Tasmanian Road Trip: Launceston To Hobart

4 days ago, we began our great Tasmanian road trip from the island’s north.

From Launceston, we travelled westward towards Cradle Mountain National Park.

Along the way, we stopped by honey factories, sauce shops, wineries and Sheffield – a funny little town with building walls where people put their best artwork on.


Somebody even painted Michaelangelo’s Creation of Adam here, in 3D.

When we reached Cradle Mountain, it was like entering an entirely different world. The national park is a popular destination for locals to rest, relax and trek through the forests. The views, even from our hotel rooms, were nothing short of enchanting.

We spent a night on the mountain to soak up the fresh air. But heavy rain woke me up the next morning.

Regardless, Cheesie and I still pressed on with our umbrellas and walked through the forest.We had no regrets. Only in Cradle Mountain would spot wild native Australian animals in their natural habitat and we be rewarded with ethereal views like this.

From Cradle Mountain, we travelled eastwards towards Freycinet – to visit another one of Tasmania’s beautiful national parks.

The journey took us 3 hours.

Okay, I lied.

The journey took a lot longer than 3 hours, because every time we saw an interesting shop along the way, we would make a short detour.

We spotted this road sign and swang by this tiny shop where they breed and farm their own oysters, mussels and other types of delicious seafood.

These literally come straight from the water into our dinner plate. It doesn’t get any fresher than this.

And it’s cheap too. 12 pieces of natural oysters is only AUD$14 (RM42)


One thing I like about Tasmania is that we often get the chance to meet with the founders, or at least the person behind the day-to-day running of the businesses.


At Josef Chromy winery, we actually had lunch with Josef Chromy’s grandson.

Not only did the guy treated us to a platter of cheese, he entertained us with stories about how 60 years ago his grandfather fled war-time Czechoslovakia with no money in his pocket -  and ended up setting one of the most successful wineries in Tasmania.

Finally, we reached Freycinet National Park. The views here are completely different from what we experienced at Cradle Mountain.

The weather is warmer here and we were greeted by turquoise blue bays and white sandy beaches surrounded by dramatic granite mountains.


A popular thing to do in Freycinet is to take a 1-hour hike up to a small lookout overlooking Wineglass Bay. It wasn’t too difficult (even Cheesie can do it), and they say you can see a beach that looks like a wineglass.

But I couldn’t see any leh.

Then again, the weather wasn’t perfect on the day I went. On a good day, we would’ve hiked down to the beach and enjoyed the waters. Wineglass Bay was consistently voted as one of the top beaches in the world.

We didn’t manage to see as many wildlife as we did in Cradle Mountain. The only one we managed to spot was in the carpark.

Its a wallaby wallaby walla-walla-wallaby *sings to the tune of Imma Be*

Cheesie went up to the wallaby and gave her a nice pat on the back.


She stayed still. She likes Cheesie.


I went up to her to give her a nice pat on the back.


She hates me. 🙁

Launceston, Tasmania

G’Day from Down Under!

I am now in Launceston, Tasmania together with Cheesie, on the invitation of Tourism Australia. It’s only the second day that we’re here and already we’re having the time of our lives!

Our adventure started Tuesday into Melbourne. From KL to Melbourne is 8 hours. Both of us forgot to charge our laptops beforehand and we ended up with a boring long flight from KL where all I did was staring at the seat of the passenger in front.

It was Cheesie’s first time to Melbourne, so I took her over to the casino for some late night dinner.

Our taxi fare to-and-fro  Crown Casino was AUD$90 (RM270). If I hadn’t won AUD$100 at the casino, I’d have shot myself in the butt.

The next morning, we took the local budget airline, Virgin Blue, out from mainland Australia into Launceston, a small city located on the northern end of the state of Tasmania.


Tasmania is the often forgotten state of Australia, located off the south western tip from the great big land of Australia. It’s a real pity not a lot of international tourists come here because it’s an absolutely gorgeous place with lots of greeneries, small historic towns and some of the freshest air I’ve ever inhaled.

And it’s only an hour flight away from Melbourne. From what I heard, the good news is that AirAsia is rumoured to fly here soon.

Thanks to me waking up late and missing breakfast, Cheesie and I were famished. Our first stop was the historic town of Evandale – a small place about 20 minutes away from Launceston Airport.

We stopped by a place called Ingleside Bakery. Here, we had our first taste of what Australian food portions are like.

That was enough to feed skinny Cheesie for a week.

Most people who visit Tasmania travel from the north to south in a rental car, visiting many small shops along the way.

We did the same thing, and our first stop was awesome-sauce.

It’s literally an awesome-sauce shop because the Tasmanian Gourmet Sauce Company make sauces and they are awesome.

It started off in a home kitchen of a cottage run by a husband-and-wife team. Here, they make various sauces, jams and chutneys using only fresh ingredients found in Tasmania.

