Hey everyone! It’s been a while! Alana and I have been moving around a lot this past month and I’ve been so busy with all of the travel and fun activities that we’ve been getting up to that I haven’t had any time to update the blog. Fear not dear readers, for we are now back in Christchurch for a solid week with absolutely nothing to do! So sit back and get ready for a month’s worth of adventures with Richard and Alana.
We started our travels in Melbourne, Australia. Alana had made a friend from Melbourne while we were in Wellington, so we got to visit a new city and an old friend at the same time. Other than that, we just decided to go based on the hearsay that Melbourne is a “cool city.” Coming from New Zealand, our first impressions of Melbourne were that it was big, flat, and hot. At least compared to New Zealand. We stayed at an AirBnb in the Abbotsford neighborhood. The area seemed to be a predominantly Vietnamese community. The main street nearby was lined with Vietnamese restaurants and supermarkets, which was totally okay by us because Vietnamese cuisine is one of our favorites.
We only had four days to explore, so here are some of the highlights of our time in Melbourne:
Great Ocean Road Tour
This wasn’t really in Melbourne, but rather just outside of it. We heard that the Great Ocean Road was best explored by car over several days, but we had neither a car nor a lot of time to spend in the area so we opted to take a guided tour instead. Guided tours aren’t normally our cup of tea. We tend to prefer doing things on our own time, in our own way, but the day we spent with Go West Tours was a load of fun!
We were picked up from a hotel in the Melbourne CBD at around 8:00 am. The tour included a number of stops along the Great Ocean Road. The road itself reminded me of those windy coastal roads that you see in all of the car commercials. We sat on the left side of the bus so we could get the best views of the coast as we were driving west from Melbourne. The tour guides were very entertaining and had a great selection of music to go along with all of the places we stopped. Some of my favorites were a campsite where we could see wild koalas sleeping in the trees, the famous Twelve Apostles, and Loch Ard Gorge. Lunch was included in the tour and we stopped for dinner on the way back to Melbourne. It was a long day, but totally worth it to get out of the city and see some of the beautiful coastline.
The Dandenong Ranges
We spent a day exploring the Dandenong Ranges with some our our Melbourne friends. The mountains weren’t the tallest or most scenic we’ve ever been to, but it was nice to spend a day hanging out with friends and enjoying the nice weather. We spent the morning wandering around some gardens in the area and visiting the top of the mountain which had a nice view of Melbourne in the distance. We got lunch at a cafe and took it to Woolrich Lookout and ate in the shade under some trees. After lunch we visited the William Ricketts Sanctuary, a quirky garden filled with intricately carved statues. It was cool getting to see some places that we might not have otherwise known about had our friends not taken us there.
Fitzroy is one of the neighborhoods that gives Melbourne its cool, hipster reputation. We spent an afternoon wandering the streets filled with more cafes and second hand shops than you could shake a stick at. Alana, the shop-a-holic of our team, was in heaven. I had to go into low power mode to avoid losing too much energy traipsing through one aisle of used clothing after the next. More to my tastes, heh heh, there was no shortage of great food and beverage options in the area.
St. Kilda was another part of the city that we heard was pretty “cool,” plus there was a beach there so we felt obliged to go check it out considering the beautiful weather. We rode the trams down and spent the afternoon wandering around. We walked on the beach for a little, but it was so hot and sunny that it didn’t take long for me to reach my exposure limit and Alana was forced to scoop my crispy skin and melted insides off of the ground and take me back to our nice cool apartment.
All in all Melbourne was in fact a really “cool” city and we both wished we had a bit more time to spend there and explore the area. Unfortunately we didn’t, but before we had any time to get too mopey about it we were off to Sydney and more adventure!