Purple has now turned blue... purple is joy, yet blue is hope!


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Travel - Australia.Sydney.NSW.VIC.Melbourne Aug 30 - Sep 8 2013 - Part 2

Long overdue post. I have been procrastinated week after weeks. Blame it on the ever busy schedule for weekends, tiring weekdays. Oh well, life goes on, that's for sure. 

Highlight of my trip to the South island been the 4D3N road trips. Stayed over 3 small towns - Batesman Bay, Merimbula and Lake Entrance, all along the coastal beach. 

(Click to enlarge) Coastal road trip guide between Sydney-Melbourne
Day 1 - Towards Batemans Bay
  • We picked up our RAV4 from Budget Car Rental. The selection of car rental service between various international company wasn't too easy. Pricing varies a lot and pre-work vs. walk-in pricing do varies. Glad that we stayed nearby KingsCross in Sydney, that helped me in surveying some companies, i.e. Avis, etc. The deal was good from Budget, with $500+ over 4Ds journey with waived one-way charge, as we will be dropping the car in Melbourne. Excess (insurance) deal was rather confusing for a first timer like me, glad Budget staff was real good in explaining the differences to me. 
  • Journey begun right after we loaded out luggage from SpringLodge hotel, we headed to Wollongong. Stopped by a town for quick bruch, plus shopping.
  • Bald Hill - One of my favorite scenic spot, where I spotted the Google earth car. I thought our appearance will be captured.. 

Bald Hill Scenic stop
  • Kiama - Accompanied with blue skies made the combination well. The lookout tower was lovely. But it wasn't the good timing to witness its famous blow hole, as tide was low.

Blow Hole - where strong tide could blast from here

  • Kiama's Amaki Cafe - Absolutely best cafe and coffee we every visited throughout the journey. This cafe was highly recommended. Nice ambience especially dining outside its spring weather. I love the lemon meringue & scones accompanied with fresh strawberries jam and whipped butter.
Amaki Cafe 
Tea time
  • Our journey continued after coffee break. Honestly, driving 200+KM a day can be hectic, while driving with its road condition in the evening will not be easy, it's because of the Kangaroos! They may jump out to the road when it turn dark.
  • Jervis Bay - Before heading to our destination of the day. We stopped for a quick beach walk at Jervis Bay. Supposed the whitest sand beach. Sunset was stunning, though there was no great objects to fulfill the angle of picture.
Sunset @ Jervis Bay
  • Batemans Bay - Arrived close to 8PM. We checked ourselves in Bay Waters Holiday Resort. With a quick recommendation from the front desk, we rushed ourselves to dinner, after dropping our  luggage in the room. It was supposed to be a 2 bedroom apartment, weirdly, it was another king-sized bed which is placed in the hall. Thank god we only stay over for a quick night.
Batemans Bay - Bay Waters Holiday Resort

  • Starfish Deli - As we requested for oysters, this place was recommended. We left not many choice that night, while most shops are closed by 8pm. We settled with a house red wine, branded with fish bone. It was not bad. Accompanied with some fresh oysters, salad and pizza for the night. We were all tired for the 1st day road journey.

 Day 2 - Towards Merimbula

  • Main highlight of the day, is island trip with Dolphin & Whale watching. We hit to Narooma's i- center right after our breakfast at the hotel. Unfortunately, i-center was not open until 9am. We waited and enquire for the boat trip to Montigue island. Price AUD$110/pax. While the boat will not be ready until 1PM, we have to tweak our plan slightly.. made a de-tour
  • Tilba - A place famous of its Cheese factory ABC Cheese. Yum...

ABC Tilba Cheese
Selection of Cheese

  • Montague Island - Absolutely scenic small island, which is worth visiting if you like nature, especially sea and its cold water sea creatures. Dolphins were everywhere greeting us, while we were on the boat trip to the island. Seals were dancing and sun bathing along the island. I almost missed the Whale! Dear, we knew it was Whale season and I managed to catch only the tail... Chilling spring weather on the boat was superb, I love those temperature.
View from top of lighthouse @ Montague Island    
Approaching Montague Island 
Seal @ Montague

  • Wallaga Lake - We were pleased with the amount of facilities and public toilets made available, and most importantly well maintained in NSW. This lake is rather huge, with Princess Highway cutting  through its way. 

Wallaga Lake

  • Tathra Wharf - Along the way towards our final destination of the day, we stopped by this wharf for sunset watch and bite on our cheese packed from Tilba. Missing the sips of red wine, else its gonna be a perfect evening sunset watch.

