About Me

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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
I am married to my loving husband for more than 38 years now. I am a mother to 3 beautiful children, until 11 years ago when I lost my youngest son. Since then my life is forever altered but yet unbroken....

My Travel Journal

"There isn't much I haven't shared with you along the road and through it all there'd always be tomorrow's episode" - Elton John

I started traveling around the world since early 80s when I had the opportunity to combine business trips with vacations. Then later when my rezeki is in abundance, there were numerous other trips along the way for vacations, most of the time with hubby and the kids when the timing is right. I have also started to compile the journal and photo-pages covering almost more than 25 years of world wide travel. Some destinations I visited just once, others many times. Many of those places are the obvious famous places people would like to visit but some, the casual traveler doesn't even think to try. I have placed links to my travel at the side bar of my personal page, My Life Reflections, and will be updating them from time to time.

My wish is to continue my travel and complete circumnavigate the globe, insyaAllah…

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Brisbane, Australia 2009 - Botanical Parks and Whale Watching...

"God loves you more in a moment than anyone could in a lifetime..."

Attractions and botanical parks

We further retraced our past path and visited the Sea World, Dream World, Movie World, Wet & Wild and White Water parks. We didn’t have much time to spend, but contented just to have some photo shots to remind us of our visits to the attractions some 10 years ago.

(One of the amusement parks)

We drove towards Brisbane and planned to visit a few museums but couldn’t find suitable car parks to accommodate the height of our caravan.

(Hollywood of the Goald Coast)

We then drove to the Botanical Park which is situated at the outskirts of Brisbane and whiled away our time in the park before we got some lunch at McD and refueled.'

(Amusement parks for kids and adults)

We returned the caravan, and after the vehicle checks, paper work and a cup of hot coffee, we took a cab to Brisbane International Airport. We were early to check-in and bought a couple of Merino sweaters and more souvenirs at the duty-free shops before boarding the 2320 flight back to KL..

(A safety road warning)

It was a good exciting holiday and we plan to come back soon to venture further in the land down under...

(Ample time to update my blog)

G’day Mate…

Friday, 26 June 2009

Green Mountain, Australia 2009 - The tin man of Mt. Tamborine

"Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life..." - Confucius

(Mt Tamborine of Green Mountain)

It was a sombre start for the day with news of a fallen angel, Farrah Fawcet, who passed away after a long bout with cancer. No sooner had the news ended, the demise of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson was announced. The creator of the ‘moon walk’ was a favorite in our family. Our late son Ja liked to imitate his dance movements. Most of his songs were played in the radio throughout the day as tribute to his achievements.'

(A visit to the Alpaca farm)

The drive to O’Reilly’s was an uphill winding road with one lane stretches. There was a winery and an Alpaca farm along the way. We had light lunch and a chance to feed the birds and got some lorikeets resting on our heads and shoulders.'

(O'Reilly historical site)

We drove to Mt. Tamborine to revisit the path that we took 10 years ago. The quaint and picturesque towns are still standing though some of the establishments had changed.

(A tame parakeet on a shoulder)

The German Cuckoo Nest is still there. Ten years ago we had coffee and scones at a small café with a tin man as the café’s maître de. We decided to look him up and were surprised to see him relegated. Once a commanding figure in front of the café, he’s now the head of the scrap yard.

(My humble tin man in the scrap yard)

I guess life’s like that, one time we’re important and respected but over time, we’ll get sent to the scrap yard…

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Sunshine Coast, Australia 2009 - Home of the Crocodile Hunter...

"What we see depends mainly on what we look for..."

(The late Steve Earwing and family)

This morning we woke up later than usual and had scrambled eggs for breakfast. Today we decided to drive towards Brisbane and maybe visit one of Australia's many nature parks.

(Playing with a tame kangaroo)
(A tiger lazing in the sun)

We drove north towards Noosa Heads passing the Sunshine Coast and decided to visit the Australia Zoo at Beerwah. The Australia Zoo was reborn in 1992 when the crocodile hunter, Steve Irwin and wife, Terri took over the management of the zoo.

(A shy koala bear)

Formerly known as the Beerwah Reptile Park, it was opened in 1970 by Steve’s parents Bob and Lyn. It was a place where rogue crocodiles were rescued and rehabilitated wildlife called home. It has now grown to become a global attraction.

