Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Travelog Australia 2015: State Library of Victoria, ANZ Gothic Bank and Hosier Lane

Date: June 26th, 2015

The Library is located at Swanston St, within the free City Circle Tram route. It has a moderate size lawn to chill out.
 The State Library of Victoria is the central library of the state of Victoria, Australia, located in Melbourne. It is on the block bounded by Swanston, La Trobe, Russell, and Little Lonsdale streets, in the northern centre of the central business district. The library holds over 2 million books and 16,000 serials, including the diaries of the cities founders, John Batman and John Pascoe Fawkner, and the folios of Captain James Cook, R.N.. It also houses the original armour of Ned Kelly.-Wikipedia 

It has 7 reading room, with the Dome being the most famous. Anyway, I spent some time planning where to go in the Redmond Barry reading room, before heading to the Dome for some photo. The place was too quiet for me to stay too long haha. Inside the Dome, you could go up the top floor where they have a Stained Glass Exhibition as well as to have a vantage point to view the octagonal shape of the reading room.
My first stop after the library is the ANZ Gothic Bank, on the corner of Queen Street and Collins Street. This building has an actual working bank as well as the ANZ Banking museum. Since it was a quick stop, I just took a peek into the bank.
It comprises two buildings: the former English, Scottish and Australian (ES&A) Bank on the corner and the former Melbourne Stock Exchange, fronting Collins Street. In 1923 the two buildings were renovated and combined, becoming known simply as the 'Gothic Bank.' Both are superb examples of the gothic revival style, albeit in contrasting ways. The former ES&A Bank is an exercise in graceful restraint, whereas the former Stock Exchange reflects the exuberance of the 1880s’ banking boom. In recent times, they were restored as part of the construction of the ANZ World Headquarters. - melbournecurious.blogspot

As usual, the museum closes at 5pm and I was not in the mood of walking around in there so I head to my next destination while daylight still exists - Hosier Lane.
 I came to know about this graffiti art lane thru RunningMan. There was this specific location where Kwang Soo and Woo Bin made a video clip on an art lane. Of course I couldnt find the exact location but this seems like it. It looked a bit different but then I was told that the graffiti will always change when the artist paint over the old grafitti. Coincidently, Hosier Lane is located behind the St.Paul's Cathedral so I could get back to the hostel to refresh before meeting Nad for dinner.
There were a lot of aisle surrounding the Hosier Lane; full or arts on the wall, dustbins and pretty much everything except the floor. Also found an artist drawing on one of the walls. By the time I was done, it's already dawn. Time to go back to the hostel before meeting Nad at 8.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Travelog Australia 2015: Replacing buku merah @ Malaysian Consulate

Date: June 26th, 2015

Morning came. We're supposed to go for the Phillips Island tour at 9am. Started my day with a search of my passport again. To no avail, there was no sign of the passport anywhere. I had to go to and get Voda SIMcard first before Nad and Eki left for the tour. Initially, they wanted to stay but there was no point to do so. Rather than wasting our paid tour, I asked them to go while I figure things out. It was another 'Amazing Race' moment for them to get to the pick up point.

Once they left, I called my sister and she told me that I could only replace my passport either in Perth, Melbourne or Canberra. Since I was in Melbourne, it was better for me to settle everything there or else I need to drive up to Canberra once I arrive in Sydney later. Further more, I need to get it done by end of day since we're flying off to Adelaide the next day. Luckily it was Friday and it's still early in the morning.

So it's back to the hostel to get ready all of the needed documentation. These were all the things that I did. Apparently I couldn't get a new passport since I was only visiting, so what I need was the Emergency Certificate (Perakuan Cemas).

Step 1: Googled for Malaysian Consulate address in Melbourne.

Level 1| No. 432 St. Kilda Road,
Melbourne, VIC 3004, Australia
(P): 03 9573 5400
(F): 9866 6204
(E): malmelbourne@kln.gov.my

Public Holidays: Malaysian & Australian National 
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 09:30am- 5:00pm
Friday lunch break noon - 2.30pm.

