Restart exploration in Australia

Moulin Rouge! The Musical website, The Lume website, Arthurs Seat Eagle website, Sydney By Sail website, Peninsula Hot Springs website, this website

A view of the Sydney skyline from a sailboat on Sydney Harbour.

MELBOURNE/SYDNEY – As I walked along the streets of Melbourne beside the Yarra River, I realised that I was one of the few people wearing a face mask.

In an attempt to assimilate, I decided to take off my mask, given that Melbourne does not mandate mask-wearing outdoors.

For a minute, it felt so wrong.

It was the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic worsened in March last year that I was taking a leisurely maskless walk in the open.

Even though I was 6,000km away from home, the Singaporean in me was instinctively worried that someone would snap a picture of me flouting Covid-19 rules.

But soon, with the breeze from the river on my face, the feeling was liberating.

It was also a reminder of what our life was like before the global pandemic.

The rediscovery of simple joys was a recurrent theme throughout my six-day trip in Australia.

This was heightened by the pleasure of new experiences in a foreign country, which travel lovers have missed for so long.

I was invited to travel on the first quarantine-free flight for Singaporeans into Melbourne on Nov 21, under a media trip hosted by Singapore Airlines and Tourism Australia.

With Australia’s partial reopening, Singapore citizens could enter Victoria, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory without having to quarantine.

But, in a stark reminder that Covid-19 is still looming large, Australia announced on Nov 27 that it will require all international travellers to serve 72 hours of isolation on arrival, in response to the emerging Omicron variant.

If you are prepared to go through the isolation period, or plan to take a long-awaited trip when border curbs ease, here are six things to see and do in Melbourne and Sydney.

1. Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Moulin Rouge! The Musical website, The Lume website, Arthurs Seat Eagle website, Sydney By Sail website, Peninsula Hot Springs website, this website


Melbourne is the second city in the world to stage Moulin Rouge! The Musical, which has won 10 Tony awards since opening on Broadway in 2019.

The show is adapted from the 2001 Baz Luhrmann musical film starring Ewan McGregor as a poor English poet who falls for a cabaret actress played by Nicole Kidman.

The musical premiered on Nov 12 at the Regent Theatre in Melbourne, after a pandemic- induced delay.

The show embeds covers of hits by stars such as Lady Gaga, Adele and Beyonce.

It was incredibly refreshing for me to soak in the energy of the cheering audience of 1,000 people and to admire the glitzy sets.

For 2½ hours, the dazzling performance was an escape from a life dominated by Covid-19.

Ticket prices start from A$95 ($92).

Info: Moulin Rouge! The Musical website

2. The Lume

Moulin Rouge! The Musical website, The Lume website, Arthurs Seat Eagle website, Sydney By Sail website, Peninsula Hot Springs website, this website


The first permanent digital gallery in Australia, The Lume transforms art masterpieces into immersive sensory encounters.

It opened its doors at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on Nov 1 – again, after delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is currently showing the works of Dutch legend Vincent van Gogh, including Starry Night Over The Rhone and Sunflowers.

The artworks are projected onto a floor area about half the size of the football field, and also onto 11m-high walls, for a 360-degree sensation of stepping inside paintings.

This visual spectacle is accompanied by music and lighting curated for each art piece.

It was a wondrous place where I could easily have spent hours, if there had been time.

Tickets start from A$39 for adults.

Info: The Lume website

3. Arthurs Seat Eagle

Moulin Rouge! The Musical website, The Lume website, Arthurs Seat Eagle website, Sydney By Sail website, Peninsula Hot Springs website, this website


This is advertised as an experience of gliding quietly through the sky in a gondola or cable car.

The ride starts from the base of Arthurs Seat, about an hour from Melbourne. A return trip to its summit takes about 30 minutes in total.

The open windows of the gondola and the leisurely speed combine for a peaceful ride with scenic views of Mornington Peninsula and Port Phillip Bay.

If the weather is clear enough, you might also be able to catch a glimpse of the Melbourne city skyline.

A return ticket for an adult costs A$27.90.

Info: Arthurs Seat Eagle website

4. Sydney By Sail

A three-hour cruise in Sydney Harbour in a sailboat is a fun way to savour the city from a different perspective.

