Irene's Travel Blog

Every Trip Is A Voyage Of Discovery


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Sydney With My New Toy, Fujifilm X100S!

Sydney, Australia 

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HELLO FROM SYDNEY!

I am blogging in my hotel’s room and Hilton Sydney is one of my favorite stay! There is this big king size bed that I have all to myself and I can surround myself with many pillows. It is so hard to get out of the bed. Anyway… Coming back to the topic… As the title says, I just bought a new toy Fujifilm X100S!

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I cannot afford Leica so this is my poor man’s Leica. It is such a classic beauty and I have a lot of fun with my new camera. It was love at first sight! I know I have to get X100S because I am so in love with its vintage design. I always have a thing for vintage stuff. I love vespa sprint, VW classic beetle, gramophone, etc. I still love my Nikon D5100 cos it is the first camera that I bought with my first full time job salary.

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I really want to change the skin but it means voiding the warranty too. My boy says he can cut his gucci leather and make it into a new skin for my camera. But den… He is so busy with his job. I doubt he has the time to do it but if he does, I have a limited edition gucci X100S. One and only in the world! Hohoho… And I really can’t wait to pimp my camera with some cool accessories!

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I had a really strong cravings for pancakes so I went to Pancakes On The Rocks. I love their pancakes with vanilla ice cream and maple syrup. These three go so well together! After lunch/dinner, I roamed around and had fun exploring my new love. Here are some random shots…

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Vivid Mode. 

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Dynamic Tone. 

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Panorama 120degree.

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Panorama 180degree.

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Partial Red Mode. 

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Partial Red Mode. 

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Partial Red Mode. 

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Partial Yellow Mode.

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Multiple Exposure. 

Can’t wait to bring my baby out for my next trip! Till then… :)


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Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

Sean, Kylie, Charlene, Doreen, Sherwin & Me

It was my first time to Christchurch and we went on a road trip to Lake Tekapo which is about 3 hours drive away from Christchurch.

Me, Charlene, Doreen, Kylie & Sherwin

I am not sure what mountain is this but I find that the landing into Christchurch airport is one of the best I have seen so far. The landing into Christchurch airport is so beautiful and you get to enjoy the picturesque view of the mountains and lakes above the skies. Forget about the aisle seat when you travel to Christchurch, get the window seat man!

Church of the Good Shepherd

We were pretty lucky to witness a wedding ceremony at the Church of the Good Shepherd.

It is a very small church but it is a unique place to exchange your love for each other.

Visitors can enjoy a nice view of Lake Tekapo while the wedding is ongoing.

I am practicing chinese kungfu. HAHA.

Still trying my best to balance… Lol!

Me, Sherwin & Kylie

We are trying to make a heart-shape pose but failed.

Me, Sherwin & Kylie

It was SNOWING but it is just a little. Such a lovely surprise though.. :)

One of the activities that I find it interesting that you can do here is stargazing. According to reviews, the Mt John Observatory in Lake Tekapo is one of the world’s best places to star gaze.

This is a photo I took from the net. Oh my goodness… It is so pretty! Another to-do list added – Stargazing at Lake Tekapo! I will be back… I WILL DEFINITELY BE BACK!!


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Sydney with 3 Batchmates!

Sydney, Australia 

I just came back from Sydney and I gonna make this a short and quick post. I have been to Sydney countless time and I have lost count on the number of times I have been here. It is winter now and winter in Australia isn’t as harsh as the winter in Europe. The weather makes it so pleasant to go out in Sydney as compared to Singapore. It is the hottest month in Singapore right now and the high humidity level is so unbearable. Cant stand it!

Pancakes On The Rocks

When I am in Sydney, I always dine at Pancakes On The Rocks. They serve the best pancakes in the world! You will think Strictly Pancakes in Singapore is simply crap after you have tried this.  Another good place to eat at is Chat Thai. Oh yes, they serve amazingly good Thai cuisine in huge portion.

KOREAN BBQ!