(Foxes on the lurk)

The zoo cares for over 1000 animals. As the zoo does not receive government funding, it relies on sponsorships and donations to provide care for the wildlife. Steve always believed in conservation through an exciting education. Crikey!

(The crocodile farm)

On the way back to our campsite, we drove through Noosa Great Sandy National Park, one of Southern Queenland's best kept secrets with the top end of the Noosa River and Everglades give a view into ancient lowlands and waterways. They have not changed for thousands of years and are unspoiled by the human race...

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Gold Coast, Indonesia 2009 - Surfers Paradise, Whale Watching...

"You live longer once you realize that any time spent being unhappy is wasted..." - Ruth E Renkl

After a Subway breakfast of seafood and egg sandwiches, we checked out of the Montego Mermaid Beach Motel and drove towards Broadwater to seek out the caravan park. The park is a premium park due to its close proximity to Surfers Paradise and is consistently fully occupied throughout the year. Once we had confirmed our site for the night, we decided to explore the attractions in Surfers Paradise.

(The Wax Museum)

There is a Wax Museum here that houses one of the three original wax figures of Madame Tussaud. We posed for photos with the eighty over celebrities and prominent personalities of our time. It was déjà vu, since we were here ten years ago. The waxwork figures have not aged. Even Michael Jackson looked black! Though she’s white now.

(A stroll on the beach)

Humpback whales migrate through the Australian coast for breeding before turning south towards the Antarctica to mature before returning to propagate once again. This being the season, we took a whale watching cruise to see these magnificent creatures just off the Australian coast.

(A view of the skyline)

After a few hours offshore, we were rewarded with distant spouts of air blown by the whales. As we ventured closer, we could see these whales playfully swimming, breaching the water and splashing the water with their tails. One had to be quick with the camera to capture these moments.

(Sightings of a few hump-back whales)

It was almost dusk when we returned to shore. It was a worthwhile cruise. Maybe once in a lifetime opportunity even.

(Arriving at the pier)

After a filling meal of nan, aloo gobi and lamb curry at a halal Indian restaurant, we retired for the night at the Broadwater Park.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Mermaid Beach, Australia 2009 - No vacancy at all caravan parks...

"We must travel in the direction of our fear..." - John Berryman

We decided to skip breakfast as we were out of cooking gas. We had a peek at the One Mile Beach of Nelson Bay and stopped at the site office to get our gas tank refilled before we drove off to Port Stephens. Port Stephens is not a city but rather a region spread around and beyond the magnificent waterway. It is a major coastal recreation and holiday centre, rightly known as ‘Blue Water Paradise’.

Port Stephens is a mecca for experienced divers, underwater photographers for its colourful garden of soft corals. Port Stephens is official dolphin capital of Australia and well known for its resident population of over 150 bottlenose dolphins. Whales pass very close to shore and are easily accessible by whale watching cruises. The blue waters of Port Stephens are known to produce high quality rock oysters desired for their taste and freshness.'

(A clean beautiful beach)

At Port Stephens, we stopped at McD to have breakfast but the restaurant was closed as there was no electricity. We were informed that the power cut is affecting the whole region and all the petrol pumps could not function without electricity. And our fuel was running very dangerously close to empty.

We braved ourselves and drove on the M1, the Pacific Motorway hoping that the petrol will last us to the next petrol station. We were banking on that their pumps would be on a different power grid and working. We were very lucky to reach the rest area, known as the Rock and filled up the caravan and our empty stomachs.

(A unique eatery along the highway)

Both caravan and travelers fueled, we headed north and decided to stop for the night at Ballina but the campsite was full. Ballina campsite is a 10 minutes drive from Ballina Central between the Pacific Ocean and the broad water of Richmond River. It is a secluded spot for a relaxing stay for there is no traffic noise. Ballina is surrounded by white sandy beaches and endless waterways. A blend of tranquility seaside hideaway ad vibrant holiday resort, Bellina is the commercial and entertainment hub of the shire. The historic thoroughfares of the town centre are lined with shopping arcades, stylish cafés and classic country pubs. We tried another campsite but Ballina seems to be a popular resort city and all campsites were fully occupied. We traveled on gravel and even a flooded road to Byron Bay but were greeted with no vacancy signs at every campsite.
(A cool walk in the wood)
We went further north till Surfers Paradise and had the choice of parking at the highway rest areas and spending the night in the caravan without electrical heating, or in a cozy bed of a motel and we decided on the later. We selected one with outdoor parking available and rested the night in a warm motel bed.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Port Stephens, Australia 2009 - Hop-on, Hop-off Sydney Sightseeing...

