To close out blogs of my Australia trip, here is the list of random thoughts throughout the trip:

  • Sydney train network is good, but seriously, they need more A/C enabled trains and why some train routes are 15 to 25min apart during the day?
  • Life is too short, so eat well!

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  • I can’t get over the nice weather in Sydney.
  • Australia has tasty fresh seafood.

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  • Roads in Sydney have some European style to it.  Urban planning wasn’t a high priority?
  • Roads in Canberra is much nicer and more organized, I like there a lot.

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  • The tipping custom is nice in Australia because it is not warranted.  And in some cases, the waiting staffs don’t know what to do with tips.
  • I still can’t get over the nice weather in Sydney.

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  • Deep Fried Mars bar can’t be good for your health, but its good for the soul
  • United Airline staffs in San Francisco International Airport provide the worst service to customers.
  • The area between Sydney, Canberra, and Cootamundra is generally flat.  Hills, but not mountain.
  • There were awfully a lot of Canadians whenever I go site seeing.
  • I need a better collection of road trip music.
  • Simon Baker is an Australian!
  • People in Sydney certainly like to exercise…  a lot of them are really fit.
  • Family should be higher priority than career!

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  • They have nice fish and chips, very light on breading
  • Acoustic music is good for road trips.
  • Bondi beach is very nice.

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  • Why shopping malls and shops are only open 9am to 5pm all week except Thursday night till 9pm, and close on Sunday at around 3pm?!
  • Never have more than 4 drinks in a pub when you are still having issues with the accent and local sayings.
  • There are some nice restaurants in Sydney, Canberra, and Nelson Bay
  • Australians have their cricket; Canadians have our hockey.
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During my trip to Australia this January (2009), I was tasting a lot of fresh seafood around the city, the following are some of the key highlighted places to eat:

Tetsuya (Sydney)

If you have a few coins to spare and you enjoy fine dinning, Tetsuya is definitely the place to go. It has been Australia’s top restaurant for many years, and previously ranked 4 or 5 in the world. When I was there for dinner, there were 13 courses in total with their experimental dishes.

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Sydney Fish Market (Sydney)

In the Sydney Fish Market, you will find all kinds of seafood.  There are a few different types of seafood platters you can get, also fresh oysters and abalones.  There are a lot of choices, if you like to eat seafood all day, this is the place to gets the best quality fresh seafood.  A dozen of fresh oysters is about $14 AUD; a decent sized cooked abalone is $6 AUD.

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Jordans (Sydney)

If you like to get some seafood during the afternoon while you are site seeing in downtown Sydney, restaurants like Jordans will provide you good food, and a good view at the Darling Harbour.

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Marco’s Ristorante Bar & Pizzeria (Nelson Bay)

In Nelson Bay, NSW, Australia, if you like to get some authentic Italian food, I will recommend trying the Marco’s for dinner.  I tried their Seafood pasta, Campari with Coke, and Tiramisu, and they were execellent.

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Doyles Restaurant (Sydney)

Doyles offers many choices of seafood dishes, and the meals are not too expensive for a good night out with friends.

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Harrigan’s Irish Pub & Accommodation (Hunter Valley Area)

Depends on how many vineyards you want to visit during a Hunter Valley wine tasting tour, you may want to stay at one of the local accommodations in the area.  Many vineyards we have visited provide rooms for visitors, but if you like to stay close to an Irish Pub, Harrigan’s is the place.

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Koko Black (Canberra)

If you’ll be in town to Canberra to see the parliament houses, and if you like chocolate, you will need to visit the Koko Black in Australia.

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Breakfast (in Manly)

A good way to spend time at the Sydney Harbour is to take a ferry from The Rocks to Manly, and the view from Manly is pretty nice.

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G’Day Mate!

So where should I start… this is the first blog post of my 2009 trip to Australia. I have been looking forward to visit another country for such a long time, so I’ll post the random thoughts I have throughout this trip. However, I didn’t have internet access up till this point, so the details may appear to be random… I know at least the grammar will be all over the place… (I am on vacation, hence, not subject to use my brain nor to be organized in writing.)

The flight from Toronto to SFO was actually pretty decent. There were a bit extra leg room at the Exit rows… the flight was about 5 hours and I was sitting with a nice person on the way there to SFO. Its usually hard to be able to chat with nice person in a cram flight. She was on the way moving to Australia for a year… I wished I can be as adventuress… drop everything in Canada and move to another country for the experience. Unfortunately, on the way from SFO to Sydney, we were not seated together in the same row.

So after the flight there (or here, whatever) at the Sydney airport, I was helping her to get the bags and continue the chat till we are out of the custom security… nonetheless, she seemed to be a nice and caring person.

My cousins were at the airport to pick me up. It was nice to see them again!

Once I settled down, my cousin and I went to Coogee to get some sun baking! :) And here are a couple pictures at Coogee:

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I was surprised that the jet lag didn’t affect me too much… must be the sun and the sand. And I can’t get over the nice weather here in Sydney.

On the second day in Australia, I went to visit my family at Cootamundra, so on the way there, we stop by to Goulburn to see the big sheep (!!!) and Canberra (the capital).

Goulburn is a bit of a tourist attraction because of the large sheep building they have. The Australian Merino Wool! It is a must see pit stop on between Sydney and Canberra!

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There is also a look out point on the way to Canberra at Lake George with nice views. You can see the near by landscapes. The lookout point, to me, is a good indication of how the country appreciate nature. On the side note, I have reservation about the recycling policy however.

Also on the way to Canberra, I think there are as many “speed limit” signs as the “are you speeding” signs along side the highway. I don’t recall seeing as much speeding reminder signs in North America.

Canberra is a nice place to be. The roads are a bit more organized than Sydney to be honest. And I still can’t get over the nice weather at this point.

The sky is blue, the air is clean, the sun is bright, the streets are clean…

The old and new parliament buildings are definitely the place to be for one to absorb the history and culture of Australia, at least, the east side anyways.

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As we move west from this point on, I was able to see that the field is not as green. Hopefully they will not turn into a dessert from the lack of rain.

Tetsuya – I highly recommend this place to anyone who would like to try some fine dining in Australia. It is the top restaurant in the country, 10+ course meals (preset) with some interesting combinations of food/seafood. There seems to be a long queue to reserve a table there, and in general, it is very enjoyable dinner experience. But do not expect you’ll be full after the meal.

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