Jul 11, 2012

Watson Bay, Vaucluse House, Double Bay ice cream

We had another one of those almost obligatory holiday family outing last Friday (6th July), and it's not the Fish Markets this time! Mum was really prepared this time, she had this old tourist book that the government prints, you know the ones that you get at the airport? She looked through one of those and she had been talking about all these locations for ages before this.

First stop: Watson Bay. Mum wanted to see The Gap, which is these two stone cliffs that you can go on and look out at sea. According to her convicts used to go and stand on those, and looking out at the ocean, it would really hit them that it's next to impossible to escape, so (you guessed it) they would commit suicide by jumping into the ocean. Apparently it still is a prime spot for people looking to commit suicide, because there's a couple of signs telling you there's hope and there's help, and there's a telephone booth with two buttons: one for emergency services, one for Lifeline.

It really is a beautiful place and my descriptions does it no justice at all.

This is how we got up to the platform on the cliff
I thought that was cute 

A panoramic view
I'm very partial to the sight and sound of crashing waves, it's just breathtaking for mel and that was definitely there at The Gap.

The beach is across from The Gap, less than a kilometre away. I wanted to eat some seafood there, but there was a line and Mum and Grandma told me not to :( I found this on the beach though.

Fairly typical Australian beach/bay
Vaucluse House is where Wentworth and his family lived in the early days of Australia in the early 1800's. Wentworth is fairly well known as "one of our early colonial statesmen". This is my favourite location of the whole day. I really like visiting old places that have a history and story to them, and I especially like listening to the stories behind the house. Luckily, I caught up with a tour guide a little into the house, and I was able to hear most of what he had to say. Unfortunately, I did miss his explanations about the servant wing and everything before that. It would have been very interesting, but I am glad that I could hear about the main part of the house which the family lived in, the visit would have meant so much less without hearing the tour guide talk about it. I learnt so much about the customs and sentiments of upper Australian society at that time (well, they were practically English).

There's so much that I couldn't have learnt from the Internet because I wouldn't have known to look for it (one of the failings of the Internet is that you have to know what to look for, it's hard to get to the unknown unkowns: the things you don't know you don't know). I didn't get many pictures because I was following the tour guide, but it was so worth it. I want to write down everything I remember from what the guide said, but I'll do that in a separate post.

Vaucluse House is brilliant, and if you're even remotely interested in the history and customs of early Australian settlers or Victorian era-ish English customs, definitely find time to go have a look. Make sure you do follow a tour guide though, it makes a huge difference.

What photos I did manage to take:

Carriage way 

Servants' wing or something: that stove was actually burning wood 
Frontal view of Vaucluse House, the inside looks much better
Double Bay ice cream is next on the agenda, and it's not called double bay ice cream, it's actually French Riviera Ice Cream, but if you google "Double Bay ice cream", this is the first entry. I think it was famous for being Double Bay ice cream, and then moved to the city, then moved back to Double Bay, but at a new location. My friends and I wanted to go to French Riviera Ice Cream after exams were finished, but the sign said that they had moved back to Double Bay. I went to that ice cream shop before it moved to the city and I hadn't been in Australia for long. I remembered it being really cold and I was eating this huge bowl of ice cream while wearing bulky clothing to try and keep warm.

The experience was, well, underwhelming would be the word. I remembered it being a lot better. It had been in a bigger shop front in a very nice and secluded neighbourhood, and now it's in a little side alley that I wouldn't have been able to find if I hadn't asked a local. I wanted waffles or crêpes, but the machine was broken, so that was that. I chose one that gave me a choice of 6 flavours of ice cream with chocolate sauce, crushed nuts, banana and whipped cream all in a nice glass bowl. The ice cream wasn't bad, but it was just, you know, ice cream, nothing spectacular. It had something to do with atmosphere as well, the adults that were there with me were not very into it at all, I think it might be a lot better if I went with friends.

The family friend who took my Mum and I there the first time was an illegal immigrant that got deported back to Malaysia, and a year (or two) ago he died there. I didn't really think about that when I was there, Mum might of, and I don't even know if Grandma knows he took us there before (she probably does). Not sure what I think or feel about that.

Last thing on the itinerary for the day was crabs at a Chinese restaurant at Flemington, inside a pub. Pretty good day on the whole,  and a lot of fun.

Fairly ordinary restaurant, notice that again, the colour scheme does not step beyond the usual Chinese restaurant palette of brown, black, red, white


  1. Hey Xiao :)

    It's been a while since You've posted~

    It's good to see that you're leading such a wholesome life and embracing your holidays well despite trials being around the corner :)

    The photos are lovely and the places you visited (especially the coast)seem really peaceful and lovely.

    It's been a while since my family's gone on one of these things but it's probably due to them being aware that I want to study more anything right now haha. >_<" All the best for trials by the way!

    And yeepers, that icecream looks... awsomely huge and I feel hungry >:D

    Love ya Xx

  2. Yeah, I've been letting this blog sit for a bit, haven't really had anything happen that really motivated me to post before this. If you look at all my posts, you can see that aside from the first month, most of my posts when published in the holidays.

    It was nice to get out for a bit. Mum and co went to Elizabeth House the Friday after this, and that time I resisted and didn’t go.