Australia – conquering land, air, and sea. Part II

This is the second installation to a three part series. Please see the first part if you haven’t.

Day 4: Arlie Beach -> Cardwell, Cairns

Woke up bright and early to get ready for another long drive to Cairns.

As we left quite early in the morning, we managed to reach Cairns just before sunset.

After settling in at our AirBnB, we decided to go the night market just 10 mins drive away.

Hop, Skip, Swim, and Jump

After walking around, we decided to treat ourselves to a good meal, since there is only so much junk food we can take. We wanted to share a few entrees as none of us were brave enough to eat a whole piece of the more ‘exotic’ offerings. Wanting a more ‘wholesome(?)’ experience, we ordered Oysters, Seafood platter, and Hop Skip Swim and Jump, which was a platter of Kangaroo, Crocodile, Barramundi, and Emu meat.

For those of you who hasn’t tried these meat before, here’s a break down of the tastes (if I remembered correctly):

Kangaroo – unseasoned beef.

Crocodile – texture of chicken, but the taste of pork

Emu – texture of beef, taste of chicken

Seafood Platter

Day 5: Cairns

We were out early this morning as we were going to dive the Great Barrier Reef! This has been a dream of mine ever since I got my diving license. Of course, the dive was amazing with hardly any currents.

To be totally honest, I’ve done my research (as usual), and was freaking out as I realized it was Jellyfish season. Getting stung would totally suck as it would have f**ked up the rest of the trip.

Nonetheless, I kept this all at the back of my head and just go with it. We decided to dive with ProDive Cairns as recommended by a friend of mine.

The experience was totally different. I was certainly not expecting a dive boat with air-con and carpet flooring! Talk about lux!

So there is something I have to admit. I got totally seasick in between the first and second dive. I vomited so much and felt so queasy after, that I wanted to skip the second dive. But my man, he managed to persuade me into going for it anyway, and I’m glad he did.

 

Triggerfish

Stingray

Hawksbill Turtle

My man and one of our mates

Hellow there!

New Gull Coco mask that my dad got me

 

On the second dive, I had some difficulty clearing my mask. Not sure if it is because I had a new mask on, and wasn’t used to a low volume mask. I did the usual, flooding the mask and all, but the water in the mask just wouldn’t clear. I started to look for my man with my flooded mask, to try to ascend and clear it manually. Who knew, my man was busy taking photos of got knows what.

After swimming towards him (yes, with the water clogged mask), I dragged him up with me. We weren’t too deep (I hope), about 8m, so I just ascended as quickly as I can before finally clearing the damn water, and descending again. I didn’t really dare to clear my mask after, if it fogs, it fogs, which kinda hindered the experience.

By the third dive, I have put so much spit and anti-fogging solution that I didn’t have to clear it once!

After going back to land, we decided that we shall eat in that night to save some money. Eating out ain’t cheap in Aussieland man. So we found our way to Woolworths and bought a bunch of groceries.

The guys cook, the girl watch

Menu for the night: Pollo e Funghi Pomodoro della pasta (trying to sound fancy saying chicken and mushroom pasta in tomato), KFC,and grilled sausages

We had an early night as we had a 23 hours drive back to Cairns which all 3 drivers were dreading.

Day 6: Cairns -> Townsville, Campaspe, Coorada, Miles

The drivers all agreed to take a 6 hour rotation each and to take a different route from how we got to Cairns from Gold Coast. We were almost driving non-stop before our first stop at Townsville for lunch. Breakfast was just the leftovers from last night’s dinner (we had waaaay too much food. Note to self: 1 packet of pasta can cook more than 4 person’s share).

 

 

It was almost non-stop driving when we hit some Savanna-esque scenery. There were giant ant hills everywhere. It was quite a sight to behold, but don’t the farmers think it might be a problem? Anyway, half way through the journey, we had to make a stop as we saw camels!

 

 

Soon, it was night and we had to make a stop for dinner. As there was no towns anywhere near, we decided to just eat at a truckstop that serves microwaved food. To be fair, the food served was really quite good, but the price is what you will get at a cafe here in Singapore. Maybe the lack of civilization nearby is what drove the price up. It was also at this truckstop, that we found out that the new president of the US is now Donald Trump, which led to quite a heated conversation among the truckers.

