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Sydney Trip June 2015: Stay, Eat, and Around Town

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Stay

During our trip, we stayed in Meriton Serviced Apartment in Kent Street. There are many Meriton Apartments in Sydney (and in Australia). I booked through Meriton’s website because at that time it was cheaper than other website such as Agoda or booking.com. I also asked some questions first before I booked this hotel through the online customer service, and the response was very quick and clear.

The plus point was that I didn’t need to pay extra money for my son who stayed on the same bed with us. If you check thoroughly, some hotels / apartments in Sydney will charge extra money for the third person staying in the same room (without extra bed) even though the third person is only a child (above 3 years old). According to the customer service, if we stayed in (at least) 1 bedroom apartment in Meriton, than he could stay for free. If was a good deal since accommodation was very expensive in Sydney. It also helped a lot that the exchange rate was better (almost 1 to 1) this time compared to our Gold Coast trip.

Morning photo in Meriton Lobby. The lobby was big and spacious

Morning photo in Meriton Lobby. The lobby was big and spacious. Just Phoo (Vietnamese Restaurant was just next to the hotel and can be seen on the picture)

Taxi was waiting outside the hotel..........but taxi was very expensive, so we never dare to even try taking taxi

Taxi was waiting outside the hotel……….but taxi was very expensive, so we were never dare to even try taking taxi, we just used public transports which were already very good

Hotels or apartments rates in Sydney were not cheap at all, but after I did lots of online surveys, the rate in Meriton was considered the best comparing to others. For almost $1200 for 5 nights, we got a one bedroom apartment with living room, dining room, small kitchen, balcony (although we almost never opened the balcony door for safety reason since we had a child with us and secondly it was very cold, so we only used the balcony for photo session, hahaha…..), and laundry room. Even a hotel room which was much smaller and had no facilities like that was much more expensive (considering they all didn’t come with breakfast).

The balcony was actually quite spacious

The balcony was actually quite spacious

City

Although this place was surrounded by other big and tall buildings too, but at least from this floor we were still able to watch the firework show in Darling Harbor

General facilities in the apartment were heated swimming pool (we’ve tried but still too cold for us, but we saw children and adults swam there, so maybe it was because we didn’t get used to swim in cold weather), a Jacuzzi (we loved it and we’ve used it once when nobody was there), and a gymnasium. The water in the Jacuzzi was hot and it was soooo refreshing but we felt so cold once we were out of the Jacuzzi, hahaha………

Indoor pool would be nice in summer

Indoor pool would be nice in summer

Jacuzzi time...........luckily, I remembered to bring our swimsuits

Jacuzzi time………..luckily, I remembered to bring our swimsuits

And best of all, there was free (limited) WiFi in the room (hooray for that…….). Then again, not all hotels in Sydney would give free WiFi in the room, so it was a super good deal for us especially to study the google map or do some browsing at night.

We didn’t bring Ipad on our trip, and the boy still got enough dose of entertainment from the TV (by the way, there were two TVs in the room – one was in the living room, and the other one was in the bedroom). In the morning, the boy would sit with pillows and blankets on the sofa and watched TV in the living room, and at night he would cuddle with us in the bedroom and watched TV until he was sleepy and tired. Well, he also drew and wrote in the bedroom (yes, he has become a little writer now – he has been writing children stories and he brought his book to Sydney so he could write everything whenever he had ideas come to his mind —– but more about this later).

The first TV was here (in the living room and next to the dining room)

The first TV was here (in the living room and next to the dining room)

and the other one was in here

and the other one was in here

The bedroom with big mirrors (and there was another big round shape mirror in the living room) with spacious wardrobe behind the mirrors

The bedroom with big mirrors (and there was another big round shape mirror in the living room) with spacious wardrobe behind the mirrors

I loved when there was laundry facility in the place where we stayed, so we didn’t have to bring too many clothes, just threw everything in the washing machine and dryer, and that was it. Fresh clothes in the morning! No need to iron! Although there were iron and ironing board provided in the room, but I was too lazy to iron the clothes (we would cover everything in winter jackets, so why need to iron them??? Simple as that………...good excuse for my laziness……….)

