Melbourne, familiar faces, tennis, beaches + more
Trip Start Apr 12, 2011
86Trip End Apr 01, 2012
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Where I stayed
Next is to get a tram out to St Kilda which is where the city meets the seaside to meet Adrian (Jonny’s old flatmate) who has kindly let us stay in his apartment for the weekend and so we can avoid paying a ridiculous amounts for a rubbish hostel for a couple days. St Kilda is nice with plenty of cafes, shops and a promenade by the beach. It is also known as cake central of Melbourne so I’m very happy to be there. We head out for dinner with Adrian and Kelly at As Lentil As Anything which serves vegetarian Indian food and you name the price you pay for the food. We get a platter to share and it is all very tasty, plus the waiter is really friendly - a really good spot for food. Next we go for coffee and cake and manage to choose apple crumble and caramel slice despite the massive window display tempting us further
Next day we have a wander up and down Chapel Street which seems like the main high street that runs through many different areas towards the CBD. There is plenty of shops and cafes here and we quickly realise that the thing to do here is go for breakfast as every cafe is full with people having breakfast with friends. In the afternoon we meet Keith and Cat who have also been travelling around South America and New Zealand. They have just arrived in Melbourne to find some work to stay for a while and so we spend the afternoon catching up, swapping stories from South America and then realised that we were both in the same town in New Zealand for three days after Christmas Day but never knew and never bumped into each other. We have a couple drinks by the beachfront and then go on to try another bar but the cafes here are so inviting we go for more coffee and cake. Maybe that’s a good thing about having less bars in Australia, less tempted to go for a drink and I’m quite happy to have cake every day instead.
In the evening we caught up with Jenni and Max, a couple from our university who have been living and working in Melbourne for about 18 months. We head to a bar just off Chapel Street called 'The Local’. It’s a small, well decorated bar with lots of outdoor and the first bar we have actually liked in Australia. We have a couple drinks and lots of catching up before calling it a night.
We arranged to do the Melbourne thing and meet for brunch the next day
Then we go for a walk around St Kilda to walk off our lunch. There is a Sunday craft market, lots of people are out on the beach and Jenni and Max have gone up the bay to kite surf. Always plenty going on in St Kilda and it’s got a good buzz to it especially as the sun is out for the first time in a couple weeks. We walk up to watch Jenni and Max kite surf but there are so many lessons in action on the beach that we are a bit scared of walking too near the kites as the beginners learn to control the kites – it does not look like an easy sport!
Monday morning we pick up our car and go off to explore the Great Ocean Road. It’s about an hour and a half drive to the start of the Great Ocean road
Moving on the next day, our first stop is a rainforest board walk to give us a chance to quickly stretch our legs under Australian rainforest (didn’t really know that they had rainforest but anyway) which was interesting. Plus I’m a big fan of boardwalks in Australia as much less chance of stepping on a snake. Then we drove out to see the Otways peninsula which was slightly disappointing when we got to the point and discovered you can’t see the lighthouse without paying for a tour but we did see lots of koalas and a roadkill snake on the way so the drive still kept our interest
In the morning we had our final part of the great ocean road to see, our first stop was ‘London Bridge’ which was called London Bridge even before it collapsed one day leaving a couple of tourists stranded on the new island (they had to be rescued by helicopter) hence that you are now not allowed anywhere near the cliff edge. This was another impressive rock formation (who knew we would see so many!?), especially considering the amount of rock that had collapsed. We then continued along to the end of the great ocean road and on to the more ordinary sounding Princes Highway to Port Fairy. Port Fairy was nice which turned out well as it was a bit of longer drive for Jonny than we expected. When we arrived we spotted a farm shop that was doing wine tastings for free so we headed in there to try some local wine and pick up a couple bottles and try not to buy anything else – they even had Dean’s shortbread (my favourite) but I resisted. We then took a walk around the harbour area which was nice, had a coffee and cake break on the main street and then drove around the headland to find a beautiful swimming and snorkelling beach plus some very plush looking beach houses. No idea what you would do for a living if you lived out here but there seems to be a lot of development going on. Then it was back the way we came until we reached Warrnambool where we stopped at CheeseWorld
For our last day on the GOR we took the quick way back to Torquay (inland in the hope of seeing some kangaroos – no sightings, not even road kill). We were staying at Home @ Bells Beach hostel. The name had let us believe we would be chilling out next to the surfers beach just outside Torquay so when we actually looked at the address we were quite surprised to see it on the main highway in Torquay. Not an ideal location or ideal hostel but we were used to that by now and in a 12 bed dorm with long-termers is never fun but at least it was only one night. We headed off to see Bells Beach which was actually a ten minute drive but unfortunately the weather conditions were not on our side and so there was no surf and no surfers
Next day we drive back to Melbourne to drop off the car and to stay with Jenni and Max for the weekend. Apart from me getting us a little lost on the drive in to Melbourne ( I don’t think it was my fault as we didn’t have a road map which makes things a little difficult) we drop off the car with no bother and then head out to Jenni and Max’s. They are at work and so we keep Keith and Kat company on the sofa watching the tennis – we all got a little addicted....before heading out to pick up some bbq food for dinner. So at least when Jenni and Max got home we could say we had planned dinner rather than just watching tennis all day. We then caught up again over dinner, wine and even espresso martinis which somehow promptly sent us all to sleep.
On Saturday we headed into town to watch the tennis as the ground passes were pretty cheap. We got lucky in our first ten minutes as we saw Nadal training and then went to queue to get into one of the bigger stands. After an hour and a half of queuing in the sun we were all beginning to lose hope and so decided to splash out and buy tickets for the Murray match later on in the day so we were guaranteed to see some decent tennis. After we got the tickets we watched some double matches which are always good as they are so quick, picked up something to eat and then watched the Murray vs Llodra match. We definitely got value for money even though it was relatively easy game for Murray as he was still forced to make some great shots and Llodra enjoyed keeping the crowd entertained
For our final day in Australia, Jenni and Max kindly took us kangaroo spotting as we still hadn’t seen any. We drove about 30 minutes out of town to a golf course and sure enough, there they were relaxing in the shade. No idea why kangaroos like golf courses but this should be the first place to check if you want to see them. They really are the strangest creatures – they look like a cross between a hare, deer and dog but then when you see the strength in their tale that looks like a snake. We walked up to see how close we could get to the without disturbing them and got some good photos. Then we headed back into the city to Fitzroy which is bit more rough and ready than the other areas that we have seen in Melbourne but this means that they have some pretty cool street art, cafes and shops. We stopped for some coffee and cake – possibly the biggest slices of cake we have ever seen which were very tasty. And then it was time for us to make our way to airport and leave Australia. We were sad to leave Australia as it has only been a brief visit plus it was very nice to see some familiar faces and let’s face it they spoilt us well!
We flew back to Sydney to fly to Bangkok the next day. And now we are onto our final leg of our trip – South East Asia with only about 10 weeks left!