Sundays...... "lets go for a drive" I told my wife, and with the kids packed into the car we found ourselves at the local playground in Villawood Estate near Mount Duneed. 

The playground its massive! a draw-card on its own, with many families also enjoying the little bits of free time while the kids run around.

Conveniently located next to the park is Club Armstrong, a private gym and pool area for the locals in the estate. But at the font of the club is 9 Grams Cafe, the second edition to the hugely popular cafe in Pakington St Newtown.

We wandered in for some brunch and easily found a seat to settle in with the kids. A quick order of coffees and babycinnos, along with a couple of share dishes - being the french toast with espresso mascarpone, and buttermilk pancakes with infused banana (I think these were on the specials).

The servings were huge! and everyone enjoyed the brunch. They really take pride in their coffee also with the lattes' creamy and the espresso nice and rich.

Definitely worth a visit, and let the kids run around next door in the park.


★★★★ -  Perfect for a family brunch or lunch, with coffee.


Club Armstrong, 101 Unity Drive, Mt Duneed VIC 3216


Tristan Austin

The first time I went to a Show was back in Shepparton, aged 5. I went on a Thursday afternoon with dad, as they were setting up for the larger Friday crowd. Thursday offered a cheaper entry. Come to think of it, I don't think dad paid. I remember we entered via a side entrance, granted access with a "G'day Bruce.... thanks mate" spoken by dad, and possibly a secret handshake that silently said 'we will only be here 5 mins, and he's 5 years old.. i'm not paying'.

I remember the carnival feel vividly. The bright lights, loud techno music, the subtle smells of stale cooking oil with animal poo and straw undertones. The excitement of all the rides, yet I was too shit scared to go on any at 5 years old. My first experience of a Dagwood Dog, and the limited options of getting the Lions Club or Fire Brigade showbags... The parental myth was that these $5 showbags contained more anyway.... 

Well now that my own boy was 5 years old, I though we should venture out and let him experience some of the excitement I once had. We went to the Geelong Show on Saturday.

I have to give a call out to the random lady that approached me at the entry gate. "Are you's going to the show?" she said while walking in my direction. I was thinking up an excuse not to buy her used ticket, but the kind lady actually gave me a free pass that she had won. Who-ever you are, thank you.

We entered the gates just after lunch, my little boy's eyes instantly panned the grounds taking in all the excitement. We decided to walk around and pick out some games and rides, then come back to give them a go. I have to say the Show has definitely been a victim of inflation. Some of the prices were pushing $15 per ride, and the side-show games averaged around $6 per 1 go.

The Big-Wheel was a safe choice at $16 for the both of us. My son was very impressed and also a little nervous. His first ride had been accomplished. Note: the video below is NOT the big-wheel.

Most of the rides, such as the video above were for larger kids which was a bit disappointing. The dogem cars had a large line as they were one of the only attractions for the juniors, so we didn't bother lining up.

As we walked around, I could see he enjoyed just watching the rides. We played a couple of side-show games and I must admit he has a keen aim with the shooting game.

After walking around the grounds multiple times, picking up a couple of showbags for himself and his sister.... $70.....  we settled in to have a snack and await the fireworks show, and yep we had a Dagwood each and some chips... $26.....

We waiting at the back of the oval for the fireworks show, but they really stretched out the wait. Finally at approx 9pm they reminded us for the 17th time that they were going to set off "$50 thouuuuusaaaaannnnndddddd dollars of fireworks".

We were about 30metres from the launchpad, so our view was uninterrupted. They were quite impressive with a good 20min show.

Overall, a very expensive day and different from how I remember. My boy had a wonderful time over the 6 hours, but the atmosphere was quite unique and everything was very overpriced. A breakdown of a day at the Show for 1 Adult + 1 Child:

Parking: $10 , Entry: Free , Side-shows: $28 (5 various games) , Showbags: $30 Trolls, $30 Ninja Turtle, $10 Lolly Bag , Food: $26 (2 x Dagwoods, 2 x Chips) Ride: $16 (1 big-wheel ride)

Total of $150 for the day, and we didn't really do much at the event.

★★ -  A good experience for the kids as a once-off. Don't think I'll go again next year.


Tristan AustinComment

A perfect lazy Sunday for father's day, so we decided to cruise down towards Torquay for a look at the surf brand outlets and waterfront. Upon arriving it was time for brunch, perfect timing by me.

