As I’ve vaguely mentioned over the last few posts, I took a big (long would be a more appropriate term) plane ride to Australia back at the end of February. The total travel time was about 31 hours on the way and about the same on the way back since there was a snowstorm landing in Montreal and everything got delayed. The way there was smooth but a day and a half of travel when you know you are ending your vacation and going from sunny Australia to winter in Montreal… well let’s just say my excitement level was not quite the same.
I think it’s a good thing that it’s taken me so long to filter through the photos and talk about my trip. You don’t always appreciate things as much when they are fresh in your mind. But once you can properly step back and see them differently, you can see their true value. I will save the New Zealand photos for a separate post, otherwise this will be the endless photo blog post.
I arrived in Melbourne on a Tuesday, high on life and probably a little dillusional from the little sleep I had been able to get on the 3 flights over to the other side of the world. *Next time I will definitely fork out the extra cash to have one less connection. My sister and her husband picked me up at the airport – at the gate! Just like in the movies! – and we drove to the house to drop off my luggage. Obviously the first thing to do when you land in Australia, is to go to the beach. The second thing you do is drink a 4$ bottle of wine on said beach. It was the perfect greeting for a Canadian who was leaving winter behind.
In my 2 weeks on the other side of the planet, we visited lots of places – including 5 days exploring NZ – and I saw lots of the southern side of Australia. *Another trip is definitely necessary to visit the north of the country, where the weather is more tropical.
We spent my first full day walking around St Kilda – where we ate at an amazing vegetarian restaurant, lentil as anything. It’s a tiny little hole in the wall and at the end of your meal, you pay what you think your meal was worth, there are no prices on the menu. The food was delicious!After lunch we also checked out a spot I had seen on Instagram months and months ago. Cafe Lafayette has these “rainbow cakes” that I needed to try while I was there and I really wanted to try (Instagram) their rainbow lattes.
When we set off on our adventure on the great ocean road, our first stop was for my surf lessons! I was a little nervous, which is kinda strange now that I think about it because I tried river surfing about a decade ago and that was much less on the safe side. I could have continued that surfing lesson all day – or all week honestly. Surf culture has been an obsession of mine ever since we used to rip out Roxy magazine ads out and tape them to our binders and the walls of our rooms back in high school. I will make sure I have many more occasions to take surf lessons in my life, but it really makes me wish I was a little closer to an Ocean.
After the surf lesson, we drove along the great ocean road, stopping for lunch at a little cafe, Moons Espresso Bar. My croissant breakfast sandwich (avocado, poached egg and a mountain of fluffy goat cheese) was so good that I insisted we stop at a local cheese shop so we could get some similar cheese for our breakfast the next morning. After breakfast, we continued on our drive along the coast, stopping occasionally to enjoy the view or to snap a photo on a koala or wallaby in the wild. We picked up some groceries and then settled into our camp ground for the evening. We made chilli Mac and cheese, because I wanted to let steph in on the tradition.
The next day, we packed up the tent after breakfast and headed to the 12 apostles, a collection of limestone stacks off the shore of the a national park. Even though it’s a tourist attraction, it’s really worth the visit. They are quite impressive, though there are now only 8 of the original stacks that are still intact. Afterwards, we found ourselves unexpectedly traveling along the 12 apostles gourmet trail. We visited a cheese shop, chocolate shop, a winery and even a snail farm! Discovering this tiny little snail farm was a fun highlight of our visit! We learned about how the couple – originally from France – decided to get into the snail business, and how their little farm works from farm to table.
After we got back “home”, we headed out with my sister’s husband and his 2 boys to spend the weekend in Philip Island where we got to see the penguin parade (no photos allowed) and the wildlife conservation park where we got to see and feed lots of their local animals. Of course, most of my Australia pictures are of Kangaroos. It was fun to get to know my sister’s step-sons. We all visited the beach while we were on the island because, Australia.
I spend the next few days exploring Carrum, the city my sister was living in. Since I had some alone time, I spent a good part of it lounging by the beach or checking out thrift stores in the area. We also did a few fun activities when steph got home from work, like visit a hot springs spa and eat a potato on a stick and a jelly donut at the night market. Afterwards, we hopped on a plane to New Zealand for a few days – but that is a story for another blog post! On my last day before I had to fly home, we spent the afternoon exploring Melbourne, enjoying overpriced drinks (oh Australia…) and finding hidden gems around the city. We had lunch at Chuckle Park, a little alley restaurant that we had driven past the previous week and I hoped to stumble upon again (we found it!).
In the end, we did a lot but the trip didn’t leave me feeling exhausted (unless you count the sleepless travel home) like they sometimes do. I felt more like the whole thing was a dream in the following weeks. But now that I have had the time to go back through my photos and to write about my time there, it’s made the trip more real. Ok world, I’m ready for my next big adventure.