Seriously, do walk around and feel the vibe of this city. It’s full of arts, artists, and beautiful people!
2. Tim Ho Wan
This award-winning Hong Kong restaurant serves the best pork buns in town. It’s cheap! Bring your friends, they’ll love this place.
3. Laser Tag
Every Sunday, some Couchsurfing members organise a meet up to play laser tag and bowling, while drinking and talking in between. You get a free ticket to play if you buy a drink. Everyone is welcome. The place also offers unlimited laser tag once a week. Check with them for more info.
Location: Strike Bowling Melbourne Central (211 La Trobe Street).
4. Eat The Beat
Enter before 11 PM on Saturday for a free drink. It’s a small club with a lot of backpackers.
5. Billboard Saturdays
This huge place is where everyone’s clubbing on Saturdays. Get on the top platform for extra fun.
6. Hosier Lane
If you’re looking for street art, you’re at the right place.
Our group got a 6-course meal for only $25 each at a fancy restaurant from Groupon. You could get the same deal or even better. Happy hunting!
8. Docklands Library
It’s a library surrounded by boats, so where else should they get their interior design inspiration? Wood makes this place beautiful.
9. Play Table Tennis and Pool
You can play with these for free when you buy drinks at West Village.
10. Victoria Library
Whether you just want to checkout the famous interior of this library, or use the free wifi, Victoria Library is definitely worth a visit.
Take silly amazing photos at this place filled with arts like these!
12. Eat at Dex2rose and get served with pretty food:
13. Chill at Sister Bella
If you want a small bar where you can have a drink with your friends and play board games, Sister Bella is the best place. They serve cheap alcohol (beer in a jug, anyone?) and the interior got that “hipster cozy” vibe.
Love Melbourne? Send an email or leave a comment if you’ve got any other recommendations!
I hate the feeling that people are actually dispensable.
Sure, no one is exactly the same as someone else. You will never find the same combination of psycho and knight-in-shining armour charm that he has. The same combination of shyness, intelligence, conflict avoidance to the point of annoyance, and a lot of random things that someone else has.
Yet it doesn’t change the fact that you can just actually get another human being when your current human being is gone.
At least that’s how it is with backpackers. Or maybe even with non-backpackers who have come to the same realisation.
“It’s just me,” he said once when I was being a possessive jealous freak.
And he’s right. It’s just him. I could easily get someone else if I wanted to.
I’ve always been worried I’m replaceable. But the truth is, they are too. We all are.
A lot of these human connections are fleeting, and makes me question the value and reality of them.
It’s equally tiring and exhilarating. You realise this in the blank moments, in between replacing someone, only looking back at little moments that you’ll never replicate, ever.
I shared this sad piece with my friend Ana-Maria. She wrote a lovely reply:
I have that feeling too when I get the blues. The hard fact is that we’re replaceable and it hurts. But it’s also kinda freeing, in a way.
I read some sad cat memes the other day and they got me with “Your lover said the same things to someone else”.
But then if you think about it, yes you say ‘I love you’, but that never means the same thing, the exact same combination of feelings and projects. We just use it for the lack of better words, but we always mean something else.
Yes, we’re replaceable, but not quite as a fitting piece of puzzle, cause it’s never the same.
Even the person who loved us changes, even us. So there is no one there who can fit the gap that we did, because all around it is different now. Bisous & thanks for the read.
Log entry number 31: I’ve got eggs but they’re going to expire soon so all my meals lately are so different– boiled egg, poached egg, half-boiled egg, sunny-side up egg, scrambled egg, you name it. I can’t even read the expiration date properly. Best Before 2.. something along 21-28. My future diarrhoea will know.
Log entry number 32: This is the hardest part of sharing a house with strangers. They’re baking chicken and I can smell it from my room. It’s so good. But all I can do is smell it. Then enjoy my lovely eggs later. I had two in the morning. 5 eggs left then I’m free to cook any other food. I can’t wait for freedom.