They even grew some of fruits in their garden on site to make jam.

But this is only a very small company with a very small kitchen run by 4 cooks using normal kitchen utensils. Heck, their kitchen was smaller than mine. And I don’t cook.

Yet, their sauces are so popular that they export them to 5 and 6-star hotels all over Asia. That’s why, they are truly awesome-sauce.

We later drove another 20 minutes to the town of Perth (not the one I grew up in) and visited the Tasmanian Honey Company.

Again, this is another small company without any big factory machineries and bottling stations I imagined it to have. Yet, this small cottage business make such great quality products that they also export them all over the world.

Only in Tasmania can we find Leatherwood Honey – a honey so rare they had to camp overnight in the jungle just to harvest them.

Cheesie and I each got a bottle of honey, to give to our honeys.

By the time we reached Launceston city, the sun was already setting.

Being an island with lots of natural beauty, Tasmania fosters a burgeoning artist community. We find people here often incorporate very creative designs into everything that they build.

It could be something as simple as the painting behind me…

…which is not actually a painting, FOOLED YA!

It’s a window looking out to the city’s park.

At the Design Centre of Tasmania, this stylish wooden chair that costs AUD$400, an arm, a leg and your first-born child. As expensive as they are, it’s no doubt the design and quality of craftmanship is very high. It’s a worthwhile stop if you’re in Launceston.

We appreciate how design-conscious the locals are when we finally checked into our accommodation for the night – TWOFOURTWO, a serviced apartment created by a local Tasmanian designer Alan Livermore.

At AUD$300 a night, it’s got everything from a complete DVD library to bubble baths with Tasmanian peppermint scent. Cheesie and I each got our own apartment. We shamefully admit it was better than our own home.

We didn’t wanna leave.

Unless it’s dinner time lah.

At dinner, we realised the artistic spirit of local Tasmanians wasn’t just limited to rooms and furniture pieces. Our dinner didn’t even look like dinner. They looked more like little pieces of art.

This is  I couldn’t bear to eat my dinner because it would be like eating The Monalisa.

Before our trip, Cheesie and I were asked what we’d like to do while we’re visiting Tasmania. Cheesie told them she wanna do all the girly stuff like spa and shopping.

I didn’t fancy shopping because I figured it can be done everywhere in the world. So I told them I’d like to try some adventurous stuff like bungee-jumping or bridge-climbing.

I didn’t expect Tourism Australia to accommodate our requests. But they did.

The next morning, they split us up. I was gonna to head into a forest and pretend to be a flying fox for THREE HOURS.

As for Cheesie? She got whisked off to do some shopping at Launceston. Then, a guide is gonna whisk her off for a one-hour all-expense-paid trip to a SPA!

Damn. Makes me wish I had chosen the spa option instead.

But I didn’t regret going to Hollybank Treetops Adventure.

Compared to the flying fox at KL Tower, the one at Hollybank is a lot higher and longer. There’s five section of cable – the longest one is almost half a kilometre from one tree to another.

Imagine being suspended 10 storeys high above the air, zipping through the forest canopy from tree to tree.

Flying fox is not as scary as bungee-jumping, but definitely an exhilarating sport to do, especially in Launceston where the scenery from the top of the tree is beautiful and the air is fresh.

The air makes you do funny things too.

From Launceston, we took a 90-minute drive up the windy road to Cradle Mountain.

Cradle Mountain is a world heritage site popular for the Australians to get away from the city for some R&R.

The scenery here is breathtakingly dramatic and beautiful, but it’s the many native Australian wildlife here living in their natural habitat that make up the main attraction.

Note: Cheesie is not an Australian wildlife.

But a wombat is.

We stayed overnight here on the mountain top at the Cradle Mountain Lodge.

At night there’s a there’s a spotlight tour where a guide would bring us into the bushes looking for nocturnal animals. Cheesie and I managed to spot two Tasmanian Devils in the dark, but we didn’t get a good shot of him.

All we got is a picture of a bored-looking wallaby going, “Whassup?”

Tomorrow, we’re gonna take a road trip down south, where we’ll eventually end up at the state capital of Hobart.

It was definitely a fun-filled two-day trip thus far. Tasmania is such a beautiful place. For such a small Australian state, there’s just so many things to do. The highlight of my trip was doing the flying fox at Launceston.

For Cheesie, perhaps it was the visit to the cheese factory that was her favourite.

I’m not that much of a cheese-lover, but I had to admit that the cheese made here is really good. I even bought some back for myself.


We met with the owner of the cheese factory. (Was surprised he wasn’t wearing a cheese hat and a cow suit or something.)

They had over 20 different varieties of cheese out on display, and all I gotta do is take a toothpick out for some free sampling.