"Let your dreams stay big and your worries stay small..."

(City sightseeing tour bus)

After breakfast, we parked the caravan and boarded a City Rail from the Thornleigh train station to Sydney. The train stopped at every station and it took a sleepy hour to get to Sydney’s Central, its main train terminal.

(Sydney Opera House)

The weather was cool and sunny and it was a great day for sightseeing. To ensure we could cover most of Sydney’s top attractions, we decided to take the topless bright red Sightseeing bus. It’s quite similar to the ones we see in London, Istanbul and even Singapore. Our KL Hop On Hop Off is related to another franchise and not that popular. We sat at the top and had the cool Sydney wind blowing in our faces.

(The Coat Hanger,  Sydney Harbour Bridge)

The bus wound through the Sydney streets to showcase their Sydney Harbor Bridge (The Coathanger), the Darling Harbor and of course, the Opera House, to name a few. We even managed to stop and walk at the world famous surf beach, the Bondi Beach.

(Sydney Convention Centre)

Sydney is a bustling cosmopolitan city with many nationalities and languages. Aussies and English seemed to be the odd ones out. Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Indian, Japanese, Indonesian, Turkish and Spanish were among the nationalities and languages we could pick out in the few hours of our sightseeing.

(The Bondi Beach)

At the end of the day, we got back into our caravan at Thornleigh and proceeded north towards Brisbane. We made it to the secluded Port Stephens for the night. At the campsite, we discovered that our cooking gas is finished. We have to resupply soon or else we won’t be able to cook our meals!

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Sydney Hills, Australia 2009 - The Grand Pacific Drive...

"Don't be pushed around by your problems. Be led by your dreams..."

(A rough sea for a good surfer)
(Jogging with the dog along the sandy beach)

We had an early McD breakfast this morning and drove out of Batemans Bay towards the Grand Pacific Drive starting from Nowra to Audley. The Grand Pacific Drive is the award winning coastal drive encompassing 140km of some of the most spectacular scenery and coastline in New South Wales.

(The highway along the Grand Pacific Ocean)

The route traversed through dramatic coastal scenery, quaint villages, and through the bustling city of Wollongong. We stopped for some photo shots at Seven Mile Beach, Kiama Blowholes and passed over the iconic Sea Cliff Bridge. We stopped at the magnificent Bald Hill lookout for a sweeping panoramic coastal view.

(A view from the mountain ridge)

Along the way, some roads in the low lying areas prone to flooding had water lapping at the road sides. During the rainy season, these roads would be inaccessible.

We continued along the Royal National Park and exited at Audley and headed north towards Sydney passing through the Coat Hanger with a glimpse of the Opera House. The roads were full with holiday makers returning to the city after the weekend break.

(A colourful winter at Sydney Hill)

We stayed the night at the Sydney Hills Holiday Park. We have traveled over 3,500 km so far and we still have another week to go!

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Batemans Bay, Australia 2009 - Lakes, valleys and parks...

"Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow..." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

(A misty morning)

It was cold and frosty when we drove out of the Traralgon Park Lane Tourist Park. We headed towards the Lakes Entrance passing through Sale and Bairnsdale. It was foggy when we passed Snowy River National Park but the weather was sunny and bright when we stopped at the Gippsland Lakes Fishing Club to watch fishing and boating activities. Some pelicans and seagulls were seen anxiously waiting for food opportunities when those fishes caught were being cleaned.
(The Pelicans Pool)

Lakes Entrance is the largest tourist town east of Melbourne. It is a family holiday haven ideally located where Tuggerah Lake meets the sea. It is interesting to watch the comical resident pelicans that congregate on the waters edge and wait to be fed.

(The beaches along the way)

We drove along the memorable coastal route of Princes Highway, stopped at Merimbula for a McD lunch. From the restaurant, we had a stunning panoramic ocean view of the South Coast. We continued our journey and stopped for some photo shots of the breathtaking Bega Valley.

