Any mid-Winter escape is pretty darn awesome, and during the week when Auckland is raging storms – even better. Port Douglas maintained a cool 29 degree heat during the five days we were there. The Lagoon pool at the resort was the place-to-be. On the third day of the trip we went scuba diving and snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef. It was spectacular and pretty scary for us first-timers. I was hyperventilating for a good five minutes. We saw nemo swimming along happily amongst the anemone, held a sea cucumber, and knelt down on the reef floor so it was all worth it. In the half submerged glass bottom boat we spotted turtles and sharks! As a typical Aussie holiday goes, we patted some wallabies, watched some koalas sleep, held a snake and heard lots of crocodiles’ jaws snap. We also travelled up to Kuranda Village for an afternoon via the Skyrail. The rum & raisin ice cream from the Kuranda Homemade Tropical Ice cream truck could get you tipsy after two. Cliff asks whether you are a) Driving and b) Over 18. Definitely having withdrawals in this chilly Auckland spring weather.
One of the definite highlights of our trip was the Sydney Fish Market. Boni and I are both big seafood fans, so this market was like a slice of heaven. The place is essentially a miniature mall with one large and two small seafood retailers and few cooked food places inside and out.
We stayed indoors to eat, because who wants to fight with the seagulls.
The scampi and scallops were so incredibly sweet and fresh – simply the best we’ve had. I probably could’ve had a lot more if we weren’t flying that night. Since it was such a beautiful day, we walked back to the hotel over Pyrmont Bridge.
There’s probably just a couple of posts left from Sydney, we’re sort of hanging onto it with our dear lives (insert, holiday withdrawals). Stay with us, Auckland based eats to come sooner or later…
Having woken up early enough for breakfast (brunch, we still love you more) we stopped by a restaurant on Circular Quay.
Contemporary art and I, we’re not the best of friends. Nevertheless there were a few pieces that we enjoyed.
The Grounds’ concept is brilliant. It is everything. It is a florist, multiple restaurants, an on-site bakery, a petting shed, a children’s playhouse, a takeaway, a courtyard, a market, a school, a venue. All in one. You can tell how excited we were by the sheer amount of photos in this post.
There was a cake and pastry stall just outside the cafe as well as a lemonade stand. Although it’s beautiful, I’d suggest steering clear of the lemonade one.
We waited around 15 minutes for a table inside. The cafe is very dimly lit and bustling with action, you can see the kitchen and the crazy number of dishes being served constantly. The staff are well trained and move quickly – which is necessary considering the number of people that visit.
More cake inside!
The food itself was anti-climatic. The signature avocado was too salty and the bread tough. The quinoa cake lacked flavour and the sourness of the cucumber was overpowering. The lunch menu on the other hand looked great. Lunch is served from 12pm.
The Grounds aren’t located in the CBD of course, but getting there isn’t too difficult. We took the train to Green Square station and walked roughly 10 minutes. There is limited valet parking and street parking seems scarce.
The little store front in the courtyard seems to serve the same/similar menu, so definitely dine outside if the weather permits.
I hope the guys at The Hip Group are reading this. I think we need one here in Auckland (or even just outside of Auckland, I’d be willing to travel there).
The Grounds of Alexandria
2 Huntley Street, Alexandria, Sydney
On our trip to Melbourne we visited the famous Chadstone Shopping Centre which boasts 530 stores and is the largest mall in the southern hemisphere. It dwarfs anything that is available here in Auckland. The centre has an abundant amount of natural light shining through by way of its transparent glass ceiling, which makes it easy on the eyes and comfortable to shop. To no surprise, we couldn’t make it to every corner of the mall and inadvertently needed a rest. Happily we found that The Pancake Parlour was conveniently located inside, having just seen the standalone store on our way to the mall. The pancakes are amazing. We ordered the Regular Stack, and as The Parlour likes to say, ‘there’s nothing regular about the Regular Stack’. You have my word. There is 100% truth in that. It might not look like anything astounding, but believe me it was incredibly good. Secretly I hoped they would sell their mix in powder form so I could relive the memories back here in Kiwiland.
So having lived right next to Australia, for possibly nearly 17 years we have never actually been to Melbourne (at least Boni’s been to the Gold Coast, but Kely hasn’t even stepped on Australian soil before!). The trip was rushed though, and somehow exhausting – we honestly rely on our cars too much here, but all in all it was a great trip and nice reunion with our sister who’s currently living in Taipei. Here’s a few snaps to start with, there’s more coming soon so remember to follow us!