04.03.2012 - 10.03.2012 23 °C
After a long and delayed flight from Singapore, with pretty much no sleep what so ever on board, we touched down in Melbourne. Even though we were pretty excited to be the furthest place we had ever been from home (11478 miles to be precise) we got to our hotel and after walking the streets for a while as we waited for our room to be ready, we crashed for 6hrs! So that was pretty much the end of day one in Oz, ooops!
The following day we decided to get our bearings a little and headed out into the city. We had a look around China town, and basically came to the conclusion that we were going to starve while in Melbourne, as our backpacker budget would only stretch to one meal a day – a bit different to the lavish lifestyle we were able to enjoy whilst in Asia! The following day we headed out to Brighton with our friend Barbara that we met whilst travelling China. We had a lovely walk back to the St Kilda with some great views of the city, and then headed to Barbara’s house for some dinner which was lovely. I decided to get my head stuck in a book listing all of the venomous creatures living in Australia, probably not the best idea I’ve ever had as it certainly didn’t help calm my nerves. Lee decided to head out into the shed to actually look for some of the most poisonous spiders possible, and was pretty impressed with himself when he returned with a picture of a Sydney Funnel Web. We then almost missed our last train home, we were clearly enjoying ourselves far too much and didn’t notice the time!
The following day we met up with Chloe and Clare who we met on our travel through Vietnam. They took us to St Kilda for a nice lunch and then we wandered along the pier. We headed back to their house for some dinner and good old Aussie wine (my favourite!) and got to meet their lovely pet pooch too We were told the tale of a recent visit by a Huntsman spider, though luckily he decided not to say hello to us which I was happy about. I really have been nothing but a nervous wreck since we arrived in Oz due to the fact that they have the most venomous spiders, which really does scare the living daylights out of me. Every time I see a web it sends shivers down my spine! I mean, I am a wally when I see a spider at home, but the fact that these guys would leave you within an inch of your life really doesn’t sit well with me. We did have fun stalking Jeffrey Rush’s home, and that of Dame Edna I must say though, it has been so wonderful to be able to meet such lovely people on our travels that have welcomed us into their homes in Oz. We just hope we can offer the same if they venture to England in the future
The following day we decided to head out on a two day trip along the Great Ocean Road. The first thing to mention was the fact that our tour leader was a nutter! She was very knowledgeable though spoke to us as though we were children! We got told off for talking, made to run laps around the bus if we were late (we both had to run 10 laps at one point), and told we would get no dinner if we didn’t chip in and help cook! I then got told off for not helping Lee cook for all of about 5 minutes while I put our camera away in our room and poured us both a glass of wine… the tyrant said she had been watching me out of the window!! We did get to cook and try Kangaroo meat which was really quite nice, rather beef like. It really didn’t feel as though we had paid $400 for the trip, it was more like we were being governed by teachers on a school trip! We did have an older Geordie couple on the trip that really did give the tour leader a run for her money, and gave her what for a few times! That said though, it was a great trip. We got to see the 12 Apostles, or should I say 8 as that is all that are left standing. We then saw the Two Sisters. We visited a rainforest and took a little walk around, again Lee was on the lookout for spiders… uuurrrgghh. We headed to a lighthouse which was featured in the program ‘Round the Twist’. We visited Bells Beach and watched the surfers, and went koala spotting in their natural habitat.
We stayed overnight in a place called Lorne which was a nice little place. What we hadn’t realised when we booked the trip was that the accommodation was in single sex dormitories, and so us having one bag with all of our stuff in wasn’t really ideal as we were separated. I had a bit of a panic before we headed to bed as my dorm was in darkness and most people were already asleep, and I had really wanted the chance to be able to check my room for critters. I was not happy. After a hissy fit which lasted about half an hour I finally decided to head into my dorm when I discovered a window open right next to my bed which made me sure there would be spiders in the room! I crawled into my bed and had the worst nights sleep ever… and barely moved all night. Really thinking that these spider countries are just not for me. One highlight of the stay however was being able to feed some Yellow Tipped Cockatiels at the place we stayed. They were so noisy and there were so many of them!
The following day we had a nice breakfast before getting back on the road and headed to a wildlife park. There we were able to hand feed wallabies and kangaroo’s which we really enjoyed, they were so gentle. Lee also plucked up the courage to feed an Emu… rather him than me as they were vicious! While I was deciding if I was able to get my hand close to the crazy Emu’s without losing my fingers, the rather feisty one of the bunch decided to try and take a chunk out of Lee’s arm! We also saw many native animals, Dingo’s, Koalas, Wombats, Tasmanian Devils, Echidnas and a Kookaburra. During the drive we got to see Wallabies and Kangaroo’s in the wild which was nice. We took a ferry ride and headed towards Philip Island. We saw the Grand Prix track and visited a chocolate factory and of course I couldn’t leave empty handed. We then went to watch the Penguin Parade. This is where over a thousand little penguins come in from the sea every night after a day of fishing, and make their way back to their homes in the grassy mounds. After we saw them appear from the water and head towards their homes we were able to head up the boardwalk and actually follow some of them to their homes, they were adorable! You could hear them calling out to one another, it was lovely. They only stand 33cms high, they are the world’s smallest penguin breed. We then made our way back to Melbourne, very tired and happy from a very fun packed couple of days. The photos that we have taken along the Great Ocean Road really are like something you would see in a magazine, such incredible sights.
We had planned to see more of the city on our last day though we were so tired from our trip we ended up sleeping in pretty late. So we went for a little wander around the Botanical Gardens before heading to see some friends again who we had a lovely dinner with and stayed overnight with too. The following morning after a special breakfast of ‘English’ muffins we headed to the airport. My last memory of Melbourne will probably stay with me for a long time. On boarding our flight, there in front of me was a man trying to get his bag in the overhead locker with his trousers round his ankles. Yep, not quite what I expected! He looked directly at me and in a full on Aussie accent he said ‘Ah sh*t, me pants fell down!’… keeping a straight face was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do HAHAHA