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!

dsc_0018dsc_0017dsc_0016dsc_0008dsc_0005dsc_0003dsc_0001dsc_0024dsc_0025dsc_0028dsc_0031dsc_0046dsc_0049dsc_0056dsc_0054

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!

dsc_0164dsc_0166dsc_0167dsc_0170dsc_0175dsc_0203dsc_0218dsc_0220dsc_0255dsc_0267dsc_0259dsc_0256dsc_0279dsc_0290dsc_0299dsc_0239

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…

dsc_0065dsc_0067dsc_0069dsc_0074dsc_0089dsc_0092dsc_0095dsc_0104dsc_0103dsc_0124

from coogee to bondi

If there’s one thing you need to do in Sydney, it’s the coastal walk from Coogee beach to Bondi beach. The weather couldn’t have been any sunnier, and armed with sunblock, a towel, and water, we walked. Within the first few minutes of our walk, Jenni and I were taking out our cameras and iphones rapidly taking photos. After another 10 minute walk, we stopped to take more photos. Our friend and amazing Australian tour guide, Dave, joked that this walk might take a few more hours at this rate.

Along the walk, we passed numerous beaches that were equally breathtaking, all leading up to the infamous Bondi beach. A few hours later(we obviously made a lot of pit stops to take photos, breathe in the scenery, and swim), we finally saw the glorious blue hues of Bondi beach, filled with camera carrying tourists, endless surfers in the ocean, and just beautiful people.  We were here. We awed at the pools that edged along the ocean creating the illusion that it’s in the ocean. Apparently most of the beaches have these saltwater pools right next to the ocean and Bondi is one of the few pools where you have to pay to swim in it. The other ocean pools are free.

After a few hours enjoying the waves, sun and scenery at Bondi, Dave took us to a nearby look out point to enjoy the sunset. Not only are the beaches beautiful, but the sunsets were incredibly beautiful as well. Admiring the Sydney skyline with the Harbour bridge in the distance, I couldn’t help but be filled with awe and gratitude.

Stay tuned for more photos to come from #jandjsydney trip.  Can’t wait to share about all the glorious food and more amazingly scenic adventures.

sydney-0530sydney-0529sydney-0579sydney-0581sydney-0572sydney-0568sydney-0586sydney-0609sydney-0611sydney-0617sydney-0637 sydney-0632 sydney-0624sydney-0633sydney-0692 sydney-0698sydney-0689