After a food and toilet break, we were back on the road, and I was soon sleepy due to food coma. Suddenly, I felt the road getting bumpy and had to wake up. That was around 11PM already, and realised that we had went off-road!

I thought my man had taken a wrong turn, as throughout the journey from Gold Coast to Cairns, it had been the smooth roads of the expressway. I was certainly not expecting to go off-road. Thank God we had decided to rent an SUV or I would have no idea how we would have made it through the rough terrain. I then proceed to triple check the GPS, and indeed, we were on the right track! Being super paranoid, a million scenarios raced through my mind, including scenes from ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ and ‘Hills have Eyes’. I couldn’t wait to get off this road, but to my dismay, it was over 121km! I was truly thankful that my man had experience driving off-road. So people, if you decide to go on the same route as I did, be prepared.

From the other pictures, you guys should have known that we have an Indian friend, and it was also this friend that started making fun of the scenarios playing in my head, by saying that he might be the first to get murdered. Just when things cannot get any bumpier (pun intended), we found that we have only a half tank of gas left.

Thank heavens for Eco-mode for this vehicle, as I wouldn’t have want to guess what would happen if the gas tank went dry in this place. There was no cell signal as well (despite having wifi), so I couldn’t send my dad back home my location (I was really freakn’ out ok?). Needless to say, I couldn’t sleep at all until I was back unto smooth roads, with my eyes darting between the blackness outside, the counting down of kilometers on the GPS, and the gas tank.

 

 

By the time we got back on the main road, it was dawn. I don’t usually see the sunrise (not a morning person), so seeing the sunrise here, it was truly motivational.

The relief when we finally found a town with a petrol station!

 

Freezing morning in Miles

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for the 3rd installment!

Signing off~

 

Australia – conquering land, air, and sea. Part III

This is the third installation to a three part series, so please read Part 1 and Part 2.

Day 7: Miles -> Gold Coast

Returning to Gold Coast also marks the end of our epic road trip. It was bittersweet, since we all can’t wait to just get our asses off the car and unto a bed. From Miles, it was another 1-2 hours drive before hitting that ever so familiar M1 expressway that we took from Gold Coast and driving through Brisbane.

While on the way to our AirBnB, we saw Main beach and we knew we had to turn in to check it out. You cannot imagine how refreshing it was for such a change in scenery; from the dry Savanna to the salty winds of the Beach.

After having fun on the beach, we needed to get a much needed breakfast, since our last proper meal was the microwaved sandwich at the truck stop.

 

More tradish Bacon and Eggs for me

As we still had quite a few hours before we can check-in to our AirBnB, we decided to just walk around Broadbeach.

We wanted to check out Burleigh Heads lookout point, but really sadly, we couldn’t find the place. We were searching for about an hour to two using Google Maps before deciding to give up. We also wanted to checkout Skypoint, which is one of the tallest building to check out the scenery, but when we saw the price, we were like ‘nah’. After 2 failed missions, we decided to just go to our AirBnb.

The view from our AirBnB was amazing! We could easily see the beach and all the surfers doing their thang. As we had a really long day, we decided to just head to the beach for some quality rest and relaxation. Dinner was just catching up on some fast food such as Dominoes and Red Rooster (which we honestly have no idea how to eat since we ordered a whole chicken and there were stuffing in there. Weren’t very sure if we were suppose to eat the stuffing though).

Day 8: Gold Coast Universal Studios

We wanted to go to DreamWorld, but due to the tragedy that struck, DreamWorld was closed. So we decided to go to MovieWorld instead, since theme parks are one of the main attractions when in Gold Coast.

All ready to conquer the coasters!

Funny story about the red coaster in the above picture. While we were queuing for the entrance tickets, we saw people screaming from the red coaster, and I told my friends: I am not going on that.  So once we were in, I saw there was a Super Man ride and just made a beeline towards it. Soon I was strapped to the seats. It was a slow ride, since the ride took us around some displays and props; the story goes that the subway has collapsed and we needed to get out. Before I can think about anything else, we were zooming upwards super fast (or “Super Man” fast as what the speakers were blasting)! I had no time for regrets.

When the ride was finally over, I had no idea what the hell has happened, my legs were jelly and I was dizzy. When we got out and looked, yes, this was the red coaster that I said right at the start that I wasn’t going to get on. We also learnt from the other tourists that the Super Man ride was probably to scariest here.

