Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne
Neighbouring the Shrine of Rememberance are the Royal Botanical Gardens. Founded in 18th century, these green beds of sprawling lawns are pure delight for your mind and soul. Take a stroll in these amazingly curated peaceful gardens or just enjoy a leisurely picnic with friends/family along tranquil lake sides. These magnificent gardens offer a relaxing therapy. It is like a magical wonderland which doesn't disappoint you at all and has something to offer to everyone.
I accidentally timed my visit to Sydney to coincide with their annual Australia Day celebration. It was a happy accident as the city was one big party that day. Unfortunately, the Bridge Climb was booked up during my entire stay (always book that in advance!) but I did get to witness a terrific fireworks display over Darling Harbour. My first stop was the famous Sydney Opera House. It looks beautiful in pictures but I must say it was amazing up close. I’m not sure how many pictures one could possibly take of this building but I’m going for the record. The other major attraction in Sydney Harbour is the Harbour Bridge. It’s funny to see the constant stream of people climbing to its top. Wish I could have done that, it looks really cool up there. With the holiday, there were a TON of boats out on the water and since that looked like a lovely way to spend a few hours, I found the ferry terminal and bought a ticket to the far beaches at Manly. Mostly, I just wanted the ferry ride through the harbor but the beach was gorgeous, too. For my last day in Sydney, my plan was to check out the famous Bondi Beach. Bondi is a huge beach and was very crowded even at 10 am when I got there. I found a good spot and settled in for a while enjoying the atmosphere.
The girls went on their secret shopping adventure, so I went over to the park with the boys, played cricket for the first time in my life and soaked Grant in the pool of reflection at Hyde Park, which gained me a soaking in return of ice cold water. Had the best Spaghetti Bologenese cooked for us for dinner by Mike tonight too, it was delish!
Named after the original Hyde Park in London, this is the oldest parkland in Australia. Once a popular racing ground and a turf for various other sports, today this 40 acre park is only a humble reminder of the city's past. This huge space filled with gardens and a main fountain at the center is perfect to lay back and absorb the two-hour walk. A perfect end point to the journey.
Next we went to The Nobbies where we wandered along the boardwalk around the rugged coastline. This place gives you a great view of offshore islands.In the end we went to the world famous Penguin Parade. The little penguins fish in the sea all the day and return to the shore just when it starts to get dark. It’s fun watching them gather at the shore and walk towards their nests. Approximately 900-1000 penguins participated in the parade. One must carry jackets as gets freezing cold at the night. Photography is not allowed as it may disturb the penguins.
We visited Tasmania's east coast village- Coles Bay, during the same trip to Australia. While we visited the world famous Winegalss Bay, the most beautiful and probably one of the most unheard of places was "The Hazards" and the Freycinet Park. What we saw here was one of the most interesting experience into wilderness, for we saw red granite cliffs tumbling their ways into the cold ocean, surrounded by the park and its most unusual animals, ranging from the white-breasted sea eagles and red-neck wallabies to the Tasmanian pademelons. What's more is the abseiling, boating and fishing, snorkeling, coastal wine tasting and scenic flights that were just the perfect ways to experience the essence of Coles Bay. The entire experience truly makes up for the most marvellous coastline I have ever travelled! HOW TO GET THERE: Coles Bay is about 45 minutes' drive from Swansea and around 30 minutes' drive from Bicheno, both on the east coast of Tasmania.
CERES Community Environment Park
I took the 96 tram for a morning’s stroll around the CERES Environmental Park. This is something you won't do if you are not from Melbourne. It is too local to be featured on some quick city guides. i moved along the park's markets, workshops. Even discovered a plant nursery and an outdoor cafe. It is such an amazing atmosphere. If you plan to go to Melbourne, this should feature among your must halts.
With old colonial buildings on one side and the pristine ocean marked with beautiful lighthouses on the other; we enjoyed the mark of beginning our journey on the most amazing coastline of Thomas Bay. Rustic cottages, old mills and vintage bricks all around us got my enthusiastic photographer out and all around the place with my camera!
The tour starts at The Glass Dome at Wynyard Park. This small park is closely connected to the history of the city. and was made a public park in 1887. It was earlier a part of the Soldier’s Parade Ground and Barracks that was used by the guards of the many convicts that arrived in Sydney till 1840. The Dome Glass has an underground lavatory that was built in 1912. A small, pleasant place to start this evening walk.