Step 2: Check what are the needed documentation (http://www.kln.gov.my/web/aus_melbourne/passport_renewal) 


1. PASSPORT APPLICATION FORM (IM.42) Print as single sheet
    http://malaysia.org.au/forms/passport.pdf --> u can fill this at the consulate.
3. RECENT WHITE BACKGROUND  PASSPORT SIZE  PHOTOGRAPHS (2 copy) --> i had huge trouble getting this as I was misunderstood that I need a black and white photo instead of a photo with white background. Black and white photo can only be done in a certain photo shop. There were plenty of Post Office but they only cater colored photo (which was fine as long as with white b'gnd). I literally spent 1 hour walking around and around CBD for this!
4. VALID AUSTRALIAN VISA (certified photocopy and original upon approval) --> weirdly i still hv the hardcopy of my e-visa, but not my passport although i remember bundling them together. Just a printed copy, not certified as it's e-visa.
5. FLIGHT TICKET (original) --> i didnt bring this and they didn't ask for it.
7. REFERENCE LETTER - full police report.

Step 3: Go to the nearest police station to make a full report. In my case, next door. It felt really weird as the place is quite quiet. Nobody was around but there was a notice saying to just sit there if you need to make any paperwork as they can see u via camera. For emergency, u could ring the bell there. So after few minutes, one of the officer appear at the counter and helped me to make the report.

Step 4: Ride a tram to the Consulate. (http://ptv.vic.gov.au/journey#jpsearch%5Baction%5D=showPlanner)
From Flinders St, I just need to board 1 direct tram to get to St.Kilda. It was only a 10-minute journey. If ure from Flinders St, the Consulate building will be on ur right. It's a grey colored building with Malaysia Flag at the front. There was a miscommunication at that moment. I was told by my sister that I need to be there before 12.30pm in order to get the Certificate done within the same day. Turned out, it's supposed to be before noon. By the time I reached there, it was already 12.15pm. The door was locked but there were still some staffs inside so they let me in. Initially, they told me that I had to wait til 2.30pm since it's already lunch break but she said she'd asked the approving officer whether it'd be ok to process my application right away.

Step5: Fill in all the paperwork, made a copy of everything and wait.
Lucky for me, he said OK. I had to make a copy of the police report as well as my e-visa. Fret not, there is a photocopy machine there. I had to fill in few forms and after an hour, I got my certificate. What a relief! Just in time for my sisters' friend from MATRADE dropping in for lunch. Since it was a working day, our lunch was a quick one as he had to return to office at 2pm and i got couple of hours to walk around Melbourne CBD before most of the places close at 5pm.

There was no good place to think of what to do other than at Melbourne State Library. I was in Melbourne before but I had never set foot in the library itself. So this was a good chance. Heck, the last time I was in a library was back in Uni LOL. So it's back on the tram towards CBD then.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Travelog Australia 2015: Greenhouse Backpackers Hostel, Melbourne CBD

Date: June 25th, 2015

This post will serve both as continuation of my Travelog as well as the partial hostel review.

Continue from the checking in. During the check-in, we're required to fill in a form which asked us for our passport number. It was then I realized I couldnt find mine. I've searched through my bag and still couldnt find it so I just wrote my IC number huhu. Since it was late (around 10.30pm), we want to just get into our rooms. We're both located in the same floor but different room - Me and Nad into the female shared room and Eki to the male shared room. 

It was already dark when both of us went into our room. I have to take everything out of my bag in the dark using only a small torch to look for my passport. Still, I couldnt find it. Afraid that the noise might woke everyone up, I just repack and settled down to sleep by then. There was nothing much I could do other than waiting for the next day....

Hostel Review.
Location: 228 Flinders Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia (5mins walk from Flinders St. station)
Web: www.greenhousebackpacker.com.au/

This hostel is located at Flinders Lane, which is close to Swanston Street and Flinders Street. The main reason we chose the hostel was due to its location- near to the main train station as well as our tour pick up point.

I booked the room directly thorugh the hostel webpage. Female dorm share costed AUD29 per night We didn't know which type of room ure in until we checked in. There were 5 people in the room (2 double deckers + 1 single bed) and since it's a dorm type, the bathroom is a shared one. Dont worry, although the floor itself is a mixed floor, the restroom is separated between male and female. There is also a small toilet near our room so we dont need to walk all the way to the main bathroom. I couldnt take the photo of the room since it was a mess and already dark. But they're basic and clean - bed and locker available but u need to bring ur own lock.

Common area included the kitchen, dining area, reception area and laundry room. There is a roof top area but we didnt hv time to take a look. The kitchen was huge. There were few fridge to put your food as well as a lot of stoves to cook. Since it was Ramadhan, we just woofed up sandwiches for our Sahur the night we checked in.
Wifi is free at the dining/lounge area at the reception floor. There are few PCs available to be used. The rooms are all on the top level. Dont worry, there is a lift in the building so you can skip the stairs if u want. There is also a free luggage room available next to the reception if u want to drop ur bags prior checking in or after check out.

