Flinders Street Railway Station – Meet me under the clocks

Flinders Street railway station is Australia’s oldest train station. It is Melbourne city icon with its distinctive yellow facade and green copper dome. Before Federation Square took the honours, Flinders Street Station was Melbourne’s favourite meeting place, hence the catchphrase ‘meet me under the clocks’.

Listed on the Victorian Heritage Register, its 708-metre main platform is the fourth longest railway platform in the world, covers 2 whole city blocks and extend from Swanston Street to Queen Street.

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It is the busiest suburban railway station in the southern hemisphere, with over 1500 trains and 110,000 commuters passing through each day.

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One of the must visit landmark if you are in Melbourne. It wont consume you much time and within walking distance, you can reach Federation Square & St Paul’s Cathedral.

Federation Square – view of Flinders Railway Station

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St Paul’s Cathedral – view of Flinders Railway Station

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Queen Victoria Market – Kitchen for every Melbournians

The Queen Victoria Market is a major landmark in Melbourne, Australia, and at around seven hectares (17 acres) is the largest open air market in the Southern Hemisphere.

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The first shop we went – Market Lane Coffee. The coffee taste is sophisticated and keeps you wanting more. Although it is a bit pricey (AUD 5 / cup) but it’s worth trying. The staff is super friendly too.

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Koko Black – for their signature hot chocolate. Click here for details 

 

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Boreks – It is kind of Turkish dish (the word ‘börek’ derives from ‘börbör’ meaning cover, wrap or enfold).

Ask for a borek with cheese and spinach, one with lamb or order one with potato and vegetables. Just need to have your money ready as they’re always super busy and go through orders quickly. One of the cheapest, most popular and best lunches in Melbourne. Price per pieces, around AUD 3.50

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The Bratwurst Shop & Co’s. The sausages made here are both crispy and juicy with variety of choice, from mild, spicy, cheese, weisswurst, black pepper, chorizo or chicken & mushroom with your selection of mustards, sauces or sauerkraut. You also could choice either to serve with white / wholemeal roll.

A great snack or meal when you’re at queen Victoria market. After a few bites, this delight does get a little heavy but with the addition of pickles and sauerkraut the balance is right!

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American Doughnut Kitchen. Your best bet is to eat them hot right there and make sure the warm jelly does not drop on your shirt, but since it is hot maybe give them a few minutes to cool down.

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Opening hours

Tue: 6am – 2pm
Thu: 6am – 2pm
Fri: 6am – 5pm
Sat: 6am – 3pm
Sun: 9am – 4pm

* Closed Monday, Wednesday and some public holidays.

How to get there

By Tram: The Market is located within the free tram zone. Take the 19, 57 or 59 to Stop 7, Elizabeth St or Tram 58 to Stop 9, Peel St.

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Rochford Wines – Established in year 1997

We followed local trip to visit Rochford Wines after our ride from Puffing Billy.  Rochford Wines is a family owned business & established in year 1997.

It is a must visit destination in the picturesque Yarra Valley. The vineyard and winery incorporates an acclaimed restaurant, cellar door and shop, together with other purpose built facilities – a pavilion, amphitheatre and lakeside deck – to service fabulous outdoor concerts, summer food and wine festivals, and a host of other functions and events.

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It’s offer a variety of wines during the tasting session, from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz and etc. I could say that it is one of the best wine tasting experiences in the valley. Staff were great, knowledgeable and enthusiastic but not pushy or assuming you know very little or a lot. Wines were obviously fantastic and stunning.

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The Winery is set among rolling hills and as the weather was perfect – sunny with a slight chill- the walk around the property was a lovely way to finish the visit.

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The restaurant area is very modern, open and pleasant with views across the vineyards and quite conducive to a relaxing meal (with wine). Due to time constraint, I do not take any meal there. So no comment on the food.

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The Souvenir Shop

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I bought 2 bottle of red wine before leave. 🙂

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Rochford Wines Yarra Valley

Address: 878-880 Maroondah Hwy, Coldstream VIC 3770, Australia

Phone: +61 3 5957 3333

Open everyday, from 9am – 5pm

 

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Puffing Billy – The world oldest surviving steam railway

Puffing Billy is the world oldest surviving steam railway and it is also one of the finest preserved steam railways in the world. This century old steam train is still running on its original 25 kilometre mountain track from Belgrave to Gembrook, through the beautiful forests and fern gullies of the Dandenong Ranges.

