A New Look And a Throwback to Australia!

Sydney Harbor

Sydney Harbor

Welcome to the new look of FSK!!

I am super thrilled to give this beloved space a face lift after ~6.5 years of loyal existence on Blogger. I redesigned this site from scratch and am now hosted on Squarespace, the same platform I use for Photography and FOODLY sites. I think this is a cleaner, more functional, fluid and less cluttered flow. What do you think?

A few features of the new design 

  1. All  links to my work are on the left: Portfolio, Workshops, and NOURISHED magazine.
  2. On the left are a couple of new links:
    • Travels - These are my notes and photos on places I have been to outside NYC
    • New York - The city I love, I have a dedicated space here for eats and sights of the place.
  3. I have inserted a more robust Email Subscription option on the right. I was on feed burner and have moved to Mail Chimp. If you are an existing subscriber, and you get multiple mails  about updates, please do let me know, so I can fix the redundancy.
  4. If you have subscribed to the feed, please redirect to this RSS link. I suspect the old feed will also work.
  5. Future improvements: I am currently working on designing a recipe index that is easy to navigate and is not filled with repeats across multiple categories. Any suggestions on what categories you would like to see?
  6. As always, if you are looking to collaborate please shoot me an email. If you are looking media partnership please use contact form to request my media kit.

Fraser Island

Fraser Island

As I was cleaning up the back end and removing unneeded stuff, I reacquainted myself with some of my old work, those I did not do justice to back then. I don't know why. I suspect my aesthetic was not sufficiently developed. Plus, I was not too confident of my work or site design. Anyway, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to repost a travelogue of a vacation in Australia

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I travelled to Australia in 2010. It was a interesting trip in many ways. In hindsight, there was much self-discovery (it took a few more years to discover it but the journey began) and enlightenment. My first (and, as of today, only) girls trip and one that I decided to join literally a couple of weeks before due to fly out. At that stage of my life, I was not known for being spontaneous, often chided as resorting to "planned" spontaneity. It was also at a time, when I was between jobs and that fact weighed on me a fair bit during the trip. Looking back, I wish I could have let loose and stayed in the moment, but in fairness to the country, it's beauty and in some small measure, the stubbornness of my co-vacationers spurred me into more activities than my otherwise tight-wound self would have relented to. 

It was also the first time I shot with a DSLR; My still used Nikon D5000 and the basic 18-55 lens. I was rather thrilled that I was not half as bad as I thought I was. So these are the first photos I ever shot with a DSLR. I will leave you to judge them!


Kangaroos in Brisbane Zoo

Kangaroos in Brisbane Zoo

Our itinerary touched Brisbane, Noosa, Fraser Island, Cairns, Port Douglas, Melbourne and Sydney, all in 17 days! To write about everything we did in that period would bore you. So, I just take you through some of the highlights and share photos from the journey...

Brisbane, Sunshine Coast & Noosa

Our discovery of Australia began in Brisbane. Our hotel was right by the Brisbane river and conveniently for us, in walking distance to all things - sights, markets and restaurants. We sighted the Story Bridge from our hotel itself, City Hall and took a ferry ride up and down the river and checked out the various suburbs. And, ofcourse did a stop at the Lone Pine Koala sanctuary to see koalas (I didn't want to hug them) and feed young kangaroos!

A blogger friend, Julia, took us to Ecco, Brisbane's top rated restaurant, where we had a fantastic meal. My friend is vegetarian and she was super thrilled to find that they had a whole separate vegetarian menu that was executed perfectly. Julia also recommended Piaf, a little French place, where I had the best Barramundi of the trip!

Oh well.. you know him!

Oh well.. you know him!

The Emu

The Emu

Then we set off along the Sunshine coast towards Noosa and Fraser Island. Along the way, we stopped at Bribie beach and reached our resort just as the sun was setting, taking in the Glass House Mountains along the way. The drive along the mountains is about 30 miles long. My suggestion is to skip it. However, there are wineries on the way, some that offer lunch as long as you reach before 3 pm.

