Category: Australia & NZ

ADV: The Jewel of NZ South Island

To get to Milford Sound in New Zealand…

First I took a 9 hour international flight into Christchurch Airport…

Then I hopped on a turbo-prop domestic flight to NZ’s tourist mecca – Queenstown

From there, I rented a car and drove 3 hours to a tiny town called Te Anau to sleep…

Finally, I woke up at 6am continued to drive another 3 hours to my destination – Milford Sound.

You must be wondering why I am so determined, travelling 10 hours by flight and 6 hours by car to this isolated location in New Zealand’s South Island.

It’s all because I read once on that Milford Sound is voted the "Best Travel Destination in the World". If all the travellers from around the world decided that Milford Sound is the best they’ve seen, I have no reason to doubt that the distance is worth it.


I have done plenty of self-driven road trips throughout my travels, but the drive I did from Queenstown to Milford Sound is best described in one word: BREATHTAKING.

The 300km journey passes through snow-capped mountains, rivers and nature in its most unspoilt and pure form. There are no traffic, no lights, no mobile phone signals. Just me and the nature.

The best part is that the further I drive, the more amazing and dramatic the scenery changes.

The first part of the journey, I passed through vast farmlands and saw COWS. Lots and lots of moo-moo cows!

At 9pm, the sun was setting in summertime NZ, creating a skyline that’s neither blue nor red – but mystical purple.

An example of how close I am to nature happened as early as the next morning.

I woke up at 6am and continued on my journey. As soon as I set out on the highway, a wild deer leaped up from behind the bush and stood in the middle of my way.

There she was staring at me in a manner only the proverbial deer-in-the-headlights can, as I swerved my vehicle to avoid hitting the clueless animal.

So I continued driving uphill. Before long, the farmlands disappears and the landscape changes again. This time I’m high in the skies, towering over virgin forests and turquoise rivers.

The more I increase in elevation, the more the evidence of life thins. Soon afterwards, the forests are gone, replaced by snow on granite rocks and scant vegetation on a lunar landscape.

Finally I arrived Milford Sound at 8:30am, just in time for my appointment with a local kayaking operator.

I had booked a 6 hour kayaking trip earlier. Milford Sound is an area carved out by glaciers and one of the most awe-inspiring way to see it from the water-level itself.

While most travellers would have chosen to explore the area on a crowded cruise ship, I opted to get up close and  personal with nature on a kayak. Also to squeeze some exercise in.

Kayaking is more expensive than taking the cruise (NZD$
130 for a 5 hour trip), but it’s great if I want to make the most out of Milford Sound.

After all, I’m in an isolated and remote location. The last thing I wanna hear is engine noises when I’m exploring a place of natural beauty.

There’s another advantage to seeing Milford Sound on a kayak.

You actually get to see the local wildlife a lot closer. Sometimes, unexpectedly.

Ever seen a penguin that lives in the rainforests?

How about a lazy seal taking his afternoon nap?









Anyway, I had the chance to stop and do a bit of trekking along a section of The Milford Track. They call it the "Finest Walk in the World" and the locals would take 4 days to complete this entire thing.

I did 3 hours on the track, and bloody hell I cannot tahan already!

Milford Sound is absolutely beautiful and I would love to have stayed longer, but I got a flight to catch. So it’s another 6-hour drive back for me to where my journey started – Queenstown.

Queenstown is nicknamed the "Adventure Capital of the World" and not without reason. This is, after all, the birthplace of commercial bungee jumping.

There are no less than 3 bungee sites in tiny Queenstown, and the most spectacular one is high up on the hilltop overlooking the town.

To get to the jump site, I had to take a gondola ride up the hill.

Kinda didn’t help that there’s a cemetery right at the entrance.

Once I’m up there, the views is spectacular.


But things don’t look so pretty when I’m standing on the edge, harness around my waist, ready to jump on the count of 3…



AirAsiaX now flies direct from KL to Christchurch, and all-in fares start from only RM499 one way.

Even better, there’s a contest out there that can win you and 2 friends a 7-DAY TRIP to New Zealand’s South Island.

7-DAY TRIP LEH. Don’t say I didn’t tell you guys.

On top of an all-expense trip for you, 2 friends and "a famous blogger" (dunno who), you also get to star in their ads. How cool is that?

All these just by uploading a photo of YOUR FACE on their Facebook.

