Penguins, Koala's, Tennis and Speed Fines!
Trip Start Jun 15, 2004
105Trip End Jun 15, 2005
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The grand tour of Melbourne today, starting at the stately Parliament house, onto the Cathedral, to Flinders gardens, Captains Cooks House (his original English cottage, taken down brick by brick, transported to NZ, and rebuilt, brick by brick), and then the Treasury building.
Then catch the free city circle tram line (which, err, circles the city...and is free) onto the Victoria Markets - apparently a vibrant market with millions of stalls, but I didnt actually see as I was having a coffee in an internet cafe....
Onto the tram again, to the Melbourne Observation Deck, to view Melbourne from a height (I've seen a few cities from heights now!) and then down to the Southbank area - a riverside complex of shops and restaurants, for a heart attack inducing gateau.
Then onto the various other gardens of Melbourne, including the Royal Botanic Gardens, seeing the very large remembrance building just before entering.
Finally, walk back along the river, to Federation square, a relatively new complex of bars and restaurants, for a very nice glass of wine.
Sunday 16th January 2005
Bus trip to se the penguins at Philip Island today...which again appeared to be free? - Before we get to the main viewing place, bus driver stops at a boardwalk, where we see lots of penguins in and around their nests. At the main place, you are banned from taking photos, as the flash apparently blinds them, but this was daytime, and you can see the results!!
Onto the main viewing place, where there are viewing decks built right on the beach, and you basically sit and wait for the penguins to arrive - at around 9.15pm, they did - the beach is floodlit (constant light does them no harm apparently), and then slowly, the penguins appear - usually grouping together in bunches of 12 or so, to waddle up the beach - all very cute! - but even better when you walk back along the boardwalks to the main centre, as there are dozens of them all over the place, waddling away, and making a lot of noise, with the occassional one wandering into the carpark
They dont appear to be affected by our presence at all - just get on with finding their home - and it was amazing seeing them.
Monday 17th January 2005
Caught the tram to St Kilda, a nice little beach resort, though the beach itself is only OK - I have seen so many better beautiful beaches ("During the tour...."). The main street however is nice, with lots of cafes, restaurants and shops, as are the old buildings in the side streets.
Back to Melbourne, to visit the old Gaol, and try as I might, I couldnt lock my parents up, and then returned to Federation Square, for a further nice glass of wine.
Wander aimlessley, or so my mother thought, through the park, and just to have a look at the outside of the Australian Open - and even get her to pose for a photo outside, not realising we have bought tickets so she could see some games!!
So she was a bit surprised when I said lets go in!! She loves watching tennis, but only on TV so far. Get a program, then onto the outside courts where we watch a few games, until she hears in the background some Thai player she has heard off, so we go to that court.
Then, at 7.30, onto the main Rod Laver Arena, where we see the womens No 2 in the world slaughter her opponent, and the mans no 4 in the world slaughter his opponent! Excellent experience being there
Tuesday 18th January 2005
Hired a car to drive the Great Ocean Road, which is a fair distance from Melbourne.
Stop first at Anglesea golf course, where you can see Kangaroo's lounging on the fairway, then onto Erskine waterfalls, near Lorne. I'm quite a pro on waterfalls now, but I still like seeing them, and this was nice.
Next was a short drive along a gravel track, where there were lots of koala's, asleep in the trees - and relatively low down.
Then Cape Ottway lighthouse - nice views down the beautiful coast.
But the highlight of the area is the rock formations around Port Campbelll - the 12 Apostles, stunning limestone rocks jutting out of the sea, with everything around them eroded away over millions of years. Also sent my parents on a helicopter flight (their first ever!) to see it from the air - I stayed on the ground (sooo many helicopter flights in the past, NY, San Francisco etc).
Onto Lock Ard Gorge, again stunning views, and then finally London Bridge - another stunning rock formation.
Stayed overnight in Portland, which in reality was a little too far away, but lovely bed & breakfast - the most luxury I have had in a while!
Where I stayed