sydney a few years back and there are just countless things about the lifestyle in Australia that makes it a great place to live in. Since Andrew’s leave was only approved a month before, we decided to head somewhere we can drive, offers a varied experience and ideally cost less than SGD500 to fly. Perth came up as the top choice within mere seconds on Scoot (SGD420 per person for return ticket).

Perth is one of the largest metropolitan in Australia stretching from Two Rocks in the north to Rockingham (near Mandurah) in the south – 7 times larger than Singapore. Imagine the urban planning involved to provide public transport and utilities to such a large city. Our 6 days itinerary focuses road trips north and south of Perth. 

Day 1 – Perth International Airport – Hertz Car Rental -Fremantle for the night (Cool Studio via Airbnb)

Day 2 – Lancelin: Sand Dunes & Sand Surfing – Nambung National Park: Pinnacles & Desert drive – Fremantle for the night (Cool Studio via Airbnb)

Day 3 – Head South to Busselton Jetty – Lunch at The Goose – Eagle Bay Brewing Co. – Cape Naturaliste – Sugarloaf Rock – Coles @ Margaret River – Margaret River for the night (No.12 Garden Studio Apartment via Airbnb)

Day 4 – Margaret River Food & Wine Day: Margaret River Dairy Company – The Margaret River Chocolate Company – Providore – Hay Shed Hill (Best lunch!) – Vasse Virgin (Soup Factory) – Ashbrook Estate – Vasse Felix – Teddis Big Spoon (Korean Dinner) – Margaret River for the night (No.12 Garden Studio Apartment via Airbnb)

Day 5 – Head back to Perth – Bunbury Farmers Market – Mandurah – Flipflopfisheries (Shark Fish & Chips) – San Churro Mandurah – The Old Crow (Dinner in Perth) – Perth City Night View from Sir James Mitchell Park – Subiaco for the night via Airbnb

Day 6 – Outdoor activities on Good Friday: Brunch at Harvest Espresso – Fremantle streets and market – Fremantle Prison – Drive along the coast – Cottesloe Beach – London Court Cafe – Perth International Airport

Personal Tips I’d like to share

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How to find good food on the go

It used to be called Urbanspoon when I was still in Sydney, now it’s Zomato. With the same interface, user experience and strong community – it is still my go-to app to find out what’s trending, what the locals like and what is around the area when I just want to fill my stomach.

driving

Driving in WA

We are less of a city-traveller, which is why we chose self driving as one of the best way to experience this land. Renting a vehicle was probably the easiest to begin with as there are tons of car rental companies at Perth International Airport. Andrew did most of the homework but what I gathered was:

  • Rental – If you and your partner can prove that you live together (same residential address), you don’t need to pay additional fees for authorizing a second driver
  • Car Insurance – There’s usually quite a high excess payable for any accidents or damages to the car. Read carefully the details to your vehicle insurance prior to renting. We decided to purchase travel insurance that covers excess to vehicle rental up to SGD500. You can do some travel insurance comparison on GoBear like I did to familiarize yourself with the different travel insurance out there.
  • Parking is generally more expensive in the city. We tend to look for street side parking but do take note of the different pricing indicated on the signs. There’s 1/2P, 2P, 3P etc, which refers to number of hours you can park within a specific timeframe usually indicated below that – along with whether it’s free or payable. Unlike Singapore, free parking is only allowed for the stipulated time frame on the sign. If you’re a homework person, there’s more information here.
  • Petrol surprisingly didn’t cost us too much despite us driving 1372km in a little Ford Hunchback. Each pump cost about 30 odd Aussie dollars for us. The petrol prices varies depending on location and provider/operator of each petrol station so if you’re looking for the cheapest petrol around you or in a particular area you’re heading to, use WA Fuel Finder

My new found quirk of the trip – Splitwise

It’s free, user-friendly, intuitive and so simple! Genuine review of this new app Andrew discovered for bill splitting – Splitwise. However, we used it more for tracking of expenses into 2 buckets – Airfare + Accommodation which is more of your pre-trip expenses, and cash expenses during the trip. We didn’t have to worry about scrimping and saving or overspending as long as we know we are on track and it is so much easier to decided who to pay what. Since he paid for pre-trip (SGD1.4k), I paid for everything during the trip (SGD1.2k) which end up somewhat balancing out the accounts 😉

Phew…took me a few hours on and off for this. Hopefully this overview itinerary will give you some ideas to toy with! I will be providing more of my thoughts and details for each sightseeing spot or restaurant and maps in subsequent posts.

If you have any cool finds from your trips or any comments, please let me know!

 

Hong Kong Mysteries – Kennedy Town

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There’s always something new to discover in Hong Kong despite my millionth time there. In the past, my friends and I adore the bustling local scenes on Kowloon side. But this time, I went in search of quirky westernised scenes nestled in old Hong Kong.