Alright… Back to this trip… I have been hearing from fellow colleagues/friends about this Korean joint in Sydney but I have never tried it until yesterday. This is my first time eating Korean BBQ and I love it so much! It is SO SHIOK having Korean BBQ in this cooling weather. And eating with a big group also means you can order more varieties! I think I always sounds so excited when I talk about good food! Heehee…

Sliced Pork Belly

Sliced pork belly that look so cute and yummylicious!!

Me, Althea, Sophia & Eddie

Back to the point, this is my first time flying with 3 batch mates on the same flight together. It is really rare and coincidentally, we marked our first year flying anniversary not too long ago. *Happy One Year Flying*! :)

And of cos not forgetting, the rest of the company that have made this lunch a pleasant one. KOREAN BBQ, I WILL DEFINITELY BE BACK FOR YOU AGAIN!!!  :D


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How I Spent Chinese New Year Away from Home..

Adelaide, Australia 

I had to fly off to Adelaide on CNY Day One and this was my first time being away from home during CNY. I felt a little sad because I had to rush off to the airport after the reunion steamboat at my aunt’s home. She made the best steamboat and I knew I could not miss it even if I had to pull my luggage around to bai nian. I guess this is the only time I get envious being an officer worker as they can enjoy an extended weekend break during this CNY period.

Arrived in Adelaide on CNY Day Two and we went to the Chinese restaurant which is nearby to our hotel.

Fish Ball Soup with Seaweed

This fish ball soup with seaweed was surprisingly good! Yummylicious! :)

We orded a table full of food but we managed to finish it all because we were famished.

I am pretty glad that I spend my CNY with a nice group of people. :)

Chinatown

After our lunch, we walked around the Chinatown.

As usual, there isn’t any distinctive Chinese characteristic that can be found in this Chinatown.

Glenelg Beach

We also went to Glenelg Beach which is about 30 minutes bus ride from our hotel.

It was a very hot summer in Adelaide and the temperature can reach up to 40 degree Celsius here. I prefer summer to winter though and I really think Singapore has the best weather all year round! :D

Caught a glimpse of the sunset. :)

I had this pretty expensive Beer Battered Fish & Chips for dinner but it was really good. This was how I spent my CNY away from home and it makes me appreciate the chance to have a reunion gathering every year. Today is the last day of CNY and I wish everyone a prosperous Dragon year! Huat ah! :)


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Enjoy a Slower Pace of Life at New Zealand…

Waiheke Island, New Zealand 

Greetings from Auckland! ;)

I just came back from Waiheke Island and I am typing out this post now in Esquires Coffee House which is nearby to the hotel that I am staying at.

Had a lovely brunch to kickstart my day in New Zealand. Soft and fluffy toast and crispy on the outside. Yum yum..

Queens Wharf

Queens Wharf

I took the ferry from Queen’s Wharf and the return ferry ticket costs me NZD35.

Waiheke Island Wharf

Arrived at Waiheke Island after a 35 minutes ferry ride. I rented a bike from the bicycle shop near the wharf and it costs NZD30 for the one day bike rental. It was a painful decision cos it was so tiring to cycle uphill. An alternative is to buy the hop-on hop-off bus for NZD22 to explore the island.

Beach near Waiheke Island Wharf

Here are some flower shots that I took with my first try on manual focus.

I am quite contented with the photos. :)

My bicycle @ Oneroa Beach..

It is just me and the beach today..

Irene, meaning Peace

Enjoy a slower pace of life when you are here… Just pause and listen to the musical sounds of birds chirping, ocean waves and winds rattling the leaves… You will be amazed at the peace that comes with it.

Nostalgic mailboxes..

Waiheke Island is a lovely place for retirement and it would be nice to have a house by the beach, waking up to the sound of ocean waves. Sitting on a bench holding hands with your soulmate, enjoying the sea view and each other’s company… Sweet sweet love, isn’t it?

Horse Ranch

Cable Bay Vineyards

Waiheke Island is also known as the ‘Island of Wine‘ and famous for its great New Zealand’s wine.

And of cos…Got to buy a bottle of locally produced wine when I am in one of the world’s most exclusive wine growing regions.. ;)


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Seeing Koala Bears and Kangaroos for the First Time!

