Melbourne……here we come!

After what seemed like ages, our family finally had the opportunity to go on our next out-of-the-country holiday. Both Cheryl and Darren were elated when we broke the news to them about their holiday trip to Down Under. They kept reminding me how they couldn’t wait to go, how excited they were and how come it took so long before the day arrived.

Finally the day came. Our flight out from Penang was at 6:15am, so that meant that we had to be at the airport at least 2 hours earlier and they would have to wake up at 3:45am!! We were worried if we could get the kids to cooperate and wake up at an extremely unearthly hour but little did we know that nothing was impossible even for children when they are totally looking forward to something. To our amazement, there was literally zero resistance in waking up. Cheryl was the first to be ready. She was already all dressed and carrying her backpack ready to go while Darren was still in bed. But thankfully, he was also pretty cooperative.

Breakfast with a view! Not a bad way to start off the day. We were having breakfast at the airport lounge in KLIA while waiting for our connecting flight to Melbourne

Catching up on some schoolwork she missed because she left school early the day before so that she can come back home and sleep early.

When we reached Melbourne, we were greeted by the cold weather of late winter. It was past 8pm, and all of us were tired from a whole day of traveling. Only Darren seemed to be a little more energetic as he slept and recharged in the plane. Cheryl was too excited to sleep and wanted to stay awake for the whole journey. So by now, she was really tired. That night, all of us slept like a log. We originally planned to go to the zoo the next day, but the kids were still sound asleep so we decided to go the next day. Obviously, it was hard to fight the temptation of staying warm under the covers of the bed.

That morning, we made several stops: went to a local library, a shop that sells nuts and dried fruit, a grocery store and a pharmacy. Not the usual places one would go to during their holiday but it did bring back a lot of memories of our time in the US.

The play area initially seemed more appealing compared to the library books…..haha

A backyard just wouldn’t be complete without a huge trampoline to jump on till your heart’s content. This was at our friend’s place

Nothing beats just hanging out with good friends.

 

Our children loved visiting the zoo. Although this is technically not their first time at a zoo, they were much too young to really remember the other visits. It was here that we had our first real outdoor encounter with Melbourne weather. First it was cloudy, then it drizzled, then sunny, then repeat the whole cycle and finally, it hailed. So it really is true that the weather here can be unpredictable. We were told there was a saying that the weather in Melbourne is unpredictable like a woman’s mood – It changes every 5 minutes!! Hmm….I better not admit to that 😛

At Melbourne Zoo entrance with some hedge sculptures at the background

Sun-bathing Lemurs…..who said you can’t learn from animals? Darren discovered that sun-bathing never felt so good when it is in such cold weather.

Found a giant toilet paper roll…..for the elephant perhaps?? 😀

Life never gets boring when you have a mobile entertainer traveling with you…

Me trying to keep warm at the zoo playground while watching the kids playing

 

The Warrook Farm was another exciting experience for Cheryl and Darren. Unlike the zoo, the farm provides a more hands-on interactive experience with the farm animals.

A trip to the animal farm is a must for a truly Australian experience. We visited with Eric’s cousin, Eileen, daughter Maya and baby Marcus.

Cheryl, Darren and their cousin, Maya loved feeding the wallabies and kangaroos. Warrook Farm provided an ideal setup for an interactive and personal experience.

They brought us around the farm in a wagon

The kids were admiring Billy, the huge 14-year-old cow.

We watched them do sheep-sheering. Sheering sheep is not an easy job because you would have to have the strength to hold down a struggling sheep. So it is only natural to expect these farmers to be big and burly with strong hands to do all the heavy work. But to our surprise, we learned that sheep shearers have one of the softest and smoothest hands around….all thanks to the precious wax secreted by the sebaceous glands of these animals while they were sheering; more commonly known as lanolin. So while some of us spend a large amount of money buying expensive creams. these farmers get the pure good stuff all for free direct from the source!

To our surprise, they have camels at the farm. Pretty aggressive ones in fact. They were doing a tug-of-war with Eric when he tried to feed them with the camel feed. And these creatures are huge!

