4. Travelling & recent trips in Australia
4. Travelling & recent trips in Australia
By Alena Lien,
12 July 2018
Hi! This is Alena and you're listening to the fourth episode of the Along Came English Podcast.
Well, how have you been? I know it's been a while since my last podcast. Yes, there was a brief hiatus. I got distracted. College started. Mum came over in March. I started a new job actually in April, and then I started procrastinating. Yea.
So I mean, semester's finished, which is great. And I've actually completed the course now, but yea, I've been putting this off for the last few weeks trying to figure out what to do for this episode. And I guess I really need to just do it and get an episode published. So here I am.
So today I've decided to talk about travelling. So when my mum was over here in March, I took her to Adelaide to visit relatives when she came over. And last month, I went to Launceston with a friend for a few days. So I'll be talking about them in more detail later.
Vocabulary about travelling
But first, let's start with some vocabulary and grammar.
Now "to travel" is both a verb and a noun.
So let's start with the verb first. As a verb, one definition refers to the movement of objects, radiation, like light or radio waves. So for example, "Light travels faster than sound."
In general, you can use the word "travel" as a verb for different types of waves, like wind and water.
Now the definition we're referring to today, of course, is about journeys to a different place or abroad. Or according to Wikipedia, the movement of people between distant geographical locations.
As a noun, "travel" is used in a general sense. So, "Air travel has become more affordable" - for example. Or "My job involves a lot of travel."
As a verb, "I travelled to Europe for vacation." So notice the change in sentence structure there. Or "We are travelling to Australia."
Now personally, you know, if we're using the verb... a verb for travelling... when we're talking about travelling. I feel it is more common, and more natural, to use the verb, "to go," when we talk about for holidays.
So for example:
"I went to Europe for vacation."
"We're going to Australia."
"Where have you been to... for vacation?"
So of course, you know, the verb "to travel" is correct, is grammatically correct. It's just that I feel personally, that using the verb, "to go," tends to be more common.
Now the word, "travelling," which is part of the title for this episode today, is the present participle of the verb and is also a gerund.
Now a gerund, as you may already know, functions as a noun and can become the subject or object of a sentence.
So for example:
"Travelling can be expensive if you don't do your research."
"I enjoy travelling."
Now again, just bear in mind, sentence structures do change between using the verb or the gerund because it functions as a noun.
So for example,
"Do you like travelling?" - which is the gerund.
"Do you like to travel?" - which is using the verb.
And some more examples.
"Travelling to Europe can be expensive." - the gerund.
"To travel to Europe can be expensive." - which is the verb.
Again, in this case, you know, you can use either the gerund or the verb. You can also use the noun, but just bear in mind that there are changes to the sentence structure.
Okay. Moving on.
"Trip" and "journey" are synonyms for the word "travel." But of course, there are some subtle differences, some nuances there.
"Trip" refers to a short holiday or time away. You may have heard of professionals or corporate employees talk about business trips.
"Journey" actually tends to refer to the period of travelling - physically getting from A to B. So for example, "The journey between A and B is abut 8 hours."
The word "trip" can also refer to journey - being the physical movement, the physical travelling. So for example, "The bus trip was really long."
You know, so here we can use the word "trip" for "journey," but you can't actually use it the other way around - so you can't really use "journey" to mean "trip."
So if we talk about "business trip" for example, it doesn't really have the same meaning as a "business journey." It actually tends to imply something different.
And just a bit more about the word "journey." There is a popular saying, "Life is a journey, not a destination." Bit of a clichéd saying I guess. So... but yea, anyway, it's still popular nonetheless. So if a journey is getting from location A to B, then really what the saying means is that it's not just about getting to B, but really about the experiences getting there.
So you know, if we talk about "business journey" for example, it's... the meaning is a bit different from "business trip," because when you say, "business journey," I would think that you were referring to your experiences through owning a business or as a businessman or businesswoman.
So yea, "travel," "trip," "journey" are all synonyms but in its use, in its context, there are differences.
"Holiday" can refer to a special day that is celebrated and is often a public holiday, like Christmas. It can also... "Holiday," sorry, can also refer to period of time when one is not working.
So the expression "going on holiday," is more common for British English. "Going on vacation" is the preferred term for American English.
"Holiday destination" is a common term of the location of a holiday. So when you google or do your research while you're planning for your next holiday. You might see titles like, "Top 10 holiday destinations you must visit." Or "Cheapest holiday destinations for 2018" etc.
Then there are the different types, or different ways, sorry, of describing the type of holidays.
So you get "adventure holidays," which involves a certain degree of risk and physical exertion. So activities such as hiking, mountaineering, bungee jumping for example.
