Trip Start Jan 26, 2012
35Trip End May 20, 2012
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Had a fantasic 9days in Melbourne. There are lots of great places to see (e.g. federation square, victoria markets, botanical gardens, Eurika town), green spaces, sports arenas and cool shopping lanes where you can sit with a coffee (Melbourne has amazing coffee!). I loved the atmosphere of the city, which is similar to Brighton in England. Melbourne has the title of 'most liveable' city, in terms of quality of life, and I can see why, especially with beaches and national parks very nearby. I could easily live in Melbourne.
I went on 2 tours organised by a company called Bunyan. I highly recommend the Great Ocean Road and Philip Island tours, which also gives you a free pass up the Eurika tower (88th
floor, highest skyscraper in southern hemisphere) and Aquarium.
The Great Ocean Road tour was on a small bus from Torquay to the Apostles, along a road built to connect small seaside towns. It runs directly alongside the coastline giving the most fantastic coastal views of cliffs, beaches and turquoise water. The highlight of the tour was dinner on a lovely cove beach, then watching the sunset over the apostles.
The Phillip Island tour visited a farm on churchill Island, where we watched sheep shearing and saw baby ducks (Mum, you would have loved these!), went to a wildlife park which had Koalas, walabies, and then onto Phillip Island to watch the penguin parade.
The island is just south of Melbourne and is home to the smallest breed of penguins (only 33cm tall, called Little Penguins) and the largest collection of penguins in the world (20-30,000). They spend 1-3days out at sea fishing then return to the beach at sunset to sand dune borrows. I upgraded my pass to a front row set (penguin plus pass) and was worth the extra.
As night sets you see a few penguins start to emerge from the surf, then more and more come out the water. They do not like going up the beach alone so wait for about 20-200 of their friends to arrive, then all waddle up the beach together. When they reach the sand dunes (where we were seated) they stop, rest and prune their feathers. At first the groups of penguins were 20-30 at a time, but after 20mins the groups turned into 100, then 200. Some of the boardwalks are amongst their borrows so you can slowly follow the penguins up the dunes, standing within a meter of them! The emphasis is on conservation so everyone is very quiet, low lighting is used and photography is not allowed. It was an amazing exerience to watch for 50minutes.
On my last day in Melbourne I went to my friend Rowe's apartment and had an Aussy BBQ, including shrimp on the barbie! Great to spend some more time with Dave, Rowe and Row's boyfriend, before they kindly dropped me at the airport (in Sydney now). My trip to
Melbourne wouldn't have been half as good them.