The laundry room next to the bathroom...........where no one else except me wanted to spend time in here, hahaha.........

The laundry room next to the bathroom………..where no one else except me wanted to spend time in here, hahaha………

The bathroom with strong hot water shower, all of us loved to spend a long time under the hot shower including the lil one

The bathroom with strong hot water shower, all of us loved to spend a long time under the hot shower including the lil one

There were also three heaters inside the room, so all the clothes that couldn’t go to the dryer such as thermal clothes and swimsuits, I just put them under the heater and they were dried within 3 hours.

Kitchen facilities were included dishwasher, stoves, microwave, oven, electric kettles, spoons, forks, knives, bowls, glasses, mugs, plates, big pot, pan, and other equipment for cooking. Unlike our stay in Gold Coast, where the cleaning service never came during our stay and we must cleaned the kitchen before we left, we had different experience in Sydney. We got new towels everyday. Soap, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, tea, coffee, and sugar were replenished everyday. Laundry liquid detergent and dish washing detergent were added every two days. Garbage bins were cleaned everyday. Our room was tidied up everyday.

Small dining table that was always full of our things.........but amazingly the house keeping tidied up this table

Small dining table that was always full of our things………but amazingly the house keeping tidied up this table

I actually liked this small kitchen

I actually like this kind of small kitchen in my house. It will be very easy to clean…………but then again, I have so many cooking equipment and lots of cooking processes so it might be not suitable for me

The check in and check out process were also quick and the front service staff was friendly. We had some difficulty with some equipment in the room, and the house keeping responses were very good, fast, and friendly. So overall we had a good stay in this apartment and I will recommend others to also try this apartment for some other reasons too which I will explain further below. So all the good reviews that I read in Agoda and tripadvisor about this place were true.

Besides the price, facility, and good service, the very plus point about staying in this place was the location:

  1. Very close to Town Hall Train Station and Museum Train Station
    Train stations in Sydney have so many exit doors. If we were lucky enough, we'd find one that closed to our hotel

    Train stations in Sydney have so many exit doors. If we were lucky enough, we’d find one that closed to our hotel, if not……..than we had to walk quite far (but in addition we found many good places too)

    The nearest entry access to Museum Station from our hotel was just across this street (and we foud out just the day before we went back, hahaha.............)

    The nearest entry access to Museum Station from our hotel was just across this street (and we foud out just the day before we went back, hahaha………….)

    The view outside Town Hall Station at night

    The view outside Town Hall Station at night

    The same building, but different lighting color for the next day

    The same building, but different lighting color for the next day

  2. Bus stop (if you even need to go by bus) was also not far

    On the way to the bus stop.............for me, I really loved the old buildings that I saw during our trip

    On the way to the bus stop………….for me, I really loved to see old and antique buildings around the street

  3. Within walking distance to Darling Harbor and China Town

    Eating World Food Court in China Town

    Eating World Food Court in China Town

  4. Coles Supermarket was just around the corner
    First thing to do was

    Grocery shopping in Coles on our first day in Sydney. Our favorites until now is still the same, and one of them is Coles potato chips (baked not fried and no msg)

    We also bought Kraft Hazelnut Crunchy Spread

    We also bought Kraft Hazelnut Crunchy Spread. So in the battle between Kraft vs Ovomaltine, we still think that Ovomaltine is the winner…………

  5. Woolworth Supermarket when we topped up our Opal Card (for using of public transports) was just next to Town Hall Station

    Book section in Woolworths

    Book section in Woolworths

  6. Many Convenience Stores nearby (we topped up the Optus Card for our local phone and data during our stay in one of the store and we bought the Funday Sunday tickets in 7 eleven nearby)

    We waited outside 7 Eleven while daddy bought the Funday Sunday tickets

    We waited outside 7 Eleven while daddy bought the Funday Sunday tickets

  7. Malls and shops were also nearby

    The view from the hotel's swimming pool: the office and Skyview Mall that was full of eateries