"Sightseeing" usually means... I mean it usually implies like a historical kind of holiday. You know, you want to look at architecture. You want to visit museums. See beautiful landscapes and things like that.
"Relaxing." Now most people tend to associate this with beach resorts. So things like Phuket in Thailand.
"Shopping." Some popular holiday destinations for shopping are Singapore or Hong Kong.
"Family holidays" really just means that all activities are kid-friendly and that the whole family can participate in. So quite often this will involve theme parks or amusement parks, like Universal Studios or Legoland.
"Peak season" refers to the period of time where there is more demand for travelling to a particular area. Prices go up. There are a lot of people. Usually there are also more activities. This might affect your ability to find accommodation and things like that.
So quite often, you know, for most countries that have seasons, peak season would usually be in the summer or maybe Christmas time where most companies have holidays or annual leave.
And the opposite of "peak season" is "off-peak season." So yea, so as you can imagine, prices are lower. There would be less people, but also less activities. And quite often certain shops may close for this period or their opening hours are limited because of this off-peak season.
And finally, our last vocabulary here is "budget." Now this has a few uses when it comes to travel.
You can talk about setting aside a set amount for the trip. So for example, you know, "My budget for the trip." "I don't want to go over my budget." - which means that, you know, you want to keep your expenses to a certain limit.
You can also talk about a "budget holiday." So this is another description for the type of holiday you're looking for. So "budget holiday" just means that you want to keep the costs as low as possible. And this would usually mean that, you know, you would opt for a cheap hostel rather than a hotel. Going to cheap restaurants or having street food rather than an expensive restaurant. Booking for cheap or free activities.
And we also use "budget" with the term "budget airline." So now "budget airline" is another term for a "low-cost airline" that doesn't offer any of the traditional services. And this means sacrificing certain comforts for the purpose of getting a cheaper fare.
So a budget airline that I use quite often is AirAsia. So this is, I think, an international... yea, international and domestic airline. A common budget domestic airline in Australia is Jetstar, which I think... actually yea, I think I used them for these recent holidays that I had, which I'll talk about later.
And... you know, usually normal airlines will offer luggage allowance - maybe about 20-30 kilos depending on the airline, seat allocations, entertainment, snacks, drinks, meals if the flight is about 2 hours.
And with budget airlines, they start with the base fare of just getting from A to B. And then any of these kinds of services, they start to charge extra for. So then your cost does go up but you do have the option of, I guess, tailoring the type of ticket that you... the type of service that you get and the type of ticket you get when you book these... at this... with these different airlines.
All right. So yea... let's move on.
Mum's recent trip to Melbourne
So my mother, like I said, came over from Brunei earlier this year in March and spent about 2 1/2 weeks here in Australia. So she stayed with me in Melbourne for most of her trip and I also brought her to Adelaide for a few days to visit relatives.
So while she was in Melbourne, I tried to bring her to some tourist spots. But because she's been here several times, there aren't really many exciting places that, you know, I can bring her.
So I took her to Mount Dandenong, which is a very famous tourist... tourist area actually in Melbourne. Honestly, I don't really know why it's so significant or so popular. It's a mountainous area with very small towns scattered throughout.
And you know, it's nice, maybe for a day trip. Or maybe 'cause the air is very fresh as well. I mean it is a lovely place for a quiet getaway. Some of the shops there are very quaint - "quaint" sort of means... kind of like, a cottage, old cottage feeling, old-fashioned I think, is the proper definition for it.
There's a very famous cafe there called Miss Marple's Tearoom with a cute cottage-style interior, floral curtains and porcelain teapots. And then there are, of course, other cafes there as well that are very modern and hip. Now I've heard there are also some lovely picnic spots. It has a botanical garden. There's also a chestnut festival once a year that I've never been to.
And in the area, there's actually a pie shop that I really like called Pie in the Sky. Now if you don't know, meat pies here are kind of considered the national fast food choice - kind of like hot dogs are to Americans. Now you can actually get cheap meat pies at petrol stations and supermarkets so this is a bit of a luxury thing, but they're actually really good.
Yea... so I think, you know, sometimes when I have relatives over, it's sort of an excuse... I make it an excuse to bring them there just so that I could have some. Because in general, like I really don't go there. I mean this area is only about 30 minutes away from me at the moment, but I really don't go there that often at all.
And yea... and you know, with the garden, the botanical garden that's in Mount Dandenong. I believe it's called Rhododendron garden and... Look, we do have some really lovely gardens here in Melbourne. I think we have a few in Victoria, but March really was the wrong season. Usually spring or autumn is a lovely time for visiting gardens.
