Tag Archives: melbourne

travels: puffing billy

Dec ’15

One of the attractions that was high on our list was Puffing Billy. Z advised us to book the tickets online as it was school holidays and the tickets tend to sell out. And then I fell asleep.

The next morning, I tried to book but to my horror, online booking is only available up to 8 am for same day travel. And it was 8.30am. We decided to make our way to Belgrave hoping the tickets are still available.

C checked the website enroute to Belgrave and it stated in bold that all tickets from Belgrave were SOLD OUT! Oh dear. I was thinking how unlucky we were. This and then this.


Since we were already on our way, we decided to just head to Lakeside. From Lakeside. we could either take a diesel train to Gembrook or just settle for picnic by the lake (means no train ride). Then C suggested we try our luck at Menzies Creek, which is one of the stop from Belgrave to Lakeside.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAfullsizeoutput_999d

We kept our hopes low but lady luck was on our side. The ticket master told us one family did not turn up and there were two tickets available!! *HAPPY DANCE*


We hoped onto the train and it was the beginning of the most pleasant train ride ever! We rode through the beautiful Dandenong Ranges and were flanked by towering mountain ash gum trees and giant tree ferns.


fullsizeoutput_9991This is how you’re supposed to ride the Puffing Billy – with your legs hanging off the the side of the train!

fullsizeoutput_9989Miss scaredy cat didn’t like that idea.

We got off at Lakeside, grabbed some lunch and explored the place a bit; there is a lake with some paddle boats, a public pool (sort of) and a kids playground. Nothing much to do.



fullsizeoutput_9994Feeding ducks with some overly sweet popcorns.


fullsizeoutput_9999At the crossroad *ting ting*

fullsizeoutput_999eIt was a fun day out for us. I’m sure all kids and adults alike will enjoy this attraction. Thanks to the husband’s quick thinking, else we wouldn’t get to enjoy this awesome experience!




travels: collingwood children’s farm

A taste of the country in the city.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn New Year’s Day when almost everywhere is closed, we were glad that Collingwood Children’s Farm remains opened. There are a few farms in Melbourne but this is the most convenient, just a short drive from Melbourne’s CBD.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe farm was relatively quiet. We guess not many were aware that it is opened on New Year’s Day. We missed the cow milking session but were in time for the guinea pig petting session. I thought Elisa would like it but…
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA she’s just like her mama…no like furry little things!

We took a leisure stroll around the farm. Most of the animals were minding their own business,  not interested in us humans…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA..except these goats. They were the most enthusiastic of the lots, perhaps because we humans kept feeding them 🙂
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis fella was crowing at the top of his lungs. When one rooster crowed, this fella crowed even louder. It’s like the roosters were having a competition. I know it’s silly, but I actually enjoyed watching them 🙂OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlthough the place is a bit underwhelming, we still had an enjoyable morning. It was a bummer The Farm Cafe was closed that day. I read they serve very good food! And because of that, we need to go back again! 🙂


travels: shadowfax winery

Didn’t know where to go after our plan to Werribee Zoo got shelved, C did a quick research and suggested we head to Shadowfax winery, which is just down the road, for lunch.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAShadowfax winery is Melbourne’s closet winery, just 30km from Melbourne CBD and it is only a few minutes drive from my brother’s house!
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIMG_2164It was a cool sunny day and we were lucky to snag the last available table. A few groups who came right after us were being turned away! Lucky or what? The outdoor seating was lovely. There was a huge lawn and lots of room for kids to run about. Elisa was exploring the place on her own, we did not have to worry about her one bit!

IMG_2175That allows us to enjoy our wine in a beautiful surrounding 😉

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey are famous for their wood fired pizzas and they did not fail to impress. It was good!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHowever, the sea bream that C ordered lacked a bit of seasoning but nothing a pinch of salt can’t solve.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAElisa’s pasta – equally good.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATo end the meal – buttermilk panna cotta with mandarin sorbet. So good and so refreshing!

The lunch was a bit pricey but definitely worth it.

IMG_2163Happy Birthday, mister!!

travels: #hash specialty coffee & roasters, melbourne

On New Year’s Day morning, we took a slow walk to Hardware Lane to check if Hardware Societe (another highly recommended cafe in Melbourne) is open. We knew the chances of them opening is extremely low as most shops were closed on New Year’s Day. But we still went ahead as the weather on that day was quite pleasant for a stroll.True enough, it was closed. But C stumbled upon #Hash (a rare cafe that was opened on that day!) which is opposite Hardware Societe. No queue!! And we were promptly offered a table. Within a few seconds, a queue was formed! How lucky! 😉img_3053
Again, I was tossing between a few items on the menu but eventually, I went for my standard breakfast fare which is bacon and eggs because I’m boring like that! I so wanted the maple glazed bacon but I wasn’t clear when I placed my orders. Oh well.img_3064C ordered eggs with chorizo and smashed avocados. His looked and tasted so much nicer than my boring bacon and eggs! Now, we know chorizo and avocado goes well together. Make a guess what I’ll be making for breakfast this weekend? 😉

We are in Melbourne, you can’t find bad coffee in Melbourne!img_3055The little one finished half the portion of my scrambled eggs and bacon. She has a very big appetite!

