Last leg of Straya trip

Day 9 – Airlie Beach, Queensland

We reached Prosprine airport, also known as the Whitsunday Coast Airport around noon. If you are flying to Whitsunday during day time I would suggest to make the extra effort of doing web checking and reserving a window seat.  The view is just magnificent and you would not want to miss the experience of flying over the Great Barrier reef. Before we landed, It had rained there and we were lucky enough to spot two rainbows adding to the beauty of whitsundays. We were staying at a place called Sunlit resort at Airlie beach. Airlie beach is 30 mins drive from the airport and you can easily prebook your transfers online or on the spot as well for a little amount. The bus which came to pick us up was really comfortable and also has good wifi 😉 and on top of it they were also giving us a quick tour of the place. In 30 mins we were at our hotel. It was a decent place and a good deal for people who are on a budget. It was almost evening and sunset time when we decided to head out and explore this beautiful little place. Airlie beach is kind of a place you would want to spend your retirement. If you ask me about my favourite place in Australia, I would say Airlie. Good food, good vibes, amazing people and a free lagoon with perfect water temperature with ocean view, what more would anyone want? Did I mention that sunset in Airlie is pretty badass too. After walking almost the entire city we were very tired and hungry too. For dinner we chose an Italian cafe with really cute decor. The food was good and the host a little too friendly, he really was sweet though.  After dinner we called it a day, as the following day was going to be a long one.

Day 10 – Whitehaven Beach, Queensland

We booked a day tour to through Whitehaven express . Whitehaven express is run by a family. This team of three people Mother, Father Son do a great job in making everyone comfortable onboard. It was well worth considering the number of activities it provided in a day. After everyone was picked up, we were taken to Hill Inlet/ White Haven Beach Lookout.  To reach the look out area one needs to walk a little. After spending some time at the Hill inlet, most of the time was spent in trying to absorb the beautiful view and get some good pictures too. Next we went to the white haven beach. White haven beach is a 7 km long beach on Whitsunday Island and is famous for its white sand and turquoise water. We were there for around 2 hrs, swimming, chilling, trying to figure out if it was for real. We were served authentic Aussie beach BBQ, which I thought to be a bit overrated. After lunch we went to snorkel over the corals. We saw the marine species from Turtles, the awesome Humphead Wrasses, and of course NEMO. After snorkelling it was time to get back to Airlie beach. We wanted to go to the lagoon again but unfortunately were too tired to get out. While walking to our hotel we found a place full of youngsters, live music and lively vibes. We chilled there a while, ate and went back to our hotel. That was all for Day 10.

 

Day 11 – Melbourne city

It was time for us to see a new city, Melbourne. I was excited and sad at the same time, excited because we were going to a new city and sad because I was not done with Airlie beach yet. We had planned to stay a day in Melbourne, next day in Sydney and day after back to Mumbai. We landed in Melbourne around 4 in the afternoon, since the next day was again a full day tour we really had one evening to see Melbourne as much as we could. After checking in we headed straight to Hosier lane to see some the famous street art. It was good fun to be there and take in the dizzying array of colours, characters and shapes created by local and international artists alike. Since the time was less and we wanted to maximise our experience in this city we moved to the the other part of the city.  For dinner we chose TONKA, a place suggested by our friend. Tonka serves upmarket fusion Indian cuisine. It worked perfectly well for me where as the Husband was a little disappointed. Post dinner we roamed around Flinders street for a while and then were back to the hotel. Also, we were lucky enough to experience the Queen Victoria night market at Therry street, which was just opposite our hotel. Night market was a fun experience full of live music, entertainment, a lot of options to eat from and also opportunity to shop :D. That was all for day 11.