As our boat motored out of the harbour, we passed the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Bridge and other sights.

Our captain, Josh, was happy to pass the boat’s wheel to visitors on several occasions. We were also treated to crash courses on how the sails work and how to steer the boat.

Couples looking for a special staycation can book an overnight stay on a boat with Sydney By Sail.

The budget-conscious can still enjoy a sailboat experience by booking it with a group of friends.

Our three-hour cruise cost about $1,900 for up to 12 passengers, with food and drinks included.

Info: Sydney By Sail website

5. Peninsula Hot Springs

Taking a dip in a natural hot spring while the temperature was around 16 deg C was a pleasure for travellers like me.

There were about 20 thermal pools and the most popular was a small hilltop pool where visitors could take in the views.

If you fancy getting up close to wildlife, look out for the wandering ducks that also dip into the water.

You could also indulge in a spa or sauna treat.

Remember to pack swimwear. Otherwise, a pair of swimming trunks retails for almost A$50 there.

Info: Peninsula Hot Springs website

6. Australian flavours

Moulin Rouge! The Musical website, The Lume website, Arthurs Seat Eagle website, Sydney By Sail website, Peninsula Hot Springs website, this website

Fried crocodile meat served at the Big Esso restaurant. ST PHOTO: TOH TING WEI

With such a diverse society in Australia, you can taste the world’s cuisines in the country – be it fresh seafood, modern Peruvian, French croissants or a full Aussie breakfast.

Singaporeans craving for a taste of home can find Asian restaurants with ease, especially in Sydney.

If you are willing to shell out more for a fine dining experience, there are many reputable restaurants to choose from.

If you are curious about uniquely Australian dishes, indigenous food will be a good place to start. I had a meal at the Big Esso restaurant at Federation Square in Melbourne, which serves a variety of unfamiliar dishes from kangaroo tartare to fried crocodile. The latter, to my pleasant surprise, had the texture and taste of popcorn chicken.

Getting There

Singapore Airlines (SIA) and a few other airlines operate designated vaccinated travel lane (VTL) flights from Australia into Singapore. Travellers who book VTL flights do not have to serve quarantine on their return into Singapore.

Round-trip tickets on SIA to Sydney and Melbourne start from about $700.

But quarantine-free travel into Australia is currently on hold, even though the New South Wales and Victoria states initially opened up their borders to vaccinated Singaporeans on Nov 21.

Both states announced on Nov 27 that all vaccinated international travellers will have to self-isolate for at least 72 hours, following the emergence of the Omicron variant.

For details about the entry requirements for both states, go to: this website for Victoria and this website for New South Wales.

News Related


Luxury dog hotels give paws for thought

An employee tends to dogs in a room dedicated to small size dogs at SuperWoof, a luxury dog hotel, in Cape Town. (AFP photo) Cape Town: Three dachshunds lay claim to ... Read more »

Putting the humanity into history Graphic novel The King Of Bangkok captures a generation of Thai politics

The King Of Bangkok The King Of Bangkok The King Of Bangkok is a graphic novel that tells the story of Thai politics over a generation from 1982 to 2012 ... Read more »

Piecing together a lost night Riveting Photocopier places spotlight on sexual abuse in Indonesia

Netfix Thailand Gender inequality, sexual abuse and societal attitudes towards women are common issues in Southeast Asia, yet not many dare to bring such a topic into a story especially ... Read more »

A new take on an old teen drama

A scene from Rebelde. Mayra Ortiz/NETFLIX With Latin vibes and swag, Rebelde — Netflix's latest Mexican teen drama to kick off 2022 — has the winning combo of a simple ... Read more »

Defeating the odds Thai-American director Pailin Wedel has raised the bar for local cinema with the Emmy success of Hope Frozen

The moment when Hope Frozen won Best Documentary at the 49th International Emmy Awards. Netflix Thailand During the 49th International Emmy Awards — held in New York City and broadcast ... Read more »

Ain't no party like a Lambo party

From left, Supasara Chongkolrattanaporn, Thananant and Tanida Jongkolrattanaporn, and Nutthakarn Klovuthi-anun. Customers and members of the Lamborghini Club Thailand walked the red carpet at the glitzy “Lamborghini Night” party to ... Read more »