Noosa Head

Noosa Head

From Noosa, we booked a two day (which actually was a day and half) tour to Fraser Island. Fraser Island for some background is largest island made of just sand. History is that these are sands that have been washed up by the sea currents all the way from Sydney to the Northern coast. Although, the island is on the list of "1000 places you must see before you die", my take was that there are other places of higher priority. It was beautiful and the sea colors were stunning but I have seen the same on the coasts of Andaman. Besides, you can't swim in these waters at all since the currents are too strong and the water is infested with jelly fish ...

{Be Warned - Most of the beaches along Queensland coast, aside from the Sunshine and Gold Coasts are strictly off-limits, because of the above reason}

The infamous wreck at Fraser Island

The infamous wreck at Fraser Island

Up Close with the wreck

Up Close with the wreck

The sea is stunning blue contrasted against the orange of the sand

The sea is stunning blue contrasted against the orange of the sand

Port Douglas & Cairns

From Brisbane again, we flew to the Northern tip of Queensland, to the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest - two World Heritage sites and the latter being the oldest rainforest on Earth.

We took a day tour aboard the Silversonic to the Agincourt reefs. We were given a total of 4 hours in water at three different sites. I was sea sick on the way there (GAH! nasty winds and a over-confident big breakfast were to blame!!). But, yet managed to get about 3+ hours in water. The reefs and sea life were gorgeous!! I swam just a hand's length above a reef shark!! I am sure, he didn't care about me but I was super thrilled!! The reefs themselves were gorgeous!

Enroute to Daintree National Forest

Enroute to Daintree National Forest


Oh! and the highlight - The boat lunch was phenomenal (it cured my seasickness, scout's honor!!). The crab was succulent and sweet as were the prawns!! In general, Port Douglas and Cairns had some subliminal seafood. I would urge you to try Salsa Bar and Grill at Port Douglas. Seafood to try - Yabbis (smallish lobster), Coral Trout (YUMM!), Crab and Prawns.


Melbourne

St. Kilda Pier

St. Kilda Pier

Melbourne city center was, well, like a city. My favorite part was an excursion to St. Kilda, a suburb just 20 minutes from Melbourne city center. It's a lovely seaside neighborhood, very residential and just reminiscent of Besantnagar back home! :). I spent hours here at Pelican Cafe, reading a book and enjoying a happy meal. 

On the second day, we did the Great Ocean Road drive to the 12 Apostles and Lockard Gorge. It was a gorgeous drive and we entertained ourselves with a lot of out-of-tune and really bad singing :)).

Seven Sisters

Seven Sisters

Seven Sisters

Seven Sisters

Sydney

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

Sydney was my favorite city! It had a serene, peaceful harbor, a lovely park, a gorgeous Cathedral (St. Mary's by the park, where I attended a beautiful Easter service) and an inspiring museum in the park. Not to mention street markets (Rocks and Paddy's Market) where I picked up Aussie flavors. We also saw King Lear at the Opera House; very different from the NYC theatre scene with the drama focussing mainly on the actors' talents and very minimal on set decoration.

It was an experience much cherished. I could live in Sydney!

Blue Mountains, Sydney

Blue Mountains, Sydney

The grand bridge hike

The grand bridge hike

Sydney was mostly leisure and strolling around but we did have one day of intense activity, our last. We took a train to the Blue Mountains (similar to Nilgiris, in terms of Blue) and then did a shortish 2.5 hour hike along the Federal Pass trail. It involved a scary 1000 steps descent along a cliff with sheer views and a brutal 1000 step ascent on the other end. But, the view was worth it! 

Because I did not have a taste for wine or any alcohol at the time, I rather missed out on touring the wineries for the region. Although my friends had a blast doing that, while I pottered about Melbourne suburbs and Sydney.

Life outside the church in a park

Life outside the church in a park

The Sydney Art Museum was eye opening

The Sydney Art Museum was eye opening

It was Easter Service vat the church

It was Easter Service vat the church

Next day, we boarded our plane back on sore legs to non-functional on-board entertainment system and many hours of sleep deprivation. Setting foot back in NYC was much welcome after the days of adrenalin rushed traveling!

Australia is a land of vibrant colors - of blue skies, very green forests and warmed people!

Australia is a land of vibrant colors - of blue skies, very green forests and warmed people!