Day 12 – The Great Ocean Drive

Great Ocean Road begins a 90 minute drive from Melbourne’s city centre. It’s the most spectacular ocean drive one can experience. There are several breathtaking spots in between where you can get down to grab something to eat or just to soak in the beautiful view. We drove into the stylish town of Lorne, known for it holiday vibes, cafes and sparkling water. Next, we stopped at Kennett river for some Koala spotting, bird watching and some coffee. After the break we drove again on the ocean road for around an hour and then stopped for lunch at a cafe in Apollo Bay. The meal was included in the day trip we had booked and it was totally worth the money. We stopped at a place called Iluka for lunch. followed by scoop of Ice Cream at Dooley’s in Apollo Bay itself. Next spot was a rainforest which was a short drive away from the Apollo Bay. We followed one of the walking trails past moss-covered trees and fern-fringed pools, in the lush mysterious Maits rest Rainforest. It is an 800m circular walk that takes you through the temperate rainforest and exposes you to some of the region’s most spectacular scenery.All in all, the walk takes around 30 minutes from start to finish, giving a bitesize snippet of rainforest life in Australia. Next and the last spot was the most awaited 12 Apostles. Most of the people come to see this beauty. Do’t let the name fool you, there are not 12 but only seven limestones spires rising right out of the ocean. The rest of them were eroded by wind and water. Nevertheless the view is the just amazing and the drive is highly recommended. After spending around an hour there, which was certainly not enough we moved ahead to our next and the last spot for the day i.e. Loch & Gorge. It’s named after a ship which was wrecked here. It’s a lesser known place than the apostles but is equally striking sight, and eye catching.  There is a long flight of stairs one needs to take to reach the beach. It provides the view of the towering rock from a different angle. That was all about the Great Ocean Drive and it is one experience we are going to remember for a long long time. We reached Melbourne around 9PM and sadly most of the cafes were shut 😦 So dinner was nothing fancy and we just grabbed a burger from whichever joint was open. Next day we were flying to Sydney for a day and then back home.

Day 13 – Sydney

We reached Sydney around noon and from here we were totally clueless about the things which were coming our way. We were told by our friends to not plan or think of anything because they have all the plans ready. Btw, this is the same crazy friend who made us all dance on the streets of Sydney on Day 1. After reaching their home and resting for a while we were asked get ready and we were going out. We went to Bridge street the place where our friend worked and from there to a place called Australian Heritage Hotel. The Australian Heritage Hotel is really old one around 100 years and famous for its beer and Pizzas featuring Emu, Kangaroo crocodiles.  I don’t know how but this crazy friend of ours convinced me to have the Kangaroo and Emu pizza. Surprisingly, it was really good and I could hardly find it any different from chicken. Next stop was Shirt Bar, this was a totally new experience, Clothes, coffee and spirits under one roof. Basically, you can do shopping in a bar while enjoying a drink and food. The world needs more of this and especially for women 😉 We had Affogato and some other coffee here and everything was really good. We left from Shirt Bar and hung out a bit at Barangaroo. It was friday evening and it was so good to see everyone just relaxing with their friends. The next stop was O Bar. O bar is a revolving restaurant located on 47th floor of Sydney’s Australia square. We have a truly amazing experience here, from the crowd to the food everything was lavish about this place. By this time I was really impressed by my crazy friend, little did I know that how he will disappoint me in the next hour. After our dinner we headed to a club to party, all planned by this crazy guy. He told us we were going to party somewhere which was very far from our place, what he did not tell us was he is going to make us run almost 10 kms, climb around 100 stairs and jog to reach a place from where we can board a bus which will take us to the club, all this wearing heels. We SOMEHOW managed to board the bus which was full of youngsters who were already partying inside. Turned out it was a special party bus for the people who were staying in a particular hostel. We reached the club called Marquee. We spent some two hours dancing there and then went to the casino- The Star to try our luck. Unfortunately lost 20$ there and left. By this time all of us were really hungry and decided to go to Golden Century for dinner. The first meal of the trip and the last meal of the trip was same. It ended as it started. The circle of our Australia trip. Post dinner we went home to catch some sleep after all that running and dancing. The crazy friend was still not tired and wanted to go to Bondi at that time. Next morning we bid goodbye to our friends and left for Mumbai!

