Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Back to Sydney, day 10, last day

My buddy told me, "You can't say you've been to Sydney if you haven't been to Bondi beach". So there we went. The weather was sunny and the sky was clear and blue as the ocean. The ocean and waves looked inviting so we decided to go for a swim. But alas, as soon as we put our feet in, they felt numb in the frigid water. It's not summer yet. After a few hesitations, we decided to swim. I had come along this far anyway, why the heck not.


We also walked along the beach that led to the other beaches near by. At midnight, we went to the pub near by my friend's place drinking Guinness and watching my soccer team Arsenal losing 2-4 to Man. City. I needed more Guinness!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Adelaide, day 9

Exhausted from the whole day road trip in Alice Springs, we checked in the hostel and just went to bed after arriving in Adelaide. The next morning we walked to downtown, central market and took a tram to Glenelg Beach. It was pretty windy that day. The beach was OK but the surrounding neighborhood was inviting. People seemed to be friendly and laid-back. There are many small shops and cafes along the streets. Many seagulls were flying and looking for food as they're used to being fed by beach goers.


We took the tram back to downtown in the afternoon and then flew back to Sydney. That summed up our 6 day trip. What I brought with me from this trip was a bottle of red sand from the outback.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Road trip From Uluru back to Alice Springs, day 8


Pretty much the same red landscape scenery, the same hot weather and the same kangaroos corps along the sides of the highway. I tried my first camel ride at a pit stop farm before reaching Alice Springs. That's when I learned from its care taker that camels have 3 stomachs.


We got to Alice Springs around 2pm and caught our flight to Adelaide at 5pm.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Road Trip to Uluru, day 7

Couldn't get up as early as we planned to because of staying up late last night. We checked out at 10am and would be on the road for 5 hours across the outback. The highway to Uluru National Park is sealed road. There were also many unsealed roads that also let you see more things and loop quicker. However, only 4x4 cars, which were very expensive to rent, were allowed to pass through.

A long outback road

The landscape is different. The land was red, dry and flat partly covered by bushes and small trees. The sky was cloudless as far as the eye can see. It's hot in the day and chilly at night. There were many dead kangaroos, at least 30 of them during our entire trip to Uluru, along the sides of the highway. Not sure if they died from thirst, starvation or got hit by the cars or could be combination of all. But nothing went to waste. The corps provided plenty of nutrition to the crows and eagles, a nice natural balance. Plus, there are too many kangaroos anyway, 60 millions Vs. 20 millions human population.

Ayers Rock at sunset

We got to Uluru around 4pm, checked in the hostel and had just enough time to catch the view and take pictures of Ayers Rock during sunset. Later in the evening, we had combo BBQ, Crocodile, Emu, Kangaroo and Beef; a couple of beers and accompanied by live music performance at the resort we stayed in. My first time trying crocodile and emu meat. Crocodile was delicious. Emu was also quite nice.

Alice Springs, day 6

We left Melbourne early morning and flew to Alice Springs. However because of our bargain ticket price, we couldn't fly directly to Alice Springs. We stopped over in Adelaide and caught another plane to Alice Springs a couple of hours later. Therefore we arrived in Alice Springs at 5pm, picked up our rental car from the airport and checked in Alice Lodge, a nice hostel for a bargain price. Alice Springs is a very small town in the middle of the outback in Northern Territory. Not much to do there. So we decided to buy marinaded chicken skewers and Kangaroo meat and BBQ'ed them at the hostel's backyard. It was the first time I tried Kangaroo meet. It was tender but tasted OK. To me it's not as good as beef.

The lodge is filled with backpackers, mostly young people. We met and chatted with a group of backpackers, Irish and Germans, and then together we went to a local pub nearby, came back and finished up our bottle of Jack Daniels.


Melbourne, day 5

The three musketeers went on a wine tasting tour, about 90 minute drive from Melbourne. We took a 15-seat bus. Our bus driver was entertaining and quite knowledgeable about wines. He took us to taste wine at 4 different vineyards. Well by the time we got the the 4th vineyard, everyone in the bus was already buzzed and feeling happy. Gourmet lunch was served at the last vineyard and more wines to taste as a wrap up for the day.

As soon we were heading back to Melbourne, most people dozed off on the bus.



Monday, September 21, 2009

Melbourne, day 4

Another charming city in Victoria - more laid back and friendly atmosphere. We stayed at the Elephant Backpackers hostel on Flinder St. in front of the yellow "Union Station". Across Union Station is the Federal Square, a popular place for hanging out and hosting events. It's a busy intersection where people get on and off the train at the Union Station to/from the Federal Square.

We stayed at a 2 bunk-bed room with shared bathrooms. The hostel is kind of dirty but livable for 2 days :). I guess AU$20/night is you get for what you pay.


We spent our first day strolling around the city. Our old friend who is a local was kind enough to meet us up after we arrived and guided us around the city. We went to see some points of interests such as the Memorial Temple, St. Paul Church, Federal Square, Melbourne jail and State Library, immense architecture with huge collection of books and materials which made me feel smarter by just getting inside :). We also had delicious chocolate ice creams, dinner and ended the evening with bowling and beers.


Blue Mountains National Park, day 3

My buddy Tra, his brother and I rent a car and spent our day at the Blue Mountains National Park, about 90 minute drive from Sydney. Frankly, I found the Blue Mountains National Park a bit disappointing. After seeing the natures in Washington, this National Park did not impress me much. The elevation is not high enough for spectacular view, the waterfalls barely have any water. Another commercial site to get money from tourists.



Friday, September 18, 2009

Sydney, day 2

I spent my whole day walking in the city (unlike day 1, it didn't rain one drop). First, I went to Sydney Aquarium which wasn't as good and big as I expected. Then, after having lunch with my friend, I walked across the Harbor bridge which gave me a nice view of Sydney once I was at the middle of the bridge. Once I stopped, I could feel the the bridge vibrating as hundreds of cars are crossing every minute. Though to be expected, it was still kind of scary considering how high the Harbor Bridge is above the water.


I crossed over to North of Sydney where there seems to be a rich neighborhood along the waterfront with many mansions and big green grass lawns. I came down and walked along the waterfront under the bridge westward to take some pictures where I met another Chinese tourist and we crossed the bridge back and continued to Opera House by sunset.


Later in the evening, I met up with friends had a beer at a packed bar by the the opera house. Australians seem to enjoy drinking beers and have to good time. Then we met up with my other 2 old friends of mine and had dinner with them at the Darling Harbor.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


A beautiful and lively city, full of things to do but it's also expensive, I was a bit surprise to see it's more expensive than Seattle. The busiest place in the day is in CBD (Central Business District) where it's full of shopping malls. Coffee shops, restaurants and pubs are at every corner.

Sydney and Seattle share similar waterfront settings and the same love for coffee.



Friday, September 11, 2009

G'day from Down Under

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I've finally made my first trip to Australia. I first flew to Sydney, visiting my friend Soputtra. We then traveled together to a few places in the country such as Melbourne, Alice Springs, Uluru National Park and Adelaide. Now I'm back to Sydney and will fly back to Seattle on the 13th which I'm not looking forward to it at all :). It's been a fun learning traveling experience - different culture, different landscape and different perspective.

More pictures to follow.