    The view from the hotel’s swimming pool: the office and Skyview Mall that was full of eateries

  8. Bakery, Subway, ice cream stall, pizza stall, and so many other food options from breakfast, snack, lunch, to dinner were around the area
    Mc Donald was also near where we stayed. Even the building on top of Mc Donald was

    Mc Donald was also near where we stayed. Even the building on top of Mc Donald was an antique one

    So many bread to choose..........and the boy's favorite was cheese triangle and cheesy garlic bread

    So many bread to choose……….and the boy’s favorite was cheese triangle and cheesy garlic bread (and it was huge…………really huge and it shocked us to see the size of the bread for the first time. For the boy, the big bread was just snack for him, he really had big appetite during the trip (I bet the cold weather played a big part too………)

    IMG_2180

    The boy in front of The Dough Collective. Bread was also more expensive compared to Singapore

So, we never had difficulty about finding food when we were very tired and just wanted to take away the food and ate in the room, but we always had difficulty of choosing what to eat before there were too many options and must find one that suited the three of us. The boy usually didn’t want to dine outside and just wanted to eat in the sofa’s apartment…………

Me: So, what are you going to eat?

R: Whatever you have lah……….(so Singlish, hahaha………)

Sydney was full of old buildings, and we really liked to see how the modern ones and the old ones mix together on the city streets. We loved to see unexpected things whenever we passed by a street.

Victoria University was just across Meriton in Kent Street

Victoria University was just across Meriton in Kent Street

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An old Catholic Church………..well, I don’t know the name of this church, but from the building structure, I guess it was a Catholic Church

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Beautiful Sunday morning

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We took pictures before we went to the zoo

20150531_084416

Another pretty building on the corner of the street

Eat

Mostly during our stay, we were too tired to eat outside and preferred to just eat at our room. We were also too lazy to walk too far from our hotel. Fortunately, there were many food options at the mall just next to where we stayed, from Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, to Chinese food.

The highlight of this trip was absolutely the lil one who usually was a picky eater when we dined outside, but this time his appetite really surprised us. He was willing to try new food and he suddenly liked all kind of food that he usually refused. So basically, he could eat anything that we bought…………….and in big portion.

Our first lunch in Sydney was Pho Bo

Our first lunch in Sydney was Pho Bo. I heat up the food on the stove in our room because the meat was raw, so I just had to make sure that the meat was cooked and tender before I served this dish

Surprisingly, for someone who never liked Pho, the boy could finished the whole bowl (it was a big bowl by the way)

Surprisingly, for someone who never liked Pho, the boy could finished the whole bowl (it was a big bowl by the way) in short time. Daddy who usually didn’t like pho also liked this a lot

Plus, he ate more than half portion of this spring roll

Plus, the boy also ate more than half portion of this spring roll

The spring roll and pho were served with 3 kinds of chili...........super yummy..........

The spring roll and pho were served with 3 kinds of chili………..super yummy……….

Next was udon……………..we were shocked when he finished 1 plus 1/4 of my portion of udon (for someone who didn’t like Japanese food and especially the noodle and specifically udon, this was amazing. Well, like I said before, the cold weather probably helped increasing his appetite. It was nice to have hot soup when it was cold outside. In addition to udon, he also ate the tempura and 3 pieces of chicken karaage. Well, he liked karaage but this time the karaage came with mayonnaise on top and he didn’t refuse to eat the mayonnaise. For someone who always hated mayonnaise, this was a record breaking.

Our Japanese food dinner............and believe me...........the portion was not as small as what it looked like in the picture. I couldn't even finished one bowl of udon

Our Japanese food dinner…………and believe me………..the portion was not as small as what it looked like in the picture. I couldn’t even finished one bowl of udon

He was okay when he didn’t eat rice for the first 3 days, but after that he kept asking for fried rice from the Chinese food restaurant below the apartment, hahaha………….he usually didn’t ask for fried rice when we dined out because it was something that he used to have and he might be quite bored with it, but this time he specifically wanted fried rice.