 

 

Straya Day 7,8 & 9

Places covered in this post

  1. Sunshine Coast
  2. Noosa Heads, Noosa Marina, Noosa National Park
  3. Fraser Island

We left for Sunshine coast from Gold coast on day 6. It’s a 3 hr beautiful drive, so we decided to hire a car and drive ourselves. We left Goldcoast pretty late than what we had planned so that meant no stopping in between and exploring places 😦 . We made it to sunshine coast around evening. We were staying at Novotel Twin waters resorts. This beach resort is a place to explore in itself. The total area of the resort is 36 hectares and it has 361 rooms, INSANE. Apart from the big spacious rooms, beautiful sunset view, bushland, cozy water lagoon it also has a lot of fun activities i.e. kayaking, fishing, boating etc to offer. It felt like a place for the PERFECT WEEKEND GETAWAY. I also spotted a kangaroo hopping just outside my room.  After checking in and getting freshened up we decided to spend some time in the resort, see the sunset and chill at one of their restaurant called  ‘Nouveau’, and for dinner we decided to go out and explore. Our friend, who has been living in Straya for almost a decade now wanted to try out Indian food with us. Guess someone was missing home 😉 We found out a place called Rangoli on zomato.  The food was pretty decent and worth the money. After the dinner we were all very tired and decided to call it a day.

Day 7

Day started around 4 am as we had planned Fraser Island on this day.  It takes around 5 hrs to reach Fraser Island from Noosa heads. Due to the unfavourable weather conditions, (Since the time we reached Sunshine Coast it was continuously raining cats and dogs) we decided not to drive and instead book a professional tour. We booked a tour called  1 day nature tour .The reason we booked this tour was because it covers almost all the important points of Fraser Island in a day and you don’t miss anything. Majority of the Fraser Island tours are for two days and since we didn’t want to be at Fraser Island for more than a day we settled for this tour. It was a very well managed tour and I would highly recommend this to anyone planning to visit Fraser Island for a day. Everything from the pick up, morning afternoon tea, BBQ lunch in the rainforest and the friendly and experienced guide everything was just perfect.We reached Fraser Island around afternoon. Fraser Island is famous for its 127 km long Beach drive. Only 4 wheels drive are allowed on the beach which was another reason why we booked a tour. Luckily it wasn’t raining at the beach. We enjoyed the beach drive, swam in a beautiful clear water lake called Lake Birabeen. It was such a beautiful experience and the view was just amazing. We chilled at the lake for around an hour and then headed to explore few other hidden gems of Fraser. We saw the ‘S S Maheno wreck’ which is basically a ship wreck on the 75 mile beach. If you are a photo enthusiast like me, then you are in for a treat as the wreck provides a lot of photo opportunity. The history behind the Maheno shipwreck is that it used to operate in the Tasman Sea, crossing between New Zealand and Australia, from 1905 until 1935. She was also used as a ship by the New Zealand Naval Forces during World War I. She was washed ashore on Fraser Island by a cyclone in 1935 and since then it remains a popular tourist attraction. Following the shipwreck comes my favourite experience of Fraser Island i.e. Crossing the Eli Creek.  It’s a crystal clear water creek where you can swim, float or just walk. Water was cold but that didn’t stop us from completing the walk. It was a beautiful experience. By now, we had completed all the activities planned in Fraser Island and it was time to say Good Bye. One more fact about Fraser Island is that it has a special kind of animal (Dingo) which looks like a dog but is much more dangerous than a dog. We were clearly instructed not to pet/feed any Dingos and to quietly move away if we spot one. We left from Fraser Island and reached Noosa heads as our car was parked there. We were actually very tired because of the early start and then a day full of activities, but as soon as we entered Noosa Heads all our tiredness vanished. We could hear people singing, dancing, just chilling and instantly we wanted to be a part of that crowd. We went inside the Noosa Marina market which is located on the banks of Noosa River and consists of a bunch of cozy restaurants, live music, entertainment, art and craft shops, Ice cream parlours in short everything you need to chill. I spotted a Gelato outlet and couldn’t resist the temptation. After chilling there for a while we headed back to Novotel twin water Resort. For dinner, we just got some pizza delivered from Dominos as it was still raining and we didn’t have any energy left to go out.