Kennedy Town, Hong Kong – Hippy Spin to an old town

This little suburb is a perfect place to head to for a sip of java and enjoy a meal away from the hustle and bustle of the city (which is really only 2 MTR stations away with the new extension of the Island Line).

A bit of HK History download from my local friend, Hong Kong Island was the beginning of this city, before expansion to Kowloon. Kennedy Town was a part of the reclamation along the coast and development was not as vigorous as other urban parts of Hong Kong until recent years, which explains how Kennedy Town is a melting pot of old and new.

IMG_2550Take a stroll along the strips of waterfront in the evening and enjoy the breeze, take in a slower pace and serenity of Hong Kong. It’s such an undiscovered gem for a romantic evening even my local friends were pleasantly surprised *took mental notes for spots to bring their girlfriends*.

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Go in search of cafes hidden away quietly among local cha chaan tengs and traditional medicinal shops. Every corner you turn, you will be able to find a delightfully designed cafe, Italian restaurant or pub to chill out. Walked pass Bistro Du Vin at Davis Street, didn’t get the chance to give this popular one a try. If you are in Hong Kong definitely give this a go! The restaurant offers a really relaxing French bistro vibe (somewhat countryside).

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Waffling Beans shopfront caught our attention and we were not disappointed by the Belgium Waffles and Coffee served. Tucked away on a street of car mechanics and hardware suppliers, this cafe hits all the sweet spots. The play of mirrors in the cafe, stocked with a bounty of magazines, free coffee smells and an extensive menu of toppings for your Belgium waffles.

Check out Kennedy Town the next time you’re visiting Hong Kong. I like to search for local favourites on OpenRice HK too whenever I am there.

Rock & Roll

I try to find something new to experience or somewhere new to explore every weekend in Sydney and last Saturday was one of the best ever!

Located at Manning House, in the picturesque grounds of University of Sydney, just 15 minutes from my apartment on foot, Sydney Rock ‘n’ Roll & Alternative Market is one of the most coolest alternative market I have been to so far with all things rock & roll related.

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I consider myself pretty lucky to chance upon this lil gem cause its held every two months (and the next one is in April after I leave Sydney). It is a part market, part music festival + meeting place with really unique vintage + punk rock shopping. There were loads of cool stalls featured across all 3 levels of the Manning House (in and out doors). I’ve never seen so many beautifully hand-crafted alternative and vintage jewellery, accessories and artworks in my life! Of course they were really pricey too. The “flea” market was packed with stalls selling vintage clothing, oldies music including rock posters, cult DVDs, second-hand books, old Marvel comics, and make up stylists to create your retro hair and make up look!

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As I ventured up the stairways lined with paintings done by students from the university, I heard live band jamming away from Manning Bar on the rooftop. It was a cozy little bar, carpeted so you can sit anywhere you want to, with a dance floor right in front of the stage. I managed to catch 2 different bands amongst the whole line-up for the day from across the country and it was just so relaxing and enjoyable listening to the great rock n roll, people watching, dancing along and having cold cheap beers. Just so everyone knows, Heinkein here is better than in Singapore! Oh, and the awesome ciders! 🙂 

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Its a great place to hang out with friends and the fact that its housed in such a beautiful university makes me miss my school days even more. Yes, I am a nerd and I loved my university days the most 🙂 The friends, the times we spend together, the memories forged, the wild freedom and the late night suppers.

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Alright, back to work peeps. Have a lovey dovey valentine’s week everyone 🙂

what happens at six sharp

thought of posting on my daily dinner routine in HKUST tonight!

Its really quite like eating dinner with your family on days you’re at home (and not camping in school rushing projects or mugging your ass off). You know, that comfortable quiet feeling of just eating and chatting about the lil happenings of the day(:

so its a daily six sharp gathering at LG 5 canteen (: unless its a go-out-for-dinner-day-cause-we’re-sick-of-school-food!

The ever-so-crowded LG 5 during mealtimes.

Found out something pretty amusing today :

a shuffling of tables in a weak but bonus-for-effort attempt to change the

dull and boring canteen environment LOL

Fashion statement of the day –> my RED FBT! This is so hall-fashion! and I’m loving it! (:

Really can’t be bothered to dress up for a quick dinner after a tiring 80+ MCQ mid-term paper

Its a norm to have drinks with your orders in HK,

and its hard to resist because of a mere addition of 3HKD for Iced Milk Tea!

err…50cents sgd? HAHAS!

Craving for noodles today so here’s my 杂酱面 order(:

added a heap load of my favourite chives!

#1 lifesize walking stomach : Johnston Yeo.

Credits to his record of downing 6 thick toast bread cause it’s expiring,

and the fact that he ate dimsum for lunch, laksa for tea and wanton mee for dinner today!

#2 Rice lover : Cheah Ai Lin,

my beloved daughter who is a total 无饭不欢的饭桶!