I had parmesan cheese…

…some lavendar cheese…

…some Malaysian cheese.

Oh wait.

ADV: Fortune Favours The Bold

Spotted this ad on TV while I was in the USA and I simply LOVE IT.

It really epitomizes the idea that good things come to those who ask for it. Of course, there’s also that unrealistic thing about a guy who can just sit in a meeting, still get his beer, and then NOT having to pay for it.

But the point is – there’s a fine line between being shameless and being bold. There’s no point being subservient, because you’re always gonna live within the boundaries that other people set for you.

Being brave and bold – that’s always gonna win you friends and get you to places! 🙂

See, that’s the reason why I like drinking Guinness so much. I’m a sucker for creative marketing like that.

Makes me wanna try the same thing as well.

Hmmm… I think I might need wheels underneath my glass.

ADV: The Apple iBlackBerry

Several weeks ago, I bought myself a BlackBerry because I dropped my almost 1-year-old iPhone in a freak accident.

The sight of a lifeless Apple iPhone with a big blank screen is one of those things that could make a grown man cry. I had to beg the Maxis guys to repair it for me for free eventhough I lost the warranty card.

The point is, I’m gonna be iPhone-less for at least a few weeks and I cannot stand it.

I loved my iPhone and I still think it’s one of the best all-round phones in the world. But I’ve also heard good things about the Blackberry from their evangelists. So while my iPhone was still under ICU (aka the Maxis service centre in Kuching), I took the opportunity to buy the BlackBerry Bold 2 and try it just to see what the fuss is all about.

I know, right? Life used to be so much easier when Apples and Blackberries were just fruits. And cheap too.

So which is the better phone?

The conclusion I came to is this: As much I like the battery life, the snappy speed and the physical keypad of the BlackBerry, I realise I also cannot live without iPhone’s pinpoint accurate GPS, awesome predictive text and its multitude of entertainment features.

So what to do? You combine the best of both worlds and get…

The Apple iBlackBerry!

Now, you can surf the web on one side, and BBM on the other!

In all seriousness though, if you’re one of those deciding between an iPhone or a Blackberry – I say get the iPhone. You absolutely will not regret it.

Maxis used to the be only place where you can buy an iPhone in Malaysia, but recently one of their rivals won the contract to offer the Apple iPhone as well.

Since then, there has been great debate on the forums over which provider has a better iPhone plan. On the surface Maxis’s rival seems to be cheaper, offering the phone and call plans at RM106 per month all-inclusive. Both plans offer free SMS, calls and data.

Realistically, which network is better depends on how you use your phone.

If voice call is important to you, take advantage of the abundance of free minutes and free calls between Maxis family lines and go green. 500MB data isalready more than enough for even a heavy user like me.

If you SMS and surf the web a lot more than you call, and spotty 3G connection is not an issue for you, then run to the other shop.

But before you run out with your credit card in hand, keep in mind that their iPhone plan is offered ONLY on a 24-month contract, and that the RM106 per month deal mentioned previously is over a 36-month instalment!

The iPhone is a great phone, but I think it’s a bad idea for anyone to buy tech items with an instalment plan longer than 12 months.

Since I purchased my iPhone 3G 12 months ago, Apple released the iPhone 3GS, the Blackberry craze took over and I “good-gamed” my iPhone. If I wanna change phones for whatsoever reason, even if I spoil or lost my phone, I’d still have to pay off my existing contract until it lapses after 3 years.

Not a very wise move at all.

Go for a short and flexible contract term with Maxis if you wanna get yourself a new iPhone. But if you aren’t in a hurry to get a new phone, perhaps the smarter thing to do is wait 2 or 3 months to see if Steve Jobs is gonna announce a new version of their popular touch screen phone.

If not, then you can always buy from me… the Apple iBlackberry!


Buy now and get a free handsfree kit!

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The Borneo Post Rejected My Advertisement

This week marks another milestone for my business.

Since we opened about five months ago, Level Up Fitness has been making waves within our local community when we introduced many new equipment and new types of group exercises into Kuching.

But tomorrow, we’re doing something big.

We’ve teamed up KL’s pioneering pole-dancing school Viva Vertical. For the first time ever in Kuching, we’re bringing pole-dancing workshops to my humble little town.

Already, we’ve been getting overwhelming responses from our members. And I figured it’s only the right thing that we spread the word to the community at large by putting an advertisement in our local newspaper.

Obviously, I was aware of cultural sensitivities and I understand that putting an ad on pole-dancing classes may raise a few eyebrows, so I chose the most tame and conservative image I could find to put on our newspaper ad.

This ad was what we sent in to The Borneo Post.

Guess what? It still got rejected.

And the reason the newspaper gave us? “Her legs are opened up too wide! CANNOT.”

What the hell right? Maybe I should just submit this pole-dancing ad instead.




Confirm pass.

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