Melbourne

So for my last night in Melbourne and to celebrate my first week in Australia, I decided to splurge and eat a slap up dinner. I ate at Chocolate Buddha in Federation Square, a sort of classier version of Wagamamas. The dinner itself was quite cheap at about £10, but I had a cocktail, to make up for all the times I’ve not been down the pub. I had a Great seat looking out onto the city and witnessed all the skyscrapers and Christmas decorations light up for the night. I’ve also seen a huge downpour make it’s way towards me. It’s such a shame about the weather; it’s really hampered my exploration of the city. I’ll be a bit sad when I leave Melbourne tonight. It’s a great city and I’ve barely scratched the surface when it comes to all the sights ans things to do (and places to eat, it’s a foodies paradise here). Melbourne is big and bustling, but there’s and openness and friendliness here and there’s the feeling that there’s always something awesome tucked away behind a corner.

Take yesterday morning as an example. While walking the streets after breakfast, it started to rain *again* so I decided to walk in the park close by and as the trees were large and broadleaved and offered relative protection from the rain. While walking down a leafy avenue I stumbled upon a little cottage. What was interesting is that this cottage was the house Captain James Cook’s parents used to live in. Not a replica house, the actual building. Someone in 1930 something had decided to transport the entire cottage brick by brick from Yorkshire and rebuild it exactly as it was in Fitzroy gardens, Melbourne. Even cuttings of the ivy climbing the walls of the house were taken and regrown here. Quite astounding.

So tonight I’m off on my overnight train ride to Sydney. Sweet. Should be able to kep you up to date fairly regulary once I’m there (although I’m not sure about uploading my hundreds of photos) so I’ll see you all again very soon.

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Great Ocean Road

In Melbourne now, it’s nice! Not that I’ve looked at the city yet. I’ve only got half an hour on this machine, so I’m just going to write the notes I’ve made. It’s a bit fragmented and most are just road and place name to remind me of where I went. One day I’ll write them up properly, but you’ll get the idea of what I did on those hectic three days. Thanks again for all your comments, they’re awesome and Rory, I shall send you an email soon.

Day 1.

Just as you start to go into the Adelaide Hills, there’s a sign warning drivers of koalas crossing the road.

Princes Highway

KEITH – Gateway to the South East (isn’t that a Peter Sellers joke?)

Bordertown. Halfway between Adelaide and Melbourne. Wildlife park, housing lots of white kangaroo

Hicksville, SA. Made our own Sandwiches in a tin pub.

The town of Gymbowen. Somewhere behind one of these tin houses is a speedboat.

Natimuck is a tidy town. Used to be the old railway here. Outlaws used to sit on a mountain nearby to watch out for trains to hijack them.

The Grampians. Just really, really beautiful.

I saw kangaroos! In the wild! And then I ate some at our BBQ. It was tasty.

Day 2.

Walk up to The Pinnacles. Very, very hard going, but worth it. Best walk I’ve done in years. Tramping over boulders and streams and walking through gorges.

Quick stop at the Aboriginal Culture Centre. Someone’s getting a boomerang for Christmas…

Bay of Islands

Bay of Martyrs

The Grotto

The Arch

London Bridge

Staying on a hostel right on the beach of Port Campbell.

Most brilliant evening. Had dinner and a beer sitting on the veranda of the hostel looking out to the sea and listening to Ella Fitzgerald. Travelled up to the 12 Apostles (really quite magnificent when you see them up close and personal – no photograph does them justice) and watched the sun set. The sky was a patchwork of clouds and we even had thunder and lighting and a rainbow. Mother Nature at her very best. One of the finest things I’ve ever witnessed. Then five minutes after sundown, about 70 penguins marched up the beach just as the rain came pouring down and soaked us all in about 10 seconds.

Day 3.

Got up at 6 again and looked at more coves and bays. The beauty of the place never wanes.

Went in a helicopter for a 8 minute ride. I giggled like a girl the whole time.

Rainforest Walk at Maits Rest.

Koala spotting. Stopped at a caravan park to watch the little critters munch the eucalyptus trees. They’re cute and make funny noises!

Last stop Torquay. Birth place to the major surfing companies and home to all their factory outlets and nothing else. Rather disappointing last stop of the tour. Rather like going round the most awesome museum and finishing up in a crappy gift shop.

Drive to Melbourne was long, due to traffic, but the view of the city from the bridge was great.

I’ve just discovered that my travel adaptor won’t fit my camera battery recharger. Arse.