Tucked away behind the Ripcurl store, is a little cafe / restaurant called 'Sticks & Stones' that offers specialty coffee and various brunch & lunch meals + cakes.


A quick glance over the menu, and we were sold on the Ricotta Hotcakes. One with banana, chocolate, icecream, & roasted coconut. The other with orange, rhubarb, whipped cream, & mint. We had the kids with us, so it was an ideal combination of hotcake tapas on the table.

It was probably my first 'ricotta' hotcake experience that i've had, and we were well impressed. Think super fluffy, mini sponge cakes. There went down a treat.


The coffee was also delicious. With the kids smashing their babycinnos in a record 30 secs! I didn't ask which beans they were using for the adult coffees, but the roast was quite light and they were served at a spot-on temp. While we were seated, a steady stream of locals were dropping in to order a takeaway brew.


There restaurant had a Persian theme and feel to it, with world music being played in the background and mini rug covers under glass on each table. They were just missing the Shisha. The menu also had quite a few fusion plates, but we didn't indulge this time. 

Overall the brunch was delicious, staff were friendly, coffee spot-on, and the place was kid friendly. The brunch came in at under $45 for 4 people. (2 x Hotcakes, 2 x Coffees, 2 x Babycinnos).


★★★★ -  Perfect for a sneaky brunch or lunch down the coast.


Shop 20, 61 Surf Coast Highway, Torquay, Victoria


Tristan Austin

Recently I took my wife to high tea at the Langham Hotel in Melbourne, to experience their famed 'Chocolate Bar' experience served on the weekends. A sneaky birthday surprise that my son "accidentally" told her a few days before.

We arrived to the Langham on a cold, wet, and windy Sunday afternoon (Classic Melbourne) and quickly walked through the entrance into the grand staircase, which is quite an experience and treat for the eyes.

Being one of the few 5 star hotels in Australia, they really do focus on the attention to detail. Massive fresh flower arrangements line the walls, with a cascading water feature providing a calming atmosphere. The subtle scent of ginger-flower is throughout the hotel, and adds to the luxe experience.

We had kids in tow, but they were on their best behaviour as we entered the Aria bar on the 2nd floor. There was a queue due to popularity, but we were soon greeted and seated at a fully set table in a lounge style setting.

The main feature - is placed at the centre of the Aria bar, which is a large table full of delicate hand-made chocolates and desserts from the pastry chefs at the Langham.


Drink orders were taken just after being seated, and include a glass of bubbles or a mocktail to begin the dining experience. From there you are treated to unlimited tea or coffee from the extensive menu.

The 3-tier high tea set arrived quickly, which included ribbon sandwiches, fresh scones with jams and cream, and baked savoury pies. Easily enough food as a lunch serve for 4 hungry customers. 

As you tuck into the savouries, guests are allowed to graze as much as they like from the chocolate bar table over a 2 hour period. There was also a chocolate fountain and fresh pudding table. 

Overall the experience was fantastic, being formal but not uncomfortable for the children. The staff were attentive and the food top notch.

Prices start from $79 per an adult and $39 per child, and I highly recommended that you book as every table was taken.

On the way home I dropped past the Langham gift shop to purchase a ginger-flower room diffuser, so we could take a bit of the experience home.

★★★★★ - Highly recommended weekend activity.



In a previous blog post, I talked about the pursuit of ramen perfection in Japan. The long hours and family secrets involved in creating Japan's favourite dish. Something that is very hard to replicate away from the homeland, with fake ramen stores destroying peoples first impressions.

I'm so happy to discover a ramen gem in Melbourne called Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen, and they proudly serve authentic ramen!

As you take the steps down into the brightly lit basement, the smells of the bustling kitchen greet you as you take a seat. At the table, 2 pencils and a placemat that you can draw on are waiting. Which is kind of authentic in Japanese ramen stores as one doesn't want to invite stigma from verbally ordering a glut of food to the table. You simply work your way through the menu, ticking items to add / customise your ramen, then the waiter will collect the order.

I opted for the Original Tonkotsu ramen. One of my favourite styles of ramen. Think a rich, creamy, & hearty pork based broth with thin noodles. Garnished with green onions, bean shoots & dried seaweed. I secretly ticked the box that added slow cooked pork belly (instead of chashu pork), & the essential soft boiled egg. 

