Tuesday (November 22): 10 Hour train ride from Sydney to Melbourne. Arrive late in the evening and check into our hostel.
Wednesday: Walking the CBD (downtown area) early in the morning and grab brunch to get out of the rain. After eating we head over to the State Library of Victory to explore their arts gallery and museum exhibits. In the afternoon we continue walking the CBD with stops at Federation Square and an impromptu free concert at St Paul’s Cathedral and a stop at the visitors bureau (another stop to get out of the rain). In the evening we meet up with Megan as she will be travelling with us throughout Victoria. Continue walking around CBD, and south of the Yarra River to see the Alexandra Gardens and National Galley of Victoria. Stops include Hosier Street to see the alleys of graffiti, the night noodle market and the Banksy art gallery (we decided to not pay the $$$ to go in) but same a lot of the exhibit 😉 In the evening we spent most of the night at a ramen bar for dinner.
Thursday (Thanksgiving – USA): Wake up early to pick up our rental car from the airport. Once we gather all our belongings, we start our drive to the Great Ocean Road. First stop is at You Yangs Regional Park to see if we can spot any Koala’s in the park. We were unsuccessful in seeing the little furry guys here, but we did see our first kangaroo in the wild. After driving the park for an hour we continue our road trip and to our next stop, Anglesea. Here there is a mob of kangaroos which provide easier for us to get some photo’s of them. After we leave Anglesea, we finally get to the Great Ocean Road Highway. Along the way we intermittently stop for photos, grab lunch at Apollo Bay, seek out some Koalas in Great Otway National Park, and then make it to our main destination, the Twelve Apostles. After a full day of driving, we stop in Port Campbell for dinner and to sleep.
Friday: Continue our road trip along the Great Ocean Road Highway to see London Bridge and the Bay of Island. From here, we head inland to make the trip back to Geelong and Melbourne. We drop off the rental car back at the airport and spend the rest of the afternoon exploring some bars and restaurants in Melbourne. For the evening, we crash in Geelong.
Saturday: Pack up our bags to head back into Melbourne (some outlying suburbs) to get breakfast, lunch and then a few drinks. In the afternoon we head to the airport for our flight back to Brisbane.
Prior to our visit to Melbourne, everybody told us this was the city that closest resembles San Francisco. And without hesitation, I can say everybody was spot on. Between the cool climate, wide variety of foodie spots, street art, and the general vibe of everybody walking around, these two cities have a lot of similarities. There are so many great things about Melbourne (from out limited experience). Public transportation in the business district is free. We were able to swing into a free lunch time opera performance. There are alley’s dedicated to just street art and we had our first true ramen since living in San Francisco. Lastly, Melbourne is in close proximity to state and national parks. It’s nice to be able to drive 30 minutes to get out of the city and be in a unique park.
Our trip to the Twelve Apostles and Bay of Islands required a little road trip. So we rented a car which gave me my first opportunity to get into a car with a driver seat on the right side and driving in the opposite lane. Needless to say I made a few mistakes driving (I accidentally turned into a lane with an oncoming semi truck down the road), but most of the drive went without a hitch. The entire road trip was truly amazing and it seems we were making stops around every new corner to take in the beautiful sights. One “oh shit” moment we had on this road trip was when we were driving through Great Otway National Park. We were leaving the parking and we kept our eyes on all the Gum Trees. All of a sudden it hits us, a furry little ball midway up a tree. We pull over to the side of the road, look at each other and said, “was that a koala!?”. Well we get out of the car to check it out, and sure enough not one, but two koalas sleeping in the trees. Even though they were sleeping, I could have stayed there all day just watching them. Unfortunately we had to leave the park, but continued down our amazing roadtrip. All the sights just kept getting bigger and better. This was truly one of the best road trips i’ve ever been on.
The second I stepped off of the train in Melbourne I instantly felt like I was back in San Francisco. The weather was cold & rainy, the city was dirty & full of character and the people were too cool for school. Melbourne is the hippest, coolest place in all of OZ. Everyone looked like they just stepped out of a time machine with their cool hip vintage attire. Like, all cool hip cities Melbourne has a lot of “things” to do, there is something for every night of the week. Best part of hip cities is the free ness of all of the cool “things” to do. For example, we saw a free opera performance at the most famous cathedral in Melbourne and the public transportation throughout the city is FREE! There were also a lot of free exhibits that we visited. But I think my favorite part of Melbourne was the State Library. I will be the first person to tell you that reading ain’t my thang but I have a weird obsession with books. I always have. I collect them for my strange obsession which makes moving every year really easy on me *Sorry Eric, I know they are heavy* I like the way books feel, I like to write in them, I love the way they smell and I like the decor they provide sitting on my shelves. The State Library of Victoria is beautiful and holds a lot of history. Not only in itself but also within its contents. Another thing that is cool about hip cities is the people that flock to them. For example, while we were in Melbourne there was a Bansky art exhibit setup on the river that was surrounded by a food festival. I don’t know what is cooler, the food or art scene #sohip We also ran into a few famous Australians on the streets of Melbourne so that’s cool. I even saw a homeless person in Melbourne, so hip. But the best part of hip cities is the super unique architecture. Melbourne had a very London feel when it came to its older Victorian styled architecture but also a very futuristic feel when it came to its more modern architecture. The modern buildings looked like things I have never seen before, there is nothing to even compare them to any where else in the world. It was very unique. While in Victoria we took a road trip along the Great Ocean Road which reminded me of highway 1 in California. Very similar with the ocean views, bluffs, windy roads and free standing landmasses. Reason I am making the effort to highlight this road trip is because koalas. Yes, I said it, koalas. The cutest little fur babies I have ever seen in muh life! I didn’t even know that I wanted to see them or that they were going to have any kind of effect on me but oh boy! *all the heart eye emojis* I cant stop thinking about them and the need to just cuddle them all. The way we saw them was the craziest! We were just casually driving to the most southern point of Australia, no big deal, when we just casually passed some gum trees on the side of the road where these little fluffy creatures were just casually sleeping in the trees. We stopped the car and that’s when it happened, the tears started flowing. I couldn’t get over how sweet, peaceful and fluffy they were. After seeing them, the obsession started. I instantly started doing research about them and that has now led to Eric and I spending a week volunteering at an animal sanctuary where we will be responsible for caring for the koalas, kangaroos and wallabies #sofreakingexcited Stay tuned for that journal post 🙂
“The older i get, the more I understand it is okay to live a life others don’t understand.” -Anonymous