So I took my mum to Pie in the Sky for lunch, and then we went to the garden which was about 5 minutes away. But everything was just green - no flowers, no colour. And probably, you know, the most exciting part of our walk through the garden was when one of the gardeners forgot to turn off the tap for one of the water sprinklers and we got mildly drenched. So that was kinda fun, but my mum wasn't too happy about the overall garden trip because it was kind of boring.
So... I took her to Chadstone as well the next day. So Chadstone is the biggest mall... the biggest shopping mall in Australia. And apparently, according to Wikipedia, attracts over 200,000 tourists a year from overseas, and about 400,000 from interstate - so "interstate" means from another state.
And that... going to Chadstone, going to a shopping mall was actually more exciting for my mum than going to the garden. So yea.
Visit to Yarra Valley
I also did a day trip in the Yarra Valley. So this is another region, pretty famous region in Victoria as well. So I took her and 2 of my friends. So the Yarra Valley, like Mount Dandenong, is a region with small towns scattered throughout, but this area is quite famous for its wineries.
Now there are a few wine regions in Victoria where you can do wine tours and such. So this is kind of one of them. But rather than doing a wine tour with a company, I drove. We just selected a few spots we wanted to go to and I drove for most of the day.
Now, I like red wine myself, but I prefer red wine from South Australia. The red wine produced in Victoria is different and not as full-bodied as the ones you can get from South Australia, which is what I prefer. But in general, this region, Yarra Valley, does offer a range of white and red wines for people to purchase, to taste.
Yea. I don't know. Maybe. Look, maybe one of these days I'll do an episode about wines. But yea, we'll see.
But anyway, day trip. So, the word "day trip" is really a term we use to mean that we travel, usually by car, to a different region for one day, and we don't really stay the night.
So in a way, this was a type of "road trip," which might be another term that you might have heard when talking about travelling. But road trips can be longer. It can last for a few days to even a few weeks and going to different locations to spend the night.
So I would call this a day trip, not a road trip.
Yea and... so I drove. And it is a lovely region to drive around, Yarra Valley. There are plenty of cafes, museums, galleries to visit. We visited a few wineries, we went to a few different places to eat.
And one of the wineries we visited is called Domaine Chandon - which is an atrocious French pronunciation. I'm so sorry there. Domaine Chandon, I think would be the appropriate Australian pronunciation.
Which, apparently is affiliated or a franchise of, I'm not really sure, of a famous champagne called Moet et Chandon. Sorry. I'm going to try the French... I'm going to try the French pronunciation. Moet et Chandon. So sorry. Anyway, Moet et Chandon. Okay.
It also has a restaurant. It has a lovely view to enjoy. It's kind of an estate, so you can explore the garden. They have a museum part where you can see how they make the wines. But really, we were just there briefly for the wine-tasting. I think you have to pay... you have to pay for wine-tasting, I think they give you up to about 6 different wines you can taste.
And yea, just side-note, apparently the word "champagne" is copyrighted. So in Australia, it's called "sparkling wine" instead. I think you... I think the wine has to be made in the region of Champagne in France for it to actually be called... legally called "champagne." Hence why we can't... even though we call it champagne as a noun, as a name. For legal reasons, copyright reasons, we are technically not allowed to use that word for sparkling wines.
So yea, in Australia, it's called "sparkling wine." Now here we actually also have "sparkling red wine," which is made from "shiraz" - which is a type of red wine. So what is commonly known as champagne is actually called "sparkling white wine" here, and then we have "sparkling red wine."
So just a bit of clarification there, about the different type of wines we have here.
Yup, and in the region we also have a place called Yarra Valley Chocolaterie - another French word, chocolaterie... I'm so so sorry.
Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice creamery in the area that's very famous among local and foreign tourists. They make their own chocolate and ice cream, and you can see how they manufacture them at the location.
So they have these chocolate... who makes chocolates, the chocolate people... oh my gosh, I should know this. Anyway, the people who make chocolates, yes, those people.
You can see how they make them at the location, and they have a huge range of chocolate products, and a cafe to hang out. So the building is set on top of a hill, so again you have a lovely view of the surrounding land.
And this was the very last spot we went to before we headed home.
So my friends bought some ice cream, we sat outside. It was a lovely clear day and just enjoyed the view before we prepared to head home.
Yea, and I guess that was sort of my adventures in Melbourne while my mum was here.
Visiting relatives in Adelaide
Like I mentioned, I brought my mum to Adelaide. And this is a small city in South Australia, which is interstate. It's about an hour away by plane.
