Chinese New Year 2016 Trip to Sydney and Melbourne, Australia.
I’m back to Malaysia! In fact, I have actually returned home yesterday from my wonderful Chinese New Year vacation to Australia, but not having the energy to immediately write a blog post about it yesterday. Hence, I do it today. That was my first time visiting the country and I have covered its two largest cities; Sydney and Melbourne in a 8 days 5 nights trip with my parents under a tour group.
7th February 2016 (Sunday)
- Arrived at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) for flight to Melbourne in the evening. In the plane for about 7 to 8 hours.
- Reached Melbourne International Airport the next day.
8th February 2016 (Monday) – First day of Chinese New Year festival.
- Start of the city tour around Melbourne with first stop being the St. Patrick’s Cathedral, largest church building in Australia. The main feature of the building would be its tall towers and huge colourful window panels.
- Next stop is Fitzroy Gardens where the Captain James Cook’s Cottage is located. Description about this historical cottage is in the image below.
- Walk around at Chinatown in the afternoon and also later in the evening.
- Visited the Shrine of Remembrance, a monument building with exhibition space beneath in memory of the soldiers perished in the past two World Wars. A walk in the exhibition space exposed visitors to the history of World War I and II, as well as contribution of the Australian soldiers in the wars and their effort for peace.
- Visited the National Gallery of Victoria where many art displays (sculptures, paintings, installations, antiques, etc) are exhibited in several floors of the building combining works from both East and West.
- Also visited the Skydeck 88, the observatory (88th floor) at Eureka Tower, the tallest building in Melbourne. Had a ride in the very fast elevator inside the tower that brought us up straight to 88th floor in a little over 30 seconds only. Enjoyed breathtaking view over the city of Melbourne including the city’s main business district, sports park and Melbourne Cricket Ground, etc.
9th February 2016 (Tuesday)
- A long journey in the bus to the Great Ocean Road, a road built by the former World War’s soldiers in dedication to the perished victims of the wars. The road is all along the hills facing the beautiful coastline of southern Australia.
- Took a helicopter ride (this 10-minutes ride costs us around RM1000) to have an aerial view of the 12 Apostles at Port Campbell National Park. Out of twelve, only eight apostles remain today. They are limestone stacks at the shore off the national park.
- Also visited the Loch Ard Gorge nearby, the place where a ship ran aground hitting into the land in 1878 with only two survivors left from the tragedy.
10th February 2016 (Wednesday)
- Wine tasting in a wineyard. It’s a bit inappropriate to get drunk in the early morning. Well, not drunk at all since we only get to taste a bit of the four types of wines presented.
- Visit to a lavender farm. Pleasant aroma from the lavender which can be made into many different uses but I’m not that comfortable with its strong smell.
- Had buffet lunch in an exquisite German Cuckoo Restaurant.
- Boarded a Puffing Billy Ride, a one way ride aboard Australia’s oldest steam train to enjoy view across the Dandenong Forest in Yarra Valley. I’m sitting not in the train but on the side like what most other people did too. It’s more fun like that.
- Heading to Phillip Island in the afternoon to view the famous Little Penguins Parade later in the evening. At around 9pm every night, these small penguins will return to their home in the island from the sea. They are so cute. Unfortunately, no photography is allowed and so I didn’t get to take any photos of these penguins.
11th February 2016 (Thursday)
- Took a domestic flight from Melbourne to Sydney. In the plane for about one to two hours only. Reached Sydney International Airport.
- First stop in the city is the Sydney Fish Market, an indoor and outdoor market selling fresh seafood, fruits, vegetables, drinks, etc. Our lunch; a giant lobster served on top of a bowl of noodles and sliced abalones in XO sauce. The meal costs us around RM1000.
- Passed by many happening streets in Sydney and The Rocks.
- Boarded the Harbour Cruise in the afternoon. Cruised along the beautiful harbour of Sydney and enjoyed fantastic view of the city skyline, the harbour and of course also the two most iconic attractions of the city; Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. An image of both of these landmarks defines Australia.
- Visited the Botanical Garden. This is the place where Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair is located. It is a huge stone chair for Mrs. Macquarie, the wife of the former Governor of Australia. The chair was for her who likes to wait for the return of her husband to Sydney in the past after each working trips at there while enjoying the view of the harbour.
- Passed by St. Mary’s Cathedral, largest church building in Sydney and second largest in Australia.
- Had buffet dinner in Star City Casino. Also had a quick walk in the casino but didn’t have the time to try my luck there.
12th February 2016 (Friday)
- Visit to Koala Park Sanctuary. The park is home to a very adorable koala, several kangaroos, a wombat, bats, peacocks, sheep, birds, etc. Took picture with a koala but not allowed to touch it, fed several kangaroos, saw a sleeping wombat (couldn’t see its whole appearance), and watch a sheep shearing demonstration.
- Visit to Katombaa region and viewed the beautiful forest valley of Blue Mountain. Also saw the famous Three Sisters Rock at the Echo Point. There are several stories behind the unique-looking rock of which you can search easily online. Even Queen Elizabeth II had visited this place 62 years ago to view the rocks exactly on the same day with us (very coincident).
- Visited the Scenic World attraction nearby; ride on a cable car down and took a walk in the forest on a raised platform and saw an underground mine, took on an electronic train ride up to above the hill to exit the attraction. The train ride has the steepest incline railway in the world where at one point the angle is beyond 60 degree. An awesome ride for youngsters like me but a terror ride for the elders.
- Pass by ANZ Stadium, the main stadium for the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympic Games in the Sydney Olympic Park.
- Back to the city and had dinner at Darling Harbour.
- Visit to Sydney’s Chinatown which is much more happening than the one at Melbourne.
13th February 2016 (Saturday)
- Visit to Market City Building where the Paddy’s Market is. Bought some souvenirs (shirts, magnets, a replica of Sydney Opera House and a wallet) in there.
- Visit to Queen Victoria Building where many branded shops are located inside this classical-styled building. Bought some chocolates there at Haigh’s Chocolates, a very famous chocolate brand in Australia.
- Walk along and around George Street, a very happening street with many shops, cafes, restaurants, pubs, etc.
- Arrived at Sydney International Airport for flight back home to Kuala Lumpur in the evening.
14th February 2016 (Sunday) – Valentine’s Day.
- Arrived at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on midnight. Left airport in the early morning with a taxi ride back home. Trip officially ended.
The trip that costs my family nearly RM 25 000 is over and we do really have a great time over there in Australia for this long vacation. This trip marked the first time I’m taking a helicopter ride, the first time I’m seeing penguins, kangaroos, koala and wombat right in front of my eyes and the first time I’m eating a lobster. I really enjoyed this trip and it’s sad to leave Australia. Wait…I’m going back to the country this Friday (but will be on Perth then,…no more Sydney and Melbourne) to commence my postgraduate study.
(Images in this post are only a very small part of a collection of about 400 images I took during the trip. If you want to have a look at all the pictures, you can click on this link: https://www.facebook.com/VincentLoy/media_set?set=a.10153981288749337.1073741835.553754336&type=3&pnref=story. I have uploaded all the photos in my Facebook account. Copyrights reserved to all the images.)