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.

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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!

 

Quaint hidden cafe – Brawn & Brains

We were on our way to Ju Shin Jung at Guillemard Village (Mountbatten MRT) after a Carousell purchase when this black banner “Brawn & Brains Cafe” caught our eyes just when I mentioned that I need coffee after food. Perfecto!

Flat White at Brawns & Brains

Mmm… how should I describe the location of this cafe hidden away from the hustle and bustle. Okay, turn right at the corner right before you see Ju Shin Jung and you will spot tiny yellow metal squares for the petite asses (which I do not have). You will notice many rock climbers hopping over from the rock climbing gym nearby.

Its a tiny, unassuming cafe with a relatively more casual crowd compared to pretentious coffee places. Over at Brawn & Brains, you get quality coffee at incredible prices! $3.50 for a decent flat white comparable to some in Sydney and $3.80 for an ice cold brew. You get to choose from the beans they offer that day, for instance ours was either Single Origin or (let me find out from my partner in crime). My flat white was a rich, very slightly acidic and smokey. Wallet friendly price is an absolutely bonus!

Didn’t take much photos so I shall keep it short. Drop by and try it for yourself 🙂 I noticed others happily munching on delicious looking Beef Pastrami Sandwich and Salted Caramel Tart, will probably try it next time!

Brawn & Brains at 100 Guillemard Road #01-07, get there before they close at 7.30pmhttp://www.brawnandbrains.sg

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.