 

its 1030am

and I’m stuck in my room, skipping yet another psychology class in an attempt to study for my paper at 1:30pm. and clearly I am not doing very well at it! I refuse to get my ass down to studying hard for Population and Society although I’ve already missed one pop quiz and did slightly below mean for all previous quizzes.

another paper tomorrow at 1:30pm again.

please give me a mountain heap of luck and a clock that ticks 1000x faster so wednesday will come and go in a jiffy! (: I need my sleep, my teevee, my retail therapies, my exercises and most importantly, a release of overflowing ideas!

and do you know, my boyfriend is so smart! HAHAS proud ass

-can’t wait to blog with photos.

a piece of my cake

Have been as thrifty as possible in Hong Kong! Those we know me back in Singapore, yes I am willing to spend a bomb on exquisite cuisines, tea time sweeties of coffee and dessert and anywhere that spells Ambience and Chillness!

But being in Hong Kong, with a fixed amount of cash in the green lil hangseng bank account and no constant income (allowance in my case ;p). I really can’t bring myself to spend! The amount that bleeds out of my bank only covers my daily basic food consumption (and snacks which are making me fat, hence the critical need to stop snacking), my transportation expenses, and laundry! It’s really expensive to eat NORMAL food over here! Even the cheapest of places, with the most traditional and run down layout charges at least 5sgd for a main course! What happen to dear singapore foodcourt with average 3.50sgd food!

After 71days of depriving myself of a decent starbucks cake, I had to bring it home!

The 40th Anniversary Chocolate Dome!

Beneath the smooth layer of chocolate coating with sprinkles of golden dust lays soft coffee mousse. With a heart of citrus jam and praline crunch, this lil dome gave me the ultimate sugar rush of the night!

a happy photo with baby dome in my hand!

 

Alright, here comes the craziest part! I HAD to share this cake with mervyn! How can I possible enjoy starbucks cake without my starbucks partner?! Amazing how he started off buying me starbucks and coffeebean cakes to being my cakepartner(:

Webcam does the trick for now! and the unglam process of my HK starbucks cake experience was documented without my knowlegde. Thanks for the comical quickfix dear(: Please take in to account that he has a paper today and I have more superior photoshop skills ;p

Ending this post off with the many more starbucks cake I want to stuff myself with before heading back to singapore! Please do my fat tummy a favour and tell me if any of the cakes are available in singapore!

Have only about 7 weeks left in Hongkong, a cake a week! ;p

salted caramel cheescake

wild strawberry cheesecake

and many more!

 

 

growling stomach episode 1

After an emotions-filled first (proper) post ever since I touched down in the Land of Dim Sum and Shopping Paradise, let me now revert to my true-gluttony self! (:

Honestly, I must say that most of the yummy food I tried here belongs to the touristy F&B areas! Its hard to find a family-owned 茶餐厅 that satisfies my taste buds (other than this run-down looking one in causeway bay that serves 奶茶 and 饺子that makes you high!).

The food here is generally very salty (trust me when a salty-food lover says that), maybe oily at times, huge load of meat and a depressing lack of greens! By the way, the rice here are scooped with SOUP SCOOPS! So yes, being a rice-hater and vege-lover, daily meals are depressing! I am always overreacting when I see GREENS!

I should seriously take a video of how the scary aunties in the canteen scoop rice in to bowls! :p

But there is a reason why Hong Kong is labeled the Land of Dim Sum (: Its sooo good here I can’t stop eating! There are dim sum dishes here you can NEVER find in Singapore!

Introducing one of the best Dim Sum Restaurant I’ve tried – 稻香! My first restaurant-style Dim Sum Brunch experience with my fellow SEP friends(: There will be more dimsum experiences to come, but mostly smaller cafe-style with higher level of food-snatching and seats-chopping needed!

There’s my FAVOURITE 波囖叉烧包! The bread was soft and warm, with steaming hot juicy sweet 叉烧 filling and slightly sweet crispy top! (A similar one that is crispier on the outside at mongkok, blog another time!) Basically I LOVE anything with 叉烧 so yay to 叉烧酥, all pipping hot!(: The 煎堆 with rich purplish yam filling and 汤圆 with fragrant and thick sesame paste are must-haves too! Clearly I enjoy sweet Dim Sum dishes more than savory ones.

Savory Dimsum are kinda taken for granted. The usual 虾饺, 烧卖, 肠粉. But this restaurant has amazing springrolls! (FYI, I hate springrolls, right jiawei?) The springroll here has PRAWNS! The other strange ailen looking object is actually cows stomach, which is called 金钱肚 over here, no idea why but its SUPER YUMMY! I know I am not suppose to be eating beef, but its irresistable!

One more before I stop here, EGGTART! Another item that I am not a huge fan of, but this one at central really changed my impression of eggtarts! The temptation of buttery fragrant pastry crust and smooth milky bouncy egg filling! The ultimate comfort food! ((: 

I have way too much Hong Kong food to “document” after comtemplating for 60days, so stay tuned!

*pardon the ugly unedited photos due to a disappointing lack of photoshop software in the computer barn.