Outside, the police station is next door within the same building. If u turn left at the entrance, u'll come out to Swanston Street, facing St. Paul's Cathedral. If u turn right, u'll come out to Elizabeth Street, right at the main Tram Station. Coles and Macca are both located 5mins away :)

All in all, I will definitely recommend this hostel. I myself will stay again if I visit Melbourne again.

Travelog Australia 2015: Eureka Skydeck

Date: June 25th, 2015

To get to Eureka tower from the travel office, we had to walk 1.2km but we dont really feel the distance. The atmosphere was very nice and there're plenty to see once we cross the bridge to Yarra Promenade. We're lucky to be on the bridge when the fire show started at 8pm. *double click photo for bigger view
 Being at night, we had some difficulty in locating the tower. We pretty much just walked along the Promenade until we saw a signboard pointing to the Skydeck. There weren't so many people when we entered the tower at 8.30pm. I guess since it's Thursday, not the w'end. There were a group of highschoolers there though. 

Eureka Skydeck: Melbourne’s greatest point of view.Situated in the heart of Southbank in the iconic Eureka Tower, the Skydeck stands at a staggering 297 metres above the streets of Melbourne. Both locals and visitors regard the Skydeck as one of the best things to do in Melbourne.

The observation deck has the same feel like KL Tower, except it was dark and not a restaurant. It was also quiet but night view was mesmerizing. No clouds in the sky and u can even see clearly where Port Phillip was. One side it was bright with lights, and the other dark towards the sea.
There were 2 paid photo section there- Vertigo (i think it was AUD15) and the Edge (minimum AUD12). There are few photo options available (e.g 2photos with frame, multiple size etc).

Again, I lost all hard copies of both Vertigo and the Edge. So what's left is the candid photo of Vertigo that I took from the counter screen.

We pretty much stayed closed to the closing time. We walked to the hostel to check in right after. This was when I realized I lost my passport. That my friend, is another story.......

Eureka Tower (https://www.eurekaskydeck.com.au/)
Entrance fee: Adult Skydeck AUD19.50 (we got it free from our tour package)

Travelog Australia 2015: Great Ocean Road (GOR)

Date: June 25th, 2015

We're supposed to take the 5.30am tram from Maribyrnong so that we could drop our bags at the hostel and meet up at the pick up point for our GOR trip. Although the tram & train will only take an hour, but being that it's rush hour and we need to drop by at the hostel first, we need some buffer. 

Of course, that didn't go according to plan hehe. We woke up at 5am and only boarded the tram at 6am hahahaha! We were quite puzzled on how to board the tram there since it was totally different from I knew.

In Melbourne CBD (city business district), there are proper tram stops/station along the route. It was the same in Adelaide CBD. However, apparently in the suburb, there is none. Of course they still share the same road with the cars. So what u do is u basically wait at the bus stops (with the bus pole) and when the tram arrive, u just flagged it down. In our case, the tram stopped for us. Right in the middle of the road. Luckily it was 6am with no heavy traffic LOL.

We had to stop at the end of the station to board the train. This was easy as we only need to follow the crowd. You can actually see the train station from the tram station, right across the street. By then, the rush hour crowd has gathered. The train was packed with people and we're the only one with huge backpacks on our back. We didn't managed to get a seat for the earlier part of the 30minutes journey. It was a relief when we finally did.

Anyway, we reached Flinders St. Station at around 6.45am. We ran to the Greenhouse Backpackers hostel, dropped our bag and ran to the St. Paul Cathedral for the 7.10am pick up. We were lucky that Greenhouse is only 200m away from the station and the Cathedral was just across the street. Phewww, just on time.

The tour operator picked us up and dropped us at the main office to join with the rest of the group. We left with a big van around 8am. There were around 12 of us in the group and our driver was also the tour guide.

Some highlights of the trip-

  • Stunning coastal views and golden surf beaches. Surf Coast region of Victoria
  • Iconic Cape Otway Lighthouse, mainland Australia’s oldest lighthouse.
  • Pass through coastal towns of Lorne, Apollo Bay and Port Campbell
  • Look out for koalas and native birds (King Parrots and Sulphur Crested Cockatoos) in the wild!
  • Step down to the beach at Gibson Steps , gateway to the Twelve Apostles
  • Loch Ard Gorge 
  • World famous 12 Apostles
I dont have a lot of photos left after I lost my camera so whatever left is everything in my cell. I'll let the photos talk.. *double click on photo for bigger view

cape otway lighthouse
12 Apostles - there has never been 12 of them..
Loch Ard Gorge

Gibson Steps

We returned back to the office at around 7.30pm. Since it's still early, we decided to go to the Eureka building for the skydeck. Last entry to the building is at 9.30pm and it closes at 10pm. So we got plenty of time to spend... 

Tour Operator: Friendly Backpacker Travel (http://travel.greenhousebackpacker.com.au/)

Tour Package: $170 Great Ocean Road + Phillips Island (free Skydeck ticket).

Travelog Australia 2015: Departure to Melbourne

Date: June 24th, 2015

Days before the trip were hectic. The 1st phase of my project was nearing to the end so I was glad I planned and booked earlier for this trip. Me and Nadiah (from now one, referred to as Nad) would be taking the 1.40pm AAX flight while Zikri (Eki) the 10.30am MAS.

We plan to meet in KLIA since I need to pass the foods to Eki. Met up with Nad at 7.30am. Eki only reached the airport at 8.30am due to the traffic. We had to scrambled to pack the food into his bags. It was maddening as he was so relaxed even it was already 9.00am and he hasn't checked in!!! Typical of guys -_-'

Well, we finally settled Eki when he went to the departure hall at 10am. We hopped onto ERL to KLIA2 for our flight. We had our breakfast, checked in and wandered around before our boarding.

Lucky us, we were seated together at the 2-seat area near the rear of the plan. Less crowded and surprisingly a lot of people dozed off once boarded, including Nad. not surprisingly as most of us didn't purchase the inflight entertainment. As for me, I took out the mp3 and started reading the novel I just bought at the terminal.

Nothing much happened during the flight. I read through the journey, left with the last chapter by the time we landed. 

We stepped on Aussie land around midnight. There were few other flights arriving so it's quite busy in the airport. Quiet, but busy. Since we only had cookies in our pack, we breezed through the customs after some 'mini interview' with some officers after the Immigration. This was the 1st Customs officer check points where they checked our declaration form, made some weird marking on it and asked us few question about our trips .

By the time we cleared everything, it's closed to 1.30am. Met with Eki who had arrived couple of hours earlier than us and walked out to meet with my friend who's currently working in Melb, Nadiah. It was cold, I think around 10 degrees. We finally reached her house around 2am. Had our sahur (Briani haha) and short nap before leaving for Melbourne CBD few hours after.

I had Nad to buy the myki Visitor pass as I knew we got no time to get it ourselves. It costs AUD14 and includes AUD8 myki money for travel.

That, I will continue in the next entry.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Travelog Australia 2015: Travel Summary

I think it's time to start writing on my most recent trip, Melbourne & Red Center, Australia. If I don't force myself, I won't ever write.

Initially, this was supposed to be a trip for me and my friend, Nadiah but another of our friend decided to join last minute, Zikri. Yes, it's during 2015 Ramadhan but we planned the trip on this date due to the ticket price, season (late Winter) and the need to not think of what to eat frequently hahaha.

When we bought the ticket, it was from KUL to Adelaide but AAX decided to stop flying into Adelaide, hence we decided to go earlier and changed the departing city to Melbourne. This way, we could spend some time in Melbourne before going to Adelaide since both of my friends had never been to Australia before.

So here's the original plan for our trip. Note the word ORIGINAL. Being backpackers and unexpected events, we changed as we go and had a huge haul for the 2nd half of our trip.

Main city we're going were Melbourne, Adelaide & Sydney.

24th June: KUL to Melbourne
25th June: Great Ocean Road (GOR), Skydeck
26th June: Vic Market, Royal Arcade, Hosier Lane, Phillips Island, Melbourne CBD
27th June: Melbourne to Adelaide, Adelaide CBD 

28th June: Adelaide to Coober Peddys
29th June: Coober Peddys to Alice Springs
30th June-1st July: Alice Springs to Ayer Rocks
2nd July: Ayer Rocks to Port Augusta
3rd July: Port Augusta to Adelaide, to Sydney, CBD

4th July: Sandboarding, Port Stephans.  Circular Quay, Opera House
5th July: Sydney Skydivers, Blue Mountain
6th July: Sydney CBD
7th July: Sydney to KUL

I will start writing according to the plan, when I'm not really sure LOL.