Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Melbourne Trip: A Day in Perth


Alhamdulillah... we concluded our trip with a short transit in Perth. A 7 hours transit gives us an ample time for a short tour around Perth, had a lunch and back to the airport.

Bell Tower under renovation
It is an on-purpose transit. Alhamdulillah Suzana suggested that we take a transit in Perth so that we had the opportunity to set foot in Perth --- something like a sneak peak of Perth.

Our flight to Perth was at 8.30am via Qantas Air. We had Farid, our entourage, to pick us up from the hotel at 5.30am to avoid any unforseen circumstances. Before leaving the hotel, my husband and I had a light snack after Subuh which is at 4am because we do not know what they will serve us on the airplane. On our way to the airport, we passed by Brunswick, a place in Melbourne suburbs that housed muslims community. You can see many Muslim's restaurant and butcher there.

As we are about to check-in using the many kiosk available, Alhamdulillah, the airport officer approached us and asked where we are going. She even helped us to check-in, when realizing that we will be on transit, she advised us to go the counter instead as from there, they will handle our luggage to the connecting flight. If we do a self check-in, we need to handle our luggage on our own. Fuhhhh.....Alhamdulilllah Allah had eased us on this matter. We had our luggage checked-in, we later find a quiet place to sit and enjoy our home made breakfast while waiting to board the Qantas Air. We spent time to catch-up with the world through the free internet access at the airport.

Old building that is still standing tall
Modern and old building stand tall
We arrived at the Perth airport as scheduled. Numerous announcements were made to make sure nobody carries in any fruits from other districts. Large bins were placed at several places at the airport on our way out of the airport. Since we have no luggage to pick-up, it was a smooth way out for us. We met with a volunteer who guided us how we should spend our 6 hours or so in Perth. She suggested we take a bus to Kingspark, spent our time there, take lunch and take another bus back to the airport. She even brought us to the bus station nearby. After a short discussion among us, Mr Hubby suggested otherwise. We agreed as he had been here before. Instead of a bus, we took a taxi to the Bell's Tower.

From the Bell's Tower, we bought a ticket of $33AUD per person to take a ride on the hip hop bus which took us around the Perth. This is a worth ride. The bus took us around Perth and to interesting places in Perth CBD. It went around the Perth CBD, even to the Kingspark and Botanical garden then finally to the city center where we disembark. Perth is traditional town with many preserved buildings. It looks awesome.


Street art

Kangaroo with briefcase:
Symbolize people returning home from work

A Shot from the bus
Almost similar to our Bangunan Sultan Sulaiman
There's quite a number of Muslim restaurant can be found in Perth CBD. Ae it already noon, we had lunch at Indonesia Restaurant called Indonesia Indah Restaurant, serving nasi padang with a reasonable price. Then a short walk to the sourvenir shop to grab few last items. And later took a cab to the airport where we perform our solat jama' in a space provided for multipurpose prayer, its very convenient. It even has a qiblat shown on the ceiling and a convenient place to take your wudhu' (ablution).

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Melbourne Trip: Around the Melbourne CBD


5 days and 4 nights are not that long ... we did not managed to cover all the interesting places in Melbourne CBD itself. We barely managed to complete the cycle of the free City Circle tram ride.

Among the places that we went : 

1. Around the Federation Square.
2. A walk along the Yarra river.
In front the Federation Square
 3. Saw the Eureka Tower but had not had the chance to go to the hanging deck even though I wish I could be there. We were too tired after long and days of walking.

Eureka Tower 

4. We managed to find time to the Direct Factory Outlet (DFO) at the Wharf area. Went into the complex for window shopping. Nothing captured our interest except for the notice board below:

Interesting advertisement
 Get the meaning of the advert? Ha ha .... it means that, while the wife is busy in the DFO, this cafe will do the husband-sitting .... so, let's the husband sit and relax in the cafe while enjoying the coffee ... very catchy isn't it?? This notice is place in front of a cafe just next to the DFO

Light show
Light show
5. One of the night, we went out to the city center on the tram just to catch the night glimpse of Melbourne CBD. We thought of only enjoying the ride to the city and back to our apartment. However, a large crowd rose our curiosity. Upon stepping down from the tram, we realized that it was a light show being put up at one of the building. The show is about Christmas. We did not catch the show as we are too far to listen to the dialogues.

