10 Nov 2019

Melbourne - The mountain, the sea and the city Part 2 -Brighton Bathing Boxes and Puffing Billy

Salam all, yep a little bit busy. In fact I have been working in outstation for one month now. So that is why slow updates. So let continue, shall we?

We know Australia custom & immigration won't be so easy for us. Especially,  we are number one illegal immigrants there and I heard about the stories of 6 girls that have been denied at boarding gate to go to the Perth. So we came prepared. Alhamdulillah, we got our visa easily. I applied on Saturday and got approval on Sunday. What a relief. Then we asked our HR to issue us confirmation letter that we are working and not going to be apple pickers as well as printed the itinerary and even bank account summary. I even bought a clear file to put all the details inside. So when we got there, at first the officer asked us to go to the gate but unfortunately, I can't go through so I when to the counter instead. I have my file ready to be shown to the immigration officer and within 2 minutes,  she just looked at me and stamp my passport. No, questions asked whatsoever and I'm kind of baffled but happy. Then we have to wait more that 15 minutes to get our bag and then the second hurdle begins, the custom. Gulp! As we declare that we bring some medicines so we were asked to go to another section and the officer just asked if we got any food and we said no. So, the officer just let as pass through the green lane. So the whole thing just take up 30 minutes and and most of the time, we were waiting for our bags. When we got through to our freedom, I heard one of the officer said to an Indian lady, "This is herb" as she shown it to her angrily and we hurried get away from the scene.We bought Telstra for AUD 10 simcard with 2GB Data and it last until the end of the trip. We took Skybus from Tullamarine Airport to Southern Cross Station and it cost us AUD 28 per person for round trip. We bought it from Klook. Original price would be around AUD 37 for return and we saved AUD 9 for the trip. When we arrived at Southern Cross Station, we took a taxi to go to the hotel as it was late and we are so tired already. 

So the next day, we went to the convenience store to get something for breakfast and walk to the tour office. It just 10 minutes from our hotel. It was super cold around 9C and we just moving around so warm our bodies. We met some of the tourist and most of them are Chinese descent (hence Chinese speaking tour) but one of them say hi and speak Malays to us. So there are from Indonesia and also Malaysia. So when we get into the bus, and true enough we are the only hijabis there and the tour leader realized it. As much as she can, she tried to mix English and Chinese explanation and we were very thankful for it.

Our first stop is Brighton Bathing Boxes. It situated at Brighton Beach and here you can see there are 82 distinctive bathing boxes, a row of uniformly proportioned wooden structures lining the foreshore of the beach. Mind you then we went early in the morning and there are still many people there. So you have to take turn to take photos in front of the boxes. So, we just when to the boxes that doesn't have people and just took the photo. We just spend around 30 minutes here and for me it more than enough unless you want to take photo with all the 82 boxes, then you might want to spend more time there.

Then we went for lunch at Grants Picnic Ground and it was just a lovely place. They have restaurant with souvenir shop and surrounding by greenery forest. We just ordered pumpkin soup and garlic bread and it was delicious and fulfilling. 

Nest stop is Puffing Billy. At first we are not able to go in as there is a construction and the tour guide have to call the station to say that we are going to be late. Actually, it is not only us got stuck but got other tour buses also. After a while, the driver manage to find small road leading to the station and we were hurried to go to the train. So, what is so special about Puffing Billy's train? Puffing Billy is a steam train and is one of the finest preserved steam railways in the world. This century old steam train is still running on its original 24 kilometre mountain track from Belgrave to Gembrook, through the beautiful forests and fern gullies of the Dandenong Ranges. As for us, we only goes to 3 or 4 stations from Lakeside to Menzie's Creek. As the train is the open-sided carriages, so they are the best way to see the stunning views and previously, you can even dangle your legs over the side of the carriages but I think got accident, so that is why they didn't allowed it anymore.

The scenery was great. We went through greenery forest and small villages and a piece of you wondering how do people live here. We saw a glimpse of people's daily life and even children and adults are waving at us when we passed by. Maybe because the next coach is full with school children and to see they laughing and waving, it just pure joy. To be honest, it was the most peaceful thing I've ever done as looking through the open window and feels the cold breeze. It just so amazing. I will definitely ride it again if I have a chance.

