Camping on Stradbroke Island: Day 02 & 03

Day 02: Sept 19

Woke up bright and early to birds chirping and the soothing sound of ocean waves crashing on the shore.

After breakfast, we decided that we would re-hike the same path as yesterday: East from Flinders Beach all the way to Main Beach and stop to swim along the way. Since we were walking through the same scenery as yesterday, I didn’t take as many photos!

Wee, wee, wee! Riding my invisible broomstick around Home Beach

IMG_5384

Marking our presence!

IMG_5390

IMG_5392

IMG_5393

Morning stretches

IMG_5395

IMG_5397

I found lunch! Different kinds of molluscs!

IMG_5403

While I was hunting for lunch, Mike decided to claim a secluded section of Deadman’s Beach as his own private beach. Just for the 2 of us!

IMG_5406

That is my head, sticking out of the ocean

IMG_5409

Closer look at the molluscs I found

IMG_5411

New friends! Tickling my palm as they tried to slither away

IMG_5412

Sand dune! Too bad we didn’t have anything to use to slide down with!

IMG_5417

Bird of prey swooped down and stole an angelfish caught by a fisherman

IMG_5417

IMG_5419

IMG_5421

IMG_5422

Super calm fisherman

IMG_5434

Lots of little crabs on all the beaches

IMG_5441

Little critters all around if you stop to take a look!

IMG_5443

Thought these flowers were quite interesting!

IMG_5444

We finally made it down to Main Beach! The wind was crazy today and the waves were too large to safely go swimming… neither of us are surfers, haha!

IMG_5444a

Since we couldn’t swim at Main Beach, we walked back (so much walking) to Deadman’s beach for more swimming… and more crabs

IMG_5445

IMG_5451

We made it sure to make it back to our camp at Adder Rock in time to watch the sunset! And to not only enjoy but see our awesome astronaut (read: freeze dried) dinner!

IMG_5454

IMG_5454a

It was actually REALLY tasty! Yum yum!

IMG_5454b

We took our dinner bag onto the beach to eat and watch the sunset together. Aww, how much more romantical can camping get? Haha

IMG_5455

IMG_5460

IMG_5463

IMG_5465

The wind had picked up quite a bit after the sun went down so we hid out in our tent for the evening. Yay!

Day 03: Sept 20

Our last day on Straddie! We decided to have breakfast, pack up and head back early in order to enjoy a whole day back in Brisbane.

This little fella never failed to show up and laugh at us in the mornings!

IMG_5474

IMG_5475

IMG_5476

IMG_5478

Our next door camping neighbour (took this with my telephoto lens). SHE HAS A FRUIT BOWL and containers with drawers!

IMG_5481

Someone tied their bracelet to the fence

IMG_5482

This bird greeted us on our first day and followed us everywhere around the camp ground. On the last day, it landed on my shoulder while we were having breakfast! Very cute, especially the way it wiggled it’s butt, I don’t know what kind of bird this is though, does anyone?

IMG_5486

And that’s it! Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed it!

IMG_5488

CLICK HERE IF YOU’D LIKE TO VIEW THE COMPLETE STRADDIE PHOTO ALBUM

Camping on Stradbroke Island: Day 01

September 18, 2013

During this vacation, I did something I’ve never done before: I went camping!

Big thanks to Mike for the awesome first experience! Being an avid camper, he had everything we needed to make the trip as smooth as possible 😀

Our destination had long been recommended by numerous friends and boy were we glad we finally went! STRADBROKE ISLAND – definitely would visit again!

Getting to the island was incredibly easy and convenient, making us both really wished we’d gone earlier. Take the train out to Cleveland, hop on the complimentary bus out to the dock and on to the ferry! Ferry price is $15 return for students, pretty good! Once we arrived on the island (Dunwich), the island bus was waiting and it cost an additional $2.50 to get to our camping ground, too easy!

On the way there!

IMG_5214

Here is a map of Stradbroke Island so you can see the places I have mentioned and will be talking about in this post.

NSI-Map

We decided to camp at an unpowered site at Adder Rock for $28/night. Being low season, we got our pick of camping sites and decided to camp along Flinders Beach. Camping on the beach, what could be better right? They even had all the amenities we could need, including cooking and toilet facilities. From Adder Rock, we hiked East along the coast, scampering over rocks and walking through kilometers of pristine beaches all the way to Main Beach.

Setting up camp

IMG_5215

Done! Our home for the next 2 days

IMG_5233

… with the awesome beach view

IMG_5230

Settled in and having lunch! Yes, Mike has a portable stove, pots and pans, and everything! Sausages, hard boiled eggs, bread, strawberries… yum!

