Over the last couple months I haven’t been able to do much travelling as I would have liked. I have gotten busier since starting my job but that doesn’t mean I don’t get to visit new places every now and then. The featured pic above is my view out the window on my weekly flight down to Melbourne – cool shit hey.
I have been sent to a few different places for business travel and was able to try out a few different places to eat and such so I guess it is worth writing a little about. So heres some insights into my experiences of my business trips to various Australian cities.
Living in Sydney, I would start my working week on Sunday evening by packing enough clothes for the week as well as some amenities such as my nintendo DS to keep me busy (Ballarat life is a bit quiet) and cooking supplies for the serviced apartment. I get a few hours of sleep before waking up at the ungodly hour of 4.30am Monday morning.
My regular taxi guy Tom is waiting out the front at 5 ready to head to the airport. We get to the Qantas domestic terminal around 5.30 and check in/bag drop is usually very quick thanks to the Qantas mobile app. I grab a coffee and listen to some tunes or chat with colleagues who are also waiting for the flight at 6.30 down to Melbourne.
The early morning flights are almost always full and flights to the victorian capital leave every 15 minutes, it is I believe the second most busy route in the world. As its such a short flight your ears will be having to readjust to pressure changes pretty often but you shouldn’t notice it too much while you are eating breakfast as the chewing helps quite a bit. Qantas breakfast on domestic flights are usually cereal/muesli with yogurt or milk along with another small treat such as a danish or nibble thingo. It’s not super filling so better fill up either before or after if you have a long day ahead.
Once landed at Melbourne I pick up a hire car and proceed to drive to Ballarat, which going by speed limits should get you there in 1h 30m on the Western Freeway. There aren’t any speed cameras that I know of once you are off the Ring road out of the airport so feel free to push it up above 110k if the conditions are okay. More often than not it is shithouse weather down south so take it easy.
Also I appreciate the bluetooth that comes equipped standards in new cars – just makes playing bangers that much easier.
Most times I get into the Ballarat office shortly after 10, where I settle in for a long day which is especially shit after having taken 5 hours to get there from home. Good thing I don’t do this on the reg…oh wait you want me to come back every week?
While the time is wasted commuting, it’s not all bad and a good experience overall. I was able to get to Qantas Silver Frequent Flyer status over the course of my assignment and racked up quite a bit of points that I can use for sneaky trips later.
The arrangement was that I would work Monday to Friday in Ballarat and fly home for the weekend leaving Friday afternoon. During the week I would stay at Quest serviced apartments which are pretty good, I was lucky enough to get a family sized corner apartment as all the rest were booked out.
Most nights I would cook whatever is easy to make which is usually pasta or a steak dinner, didn’t have the required pantry to make anything fancy happen.
We did go to eat out every now and then, so here’s a quick rundown of the places I tried in Ballarat:
- Meigas: awesome tapas joint that really delivers authentic flavour and has a great wine list. Definitely a must if you are in town. Try all the dishes and grab some crema catalana for dessert.
- The Forge Pizzeria: freshly made pizzas that do a great chilli garlic prawn & chorizo pizza. Great for a casual feed with a pint or two from the local breweries they have on tap
- Vietnamese Noodle House: given the quality of vietnamese restaurants we have in Sydney and what great stuff we have become accustomed to, I think it is fair to say this place did not amaze me but was adequate. I think since the flavour profile has been suited to the local population and there are not too many asians if you get what I mean.
- Ballarat Burger Truck: takeaway joint near the woolies and coles that does same tasty hamburgers. Grab one with the special which is basically a burger with the lot plus pineapple and bacon. Also sells various fresh donuts.
- Catfish Thai: we had tried this plsce because it was a ‘hatted’ restaurant by the Age Good Food guide so we went to see what the fuss was all about. In short, wasn’t super impressed and given that its price was a bit on the higher end I felt like I could have got similar or better thai in Sydney for much cheaper. Style over substance on this one.
Other than that you have the usual fast food fare along with Grilld and the like.
I didn’t do any other sightseeing but I heard from the locals I should check out Sovereign Hill and Lake Wendouree. My favourite part of visiting Ballarat was the drive home! Usually there are splendid sunset colours as I head back to the airport for my flight home. Bye skippy!