Day 8

After a hectic day we decided not to do much today and just explore Noosa some more. For breakfast we found a place called Cock and Hen, which looked really cozy and had absolutely amazing vibes. The food was delicious too and this place is highly recommended to everyone who is found of breakfast like me. We decided to go to Noosa national park on this day. This National park was more like a walk which follows the shoreline from the main park entrance at Noosa Heads to northern Sunshine Beach. The park is home to vulnerable and endangered wildlife such as the glossy black-cockatoo, ground parrot, koala, red goshawk, wallum froglet, swamp orchid and Christmas bells. If you are lucky you can spot some koalas here, we didn’t see any 😦  There are many attractions like Spotting the animals, Hells gate, shady and good path, Boiling path to name a few. We walked from the Dolphin point to the Hells gate. It was a good experience considering the weather was really nice and it was not raining. The rest of the day was spent shopping and just chit chatting. For dinner we went to a Thai place located in Sunshine coast, which was pretty average.

Day 9

It was time to say Good Bye to sunshine coast and head to a new destination. We had our flight to Whitsundays in the afternoon. For breakfast we chose a cafe called Old Woman Coffee house. I think of all the places and things I miss these small quaint little cafes of Australia the most. Never had a bad experience during my 12 days trip. After breakfast we left for Brisbane as our flight to Whitsundays was from Brisbane. It’s an hour drive and since it was still raining we decided to hurry up.  We reached Brisbane in time, dropped our car and moved ahead to board our flight for a new destination.

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Breakfast at OLD WOMAN COFFEE HOUSE
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Breakfast at Cock & Hen Cafe
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The breath taking view
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Trying to soak in the view
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Coffee with this view
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Dos and Donts
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Didn’t really like this one
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Closer view of Hell’s Gate
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Hrishivani ❤

Straya day 4,5 &6

DAY 4

Continuing from where I left. It was time to say good-bye to Sydney and discover a new city, Goldcoast. Goldcoast is known for its party scenes, surfing and of course the beaches. Our flight was in the afternoon which meant which had good enough time for breakfast. We went to a quaint little cafe called Jet express in QVB. They serve some amazing sandwiches, pancakes and coffee. After our breakfast we headed straight to the airport. Our flight was around 1h  30mins long and the most interesting thing I thought was Sydney being an hour ahead of Goldcoast, so when we reached Goldcoast we still had that one hour with us 😀 We headed straight to our hotel which was quite far from the airport. We were staying at Q1 resort and spa. Q1 is the tallest residential building in Australia and is known for its elite and exclusive accommodation and breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, the shimmering sands of Surfers Paradise, sparkling lights of the Gold Coast city and the lush green of the Gold Coast hinterland. Our stay here would definitely be one of the highlights of the trip. If you follow me on Instagram you would surely know what I am talking about. After freshening up we went out to have some lunch and check out the beach. We roamed around near by and chilled at the resort most of the time on Day 4, since day 5 was going to be hectic. Here are some photos from Day 4.

DAY 5

The next day was pretty hectic. Initially we had planned to go whale watching at sea world but sadly, we missed it by few days. The whale watching season got over in early November and the next season was scheduled in may 2018. I would suggest anyone who is planning to do this activity to make sure of this information and plan accordingly in advance. We then planned to go to Sea world to experience some jumping dolphins, dancing penguins, thrilling rides and some other sea creatures. Sea world is the marine animal park with lots of rides, dolphin shows and few other attractions. We also wanted to see some koalas but unfortunately seeing dolphins and koalas on the same day wasn’t possible, as  these two places are very far from each other and require a whole day each. We postponed koala cuddle for the next day.  Day 5 was about roaming around in the sea world, enjoying dolphin shows, rides and chilling in the hot water pool at Q1 followed by delicious dessert at Max Brenner. I would recommend sea world to anyone who is visiting Gold coast with family and specially if travelling with kids.