Seafood tofu, beef, pork, fried rice (non halal), and wonton soup for our dinner. I also cooked rice that night

Seafood tofu, beef, pork, fried rice (non halal), and wonton soup for our dinner. I also cooked rice that night. Total bill was AUD 50, but the portion was huge so we could still save for breakfast and I just needed to warm up the food in the microwave (plus rice of course)

And, another fried rice for the next day

And, another fried rice for the next day

And also seafood

And also seafood rice and beef noodle

He was enjoying his fried rice on the sofa and in front of the TV.............well, it was a holiday, so it was okay for me

He was enjoying his fried rice on the sofa and in front of the TV………….well, it was a holiday, so it was okay for me

All that food came from the restaurants just next to our apartment, so it was very convenient. Sometimes, when dinner was not enough, he would have extra snack like this:

3 slices of pizza (each was cut two so it became 6) for AUD 10. Again, the pizza shop was near the apartment too

3 slices of pizza (each was cut two so it became 6) for AUD 10. Again, the pizza shop was near the apartment too………we shared the pizza by the way, so he didn’t finish this all by himself

or had this jumbo bread for snack or first round breakfast (there would be another round of breakfast if he only ate bread, hahaha.......

or had this jumbo bread for snack or first round breakfast (there would be another round of breakfast if he only ate bread)

Well, mommy and daddy also had bread……………but we shared, hahaha…………I will explain about this sharing food later in this post.

This chocolate bread was delicious

This chocolate bread was delicious…………..it reminds me of my neck pillow…………so fluffy………

If bread was too expensive, than cup noodles were okay for the parents, hahaha...........No, actually we liked cup noodle

If bread was too expensive, than cup noodles were okay for the parents, hahaha………..No, actually we liked cup noodles better than bread, plus we found new flavored which was beef with real beef inside!

Speaking of sharing food, when we were in the theme park, mommy and daddy would share the food and the boy would “prefer” to have his own portion. Don’t expect him to share his food unless he didn’t like it, hahaha………..We adults didn’t really like fish and chips or nuggets and chips at the theme park, so we were okay with sharing food. Besides, the portion was usually big enough for both of us. So we would go crazy at dinner time when we had more food options besides fish and chips. Even daddy and I agreed we had enough of chips and probably didn’t want to have chips for some time after the trip.

The boy had his own bucket of fried chicken and chips while daddy and I shared the same portion

The boy had his own bucket of fried chicken and chips while daddy and I shared the same portion. If he didn’t finish it, he would ask me to keep the food and he would ate again as snack

Big portion of fish and chips in Taronga Zoo...........we ordered two portions, one to be shared among the parents, and one was for the lil one

Big portion of fish and chips in Taronga Zoo………..we ordered two portions, one to be shared among the parents, and one was for the lil one

Transport

We were very convenient in using public transports during our trip, and it was the cheapest way to travel from one place to another than using taxi or renting a car. The schedule of the train, bus, and ferry could be seen on each stop and also on http://tp.transportnsw.info/

All the info could also be found in Google Map or enter the website to find out what transport to take, the fare, and how long the journey was going to be. The website also gave several options too of how to reach a place.

There were some differences when using public transport in Sydney than in Singapore and when I looked at some of the pictures that I took during the trip, I thought I captured most of the differences and I like to share it in here (there are no plus and minus points………..but they’re just different and we just enjoyed all the differences because if all were the same, then life would be so boring, rite?)

  1. We could eat on buses, on the train stations, on train platforms, and even on trains in Sydney. We didn’t realize this before until we saw many people just ate and drank on those places and we soon followed too, hahaha……..but still…………everything was cleaned and people did not litter.

    Someone was enjoying fries on the platform...........

    Someone was enjoying fries on the train platform………..

  2. The trains were all double decker…………..and guess who was so happy to ride double decker trains. Well, they were three storey trains (the top was like mezzanines actually), and we’ve tried to sit in each storey, but still the boy’s favorite was the top one.

    He was so excited when he found out that all the trains were double decker

    He was so excited when he found out that all the trains were double decker!