Our next stop is actually quite scary, I think it just a bonus stop as we still have time. It is William Rickett's Sanctuary. William Ricketts is an artist, who remembered by his works at this forest sanctuary for his clay sculptures.  Most of his subjects are about native indigenous people. So, you can see that some of the sculptures are NSFW and it is in the forest. So don't come at night. My friend and I just go through one round and get back in the the bus. Luckily that the bus has free wifi so we have time to upload some photos in social media.

Our last stop is at SkyHigh. At an elevation of 630m, it is the highest natural viewing point in the whole of Victoria, affording staggering views of Melbourne’s skyline across to Port Philip Bay and beyond. So from here you can see the whole Melbourne and the view is quite nice.

After completed the tour, we went for dinner at Pondok Rempah. It was busy night but the food is not bad. Then we still have time to go to Chemist Warehouse. To tell you the truth, this is my favourite place in Australia. You can get cheap original perfume here as well as medicines. We just wondering around figuring out what to buy as today is not shopping day yet. Actually, I can stay here all day, seriously.

So, we when back to hotel, refresh and wash some clothes before going to bed. The first day went great and tomorrow is Malaysia's Independence Day and we are going for a long trip. We are going to Great Ocean Road. So stay tune!

Cute bathing box

There are 82 boxes along the beach

Restaurant / Souvenir shop at Grants Picnic Ground

Lunch of the day

You can go hiking here

You also can get close with birds with small fee

Attractions around Dandenong Ranges National Park

Looks sunny but still cold.

Our first station

Steam train full with school children

Cute train driver

Yap...weird sculpture

Don't come at night!
Tall trees

Melbourne from Sky High

Cheap perfumes!


Dinner of the day

14 Oct 2019

Melbourne - The mountain, the sea and the city Part 1 -The Preparation

Assalamualaikum, suprised? Me too. So lets not wait anymore so here is the first entry.

So, my friend and I has been planning the trip from 2018. At first we wanted to include Tasmania, as we want to see the Aurora Australis but since our budget is not enough sob sob so we just stick to Melbourne only.

As we are two single girls and we feel that driving is not a n option and plus, it is during winter, so we are a bit scared to drive in unfamiliar territory. So, we scouting for tours and we manage to get kind of awesome deals from Extragreen Holidays where we get 2+1 tours just by paying for two tours. It is a Malaysian company and from our researched they are the cheapest by far. So we manage to book:

1. Puffing Billy (C98)-30 (Chinese speaking )
2. Great Ocean Road(C96E) - 31 Aug (Bilingual speaking)
3. Gold Trail+ Ballarat (C80)-2 Sep (Chinese speaking) + 20 AUD for Ballarat Wildlife Park Entrance.
4. Mt Buller Sightseeing Day Trip(English):($68) x 2 Subtotal: $136
Optional item: Toboggan rental: PerPerson (AU$15) x 1 for 1 days
Book Online & Save: PerPerson (AU$-1) x 2 for 1 days
Subtotal: $13 Total Tour price: $151.98

All these tours from AUD 245 per person (~RM 700). Not bad, right. And another reason why they are so cheap, it is because we took Chinese speaking tour. Yes, it is true. I mean, we only need to know where to go and what time should we meet right so the language is not a problem. As Malaysia, we are used to listen and maybe understand a little bit of Mandarin. Plus my friend is studying Mandarin so it is great practice for her. We also book another tour which is 

We also manage to get MAS flight to Melbourne of RM 1, 500 each with 20kg luggage. Haha...it is because of countless hours of monitoring Skyscanner and ITA Matrix https://matrix.itasoftware.com/. Since only two of us, it just easy to discuss and booked it immediately. But I do have feeling that 20kg is not enough as I have planning to shop until I drop especially for Smiggle (I have 5 nieces....so you think?) and to tell you the truth, the extra luggage for MAS is not so cheap, so we just bought 10kg with seat selection on our flight back to KL and it cost us around RM 560 (yeah it is absurdly expensive) but that is what happen when you bought cheap flight but you wanted to shop a lot. We do apply visa before buying the flight ticket. I use online and it cost us RM 40 per person and it is quite fast. I mean I apply it on Saturday and got the confirmation on Sunday. Phew, one thing has settled as I heard that some Malaysian are having difficulties getting the visa and sometimes they have to appeal and maybe apply the expensive ones.

