melbourne: a stroll through the park

My friend, Melody, just happened to literally live across from the Shrine of Remembrance and the Botanic Garden. How convenient is that? Not only are these two places free to enter, but incredibly beautifully built and well managed.

I loved being able to walk through the botanic gardens and see little kids on field trips with their matching and required hats walking in lines. I loved being able to walk around in the afternoon and not sweating after 10 minutes like in Singapore’s Botanic Gardens. The Botanic Gardens was pretty huge, and I didn’t get to see all of it. I did like the area by the pond, and saw ducks with cute baby ducklings.

I got to learn a bit more about Australian history in the Shrine of Remembrance as well. Here are some of highlights from both places!

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driving the great ocean road

By far one of my favorite parts of visiting Melbourne was seeing the great ocean road. I mean what can beat a beautiful scenic ocean drive along the Australian coast, with a road trip worthy Spotify playlist, and of course good food along the way.

The route that we took as recommended by Melody’s friend looked like this:

Melbourne –> Lorne –>Cape Otway  Lighthouse –>  Gibson Steps –>12 Apostles View –> Back to Melbourne

In the end, I’m so glad we decided to rent a car instead of taking a tour bus. It was great just being able to pull over and make random stops as needed, for fun and unique Australian road signs or finding sleepy koalas in tall trees next to the road. I highly recommend the route that we took, but be prepared for the long journey. We were a bit rushed because we had to make it back by 7pm to Melbourne. However, the day trip is totally possible!

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melbourne: city & beach life

Two things I’m drawn to are bustling cities and beautiful beaches. Luckily, Melbourne had both and quite close to each other. One day on my trip, I walked around the city, found a gorgeous cafe called the grain store to eat a leisurely brunch and then walked over to this amazing place for donuts called short stop. The rose earl grey donut was amazing. Like my friend said, it sounded like a donut made for me. Not only was the donut delicious, they served it to you with a glass of sparkling water (on the house) and friendly service.

Afterwards, I was able to hop on the free tram (in the city) and get to Flinders street station and catch a 20min. train to Brighton beach. The train ran pretty frequently getting there and back. It was about a 5 minute walk to the beach from the station and I got to see the iconic bright bathing houses. Even though it was warm but windy spring weather, there was a man I saw sun bathing outside his bright red bathing house! I was of course in a thin jacket, scarf, and sunglasses, trying to keep warm.

The beach was full of tourists taking many photos in front of the different bathing houses. I’m glad I took the time to see and enjoy the beach in Melbourne. I highly recommend it if you are visiting. Stay tuned for more photos on my adventures in Melbourne…

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coming home for christmas

It has been 8 years since I’ve left NY. I’ve never gone home for Christmas and instead during that time, I’ve celebrated Christmas in different countries including Korea, Thailand, and Singapore. Some of the memories I’ve made were  volunteering and giving out gifts at an orphanage in Korea, relaxing on the beach in Thailand, or watching Christmas movies in sweatshirts with the AC blaring while pretending that it’s cold outside. However, it’s not home. It’s not with family. It’s not Christmas in NY.

I just splurged and bought my ticket home for Christmas this year. So what am I looking forward to besides the 24+ hours of travel time, jet lag, and freezing weather? Hopefully a snow filled Christmas morning, ridiculous Christmas lights on homes (think full sized lighted reindeers on roof tops), and the tree at Rockefeller Center. Oh, there will definitely be some hanging out by the fireplace, opening presents with family on Christmas morning, and walking along Fifth avenue to take in the Christmas lights.

There’s something quite magical about Christmas time in New York. It’s hard to really explain it in words, it’s just something you have to experience. The countdown begins to Christmas!

Some photos I took in New York this past summer at the observatory of the Freedom Tower and the Brooklyn Bridge.dsc_0294dsc_0297dsc_0319dsc_0325dsc_0326dsc_0327dsc_0332dsc_0323dsc_0345

Exploring Arab Street & Rochor Centre

On Saturday, my photographer friends and I ventured to the sunny streets in order to get some good photos! Even though we were tempted to keep our outing indoors due to the hot sun, we persevered and managed to get some good shots. The Rochor Centre buildings are coming down soon and I was really excited to get some shots of these colorful buildings before they would just be a faint memory of Singapore’s past. Our route ended up looking like this:

1) A.R.C. Coffee (29 Sultan Street) – We need food/drinks before a good photo walk of course! Plus, they have really cool wall art outside the building.

2) Arab Street- We walked towards Haji Lane and saw the Mosque and fun restaurants, cafes and stores along the way.

3) Rocher Centre-It’s near Bugis MRT Station. Make sure you check it out before the buildings come down…

4) Curious Palette (64 Prinsep Street)- We ended our photo walk with more food and drinks of course at this hipster cafe.  DSC_0577DSC_0582DSC_0584DSC_0586DSC_0588DSC_0592DSC_0593DSC_0605DSC_0608

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