  3. The sitting layout on the top was different. The boy especially loved to sit backwards (against the train’s movement).
    Normal sitting

    Normal sitting

    He loved it when he moved backward

    He loved it when he moved backward

  4. There was no boundaries or gates between the platform and the train tracks. It was scary at first and we must warned lil boy not to go too close to the railway tracks.

    IMG_2147

    Children must be supervised all the time…………it was quite dangerous in our opinion

  5. There was a gap between the platform and the train, and the train position was higher than the platform, so we must lifted up our luggage (heavy and big ones) whenever we were about to go in or out.

    The boy did not use with the gap between the platform and the train

    The boy did not use with the gap between the platform and the train, so I was worried and always held his hands whenever we were about to go in and out

  6. There were soooooo…………many stairs, hahaha………………and sometimes we were too lazy to find elevators so we just took the stairs with our heavy things on hands.

    Stairs...........

    Stairs………..

  7. We saw some train stations with different decorations (I bet the best must be Central Station) and I loved the customized designs in some stations that was unique and described the name of the stations.

    The antique Museum Station platform design

    The antique Museum Station platform design

  8. Train schedules complete with the routes (the next stations in sequence) were displayed on the TV screen (in Sinagpore the screen will only display the next trains schedule, but the routes can be seen printed on a big board in the platform.
    Looking carefully at the next train schedule

    Looking carefully at the next train schedule

    Left or right

    “How long will the next train comes?”

Whenever the trains were not underground, we enjoyed the city view from the windows and loved to see beautiful old buildings, the big ferris wheel, Luna Park, the harbor, the ships, the blue sky, or event just watching people doing their activities

Morning view from Central Station

Morning view from Central Station

IMG_3399

Red bricks building

A quiet street

A quiet street

If Singapore has EZlink Card, than Sydney has Opal Card. Opal Card could be bought at the departure area (above arrival area) in Newslink Store. We couldn’t buy the Opal Card in the airport train station (sigh…….). When I asked the Newslink Staff, he said he didn’t have anymore Opal Cards and must wait until the new ones came (another sigh……). So I waited for quite a long time until he finally arrived with new cards.

When he was ready with the cards and tried to add balance (money) to the cards, he said he couldn’t because he already reached his balance limit for the day (and it was just 11 am!!!). He didn’t help at all and said he only had AUD 40 left in his balance and couldn’t do anything (fainted). So finally I urged him (literally) to just add the smallest amount to the cards and I would just top up somewhere else. It took a long time before he finally agreed and he didn’t help at all when I asked him about the child rate, where I could top up the cards, etc………he just said “I don’t know……”

After he was finished, I just left and I didn’t know what happened to the other tourists who queued behind me and demanded explanation of why they couldn’t get the Opal Cards………….it was so frustrating. Even to find the Newslink Shop itself was difficult and different airport staff (in uniforms) would be giving different explanations. They also said we couldn’t top up the cards in the airport station and we must went to the nearest station outside the airport (WHAT!!!), but we were curious and we tried to go to the ticketing office at the airport and yes, we were able to top up the cards……………….I was so tired after walking here and there just for the Opal Cards (daddy was queuing for the Optus Phone Card, and it was super long queue too).

Opal Card for adults and children were different

Opal Card for adults and children were different

Funday Sunday ticket, we didn't use the Opal Card and chose to buy Funday Sundat tickets because we were just curious, hahaha..........

Funday Sunday ticket, we didn’t use the Opal Card and chose to buy Funday Sundat tickets because we were just curious, hahaha……….

By the way, there was direct train from the airport to the city, but it was very expensive because we also had to buy airport gate pass to exit the airport for around AUD 13-15 per person (not sure for the exact amount), and that was not included the train fare. And double that money because we had to buy the Gate Pass again when we wanted to enter the airport again. So we chose not to the the airport train directly, but did this to save money:

We took bus number 400 (the bus stop was just outside Mc Donald) and stopped at the third bus stop (the driver didn’t stop at the second bus stop)  which was Coward St at Laycock St, Mascot (Stop 2020113). Then we walked to the left and went to the back side of this building

Subway was on the first floor of this building

Subway was on the first floor of this building

then we crossed the street and arrived in Mascot Train Station. From Mascot Train Station, we took the train to the city, and it only cost less than AUD5 per adult.