Travellers and backpackers should rather head to Byron bay which is an hour drive from Gold coast. Byron bay is famous for its hippie crowd, local musicians, free souls, chill vibes, beaches and some cookies 😉

Here are some photos from day 5

Day 6 

This was our last day in Goldcoast. Our day started with breakfast which was served at the cafe called seventy seven cafe and bar on the top floor of Q1 . We thoroughly enjoyed our breakfast with the breath taking view. The next agenda of the day was to visit Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary as we wanted to experience the koala cuddle. We left for Currumbin just after our breakfast. It took us around 20 mins to reach Currimbin from our hotel. Currumbin requires one whole day as it has so much to offer, unfortunately we didn’t have a day to spend there and hence we could cover only few important and must do things. Cuddling a koala was the first thing on my mind so we started with that, followed by feeding kangaroos, getting to know the native animals like Tasmanian devil, wombat, echidna and reptiles that live in natural-style bush and rainforest habitats. Currumbin is 67-acre (27 hectares) refuge that is home to more than 1,400 animals. Honestly, apart from the Koala nothing else made me feel excited. The animals are quite lazy and drowsy and it didn’t feel natural at all. Maybe that’s the way it is in the wildlife Sanctuary. From Currumbin, we left for Sunshine coast and you will read about that in the next blog post next week. Stay tuned 😉

 

9 Years of HriShivani

Ek lamhe me simat aaya hai sadiyon ka safar, zindagi tez bahut tez chali ho jaise!

Today is our 9th dating anniversary and this post is the only gift he is going to get this time. Celebrating 9 YEARS of being totally opposite and being totally attracted to each other. 9 years of break-ups & patch-ups being intact in love and ending up marrying each other.

They say there are few moments in your life which you can never forget. For me it was the first time when I saw you smile. (I just realised that this may sound like ‘This is US’ but this is not ‘This is US’ this is US. ❤ It may sound crazy but suddenly I was very sure about what I wanted in life. It was your smile! That damn smile. Working exactly same even after 9 years.

#9ReasonsWhy

I thought it would be a good idea to write down 9 of my most favourite things about you. So here it goes:

  1. I love that you are brutally honest and never say anything if you don’t mean it.
  2. I love that you are so responsible and that I can relax knowing that you are there.
  3. I love how you keep showing me your love when its totally unexpected not only verbally but doing small gestures which means the world to me.
  4. I love how you have accepted my family like you have always known them and I absolutely hate the fact that they have started caring about you more.
  5. I love the fact that you just let me be (except for when I am in the mall shopping and I phones) . You seriously need to be a little more tolerant there.
  6. I love how you always have solutions to all my problems ALWAYS!
  7. I love that you are such an empathetic person. Sometimes it irritates me too because I can never have your level of understanding and maturity.
  8. I love how you TRY to contribute to my stupid cheesy lines, my social media love, forced expensive dinner dates, SRK movies, Big Boss even though you are not very fond of all these things.
  9. And I absolutely love the fact that you are so pure bloody non judgemental with absolutely zero interest in gossip and still you try your best to gossip with me.   

How It All Began

The Day I met Hrishi, I started to believe in SERENDIPITY. I distinctly remember the amazing winters of 2008. I was a fresher at college in Pune and  a very enthusiastic one that too  because of which I decided to attend the IIT Bombay – Mood Indigo Fest with a few of my college mates. We had a couple of mutual friends (very cliché) who introduced us.

The memory of that day is so alive that even after 9 years, it feels like yesterday. He was extremely polite, courteous and a thorough gentleman and it was only a few days later that I realized how bad I fell for him. All we shared during the 3 days was immense eye contact. I was taken back by the fun-side of him and we bonded over long chats, games, JAM sessions and of course, tea. We were both hard-core Tea Lovers back then, I drink coffee now, and our endless conversations were nothing but over cups of hot “cutting chai”

We had exchanged numbers and the time I spent awaiting his call or just a simple text from him back in Pune, was what had seemed like ages.  But, yes he texted back and it took us 3 long months to profess our love for each other. On 22nd February 2009, we began a journey so beautiful that changed our lives for ever.

 

The Journey

We were, as others would call us the “weekend couple” since waiting for the weekend was all we did. Our love story is filled with pages of Our Mumbai – Pune – Mumbai travel. I remember every corner of Mumbai Pune Expressway because I would do anything just to spend 2 days with him. It times it was indeed exhausting but, we knew it was worth every mile traveled. Every relationship has its share of ups and downs. Handling long distance relationships is a tough task sometimes but, our love for each other grew beyond the physical barriers.

