Jells Park

Posted: January 15, 2013 by waffler in A Good Day Out, By Rail, By Road, On Your Bike

duck

From not having been here in about 10 years I’ve come here 3 times in less than a month for various end-of-year and start-of-year gatherings.

  • Public Transport: Glen Waverley train line, then 754 bus towards Rowville
  • Travel Time : About 1hr from City Loop Station (40mins train, 20mins bus)

bushypark

Alternatively, it’s also possible to ride to Jell’s Park via the Eastlink bike track –it’s about a 20km ride from Heatherdale Station (Belgrave/Lilydale Line) return and I did it!

bike_map

A friend’s 13-year old cousin reported that he’d done it before, which I took to be a challenge to my fitness, and so I decided to give it a go too. Google says 45mins, but for an amateur like me, it took about 1.5hrs each way. (The track forks at a number of points and can be done in a number of ways: stay safe and study your Melways and Parks Victoria notes before setting out)

Koomba Park

When the weather’s fine and temperature’s mild, it’s quite a good ride and the loop will take you past Campbell’s Croft (Vermont), Koomba Park (Wantirna), Shepherd’s Bush(Wheeler’s Hill), Bushy Park Wetlands (Glen Waverley)and Drummies Bridge Reserve (Glen Waverley).

Drummies Bridge Reserve

The views which look like they belong in the Victorian country-side and not the suburbs.

Bushy Park Wetlands

You can catch a bit of wildlife too, with bird-hides, cows and an equestrian club along the track.

Jells Lake

Once you get to the park, the major attraction is Jells Lake and it’s ducks; there’s also lots and lots of BBQs (most are wood-fired)and picnic tables (there’s a café on site too though, ice-cream is relatively cheap as far as commercial ice-creams go, $4.50 for a double scoop in a waffle cone).

There’s lots of open space for ball games or kite-flying and a few short walking tracks.

The park also happens to be right next door to Chesterfield Farm –there’s an admission cost to go in, but there’s farm shows and animal feeding daily.

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Hiatus

Posted: January 7, 2013 by waffler in Uncategorized

It’s been a while since I’ve made a post -I spent most of my 2012 holidays travelling interstate, so my apologies for the lack of activity on this site. I’ve been back in Melbourne and out and about since mid-December though, and with things slowing down after the silly-season I’ll start posting again soon.

Darwin, NT, July 2012

Mindil Beach Darwin

Katherine, NT, July 2012

Katherine

Litchfield, NT, July 2012

Litchfield

Launceston, Tas, September 2012

Launceston

Sydney, NSW, November 2012

Sydney

Wollongong, NSW, November 2012

Wollongong

Newcastle, NSW, November 2012

Newcastle

Blue Mountains, December 2012

Blue Mountains

Rye

Posted: February 28, 2012 by erain in A Good Day Out, By Rail, By Road

A three day trip with a group of friends becomes a spectacular holiday getaway from the busy urban life of Melbourne! Mornington Peninsula is a peaceful coastal area that is particularly popular amongst tourists for their relaxing beaches and thermal hot springs. We stayed in a small area called Rye, situated in the Southern Peninsula.

Public Transport: Frankston Line, 788 bus to Portsea (and 786 bus to St Andrews Beach for our beach house)
Travel Time: 2.5 hours from Flinders Street Station. Includes train/bus changes.

Public transport is definitely something you should only consider if you do not have access to a four-wheeled vehicle. Otherwise, it is a painful venture that requires patience and great timing.

Located on Springs Lane, the Peninsula Hot Springs is a sanctuary dedicated to relaxation and bathing experiences using naturally hot mineral spring water in various pools ranging from 37 degrees to 43 degrees. Their therapeutic benefits are perfect for people  suffering from stiffness in muscle tension, fatigue, or any source of injury. This is definitely an experience that will ease off any daily stress you may have, strengthening your physical and mental health.

A word of note: it is best to hire a cab or drive to this particular area, because there is definitely no public transport near the hot springs. It is not worth walking 45 minutes to arrive there, depending on the place you are staying.

