Since coming back to Australia, one thing I have really enjoyed is traditional Australian desserts. I am usually a person who enjoys salty flavours more than sweet ones. But there are some Australian sweets that I can never pass up!* I missed many Australian desserts during my 6 years in Japan. Below are some of my favourites:
Lamingtons are one of the most famous Australian desserts in the world. They are small squares of very, very soft vanilla cake. The outside is a thin layer of chocolate. Finally, they have dried coconut flakes sprinkled all over them. I would like to eat lamingtons everyday… but they are not very healthy.
Pavlova is a dessert is for special occasions. It is round like a cake but served in slices. The outside is a meringue, which is stiff egg whites with a bit of sugar, baked at a low temperature. Pavlova is filled with heavy whipped cream and has fresh fruit at the center.
Vanilla Slice tastes nice with coffee, and is often served at coffee shops. It is made in a large pan, and served in medium sized squares. There is a top and bottom layer of pastry crust, and the filling is -of course- vanilla pudding! Many cafes also put powdered sugar on the top.
Do you like foreign desserts? Of these 3, which one would you choose?
*To “never pass up [noun]” = “I always say yes to [noun]” What food can you never pass up?
Tea with scones– my favourite!
In my quest to become acquainted with my new city of Melbourne, last weekend I looked up “cafes with a good view” near me. (Google maps is so handy!) I love to drink coffee and tea, especially in beautiful places, so I thought it was a good place to start.
Life-sized maze behind the lookout point
My search took me to a little café on the side of a mountain, located close to the Dandenong Ranges West of Melbourne. They had a great deal on* tea and scones, which is one of my favourite breakfasts. I ordered a pot of hot English breakfast tea with milk, and 2 scones with thickened cream and raspberry jam. It was absolutely delightful on a cold, misty morning in the mountains.
Life-sized maze behind the lookout point
About 10 minutes’ drive from the café, there is a famous lookout point called “Sky High Mount Dandenong.” I drove there, and paid a little money to go to the top. From there I could see a panoramic view of Melbourne; from the Mornington Peninsula all the way to Port Philip Bay, over to the You Yang ridges on the South side. It was amazing.
The Giant’s Chair
Although I unfortunately didn’t have time to visit them, there looked to be other interesting attractions at the Sky High site. There was an English garden maze. It had very tall bushes (200 cm+) that were trimmed into a maze pattern. You have to try and find your way from the maze entrance to the exit, and it is very challenging. Also, there was also The Giant’s Chair—wish I had gotten some photographs here. Maybe next time!
When was the last time that you moved to a new place? Did you move to a new house? City? A new country?!
This year I have done all 3! I love moving to new places because I get to explore all the interesting new sights and areas. My new city is Melbourne, and it has been voted one of the world’s best cities for several years in a row. I am keen to find out why!
To begin with, it seems many people like Melbourne because there are heaps of interesting things to do. In particular, FESTIVALS. Whether it is comedy, music, arts, film, design, or nature, Melbourne always has some type of festival happening.
Right now, the world-famous Tesselaar Tulip festival is on everyday between September 14 – October 15. Each week or weekend has a different theme; One weekend is Jazz themed, one is especially for children, and the other weeks have around-the-world themes, such as Turkish dancing, or Irish music to enjoy while at the farm. Of course, on any day you can simply go with your friends and stroll through the flowers, drinking wine and taking pictures of yourselves.
This kind of festival sounds like a dream to me—so fun, relaxing and beautiful. Are you into festivals**? How do you find new and interesting places to visit in your city?
**“I am into festivals” means “I really enjoy festivals.” What are you “into?”
Have you ever been on a family holiday? Did you stay in a hotel? A tent? A Car?!
People in different countries enjoy different types of vacations. In Australia, many people like to use a caravan on vacation. A caravan is like a tiny house on wheels. It has beds, a kitchen, a toilet, living area, and sometimes even a TV!
Sometimes people attach a caravan to the back of their car, and drive the car pulling the caravan behind. This is called a trailer caravan. Other people prefer self-contained caravans, which means the steering wheel is inside the caravan.
As long as you have petrol in your tank, there is no limit to where you can travel to in an Australian caravan holiday. Some people like to travel up the coast of Australia and enjoy a beach holiday on the Sunshine Coast. Other people like to rent a caravan and drive around the small island of Tasmania.
When you have a caravan, you don’t need to book a hotel. You don’t need to book plane tickets. You can cook your own meals on vacation. You don’t need to worry about finding a nearby toilet. You can simply get into your car and drive to anywhere in Australia. Do you think you would enjoy a caravan holiday?
Do you have to wear a uniform to your junior high or high school? Many Australian students do too!
Some schools require their students to wear formal uniforms. This means that male students must wear a tie and jacket, which contains the official school logo. And female students must wear a tie, jacket, and skirt. Shirts must be tucked in at all times.
Informal uniforms usually include a polo shirt and comfortable cotton pants. Girls can choose whether to wear skirts or pants. And shirts don’t always have to be tucked in!
Some schools require that all students wear identical uniforms, so everyone looks the same.
But other schools allow “mix-and-match” uniforms. This means that there are maybe 3-5 official school shirts, and 2-3 official school bottoms. Students can create their own outfit from these options, rather than having to wear the same thing everyday.
And don’t forget to wear your official school hat with your uniform. Australia is very, very sunny!
There are quite a few Australians making it big on the silver screen these days. Hugh Jackman is probably most famous for his role as Wolverine in the X-men series.
Nicole Kidnam has been making feature films for many years now. Most people remember her from Eyes Wide Shut and Moulin Rouge!
Chris Hemsworth is a promising young Australian actor and got his big break as Thor from the Marvel comic series.
Margot Robbie moved the USA about 6 years ago and found success in The Wolf of Wall Street and Suicide Squad.
Australian Rules Football is the most popular sport in Australia. At least, it is if you judge by people watching sport on TV, people attending matches and internet search terms.
To play, basically you have to catch the ball which is called taking a ‘mark’.
Then you need to kick it, or handpass it to your teammates to get it near your team’s goal.
When you are close enough, you kick it between the goal posts. Getting the ball through the tall, middle posts scores 6 points. Kicking it through the smaller side posts scores 1 point.
Watching a game is very exciting once you understand what is happening! Games take 80 minutes (4 x 20 minute quarters with short breaks in between) and there are 18 players on the field for each team at a time.
I spent last week down south in Melbourne, Victoria. I was there on the 21st of June which is the winter solstice and the shortest day of the year.
It was 6-16°C and rained most of the time: Winter is here!
Not on the Sunshine Coast though…
It was 16-26°C with clear skies. Time for swimming and surfing!
Or, a nice walk in the park wearing shorts and a T-shirt.
I took a short trip to the southern part of the Sunshine Coast: beautiful Caloundra. They have a famous street market there on Sundays.
If you like Ginger Beer, then this guys says he makes the best in the World! I was hankering for a coffee though, so I passed this time.
I found out that there are 17 Sunday markets in the Sunshine Coast area! These handicrafts were on display at the Cotten Tree market which is only 5 minutes walk along the beach from my house.
I have been seeing a lot of bush turkeys around lately. They don’t live down south in Victoria where I grew up, so watching them scurrying about is quite novel for me.
I often see them at parks, near the beach and even walking between and under the tables at street cafes!
There are also lots of banksia trees here. Unlike bush turkeys, they are very common in Victoria too.
Growing up, we always called them ‘bottlebrush’ trees. The two pictures are actually of different species (Banksia coccinea and Banksia integrifolia).