I recently made my first trip to Australia to attend a Lonely Planet writers' workshop (ta Tony and Maureen!). The workshop was held at LPHQ in Melbourne, but I touched down near Byron Bay, at a place called Brunswick Heads. My friend K lives a short walk from the sea, which, I've been told, is good for a variety of things, in particular easy access to excellent fish and chips:
It was also a pleasure to discover that Australians consistently do excellent coffee:
although the nomenclature is a bit difficult to get one's head around. In Australia, an espresso is known as a 'short black', but at the coffee bar above I mistakenly called it a 'small black' and received a blank stare as a response!
After a long weekend of relaxing by the beach, I flew over to Melbourne for the workshop. I only had an afternoon free to explore the city, so armed with tips from Phil and Hock, I headed directly to the amazing Queen Vic Market:
I really loved the deli section (above) that has all that good stuff that is so hard to find, and/or too expensive here in Bangkok.
This was followed by a delicious lamb souvlaki at Medallion Cafe in the Greek district (apparently Melbourne is the largest Greek city outside of Greece), immensely filling Western-Chinese at the brilliantly named Supper Inn, and a mini pub crawl to Transport (which boasts 150+ kinds of beer including the excellent Crackenback Pale Ale, and the local brew, Mountain Goat Pale Ale), and Hock's old haunt, Troika.
Melbourne has to the be most Asian 'Western' city I've ever visited, and seeing as LP HQ is in Footscray, home to the city's largest concentration of Vietnamese, J, one of my former editors, took some of us out for a Vietnamese lunch:
where we had huge bowls of a very tasty vegetarian pho: