Singapore at a glance

I did not recall how many times I have visited Singapore but this time was very special as I travelled with my friend Linda who took me to some unusual places.  Foolishly, every time I go to Singapore I almost always spend my time around Orchard Road. Never too far from the shopping or at Sentosa Island or at the zoo. But actually there are so many places I have never been to, Chinatown, for example. I was amazed to see that all the building there were still being kept in good condition. it was clean (after all it was Singapore) and pleasant to walk around and do shopping too. Singapore is a huge city with several district that are famous for sightseeing, restaurants, nightlife and great accommodation  Combining the skyscrapers and subways of a modern, affluent city with a medley of Chinese, Malay and Indian influences and a tropical climate, with tasty food, good shopping and a vibrant night-life scene, this Garden City makes a great stopover or springboard into the region. No surprise, Singapore is so well known and is one of the most prosperous countries, not to mention that is now the world’s busiest port.

Singapore is an island state with just over five million people.  It’s a fairly crowded and is in fact second only to Monaco as the world’s most densely populated country. However, unlike many other densely populated countries, Singapore – with more than 50% of its area covered by greenery and with over 50 major parks and 4 nature reserves – is an enchanting garden city. Unfortunately we did have not time to go to the Botanical gardens. I hope next visit.

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Sydney I am in love

Welcome to Sydney the most populous city in Australia.  Its no surprised that this city was ranked 7th most economically important city and among the top 10 most liveable cities in the world. While New York or Paris are great tourist destinations, in my opinion Sydney is the better family holiday destination.  My 12 year old daughter is always excited about visiting Sydney which is only a three and a half hour drive from Canberra – and I can’t recall exactly how many times we have made the trip.

Each visit means an opportunity to relax and to take as many photos as I can , wherever I go. I enjoy having  a flexible schedule and just spending quality time with my family, especially with my daughter.  So I don’t mind if she wants to visit the Aquarium (yet again) or the Zoo – these are always on her “must do’ list.  However, this last trip, we skipped the Zoo.  As Sydney has so much to offer we often wander around jsust experiencing the different atmosphere in each part of the city.  We also took a ferry to visit our friend in Mosman.

When my husband was occupied at his company workshop, my daughter and I just explored the city. The Rocks area which a place full of unique spots and galleries is great for those that love the arts. The  Contemporary Art Museum is a must see.  A great variety of restaurants too. I am Indonesian and I was pleased to find excellent Indonesian restaurants there too (oh, heaven!). This city will always be in our hearts and I don’t doubt we’ll be back again soon.

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The Rocks
The Rocks
The Rocks
The Rocks

© Nita Strudwick Photography

Circular quay#Opera House
Circular quay#Opera House
Sailing
Sailing
Mosman
Mosman

Martin Place# Pitt Street

                                                                                                                                                                                             Martin Place# Pitt Street

Exterior design
Exterior design

Sydney Aquarium Sydney Aquarium

 

Sydney Aquarium 

Sydney Aquarium

Sydney Aquarium
Sydney Aquarium

© Nita Strudwick Photography © Nita Strudwick Photography

Hidden treasure in Victoria

Here we are again, Melbourne … Both the beautiful city and the nearby panoramic costal views always makes me want to return.  My best friend and I recently took our daughters on a road trip to Apollo Bay. We hired a car and drove along the coast, visited some wineries and stopped in small towns along the Great Ocean Road. We stayed in Apollo Bay for a couple of nights at Chris’s Beacon Point Villa. The trip was a great experience. It was my first time to drive along the coast with its winding roads. At one point, close to midnight with the sea on the road side (which we couldn’t see but could certainly hear) I was quite anxious as we did not know the area well (and had no GPS signal at all!).  I had to slow down when we saw a Koala crossing carrying her baby on the back, very cute!  Too bad it was far too dark to take a photo – I wouldn’t have  dared to stop anyway. We had a wonderful week together.  Not only did I get to  spend quality time with my best friend but our daughters renewed their friendship too. Here are the photos I took during our road trip.

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Cairns, Queensland

I feel so excited every time I go on holiday, who doesn’t? I imagine going to a place with coral reefs, white sandy beaches and swimming in the ocean.  All sounds very relaxing but where to go?  Then we thought about Cairns, it is a lovely city, a small town in fact.  There we discovered so many beautiful things. Not just some the beaches, but nice restaurants along Esplanade, a nice public pool in the city where people can swim (for free) anytime (see picture below no 2).  The apartment that we stayed in (www.harbourlights.com) was perfectly located for walking to restaurants, cafes and shops. We were lucky enough to get a room facing the harbour, so when the nightfall came we saw the boats lit up. Simply gorgeous!  On the Sunday morning we took a stroll around Port Douglas market before heading up to Mossman Gorge so the kids could swim in the river. Throughout the  week in Cairns the weather was wonderful.  We could have asked for a better break.

Harbour at night time

Palm Cove is only 25 minutes north of Cairns Tropical North Queensland Australia and 45 minutes south of Port Douglas Queensland Australia. The pristine beaches and Palm tree lined paths are used by joggers, walkers and cyclists and netted life guard patrol swimming enclosures offer safe access to the sea all year round. The Palm cove jetty is one of the regions most popular fishing spots where anglers regularly catch species such as mackerel, Giant Trevally or “G.T’s” and shark.