We arrived at about 8pm on a Monday night. I believe there are pros for going in the evening because of the cooler temperature outside, and being in extremely hot pools on a 30 degree Aussie day is something you do not want to do! Prices range from $25-35, with towel or slipper hire for $3 each. Going during off-peak hours will save you money, if you really think it is worth it.

Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm is located in Main Ridge, just east from Rye and down from Rosebud. This 350 acre land is a source to a variety of berries, including strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. For only $8 per container, visitors are allowed to hand-pick their own strawberries off the farm and for their own personal enjoyment. Different kinds of gourmet products such as fresh strawberry jam and chocolate-coated strawberry treats are also available for purchase. I tried a white-chocolate coated gourmet, and it tasted utterly delightful! Just remember; if you’re picking strawberries off the farm, remember to stay between the flags!

One of the most affordable and entertaining attractions visited was the Ashcombe Maze and Lavender Gardens, home to traditional hedge mazes and scenic gardens. For some light-hearted fun, the mazes are great for exploration and testing your survival instincts, while the warm and picturesque gardens are perfect for families spending their leisure time together.

The cafe located inside the Ashcombe Maze also serves a great lunch-menu! I found the salmon garden salad scrumptious, while friends of mine also enjoyed various turkey rolls. Watch out for lavender flavoured ice-cream and lavender flavoured scones. We found the taste particularly quirky but also enjoyable.

Finally, Rye Beaches are definitely one of the best in Australia! In comparison to Melbourne beaches, the water is so much clearer and inhabits small fish just below your feet. You would hardly find any cracked or broken seashells near the shores, and the sand is beautiful with a soft and delicate texture. We also managed to find an island close to the left side of the pier, which is very easy to locate. You might have to go as high as your waist (for a shorty like me, the water went even further up) just to reach the island.

My friend and I also had a near death experience when we thought it was light-hearted fun to try and swim from one of the posts in the middle of the ocean back to shore. Turns out we struggled to keep up with the currents and we were waddling in the pathway of where boats were anchored up to the pier. Never, I mean, NEVER, try that with your peers! No matter how big your competitive ego essentially is!

Rye is definitely a highly recommended place to kick back in the summer with friends or family, enjoying the fine weather in the best kinds of outdoor activities. For a three day trip, I reckon it could have even lasted longer if we stayed for other various beaches like St Andrews Beach, and engaged in more wonderful activities like horse-riding or snorkelling. Just slip-slop-slap, and this place can be your second home!

Fairfield Boathouse to Abbotsford Convent

Posted: January 23, 2012 by waffler in A Good Day Out, By Rail

  • Public Transport: Hurstbridge line to Fairfield station
  • Travel Time: About 15 to 20 minutes on train, and then another 15 minutes walk down to the boathouse

Make sure you head off from the Platform 2 side (ie not the side with giant dog Fido). At the boathouse we hired an old-school row-boat and headed upstream on the Yarra. I’d probably suggest a 1 hour booking, especially if you haven’t rowed before, because you probably won’t get far in half-an-hour. There were two of us, and we tried to row together at first, but having one person row and another person direct (and take photos) turned out to be a better strategy because you have to row backwards. We got stuck in strainers (big branches in the river) 3 times –but we managed to get out and it was a lot of fun anyhow.

Afterwards, we walked about 45 minutes to Abbotsford Convent and Collingwood Children’s Farm via Yarra Bend Park along Merri Creek, and managed to see Dights Falls along the way. A map or GPS is a very good idea because there are lots of crossroads.

We played the Alphabet game along the way. It’s quite a good game for long walks. Someone picks a category eg. singers, and then everybody works together and tries to come up with a singer’s name for each letter of the alphabet. If there’s lots to see, Alphabet eye-spy is also pretty good.

Anyway, we had lunch at Lentil as Anything (you pay as much as you want for the food: all vego!) at Abbotsford Convent, and then had a quick look around the farm (there’s an admission cost to go in, we just looked around outside. Lol, cheap)

Lilydale Lake

Posted: January 15, 2012 by waffler in A Good Day Out, By Rail

 

We cheated and actually drove here, but you can walk about 25 mins from the train station to get here too.