We belong to completely different cultures. I am from a Bihari Family and Hrishi is a traditional Maharashtrian Brahmin. Convincing our families wasn’t an uphill task because Hrishi is the perfect “son-in-law” material any family wishes for. All I had to do was fix a meeting. My dad fell in love with his down to earth attitude and was moved to tears when Hrishi promised him that he would never let me cry, for any reason whatsoever. All the cultural differences seemed to vanish and the ‘2 States’ united in a blink of an eye.

 

 The Proposal

Yes, we did have a formal proposal and yes I proposed HIM.

I planned a surprise for him in the manner he would love it most. Sweet and Simple and of course with the CHAI.  It was early in the morning, I gave him his glass of morning cutting chai which had MARRY ME written on a MARIE Biscuit. I remember the expression on his face, he is very shy but, I could read his eyes. He said YES and we got married on the 7th of June 2015.

 

 

Hrishikesh Kulkarni, you are my modified version of Jack Pearson. You are my Jack Pearson without his drinking issues and sadly minus his cheesiness too, but that’s okay.

I love you as much as a human heart can love. Thank You for being mine ❤

 

 

Straya Day 1,2 & 3

Once people come to Australia, they join the Team. – Tony Abbott

And I have joined the team from last November. My trip to Australia has been the most beautiful travel experience of my life till date. The country has a lot to offer, from beaches to mountains, Australia has it all. Our trip was 12 days long and I have tried to cover this entire experience in this day by day format –

Day 1:

We landed at Kingsford Smith Airport around 8 pm. Dead tired after the 13 Hour long flight, which soon faded at the sight of our friends who were there to receive us. We headed directly to our hotel which was in Chinatown. I really liked the area because of the lively vibes. Even at the wee hours that place was full of life. If you are looking for decent place to stay in Sydney and don’t want to spend a bomb then Chinatown is your answer. After reaching our hotel we freshened  up a little and straightaway headed to Golden Century Restaurant (highly recommended) for our dinner, as that was the best option we had at that hour (12:30 am). After the sumptuous meal AT Golden Century which included their non comparable peking duck, chicken noodles and some vegetarian dish for my vegetarian husband, we headed straight to our hotel in order to get charged for the next day.

Day 2:

We spent this day getting as touristy as we could. Which means a mandatory visit to Opera house, Harbour bridge aka “coathanger”, Circular Quay, QVB, Sydney Eye, Bondi beach to name a few. The highlight of this day was dinner at a small quaint little Italian cafe known as Osteria Riva. One of our friend happens to be the head chef there and I won’t be exaggerating if I said that I had the best Italian meal of my life here. I don’t remember the names of the dishes but I don’t think I can forget the mouth-watering taste 🙂 We ended this day at The Baxter Inn  and also by dancing on the streets, unfortunately I do not have photos of that. We thoroughly enjoyed this day as evident in the pictures below.

Day 3

It was supposed to be a really early start to-day 3 but since no one woke up on time, we started really late. After having breakfast we headed to Royal national park, which is in the south of Sydney. It’s a 3 hour drive from the city. The full Royal coastal walk is 26 kilometres and takes two days – but one can explore portions of it to get a taste of each part. We started at Bundeena and walked to Little Marley Beach. It was a first time for all of us and we were all blown away by the beauty of the place. Royal National Park offers breathtaking vantage points. The initial plan was to see the figure 8 pool, unfortunately the figure 8 was not visible that day due to high tide. It was almost getting dark when we decided to get back to our car and head back to the city.

This was all about the initial three days in straya. The next days were spent in a new city and you will read about them in my new post next week 🙂

 

Road Tripping – Mumbai to Goaaaaa!

“If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness and fears.” – Cesare Pavese.

I can not agree more with the statement here. My favourite form of travel is by road.  There is something about road trips that just makes me super happy.  It reminds me of my childhood days, when my dad would drive us from one city to another. I recently went on a road trip from Mumbai to Goa with few of my friends. Here are some clicks. Hope you enjoy them as much as we did 🙂