So we went there to visit my relatives. And you know, my mum's been to Adelaide and Melbourne several times, so it wasn't really a tourist trip as much as spending time with family.
Now because our relatives in Adelaide were from her side of the family, there was a lot of conversing in Hakka - which is a Chinese dialect that I mentioned in Episode 2, talking about my upbringing. Also the trip in Adelaide was really for her to catch up with her brother and his wife.
So the young folk, which really was just me, just sat there playing games on my phone.
Now one of the things I did there to make the trip a bit more interesting for me was to find cafes. Now I wouldn't call myself a "foodie" - which is a term for people who are interested in food, particularly gourmet, high-end food. Another term for "foodie" is called a "food snob."
Yea, I'm definitely not a food snob or a foodie.
In Australia, particularly in Melbourne, we have something called "brunch," which is very popular. So "brunch" is a word mix of breakfast and lunch, and is just a late breakfast or early lunch.
You may have heard that Melbourne has a cafe culture, you know, well, I would kind of pair the 2 together. So we often have brunch with coffee. And this is a very trendy thing to do here and definitely if you ever come to Melbourne, I would highly recommend that you look for brunch places.
So while I was in Adelaide, I would try to look for an interesting cafes to visit with my mum, and then spend the rest of the day with the relatives.
Now, I don't know how tech-savvy you might be, but I've really come to appreciate using Google Maps. There's a function where you can explore nearby eateries and see reviews, and that's where I found some of these places.
Now I found a Chinese restaurant for the first night we arrived, and introduced it to my relatives, who had never been there before. But yet it was like, what, 15 minutes away from them.
I found a cafe, which apparently was on a pretty hip street. And all I did was just look for a cafe. I wasn't really looking for a popular or a nice area or street to hang out. I was just looking for food.
So yea, so I enjoy finding local cafes and restaurants, even in Melbourne, because... well, they're close, and they're actually really good. So you know, I've travelled fair distances for food or specific cuisines, but I guess now, the fun thing is really to find something much nearer that is still good quality and still taste really good.
So yea, apart from that, the weather in Adelaide was really good.
The Airbnb accommodation I booked had a rainfall shower head - which for me, is a luxury superior to a bathtub. A "rainfall shower head" is really a shower head but much larger. It's also usually positioned much higher than a normal... than normal, so sometimes it's from the ceiling, and the water falls on you like rain actually.
So look, I don't know how expensive it is but I think a lot of hotels these days tend to have this as a sort of... that luxury experience. But yea, so this was an Airbnb and they had one of these. So it was pretty awesome.
And the host was quite generous too. We were only there for 3 nights, and he provided us with several packets of biscuits, bread and cereal for breakfast - which we didn't eat of course.
But yea, but overall, it was actually a really nice trip compared to my previous ones to Adelaide. So that was quite fun.
And yea, just overall, look, it was just a lovely time to hang out with my mum. You know, I live overseas and I don't get to see her all the time, so it's really just nice family opportunity for her to come over and things like that. So yea.
So now, let's move onto my most recent trip to Launceston. So Launceston was more of a road trip. It's... Launceston is a tiny city at the north of Tasmania.
And Tasmania, if you don't know Australia... Australian geography, is an island at the south of Australia. So if you look at a map of Australia, it's the dot at the south east of it. And from Melbourne, you can either take the ferry which is about 9-10 hours long. You can fly there by plane, which takes about 1 hour. And I flew there of course.
So... yea, so when I landed, we rented a car, drove around the area. When I landed, I picked up the car - a rental car from the airport.
And on our first day there, we wandered around the city, around Launceston, which isn't that big actually. Like, I mean, I don't know if I would even call it a city. It's more like a town.
So we tried some of the promoted tourist spots, like the museum, art galleries. But yea, I wouldn't say it was that stimulating. But it was okay, look, I mean, you know, it's a small town, it's our first time there.
And we, I guess, walked around the city and probably got our month's worth of exercise being there. Yea, anyway, I really don't exercise much at all.
So the rest of the trip we drove around the north-east part of Tasmania, outside of Launceston. And the scenery is just beautiful in Tasmania in general.
So this is my second time to Tasmania. The first time I went to Tasmania, I went to Hobart, which is the... another city... actually a bigger city at the south of Tasmania. And Launceston is a city at the north. And yea... again, just very beautiful, very picturesque.
And yea, along... around this area in the north eastern part of Launceston, we pretty much just drove along the coast. We stopped at a few beaches.
And even just driving through, like, the farmlands was just gorgeous. Like, it was all very hilly and... it was just...
