Sunday, 30 August 2015

The Colonial TramCar Restaurant Melbourne, A Review

This is by far the best meal I had in Melbourne. Or is it one of the best meals? Hmm, I think it came pretty close between this one and Rice Paper Scissors. However, both have different appeals. I will talk more on Rice Paper Scissors later. The only complaint I have is their waiting area was really, really hot and uncomfortable.

The amount of people crammed into the small waiting area is just plain uncomfortable. And it was a really, really hot day as well.
 The Colonial Tramcar Restaurant is quite the novelty as you get to enjoy fine dining from a moving tram. went during lunch because that's the only slot we had available in our jam-packed planned itinerary. Coming here, I had no regrets. Unlike going to the Revolving Tower in Sydney for our dinner, I think this is a very affordable fine dining and the food + service was excellent!

Looks like something out of history books, eh?
Info about the Colonial Tramcar is available here:

But the summary of it would be as depicted below:

Scheduled Service Time Price
Luncheon – 4 Course Meal 1:00 – 3:00 pm $85 per person
Early Dinner – 3 Course Meal 5:45 – 7:15 pm $80 per person
Late Dinner (Sun-Thu) – 5 Course Meal 8:35 – 11:30 pm $121 per person
Late Dinner (Fri-Sat) – 5 Course Meal 8:35 – 11:30 pm $137.5 per person

I would suggest buying the tickets online through their website as it is really quite convenient but I think you can actually pay when you are there as well. We were attended to by a really jovial guy and the whole trip was really entertaining and lovely. I love their hummus and dip for appetizers. Fave being the orange colored one. Capsicum one I think. We had the duck and salmon for starters and both were excellent too. Mains are either beef or salmon. We did not try the salmon but the beef was done to perfection. I love mine a little rare and my sis preferred hers medium well. They managed to do that for both of us.

The rather blurry menu :X
 Some of the sights along the way.We had more shots but the first part of the journey was mostly spent eating. LOL

More food followed. We had a cheese platter, chocolate and coffee to end our meal. Liquor was available too and I had some Baileys. :D

When the 3 hour was up, it felt simply wonderful and I felt the experience was very enjoyable. So enjoyable that I booked another meal end of this year for my upcoming trip there with my soon-to-be-hubby! :D

Rice Paper Stick, Melbourne

Initially when I was researching on where to eat in Melbourne, this comes up as one of the top choices. I was quite excited since it seemed to be within walking distance from the hotel we were going to stay in. However, we scrapped this idea while we were there as we found some cafes we just had to try each time. 

That was until on nearly the last day we chanced upon it when we were walking around Melbourne CBD for the White Noise or White Lights or White Night Festival? Its where laser and light shows are done on the buildings in the CBD with different themes every half an hour if I am not mistaken. Sadly, I couldn’t find any photos from that day even though I distinctly remember taking photos in front of Federation Square etc. 

This is a Vietnamese-inspired kind of café and the place was packed when we were there. Mainly due to the reason above. The servings were mostly tapas-style (think small portions like dimsums but meant for sharing during meal times). Needless to say, I went crazy with the ordering until the food came and we were like OMG, How to finish them all? :P

We had MINI VIETNAMESE BAGUETTE BANH MI, STICKY PORK BELLY MUU KROB  g, a couple bowls of phos and again, no pictures!!! *Pulls hair in frustration* This is very annoying because I have already started this post and only realising this when I wanted to upload the photos. We also had some meatballs thingie and spring rolls but when I tried to google their names, they are not available on the official website’s menu. Hmmm, strange. Maybe because this post was nearly half a year late?

I would recommend this place to anyone passing by and willing to wait during peak hours.

Which Tour to Take in Sydney? Part 3 - Port Stephens Dolphin Watching + Sand Dunes

We took the Port Stephens Day Tour under Loksha Tour. As you can see from the following review I made that time in TripAdvisor, this would be a better choice if you are planning to take the tour from AAT Kings. We did not book everything under Loksha Tour despite their cheaper rates that time for fear they might be a small company tour with smaller buses etc. This was proven wrong.

"We took the Port Stephens Day Tour. Booked it a while back before we actually left to go on Feb 19. It is a bit disappointing as after we booked early, we saw another promo after that for a much cheaper rate for the same tour. Maybe no more early booking?
This tour is actually the SAME as the one offered by AAT KINGS but cheaper! We travelled in an AAT KINGS coach. Comfy with toilet onboard. Wifi 30 mins only like all AAT KINGS coaches. Saw some small dolphins on the tour. Mostly sitting around in the rocky boat the whole afternoon. Haha. Short glimpses of the pods only. Woman manning the refreshment counter on the boat will scold u if u use the cup to hold their biscuits. So beware! (No tiny plates available though)"

On the way to the Port Stephens town, we were treated to the usual city sights (when you took as many tours as we did, all this seemed to blend together).

Tour costs about AUD189/pax.

Sydney Harbour Bridge-Hawkesbury Ranges-Australian Reptile Park-Port Stephens (Dolphin watching)-Sand dunes.

Out of the whole thing, the most enjoyable part IMO is the sand dunes. Hmm...come to think of it the Reptiles Park was not bad too.

Excited to go!

The trip from the hotel, crossing the Sydney Harbour was quite predictable. *Ehem* if you went on as many tours as we do. LOL. They basically explained the same thing about the buildings, some grafitti you passed, etc etc

The reptile park was quite small but nice because you get a park ranger showing the baby crocodiles and all. You get to take a few pictures with it as well. There's the gigantic Galapagos Tortoise as you can see in the shot I took below ;)

Some kangaroos to feed... or isit wallabies? But these are confined to a small area and you probably have to wait quite a while to get your chance to feed it. We basically waited until most people left to go back to the bus before we quickly snapped a few pictures and hurried back.