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We ride the train from Menzies Creek to Belgrave. I guess it is about 30 minutes journey. Not a long trip. But we got lots of fun from there.

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Kids are very enjoyed and we thought we are back to young again, with hang our legs outside the carriage (This is the fun part and most of the rider did as well).

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Puffing Billy trip offers you a wonderful views of the countryside and close ups of the wonderful foliage. Bring your kids to explore together. It is a very good family outing trip.

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Shrine of Remembrance – A building with a soul

The Shrine of Remembrance located in Kings Domain on St. Kilda Road, Melbourne, is one of Melbourne’s most iconic landmark, honouring  the service and sacrifice of Australian men  & women who served in armed combat and peacekeeping operation during the world war I.

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It is a place for sharing and preserving important stories about war, peace, service and lessons learned.

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Top of Shrine of Remembrance

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Interior

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View from top and face to city. Can you see the St. Paul Cathedral from far?

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Recommend to visit a few hour to explore, learnt, reflect and pay respect. You can join a guided group at 11am and 2pm (Always check for the update time before you go, just in case any changes of the timing).

Don’t ask me how to go there? I actually walked from the city, crossed the Princes bridge, passed the Queen Victoria Gardens, Sydney Myer Music Bowl and looked for Royal Botanic Gardens. It is actually just inside the Royal Botanic Gardens. All I could remembered is a long long walk.

 

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Koko Black – Sumptuous cafe & Chocolate shop

Sometimes it really luscious to go and spoil oneself at places like Koko Black, a sumptuous cafe and chocolate shop.

This location is nested inside the Royal Arcade with a decent amount of seats. They sell chocolate by the piece and the price is rather high. If you are touring the city, stop here for a break and sit in the halls of the Royal Arcade and enjoy one of their fine cups of hot chocolate and desserts. Just like what we do!

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My daughter with her heartpop chocolate  sdr

Hot Chocolate Affogato
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The signature drink – Hot Chocolate. It is rich in flavour and the texture is so silky and creamy. It doesn’t have the bitterness of the chocolate. People always says chocolate can make you feel happy, I think it’s true. It actually brighten up our day.

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Address:

52 Collins St, Melbourne
VIC 3000

Trading Hours

Monday – Friday: 8:30am til 6pm
Saturday: 10am til 6pm
Sunday: 11am til 6pm

Friday 29th : Closed

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Great Ocean Road – The world’s greatest drive

No trip to Melbourne would be the same without visiting the Great Ocean Road, one of the finest road in Australia and the world. This meandering road passes through stunning landscapes, from unspoiled beaches to rain forests towering limestone cliffs set against the clear sky.

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From Melbourne, we joined the local tour instead of self driving, by considering the kids are still young and also the road condition.

The Great Ocean Road was built by world war I veteran between 1919 and 1932 in memory of soldier who sacrificed their lives in the war. It is an Australian National Heritage listed 243 km stretch of road along the south-eastern coast of Australia between the Victorian cities of Torquay and Allansford.

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Drop by at Anglesea – a town with less than 3,000 population.

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Lunch at Apollo Bay. Also a small town. Population is less than 2,000. Hard to believe.

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It is used to know as Island Archway (at the entrance of Loch Ard Gorge on the right). After the central section collapsed in June 2009, the two limestone stacks have thus renamed Tom and Eva, after the survivor of Loch Ard.

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Loch Ard Gorge – is one of the best-loved stop-off points along the Great Ocean Road. It’s situated in the Port Campbell National Park and is just three minutes from the world-famous formation of the Twelve Apostles.

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The picturesque gorge is home to a smooth, pearlescent bay and an inlet of clear, blue water. It’s flanked by two yellow-washed cliff faces and tufts of vibrant greenery. Though it looks like something out of a storybook, Loch Ard isn’t just a pretty face. In fact, it has an interesting and colourful history that spans back hundreds of years.

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Gibson Step – Take 86 steps down to the beach below to be dwarfed by the 70-metre high cliff line. Walk along the beach to the enormous offshore rock stacks.

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The Wreck

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Finally, Twelve Apostles

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It is consider a tire trip especially we need to visit so many places within a day. Departed in the early morning and back to Melbourne city around 9pm.

