Friday, May 5, 2017

NZ/Aus Days 45 & 46: Melbourne for Reals

We got into Melbourne late in the afternoon and after getting groceries, feeding Baby, eating ourselves, and putting her to bed, we were more than pooped. We'd spent a lot of time in the car the last three days and were ready to stretch out and recoup. Unfortunately, the Melbourne Department of Transportation had different plans for us.

Our accommodation was situated right beside the above ground train station. For some reason, there was an apparent need for the trains to honk their horns when coming into the station. Loudly. Sometimes with two honks. So imagine trying to put a baby to sleep during rush hour when trains are arriving every three minutes from each direction. It was brutal. Then imagine trying to sleep yourself on a saggy mattress while the trains continued to do this all night long. Hell.

Maybe the day will turn around
So when we got up the next morning (note that we did not say "woke up" as that implies we were sleeping in the first place), the deluge taking place outside mirrored our moods. When the hail started coming down and water began falling (again, note the word choice - not "dripping"), and the apartment started to flood, it was laughably appropriate. Except that we were too busy throwing our bags on the bed and pulling the couch away from the wall to laugh.

But, you see, we had brunch plans because the thing to do in Melbourne is to go for brunch. So we got dressed, shrugged our shoulders at the pool of water on the floor, (and notified the owner), and went to brunch!

After a delicious meal and delightful conversation with Kirsty, we threw in the towel, (or more literally, threw it on the floor), and decided to cancel our plans for the day. Thankfully, Erin's cousin Ros is the most accommodating person in the world, and she agreed to come to us for the day rather than meet us downtown. To this, we were so grateful, especially when we discovered that our train station had closed due to flooding (though the trains still needed to honk when passing through the station!). We relaxed, got caught up, did laundry, gave Baby a bath, and had a much needed day at "home."

With the second night being not much better than the first, and our 2.5km drive taking 35 minutes in morning rush hour traffic, we were not feeling oh too happy with Melbourne. But we tried our best to give the city a fair chance. Whether it was Ros's upbeat personality, the fact that the sun finally came out, or that we were away from the infuriating beeping, we actually did find things to enjoy. 

Melbourne is trendy but not uninviting. It has a thriving art scene with interesting-looking museums that we would've checked out if we'd had more time. And we loved the alleyways with wall-to-wall graffiti. We sadly didn't get to visit the bar under the bridge because it wasn't open yet, but we did stop for a bite beside the river. Thankfully, for us, Melbourne's best attribute was its company. Thanks, Kirsty and Ros, for making our time there enjoyable!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

NZ/Aus Days 45 & 46: Melbourne

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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

NZ/Aus Days 42-44: The Great Ocean Car Park

Okay, we admit it: we've been incredibly spoiled this trip. We had five weeks in New Zealand zipping along mountainous and coastal routes with the roads to ourselves enjoying breathtakingly beautiful scenery. So when we heard the words, Great Ocean Road, we kind of assumed that the road would hug the ocean.

To be fair, we were doing it backwards.
It worked better for us to go from Adelaide to Melbourne, meaning we were looking back for the best views, we weren't on the coastal side of the road, and we started, rather than finished, with the Twelve Apostles highlight. But nearly our entire first day of driving was through farmlands and brush without a wave or cliff in sight. How is this portion a part of the Great Ocean Road? We also had the disadvantage of needing to get a baby in and out of the car seat at most stops because the viewpoints required some walking. This was hard on all of us.

Despite our grumblings, we enjoyed the trip. Here are some of our favourite moments and places:

The Grotto
Gibson's Steps
The Twelve Apostles
The Twelve Apostles
London Bridge
We were so excited to spot our first koala on our own...
no cars pulled over or anything!

NZ/Aus Day 41:Moooving Onwards

After a relaxing four days in Adelaide, we left it behind to gradually make our way to Melbourne. We were excited to be joined by our friend Kirsty who had flown from Melbourne to make the trip with us. Our social life had seriously been lacking over the past six weeks so we happily gabbed away in the car.

It was a good thing, too, because our first driving day felt long and uneventful. The stops we'd chosen were a little underwhelming... Pink Beach certainly was pink - because it was COVERED in seaweed. The pelican viewpoint had a small wooden stand that looked likely to be infested with spiders and snakes, and the gas station was, well, a gas station. Needless to say, we were happy to finally reach our destination for the night: an 1890's farmhouse complete with original furniture and a bedroom full of creepy oil paintings of past family members. It was so remote, the owner had to meet us and guide us to it through her cow fields and through multiple gates! With a roaring fire in the stately hearth, we nestled in for the night.