  • Public Transport: Lilydale line
  • Travel Time: About 1 hr from a City Loop station on an Express train.

 

 

This is a good place for picnics: there’s a lot of shelters around (limited number of BBQs though, so you’ve got to get in early to get one of those) and also a really big playground for kids. There’s a 2km track around the lake which takes about half an hour to walk, but besides that it’s pretty much BYO entertainment. We saw some people racing remote controlled yachts on the lake, a few kayakers and a lot of kite-flyers. You can also apparently go swimming in the lake itself, but it’s pretty murky, and was also frothing on the beach the day we were there, so yeah, we didn’t, and didn’t see anybody else in there either. We didn’t see anybody catch anything, but you can go fishing there too. Anyhow, we made it a day by having a late start, eating, talking, a bit of badminton, a few laps of the lake and then more eating and talking. But if you get bored, heading back to the Lilydale shops or following the river downstream a bit (GPS or map would be a good idea) could be an option.

Brighton Beach and Half-Moon Bay

Posted: January 8, 2012 by waffler in A Good Day Out, By Rail

So I’ve been away and stuff, so it’s taken me a little while to upload this. We were here on Christmas day 2011: free public transport, yay!

  • Public Transport: Sandringham line
  • Travel Time: 20-30 minutes from a City Loop station

We got off at Brighton Beach station and crossed the road to Brighton Beach. Walked along the beachfront (in the direction of the war memorial) for about 20 minutes to get to the colourful bathing boxes.

It was a clear day, so pretty good view of the city too. It was pretty damn hot. If we were smart, we’d have come in our bathers and gone swimming. But we didn’t, so we waded in the water (we found these schools of small fish!) and kicked seaweed around instead. Note: the beach is not a park. There aren’t any shelters or picnic tables as such on the beach front. There are a few on the Foreshore Reserve (in b/w the station and the bathing boxes) but very limited, so if it’s a busy day, you’ll either be picnicking on the sand or the verandah of a bathing box.

It’s likely that you’ll see these clear crescent like jellies on the beach: if they look like this (link to http://www.southernshores.auz.info/beachcombing/archives/nov.htm) , they’re not actually jellyfish. They’re actually egg sacs of the conical sand snail. What do you know 😛

Anyway, things got a bit boring, which they do unless you intend to go swimming so we walked back to the station after lunch and took the train down to Sandringham. We walked down to red bluff (we saw some people going round this in the water, but we weren’t in bathers and were carrying like, mobile phones and cameras in our bags, so we had to go back up to the footpath and do it the long way) and then down to Half-Moon Bay, which is apparently a great jet-skiing spot, judging by the number of people jet-skiing down there. Anyway, Google says it only takes about half an hour to go from Sandringham to Half-Moon Bay on foot, but it really takes you double the amount of time if you’re going to walk along the beach and chill-out on the black-rock wharfs listening to music; like a certain group of people did.

There’s also no reception down on the beach, you have to go up. Also, I don’t know if it was just because of the season and the weather, but there were lots of flying bugs on the footpath near Red Bluff. So yeah, Aeroguard is a good idea.

Box Hill

Posted: January 1, 2012 by waffler in Suburbia

Thought Box Hill would be an appropriate place for our first post since we’ve been mucking about here since forever.

  • Public Transport: Belgrave/Lilydale Trainline (Zone 2)
  • Travel Time: Generally half an hour or less if you get an express train from a city loop station

If you’ve never had a good look around here, you’re missing out:

Box Hill is one of Melbourne’s suburban central activity districts (CAD), and also an ethnic hub –it boasts lots and lots of east Asian stuff. Any Chinese, HK, Malaysian or Korean international students missing home/homestyle food should definitely visit –there’s pretty much a ‘loop’ of restaurants that you can check out going down Carrington Rd, Station St and then Whitehorse Rd. On top of that there are plenty of food outlets and bubble tea booths in the main centre, plus a food court in the newer centre too.  I’ve spent pretty much my whole life hanging out here and still haven’t tried every place.

