Again, I am getting really shit at keeping this up to date. I should really just write a post AS SOON AS I get back from wherever so it’s not like 3 weeks late. Oh well…..So I went to Melbourne.
The trip to Melbourne didn’t start off well. I am so used to taking international flights that I forgot that you don’t have to arrive at the airport 3 hours early for a domestic flight. This was mistake number 1. There isn’t a lot to do at the domestic terminal at 5am. One good point though, I misheard my name at Boost Juice and they gave me a coupon for a free juice. Yummy. Mistake number 2 was that I forgot to check the weather in Melbourne before packing. I stepped off the plane expecting it to be slightly cooler than Sydney’s 30 degrees, I was totally not expecting it to be 10 degrees!! I was wearing flip flops, shorts and a cardigan. I know I am from Canada and I should be able to handle the cold but this was not weather appropriate clothing. PLUS it started to rain and this dumbass didn’t bring a waterproof jacket.
I made it to the hostel, Nomads (www.nomadsworld.com), checked into my room and then went down to venture around in the freezing cold and pouring rain. But first I thought I would see what there was to do in Melbourne, just so I wasn’t wandering around in the rain. I asked at the front desk about the sights and ended up booking a one day tour along the Great Ocean Road, more on that later. The first day in Melbourne was just wandering around, and remembering that people outside of Sydney are pleasant to strangers. I was initially taken aback when people in shops were genuinely nice or people would try and have a conversation with you.
One of my favourite things about Melbourne besides the friendly people was the tram system. I think more places should get a tram system, underground trains are so over rated. This is such a better way to travel; you can see where you are going, the stops are closer together and there are these cool platforms in the middle of the street. The one thing that I didn’t enjoy was that you had to buy a travel card to top up to travel. I was only there for a weekend and really only using the trams for one day so it seemed like a waste of money to me but if I wanted to venture outside of the city centre it was a necessity. So I had to suck it up and purchase the pass.
One place in Melbourne that I really wanted to see was St. Kilda. It’s a town or area just outside of the city centre, it’s kind of the hippie/boho/crackhead area, where I would probably live if I had moved to Melbourne. Unfortunately, it was still freezing cold and pissing it down with a rain. I decided to take a break from the cold and get some food. There are no shortages of places to eat in St. Kilda so I needed to find somewhere special to eat. How could I ever decide? That was until I saw, “Zombie Burger” (http://zombieburger.com.au/), how can you turn down lunch at a place that has menu options such as The Boomstick Burger and Shroom of the Dead?
Thankfully my judgement was excellent and I had one of the finest burgers I have ever eaten from this entertaining establishment. My hunger vanquished, I took advantage of the brief break in the clouds to wander around St. Kilda. Had the weather been warmer I might have spent a little bit more time around the beach and the promenade that seemingly goes the length of the oceanfront but I was being a bit of a baby and wanted to be warm and dry. I spent a few hours wandering the streets and looking at the shops before deciding to go back into the city and the hostel.
When I got back to the hostel all the other people who were staying in my dorm where all there. There was one other girl in the room and I immediately picked up on a familiar accent, “Where are you from in Canada?”, I asked. She laughed and answered, “Port McNeill, BC. Where are you from?. Canadians and Vancouver Islanders get everywhere apparently. I love the idea of being on the other side of the world and staying in a hostel with someone who comes from about 6 hours away from where you call home.
Okay, now the exciting portion of the trip, The Great Ocean Road. I had booked a one day tour of the GOR but doing day tours kind of makes me feel like I am failing as a traveler somehow by not doing it myself but in my defence the GOR is really long and I can’t drive. Doing this day kind of changed my opinion on organized tours, as long as you get a good group of people, it makes it easier to see ‘the stuff to see’, plus you can have a nap. I mean I would still prefer to do things by myself and not have to stick to a schedule, “Okay, 5 minutes folks, then back on the bus” but when you have limited time and transport options, I guess they are okay.
As the name kind of gives away the Great Ocean Road is a road that goes along the ocean. Shocking, I know. And it is pretty great. But as I have realized now, when you have lived in British Columbia and especially Vancouver Island it is really hard to be impressed by coastline. I might be slightly biased but the BC coastline is one of the most beautiful places on earth. So we stopped at all of these beachy coastal places and everyone from landlocked countries were like, “OOOOOO AAAAAAA” and I was like, “Meh, Sombrio is better.” Also it was kind of the same when we were driving through the temperate rain forest, Everyone else: “Ooooo AAAAAHHH rain forest”, Me: “Yaaaawn…looks like home”.
Now don’t get me wrong, it is beautiful and I had a great time and it is TOTALLY worth doing it. There are awesome things to see along the road. I got to see my first koalas in Australia, so many koalas. I know I keep saying this every time that I see Australian animals out in the wild but they still don’t seem real. Even after all this time they still seem to be fake or just placed there for the tourist. Like freaking koalas just hanging out on the side of the road is not supposed to happen. But there they are.
There are of course other non-furry sights on the Great Ocean Road, the Cape Otway lighthouse is actually pretty cool. As it says in the name, it is a lighthouse. It is also the windiest place that I have ever been and that is just on the grounds around the lighthouse, and then you go up the lighthouse and you actually think that the wind is going to blow you away. The grounds of the lighthouse are quite nice as well if the weather is going to behave and you can walk around without getting wet.
But I think the general highlight of the Great Ocean Road are the Twelve Apostles- so called named even though there were only eight of them. I call false advertising on their part. There is a path along the clifftop so you can see them all but it would be so much cooler if you could walk around the stacks, I mean if the ocean wasn’t going to sweep you away. Damn nature ruining all my fun.
We stopped for dinner in Port Campbell at about 4:30pm, there was nothing open because it was too early for dinner….well nothing except the pub that is. A group of us banded together and wandered down the road to the pub for a cheeky drink…or pot of beer as it’s called in Victoria. I miss pints. There are too many variations in beer sizes in Australia. Every state has a different name and sizing system for draught beers and it gets very confusing after a while. The quick drink and the fresh air all day not to mention the shitty music that the driver insisted on playing did their tricks and made it very easy for a nice nap on the drive back. Another reason why tours went up in my estimation….you can nap while someone else drives you.
The next day was another day of wandering around Melbourne, I wandered to Fitzroy, the boho/hipster/crackhead area in the city. Yes, I know about it from guidebooks but really the first time that I had ever really heard about Fitzroy was in “The Young Crazed Peeling” by The Distillers and I just had ” My name’s Brody and I’m from Melbourne. Fitzroy, Melbourne. Fitzroy, Melbourne” going through my head the whole time was was walking the streets. I also went to the Melbourne Museum, which is huge and also really worth a visit, especially on a rainy day. Then my friend Bryon came to pick me up with the promise of a barbecue at his place before he would take me to the airport to go back to Sydney. Sadly, the barbecue was not ready when we got to his place nor would it be ready before I left so to make up for it I drank more cider than a person should on an empty stomach, which lead to me sobering up on the plane back to Sydney.
Melbourne is awesome. If I didn’t have my job in Sydney that I really like, I probably would have come back, packed my stuff and moved down to Melbourne right then. It makes me feel sad that I only had a few days to spend there. Oh well. Shit happens.