I’m getting better at cooking. The first time I cooked these ready-to-bake kebabs, I slightly over-cooked them, which was fine as I prefer meat like that, but you learn not to do that again when struggling to clean the burnt baking pan…
I never baked in Philippines as baking is rare and we never had an oven. In fact, I rarely cooked when I was in Philippines, not for the lack of wanting to learn but because my dear mother wouldn’t let me.
When I tried to cook, she’d tell me I was doing something wrong, then she’d end up cooking by herself. Way to teach her daughter how to be independent.
In a way it’s great to live by myself here. I mean, I get to cook these.
I usually try to add vegetable now to any food that I cook, or at least make greek salad. Living with kiwis for a few weeks taught me this healthy habit. Eating meat by itself is just considered weird. I feel bad and fat when I don’t eat any veggie along with my meal.
In Philippines, we just ate what we wanted. There were vegetables sometimes but we don’t really have any definite rule what to eat with meat. (And we wonder why the average life expectancy there is 68 years old.)
It’s easier to eat green vegetables here like lettuce as they don’t taste much (I do miss the taste of Philippines’ lettuce though.) And any vegetable salad is instantly better with feta cheese.
Dear god, that food. I thought pesto was the one then I met feta cheese. These are food I never knew existed before moving to NZ (sad, I know.). If there’s really any reason to live in NZ, it’s the food. And don’t get me started on NZ’s restaurants.
I can confirm that going to a bar to meet people works.
It wasn’t just a random bar-visiting, although the decision process certainly was. I was walking back from buying Banrock wine when I thought, eff it, I’m going to attend that drinks meetup.
It’s at TwentyOne Bar (Sky Tower) and there’s a Weekly Drinks that CouchSurfing members in Auckland organised. It was my first time and I was on the hunt for a travel buddy to do the 8-hour Tongariro Alpine Crossing, which is apparently the best hike in New Zealand.
There was a free Sangria. It tasted really good and because I’m a sucker for free things, that probably made it taste better.
When I arrived, there were already people talking and drinking.
“Are you looking for someone?” asked an old friendly-looking guy who seems to be working at the bar.
“Hey. I’m here for the CouchSurfing meetup.”
He then ushered me to a group of people. A fellow Jenn welcomed me, wrote my name on a sticky paper and stuck it on my shirt’s left breast. She’s from Paris but now lives in Auckland. New Zealand must be really good if a French is willing to leave her country for it, I thought.
“So is it better here?” I asked her, trying to figure out why would someone leave Paris (!!!).
“I miss the food from home and the atmosphere but the lifestyle here is wonderful.”
I asked what she meant about the lifestyle here.
“In Auckland city, in just 30 mins you can go hiking, surfing, or skiing. Easy.” She has a point. Even in Philippines, that’s something I can’t do.
I also got to talk to a kiwi girl whose favourite place in New Zealand is Abel Tasman, a tall Filipino guy who won’t give his age and just told me “Let’s work with that” when I said he looks 25, an Indian guy who doesn’t smell (Hey that’s a compliment. He was actually cute too.), a girl from Poland, another girl from Chile, a Filipino girl people with Asian fetish would hit on.
It was nice. But small talks can be tiring and my memory couldn’t keep up that at some point I asked someone again what they’re studying and had to do a quick facepalm when I remembered we already talked about that. So where are you from, what are you doing in New Zealand, what do you do, what do you study, are you a resident. Is this going anywhere, are we going to be friends.
Another friendly-looking guy was standing next to me so I said hello and we talked. He’s from Chile, working part-time here, and studying English. He has travelled Europe and did some amazing hikes in Norway. His Brazilian friend came around. She was nice and reminded me of another Brazilian friend.
“My friend is leaving the country. We’re going to say goodbye to him. It’s at Provedor in Brittomart. Do you want to join?” asked Taina the nice Brazilian woman.
“Sure.” I was excited. This is what bar hopping feels like.
We walked to Brittomart. The wind was chilly but tolerable.
We arrived at the place, flashed our IDs to the bouncer and waded our way through the sea of people.
If you think Auckland doesn’t have enough population, visiting that bar would change your mind.