We stopped for the night at Batemans Bay Pleasurelea Tourist Park and slept with the sounds of the ocean waves lapping the shore.

(A stop for refreshing rest)

Friday, 19 June 2009

Traralgon, Australia 2009 - A glimpse of Melbourne...

"As long as you can laugh yourself you will never cease to be amused..."

We packed and drove out of Port Campbell at 0845 and stopped at the Twelve Apostles again for some more photo shots. With full sunshine, hopefully the pictures are better than yesterday's.

(The Twelve Apostles)

We headed towards Apollo Bay but stopped at the Cape Otway Lightstation. We saw our first koala bear on the way to Cape Otway! Cape Otway is in natural bush setting, with an abundance of birds and wildlife, excellent walks and close to secluded beaches. There is easy access to hundreds of waterfalls, the natural beauty of the Great Ocean Road and the Great Ocean Walk.

(A koala bear on the tree)
The lighthouse, which has been in operations since 1848, is perched on towering sea cliffs 80 m above where the Bass Straits and the Southern Ocean collide.

(Cape Otway Light House0
For thousands of immigrants, Cape Otway was their first sight of land after leaving Europe or North America and after many months at sea. There is even a meticulously restored Telegraph Station, and a World War II radar bunker.

(An old Telegraph Station at Cape Otway)

We had lunch at one of the stunning beaches along the route. After refueling, we headed towards Melbourne passing Geelong. As Melbourne is the Australian epicenter of the swine flue, we decided to bypass the town completely. However, we managed to get a fleeting glimpse of Melbourne skyline before we entered the 3.4 km Burnley Tunnel which is one of the longest urban three-lane tunnels in the world.

(By-passing the city of Melbourne)

We stopped for the night at Traralgon Parklane Tourist Park.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Port Campbell, Australia 2009 - The Twelve Apostles...

"If you think about giving up, remember why you held on for so long..." - Hayley Williams

(The Great Ocean)

We drove from Benalla early morning and headed on the Hume Motorway towards the Great Ocean Road bypassing both Melbourne and Geelong. Taking the new inland motorway to Colac, we ventured through the Great Otway National Park winding road down to Apollo Bay.

(The Twelve Apostles Museum)

The Great Ocean Road later transformed into a mountain drive, winding through the tall timber of the Otway Range jutting over the Southern Ocean, before descending to the eroded cliffs that served as a grandstand for the Twelve Apostles, previously known as The Sow And The Piglets.

(The Twelve Apostles against the sun)

Further up the road, some visitors descended Gibson Steps onto Gibson Beach to take a closer look at the iconic Lord Ard Gorge limestone stacks. We decided to watch the sunset over these steep limestone cliffs.

(Lord Ard Gorge)

We parked at Port Campbell Holiday Park for the night. The weather is chilly to the bone...

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Benalla, Australia 2009 - Passing through the outback...

"It requires less character to discover the faults of others, than to tolerate them..." - J Petit Senn

This morning it was still raining quite heavily. We decided to pack and continue our journey towards the Great Ocean Road. If we have time, we’ll visit Sydney later during our return journey.

(Vast livestock farms)

It took us 2 hours to get out of Sydney. We were caught in the morning jam as well as constantly rerouting our direction to avoid the M7 Motorway which required the use of either the E-tag or e-pass. No cash was accepted. We finally decided to use the motorway anyway and paid the toll using our visa card. We did it through one phone call. It was a great customer service experience!

(A horse farm)

From the M7 Motorway we changed into Hume Highway which led us through the towns of Goulburn, passed Canberra to Yass and Albury. Along the way, we stopped to refuel in Gunning, a small town with a population of 531 and had our lunch at the Yass Rest Center.

The journey was uninteresting as there were a lot of road-works which required us to slow down to a crawling pace. However, there were numerous farms along the way. There was even one Arabian horse farm. There were also many family owned wineries along the highway. On one stretch of the highway we saw huge windmills that reminded us of Spain.

(A windmill farm)

The scenery that greeted us in Victoria was pleasantly green as compared to the harsh browns of New South Wales. Unfortunately we didn’t see any skippies but only a few scattered koala remains which had the misfortune of venturing too close to the highway.

(The cabins in the Camper Park)

We reached our campsite at Benalla around dusk and had time to do the laundry before having a hearty dinner. Ever notice how we tend to eat more when the weather is cold :)