Celestial beauty Vacheron Constantin's exquisite Les Cabinotiers Grande Complication Bacchus is much more than a watch

The bas-relief sculpture features vine leaves and clusters of grapes set with rubies in a nod to Bacchus. Back in the 18th century on the top floors or under the ... Read more »

Palate-pleasing K-BBQ If you're looking for Seoul food and a place to eat, arrive early at Ssamthing Together

Over the past few years, the cosmopolitan food scene in Bangkok has relentlessly been entertained by Korean culinary culture. Ssam, or to wrap the meat in vegetables, is typical to ... Read more »

Make your home sustainable with Not Too Virgin

For environmentally-conscious art lovers, Not Too Virgin Design Lab is offering a sustainable and innovative lifestyle by creating custom-made furniture from recycled plastic slabs from Thailand and the alternative material ... Read more »

Trauma isn't just psychological. It can impact your body too.

It may feel like you’re on edge. You may start to sweat. Your heart may race, your fists may clench. Trauma isn’t only a person’s emotional and psychological reaction to ... Read more »

How to improve your gut health with exercise

These targeted exercises can help with bloating, inflammation and gas. Read more »

Coronavirus at work: can your boss ask if you have been vaccinated?

Photo: Shutterstock The employment law experts at GMW lawyers share insights on your rights in the workplace regarding corona vaccination, and when it is worth contacting a lawyer. The rules ... Read more »

Elton John says hello again with resumed goodbye tour

Elton John performs as he returns to complete his Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour since it was postponed due to coronavirus disease restrictions in 2020, in New Orleans on Wednesday. ... Read more »

South Africa's luxury dog hotels give paws for thought

Dogs can stay in the budget section of the hotel, where they hang out together, or have a private ‘presidential suite’. CAPE TOWN: Three dachshunds lay claim to a big ... Read more »

Beatles producer signed Fab Four because they were 'good people'

The Beatles. (AFP photo) LONDON: The Beatles producer George Martin signed the legendary rock band in its early days more for its four members' endearing personalities than for their music, ... Read more »

Tory unveils Tanya for resort wear collection

Symbolising strength, Tanya the Tiger has taken over Tory Burch's Chinese New Year wardrobe, which features limited-edition items from the holiday/resort 2022 collection. Photos courtesy of Tory Burch Matched with ... Read more »

Lucky red Salvatore Ferragamo celebrates Chinese New Year with new accessories

Salvatore Ferragamo celebrates the upcoming Chinese New Year by taking an adventure along with the tiger in an enchanting wonderland. The digital campaign uses surreal cinematography to present a magical ... Read more »

Prada enlists artists to help save tigers

Photos courtesy of Prada Although tigers are a symbol of majesty and power, they are also at great risk of extinction. Prada is raising awareness of the plight of the ... Read more »

Bangkok's fragility examined through art

photo courtesy of Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC) The “Bangkok Bang-Krob: Bangkok Through Crusty Frames” mixed-media show by art and musical group Pink Sky Orcas offers a reflection on ... Read more »

Art exhibit chronicles Myanmar resistance

photo courtesy of SEA Junction “Defiant Art: A Year of Resistance To The Myanmar Coup In Images” brings a series of 13 boards with artworks by artists from Myanmar and ... Read more »

Hope Fair returns to help Mercy Centre

The fair will bring a variety of products including gourmet treats. DavilYou The famous Hope Fair will return to allow shoppers to kick start the New Year with some socially ... Read more »

Fringe movement: my walk-on part in the great hairdressers' revolt

Johan Goossens (second l) performs during Kapsalon Theater at De Kleine Komedie in Amsterdam. Photo: ANP/HH/Robin Utrecht When I was younger I thought joining a rebel alliance meant hanging out ... Read more »

What is 'slugging,' the viral moisturizing hack? Does it work?

This winter, many people are dealing with unbearably dry, patchy skin. But lucky for you, dermatologists have a simple solution. The latest viral skincare trend is called “slugging,” which involves ... Read more »

The person I was dating disappeared. How to get over being ghosted.

