3 mornings in Melbourne.

Flinders Street Railway Station

It’s hard to be in Melbourne and not get sucked into the cafe culture here. After all, Melbourne is synonymous to cafe.  I’m putting up at Collingwood, Inner East of Melbourne till end November so I’ve begun starting my mornings on Urbanspoon before heading out for a coffee run. So here, let me introduce 3 cafes in the area to you.

1. Proud Mary

via

Potato Hash with Smoked Salmon, AUD 19

Proud Mary is one of the more popular cafes in the hood and my friend decided to take me there for brunch after picking up from the airport. Apparently, this cafe sees queues snaking out of the door on most days. I guess we were in luck as we managed to grab a table within 5 minutes. I ordered potato hash and changed the add on to salmon instead of bacon. The portion was really filling, which was good, for a famished and jet lagged soul.

Address:

172 Oxford St, Collingwood, VIC

Opening hours:

Mon-Fri: 7am-4pm

Sat-Sun: 8am-4pm

For more information:

http://www.proudmarycoffee.com.au/

——

2. South of Johnston  

A hidden gem

Interior of South of Johnston

This rather unassuming, cosy and quaint cafe tucked along Oxford Street is a real deal. Thanks to Urbanspoon, I stumbled upon this gem and begun my weekend well with some takeaway breakfast.

Corn fritters with add on, scrambled eggs, AUD 22

Corn fritters aren’t my usual order for breakfast but I was definitely pleasantly surprised with this. Definitely going back to try out other dishes on the menu. It also has a nice courtyard to chill with some friends over coffee or just with books in the afternoon.

Address:

46 Oxford St, Collingwood, VIC 3066

Opening hours:

Every day: 7.30am-5pm

 

For more information:

http://southofjohnston.com.au/

——

3. Lemon, Middle and Orange

Full breakfast, AUD 18.90

Nothing too fancy in terms of food but service was pretty great. They took out my iced coffee from the bill for having missed out poached eggs from my sister’s full breakfast. 🙂

Address:

25 Rokeby St, Collingwood, VIC 3066

Opening hours:

Mon-Fri: 7.30am-3.30pm

Sat: 8am-3pm

Sun: 9am-3pm

For more information:

http://www.lemonmiddleandorange.com/

Chew on this till next time!

All images belong to Solosingaporean unless otherwise credited for. Please give credit where it’s due.

 

Highlights of Fraser Island!

Did you know Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world?! At 122km length, this place is just heaven on earth. With its pristine white sand, crystal clear waters and numerous freshwater lakes, Fraser is a must-see, at least once in a lifetime. As only 4 wheel drives are permitted to enter the island (fees apply), I decided to join a tour. I had no regrets at all joining Sunset Safaris so I highly recommend them! My tour leader, Matt was just amazing. Sunset Safaris does pick-ups from Gold Coast and Brisbane as well so it’s quite convenient.

Day 1


Rainbow Beach

I was picked up from Noosa Transit Centre, Sunshine Coast at 9am and we drove right up to Rainbow Beach in time for lunch. After a quick lunch, it was straight to Fraser.

Fun fact about Rainbow Beach: It was originally known as Black Beach and was renamed to Rainbow Beach after the presence of coloured sand located nearby.


Heading to Fraser via a barge from Inskip Point.

Cruising along the 75 mile beach, stopping by to see dingos, the sound of waves crashing, coloured sand cliffs to marvel at – the feeling is just exhilarating. We stopped at Lake Wallaby for a couple of hours to enjoy a swim in the freshwater lake before checking in to Eurong Beach Resort and calling it a night.

Tranquillity at Lake Wallaby

For accommodation, there are 2 popular resorts for you to choose from – Eurong Beach Resort and Kingfisher Bay Resort. For a cheaper alternative, you can opt for Eurong Beach Resort. I stayed in a 4-bedder dorm room, which to my surprise, was pretty comfortable. My expectations weren’t high to begin with, so I guess I was pleasant surprised with the decent lodging.

After dinner, Matt brought us out for some star gazing which was pretty amazing.

Day 2

Panaromic view of Rainbow Gorge

After a pretty chill and relaxing first day at Fraser, we were in for pretty packed day ahead on day 2. We started of with a visit to Rainbow Gorge (Kirrar Sandblow) for coloured sand formations.

With sand dunes greeting me at every direction, it suddenly felt like I thrown in a dessert. After all that heat and sand, it was perfect to head to Elli Creek next for a swim and a picnic lunch.

But before that, I decided to jump on to a helicopter for a aerial view of Fraser Island. 15 min ride costed me AUD 75. Was well worth it!

Butterfly shaped lake

Elli Creek is definitely one of main attractions in Fraser being the largest creek in the Eastern side of the island. Pouring up to 4 million litres of clear, fresh water into the ocean every hour there is a slight current which makes it perfect to float down from the far end of the creek (where the boardwalk extends to).

After a relaxing picnic style lunch, we headed to Champagne Pools. Personally, that was the highlight of my trip.

Champagne Pools is the only safe spot in the island for saltwater swimming as the volcanic rocks that surround form a protection for swimmers. The nature of the crashing waves against the rocks creates tiny bubbles similar to that when drinking champagne. Hence the name, no surprises there!

Be wary of the sharp edges when climbing the rocks.

The final pit stop for the day was Indian Head, an eastern most lookout point on the island.

On our way back to the resort, we stopped at the Maheno Shipwreck. Was a perfect timing to catch some shots while watching sunset. I’ll let the photos speak for itself.

And that was a wrap for day 2!

Day 3

We checked out and begun the day with a morning walk through the rainforest. And then our final pit spot for the trip was Lake Birrabeen before we headed back to Rainbow Beach for lunch.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 3D2N I had in Fraser Island. I’m glad I didn’t opt for the 2D1N tour as it might have been too rushed to properly wind down and relax at each pit spot.

These are my highlights of my Fraser trip. Be sure to visit this world heritage site!

——–

All images belong to Solosingaporean unless otherwise credited for. Please give credit where it’s due.

My Sunshine Coast!

This is quite a belated post of my 10 day Down Under adventure in April. But, thank god for iCal and my awesome photos to refresh my rather elephant memory. I spent 6 nights in Sunshine Coast before ending the trip with the sister in Gold Coast. I had previously blogged on my different accommodation types for my travel. For those of you who had missed it, here you go.

Sunshine Coast isn’t a very popular tourist destination in comparison to Brisbane or Gold Coast which are both an hour or two drive away. But, hey, if you’re looking for a place to spend a couple of days just chilling and lazing, Sunshine Coast will be perfect for you. If you’ve always thought Gold Coast is chill, Sunshine Coast is CHILLLLLL.

1. Spend a day in Mooloolaba 

via

I spent my first day in Sunshine Coast staying with a local family so after a lovely home cooked meal for dinner we drove to Mooloolaba for a stroll before calling it a day. What Surfers Paradise is to Gold Coast, Mooloolaba is to Sunshine Coast. Wander into some cafe to while the morning away sipping coffee and reading. Grab a quick bite for lunch and head to Sea World to spend the afternoon. Lay by the beach to enjoy the sounds of waves crashing on the shoreline while watching sunset. Have a lovely dinner after in any one of the many scrumptious restaurants lined along the coast. Ah, what a perfect way to spend a day.

Quick tip: Stay at Buderim if accommodation at Mooloolaba is too expensive.

2. Local Markets!

It’s almost impossible to visit any part of Australia without stopping by a market. There are so many weekday and weekend markets available that you’ll be spoilt for choice. It was nice to spend a Sunday morning shopping for second hand books, clothes, fruits, knick knacks for the home etc. Usually the patrons are regulars, so the community is a rather close knit one, with stall owners greeting customers by their first names. As an Asian, this culture might take a bit of getting used to. But, after a while, you’ll wish you have such markets back home. At least, I do.

3. Mt. Coolum 

I decided to spend a night in Coolum so that I could climb Mt. Coolum first thing in the morning before I head up to Noosa. My couchsurfing experience worked out well as I met Ally, another adventure lover, so we did the climb together before she dropped me off at the bus station after a hearty brekkie. I wouldn’t call the climb easy so take your time and pace yourself well. We did the climb up in about 45 mins and took about 20mins to descend down.

This is the nature of the course so pace yourself well, really. There is no point rushing through the climb. And, once you are up at the summit take your time to enjoy the view before you make your way down. The view is easily worth a good 15 – 20 mins.

4. Frasers Island!

My Frasers tour has got to the best part of my Sunshine Coast adventure. Initially, I was sightly apprehensive. Can you imagine being a stuck with a boring bunch of travellers on an island for 2 nights?! Especially since, I was already travelling solo I was praying for some good company. Again thank god, everything worked out well and I met George, a dutch guy who was also travelling alone for 5 weeks along the East Coast of Australia. The 3D2N ended up being a blast despite being cut off from technology.

To explore this world’s largest sand island you’ll require a 4 wheel drive so decided to join a tour. I did my tour with Sunset Safaris and no regrets! Worth every buck despite me being a near SGD 700 poorer! I will be doing a separate post on Frasers soon so do keep a look out.

5. Cycle along the coast

After I got back to Sunshine Coast from Frasers, I spent my last night in Caloundra in a beautiful apartment booked through Airbnb. That meant I was 10 minutes away from the picturesque Dicky Beach. I borrowed a bike from my host couple and decided to cycle from Dicky beach all the way down to Golden beach through Moffat, Shelly and Kings. Apart from my minor injury (I didn’t brake in time so smashed into a tree), it was a good 30 minute ride down south. Feel free to stop by to grab a coffee or take some shots while cruising along the coast. If you’re looking to have a breakfast, do check out The Pocket at Moffat Beach.

 

Doing this post makes me miss Sunshine Coast so bad. :/

All images belong to Solosingaporean unless otherwise credited for. Please give credit where it’s due.