When we went back to the airport, we took the same route but this time we crossed the street and waited for the bus from the other side.

Waiting for bus number 400 that would take us back to the airport

Waiting for bus number 400 that would take us back to the airport

20150604_083329

We missed the previous bus, so we had to wait for the next one for quite long

The boy continued his writing while waiting for the bus

The boy continued his writing while waiting for the bus

During this tip, usually I put his writing book and a pen in my bag, just in case he wanted to write suddenly

During this tip, usually I put his writing book and a pen in my bag, just in case he wanted to write suddenly

I thought I was just going to finish with this post, but the boy asked:

R: “Where’s the post about Changi Airport? And our flights? The planes……….???”

Me: “So you want me to write about that too?”

R: “Yes, of course……….”

Me: (sigh heaviliy………...) “Hmmm, okay, I will do that after this one is finished…………”

With 3200 photos during our trip………….it was  a very hard work for me to but it was also very fun to write about this trip. Ok, now I must get ready for the next post too…………

Author: cruiseoflife

Hi there. I'm from Indonesia but now live quite far away from my home country. I love cooking for my family. I learned how to cook for the first time from my mom and I believe that mom's cooking is always the best, and I do hope that my son will feel the same too even though he grows up so fast. I love Indonesian food as I grew up with it, and I promise to myself that my son, although he doesn't live in Indonesia right now, will always like and enjoy authentic Indonesian food. I make this blog so that my family will always remember our togetherness and happy time that we had, are having, and will have when we eat together and have good memories about a mother's love through her dishes. Hopefully these recipes will help other people to make healthy home cooked dishes for their families.

10 thoughts on “Sydney Trip June 2015: Stay, Eat, and Around Town

  1. Thanks so much for this post🙂 mengobati rinduku akan Sydney🙂

    • Aku juga masih kangen bangeettttt, msh blm rela pulang dan kembali ke dunia nyata lagi, hahaha……

      • Wkwkwkwk…. Bagi penggemar bangunan tua (yg terawat yaa), Sydney tuh surga bgt. Itu bangunan besar yg catnya kuning putih, klo ga salah di Liverpool St yak? Sebrang Hyde Park. Cakep bgt!

      • Iya terawat bgt ya gedung2 tuanya di Sydney, sukak banget ngeliatnya. Mau deh sebetulnya foto2 banyak2, tapi suami and anak udah ngedumel dumel kalo disuru brenti foto, hahaha…… mana suami kalo disuru foto rata2 setengah gedung doang lagi jadinya gak keliatan. Iya dkt2 liverpool st gitu deh and deket hyde park juga, sayang kami gak sempet ke hyde park and cuma lewat dpn nya aja krn gad ada waktu

  2. wahhh jadi pengen ke sidney….. !! Cuma sayang dolarnya lagi gak bersahabat nih…. one day.. i will visit sidney…^_^
    Itu hotelnya bagus yaa… enak banget lebih luas dari pada hotel biasa, failitasnya juga lengkap lagi ada dapurnya. Postingan kali ini lengkap banget infonya … thanks yaa… !

    • Iya kalo ada rejeki boleh dikinjungin australia, hehehe……jadi promosi nih. Pollution levelnya rendah bgt sih ya jadinya langitnya biru cerah dan udaranya bersih. Cuma memang mahal bgt biaya hidupnya, makanya aku pesen hotel yg ada dapurnya biar bisa masak dikit2 at least nasi sama angetin makanan, lumayan ngirit, hahaha…….

  3. apartemennya bagus…
    kalo liburan emang enakan tinggal di apartemen sebenernya ya…🙂

  4. kalo ga salah, Catholic Church itu bernama St Mary’s Cathedral.. soalnya waktu itu gue pun foto2 disana🙂
    seru yah sydney, pengen kesana lagi jadinya🙂

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