Maybe you too will get to bungee jump off the top of Queenstown.

Christchurch is a big Kiwi city the perfect starting point for the adventure around NZ’s South Island, including Queenstown and Milford Sound. My advice is to rent a car and drive yourself around. You’ll see a lot more that way!

My father once said New Zealand is so beautiful, every photo you take will turn out like postcards.

I think he’s absolutely right.

ADV: 10 Things To See In Perth

Did you know about the 2 Malaysians who travelled around Western Australia in a taxi?

Dr Ling and his brother Shaun won a contest organized by Tourism WA. Their prize was being driven round the largest state of Australia in a taxi. Going through their blog and those by the other winners, some emotions in me were inevitably stirred up.

To me, Perth is more than just a tourist destination.

Perth was my former home. And although I have moved back permanently to Kuching now, I’d still hop on a plane and see Perth all over again if given the chance. At least AirAsia is flying to Perth soon!

What’s there to see in Western Australia? HEAPS. In fact, I give you 10.

10. The City


It’s not as big as Melbourne or Sydney, but the walk through the shops and malls of Perth City is still very pleasant. All the charming old buildings like the Post Office and London Court are very well-preserved.

I enjoy coming here on Friday night after work when all the shops close late. When I get hungry I’ll just walk to Taka for cheap authentic Japanese food, or Utopia for Taiwanese bubble tea.


 9. King’s Park

King’s Park is lush botanical garden located on a hilltop overlooking Perth city and the Swan River. It’s a very well-maintained park with lots of flowers, trees and walking paths. My ex used to live in an apartment here and every morning we’d see old people jogging up and down the steep jogging paths.

I never tried jogging there. I get tired just looking at them do it.


8. Fremantle


It’s a quaint port town 45 minutes away from Perth. Fremantle got more laid back atmosphere without the bad behaviour. It’s where I’d come to chill out, eat fish and chips at Cicerello’s, drink coffee on the Cappuccino Strip or chow down some pizza and beer at Little Creatures microbrewery.


7. Rottnest Island

I went to and fell in love with Rottnest Island when my student union organized a leadership training camp there once. Rottnest is a small island 30 minutes by ferry from Fremantle. There are no cars here so the only way to get around is by bicycle.


Beautiful bays and beaches are the attractions here, but to see the real beauty you gotta put on the snorkel mask and look underwater.

Rottnest Island is the reason I picked up snorkelling, and eventually diving.


6. Margaret River

People travel to Margaret River for two things: nature, and wine.

(Or whine, if you don’t drink wine).

If you drive down the freeway during spring, the huge expanse of wild flowers on the either side of the road literally takes your breath away.


This is the only place in Australia where people can experience white sandy beaches, gigantic forests, agricultural life, ancient caves and world class wineries all in one area. It’s also a romantic place to bring a special someone for an overnight stay at a Bed & Breakfast.

5. Pinnacles Desert


It’s a popular stopover for most people heading northwards to Ningaloo Reef.

The Pinnacles is located in the middle of a sandy desert. It’s impossible for normal cars to access it, which means you gotta hop in this gigantic 4WD monster truck if you wanna see this unique landscape of towering rocks rising over the sand.


4. Wave Rock


There are only two places in the world I know where you can go surfing inland.

The first is at Wave Rock.

The other one is at Internet Cafes.

3. Monkey Mia

Monkey Mia is a back-aching 6 h
ours north from Perth by car.

Despite what the name tells ya, there are no monkeys in Monkey Mia. But there are dolphins.

Every morning, these wild dolphins swim up to the shore and it is possible to pat and feed them.

2. Ningaloo Reef

WA’s Ningaloo Reef may not be as famous as Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef, but surpasses it in beauty. Because it is so difficult to get to, it gets less visitors and therefore less damaged marine life.

It’s popular for being the very few places on Earth to dive with gentle giant whale sharks.


1. Friends


Let’s face it, the biggest reason Malaysians come to Perth is to study.

Many Malaysian colleges have twinning programmes with the Universities here. It’s only a 5 hour flight from KL and airfares aren’t too expensive now that AirAsia flies to Perth. Chances are, you already know somebody who’s doing a course over there.

Maybe it’s time to pay them a visit.

‘Cos what the heck – when they graduate, you won’t have anymore free tour guides!

I’m Going To Sydney TOMOWO!

Well, not really.