Lots and lots of fake Jurassic-ish statues? Do note that there are lots and lots of lizards (monitor lizards) along the path and the grassy areas. I just freaked out while I was trying to make my way out that time and I could still remember those times. Urgh! Oh and like all parks in Oz, there's KOALAS! LOL. I think we must have took like tens of shots at different location with koalas.

 If you didn't notice yet, I am the excited one happily selfie-ing everywhere as can be observed with the usually bored expression of my sister aka my companion. LOL


Then after the Reptile Park, we were off to Port Stephens where we were told to grab something to eat on our own since we did not get a full meal onboard, just snacks and drinks. So we went to a nearby fish and chips place at the harbour and got some of the following:

We usually have SOLO or Lift when we are in Oz cause they are so much cheaper there. LOL. Kiasu mah.. Then coffee is usually a staple. The seafood platter and fish n chips might look little but among the four of us, we couldn't finish them all.

This was some of the best shots I got because the rest got more of my finger inside the shot. OMG. Total fail as a photographer. >< I did not enjoy the cruise much maybe because in my work, I'm on a vessel most of the time and the "experience" did not feel really special especially since we didn't see much dolphins and also the snacks and drinks were so strictly monitored. C'mon, how much can the biscuits be? I don't get why the girl manning the station had to tell off some of the tourists. Granted, they were being greedy but I am sure the fare charged covered that. Otherwise, just charge more right?

From the Port Stephens' cruise, we saw only like two tiny pods of dolphins (I suspect they are the same, but since I'm really bad at recognizing stuff and directions, maybe they aren't). After this it's off to the dunes! I like it but the climb up was really horrible because the sand kept sinking your feet inside and even though the climb wasn't much by the time you are done, you probably feel way more tired than you should. Most people would only go once or twice unless you are those super kiasu type or super athletic ones who keep going up over and over again. :X

We were one of the earliest back to the bus, so take photo again lo.

Once we are dropped off at our hotel, we made our way out to a pho shop we researched beforehand. LOL. Just pho served pretty decent pho but I still couldn't get the one in Melbourne's Chinatown out of my head. I like their spring rolls but I'm not really that picky when it comes to spring rolls :P The meal was a nice end to a long day as the beef soup was warm and comforting. :) Service was good as well. I would say that the portion was quite big and if you're staying in Meriton, this could be a convenient stop.

Address: 545/551 George St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
Phone:+61 2 9268 0084

Captain Cook Cruises Sydney, A Review

This would be quite pleasant if we weren't in such a rush when we reached. We basically couldn't find the correct place at first (my mistake since I led everyone to the wrong direction, LOL). Then after we figured the correct direction, I started running on my own to "stop" the cruise since it's nearly 12.30pm already. I know, what was I thinking? When I finally reached the cruise ship, they were nearly ready to set off. After some explaining (and drama), we got an extra 5 minutes. Then yours truly was off again running back to where everyone is still walking towards the cruise and asked them to hurry up. I was basically sweaty and red-faced in a dress. *sigh* Can just imagine right how I look? :S

Oh in case anyone's wondering, Wharf No. 1 as mentioned is not the first wharf when you walk into the area. It is the one right at the end. Yeap, the road-signs say we are there but when I thought it's near, it's another 300m-500m walk (Maybe I exaggerate)

Pale once the redness goes off with my sweaty hair. Urgh! I think most of my photos after this just looks oily and sweaty..

Then after all the sia-soi stuff happening before boarding the ship, I made another sia-soi thing while on it. In Malaysia, all our buffet tables had their lids closed and you open it yourself for the food then closing it back right? Well, apparently NOT in Australia. Once I rested (we pretty much had the whole place to ourselves, being weekdays and all), I went up for the lunch. Hungry mahhh after running all over the place. After scoping my first two prawns, the waiter came over and haughtily informed me that buffet is NOT served yet. They will let us know when it is ready. OMG! *Horrified look*

Siasoi right? No wonder nobody go to the buffet table yet lo. ><
Anyway, after another long, embarrassing walk back to my table, and after sitting down for less than 5 minutes, they formally announced the buffet is ready. Grr!

This is a pretty relaxing way to take in the city sights if buses are too common for you. LOL. Just do NOT repeat my mistake. The food is not that great but maybe part of the reason could be I lost my appetite already from sheer humiliation. Haha. And they have a photographer who will take your photos then selling it to you in a open-card thingie. It will definitely look better than your selfies ;)

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Meriton Serviced Apartment, Pitt Street, Sydney - A Review

 I had my reservations when we were going to book this hotel. Mainly because it calls itself a serviced apartment and usually in Malaysia, that means apartments with minimal services. :P Or maybe it's just me. 
After some researching online, we summarized that serviced apartments here meant hotel just they do not have facilities like coffee houses, or certain facilities that hotels come with. However, I felt that it makes no difference whether they are called hotels or serviced apartments. Our apartment came with the city view and a nice coffee table to hang out and chit chat over a cup of coffee.
Ignore our messy  bags but that aside, the apartment looked really nice and the space was really amazing for a two-bedroom apartment. 

You probably wouldn't notice the difference between the master room and the second room aside from the inbuilt toilet.
The Meriton Serviced Apartment on Pitt Street is really close to all the shops and attractions being right in the middle of the CBD. However, there are a few other branches of Meriton Apartments in Sydney all with quite close proximity to each other. If they are all like this one here, I wouldn't mind staying at any of them. :)

Their staff are friendly, the wifi connection is really fast (so for tourists, you don't have to get a simkad for the data plan), and rooms are always clean. All in all, our stay here was really really comfortable.


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