Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Australia, Sovereign Hill

We went to Sovereign Hill on our sixth day in Melbourne. Sovereign Hill is located in the suburb of Ballarat and it took us about 1hr 20min via train. From Ballarat Train Station, we simply board the free shuttle service to Sovereign Hill.

I was lucky to get quick photo snap of the Ballarat Train Station from across the street. Time was pressing as we needed to catch the bus. I noticed too that the buildings here had a different architecture from those in Melbourne. 

Look at the architecture of this building. I was in awe because the heritage of Ballarat was kept intact. The building was built by miners in the 1850s, when gold was discovered. The discovery created a gold rush, where large volumes of people flocked to this town. The town soon became rich and people could afford to build many buildings like the one in the photo.

I couldn't take away my gaze from the fine details of the balustrade. They were amazing. And the colouring of this building, with its golden hue added up to the feeling that I was really in the gold miners' town.

Photo credit to:

I couldn't wait to visit Sovereign Hill after looking around at the town. And finally, we're here. I was all prepared to step back in time to the gold rush period in Ballarat and to experience what it was like. Sovereign Hill provides us with this opportunity because it is a living museum, so everything feels quite authentic here.

I felt a rush of excitement as soon as I entered Sovereign Hill. The image before me was like a cowboy town. The smell of horse poop was indistinguishable to my sensitive nose. It hits me like cold water splashed on my face. I knew then that I was not dreaming.

There's really a bakery in Hope Bakery!! And one can shop for groceries at the Grocers.

I bought some anise sweets at the confectionery. It was fresh and made using traditional methods. I must say that I'm one satisfied customer when I tasted the sweets. They had a very unique taste.

We really had loads of fun in this place. We decided to bowl and this was when we found out what bowling was like in the olden days.

The bowling ball was so heavy; there's no way we can lift it up using one hand. This elevated, long stretch of wooden path was the bowling lane. And the pins were also made of wood. After we had bowled, we had to place the pins upright. You could imagine walking up and down from our bowling position to the pin area. It was quite a distance and bowling was absolutely a tiring sport at that time. 

We also viewed the blacksmith and the candle-maker at work here. It's so enlightening to see these special people perfecting the craft that was passed down through several generations. Would there be another generation to continue these crafts?

I do love Sovereign Hill on the whole. All the staffs were in Victorian costumes and we could engage them about the history of the town.

Panning for gold... anyone interested?

Jas decided to go for the Gold Mine Tour while I took this opportunity to wander on my own. Yeay!!! It's great to have that personal space and time. 

I waved at Jas as she went for the tour. We're to meet in 1.5 hrs time. 

I'll share the photos that I had taken while I was on my own soon. Until the next post then. Ciao.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Australia, Phillip Island

This post will be on my trip to Phillip Island. It was a memorable trip to me because I managed to visit quite a number of places in just one day. I went with the same tour to the Great Ocean Road, and I could say that by the end of the trip, my curiosity of the Island has been fulfilled.

My first stop at Phillip Island was Rhyll Trout and Bush Tucker Farm. The place was really huge. We were introduced to a lot of native plants there. 

The name 'Bush Tucker' here refers to any food, native to Australia. In the past, these food was a source of sustenance to the indigenous people. Well, I did find the name of the farm weird at first, but now it became clearer after I got to know its meaning. 

Examples of bush tucker products include macadamia nuts, lemon myrtle and wattle seed.

Lemon myrtle leaves has become my most favorite plant because of its fragrance. Just rub the leaves gently with your palms and you'll get a really refreshing smell. To me, this is natural aromatherapy, fresh and organic.

Those yellow berries - they do look really nice - but beware, they might be poisonous! And here's a strawberry gum leaf, food for the koalas. The leaf does carries a light hint of strawberry smell when rubbed together.


The best lunch in my Australian trip was salmon, cooked with lemon myrtle batter, and some chips. I had a really nice platter here because the salmon was very fresh. I can almost feel it melting in my mouth with every bite I took. I craved for more salmon at that time, even though I was full. It was that great. 

So based on this experience alone, I could conclude that fresh food do not require much seasoning, because they are just naturally good on their own.


We visited the Koala Conservation Centre next. The koalas were in their natural habitat and we had to walk quietly so as not to disturb them. In this area, there were 20 koalas in total and I tried to spot every single one of them. Unfortunately, they were so high up on the trees and many looked like furry balls, all curled up. I couldn't get a good photo at all and I thought that this trip was going to be a disappointing one.

However, as luck would have it, I ended up encountering not one, but two koalas, really close up. They were just an arm's length away from me.


This was the first koala. It was so cute that I couldn't bear to walk away from it. Hmm.. did you just notice me, little one? What are you doing, scratching the tree? I could see that koalas have really sharp claws, so don't even think of touching any of them. Koalas are NOT domesticated animals. Besides the claws, the koalas may also carry a certain koala disease (not sure what disease it is), so it's better to keep an appropriate distance from them.

My second koala sighting. This one is sleeping very soundly. 


Clear, open fields and small roads shaded by trees; these are what I like most about Australia. It is so spacious and green, with an abundance of natural wonders. I just love the simplicity of life. 

Here is another place which I went to, where I get to sample a variety of cheese.


I would like to say that this was my cheesy affair... The cheese was so yummy especially when you spread it over a slice of french loaf. Appreciating something like this is so heart-warming.

And with tummy filled again, I climbed on-board the bus, with my fellow tour group, to get to The Nobbies Rock.


It was windy here, but I loved it. I felt good because the short walk cleared my mind. Whatever recesses of drudgery I felt back in Singapore was lifted up and I felt light. 

A penguin burrow was seen in the midst of shrubs here. There were many of them, in Nobbies Rock.  These were built for the penguins to return to in the evening.


As the evening approached, Jas and I were ready for the main attraction in Phillip Island - the penguins! Unfortunately, we're not allowed to take pictures of the penguins. It's to protect the penguins and I don't feel like violating the rule. I think we should respect the rules because they were definitely made for a reason.

So I took the photo of a miniature penguin in one of the exhibits.


Overall, this trip was a journey of discovery for me. I do hope to do more of this kind of trip in other places. This will be my last photo in this post. I was at the penguin viewing area, waiting for the sun to set and the penguins to emerge from the sea.


At the end of the day, I was really tired, but happy. 

Well, that's all for now. Do tune in to my last post on Australia. Ciao.