6. We spent our time leisurely at the aquarium. Enjoying the various sea life.

the fierce shark

Hi there! The stingray greets you ;P

 As we did not go to the Philip Island (the most talked about attraction) because of time constraint, we simply enjoy the penguins here in the Sea Life Center.

There's a lot more places to go and see. There are the muzium, zoo, Philip Island and many more but we have too short to enjoy them all. Besides the aging body needs some rest too.
It will be more interesting if the kids were around. Some other time dears, ibu is here for work and sight seeing is only part of it.


Melbourne Trip: GOR


I guess I should share some of my experience on my trip to Melbourne. I really hope that this piece of information can become a guide to those who plan to go for a trip to Melbourne.

Great Ocean Road Tour or known as GOR is a destination that were higlighted as one of a tourist destination in the Melbourne visit. Is it a must??? It really depends on who are on the tour and the kind of person you are. GOR tour is a scenic tour viewing the spectacular ocean view and appreciating the beautiful creation by Allah the Mighty. My personal opinion - it's a worth going. However, if travelling witk kids that are non-naturalist, it might bore them. However, as parents this is a great time to educate the kids to appreciate the nature.

It was a very long journey with few stops. We began our journey immediately upon arrival, that is at about 9am and arrived at the hotel at almost 11pm. Can you imagine the journey? It was about a 500++km drive altogether, to and fro. Tiring but enjoyed. Farid, our guide cum driver had been such a tolerable guide. Alhamdulillah.

Our first stop on our GOR tour is the Anglesea. We took few photos at the river bank. And try to capture the photo of the bird who attracted our attention. The weather is rather chill being in summer, especially when there's a wind blowing. I was lucky as I had my denim on. But not so lucky for my husband who is in his short sleeve with no sweaters to cover.

Our next is the Split Point Lighthouse at Aireys Inlet. To reach there we passed several small towns, another small township. Looks very peaceful. The architecture was amazing throughout the journey. The light house was built on top of a hill. Cars were not allowed up the hill as it was a residential area. We parked our car ..oooppps... Farid parked the car at the bottom of the hill we walked our way up to the hill to light house. You can climb the light house for a minimum fee of $15 AUD. We decided not to as we have a long way to go in this tour. 

No standing zone.
A rare road sign but found at many places in Australia. 

This is a very unique road sign that captured my attention. It is called 'No standing zone', meaning that you cannot stop there not even to drop a passenger off. Everybody abide to the sign.

On our way up, we were mesmerized by the beautiful floras and faunas found. There are just beautiful and stunning in this cold weather. Subhanallah.

Beauty captured
This is not edited. This is real. Subhanallah.
So beautiful.
Some of the rare.

Scones everyone...? Yummy.

As it was almost 11am, and we have not had our breakfast yet (since getting down from the plane), Farid bought us some scones and coffee and tea (It is actually part of the tour package which includes two meals) from the Willows Tea House there. Eating scones under the sunlight which comes out and shy away few times, is a very unforgettable memory. When everybody rush into the shades, we keep calm under the sun. By the way, the owner of the tea house can even speaks few Indonesian words and he knows Hamzah too, our package owner, that he suggested only halal food for us. 

Next stop is the 'Spot the Koala'. But the parrots were suddenly became our main attraction. Farid brought along some kuaci for bird feeding. The moment Farid poured the kuaci onto each of the palms (except me ... I am the photographer), the parrot came flying towards them landing onto any possible area, the arm, shoulder or even the head.