And you know, the weather, the sky was clear, the weather was great. I mean it was cold 'cause it was in the middle of winter but it was clear skies, like not... dry, not raining, not wet.
Yea and we visited wineries, did wine-tasting, had cheese and mussels.
So yea, I gained a little bit of holiday weight, not proud of it. But I did. And the unfortunate part is that, you know, the last time I went to Hobart... I went to Tasmania, I gained holiday weight as well and I never really lost it. So now that I've gained weight again here, I'm a little bit concerned.
Anyway, moving along.
So along the northeastern coast of Tasmania is the Bay of Fires. And this is a bay that stretches over 50km. It is famous for its clear waters, soft white sands, and parts of the beach that are rocky are covered in this orange colour - which apparently is produced by algae and fungi.
Yea, so I'm not exactly sure... you know, the science behind the colour of course. But it was just... you know, unusual but also really colourful.
And yea... so we went in the middle of winter. We went on the beach - didn't swim of course. But look, it was just gorgeous just walking along the beach.
So... yea and we went during off-peak season. Duh, I mean, being in the middle of winter. Which also meant that there are less people on the road. And we actually stopped at the side of the road a few times to take photos of the sheep and cattle.
We also saw some pretty interesting letterboxes. And one of them was actually a cow, which I... we actually stopped the car and I took a selfie with.
And if I'm not mistaken, I think we drove past one which was... the letterbox was in the shape of a dragon, a small little dragon. So yea... there's definitely some interesting... you know, just the little things that make the trip just a little bit more interesting. Yup.
And... you know, and just the amount of sheep and cattle in the area. I mean, no joke. Like I thought New Zealand had a lot of sheep and cattle, but this was pretty comparable.
There were wineries that were closed during this time as well. But the ones that were opened were quiet - no long waits for food and services. Wine-tasting was free as well.
So usually in Melbourne, you have to pay a small fee for it. So when we went around to the wineries in Yarra Valley, you had to pay for a small fee to taste a range of wines. But over here in Tasmania we didn't need to.
And the food was really good - a little bit cheaper than Melbourne. We found a few cafes to have breakfast. We went to a burger joint for lunch the first day, and that was pretty good as well.
We had mussels twice. We had oysters and they were just really fresh. I mean, just really... well, just really flavourful and just really fresh. And we had cheese platters as well.
Yea, yea, I gained weight.
Anyway, look... I'm actually not a white wine person. I've never really enjoyed white wine. For some reason it actually makes me feel a bit sick when I drink them. But the ones here in this area, this region of Tasmania, was really good... And just... yea, it was just delicious.
Like we were actually quite tempted to buy some back to Melbourne, but we didn't buy any luggage allowance with our air tickets 'cause we flew with Jetstar. And yea, I guess we were a little bit cheap in general, trying to control our budget.
But anyway, yea... and that was it really. That was my road trip in Launceston.
So yea... you know, look, if you are thinking about coming to Australia to travel, I would definitely recommend hiring a car actually. Renting a car to do some road trips.
And even just in these major cities. Like if you just drive an hour away to some of the regional parts outside of the city to the countryside, you can find these sort of scattered towns that are really lovely, really quaint. You can find wineries and just really good cheese.
And if you go to Tasmania, Tasmania actually has really good seafood. If you like seafood I definitely recommend that.
Anyway. Well that's it for my recent holidays about... around Australia.
I would like to go to Sydney next, which is another major city in Australia. Haven't quite planned for it yet but yea, definitely a consideration.
And Sydney's... oh yea, so Sydney's in the state of New South Wales as well, and Melbourne's in the state of Victoria - so two different areas.
So I've lived in Australia for more than 10 years and I have never actually been to Sydney - which is I guess is a little bit shocking in general. So yea, 'cause Melbourne and Sydney are the major cities in Australia. We do have other cities of course in other states but I think for most foreigners or... and even just locals, like... Melbourne and Sydney are just the two major cities.
Yea. Just never been there. Just never did.
So I would also like to visit Darwin. Maybe Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. So far, I've been to Perth, Adelaide, Canberra, Gold Coast, Launceston and Hobart, and various parts of Victoria, which is more like road trips I guess with these... with some of these trips.
So yea, come to think of it, I haven't done too badly in terms of travelling around the country. Yea, and I would like to do a little bit more.
Yea but look, I'll finish the episode here. Thank you so much for listening. Now that I've done this episode, hopefully it'll kickstart the podcast again. And yea, see how we go.
All right. Well, thank you so much for listening again. And... I hope you have a lovely day. I hope you have a lovely week. I'll catch you around next time. Bye.