The service was attentive and speedy, with a busy venue on a Friday night. There were also plenty of additional items on the menu, of which I tried their Tori-Karaage. Think tender chicken thigh, marinated in a garlic, ginger, egg, & a potato flour coat. Then deep fried into crispy nuggets of goodness with the classic Kewpie mayonnaise to dip.

It was fantastic to slurp my way through the bowl while reminiscing of late nights in Tokyo.

I highly recommend a visit to this ramen den, to enjoy the authentic flavours of their Tonkotsu ramen. Its great to see a business showing a true dedication in keeping things authentic.

★★★★★ - 5 Stars for sure!


27 Russell St, Melbourne VIC 3000



Tristan AustinComment


It has been a pleasure working with the founder of Raw Complexions - Kristina Temelkovski, over the last few weeks to build and launch her new look website for the growing business.

With full e-commerce capability and the addition of some new features, Kristina wanted the website to have a minimalist look, with a streamlined shopping experience.

The products Kristina has developed are a range of amazing health food supplements (Nutraceuticals), that have the sole objective of delivering beauty to her clients. So in the web design we opted to put aside the 'clinical health' or 'pharmaceutical' feel that most other products promote. The outcome is a sleek, informative, and beautiful site that the clients (new & old) can enjoy.

An added benefit to the new website, is the implementation of a subscription service. This is a natural fit to the product as Kristina explained she has designed the products of (125g) to last the duration of 1 month through normal consumption.

I urge you to visit the new website Raw Complexions and see the amazing Australian made products Kristina has created, and keep an eye out for a new range coming soon!



Website & E-commerce design by Tristan Austin


Most people have discovered Bonobo in a unconventional way. My discovery was in the hospitality days, before Shazam and Spotify. Hearing a low-fi sound with epic vocals and mellow beats in a late-night bar. It played in my head for months before a bartender at Cookie - Melbourne by chance identified the artist for me, just by listening to me humming the beat. 

If was from there a strong appreciation for Simon Green's work was formed, and numerous albums were collected. 

The story of being able to see his live show is also years in the making, as attendance to each 3 year visit to Australia was interrupted by a birth or marriage etc in my family. But finally last night, the dates were locked in, the leave passes from the wives were given, and we descended on the Forum in Melbourne for the concert.

Bonobo's show was well orchestrated. Opening with tracks from his most recent album 'Migration', easing the crowd into the show with mellow beats and soul-shaking bass. 

As the tempo increased, classic beats from his previous albums 'The North Borders' & 'Black Sands' kept the crowd on a well balanced rollercoaster of Bonobo's best hits.

Simon Green wasn't alone on this tour with a 12 piece band further enhancing the electro jazz beats, and hair-raising vocals by Szjerdene Mulcare.

Overall the experience was amazing with the venue 'sold-out'. I'm glad Melbourne made it onto the extremely busy tour list of Bonobo. If you wonder which days Simon Green rests? its not many... with his complete Migration tour listed on his website here

★★★★★ - 5 Stars from me.

Bonobo - Live

The Forum, Melbourne Australia

Friday 21st, July 2017

Website - Bonobo


A little while back I entered a photo competition held by the Big4 Pisces park in Apollo Bay. The photo was from my last quick getaway with the family and it was chosen as the winner. 

The prize, a generous voucher that went towards a 2 night stay in their deluxe Villa cabin. The park is perched on top of a hill as you enter Apollo Bay, and has uninterrupted views of the entire coastline. The Villas facing East capture the most amazing sun-rise as below.


The weather was a touch cooler than my last visit, but that didn't stop us from fishing off the main pier in town, visiting the Saturday market, and eating fish & chips from the shop down at the mariner.

Overall another great stay in Apollo bay. Such  a perfect location to relax for a long weekend before the weekly hustle.

Tristan Austin
 SMITH JOURNAL - Volume 22


Little achievement to celebrate! 

My first full-page colour advertisement work has been published in the latest volume of the Smith Journal. 

Using some stock photography from my Melbourne shoot of Marcos, I opted for simple branding at the base to fit the styling of the minimalist magazine.

The ad has already had a great response on SIRSOCK.COM with website traffic increasing steadily since the magazine release.

I recommend buying the magazine, not only to see my work but to read the excellent articles they publish.


Tristan Austin
Updated Website

It's been a while, but I have finally found some time to make updates to my website.

Over the coming weeks more photos will be added and new collections and themes will be focused on. 

Early in the year I have focused on some new areas of product layout and photography, which was both challenging and rewarding.


Tristan Austin