Australia

a visit to australia’s oldest lighthouse

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It would be tough to pick that it was winter from the blue skies, the sun shining and the 21 degree Celsius day. It was perfect conditions to visit a lighthouse; Australia’s oldest lighthouse, Macquarie Lighthouse. IMG_0070IMG_0069

From Macquarie Lighthouse situated in the eastern suburb of Vaucluse, there is a stunning view of Sydney Harbour and of the Opera House, especially on a clear sunny day like today.

Apparently from the Opera House, the lighthouse can be seen – we will have to check it out next time we are that way.

Every 2 months, the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust runs 20-minute guided tours (with lovely and entertaining volunteer guides) to go up the lighthouse. Today happened to be one of those open days!

We booked the tickets 2 weeks ago to ensure we got the time slot we wanted. And for $5 per person, it was well worth it to be able to climb the 100 steps for a magnificent view of the ocean and of Sydney Harbour…IMG_0092 IMG_0097 IMG_0098… and also learn a little more about lighthouses and Sydney history.IMG_0104

Hope you all had a lovely weekend, we sure did! 

 

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taste cultural food tours: global explorer

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About 30km west of Sydney CBD is a suburb called Fairfield. A suburb that has opened its arms to people of 139 cultural backgrounds…. The most culturally diverse place in the world.

We know of the suburb, we know approximately where it is but we really have never explored it. So when Taste Food Tours advertised its Global Explorer in Fairfield, we signed up without hesitation.

The concept behind the food tours was to break down barriers between different cultural backgrounds and bridging the gap. And where do great social opportunities and happy memories normally happen? When there is food! It is a very innovative and fun way to bring people together.

It’s not physically possible to explore 6 countries in several continents in one day AND return home… but it is possible to explore flavours from that many countries in one day.

We drove to Fairfield with no idea what to expect; it was our first ever “food tour”… “food safari”… “walking food tour” (whatever one likes to refer to such a tour).

In a bit over 4 hours, together with 12 other food explorers, we tasted a bit of Bosnia, Italy, Argentina, Lebanon, Iraq and China.

We ate and we walked and we ate and we chatted and we ate and we shopped. Did we mention we ate?

First off the rank was trying Bosnian Cevapi – grilled mince meat in a shape of a frankfurt, served with some flatbread, sour cream, raw onions and a cabbage salad. The verdict…. DELICIOUS!IMG_0001Next was a visit to an Italian deli, where the shelves were stocked with an array of imported foods from Europe, all of which one day we hope to try. And at the counter, there were cold meats and cheeses to our hearts content. The owner prepared a little platter for us to try and the most memorable was the provolone cheese…. YUM!

IMG_0008An Argentinian cake shop was next on the cards and we were fed very well there. We tasted beef empanadas, dulce de leche croissants, quince croissants and 3-layered Argentinian sandwiches (the bread sliced at 3mm thick, buttered and mayo-ed with a various other fillings).

And what did we think? Dulce de leche says enough, don’t you think?IMG_0012 IMG_0015 IMG_0016 IMG_0020A Middle Eastern nuts shop which was brimming with sweets, nuts, dried fruits, and imported foods of all sorts is just the place for foodies. The varieties were endless. The owners here prepared a platter with a few dips, nuts and olives for us to taste.IMG_0024Onto a Lebanese butcher, followed by an Iraqi bakery and lastly a northern Chinese luncheon which was a feast! IMG_0028 IMG_0031We only snapped the dumplings because we were so overwhelmed with the amount and variety that kept coming out, we totally forgot to photograph the rest of the feast. But… in our defence, we needed to save some mystery for anyone else who might decide to do this tour one day.

At all the shops and restaurants we went, we met the owners, some with stories to tell while others were a little more reserved.

So it was NOT only about food, we learned a bit about the countries, cultures, family histories and how the different families started their businesses in Australia.

It was a lovely day trip. It was a great way to meet new people. It was a fantastic way to explore a suburb to gain the confidence to come back again.

As with trying anything new, go with an open mind and you are sure not to be disappointed!

We’d like to make a special mention to our guide, Nevzeta who was so friendly, warm and welcoming. She is full of enthusiasm and knowledge. It is easy to see she is passionate about what she does.IMG_0030For more information about Taste Food Tours and the tours offered, see their website.

Disclaimer: We were provided with a discount for this tour however there was no obligation or arrangement for us to write or promote Taste Food Tours. The opinions expressed throughout this piece is entirely that of Wise Monkeys Abroad.

Which food tour have you done (anywhere in the world) that you would recommend to us?

Leave your comments here.

weekly photo challenge: early bird

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We’ve been a little quiet on the blog the past fortnight as we have been on a family road trip to Victoria (and back), internet was not very stable at some stops.

But we are back and luckily, we were able to catch an “early bird” moment to share. For the first time ever, we witnessed a beach sunrise.

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This was taken at Pambula Beach, down the South Coast of NSW, Australia.

Are you more of a sunrise or sunset person?

Share your thoughts with us.

we went to ‘the show’

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When Easter comes round, so does the Sydney Royal Easter Show. Fondly termed simply as ‘The Show’, this is an event spanning 14 days showcasing the BEST of Australia’s agriculture, arts and crafts and food and wine.

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Located at the Sydney Showground (in the vicinity of where most of the 2000 Sydney Olympics were hosted), almost 1 million people annually visit the show. It is a tradition 🙂 There really is something for everyone at the show.

It has been at least 4-5 years since we’ve been ourselves and 2015, we felt was a year to pay it another visit.

When we go, we love looking at all the exhibits and animals. There are competition winners everywhere; #1 rooster, #1 llama, #1 cow, best drawing, best tapestry… even the biggest and heaviest pumpkin.

An opportunity for everyone to showcase their skills in raising and grooming an animal/vegetable/plant.
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But it’s not all about the agriculture, those who have a flair in the arts and crafts get their chance to shine too.

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For youngsters, there are petting zoos, animal nurseries, carnival games and rides – and don’t forget the show-bags. We remember buying those as kids and  now we can see they’re predominantly filled with junk & junk food (occasionally there is a goodie in there).

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A few of our favourites at the show….

  • the District Exhibit which is a display made up of fruit, vegetables, grains, pulses and wool from five different agriculture regions. This year the display commemorates the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC Gallipoli landing during WWI. It was very impressive as it is every year.

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  • the Woodchopping challenge where people of all ages race against one another to chop through blocks of wood. With woodchips flying everywhere and axes being wielded around, it does stir up excitement for us when we were kids and even now as adults.

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And needless to say, with a show like this, there is the typical fair food (all healthy of course) – with the choice of hot dogs, turkey legs, corn on the cob, fairy floss (aka cotton candy), hot chips plus more.

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Actually the last time we went to the show, we bought a bucket of fairy floss and since that day, we have NEVER touched fairy floss again.

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But no fair/fete/carnival/show is complete for us without our buttered corn on the cob!

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We were battered with rain that day but we didn’t let that dampen our spirits. We made sure we visited all the pavilions/displays and even had a go with the carnival games.

And to be honest, we’ve had our fix for now. Maybe 2020 will see us pay ‘The Show’ another visit.

Do you have an annual event in your home city that you enjoy attending?

Share it with us here