Philip Island and the Animals 
  The natures and animals are what I look for in this Australia trip. So I planned a backpack trip to Philip Island, the southern tip of the mainland Australia, visiting farms and nature. Here is my first encounter with Koala. =)  
Lazy koala taking a nap. So cute and adorable.

Wallaby with her baby inside the pouch.
Look at his strong legs and tail. Ready for some kick boxing? ;-)
A rare white kangaroo

My first encounter

A signature tourist attraction of the Philip Island is the Penguin Parade.
These are non-captive penguins, about one feet tall.

Over 650 penguins walked up the shore on March 3. The sight and thrills are forever memorable.
Their homes are up on the hills. Every night after they ventured the ocean, they hiked back from the beach to their home.

They are family oriented, so a penguin sticks with its spouse to raise a kid before it leaves home.
March 3, 2015
Today I experienced the excitement as a backpacker. Initially I thought once I get to the Philip Island, transporting to the beach for Penguin Parade would be an easy task. However, it's haunting to discover that the transport alone will cost A$50!!! (as I was the only one in the hostel at Newhaven going for the penguins, so a private charter is needed!) I had expected the worst that I may not be going...
  Nonetheless, God has its plan or a backpacker has its way to navigate. I tried hitch hiking but then realized the penguins are so far from the residents and no locals would bring me there. Eventually a nice driver dropped me on a main road where there were two big tour buses and hundreds of Chinese tourists gathering outside of a chocolate factory. I seized the opportunity and asked the guide to have me as a late joiner to his group. He agreed as luckily there was one absentee on his tour and also he carried the sympathy that I was a backpacker on a budget holiday, so he charged me only A$15 and brought me to the penguin parade and other tourist points of the Philip Island. I felt so fortunate and touched. These are the moments that make my journey counts. Thanks!




An open sea Sting Ray.
I've never expected to see one in this trip! I was awed!
It glided with elegance

King Crab. Was it mutated?!
The Pelicans are up for feeding. They are non-captive, but would come back every noon for food.

  Woolamai Beach

The beach is at the southern end of the mainland Australia to the ocean. So the waves are huge and dangerous. Afraid to be washed out, I only took a brief dip to the water.
Without knowing how large was Philip Island, I ventured myself to walk from Newhaven (where I stayed) to Woolamai Beach, which was only two inches distance from my paper map. However, I walked, walked and walked in flip flops for 1.5 hours for the journey. My legs were already sore from the previous touring. Through out the walk, I had only seen less than 10 people. And there was no one on the beach!!! I almost wanted to cry conceptualizing that I was really on a no-man's land and might need to walk back for another 1.5 hours... Fortunately, I saw two cars stopping by at the car park and I approached them for a free ride to the main road. The first one rejected as he lived nearby the beach, while the later one, Stephen, accepted. He told me he was there for surfing. However, as the waves break (turning into white splash), surfing would be infeasible. That's why no body was on the beach and that he just came and left and could pick me up on his way back home. That's my first ever hitchhiking experience. I was so thankful!

  San Remo
(a town a bridge away from the Philip Island)
March 2, 2015
Today I am really alone on in a suburb, just chilling at an empty beach until 9:30pm and enjoying the peacefulness with my soul.
  While I was alone, I had the opportunity to clear all my thoughts and had a conversation with my soul to understand the issues I was encountering in my life, such as the Peter Pan syndrome and worrying too much about my receding hairline. At that night, I went through internal pain trying to struck off the reality, but I finally accepted. After this trip, I think I have come to term with myself actually growing up and growing old... Human is always facing a pain, a growing pain...   


The biggest town at the Philip Island. But it is indeed small. I see what it means by simple life...
The pier at Cowes is the kids' playground. A group of four just dived into the water to play hide-and-seek. Nature's boys. It's interesting to witness different style of boyhood.

Nobbies - the most western point of the Philip Island. The best would be to enjoy the sunset, while the penguins were soon on their ways hiking back up shore.
  I adopted a backpacker mode of traveling to Philip Island, so public bus was my sole source of transportation. There is only limited number of coaches to Philip Island from Melbourne (once every two hours), waiting and waiting were often. I even got off a stop early, which had me walking 30 minutes on the freeway to my destination. I got really agitated being idled and lost in the nowhere. But I recon that I was travelling from Sydney to Melbourne then to Philip Island, a series of suburbanization; I shall forget my urban mindset and just simply enjoy what the suburban life can offer -- idling and slow pace to enjoy life.   

2015. This is my first time to Australia. Rather I didn't have a strong sentiment toward this place. This Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House are the icons of Sydney. Apart from them, I have not felt any strong identity of Sydney. As a person who lived in North America and London, Sydney is a bit lacklustre by comparison. The whole Australia has only around 200 years of history. Australians need more time and effort to define themselves rather trying to copy London.

Dickson visited Sydney about the same time as I was there. So we were good travel companion for a few days.