What more astounding things could one ask for in a day ? Don't you think so ? And this place also had a lovely cosy cafe to sip some hot coffee and to munch on some snacks amidst cute conversations of many kidos with their mommies and dadies. Who said it was just meant to be for children. Bundoora Park turned this 27 year old into a kid.---------------------------------------------------------------------------------Roving around Melbourne CBD for shopping is a pleasurable experience one can have. Being a shopaholic by nature, Melbourne felt like a perfect fantasy world to me. From the very high end brands to many cheaper ones, you have many choices in hand. Though my shopping got a little restricted to winter dressing because of biting cold weather but I was and I am in love till date with every little piece I got from there. To name a few of my favourite brands,I would say- Cotton On, H&M, Temt, Valley girl and Factorie. How can I forget K Mart. One stop shop for anything for yourself to everything for your house. I ended up shopping lots of shoes, boots and high heels from there. One of the treasured things that I bought which brought me countless compliments was the pink H & M scarf. I wonder if there would be any girl who would not like this scarf. Afterall, pink is the new black these days. In a complete shopping spree mode, I got to witness several colours of Melbourne life. Hustle bustle across the streets during peak morning and evening office hours,trams brimming with passengers over the weekdays & weekends and the maddening amount of footfall at the shopping malls due to sale season.
Honeymoon Island is a flat sand bank that was recently created by the wind dragging sand inside Aitutaki Lgoon, in the tiny Pacific territory of the Cook Islands. The sandbank is populated by a few bushes and several palm trees grown from the coconuts planted by the many couples that make the trip down here as a sign of their eternal love. The whole island can be walked in fifteen minutes and reached by a 45 minutes boat ride from Vaipae, Aitutaki's main town. It is said that couples used to come here to get married, hence the name. There are various arch-like structures made of bamboo and local flowers under which couples exchange their vows. 7) Aileen from I am Aileen: White Beach, Boracay, Philippines
Whitehaven Beach is a beach unlike any you’ve ever seen before. A cruise through the islands will take you there and possibly elsewhere, depending on the vessel. You can dive or snorkel along the way, creating a fulfilling experience. I’d recommend a smaller boat with fewer people–larger boats become more commercialized and a bit less personal.
To get away from the hustle bustle of the city, to relax a bit and to munch on my veg roll peacefully, I decided to walk through Treasury park and then walked into the Fitzroy gardens across the road. It felt like a perfectly pleasant place to laze around and get soaked in the splendid aura of these scenic quaint green beds. One must also visit the colourful conservatory for amazing clicks. I also managed to get few stunning selfies.---------------------------------------------------------------------------------During my daily excursions over the week, I got to know about the fireworks that were being organised every Friday night at Docklands in winters. Trust me, I was eagerly waiting for Friday evening to arrive.With oodles of thrill and energy, I was at the Docklands by 6 in the evening. I was zealously waiting for it to start and when it did, my eyes got glued to the sky and I felt hypnotised. Diwali has always been my favorite festival and I relished that 1 hour Diwali in Melbourne with all the happy people around. Let me give you a little glimpse of what am I talking about.
Next day it was time to go for a day tour to Whitehaven Beach and Day Dream Island. Though the journey through cruise was really a rough one as there was unusually high tide on that particular day. At one time our ship was under the tide and we could see that we were under water for good 5 secs and I was scared to death. But luckily we survived the journey and reached the world’s most beautiful beach i.e. Whitehaven Beach. 7km stretch of milky white sand beach with all shades of blue spread over the it, like fearless stroke of brush on artist's canvas, makes it a sight to live for (I don’t believe in dying for anything ;-) ).
Australian Butterfly Sanctuary
At the end, we disembarked in the village of Kuranda. Very touristy, it is souvenir shops and restaurants galore. We had train tickets for the railroad going back down at 3:30, the last train of the day. There are only two of them and the earlier one is at 2:00. We went to the butterfly sanctuary to spend some time. We hesitated at the $16.00 entry fee per person, but once in, realized it was well worth the money. There are over 2,000 butterflies of various species at any given time. After ten minutes in we were offered a free guided tour. Our guide explained the details of half a dozen different breeds of butterflies, their life stages, their sex life, colorations, and so on. The amount of information was incredible, but the beauty of the Ulysses butterfly with its vibrant blue wings outshone anything she had to say. Two of them landed on her chest. She was wearing a white t-shirt with a Ulysses butterfly on it. There is also a large green species that I cannot recall the name of that was an incredible emerald green. At the end of the tour in the butterfly area, she took us into the museum to show us butterflies of the world. Mother nature is quite the artist. Some had wings that when opened looked like snake heads to thwart their enemies.
If there's one word to describe Ned's Beach, it will be Paradise. One of the most beautiful and pristine beaches you will probably ever see. With feeding school of fish by your own good hands as an added activity, Ned's beach is also one of the most entertaining beaches on this island. Sadly, camping is not allowed on anywhere on this island!