IMG_5227

First selfie of the trip!

IMG_5228

After lunch we headed out to explore North Stradbroke Island.

We started with walking along the roads where we passed by a skatepark.

IMG_5243

IMG_5234

IMG_5238

We sooned turned off the road to walk along the beach instead. First up, Home Beach (refer to map above!)

IMG_5245

IMG_5248

IMG_5253

IMG_5257

IMG_5260

IMG_5262

IMG_5263

IMG_5264

Beaches were pretty much empty except for a few families scattered here and there

IMG_5266

We’ve reached Cylinder Beach! One of the few places to swim with lifeguards.

IMG_5269

IMG_5273

Beautiful Cylinder Beach

IMG_5274

IMG_5275

IMG_5277

Leaving Cylinder Beach…

IMG_5281

IMG_5282

Mike taking a break

IMG_5283

IMG_5284a

Looking back at Cylinder Beach

IMG_5285

Looking ahead to Deadman’s Beach

IMG_5288

We saw a manta ray cruising underwater while taking a break!

IMG_5293

Deadman’s Beach

IMG_5294

Really interesting to the see the variations in volcanic rock formations and colours as you go from beach to beach.

IMG_5303

Frenchman’s Bay!

IMG_5304

IMG_5305

IMG_5307

Heading up to the road because you couldn’t really continue onward by the beach

IMG_5309

Looking back down at Frenchman’s Bay

IMG_5312

IMG_5323

As we walked along the road to the Gorge Walk, we saw humpback whales! Unfortunately, they were really far out!

IMG_5325

IMG_5326

IMG_5317

The beautiful Gorge Walk!

Breathtaking North Gorge

IMG_5333d

IMG_5333b

IMG_5339

IMG_5340

We really kept our eye out for dolphins and sharks, but only saw sea turtles and manta rays unfortunately. Still amazing though!

IMG_5335

IMG_5337

IMG_5354

IMG_5359

IMG_5362

IMG_5343

IMG_5346

View of South Gorge and further ahead, Main Beach!

IMG_5365

Endless Main Beach as far as the eye can see!

IMG_5366

We didn’t swim at all today. Decided that we would hike the coast again tomorrow and go swimming and visit Main Beach then. With that we headed back, returning to Adder Rock just missing the sunset! Boo, but that’s okay, we’ll make sure to catch it tomorrow!

IMG_5371

Getting a fire going… just because 🙂

IMG_5375

Smoked out a huntsman spider!

IMG_5380

Easy dinner! With wine, fruit and other snacks on the side.

IMG_5381

We retired to our tent early with our headlamps and spent the night playing Monopoly Deal Card Game (thanks for that Vy!) and reading Dan Brown’s Inferno. Good end to our first day.

Post-hike AYCE dinner @ Midam Korean Charcoal BBQ

Famished once we got back into Brisbane post-hike at Noosa National Park, we were grateful that Xuan had suggested all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ at Midam!

IMG_5362

At a very reasonable price of $28/person (remember, no tax no tip here), you got an unlimited amount (self-service) of a variety of meats that included: pork belly, marinated pork, marinated beef, marinated chicken, etc!

IMG_5356

Also included in the dinner was rice and a variety of sides that included kimchi, fishcake, sweet mashed potatoes and salad.

IMG_5360

Dinner was extremely good! The meats were tender and well marinated, and the side dishes were tasty. I also loved the dipping sauces! I assume some people are turned off by a time limit, but I think the maximum of 2 hours is definitely more than enough to walk away really satisfied!

IMG_5359

Cooking at the grill at our table was extremely easy and the overhead fan had good suction. Certainly didn’t walk away reeking of food!

IMG_5361

Good food with good company, what else could you ask for?

IMG_5358

The restaurant was super busy with quick service, separated seating areas and a common buffet section. And loved the overhead lights!

IMG_5363

Would definitely recommend a visit! If it wasn’t so hard for us to get to Sunnybank via public transportation, we’d be back sooner!

Midam Korean Charcoal BBQ on Urbanspoon

Hiking @ Noosa National Park (Part 2)

Following up with my previous post, we were halfway through our hike when we finally reached the gorgeous Alexandria Bay.

IMG_5159

How beautiful is this? And what was even more awesome, barely a soul in sight – especially compared to the Main Beach. Absolutely stunning!

IMG_5163

Group picture with Xuan and Mabel!

IMG_5171b

Of course we had a dip in the ocean! The water was cool and super refreshing after the walk! The waves weren’t too bad although some sets definitely got salt water up my nose but hey, clear sinuses!

IMG_5171a

IMG_5162

After a snooze under the sun, we continued on with our journey! We proceeded back in the direction we came in via the Coastal Path (#4 in blue).

Noosa map

IMG_5172

IMG_5178

Our first stop was at Hell’s Gate – amazing panoramic views of the great blue ocean!

IMG_5179

IMG_5181

Pretty Mabel!

IMG_5183

Xuan… perhaps pondering the mysteries of life?

IMG_5184

IMG_5186

IMG_5189

IMG_5190

We then continued down the Coastal Path back to the park entrance with great views of the coast along the way back.

IMG_5195

IMG_5197

IMG_5198

IMG_5201

IMG_5204
Before we knew it, we were on the road heading back to Brisbane with the sun quickly setting beside us… 🙂

Hiking @ Noosa National Park (Part 1)

Finally went hiking at Noosa National Park yesterday!

After a long drive, we were greeted with such gorgeous weather that it was definitely going to an awesome day for hiking.

Noosa map

We started with the Noosa Hill track (#3 in yellow), a 2.4 km that climbed steadily up through open eucalypt woodlands and shrublands to the top of Noosa Hill.

Pictures of course! 🙂

Heading in!

IMG_5111

IMG_5115

IMG_5113

Once in a while you can glimpse the blue waters just through the thick vegetation

IMG_5117

Pretty remnants of once green leaves

IMG_5121

Colourful lichen

IMG_5125

Last bit of elevation before reaching the top of Noosa Hill

IMG_5126

Do you see a horse too?

IMG_5128

IMG_5130

I think we added a good foot to the “official” height of Noosa Hill

IMG_5131

Then made our way back down…

Lots of interesting textures to see

IMG_5133

IMG_5136

Xuan found his special place in a tree

IMG_5138

Markings made by the larvae of the Scribbly Gum moth! You see these tracks all over the Scribby Gums (Eucalyptus haemastoma) and according to Wiki: Eggs are laid between layers of old and new bark. The larvae burrow into the new bark and, as the old bark falls away, the trails are revealed. The diameters of the tunnels increase as the larvae grow, and the ends of the tracks are where the larvae stopped to pupate.

IMG_5139

Gorgeous red crystalized sap on the Scribbly Gums

IMG_5146

IMG_5147

IMG_5150

We eventually reached the end of the Noosa Hill track and continued on another 2.8km via the Tanglewood track (#2 in orange), a meandering trail through cool rainforest.

IMG_5152

Found a turkey! We unfortunately didn’t see much wildlife except for turkeys and birds!

IMG_5153

Found the Eye of Sauron

IMG_5154

The trail eventually gave way to woodlands…

IMG_5156

… as we reached our much anticipated destination: Alexandria Bay.

IMG_5157

One word: Stunning.

Stay tuned to see more of this gorgeous place!

Mental Health: The End!

Yesterday marked the end of our fourth rotation, Mental Health – yay!

The past 8 weeks seemed to have gone by in the blink of an eye. We saw patients when they were admitted, learned their stories, followed their progress and said good bye when they left… a humbling and worthwhile learning opportunity.

Despite being laughed at by our registrar many times at our pathetic initial attempts of presenting a Mental Status Examination and formulation… in the end he said we did well and our evaluation backed that up.

Many thanks to our Registrar and the Consultants who took us under their wing and taught us throughout this past rotation. They are so knowledgeable and have so much experience to impart, couldn’t have done as well as we did without their guidance! And of course, to the wonderful staff at our hospital 🙂

On Thursday, we had our clinical exam where we were provided a vignette (clinical situation on paper) and 20 minutes perusal time. Then we had 20 minutes to present a summary, formulation, differential diagnoses and rationale, additional information needed and management plan to 2 consultants/examiners. I was SO nervous. But as soon as I sat down and started reading, I immediately calmed down – a case of an elderly patient in the hospital who developed delirium. Something I was familiar with and had prepared for, yes! I think that exam went well, but only time will tell what my 2 examiners thought!

Then we had our written exam yesterday, 50 multiple choice questions. As always, there were a handful of questions that left us thinking, “What was… what?” But in general, we left with a sense of security rather than panicked with the thought of, “Oh my god, I might’ve failed that,” racing through our minds.

So now, one week vacation!

Haven’t done anything… yet 😉 Hopefully it will be relaxing and full of nature! We have some plans but I’ll update as it happens!

Breakfast Date @ Gunshop Cafe

After a lovely breakfast with Fiona, Kristen and Christine at Gunshop Cafe a number of weeks back, I promised that I would take Michael on my return 🙂

Earlier this year, we had dinner at the Gunshop Cafe with Mike’s sister, Meaghan, that ended as a so-so experience. Because they are well known for breakfast, we vowed to come back and try and we both finally did!