Munchies List:

  • Chinese: Pretty much every other restaurant. Too many to be listed here.
  • Desserts: Monga is open 3pm til late most days. Retro interior and lively atmosphere, but the actual food is pretty expensive, so make it a night out to get the most out of it.
  • Dumplings: David and Camy’s on Station St. Depending on who’s waitering on the day, sometimes the service can be pretty :[ but when I was there a few weeks back it was all right.
  • Japanese: Box Hill’s Edomae is the longest sushi train in Melbourne. In the old centre (the side with the train station and Woolies) there’s also a Samurai Rice Burger –so burgers made of rice, not bread–in the food court and a Mister Doriyaki in the market.
  • Korean: There’s Korean BBQ and Yami Yami on Bank St, and then the classier Sut and Wine on Station St which is probably one of the few Korean places I’ve been to where you don’t smell like oil afterwards. Only been there once, but my experience of the service there was a bit :[ ~they made us feel uncomfortably cheap for not ordering any wine at lunchtime, and then switched off the in-store music as a signal for us to leave.
  • Malaysian: Petaling Street. You can get noodles for $6.80 at lunchtime.
  • Taiwanese: The Booth on Station St has some pretty interesting stuff (some items on the menu have photos) and in summer they do Snowthies, this Taiwanese shaved ice dessert. Pancake Village in the Food Court is also pretty decent (you can get a spring onion cake for <$2), as is The Grand Taipei on Station St.
  • Vegetarian: Vegie Hut on Whitehorse Rd. If you read the menu, you’ll find meat items, but they’re all made from mock meat. Interior is pretty nice.

If you’re after reviews and more info, check out Urban Spoon or Box Hill Delicious, which is actually a blog just about Box Hill restuarants.

The other thing you get easy access to in Box Hill is banks: Big four, Bendigo Bank, Bankwest, Bank of Melbourne, Bank of Queensland, HSBC, Bank of China plus AnYing and Western Union transfer can all be found in the CAD.

There are some other things you can go do in Box Hill, but the wide variety of food is probably Box Hill’s biggest attraction. There are two shopping centres which are like any other shopping centre, except that there’s  a market in the old centre which gets pretty packed on weekends.

Things to see and do in town:

‘Pigeon-hole’ store– on the 2nd floor of 27 Market Street, Box Hill,Melbourne there’s what’s known in Chinese as a ‘Ge Zi Dian’. People rent out pigeon holes in the store and display items they want to sell.

Youth Connexions–a drop-in centre for young people aged 16 to 25. Head up to the Box Hill bus rank bay 13: there’s a pedestrian crossing heading across to this other building. YC is open from 1pm weekdays. There’s lots of info for young people, a pool and table tennis table, access to internet, photocopier, phone etc.

Attractions (outside CAD):

  1. Box Hill Gardens –Park directly opposite Box Hill hospital. (15 mins walk down from CAD)
  2. Box Hill RSL –I’ve never actually been in there, but I think they sometimes have exhibits. You walk past it anyhow to get to Box Hill Gardens from the Box Hill CAD.
  3. Box Hill Town Hall –nice piece of architecture; there’s also a small art gallery that’s open free to the public inside. It leads to the Town Hall Hub, where there’s a local radio station and you can see them broadcasting sometimes. (10 mins walk down from CAD)
  4. Redcup Cafe -Not really an ‘attraction’ and I’ve never actually been here, but everytime I drive past this place, it’s always full, so I assume it’s good. Especially because it’s sort of in the middle of nowhere in relation to the rest of Box Hill. (30 mins walk from CAD maybe? Haven’t walked it before)
  5. Box Hill Community Arts Centre –another gallery that’s open free to the public. There’s a vegetable garden out the back too I think, from memory. (25 mins walk from CAD maybe?)
  6. Surrey Dive –Near the Art Centre. An old brick quarry that was turned into a lake: it’s just behind Box Hill Aqualink. It’s usually a pretty nice quiet place. I used to go there a lot as a kid. There’s ducks down there, also a model boat club that runs on some weekends.
  7. Box Hill Miniature Railway – It runs one sunday a month at Elgar Park where there’s an oval and bike track next to a creek. Tickets are about $3.00 (too far to walk from Box Hill -take the 302 bus from the Box Hill bus rank)