The Land Down Under
It’s been 3 and a half years since I explored awesome Australia, it seems an age ago but it’s well worthy of a blog post! The trip was instigated by an invite to a wedding with my now ex-boyfriend. That was just the excuse I needed to travel to The Land Down Under! I flew to Melbourne on Christmas day of 2011 with Malaysia Air. No, it wasn’t cheaper despite it being Christmas Day. No, there wasn’t any festive food, we ate curry. And no, Malaysia Air wasn’t dire. At the time, I was really impressed with the airline that is sadly now synonymous with tragedy. The funny thing is, I did no research for this trip, I didn’t book a thing, it was taken out of my hands, so I simply packed a bag, grabbed my passport and rocked up!
I touched down in Melbourne at the end of Boxing Day and was greeted by cold rain. This was not what I was hoping for. Where was the dazzling sunshine and the smell of barbequed food?! After exploring, I found Melbourne to be a fantastic city, it’s classy without being pretentious, it’s cultured without being stuffy, it’s got enough buzz to keep you fascinated without being hectic. The food and drink is world class but expensive for backpackers. The Yarra River divides the city and sets the scene for some great bars and restaurants. These attributes keep winning Melbourne the prodigious title of ‘most liveable city in the world’.
My best tip is simply to get a map and walk around. You can get trams or horse and carts, but as a rule, walking is the best way to get a feel for a place. Another tip is always wear suncream in Melbourne. I stupidly assumed I wouldn’t need any on a cloudy mild day, but there is a hole in the ozone layer right above Melbs, consequently my porcelain English skin ended up getting seriously burnt!
Eureka Skydeck – located at a vertigo inducing 297m high, head here for the best view of the city.
Street Art – Head to Hosier Lane, take a camera and view the incredible street art. By the way, It’s illegal to graffiti or tag. You can pay for a 3 hour guided tour by the artists themselves, or you can simply wander around the streets and capture the charm of this public art.
Melbourne Cricket Club– bond with locals and catch a game of cricket or AFL footy.
Geelong is a good 2 hour drive from Melbourne but well worth a visit. A pretty beach town with an authentic laid back ‘by the seaside’ vibe. Geelong is where Melbournians go on holiday. It’s also a great place to start a road trip along the scenic Great Ocean Road. I spent New Year there in a plush apartment overlooking the promenade and carousel. I saw in the year 2012 with friends and enjoyed a balcony BBQ with a front row view of the New Year fireworks display. It was fab.
Cunningham Pier – take a stroll up this old fashioned pier and stop for a spot of lunch in one of the sublime restaurants.
Eastern Beach – take a beach towel and a picnic, relax, then cool off by taking a dip in the art deco style fenced off sea pool (it stops sharks from nibbling people)
Surf brand outlets – if you like a bargain, head out of town for tons of surf brand outlets selling some seriously discounted gear.
Lorne and the Great Ocean Road
We drove part of the very scenic Great Ocean Road up to the town of Lorne, which has the most glorious stretch of beach with fantastic surf. Standing on Lorne beach, breathing in the fresh sea air, listening to the surf crashing down and feeling the heat of the December sun, was the moment that it truly hit me that I was really the other side of the world, in a continent that I’d always dreamed of seeing. It was a memorable moment for me.
Lorne is famous for its fish and chip shops; they line the beach front and nostalgically remind an English girl like me of home. I slapped on some factor 50 suncream and tried to protect my skin from the harsh UV rays. My Aussie mates started calling me Porcelain Doll due to my paleness, haha!
Great Ocean Road – is an epic and winding 151 miles or 243 kilometres. It’s a wicked way to get to the city of Adelaide by hiring a car, or simply drive part of the way for a day trip.
My time in the state of Victoria drew to a close. The next leg of my Aussie adventure would take me to Sydney where I had a big birthday surprise in store..