Nevertheless, I could say that this trip is something you never forget and the memories will stay with you for a long time to come.

 

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Melbourne 9 days 8 night

I had been planning for this Melbourne trip for quite some times and finally, we make it this round. It is such a long trip by looking at the subject. 🙂 As usual, i need to crack my head to work out the itinerary.

I will share the itinerary first and will share the details of the visiting place, thing to eat at the later posts.

Day 1 (30th May) – Landed at Tullamarine airport at 8pm – Took shuttle bus to Southern Cross Station – Checked in Airbnb, which is opposite to the station – Proceed to dinner at Stalactites (Greek Food).

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Day 2 (31st May) – Went to Chinatown to look for local tour. After done, started our self adventure.  Flinders Street Railway StationFederation SquaresPrinces Bridge Lunch @Grill D – Queen Victoria Garden – Royal Botanic Garden – Shrine of Remembrance – Dinner @ self cook.

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Day 3 (1st Jun) – Joined local trip – Dandenong – Puffing BillyRochford WinesDinner @ Dae Jang Geum Korean BBQ

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Day 4 (2nd Jun) – Whole day trip, Great Ocean Road

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Day 5 (3rd Jun) – Queen Victoria Market (must eat) – Melbourne Central – State of Library – Carlton Garden – St Patrick’s Cathedral –  Princess’ Theatre – Old Treasury Building – Hotel Winsor –  Fitzroy Garden – Cook’s Cottage – Hosier Line (Graffiti art)

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Day 6 (4th Jun) – Breakfast@Hash – Royal Arcade – Block Arcade – Melbourne Exhibition Centre – DFO – Dinner@Grill Steak Seafood Restaurant

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Day 7 (5th Jun) – Maru (Koala & Animal Park) – Chocolate Factory – Penguin Parade@Philip Island

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Day 8 (6th Jun) – Touring at city, went through all the alley (it is amazing). Degraves street , Flinder Street, LIttile Collin Street, Russel Street  and etc. Also Chinatown. Teatime at Koko Black.

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Day 9 (7th Jun) – Took shuttle bus to Tullamarine airport – Catch up 9.35am flight.

 

 

 

 

 

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Phnom Penh, July 2017

I was in Phnom Penh last July for a business visit and that is my first trip. I having no idea about the city but everyone tell me that the city is under rapid development and full of business opportunity.

Once touched down from the airport, to my surprise, my customer is arranged a tuk-tuk (so called company car) to pick me up. I’m so excited at the first place. Later, after more than 5 hour on the tuk-tuk, I start to regret. The traffic is a mess, the air is polluted (by dust & rubbish) and I not dare to think how many mask & lotion I need to apply after my skin exposed to all these.

Despite of the un-cleaned air, overall the rest is OK. Cambodian are very friendly and you could easily see smiling face of everyone here.  The weather is not good during my visit and that’why the photo look a little bit dull.

At the left, it is very Khmer feel’s Independent Monument, being a large structure very reminiscent of the Angkor Wat temples. It is situated in the middle of a busy Phnom Penh roundabout.

The surrounded building at the Independent Monument.

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I went to Central Market as well.  You will be astonish with their interior design. It is a large market constructed in 1937, in the shape of a dome with four arms branching out into vast hallways with countless stalls of goods. Initial design and layouts are from French architect, Louis Chauchon.

The aerial view, photo taken from the Phnom Penh tourist website.

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You will get everything you want from the market, from jewelry and dresses, to raw meat and vegetables.

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The city view from my hotel.

Overall, the streets are still made of dirt, and cars and motorbikes raced around you in all directions as you gained on an ox cart. People swarmed the streets. The buildings were a bit run down from years of neglect. It it just like 10 years ago Ho Chi Minh city.

 

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Spiderman + Spider baby

My son met his superhero – Spiderman last 2 years at one of our holiday trip and he was 4 years old that time.

Since then, he started to think, he must having some special fate with Spiderman and it explained the reason why he will meet “him” during his holiday. He even think that Spiderman is coming to him for the enrollment to Spiderman school. He then start to speak English with us. Start to do all the physical training, to make him strong and as muscular as Spiderman.

2 years, he found Spiderman costume and he thought he is Spiderbaby! Now, he is waiting for Spiderman come to take him! 🙂

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