We thoroughly enjoyed our first meal of the year!

If we do come back again, I would love to try their hot chocolate. Hash-13_740_486_s_c1You pour the hot chocolate over the fairy floss which will sweeten the 85% Cacao Chocolate. So gimmicky but so clever!

{via here}

#Hash Specialty Coffee & Roasters
113 Hardware Street,
Melbourne, VIC 3000
03 8529 0284

travels: cumulus inc, melbourne

 winner winner, what a dinner!

As most restaurants were fully booked on New Year’s Eve, we decided to try our luck at Cumulus Inc to see if we could score a table. Located at the far end of Flinders Lane, this a highly recommended restaurant in Melbourne. They don’t take reservations, so we set our hopes pretty low. I was mentally prepared to have McDonald’s or Hungry Jacks for dinner, whichever is less crowded!

We were pretty lucky. We got a table in less than 30 minutes!!


At Cumulus Inc, all their dishes are designed to share. We had a hard time deciding what to order as everything on the menu appeals to us! 

After much deliberations, we ordered…img_3069pig’s head croquettes with tartare sauceimg_3070foie gras parfait with toasted brioche

img_3066butter beans, nduja, salted ricotta and black garlic

whole slow roast lamb shoulder

…and we demolished everything. We loved every single dish that we ordered!

The service was impeccable despite the packed the restaurant; the staff were friendly and attentive. The waitress offered us another serving of brioche after seeing how fast Elisa chomped down everything and happily obliged when we asked for another serving of pickled onions to go with the lamb.

It was a shame we did not get to try their desserts. After finishing the whole lamb shoulder, we were somewhat incapacitated!

It was a good meal and a good one to end the year with.

Cumulus Inc
45 Flinders Ln,
Melbourne VIC 3000,
+61 3 9650 1445

travels: camberwell market, melbourne

One of the biggest markets to attend in the Melbourne is the Camberwell Sunday Market. It is a popular trash and treasure market, the place to go if you are looking for second hand goods.

IMG_9401This market is huge. There are stall after stall selling collectibles, vintage clothing, trinkets, crockery, books, toys and what nots. As long as they are second hand, it’s laid out here in the market.

IMG_9403IMG_9405We spent the whole morning wandering through the market, stopping at almost every crockery stall hoping to uncover that hidden vintage plate 😛

Well, I didn’t buy any plates (bought too many plates this trip!) but neither did we leave the market empty handed 😉


Camberwell Sunday Market
Station Street
Camberwell VIC, Australia



travels: hammer and tong, melbourne

One of my to-do list in Melbourne was to check out the plethora of cafes the city has to offer. Melbourne is after all famous for its cafe culture scene. The thing about Melbourne is, you can hardly find a lousy cup of coffee…even 7 Eleven’s $1 coffee is good! If you do find one, then I’m sorry, you are very unlucky!

However, it seemed that we are not destined to check out the cafes. We went to Hardware Societe once and Top Paddock twice but we were put off by the snaking queue….on a weekday!!! It’s crazy!

When we went to Fitzroy on our last day, I told C we should check out Hammer & Tong as I’ve read good reviews about them. C was hesitant at first, fearing the long queue and we were quite famished. But we decided to give it a go since it was our last day in Melbourne. If the queue is long, we can just hop into any of the cafes along Brunswick Street.


While waiting for our table, we checked out what other people ordered. Well, they are not your usual brunch fare! Fancypants is the word!!

C chose the salt & pepper french toast with fried duck egg and salted caramel ice cream. We weren’t sure if we made the right choice…french toast, egg and ice cream?? It’s sounds like a weird combi. But I tell ya…this, THIS is the one of the best, if not the best meal we had in Melbourne! I can seriously do one right now!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAsalt & pepper french toast, fried duck egg, maple, chorizo smoked oreo crumbs, duck egg & salted caramel ice cream.

We also ordered the soft shell crab which came highly recommended by the reviewers. It was okay, very ordinary. I will not recommend it though.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAsoft shell crab burger

We also had a side of kfc spice halloumi chipsIt’s a tad salty but we enjoyed it nonetheless.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAkfc spice halloumi chips

The coffee was splendid and both of us enjoyed our food. C couldn’t stop gushing about their french toast the whole day!


If there’s one thing to pick on about this place, it would be the music. It was quite loud and throw in the chattering of the humans and the noise from the coffee machine, it can be quite unpleasant. We were glad they put us towards the end of the cafe where the noise level is slightly lower. This is definitely not a baby/toddler friendly place.

Hammer & Tong 412
Rear 412 Brunswick Street
Fitzroy, VIC 3065
(Enter from Westgarth St)
Sun – Mon 7am – 4pm
Tues – Sat 7am to late