The way these people could enjoy standing too close to each other, you’d think Auckland ran out of bars and this was the only bar open.
“I didn’t expect it would be this crowded,” I told Christian. Especially on a Wednesday night.
We stayed for a few minutes then I said goodbye to them as it was late and I had to catch the bus.
Taina and Christian went home too shortly as I did. The bar was too crowded for Taina, and I suspect Christian was bored of it.
I arrived home at 11 PM. I was tired but had to shower as I smelt of cigarette. My jacket and body adsorbed a lot of that smell from the bar. Thanks, Science.
I cleaned myself, ate a peach fruit and a peach-flavoured ice cream (Yes, I hate peaches.), brushed my teeth, then collapsed into bed, my hair still wet. My pedometer read 11,565 steps. That ice cream was well-earnt.
And oh I didn’t find any travel buddy but I won two friends — Taina who gave me her number and Christian who asked for my Facebook account. It wasn’t a bad decision to attend that drinks meetup at all.
Each trip is never the same, as the saying goes (or not. I just made it up.) I’ve been to Waiheke last December, but today I decided to join Katie, an American Physics teachers who just moved to Auckland. (I’ve been meeting a lot of teachers lately. Is this a sign?!)
I was hesitant at first because I wanted to do something new.
“How about Devonport?” I asked Katie when we were still on planning stage.
“Oh I’ve been to Devonport. You should go there though!”
Damn it. “We should think of something we both haven’t been to. I’ll check my Lonely Planet book to figure out places we can visit.”
I did a quick look on my book and opted to explore the island again. Waiheke is huge after all. The last time we were there, Paddy and I didn’t expect it to look like a big town. You even have to use the bus to go to places. We were so unprepared but thankfully my travel buddy then was good in asking directions and figuring out where to go next.
Katie and I met up at Fullers (99 Quay Street) at 10 AM to buy our tickets for the 10:30 trip. Waiheke is just 35 minutes by ferry from Auckland. The return trip costs $36.
As soon as we arrived at Waiheke, I bought a sandwich (My appetite has been increasing lately. This is worrying and one of the reasons I run everyday. Not sure if it’s stress, the cold weather at night, or New Zealand’s food is just really good.)
While I was eating my sandwich and being fat, Katie was busy looking at Waiheke’s map. Pointing to a page on my book, I suggested we go to Oneroa Village as there are a lot of things in it. Happily, she told me she discovered we could just walk to it and then it’s 2 hours walk in total towards Palm Beach. 2 hours, that’s nothing. Or so I thought.
Just at the opening of the village, there’s a street sign for the art gallery. We checked it out because hey it’s free. I’m surprised I actually enjoyed the art there. A lot of galleries lately have been boring me as I’ve discovered I love nature and activities more than galleries and dull museums.
The Daleks particularly made me excited. “Oh Daleks!” I turned to Katie. “Do you watch Doctor Who?!” Unfortunately she doesn’t but that didn’t stop me smiling like a lottery winner here.
Meanwhile on the street, there’s a little girl riding a horse.
We reached Oneroa beach soon. The seashell-filled sand there was really nice, and the smell of the sea made me blurt out “I want seafood.” (Now I’m hungry again. Thanks for that, writing.)
We unexpectedly saw Dragonfired. It’s a pizza shop featured on Lonely Planet and boasts of their wood-fired cheap pizza.
It was good and for $12, that’s a bargain. Katie and I agreed to share it because even though I’m eating more lately, I can’t still finish a whole pizza by myself. I do have Asian little stomach after all.
Katie and I talked about writing while eating. She runs a travel blog and writes for a food and wine online magazine. I’m impressed. We concluded our writing talk with “I should write more.” (And that’s partly why this post exists.)
We also quickly talked about wanting to get a good camera but how they’re so expensive, her plans to travel Australia, my amazement at Sydney’s mind-blowing architecture.
We continued our walk and this time, it was much longer.
“It’s still 40 minutes from here to Palm Beach. Are you okay with that?” Katie asked.
“Yeah that’s okay! I need to burn off that pizza.” She laughed and we continued walking under the goddamn heat. I’m definitely going to plunge to that beach, I thought.