Tangora Zoo Sydney, Australia 

I just came back from Sydney which was my 7th time to this lovely city! When I think of Australia, I will think of koala bears and kangaroos. I have been to Australia for 11th time and I really want to see these Australian animals so I decided to pay a visit to the Zoo! :)

I took the free shuttle bus 555 from the bus stop in front of Queen Victoria Building and alighted at Circular Quay.  From Circular Quay, you can buy the Zoo Pass for AUD50.50 which include the ferry transport and entry to Tangora Zoo.

On the ferry to Tangora Zoo and passed by attractions like Opera House and Harbor Bridge.

Welcome to Tangora Zoo“. Reached Tangora Zoo after a short 12 minutes ferry ride from Circular Quay.

I took the Sky Safari located near the ferry wharf to the top entrance of the zoo’s plaza.

Scenic view from the top entrance of zoo’s plaza. It is important to plan your visit well and follow the green dots on the path to explore the 9 trails. I didn’t follow the path and I had to walk uphill which was very tiring to see the other trails that I have missed.

My first stop was the Koala Walkabouts.

Weee!! Finally see an Australian koala bear after my 11th time to Australia!!

These are REAL koala bears but they look fake, don’t they?

Not Drunk – Just Digesting

Some interesting facts about koala bears… According to a bush legend, koalas are permanently drunk on fermented gum leaves. In fact, eucalyptus leaves are low in energy and difficult to break down, which is why koalas sleep as much as 20 hours a day. Their laid-back pose also keeps them cool. It exposes the soft white belly fur which reflects the heat and is easily ruffled by the breeze.

Next stop – Giraffe Encounters.

World’s Tallest Baby! – Giraffes are about 2m tall at birth”.

I missed the 1st trail which is the Reptile World and went to the 2nd trail African Safari instead.

Sun Bear.

Pygmy Hippopotamus. They have the cutest ears in the world! Their ears will start twitching after they come out of the water. You can just stare blindly at them, look at them playing with the water and twitching their ears. So cute!

Zebra.

“Just  as no two humans have the same fingerprints, no two zebras have the same stripe pattern.”

As I was snapping the zebra, this lil cutie flew by and stopped to eat the honey from the flowers.

Bongo.

Barbary Sheep.

Himalayan Tahr.

End of Trail 2. I should have proceeded to Trail 3 and 4 which is the Australian Walkabout but I went to Trail 7 (Big Cats Trail) instead. This proved to be a tiring mistake later on because I have to walk uphill to go back to Trail 3.

Snow Leopard. So fierce looking!

*Blinking eyes* Alright…You look cute in this photo! :)

On the roof of the world” – The Snow Leopard spends summer in the high alpine pastures, moving down to lower altitude forests during winter in search of wild goats and sheep. Increasing human settlement in this once remote area is forcing the Snow Leopard towards extinction.

Lioness.

Lion. You can see me but you can’t eat me. :-p

Tiger.

Tigress and her cub.

End of Trail 7 and I proceeded to Trail 6 (Rainforest Trail).

Malayan Tapir.

Binturong.

Gibbon. I don’t have a zoom lens to snap the Gibbon from far. :(

End of Trail 6. I walked uphill to Trail 3 back to see the Ring-tailed Lemur and Gorillas.

Ring-tailed Lemur.

Gorillas. So human-life.. Here’s a question, did we really evolve from Apes?

Saw this Peacock on my way to Trail 3 (Australian Walkabout).

Tadah! Kangaroo! Yipppeee! I finally see an Australian Kangaroo.

Ostrich.

Saw these Crocodiles on my way to the last trail which is Trail 9 (Seal Walk).

Seal. So big and fat!

Pelican. Please do not discard fish hooks into the sea cos it will get caught onto these seabirds causing injuries or even a slow agonizing death.

Say hello to my cute friend Sea Lion! She looked amused with all the cameras that kept snapping at her. Aaahhh.. So adorable! :D

Swimming freely in their world. :)

I gonna end this post with my favorite photo from the album.

Mother and daughter enjoying a day out to the Zoo! Motherly’s love.. So sweet, isn’t it?


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6 Ways to Enjoy Your Stay in Sydney!

Sydney, Australia

I have visited Sydney for 6 times in the last five months. Just in the month of November, I went there for 3 times! Even though it was a short stay on my each visit, it gets boring to see the same place and eat the same food again, again and again. I know I will dread coming to this place if I do not find ways to enjoy myself.

So…I have come up with a compilation of ways to enjoy my stay and here goes.. ;)

1. EAT PANCAKES!!

YUM YUM!! I love pancakes! If you are a pancake lover, you got to visit this restaurant named ‘Pancakes on The Rocks‘ when you are in Sydney! They serve the BEST pancakes in the world!

I had tried the pancakes for 4 times out of my 6 visits to Sydney. The two outlets that I have been to are located in Darling Harbor and The Rocks (24 Hours) which is near to Harbor Bridge.

I heard a good place to eat pancakes in Singapore is Strictly Pancakes which is in Dhoby Ghaut area. Gonna try it soon! Heehee..

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2. POSE STUPIDLY WITH OPERA HOUSE 

Hehehe…I am so strong!

Trying to show that I am bigger than the Opera House but failed terribly. Lol! -.-

I JUMP~ but block the Opera House. Epic fail!

This is the result of coming to the same place for so many times and you start to get a little crazy and crappy. Lol!

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3. VISIT BLUE MOUNTAINS

The Blues Mountains is a mountainous region in New South Wales and you can take a 2 hours train ride from Sydney Central Station and alight at Katoomba. The weather was really bad and all we can see is mist and rain! Kena con by hotel’s concierge again cos he told us the weather was only going to be cloudy.

You can buy the Blue Mountains Explorer Bus ticket from any CityRail Station in Sydney. It costs about AUD45 for the return train ride and bus ride around Blue Mountains. The hop-on hop-off bus will stop at 29 stops around Leura and Kamtooba.

Inside the Skyway. I am very scared of heights and I cannot cross an overhead bridge alone. However, the skyway ride wasn’t scary to me at all cos it was so misty and I can’t see anything below/around me at all.

The Railway, which is the steepest passenger railway in the world. Very fun but the ride was too short.

Three Sisters. Photo credits to Bluemountainsaustralia.com.

Hawkesbury Heights Lookout. Photo credits to Bluemountainsaustralia.com.

Valley of the Waters. Photo credits to Bluemountainsaustralia.com.

Wentworth Falls. Photo credits to Bluemountainsaustralia.com.

We were supposed to see all of these and not just mist and rain! Blue Mountains is so beautiful and it is also listed as one of UNESCO World Heritage Site. I will definitely come back again!

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4. SEE CUTE KIDS!! :D

Children are so cute and they always give you the biggest smile in the world. You can be yourself in their world. No pretense. No faking. No wayang. Life is just so simple with them. ;)

Fatherly love. Awww..

Handsome boy! Love the hair and eyes!

A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement.  It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood.  ~Rachel Carson

Let’s all be great man who does not lose our child’s heart and treat every fellow human beings with compassion and respect. ;)

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5. CHILLING OUT

What is nicer than spending a lovely afternoon sitting by the bay and having a nice chilled beer? :)

We had Beez Neez, a specialty honey wheat beer. It is an amazingly smooth beer with nice honey taste and not overpowering at all. I like to try the different kinds of beer around the world and some of my favorites include Corona, Kirin and Pure Blonde.

Chill out @ Opera Bar..

Artistic shot of the wine glasses.

You can also enjoy the view of Harbor Bridge and birds flying around the bay from the bar.

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6. And…Last but not least, awesome company to hang out with! :D

With my batch boy who came to Sydney with me twice!

@ Opera Bar.

With my batch boy again!

@ Pancakes on the rocks.

With another group of kaki @ Pancakes on the rocks.

@ Blue Mountains. My super steady bom pi pi friend who chiong Blue Mountains together with me! We are so awesome!! :D

With my batch girl who bunk in with me! Crazy night together! Hahah!

And of cos, not forgetting those peeps I did not manage to take pictures with who went makan and jalan together in Sydney. You guys make my stay in Sydney a pleasant one too! :D :D :D

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