tourism

The Real Middle Earth

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I have returned from the real middle earth, hair slightly still smelling like the sulphurous hot springs of Rotarua and sleep deprived with enough photographs to share with you but not too many because I was trying to see stuff outside of my camera lens. The Hobbtion Movie Set was one of the attractions that I was most excited to see and it was a wonderful little half day adventure that took around 4 hours in total and $110 NZD. It is located in Matamata which is an hour’s drive from the city centre of Rotarua and there’s a big tour bus which takes you from the souvenir gift store to the movie set. Once you start seeing the rolling green hills dotted with sheep, you’re almost there! Our tour guide and bus driver were wonderful and very knowledgeable about the films (they shared a lot of filming secrets) and at the end they shouted us drinks in the Green Dragon Inn. In the future, I would love to go back and do an evening tour because seeing the sun set and tip toeing around the hills with lanterns sounds like the most magical experience! There’s not much else to say so I’ll let the photographs do the talking and I’ll be back with some festive blog posts next Monday!

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Mini City

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Everything is just so much more precious in miniature form. Look at this ‘Hong Kong in Miniature‘ pop up exhibit located in Westfield, Sydney. Ain’t it just so squealin’ cute? My parents both lived in Hong Kong at one point so it was lovely to see what Hong Kong looked like for them when they were young. The detail is flipping amazing, if you look closely at the sticker store, you can see the individual characters: Dora The Explorer (pretty sure that did not exist back then); Disney Princesses and Hello Kitty! Then there are the signs and cameras which flash discretely, something that could only be captured by a good old GIF.

All twenty-four models have been flown in from Hong Kong and include a one-metre tall ‘Bun Tower’ made from 5,000 buns and a mini-replica of the Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance which lights up through optic fibres. The miniature models showcases Hong Kong’s old traditional shops, such as an Incense House and Chinese Medicine Store; festivals like the Tai Hang Fire Dragon and Cheung Chau Bun Festival; and culture, such as Chinese Opera and the Lam Tsuen Wishing Tree. The exhibition is organised by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Sydney (HKETO), with Hong Kong Tourism Board as a supporting partner. #MiniHongKong

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Stay Gold

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I am finished with my first semester of university, exams and all! To celebrate, Adela and I went to our mecca that is Bondi Beach. Its a tourist spot, sure but its endless array of cafes dotted along the seaside is too attractive to pass off. After being holed up for a month, it was such a literal breath of fresh air to be outside. We grabbed brunch from Trio Cafe which is an all day breakfast place and we split the mango and lime buttermilk pancakes and raw salad both of which were de-li-cious and the portions were ge-ne-rous. Then we popped by Pressed Juices to grab something that was indeed, ‘positively life changing’ (as their slogan suggests) so we could have something to drink whilst we sat by the beach and just talked about how great everything was 🙂

I’m so glad I brought along my camera because we set it to self timer mode and went a bit crazy with candids. The following pictures are a few of the gems that I found; most notably, scenes of the sky changing colour as the sun set and Jasmine Dowling’s contribution to Bondi’s street art scene! These pictures remind me about a lot of things but above all else, to stay gold Ponyboy.

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Gold Coast Digger

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A fortnight ago I was lucky enough to score a last minute deal to the Gold Coast. It’s like the Miami of Australia and where our version of Spring Breakers herald every November. Not exactly in with that scene, I decided to postpone Gold Coast digging until the end of January 2015. The holidays I go on are usually intensely packed – sometimes with 3 am wakeup calls and past midnight showers so it was nice to head somewhere sunny without a plan for once. Click the scrapbook to see it expanded and try and spot my dress twin (I’ve been keeping count and so far I’ve seen it once in Gold Coast and once in Sydney!)

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Transport

In order to maximise out time there, we took a 6 am flight with Jetstar! This was probably the most tiring part of our journey but we were in chill mode from here on. Watching the sunrise while we took off wasn’t too bad either. The traffic around Gold Coast is pretty easy to navigate – we usually took a bus or tram. Our hotel was right beside the Surfers Paradise tram station which was super convenient. Check out that surfboard carrier on the tram below – if this isn’t a surfer’s paradise then I don’t know what is!

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Accommodation

We stayed at a 3 bedroom apartment at Q1. It was insanely spacious for four people and had everything you needed: kitchen, 3 bathrooms, balcony, dining room, Foxtel, game consoles, board games and even DVDs (there was Mean Girls haha!). My favourite part were the views! My goodness we could see the jetty, the coastline, I basically could touch the clouds and we were only on floor 31! The facilities were pretty sweet as well. I loved lying on my back in the pool and staring at the tip of the hotel. They even had poolside tents with awnings if you didn’t want to burn.

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Sights

Gold Coast is a bit like Florida because it is home to a lot of amusement parks. Since this wasn’t our first time here, we skipped Dream World, Movie World, Sea World, White Water World. Instead, we spent our days never too far from the ocean or the pool and went to Cavill Mall and Robina Town Centre for shopping.

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Food

Although our apartment was fully equipped with a kitchen and even a food processor, we went out to eat most of the days we were there. Some of my top meals included the all you can eat pancakes from Pancake Paradise (you can order unlimited pancakes and they’re HUGE … I stopped at four), the pesto rosso from Vapiano (the wait is tiring but they make it in front of you) and the Hawaiian chicken with curly fries from Hog’s Breath Cafe.

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Night Life

The Gold Coast is alive up till late and I just loved watching the skyline from up high. They have markets along the boardwalk every Sunday and we would usually walk along the beach back to our hotel in the evening.

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I hope you enjoyed my postcard, one by ones and trademark GIFs!

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