As for accommodation, As we plan not to bring any food from Malaysia, so we need a place that we can cook. The reason why not bring food, one because of limited space in our luggage and we know that we need to declare if we bring food and as we will reach Melbourne around 9pm and we imagine it will take long for immigration and custom and we might be leaving airport around 11 or 12pm. If we bring food it might take longer, we assumed. So we just plan to buy food from the local market and and we are still ok just to eat bread or maybe to try local food there. As we are not driving, so the location is important. It has to be in the city and can take public transportation at ease. So we booked City Edge on Elizabeth Apartment Hotel in Melbourne CBD through Agoda for 6 nights and it costs us around RM 1,500 so per person is around RM 750 (RM 125 per person per night). It is a studio apartment with kitchen and washer. So we can save space to bring less close.

So, when we prepared for the travel, there was a viral story regarding a group of girls has denied to take their flight to Perth by Australian immigration liaison in KLIA 2 boarding gate itself because they thought that maybe they wanted to go there to work as apple picker. So, we are quite sure that we do have a face of apple picker and one of my friend who went to Perth also has 30 minutes interview with the immigration officer after she arrived there. But luckily, she was ok and for her friend, they even asked for her phone's password to check the messages. So avoid to be send home we did ask our HR to prepare us a letter and print all the itineraries and make sure we knows what we are doing. I even bought a clear file for the trip hehe.

As my friend is from JB and our flight is at 9am so we booked a hotel (Barry in KLIA) in Sepang the day before and the hotel has free Airport Transfer to KLIA 1 & 2. THe hotel costs us RM 56 per night for two person. The hotel is clean but small but good enough for one night. The next morning the airport transfer is a little bit late but luckily our flight has been delayed to 10.15am so we are manage to reach airport in plenty of time.

That's all for now but I promise to update as regularly as I can from now on. I have another two more exciting trips in December and February. Want to know where, stay tune. Nest update is on the arrival and visiting Brighton Bathing Boxes and Puffing Billy Train... stay tuned!

Our excited faces....

The sign of the hotel apartment

Washing machine!

Requested for twin bed, extra AUD 30. The room comes with queen bed

The kitchen

19 Oct 2017

Family trip to UK

Salam semua....

Ya, I know I have gone for too long. It is all because of my stupid laptop need to be repaired and actually I was away for one month in August to visit my brother and his family and we went to Wales and Scotland.

So, as we are waiting for my laptop to be repaired (I'm using my office laptop now) let enjoy some of the photos. Yes, I will definitely try to complete my NZ first before updating my Paris +UK trip....

I will never bored with Eiffel Tower

Versailles Palace

My father in front of Wollaton Hall aka Batman Manor, Nottingham

First time seeing deer face to face...

Conwy Castle....

The smallest house in Great Britain

I love Wales!

Great Orme Cable Car (Llandudno)

Caernafon Castle, Wales

                                    The Pontycysyllte Aqueduct

Tu Hwnt I'r Bont

Yap, visit Liverpool Stadium

No point going Liverpool if you are not going to see the Beatles, right?

Took MU Stadium Tour

The Falkirk Wheel, Scotland

Dean Village, Edimburgh

Edinburgh Castle
Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland

Portree, Isle of Skye

Kilt Rock Waterfall, Isle of Skye

It is confirmed, there is no Loch Ness monster.....

Picking fruits and vegetable at the farm

Gigih panjat nak tengor Hogwarts Express!

Ok guys, see you soon!

Melbourne - The mountain, the sea and the city Part 2 -Brighton Bathing Boxes and Puffing Billy

Salam all, yep a little bit busy. In fact I have been working in outstation for one month now. So that is why slow updates. So let continue,...