Tathra Wharf

  • Merimbula - We settled down with a very nice 2 rooms apartment. Living hall was well equipped, it was when I started on with my laundry over the few days trip. Seashells Aparment, thumbs up! I enjoyed preparing breakfast on my own. Grocery shopping at WoolWorths has always been exciting. Milk was fresh, butter was cheap, hotdogs were heaps!  Our dinner that night wasn't pleased, the fish and chips were not impressive and rather expansive. Nothing to shout. Thank god we ordered 3 similar dishes to share. 
Fish n Chips @ Merimbula

Seashells Apartment @ Merimbula
    Simple Breakie
Lovely Apartment

Day 3 - Towards Lake Entrance
  • After checking out from my favorite apartment, we get ourselves prepared for a longer journey towards Lake Entrance. The morning was rather easy, since we had a home cooked breakie prepared. *love it*
  • Whale hunting was the 1st morning activity. We went along the coastal way, toward Eden. i-counter told us one of their staff just saw the whales earlier in the morning. We then quickly head ourselves to that direction described. Unfortunately, no luck.

Whale Hunting
  • Well, no whale means we would need to visit the Whale Museum instead. Sigh. Such a disappointment. But the little tourist spot was super clean and beautiful. NSW has been so much organize in their tourism industry.
Eden Whale Museum
  • Late along the way, our journey went a little boring. Where we had to cut into some forest area, no more coastal sea view. The symmetric of trees along the forest made us feel tired.
  • 90 Miles Beach,  Lake Entrance - We entered into Gippsland, in the state of Victoria by the evening. Beautiful sunset along the beach. Water was cold, but some girls still get wet with their wet suits, super gals!
90 Miles Beach, Lake Entrance

  • The Esplanade Resort & Spa - Excellent 2 bedroom resort apartment. Absolutely love it. Facilities are well occupied, nice kitchen as well as dining area. We got bored with eating out, in another way there was not much choice left in a small town like this. Restaurants are mainly the same and pricy. 
  • Again, we hit to Woolsworth for shopping. We had 3 pizzas with special price, wines, cheese, pie, strawberries plus some other foods. Heated the pizzas with oven, dinner made perfect with sparkling wines! Awesome... well worth for the equipped kitchen.
  • Dinner @ Esplanade Resort Apartment
Day 4 - Towards Melbourne
  • Final leg! We were then heading to the cold cold southern land of Victoria. I had the chance to drive for 200+km. Love it and enjoyed it very much. Driving in OZ has been just so easy. 
  • Traralgon - Our stop of the day where we had our brunch. The Three Little Birds cafe is a local famous cafe. Fell in love with the egg benedict, made me feel like learning poached egg (in fact I succeeded!!). Besides meal, we had a quick shopping at Targets store around. 
Three little birds cafe @ Traralgon
Egg Benedict

  • Walhalla - Uphill place, too bad snow has gone. Weather was rather cooling, as compared to the coastal sunny side. Perhaps mr weather brought us rain when we were heading to Melbourne.

Unique i-Center & souvenir shop @ Walhalla

  • Wait a minute... How can we miss a winery visit during a OZ tour? I demanded at least one. (honestly, we have a few to hit in the plan.. but, we don't have enough time). 
  • Narkojee Winery - Was the one and only winery we visited. It's a boutique winery with home grown grapes. Fell in love with its sparking red wine. Bought one home :)

Narkojee Winery @ Gippsland

  • Drive to the city of Melbourne was a little havoc, as we almost miss out 6pm car drop time. Traffic was bad during rush hour, plus an accident over the highway. Thank god with Google map and gps. We avoided the freeway reported with an accident over the radio that evening. Instead, we paid a few tolls. It was open-ended toll, and be mindful, we passed through at least 6! Guess what was the total bill (auto charged to my credit card registered with my car rental), barely AUD$15. Besides, we'd need to fill full tank of petrol before returning the car, else I will get charged with higher price petrol (into my credit card)
  • Trust me, all of us were panic.. what if we couldn't get to the car rental shop on time. None of us are familiar with the streets, with the guide of gps, we saw our hotel and was glad it is just behind the car rental shop along Franklin Street. Let's drop our luggage instead of dragging it back from the shop... and I drove the car to Budget rental at around 550PM! Phew... we made it on time
Alright mate! That's all for the coastal drive trip report. Stay on for Part 3, for my brief stay in Melbourne. Good nite :)