My guys were telling me ” you survived skydiving, what is roller-coaster to you?” Oh well, I did not regret not taking the Arkham Asylum coaster, even though my friend did say that it wasn’t as scary as the Superman ride.

This was on my ‘must try’ food list; it was really quite nice

This Flume ride, is seriously one of the best I’ve every been on! I was expecting a normal straightforward Flume ride, but this, this was far from straight forward. It is probably one of my favourite rides as well.

Who can miss the parade?

For Singaporeans of my generation, Scooby’s Spooky Coaster is almost the same as the Panasonic ride in old Escape theme park at Downtown East. To be short, this is an indoor coaster which is completely in the dark. I was not expecting this to be honest as I saw a lot of children rushing to go on this ride. What I got was a really fast coaster that was really rough as well! Our seating arrangements was kinda wrong as we’ve got 2 heavy weights on the same side of the car so I was fearing for my life every time the coaster made a sharp turn! 

After a really tiring day, we decided to go to the famous Surfer’s Paradise for their night market. I was expecting to be able to try some street food, but unfortunately, all they sell there are jewelry and knick knacks. It was quite entertaining nonetheless.

Day 9

This was the last day of our epic journey in Australia, and man, I’m starting to love this place so much. The dread to go back home to my flooding inbox *sighs*. Not wanting to waste a single minute, I woke up extremely early, 5AM, to be exact, to do what I came to Gold Coast to do, surf!

Total spending:

Accomodation

Hervey Bay Motel: $35.50/pax

AirBnB at Arlie Beach: $83.75/pax

AirBnB at Cairns: $65.50/pax 

AirBnB at Gold Coast: $79.50/pax

Car rental: $99.83/pax (not incl. petrol)

Air Tickets: $446.70/pax

Skydiving: $485.83/pax (incl. photos + video)

Diving: $328.20pax

Movieworld: $79/pax

As usual, a few tips before ending off:

  1. When planning a road trip, ensure that all drivers bring along their driving license. There may also be additional driver charge. Also, always get car insurance.
  2. Do ensure to follow traffic rules, since their traffic cameras are really well hidden.
  3. Rental cars usually does not come with the equipment to pay tolls. So you might have to go online to make the payment.

 

Valentine’s eve

I still can’t believe that this just happened over the weekend.

My man has been bugging me to go to an island, off the coast of Singapore, called Coney Island. It’s a place for off road cycling, mosquitoes and sand flies. Of course, it’s a perfect place for photo shoots as well, since until recently, this island has been relatively untouched and unreachable by the public.

So we made plans to go there, in the search of the lone cow (yeap, there’s only one cow on the whole island), at the same time, explore the area, much to my hesitation. Much as I love the outdoors and cycling, I do not see myself as a buffet lunch for the various blood sucking insects there.

The bicycle ride there was both relaxing and fun. Riding by the sea, before hitting the rough terrain on the island. I have to admit, it was quite fun, having not done this in a while. After 10 mins of cycling or so, I saw balloons on one of the beach area, which my man signaled to stop for a drink. Suddenly, he blindfolded me from behind and led me to God knows where. I heard cameras clicking, but he brushed it off for bird watchers in the area, and I was made to sit on a log before he handed me an Ipad. For a brief moment, I thought he has given me an Ipad for Valentines. There was music, and I was told to open my eyes. The Ipad was playing a video montage of us, with all the silly pictures we have taken together.

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When it ended, I was blindfolded again, and made to stand. When I can open my eyes, there he was. On one knee in front of me. My heart stopped.

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I am forever grateful to those involved in this with my man, now my fiancé, especially to Jo. I’m totally speechless and I love you guys so much.

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And to my fiancé, I’m amazed at how you brought the family together, and also making this possible, with 4 different groups of friends.

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Forever yours

Signing off~

PS: The Ipad wasn’t the present.

Khao Lak,Similans Islands LOB, Phuket

I’ve just gotten back from a holiday, and i’m suffering from terrible withdrawal symptoms. For some unknown reason, WordPress seemed to have changed their formatting. Can’t say that I’m digging it though.

Anyway, since this was planned this trip with a bunch of divers, its no doubt we will plan this trip centered around diving! Of course, me being a shutterbug, and my other girls being photographers, brace yourself for lotsa photos! This is also gonna be a reeeaalllyy long post.

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