It's the most southern place on Earth I have visited. Of course I looked up the sky finding the Southern Cross pointing onto the South Pole. 
<- Watched "As you like it" at the Opera House
All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts. His acts being seven ages. At first the infant... Then, the whining school-boy... And then the lover... Then, a soldier... ... Last scene of all, that ends this strange eventful history, is second childishness...

Exploring the Sydney Opera House

Enjoying the view of the Habour Bridge 
  The City - viewed from the west side
The City - viewed from the north side
Sydney Town Hall

Flying the rainbow flag for Mardi Gras
University of Sydney - modelling Oxford University

Queen Victoria Building - a shopping mall
St. Mary's Cathedral           

Front of Queen Victoria Building 

Sydney Tower               

Green building! A shopping mall and residential

Hyde Park

Driving through the Harbour Bridge

Random Sydney city center building

China Town - a bit too simple.

Chic area at the City 

Newtown - supposed to be the trendy area

Shop at Newtown

Newtown - but it is quite normal

Weekend market at the Rocks. The Rocks is the earliest settlement of the European. But too bad the area is quite ordinary...

The Rocks area

The Rocks area

First bar at Sydney, est. 1828

The Broadway shopping mall

The Sydney Fish Market. I bought dozen of fresh abalones

I tried 3 dozens of fresh raw oysters in 10 days! Yum.

Enjoyed seafood platter at the famous Doyle Restaurant. of Watson Bay. This meal cost A$250+.

There are:
- lobsters
- king pawns
- oysters
- crabs
- salmons
- clams
- squids, etc.

It's for my friend, Bill's birthday.

'Tis the only rainy day in my trip. Poor visibility of the City from the Watson's Bay.
My spurge meal of the trip. Yum and full!   

My nudist experience at the Obelisk Beach

The famous Sydney Bondi Beach. I had a severe tan afterward !!!
But the best sight is actually the subsequent bays adjacent to the Bondi Beach. They are smaller, but yet more scenic.
Resting a Bondi

Bondi from atop

Surfing at Bondi

Working outside at Bondi
  Sydney Mardi Gras
  The Mardi Gras is amongst the focal points of my Australia trip, so aside from nature and animals I could see things interesting.  
Dickson and I got to Oxford Street at 6:30pm while the parade started at 8:00pm. However, all the good spots were already occupied while we stood layers upon the stairs of an office building. We could only see tall floats while those sexy boys (I presume there were so) parading on the street level were blocked.... >_<
GAYTM on Oxford Street

I did club. But the scene is mostly for the drugged... 
  Blue Mountain
A friend drove us to Blue Mountain for a glimpse of Australia's wilderness. It's breathtaking. Below also captured the famous Three Sisters which the Australian aboriginals have a story that three daughters of a tribal chief didn't obey their father and married men of other tribe, so the father turned them into stone. It's a scary-tale, but to me that shall be the real culture of Australia. 
My friend is a white European Australian, but he feels remorse of the actions done by the early Europeans. For at least 40,000 years before the Europeans arrived, Australia was inhabited by indigenous Australians. The whole continent was their land and home. However, with around 200 years in history, the explorers started a process of colonization that almost entirely displaced the aboriginal people who inhabited the land. British colonization of Australia began in 1788. One immediate consequence was a series of European epidemic diseases such as measles, smallpox and tuberculosis. A smallpox epidemic in 1789 is estimated to have killed up to 90% of Darug people who inhabited the modern day Sydney. This reduced the indigenous population drastically and marginalized them to the fringes of society. Where is justice.... 



#35 City Center Tram. It's free, so I circled the Melbourne CBD twice in a day!

Stylish Crown Entertainment Complex. Melbourne is full of new buildings. (As what I saw)

Old vs. new

Bourke St Mall. Street shops are just big brands...

Flinders St Station. Quite amazing built.

Royal Arcade with classy shopping boutiques

Delicate confections

Beautiful mosaic flooring

I napped and picnicked at the Parliament garden

while checking the boys.

Royal exhibition building at Carlton Gardens        

Aboriginal mythic eagle Bunjil, the creator/the ancestral being

Melbourne Town Hall, while protest in progress    

W-class tram sculpture near Southern Cross Station. It's for art purpose, not a monument.

It is where I stayed in Sydney. A Victorian house built in 1885 at Annandale.

A typical bay window room, which is similar to the room I stayed in London.
Some days I was traveling in style with Mini-cooper. So cute.

A balcony of the house looking at its private garden. Such a nice property!
My first A380 experience which I took an upper deck seat. Too bad I haven't explore the stairway connecting the decks.

The interior of Australia continent is a desert. It's really no nothing. What a sight.
March 8, 2015 - I am at the airport on my way back to Hong Kong. Guess now is the right time to reflect on my whole Australia trip. I am actually disappointed. Perhaps I lived in Canada and the UK, Australia seems some where in between. Least 'tis my first time landing on this Australia continent.