IMG_5345

Friendly, attentive service and delicious food!

Mike tried the Tasmanian smoked salmon, poached eggs, traditional kettle boiled bagel, hollandaise with greens – $18.50. What a treat to have a bagel again since being in Canada! Delicious and very satisfying!

IMG_5342

A pleased customer!

IMG_5344

I struggled with choosing between either a sweet or savoury dish, our server convinced to go sweet and decadent and I did not regret! Canadian brioche French toast, double smoked bacon, caramelised banana, candied pecans, maple syrup – $18.50. Uh-mazing. Fluffy brioche drowned in maple syrup and pecans… I love pecans! The crispy bacon really did the trick, whole combination was so tasty!

IMG_5340

Good to the last bite!

IMG_5347

We had a great time and even got some studying and discussion done. Having breakfast at the Gunshop Cafe is definitely a treat (read: expensive!) and we look forward to visiting again soon! 🙂

IMG_5346

Gunshop Cafe on Urbanspoon

From our kitchen!

Tried to recreate our new found love in Bangkok – Mango Sticky Rice, success! We didn’t pour as much sugar/coconut syrup in our sticky rice, still delicious! Worth the $4 mango… yea, mangoes are expensive.

IMG_0563

Vegetarian dinner with grilled eggplant, pan fried tofu and sauteed shrimp – mmm! But worst plating ever, haha… I’m sorry! 😛

IMG_5311

Non-homemade-chicken-Cordon-Blue with a huge but delicious salad

IMG_5319

Banana fritters!

IMG_5313

Peanut butter with caramel chips and sea salt cookies – so decadent! Approved by our consultant who thought the combination sounded weird 🙂

IMG_5332

Made cream of mushroom soup for the first time… oh my god. Never buying canned soup EVER AGAIN. This was amazing!

IMG_5318

Recent Randoms

Some pictures from random moments these past few days!

Thing (from Addams Family) awkwardly on Michael’s shoulder 😉

IMG_0562

The Water Dragon that kept running at Nuangi, Mike and I while we were studying in Roma Parklands the other day!

IMG_0566

Absolutely delicious Mentai Tonkotsu Ramen (pork bone broth with roe, bamboo, soft boiled egg, sliced pork) with dumplings and Takikomi (fragrant Japanese styled rice)… lunch set for $15.50 at Wagaya! Yummy!

IMG_0619

Mike with a monster!

IMG_0627

Was in the city studying today…

Super busy Post Office Square

IMG_0632

Less busy Anzac Square just beside, settled here instead!

IMG_5349

It was a beautiful day!

IMG_5348

Heading back to the train when we saw the WWI & WWII Shrine of Memories, a crypt in the lower section of the Shrine of Remembrance.

IMG_5352

Whoa… all the pictures are in portrait orientation, weird! Well, until next time! 🙂

Lunch @ Dumpling Up

August 26, 2013

Got off early from the hospital, woo hoo!

Hungry and in time for lunch, how lucky 😛

Dumpling Up not only has a restaurant but a little kiosk next door where they sell dumplings and steam buns to go. After enjoying their buns-to-go a number of times, we decided to check out their restaurant for lunch.

A friendly staff member stood at the door introducing the lunch specials (on display in the window) to interested patrons.

IMG_5286

We were interested and promptly shown inside. Two words: lovely decor! Unfortunately, the restaurant was almost empty. A shame considering this restaurant opened only a few weeks ago at that time.

IMG_5303

IMG_5304

IMG_5305

IMG_5287

They had appealing $10 lunch sets (rice with a main, 3 dumplings and green tea) but we decided on the a-la-carte menu instead in order to try more items.

All dishes were only $2.90 – amazing! We chose a variety of dishes…

IMG_5306

Started off with BBQ pork steam buns (2 per plate) – tasty as usual!

IMG_5288

Silly face!

IMG_5290

Deep fried pork and shrimp dumplings (3 per plate) – fillings tasted very similarly, decent but not a stand out.

IMG_5291

IMG_5293

Edamame – overcooked with too much oil and salt.

IMG_5295

We also tried a few sushi options, all of which came with 3 pieces per plate.

Salmon roll (salmon, avocado & cucumber)

IMG_5297

Dragon roll (salmon, prawn & pickle)

IMG_5298

Spider roll (fried soft shell crab, pickle & cucumber)

IMG_5300

It’s a good thing we didn’t order too many because the sushi was not very good. Rice was overcooked, as you can probably see in the pictures. And the ingredients (tempura prawn and soft shell crab) were cold and not freshly made.