Can you see the koala??
Hungry parrots

Later, we had our lunch at a river bank in Apollo Bay, facing the Marina which I forgot the name of the place. We had the fish and chips as suggested by Hamzah through Farid. It's breezy and chill under the sunlight. A very comfortable weather. Alhamdulillah. We stopped for solat jama' for zohor and Asar at Fort Campbell, a very quiet town. We had our solat together in jamaah with Farid as the imam in the open space available facing the sea. Sujud and press our head onto the green green grass. Such a wonderful experience.

Our lunch: Fish and Chips and Thai sauce
The final stop is at the most spectacular view ever, The Twelve Apostles. No words to describe. Enjoy the photo yourself. It's cold even in summer. You should be prepared with sweater or the sorts. The wind blowing adds the chill.

Finally, a journey back to Melbourne CBD. We took another way back to Melbourne CBD. Passing through the many farms - lambs, cows, and even horses. Sleepy and tired but we keep awake as we do not want to miss these captivating moments and views.

As we reached Melbourne CBD, I asked Farid a favor to take us to the mosque in Melbourne. Alhamdulillah, we fulfilled our duty to Allah in this Islamic Center which was in a building not far from the Flagstaff. This is where the Muslim community in Melbourne perform their solat Jumaah together. They had to agree to a certain time for the solat as to gather the crowd and it is not immediately after the azan.

We finally reached the apartment at about 11pm. We had to rang for the reception as everybody had already in a deep sleep. Alhamdulillah. It was a worth trip.

Melbourne Trip: Victoria Market


Queen Victoria Market - the attraction
Queen Victoria Market (QVM),  a MUST go place when in Melbourne. Kira-kira macam wajib jugaklah. Kalau tak pergi macam tak cukup rukun 'Trip to Melbourne'.

From where we stayed, at the Nova Stargate Apartment, it is just a 10 minutes walking distance. You can repeat your visit as many times as you like per day. You can even walk back to the hotel if you need to go to the loo while shopping.... (Ssshhh).... that's how close Victoria Market is to where we stayed.

The market sells vegetables, fruits, wet products, dairies, clothes and souvenirs. Just like our local pasar malam, it sells everything but with a major difference. The difference is that the Victoria Market is soooooo clean. No cats wondering around. No water ponding found. It's a thumbs up. As any market are, the QVM are divided into sections. There are fresh fruits and vegetables which are house outdoor, while the dairy products and wet products are in another closed building. In the open building you can find people selling the many sourvenirs ranging from t-shirts, handmade items, leather goods, Merino wool jackets, lots and lots of keychains and magnetic deco. So if you plan to get something for the loved ones back at home, QVM is the best place to get those items. The price is much cheaper if compared with those in the shops around the Melbourne CBD along the La Trobe street (we made our study about this very well).

The wet products at QVM
The ripe and tempting cherries
Vegies that are not available at our hometown
The wet products such as meat, fish, lobster are all sold behind the glass. Very hygiene and systematic. To purchase, you can just point to the item that you want. No touching, no squeezing, no pressing. That is something mothers would not like if buying fishes at our local wet market. We would like to turn the fish, check the eyes for sign of freshness. But, it is not how it is in the QVM. The price? A bit pricy for our currency. I can see lobster selling for $199 AUD per kilo!!!! They even have section for dairies, a place where you can get your cheese from (but I can't guarantee that its halal. It is interesting to see the many varieties of cheese selling there unlike the limited choice that we have at our supermarkets. Anyway, cheese is not part of our daily routine, why bother. I found a unit selling coffee beans. The variety of coffee beans. It smells so good.