Green Island

Green Island is a coral cay 27 km (17 mi) offshore from Cairns, Queensland located within the Great Barrier Reef Marine World Heritage Area. The island is surrounded by coral reef and protected in the Green Island National Park. Most visitors come for the day.

Mosman Gorge

Mossman Gorge is located in the southern part of Daintree National Park, 80 kilometres north of the regional town of Cairns and about five kilometres from the cane-farming town of Mossman.

Under the sea

Our holiday destination this time was Cairns. These photos were taken when we snorkelled on the Great Barrier Reef. For me this was my second try at snorkelling.  My first experience was in Hawaii.  It was great!  Well, to be honest I am a bit scared of seeing what happens under the sea, I am scared that I might see a shark or some other unexpected thing.  But sometimes (most of the time, I guess) there is no choice – as I have a teenage girl who seems to be scarred of nothing. So when she asked me to snorkel with her, I had to go. Then I thought positively about it and that motivated me to move out of my comfort zone. I took all these underwater photos using my new underwater camera, a Canon Power Shot D20. I am quite happy with this new camera. I bought it the day before I snorkelled and used it in the automatic mode. So far, the result are OK. I even took a short movie down there too.


Melbourne

I recently visited Melbourne to attend L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Week with my girl friend. Whether you go for a long or short trip it seems that Melbourne has so much to offer. We took an early flight from Canberra so that we would have time to explore around the city and window shop (of course!).  I agree with those that choose Melbourne as their favourite destination.  For me,  it was impossible not to fall in love with the place. For someone like me who likes taking photograph, it is difficult to stop shooting everywhere as there are so many interesting buildings, and so many great restaurants!  My girl friend and I had a nice brekkie in Little Collins Street which reminded me of Paris with its little cafes and shops. When I go to places like Melbourne, New York or Paris, I prefer to walk or use public transport.  In Melbourne the public transport is convenient for tourists and you can even rent a bike. Last but not least, of course I can’t forget to mention that we attended Melbourne fashion week – it was the best experience. I had the opportunity to see the collections of some Australian designers such as Carla Zampatti (my fav designer) – her collection is always classic and chic.

Friendship

“True friendship isn’t about being there when it’s convenient; its about being there when it’s not” – unknown.

I am not going to write about how great our holiday was this time, but definitely  it was a relaxing week staying at a lovely beach house that belongs to a great friend, Joanne (check her property at http://www.stayz.com.au/23466). Thanks to her for letting us stay at her place. We enjoyed every day exploring the area. In fact, there are some lovely beaches there that we had not yet been to.  But the main reason to write this time is about the friendship that my daughter has with her best friend, Pearl, whom she known for three years (since we first moved to Australia, I guess).  I like to watch Camille and Pearl when they are together, they are just like sisters (Pearl is an only child too).  They do have disagreements sometimes but I always know they can solve their problems without me or my husband getting involved. When they make mistakes (and its often my daughter who is upto silly things) Pearl is always there for her.  They both take responsibility without blaming each other. I love seeing my daughter when Pearl is around, as she always seems more relaxed as they laugh a lot, although sometimes they get carried away 🙂 . Once when we were at the car on the way home from the beach, my husband asked Pearl would she be acting the same way that she does when she is with other friends.  She said she would never let other friend see her dark side. We all laughed so much. For Camille Pearl is someone that is always fun to be with.  She really likes doing silly things with her and they are always comfortable with each other. I hope this friendship lasts forever or at least until they get older as good friends are always hard to find –  but once you’ve found one, to keep them is a blessing.

Rumah Sejopiri

No matter where we go I think Bali will remain our favourite destination for holiday. The climate, the beaches, the culture and something rather special about Bali always make me feel as if I am having a real holiday. Our 10 days escape was something that we had wanted for a very long time. We decided not to make any schedule or plan, just to let our days go by easily so we could just chill-out and relax. There some restaurants we went to but more just to hang out like Kudeta and Potato Head – both somewhere worth trying. The food and the atmosphere were superb. We also took the kids to the Safari Lodge Park for an elephant ride. It was really a fun ride – better than we had it in Phucket. The Barong dance performance was really interesting too, with their colourful Balinese costumes. The gamelan music really mesmerised the audience. Here’s some photos I took during our holiday. We stayed at Rumah Sejopiri (Sejopiri Vila).  What I liked about this house was that it felt homey – and that there was staff there to cook and clean.  During this holiday there was really nothing to worry about – only think to do: chill and relax.

Hawaii Getaway

Our holiday destination this year was Hawaii. It was great to escape from Canberra’s cold weather to a warm place like Waikiki. Holidays for us mean relaxation (we spent most of our time at the beach), adventure (doing something that we don’t normally do such as snorkelling and taking a submarine trip deep undersea), and, of course lots of good food.  And, luckily, Hawaii is a perfect destination to those who like to shop!!!  The snorkelling in Hanauma Bay (see the last photo) was something that I will never forget as it was the first time my daughter and I first snorkelled  together. It was really fun. We also visited the Dole Plantation where we saw many types of pineapples from different countries (see the photos below).  I also have included a few shots from our hotel balcony facing Waikiki Beach.