Then finally we reached the route to Little Palm Beach!
Katie talked to the bus driver next to us.
“The bus driver said it’s a nudist beach,” she said as though it’s a warning.
“No that’s just the little part. The bigger part is normal,” I told her as this was the beach I swam at before. And yes, there were definitely nude people at one section of the beach. It’s not much of a big deal, although it was still interesting walking there.
When we finally got to Palm Beach, I swam for a long time as I was really enjoying it. I was surprised the water wasn’t cold. The last time we swam there, the water was freezing. Later that night I got flu. So great.
Also I’m really proud of myself I can swim better a bit. Self-improvement hey. The other day I tried to teach myself how to bike. As I’m still writing this, yes I’m still alive, but really bruised. I realised just after the learning session that part of my arm was bleeding. My body still hurts but doesn’t stop me from doing activities.
As much as I was really enjoying swimming this time, I noticed my travel buddy wasn’t too keen to swim so I asked her if she’d like to go to a winery and she said yes. Wine tasting was on my to-do list before but never got around to it. We walked to Cable Bay. The area looked beautiful.
It’s $10/person and refundable if you buy any two bottles.
“Ugh I didn’t bring my passport.” I was worried they wouldn’t serve me wine. One of the bars I’ve been to asked for I.D. because they thought I was under 18. Thanks, Asian genes.
Thankfully this place didn’t bother about that. Probably because it’s just tasting. Probably they thought I would buy bottles of wine. Profit > Legality. (I’m being a cynical ass again. Maybe I just looked older today.)
Here’s the list of wines that we sampled.
“Do you like any of those?” I asked Katie when we were outside the cellar. Katie said no and I agreed. “They taste all the same to me!” Ok, that’s not true. They didn’t taste the same. There were varying degrees of how bad they were.
“I usually like wines. But I don’t like any of those,” Katie told me.
When I try strong wines, I keep thinking This is atrocious. How can people like drinking this. (Please don’t stone me to death, wine lovers.)
The only wine so far that I really love is Banrock. It’s Australian-made, with low alcohol content, which helps with the sweet taste. I love it so much that I drank 2 glasses of it one time when I was at Penny’s bbq dinner. I got tipsy but it was the nice kind of tipsy. Now I’m having a craving for it. (Grocery list item added: Banrock.)
People chilling at the winery.
Nice art the winery’s restaurant.
The winery’s restaurant.
View from the winery.
After the wine experience (which wasn’t so bad at all despite my whining here. I actually love that I did it), we walked back to the ferry terminal.
On our way back we sat opposite a middle-aged couple. He kept on caressing her leg and arm. Even though I was not looking at them, I couldn’t help but see what he’s doing through my peripheral vision. I was irritated of it (because I’m a bitter old woman and all.)
“This guy is annoying. He clearly wants sex after this. Why did we choose to sit here,” I typed on my phone and showed to Katie. We both laughed at the ridiculousness of it.
That ends our Waiheke trip. And that’s it for today.
I lied. I got hungry again and decided to revisit Food Alley, a shop at CBD that sells super cheap Asian meals. I got this bento box for $11.50. (Any meal under $15 is cheap in NZ.)
I didn’t finish it though (see above re: Asian stomach) and decided to have the rest for take away. That’s lunch sorted out.
Good day over all. I can see now why Aucklanders love going back to Waiheke especially in summer. There are still other areas there that I haven’t checked out and who knows, I might visit it again for the next session of walking, swimming, eating, and wine tasting. Described this way, Waiheke seems to have everything to make you enjoy life. And it definitely does.
QUICK WAIHEKE ITINERARY
From the ferry terminal, get a map.
Walk to Oneroa Village.
Visit the free art gallery.
Walk to Oneroa beach.
Get Dragonfired pizza.
Follow the track going to Little Palm Beach.
Swim at the awesome Little Palm Beach.
Do wine tasting (you could do Cable Bay but probably better to try something else if you’ve got options.)
Walk back to the ferry terminal (if you’re coming from Cable Bay).