Night Market at QVM 
We walked to the market from our apartment at about 7am in the cold and breezing weather. The sellers are still laying out their goods. As we arrived, we were greeted by a Chinese man. Showing the sourvenirs that he sells. He can even speaks a little Bahasa Melayu as he claims his wife is a Malay Muslim from Jinjang, Kuala Lumpur. He is the same person few of our friends had been telling. They claimed that he gives the best bargain. We agreed. Grab few items and move on for more hunting. The fresh market are all ready waiting for us. There's a wide variety of vegetables. I was so excited. Unfortunately it is impossible to bring it back home. We met with an Indonesian lady selling T-shirts. We had a chit-chat with her, bought few items from her. When asked for halal food around the QVM, she cautioned us only to eat from a Turkish Cafe there as the rest of the stalls are non-halal. Thank you sister, May Allah bless you and tour family.
A place for souvenirs

The market does not open daily. It is closed on Monday, Wednesday and most public holidays. The opening hours is from 6am to 2pm. And it opens the night market on Wednesday night seasonally.

We are lucky enough to experienced the night market. They only sells cooked food at the night market . You can see a very large crowd at the market. Tasting the variety of foods sold there. It is during this night market that we get acquaintance with GOZLEME, a Turkish food (itu je yang halal pun kat night market tu). Gozleme is something like pratha where you place some fillings onto it plus cheese, fold it into half, pan baked it for a while and serve with variety of sauce of your like. The sauce can be tomato ketchup, cheese, mustard or mayo. There are churros too ... but the queue was too long, and we are not sure whether it is halal or not even though the recipe is clean from any non-halal ingredients. We did not had the chance to find out.


Friday, December 12, 2014

Melbourne Trip: Moving around in Melbourne


For this post I will just summed-up all the possibilities that you can have when planning for trip around the Melbourne city.

Comparatively, Melbourne is not that big. We managed to move around on foot most of the time. Our stay in Melbourne is at the Nova Stargate, located at the Franklin Street. It is situated very near to the 
Victoria Market.

The tram

To move around the city, you can either take the free tram, City Circle Tram, or the paid tram. For the paid tram, you need to have a pass, Myki, something like a touch-n-go card in Malaysia. You can use the card for the tram or train alike. Purchasing the card will cost you $14 for a day trip. We are lucky, Alhamdulillah, Hamzah prepared the Myki for us. One each. He troubled himself to deliver the card to 4 of us early morning on our first morning in Melbourne. The card had some balance left on it, and we need to only top-up the value for our use. 

The free tram, No.35, moves around the Melbourne CBD, the city, in circle. It is about 12 minutes interval from one another. The time may increases during peak hours. It is so convenient to move around using this tram. Very convenient. You can just drop off at any place that you wish and hop on again to move around. And its free.

From where we stay, we need to walk for about 20 minutes, 2 blocks away to the nearest free tram station, that is the Melbourne Central Station. Melbourne Central Station is also the hub for the trains to other various places. It is from this station that we take a train to Glenfarie station, to Swinburne University, the place where the IC3e Conference took place which brought us to Melbourne. Now you see... we are here for the conference, but we took sometime to explore the land of kangaroos.... hihihi...well, as the proverbs says.. 'killing two birds with one stone'.

Glenfarie Train Station within the Swinburne Uni

On tram No.35
To go to Glenfarie, I could say in  terms of the train frequency, it is a 6 star. We do not need to wait long to catch the train. It is something like 5 minutes apart. The timing is accurate. The information and notices are comprehensive. The chances that you missed a stop is too slim unless you slept on the train.

The Flinders Station is where the transits are for the trains. You can hop on another train to the destination you like at this station. Flinders station is an old building but is well kept and maintained. I salute. Its a pity that our old Kuala Lumpur station is now left unused. It could also become the center of attraction just like this Filnders Station.

By the way, on our trip, we took the free tram at the Melbourne Central Station and drop off at the famous Flinders Street. And a short walk crossing the busy roads (traffic lights helps you to cross the road) took us to the famous Federation Square. A most talk about place among tourist. And we were there to enjoy the free wifi offerred there.

Flinders Station
Flinders Station

From the Federation Square, we walked to Yarra River walkway and later walk our way back to our hotel on foot crossing through the busy Melbourne city. Just make sure that you have the Melbourne map with you as it will become handy as you move around the city.

To be continued ....