I was only here for one week to do a short training course in the Melbourne CBD. During the week I stayed at Crown Metropol, right behind Crown Casino. With your stay you also get a free $50 token to spend at the tables so hit the roulette or whatever is your game.
Reason I picked the Metropol was that it had an awesome pool with a rooftop-esque view of the city. But I didn’t even have time to go and use it; such a bummer.
We were too busy eating. First we went to Shanghai Plus for a little smorgasbord of all kinds of dumpling platters and made an absolute feast out of it. We brought in a few six packs and made a great night out of it. Delicious stuff, definitely give it a go although the place is usually quite busy, we managed to snag a big round table upstairs. My pick would have to be the pork & prawn pan fried dumplings – great stuff.
The other place we went to was DOC Carlton for some legit Italian pizzas. There are two DOC places around the Lygon street precinct and both were very busy and we had to wait close to 30mins to grab a table. We picked a great assortment of pizzas and was also really good that they had imported Italian beers in stock – I missed the taste of Menabrea, a great lager that I drank all the time when I was in Italy.
We demolished the pizzas fairly quickly and then went for a spot of gelato, Lygon street has it all. Would have probably had a shisha shesh had it not been a little too late to closing.
Other than that the rest of our after hours time was spent at the casino making dollas.
Sorry for the lack of pictures, I’m not one to take pictures of food and such and I’ve been to Melbourne before so I didn’t take any touristy type pictures of the places and such. But I am sure most of my readership knows how Melbs is anyway.
After freezing my tits off down south, Brizzy is a welcome change with seemingly year round summer. The warm climate is most appreciated and makes walking around during lunch time quite pleasant. I had been to Brisvegas before as a kid but I do not remember at all what it was like since we were in town only en route to the Gold Coast.
Anyway the CBD is not too big and is mostly focused around the Queen Street Mall. It is a long pedestrianised strip like Pitt St in Sydney. Came here for quick lunch breaks most days.
During my stay I would be at the Sofitel which is right above the Central train station – not that I catch the train but is conveniently located to most amenities and is only a 3min walk to the office. Check out Taro’s Ramen and get the Volcano Ramen – may be a bit spicy for some but is great stuff.
Again apologies for lack of pictures but my business isn’t very close to photography and I am inside most of the day buried in emails or excel.
Coming back home to Sydney is my favourite time of the week, in anticipation of the weekends activities. Some of the stuff I have been up to in the last little bit:
We had a fairly prolonged Summer with temps still reaching the high 20s late into May (global warming right?). You can spend every day in Sydney at a new beach and it would take you a year to see them all – fucking amazing. A few trips were made to clovelly and freshie the favourite as always, check out my previous post for info on sydney beaches
An up and coming EDM artist who has laid out a few bangers recently and had a sold out show in Chinese Laundry. Just A Gent was also headlining that night and did an awesome job, he really has come quite far since I saw him perform for the first time at World Bar back when he was still in high school. He arguably did a better job as mello seemed a little off on the transitions. Was undeniably sweaty af. The crazy amount of people in such a small room meant sweat was dripping off the walls.
One of the bigger names in the EDM scene, DJ Hanzel was in town as part of his national tour. The venue Max Watts was much better suited compared to Chinese Laundry and people had lots of room to smash it out. Great supporting acts such as Branchez set the stage for a sick night. Dillon Francis played an amazing show with mixes of electro house, trap and moombahton getting the crowd pretty rowdy. I though I had a few pics of this night but then I remember they were mostly on snapchat – just need to remember next time to save them for myself.
A little initiative that my good friend mr Boyd had started after I told him I couldn’t cook for shit. So we set up a mini competition with some work friends where we would learn from the man himself and have our friends judge who did it better. Themes would change from week to week: we did pasta, rice, spanish, cheese, salads, meats, etc.
I’d like to think I am now a capable cook more or less. less.
Anyway that about wraps it up, there are of course quite a few things I have forgotten – that is one of the downsides of trying to write a post that covers around 6 months!
Again I am disappointed myself for the lack of pictures, but if I did post my camera roll it would mostly be pictures of a bunch of receipts for my business expense claiming.
Not to worry; in 2 weeks I will be on the other side of the world and will hopefully take a bajillion photos of amazing places as I visit Europe again!
Stay tuned amigos