 

You know one thing I’ve learned about countries with cold weather, the playground is always a popular hangout place for kids and even for parents to meet. The cool weather doesn’t make you sticky and tired. The children can be entertained for hours and best of all…..it’s free!

Playing at the playground

Me and Baby Marcus watching the older kids play at the playground. Don’t worry, Marcus…..soon you’ll be joining them

Cheryl reading to Darren and cousin, Maya

What a blessing to come home to a delicious, home-cooked warm meal after spending a whole day outdoors in the cold weather at Phillip Island. Eric’s cousin, Eileen is a fantastic cook. I’m missing her cooking already…

Another one of Eileen’s yummy culinary creations. Please excuse us for starting to eat before taking the picture. We just couldn’t wait to eat!

 

Phillip Island is a beautiful attraction located just at the southern coast of Australia. The drive there is scenic with cows and sheep grazing freely in the green fields. That reminded me of those milk advertisements I used to see on TV when I was young.

Hanging out at the Esplanades in Phillip Island

Stairs down to the beach at the Esplanade. Check out the clear blue sky behind us. Thankfully, we had pretty good weather for most days of our trip.

Here’s another viewpoint at Phillip Island.

There were people surfing in the sea and some teenage boys playing ball at the beach without their shirts on! And here we are all dry and warmly bundled up in at least 4-5 layers of clothing. The irony of it….

One of my favourite stops at Phillip Island was The Nobbies where we explored the clifftop boardwalk to take in the spectacular view of the coast. Behind us on the right is Seal Rocks, where you can often see fur seal colonies come to shore. But too bad we didn’t see any.

Darren found his very own special shaped branch here at Phillip Island. He calls it his “Maui’s Hook”….you know, from the movie Moana. And that should explain why he’s posing with the “hook” in almost all his pictures after that.

 

 

We spent a day discovering the heart of Melbourne. Melbourne’s Central Business District (CBD) is full of hidden places which are one-of-a-kind.

Our first stop at the city was to check into our hotel. We stayed at Holiday Inn on Flinders Street.

We spotted an airplane making messages in the sky. Didn’t stay through to see the whole message though. I wonder who the message was for and what it meant. A marriage proposal perhaps?

Statue of Captain Matthew Flinders at St Paul’s Cathedral (the man who successfully circumnavigated and mapped Australia)

Melbourne is famous for its arcades and laneways. This picture was taken at one of Melbourne’s famous graffiti lanes – Hosier Lane

St Paul’s Cathedral

Trams are a major form of public transport in Melbourne. Here we are in the City Circle Tram which operates in the central city area. This tram runs within the Free Tram Zone. You can basically hop on and hop off at any of the designated stops.

The Yarra River which flows serenely through the city

In the evening, we walked along the Southbank of Yarra River and had dinner there. Southbank is a hub for Melbourne’s entertainment scene

The next morning, we visited the famous Queen Victoria Market. This market sells a variety of fruit and vegetables, meat, poultry and seafood, as well as specialty foods or delicacies. It also has a large area that sells clothing, shoes, jewellery and handmade arts and crafts. The non-food area reminds me of Penang’s very own artsy Hin Bus Depot Sunday Pop Up Market which sells all-things unique and vintage.

Darren at the Market holding yet another one of his new collectibles just bought at that place. It is a wooden carved crocodile.

A statue of a soldier at The Shrine of Remembrance. Darren’s crocodile now doubles as a gun.

At The Shrine of Remembrance, one of Melbourne’s landmarks honouring the service and sacrifice of Australian men and women who have served in armed combat and peacekeeping operations

Other famous features of the Shrine include the Eternal Flame on the Forecourt. It symbolizes the nation’s perpetual gratitude towards its war dead.

 

Finally, our dear friends and family (the Chew family and the Daniel family) at Melbourne whom we stayed with and who made us feel so welcomed. We are grateful for your time and hospitality. Thanks for making our trip a memorable one! Till we meet again….


Empat sekawan

Here’s a short video to sum up our trip. Hope you’ll enjoy it.

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