Visiting Melbourne and its surroundings! As promised in my previous post Would You Travel To Australia For Business? Here are the highlights of what I managed to see while on business in Melbourne with a few pics. Hope you enjoy it!
First of all, weather wasn’t that great. Australia is just getting into winter now and in Melbourne, as the locals will tell you, you can have four seasons in one day. It felt cold, probably because of the ocean wind.
A Few Fun Words From Melbourne:
A few fun words I learned (remember I am french so may not be so fun to you!),
- Rubbish for garbage. Just love the way they say it!
- Mate for a friend.
- Take-away for take-out. It’s close but confusing at first. When I ordered Thai one night, the girl asked me “take away”? Like No you can’t take it away I want to take it home!
Food & Drinks:
I didn’t get a chance to test the beer…so no review! (forgive me and keep reading anyway please, cute pics coming up). I
stuffed my face tried lamington* cake (oh so good!), tested vegemite* (oh not so good, maybe even disgusting!) and ate Tim-tam cookies (not my favorite even if the biscuit is covered in chocolate).
I did a junk food trip to the grocery store and may have brought back a bag full of junk food (banana split and lamington M&Ms, lamington cake, tim-tam, snowballs …). Am I the only one who bring junk food back from foreign places?
*Lamington is a sponge cake, covered in chocolate and rolled in coconut and I LOVED it (and again forgot to take pics!)
*Vegemite is a black food spread made from leftover brewers’ yeast extract with various vegetable and spice additives. Apparently it is an excellent source of vitamin B.
So Beside Working 14 hours Day, What Did I Do??
I booked two tours (being alone and with little time, it seemed like the right formula)
First Saturday – Tour #1, The Grand Parade:
- Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park on the Mornington Peninsula. You can see all the same animals everywhere in Australia but at the Sanctuary you can get up close. I got to pet a koala and feed wallabies (small version of the kangaroo) and kangaroos. It was the highlight of my day (I know, I should grow up!)
- Fun facts: The female kangaroo can pick the sex of the joey (baby kangaroo), she can also decide when to start her pregnancy . Not sure how scientists figured that one out but sounds pretty cool.
- Fun fact: Koalas are pretty much stoned all the time!!! I am exaggerating but they can sleep up to 22 hours a day. They need a lot of sleep because of the amount of energy required to digest the toxins from the eucalyptus leaves.
- Churchill Island – Working heritage farm with magnificent views over Western Port
- Beautiful spot for the views.
- The Nobbies – a rocky outcrop with an excellent boardwalk where you may spot Little Penguins’s homes and I did. Apparently not the season for them to be there but saw a couple in one of the burrows (can you see one?)
- Antarctic Journey at The Nobbies – Antartic wildlife via education tour and interactive experiences
- Phillip Island Nature Park – a natural home for koalas, wallabies, seals and the Little Penguins Parade! Check out this video to see the little penguins come back at night, it is really cool. (You have to watch it!) I got so wrapped up in looking for them and following them, I didn’t film or take picture. Also pretty noisy.
- Fun fact: Little penguins are the smallest of all penguins species and they spend 80% of their lives in the water. To find out more about the penguins , check out the Penguin Foundation.
Sunday – Visiting Melbourne
Took the city train (right beside my building) to Downtown Melbourne, spent the full day walking around. Weather was nice to walk around. I had to buy a Myki card to take the train (reusable travel card). You spend around $6 for it (no refund or return unfortunately). Otherwise fare was very reasonable. It took about 20 minutes to get downtown.
Once downtown, all public transportation is free on the week-end (tramway is free all the time in the business district). I went to:
- Harbour town where it was mainly shops
- Queen Victoria market
- Federation Square, tons to do there and lots going on.
- Thru some of the many laneways
- Walked down Collins Street
I met a retired couple and talked about retired life in Melbourne, sounds like life as a retiree is pretty sweet in Australia! I plan to look more into it:)
Second Saturday – Tour #2 The Great Ocean Road
An amazing coastline to travel and stunningly breathtaking even with poor weather
“Great Ocean Road takes in spectacular coastal views of long sandy beaches, rolling surf, precipitous coastal cliffs and river inlets”. We stopped or drove thru :
- Otway National Park – fern gullies and Eucalypts make up the Australian rainforest
- Port Campbell National Park’s rugged coastline, “The Shipwreck Coast”
- Huge stone monoliths of the Twelve Apostles from the boardwalk lookout
- Tom & Eva and Razorback – grand architecture carved by surf
- Loch Ard Gorge – site of the tragic shipwreck of the “Loch Ard”
- Port Campbell – holiday resort and fishing village
Optional Helicopter ride? I did it! I had to. For once I only had to pay for one! Sad to say but when I travel with my kids, everything gets multiplied by four and becomes quite expensive. So I did the 15 minutes helicopter ride over the shipwreck coast and so glad I did it!
I feel I took full advantage of my free time. I loved the little I saw of Melbourne and its surroundings and enjoyed meeting new people. It was interesting to see how different it is when you travel alone.
So how much did all the extra stuff cost me? A helicopter ride, two organized tours? Not very frugal am I? Well, technically it didn’t cost me anything! Actually I cleared over $2,000 from the trip!! How? You will have to read my next post!
How about you, did you ever visit Melbourne and the surroundings? Anything special places your recommend I visit next time?