A Travellerspoint blog

Australia Day

sunny 34 °C

After an excellent nights sleep, I woke up to a beautiful day and wall to wall sunshine. Once up and about I headed towards the famous Flinders Street station, a lovely big building which also holds one of the railway stations. I was there to watch the start of the Australia Day parade and it was excellent to see but after standing for a while the heat was getting to me so I had to take refuge in the shade of the station.

The heat made me realise the one essential I had left off my list - a wide brimmed hat! One purchased I then headed to the Kings Domain Gardens to look at the vintage cars and watch a live band. Australia really do this celebration very well, with most of it aimed at families and also free, and makes me wonder why we don't do something similar in the UK?

After a break from the sun and heat back where I am staying I headed out for the evening to the Docklands area, an area surrounding the marina with the Etihad stadium as centrepiece. A quick glance in the sea made me think I may not be swimming when I go to the beach as there was a blanket of jellyfish just under the surface!!! A drink made me reallly understand the cost of food and drink over here, $10 for a cider and it wasn't even a full pint - ouch!

The fireworks to finish the evening were excellent as well and I feel very lucky to have been able to be out here to see the celebrations.

Posted by FranRobinson 03:55 Archived in Australia Comments (2)

Goodbye Singapore, Hello Melbourne

sunny 23 °C

Last night I said a sad goodbye to Singapore following my final day which mainly surrounded leaving the place I was staying and getting to the airport to check in. However, I did manage a short trip to Fort Canning Park, much smaller than the other parks I visited but a key area during the war.

My overnight flight to Melbourne was with Qantas, having never flown with them before I was very impressed with the plane, seat space and food provided, I would recommend them even though the flight was like being in a rough sea and this has left me very tired today.

My first day in Melbourne has seen me visit the Botanical Gardens and explore the centre of Melbourne, where there is some amazing architecture. The weather is a little cooler here than Singapore and lower humidity, but this has caught me out today and I am now a nice shade of pink!

I am now looking forward to a good nights sleep and Australia Day celebrations tomorrow

Posted by FranRobinson 03:31 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Marina Bay

sunny 34 °C

So with a cloudy start to the day I set off for Marina Bay and the Gardens by the Bay, just two stops down on the MRT. Within 20 minutes of arriving the heavens had opened with another thunderstorm and I thought I was in for another wet day, how wrong I was!

The storm lasted around half hour but once passed the sun came out and it was glorious sunshine for most of the day. The Gardens by the bay are next to the Marina Sands hotel, a huge 3 tower complex with a posh shopping centre, theatre and expo centre, all backing onto the river and overlooking the financial district of Singapore (think skyscrapers! ).

The gardens are beautiful with an abundance of wildlife and groups of 'supertrees', manmade trunks but covered in lots of different plants. Another short thunderstorm saw me move inside to the shopping centre with some very posh shops but the window shopping was good together with a tasty lunch.

I then walked over the Helix river bridge and watched another thunderstorm in the distance with some impressive forks of lightning before catching a river cruise where I really got to understand how very tall the skyscrapers are. Back at the Marina Sands there was a free light and water show to music next to the river, which was really wonderful with a stunning backdrop of the skyscrapers all lit up as well.

Tomorrow evening I catch my next flight onto Australia, I've had a fantastic time in Singapore and if Australia is as good as here I am going to be very happy!

Posted by FranRobinson 07:08 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Sentosa Island and thunderstorms

storm 34 °C

After a hit and restless night I woke to a sunny morning and the realisation of how very hot Singapore can get.

Once up I made my way to the Harbourfront station for a stroll across the boardwalk linking the main island to Sentosa island, by which point it had clouded over a little and was very humid. Sentosa is a resort island and this is very clear once you are there, it is very Americanised with a Universal Studios and all manner of attractions aimed at families and parents to spend an awful lot of money. It is not my idea of fun but I was headed for the beaches on the south of the island. I was pleasantly surprised to find that all transport on Sentosa was free so I took advantage of the monorail to take me to Palawan beach.

The beaches are beautiful with golden sand and warm sea to paddle in. I took the rope bridge walk across to the southern most point of Asia and on the walk over glanced down at the sea to spot a small spotted eagle ray, a fabulous thing to see! With a wander around the beaches and down to Silso point I was becoming increasingly aware of some big black clouds forming and decided to head back to the main island and onto Chinatown.

Chinatown was bustling with the Chinese New Year being celebrated but within 5 minutes of arriving the thunderstorms started - I have never seen rain like it, like someone had turned the tap on and everyone ran for cover. The rain did not stop for some time and this affected my experience of the area, albeit I had another lovely dinner at the hawker centre nearby.

Once back at where I am staying the rain had started again and didn't look like stopping but I perserved with my plan to go for a Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel this evening and how glad I did, it was an excellent experience I would recommend! Listening to the live band sing Hey Jude while sipping an original drink in historic surroundings was fabulous! On leaving the rain had stopped and that had finally had an effect on the heat, making it a little more comfortable.

Singapore really is a wonderful place and I can't believe my time here is going so quick. Tomorrow is my last full day and I am headed to Marina Bay.

Posted by FranRobinson 06:56 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Orchids and Iguanas

overcast 30 °C

My first full day started with rain and an expensive Starbucks but back onto the ever efficient MRT for a trip to the Singapore Botanic Gardens. What a beautiful place and anyone planning to come here should visit.

Unlike the UK botanic gardens entry is free to the main garden, with a $5 fee for the National Orchid Centre. The rain had stopped by the time I had got there and it had not got too hot either. The gardens have a wealth of wildlife, mynar birds which seem to be Singapore's pigeons (they are everywhere), black swans, sunbirds, butterflies, very large terrapins (anyone remember the tiny ones you could get in the 90's?), carp and catfish in the lakes but highlight were the iguanas swimming in the lake.

I also went into the orchid area, truly stunning with every sort of orchid you could imagine, I was beginning to wonder whether I needed another camera memory card with the amount of photos I took! By this time it was also getting very warm and humid and I was very grateful for the coolhouse!

After this I moved onto Orchard Road where there are skyscrapers and posh shops, I was well restrained though and did not buy anything.

This evening was a trip into the excellent Little India, this is a lovely bustling colourful area full of stalls selling fruit, veg, flowers and brightly coloured fabrics, all against a backdrop of little colonial houses. My dinner consisted of a delicious mutton biriyani but to much embarrassment my english tastebuds let me down and I couldn't finish my meal due to the spiciness.

I am learning a lot in Singapore, one is that the MRT is a brilliant, clean and cheap way to get around, the Tube could learn a lot from it, but I have to remember to stand on the left on the escalators. Also, the people of Singapore are very helpful and it is a very safe place to be.

Fortunately, I have not really been affected by jetlag so at 11pm, I'm off to bed for more adventures tomorrow!

Posted by FranRobinson 06:43 Archived in Singapore Comments (3)

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