But I was there 2 weeks ago on the invitation of Tourism Australia.

Sydney, in the Australian state of New South Wales, is a cosmopolitan and lively city completely different from the peace and tranquillity we experienced in Tasmania.

Here, you see men in suits walking down the streets alongside Asian students. There’s a cafe and convenience store around every corner. And traffic is always a problem.

Sydney has all the elements one would expect from a major capital city: great shopping, good public transport, brilliant nightlife and two of the most famous architectural symbol of Australia – the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House.

Most people would be happy just taking photos of themselves outside the Sydney Opera House. We kiasu, so we did the guided tour inside, but it’s okay only lah. I reckon it’s something only cultural buffs would enjoy.

If time permits I would’ve got tickets to watch a performance inside because the acoustic inside is awesome.

The Bugs Bunny one looks good.

Anyway, this wasn’t my first trip to Sydney.


I had been here twice before. Both times, there was one thing I had been DYING to do – simply because I can do it only in Australia.

Back then, I was a student so I had no cash opportunity to do it. This time I DID IT.

I climbed Australia’s national icon – the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The experience was truly extraordinary and unforgettable. Contrary to popular belief, the climb wasn’t difficult at all.

I mean, if Edward Cullen a bunch of vampires can do it, surely I can too.

It’ll take about 1.5 hours walking along pre-fabricated pathways to reach the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The 360 degree view right at the top was absolutely breathtaking.

BridgeClimb is the only company offering this unique adventure.

At AUD$188 (RM 564), the price is steeper than the climb. Then again, it’s Australia and the company adhere to very strict safety standards. I was constantly hooked on to a safety railing.

Unless I’m damn stupid, nothing I do would make me fall off and die.

Anyway, climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge sure make for great conversation when you get home.

Friend: WAH! You went to Sydney ah? Did you take photo of the Harbour Bridge.
Kenny: Yeah, but not only that. I CLIMBED THE FREAKIN’ THING!
Friend: !!!

It’s a pity that most people who travel to Sydney seldom venture out of the city.

Just a short 2 hour drive away, is a place called Blue Mountains.

Blue Mountains a world completely unlike the modern skyscraper jungle that is Sydney. This is where some of Australia’s best natural wonders call home.

The journey to the Blue Mountains was as almost exciting as the destination.

On our way there, we passed by a lot of quaint small towns. We stopped by this 200-year-old abandoned ghost town called Hartley.

The Australians preserve this village so well, it looks almost exactly the same as it was 200 years ago.

Heck, even the location of the horse feed was that same.

You can compare it with this old photograph below.

Oh wait. That’s not a horse.

The truth is, tourism in the Blue Mountains has been around since 200 years ago. People from that era used to travel to the Jenolan Caves, which is one of the most spectacular cave systems worldwide.

Although I grew up in a Malaysian state famous for its caves, I had my first ever adventure caving experience right here in Australia.

In the past, my caving experience consists of walking to a hole in a mountain smelling bat shit.

Adventure caving means I have to wear on an overall, put a hard hat, then abseil, climb and crawl through rocks, dirt and bat poop.

Squeezing through rocks was a real challenge and by no means easy. But I did it.

It’s a bit like squeezing through the crowd at Zouk Club on a Saturday night – without the pleasure of surrounded by hot babes around you.

Strangely, I find the journey into the underground surprisingly fun and rewarding. that;s because I was seeing something only the privileged few get to experience.

Apparently, people are already exploring caves for tourism even way back in the 1850s. The only difference is, people those days wore just their street clothes and held a candle for light. Often, they’d sign their names on the cave walls.

Those inscriptions would remain for the next 100 over years.

This “L Arnott’s” father eventually went on to create the world’s most delicious chocolate biscuits.

Then of course Nintendo invented video games and after that nobody really gives a hoot about caving anymore.

There’s a lot to see and do in the Blue Mountains. But the biggest reason why people flock to the Blue Mountains, is to stand on a cliff overlooking the national park.

This views here are just majestic and jaw-droppingly beautiful. It’s almost like the Grand Canyon, with more trees, life and fresh air.

Trust me. No matter what I say, how many words I write and how many photos I show, nothing can truly prepare for the sight of the Blue Mountains in person.

In order to truly appreciate the beauty of Blue Mountains, I recommend staying over at one of the many Bed & Breakfasts over here.

The place we stayed at was Echoes Boutique Hotel and it was simply the most tasteful luxurious accommodation throughout our entire ten days in Australia.

The sunset views over the Blue Mountains was worth the trip alone.

As if the Blue Mountains were not spectacular enough, some local folks cook up a fairy tale to give the place a mystical edge.

This rock formation is known as The Three Sisters of Katoomba. It is the most popular attraction at the Blue Mountains.

Millions of tourists flock to the Blue Mountains to see these sandstone erosion. But then they also got to hear this bollock of a story about how three human sisters were actually turned into sandstone by a jealous witchdoctor.

Heck, they even erected statues to commemorate this obviously fabricated story.

Well, you be the judge.

See if you can tell the similarities between The Three Sisters rock formations and The Three Sisters statues.

This is The Three Sisters rock formations.



And The Three Sisters statue.

Look alike meh?

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Things To Do In Tasmania If You Don’t Value Life

My initial impression of Tasmania was that it’s a nice, quiet and peaceful place.

Looks can be deceiving.

The whole of Tasmania is like one big natural Disneyland. Everywhere we went, there were people who are willing to take your money – and give you heart-attack for change.

One example was the Tasman Island Cruise we took.

At first, when we saw their booth at Salamanca Market in Hobart, I thought “Cool! All we’re gotaa do was hop on a boat and see some seals!”

Tasmania is the southern-most state of Australia, so absolutely nothing exists further south from land. Except Antarctica.

And furry seals.

Lots and lots of big, furry, cute, sun-bathing seals.

It wasn’t until we arrived at the dock in Port Arthur, that we realised our “Tasman Island Cruise” was actually more of a speedboat ride than a cruise ship.

The good thing was – their team was very well-prepared. Unlike us.

Despite the sun shining brightly on our happy faces, we were warned that it’s gonna be cold on the cruise. Like, really, really, REALLY COLD.

Even before we ventured out into the seas,we were offered seasick pills, warm clothes and wet-weather gear.

In the process, they made Cheesie look like a mushroom.

The first half of the cruise was easy.

We cruised along the shoreline into the Indian Ocean, admiring the pretty ocean views and breathtaking sea cliffs. It was simply chillaxing.

Even the wildlife here were just chilling out.

We spotted several dolphins, sea lions and some BIG ASS tuna fish (not their scientific name) leaping over water hunting for food.

But all good things must come to an end. 45 minutes out into the sea, the weather suddenly changed. Skies turned from blue to grey, and the Gods turned on the tap.

Along with that, the look on our faces transformed from smiles into ARGGHHHH.

It was pouring rain and we were absolutely freezing our butts off.

When we returned to the pier, one crazy guy saw swimming in the sea with no shirt on. Then we saw him crawling out out and muttered, “Hmmm… the water is cold.”


Port Arthur in Tasmania is a place of significance for many Australians. Many Australian’s ancestors came here from England as convicts, before being released into the free world.

There’s a very well-preserved Port Arthur convict colony here worth visiting. Tourism Australia booked us into a hotel here.

(Not really.)

And since we’re in Tasmania, we also dropped by the Tasmanian Devil conservation park.

Here, we saw some Tasmanian devils.


Then we saw a kangaroo giving us the puppy eyes.


Then we saw a baby kangaroo sharing his food with a goose.


*heart melts*

Then we saw a big ass kangaroo hopping towards us for food.


… Errr. Yes.

As if all that boat-riding earlier in the day wasn’t enough, the next morning we went looking for more action.

The Huon River is one of the most quiet, serene and peaceful rivers in Tasmania.

But all that changed thanks to this man.


He invited us onto his jet boat, and drove down the river so fast that our hearts came out of our mouths and sank to the bottom of the river.

So now we are officially heartless.

As if that wasn’t enough to give us a cardiac arrest (oh wait, we have no heart), our next destination is the Eagle Hang Gliding adventure at the Tahune Airwalk.

This is hang-gliding made easy. Instead of jumping off a cliff on my own, we were hoisted by a cable up to the treetop, before gliding back onto the ground.

It was very safe, but very FUN.

The icing on the cake was that the owner of the Eagle Hang Glide has a bloody cute pug. If you do visit the place, please say hi to this dog.

Poor pug. I suppose that’s the face you’re gonna have if everyday all you see are tourists on a hang-glider screaming their lungs out.

Anyway, after all that screaming and shouting, there’s nothing Cheesie and I look forward to more than heading back to the hotel in Hobart at night, light some aroma candles, put on some sexy music, and immersing our bodies into a hot bubble bath.

Unfortunately Cheesie and I are platonic friends, so we had to do our bubble baths separately. 🙁

According to what I learnt in uni, the formula Hot Chick + Bubble Bath = Hits is always right. How I wish I could end this post with a picture of Cheesie doing her bubble bath.

But since that is not possible, this is your replacement.




I love bubble baths <3.

What To Eat In Sydney And Tasmania

I have packed on 5kg in two weeks thanks to Australia’s good food.

Australians are proud of their food. We know that because Tourism Australia is intent on making everything remind us of food.

Even the hotel we stayed at in Hobart, the Henry Jones Hotel, was in its previous life – a jam factory.

Here’s a quick guide of some of my favourite things to eat and drink while touring Australia.


Flat White. It’s basically latte with less milk, so the coffee tastes a lot stronger. I MUST have a cup of this every morning to start my day.

You can’t get flat white at Starbucks back home, but this type of coffee is popular all over Australia. The best ones I had are at Eucalypt Coffee Art in Port Arthur, Tasmania and Fresh in the Blue Mountains near Sydney.

James Boag’s Beer. Not readily available outside of Australia, this Launceston beer has a sweet, refreshing, crisp finish to it.

Some of the best beers I’ve had in life are brewed in places with ready access to unpolluted spring water. It’s an ingredient Tasmania obviously has plenty of.

Grilled scallops.

Freycinet Lodge in Tasmania had the freshest, juiciest, most succulent grilled scallops I’ve ever had in my entire life! I always like scallops, but I never knew it could be THIS good.

The cafes surrounding Sydney Fish Market has pretty good grilled scallops too. I always order the ones still attached to their shells, sitting on a pool of their own juices. Those are most delicious.

Grilled Crayfish. Also at Freycinet Lodge, Tasmania. A crayfish is like a lobster, but with tender meat and juices that would burst inside your mouth with delight.

Salt & Pepper Squid. I had salt & pepper squid all the time when I was living in Perth. Since I left, I never found a single restaurant in Malaysia who can do squid the way I like it.

Me Wah Chinese Restaurant in Hobart and Cafe Sydney in (duh) Sydney has the absolute best-tasting fried squids ever. The latter has an awesome view overlooking the Sydney Habour Bridge.

Tasmanian Salmon. Order it grilled, smoked or raw. Order it with cheese, bread or on its own. Order it anyhow you like.

Salmon in Tasmania is simply legendary. Nobody should leave Tasmania without at least trying the salmon there.


My favourites are the salmon bagel I had at Retro Cafe and the grilled salmon at Smolt – both in Salamanca Market, Hobart.

You can probably tell by now that seafood is BIG in Aussie. The combination of fresh seafood selection and well-trained chefs is what make it so good. It’s too good to miss out in Australia.

Of course, not everyone is gonna dine at restaurants everyday lah.

Just before we left for the airport this morning, Cheesie and I ditched our sucky hotel breakfast and dropped by Sydney Fish Market for a last minute taste of Australian seafood.

Over here, salmon, tuna, oysters, abalones, scallops and mussels are hauled up from the fishing boats everyday, then cooked and served directly onto our plates.

It’s ridiculously cheap by Aussie standards too. we had a huge 160g serving of tuna sashimi to share between us for just AUD 12 (RM36).


After such a short but delicious taste of what Tasmania and Sydney have to offer, I am determined to return once more to explore more of Australia’s cafes and restaurants.

Of course, the downside to eating all these good food is all the exercise I must to do to work the calories off.

And I did…

…by climbing all the way to the top of Sydney Freakin’ Harbour Bridge!

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.

Diving With The Poor Knights

While I was in NZ, I had my best diving experience ever at a place called the Poor Knights Islands.

The Poor Knights Islands are called that way because from the way they’re shaped, they kinda look like chess pieces of knights that have fallen down.
They are located 40 minutes away by boat from the remote coastal town with a funny name called Tutukaka, which itself is some 150km north of Auckland.

Diving in New Zealand ain’t cheap. Then again, with views THIS amazing, I couldn’t resist forking out the NZD$190 (RM500) it is required for the experience.
Believe me, it was worth every single penny of it.

There was nothing quite like dropping down below the crystal blue waters of the Pacific Ocean to find yourself surrounded by masses of beautiful marine life, kelp forests and an abundance of underwater caves.
It was beautiful. An explorer once described Poor Knights Islands as one of the top 10 dive sites in the world, and I agree. Diving in NZ is definitely very different to diving in the tropics back home.

Superman goes diving in New Zealand

The water is cleaner. The visibility is clearer.
The fish in NZ are bigger.
Kinda like the women here too.

Our dive guide brought us down to 30 metres – the deepest I’ve ever done. We explored a submerged cave and went through what they call an “underwater chimney”.
It was the most awesome experience ever.
When we entered the cave it was pitch black and I couldn’t see anything. All I could do was paddle hopelessly in the dark. As we continued to swim aimlessly forward, suddenly this faint blue light came in from the end of the tunnel and I’m bathed in it.

Swimming through that hole, it almost felt as if I was born again. I felt alive!
Now I know what new-born babies went through when their mother squeezed them out.

With water so clean and clear, I got up close to many sea creatures, like this tulan-looking moray eel. My guide pulled me away immediately after I took that shot because apparently this eel was coiled up ready to attack.

The only problem going that deep down is that I used up my oxygen tank rapidly. By the time I got up the boat after the first dive, I was so sick and drowsy that I puked over the railings twice – something the Kiwis onboard joked as “more food for the fishies”.
It was worth it though.

The one thing that continually impressed me about diving in NZ is how clean and pristine the Kiwis maintained their waters. For once, the destination truly lived up their brochure description of an “untouched paradise”. I saw not even a single dead coral nor a speck of rubbish (except for my puke) while diving at Poor Knights Islands.
It’s amazing to see how gung-ho the Kiwis are on the climate change agenda. Every New Zealander has the habit to do all they can to protect their environment, and any damage to the natural habitat of wildlife is heavily frowned upon.

Over there, anyone caught littering in the ocean will be thrown into the water to physically retrieve it. Over here, all we seem to know is how to pay lip service about “protecting our environment” and not do anything about it.
And that’s really unfortunate.
It’s unfortunate because Malaysia has among the world’s largest bio-diversity, and yet we do not really seem to know how to treasure what we are blessed with.

One example is the turtles we have in Malaysia, like what Su Ann said.
Our turtle nests have been decreasing at such a scary rate.We don’t know how blessed we are. People from all over the world travel to our doorsteps to watch our giant turtles hatch their eggs in their natural habitat. And what do we do?
We sell those turtle eggs for RM1.60 each and eat them openly in the restaurants. Smart right?

The reason the Poor Knights Islands in New Zealand is so beautiful is because it’s virgin and untouched. Everything there was left as it is with minimal development.
If the Poor Knights Islands were located in Malaysia, I bet you two coconuts that the place will be filled with all types of buildings in no time.

It’s the same thing here in Sarawak. It’s next to impossible for tourists to see our famous orang utans in the wild anymore because of all these massive deforestation that’s been going on. When you rob these gentle creatures of their natural habitat, where else could they go?
There’s no space left.
In Malaysia, conservation is always playing second fiddle to economic development and convenience.

I think it’s ridiculous, and really sad. Compared to countries like New Zealand, we certainly have a lot of catching up to do. Old habits are hard to break, but something about our attitude towards conservation has gotta change.
So after reading Su Ann’s blog, this is what I pledge to do.

I used to eat turtle eggs everytime they were offered to me. I pledge that from now on, I will stop doing so.
I used to do sweet nothing-at-all when people throw their rubbish off the boat. I pledge that from now on, I will give them hell.
I used to scold people using “chao turtle”. I pledge that from now on, I will not use turtles and scold them with “chao chicken” instead.
Every little bit helps mah.

WWF-Malaysia runs a fantastic turtle conservation program to protect turtle habitats and educate local communities, and I pledge my support for them.
My first action start with a small donation of RM3 by sending an SMS with the text “WWF<space>my full name<space>my e-mail” to 39398. It’s so easy to do, I did it and I urge everyone to do the same.

Some people may be skeptical about donations, but there is nothing to worry. More information, including audited reports on how the donated fund was spent, can be found at
Change may not come overnight. But hey, hopefully every little action we do will mean something, and ultimately influence those around us.

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