The price was great but the food did not match in quality. It was disappointing to see a large beautiful restaurant, with plenty of seating space, so empty in the middle of lunch time. And such a small menu that didn’t live up to expectations.

Service, however, was great and hopefully they will soon work out the kinks with the food – when you offer a limited menu, it should dazzle! Or maybe it was just a fluke in the kitchen the day we visited 😀 It is a lovely restaurant (with a bar and even private rooms) with good prices and we will be back in the near future to check it out again!

Dumpling Up on Urbanspoon

Life randoms :)

A few pictures here and there over the past month or so!

First time meeting Mike’s friend from Halifax – Chelsea and her boyfriend, Dave! Also an opportunity to catch up with Nicole and to meet her friend visiting from Canada – Winston. Meeting new friends and enjoying good food in the rain – fish and chips at Swampdog! Lovely time guys!

Left to right: Dave, Chelsea, Nicole, Mike, me, Winston

IMG_5204

Can you see why I stock up on cue cards from Dollarama when I’m back in Canada during the holidays? Look at the cost, the cost!!

IMG_0519

Passed by this and loved the cracks in the pillars!

IMG_0504

After a fun morning of badminton with Xuan, Yung and Chloe, we enjoyed yummy dim sum at Yum Cha Cuisine – newly opened in Indooroopilly Shopping Centre. Definitely worth a return visit 😉

IMG_5275

IMG_5273

Are those fuzzy things… alive?

IMG_0526

Walked by a bush with lovely small pink flowers.

IMG_0529

Free Despicable Me 2 memory games from McDonald’s! Mike and I used to compete with each other on the iPad with a similar game. Now we can play together like little kids! 😀

IMG_5321

Guys, remember when mint M&Ms were just regular looking M&Ms that had mint chocolate? Not anymore! Now with a minty candy coat with a green crisp interior!

IMG_5324

I have FINALLY invested in a real pair of sunglasses. No longer will I be purchasing $5-10 cheap sunnies and be developing cataracts!

IMG_5331

I saw a tunnel spider web today at the train station 🙂

IMG_0554

And lastly, an old one from our last trip to Vietnam with my mum. Iced milk coffee… love the swirls!

IMG_0530

Catching up @ Chocolate Pavillion

August 25, 2013

Sunday date to finally catch up with Nuangi!

Mike and I suggested a chocolate cafe we had seen during previous visits to South Bank – Chocolate Pavillion.

The place was lovely and we immediately liked the spacious sitting area and no lineup as you often see at Max Brenner. The menu had an extensive variety of drink and dessert options, most appealing and within comparable price to other chocolate dessert cafes in the area.

IMG_5285

IMG_5284

It didn’t take us long to make up our minds:

Nuangi chose the Sizzling Macadamia Brownie ($12) – A deliciously decadent Belgian chocolate and macadamia nut brownie. Served with gelato and smothered in hot chocolate sauce. The chocolate sauce was poured over the brownie at the table and sizzled away on the hot plate, unexpected pleasant surprise!

IMG_5278

Mike couldn’t resist ordering the Sticky Date Pudding with Butterscotch Toffee Sauce ($9) served with chantilly creme. Mmm, moist and sticky!

IMG_5280

And I decided on the Triple Chocolate Parfait ($9) – Three delicious layers of milk, dark and white chocolate. What better option to maximize the variety, tastes and textures of chocolate? So decadent!

IMG_5279

IMG_5282

We all definitely enjoyed our tasty desserts!

IMG_5281

Unfortunately, despite the good food, we experienced what many others have complained about on Urbanspoon. The service – or lack thereof. Chocolate Pavillion offers ‘table service’ that unfortunately doesn’t live up to its definition. Requests for water went ignored and food was dropped off without a single follow up to see how things were going. It’s fine, we survived. But honestly, why not just make it self-service like so many other places and save yourself trouble?

Would we return? Yes, definitely. The atmosphere and food were both very nice, not to mention a good place to get some studying done. We look forward to trying other items on the menu. Hopefully their service improves in the meantime!

Chocolate Pavillion on Urbanspoon

Photoblog Update! :)

Hey everyone, hope Monday is treating you well!

Just wanted to let you know that I’ve recently updated my blog with a little over 40 new photos. If you read my blog regularly, then many will be familiar but with the added feature of awesomely unique not so creative titles! Woo hoo!

Please check out my photoblog HERE!

And please feel free to leave comments to let me know what you think!

Thanks guys and have an awesome week! 😀