Many of us grew up telling ghost stories around the campfire, fully unaware that our dating history would be full of them. Ghosting, in case you’re not familiar with the ... Read more »

Your horoscope for Jan 21-27

Your spot-on horoscope for work, money, couples & singles from the Bangkok Post's famously accurate fortune teller. Let's see how will you fare this week & beyond! Note:– (⛹) is ... Read more »

Start anew with Swatch watches

41mm Clearly New Gent. photo: If not Jan 1, one can also start anew on Feb 1 when the Lunar New Year begins. The Year of the Tiger is said ... Read more »

Windows into the soul American artist Lesleigh Goldberg explores the beauty of the female face

Photo © River City Bangkok American artist and sculptor Lesleigh Goldberg presents women's intrinsic beauty and their natural association with colourful flowers in her ongoing series of three-dimensional portraitures titled ... Read more »

Intimate lecture by Alex Kerr focuses on Tibetan textiles

The Thai Textile Society presents a lecture, “Tibetan Textiles”, conducted by Alex Kerr at his residence at City Lake Tower, Sukhumvit 16, on Saturday at 10am. A Tibetan textile that ... Read more »

TPO's 'Asian Connections' concert now on YouTube

Hnungsaran Prukthaison. Mahidol University’s College of Music Due to concerns about Covid-19, the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra has decided to change the format of the upcoming “Asian Connections” concert which will ... Read more »

The outsider's insider Artist Prach Pimarnman grew up straddling cultures in Bangkok, where he was born, and the Deep South, where he is from. He captures this dichotomy in the exhibition 'Orang Siyae, Oghae Nayu'

Artist Prach Pimarnman was born in Bangkok and later moved to study in the southern province of Narathiwat. Prach attended state schools that did not allow students to speak the ... Read more »

Postponed Grammys move to Las Vegas, set for April 3

Jon Batiste, the jazz and R&B artist and bandleader, garnered the most nominations for this year’s Grammys with 11. LOS ANGELES – The Grammy music awards will be held in ... Read more »

Bye-bye, boring book: online inburgering course simplifies Dutch society exam

Photo: Pixabay Do you know who fought in the 80 Years’ War? Can you name all 12 Dutch provinces? And what should you do if your neighbour’s dog keeps fouling ... Read more »

Thanathorn's painting NFTs sell for 3.3 milion baht

Progressive Movement leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit has sold three of his paintings in a non-fungible token (NFT) auction for more than 3 million baht on Tuesday, with most of the proceeds ... Read more »

Stomach flu is actually viral gastroenteritis

DEAR DOCTORS: Our family just spent two weeks passing around a nasty stomach flu. Now that we're all OK, I realise I don't know what hit us. Was it the ... Read more »

Korean director takes on decades of generational trauma

The trauma of being ripped apart from her siblings reverberates in all of Yang Yonghi’s films SEOUL – Award-winning filmmaker Yang Yonghi was just six years old when she watched ... Read more »

World of illustration comes to SAC Gallery

The People by Brightside. photos courtesy of SAC Gallery SAC Gallery invites art lovers to delve into the world of illustration during “Wrap”, which is running at its Art Centre ... Read more »

Interactive play to get the family bonding

Bangkok Community Theatre will return onstage with a delightful production that will make the last weekend of the month memorable for the young and young at heart. The interactive children’s ... Read more »

Saying goodbye to cultural giants Luk thung legends Waipoj Phetsupan and Sornphet Sornsuphan pass on along with iconic US singer Ronnie Spector

The world of Thai country music (pleng luk thung) was reeling from news of the death of luk thung legend and National Artist Waipoj Phetsupan last Wednesday. Waipoj, 79, was ... Read more »

Singapore art week is helping bridge connections

Singapore Art Week Around 600 artists, curators, creatives and partners from Singapore, Bangkok, China, Australia, Turkey, the UK and the US have joined a diverse range of arts programmes for ... Read more »

Curaloe calls on old favourite for skincare

Aloe vera has long been used in traditional medicine, with the Ebers Papyrus and the Edwin Smith Papyrus documenting ancient Egyptians treating ailments with the cactus-like plant. A prescription for ... Read more »
On you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic