Thursday, March 22, 2012

Liza on the map ~ the overdue Australia trip ; Gold Coast Edition

After spending 2 nights in Sydney, we flew off to Gold Coast. The flight took about an hour and we took the first flight out. When we landed in Gold Coast, the weather was quite gloomy and we went straight to Dream World. It started to drizzle the moment we enter Dream World but no way we will allow that to stop us from having fun! We bought us a poncho each and went to enjoy the ride there. Actually the rain is a blessing. There were not many people at the park and most of the rides, we don't have to queue to enjoy it. Few rides, kids even rode them few times. And it was a blast. We also get to take photos with koalas and kangaroos!

Second day was spent at Movie World. We arrived even before the part was open. If I were to choose between Movie World and Dream World, my choice is Movie World. Kids made the same choice as well. They love the rides there, they said it's more challenging. Me? I just enjoyed being in a place where I can really visualise movies I adore. The best part of the day (at least to me) is the movie characters parade. They had Batman and Robin, Justice Leagues, Scobby Doo and team and many more! And when they start to shuffle to LMFAO tune, I got very excited!

I enjoyed Gold Coast's beach. We spent every night at the beach. There's one night we went to Pasar Malam (yes, that's what they call it) where we get to see many local made stuff. It was an interesting experience.

Of course, we visited the SkyPoint where we can the whole Gold Coast City and enjoyed the view of the beaches from 77th floor.

Some tips if you plan to go to Gold Coast one day

Must eat

We stayed at this hotel called Mantra and they have this Malaysian halal Chinese restaurant at their ground floor. I love the food there, and it was also my first time eating abalone. Not too crazy about it though. Other than that, nothing much. No worries about halal food, many arab outlets along the coastal area.

Must shop

If you plan to get souviners to bring back, Gold Coast offers loads of it at quite cheap price. We bought some tshirts, koalas and kangaroos keychains, nougats and some stuffed toys.
Must see

The Skypoint especially those who are into photography. The view is just to die for.

Must do

Trip to Gold Coast will not be complete if you don't go to the theme parks. And please please please spend more time at the beach. Not only it's beautiful, infra wise, it's just complete!
Some pics capturing the moments at Gold Coast

Yes, we do hope to return to the land down under someday. But for now, we are focus to put our name on other parts of the world...
Signing off,

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Liza on the map ~ the overdue Australia trip ; Sydney Edition

We have never taken the kids for overseas trip. The furthest we took them was Kuching (kira jauh ler tu) or if out of Malaysia, it was Singapore. While we were planning for this trip, we were very excited. We planned this for months to make sure we got it right.

We thought it's a good thing to go to 2 destinations in Australia considering we don't know when we can come back to the land of Oz again. We were contemplating whether the city to visit is Melbourne or Sydney. Goldcoast is definitely a must.While making our research, we determined the selected city is Sydney. Why Sydney? Simply because of the opportunity to see wild dolphins at Jervis Bay.

Next, to get the best package to meet our vacation needs. Of course, the hunting ground would be Matta Fair. We went to the one in August, it was fasting month. As always, took the day off, waited for the door to open and off we go. Alhamdulilah, we managed to get the deals which best suited our requirements.

The trip to Aussie, I must say was not a pleasant one. The package engaged Singapore Airline as our carrier and from the time we board the plane, we were not happy. Then, to make matter worse, they forgot our halal food. We ended up not eating the whole 7 hour journey. Not only that, we were in the same flight as a bunch of athletes, their smell were just too strong. Baby and Ilham's entertainment set were also not working. We can't wait to land and leave all this behind.

Sydney is just beautiful. We went to many tourists spots. Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Fisherman Wharf to name a few. That night, we walked around the city and managed to find Sydney Hard Rock.

The next day, we made our way to Wollongong for our boat ride to watch the wild dolphins. We were told by the guide the day before the tourists were not that lucky as they did not get to view any. I was praying all the way to the middle of the sea, please God, give us the chance to see your creation. I couldn't disappoint Ilham, he really looked forward to this. Alhamdulilah, we managed to see not one, not two but more than 2 dozens of wild dolphins. They did their jumping and swimming all around us. Indeed, it was great joy...

Some photos of our Sydney explorations....

Must eat
  • Lobsters and shrimps at Fisherman Wharf. They are super cheap compared to the one in Malaysia.
  • Cherries from any fruit markets. Not only it was sweet, you can really feel the freshness
  • Halal food was not a concern. Many outlets have this option
Must shop
  • None actually, Australia is not a place to shop. It's just too expensive. We wanted to get ourselves a BBQ set but did not get a chance to do so. Insyallah, next time
Must see
  • Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge are the 2 tourist icons which are a must visit. Trip to Sydney is not complete without having to go to this 2 places
  • There's this place called Kiama Blowhole and the view here is just amazing. The beaches are just breathtaking.
  • Of course Jarvis Bay, where we get to see wild dolphins in action!
  • We also get to meet the World Oyster Opening Champion. And of course, tasted the oysters fresh from the farm
  • Sydney was the host for Olympics in 2000. We visited the stadium where the opening and closing ceremony were held...Sad thing is Malaysia's name was not in any of the medalists list :(
Must do
  • Walk around the city, it's just so nice to do so at night with all the lights. When we were there, the weather was cold despite it was actually summer. We were told it should be warmer, but lucky us, it was cold and nice.
Next, the Goldcoast experience!

Go to Australia! You won't regret it!

Signing off,