Back to Melbourne

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

After my trip to Ballarat and the Grampians, you might think that I was going to have a boring few weeks here in Melbourne. As it was, I was working that whole weekend, starting 30 seconds after I got back that Friday night. Saturday was to be another 7-7 shift, but Kirsty called me, or rather messaged me, at about 3:00 in the afternoon asking if I’d mind going in to work at 9:30 instead and coming out for dinner and drinks with her and her roommate (Kristy) for Kristy’s going away. I was supposed to try and get the whole night off, but she’d asked Andrew to cover me until 9:30 so at least I could make an appearance. Now THAT’S how you start a long shift. By chopping two and a half hours right off the top. We went for dinner in Richmond and had a couple drinks. Well, I had a couple. They had considerably more, but it was a fun dinner and I was sad to leave. We asked James if it was slow or I was really needed but he messaged that they were swamped so off I went to work. It was not swamped nor even busy, but what could I do?

I worked until 7AM that night and the next day 7-7 as well, not a good shift. In fact, any number of things were unpleasant and wrong and I snapped at a rude customer who wanted a coffee and got a mocha and mistook it with the apocalypse. It didn’t help that I’d stayed after my shift had ended to help him out so he didn’t have to wait for a cook to finally do it. I don’t remember what made that shift so bad, but I knew I wanted to be out of there about four hours before I was. Thankfully for coffee lovers throughout Melbourne, I had Monday off and Kirsty’s parents invited me to a barbie at their place. Now that was some good tucker, as they’d say in these parts. All sorts of sausages, steaks, souvlakis, and goodness. Kirsty also went and bought two desserts from a place she reckons is the best bakery in the city. After dessert, I was unable to dispute. Aside from Kirsty and family and Dave, Carol and Ferg were both there. I had brought a Brown Brothers bottle and he had brought wine from his family’s vineyard that was named after him, plus the Turners had a bottle on hand, so between Ferg, myself, and Kirsty’s dad, we had a great time.

Anyway, that was a great dinner and I had a blast there, that entire group is so hospitable and just great people. We were going to hit a movie later but it got a bit late, though Dave did make it. We had to pass on the Shrek 3 and instead Kirsty and I watched Blades of Glory, which I still enjoyed the second time. I was supposed to be going out Thursday with some co-workers on a bit of a pub crawl but Eva was heading out of town and I owed her for covering a shift of mine when I went to the Goldfields, so I took that shift and we went out Wednesday night instead. Andrew, Heather, Frank, and of course Kirsty came out and we all had a LOT of fun. It was probably the most fun I’d had in my whole time in Melbourne up to this point. We started at Fed Square, spinning the wheel for $8 imports (and I had a Kokanee!) and stealing each others hats and poses, stopped in at Stalactites for a bite, and went bowling at the Strike Bar, combining the sport of drink and bowl as only the Europeans can.

I worked Eva’s shift to midnight as planned the next day (Thursday) and then Nick and I went to look at a cheap clothing sale Friday afternoon. We also popped into the fairly huge and famed Victoria markets for some fruits, veg, yogurt, honey, pumpkins, and most importantly, aviators. The mileage Nick and I have gotten out of these ridiculously awesome glasses has made them well worth the $15 investment. He also took me to his campus to see where he goes, or rather, went to school, and it doesn’t seem so different from home. Finally, we went into a bakery just off campus and had a hearty feed for almost nothing. Ah, student life.

Yet another weekend disappeared in a flurry of work and Monday when I came home one of Nick’s friends, also named Dean, was drunk-as and laid out on a mattress on the floor. Dave, another friend of Nick’s, also showed up with a girl in tow and we all had a good and amusing chat before calling it a night – well, most of us. I didn’t leave my room to get a snack, put it that way. Tuesday morning I woke up, we all had baked apples for breakfast, and it was off to work. That night, I went with Kirsty, Dave, Frank, and Harry to see Ocean’s Thirteen at the Jam Factory, which is a pretty cool cinema on Chapel St. Prior to that, though, we had some pancakes and marveled at the clock with the professor dangling from the minute hand. I tried to get Nick to come, but he’s a responsible student, what can I say? Afterwards, we went down the street to Chapelli’s and had some snacks and drinks. I went with a cocktail and inexperienced bartender, which result in 4oz in my drink. Strong. It was a good time out but we were all getting a bit tired and I wanted to be home before the booze started to kick in besides, so it went.

Our next Wednesday night out we swore to step it up a bit. For starters, we had more people. Nick, fresh from his last exam… ever… was out for a few drinks. Andrew brought his Canadian sensei whose name is escaping me at the moment. Bianca made it out and brought her friend as well. Unfortunately, we lost Frank this time, but you win some you lose some. We started across the street from Stalactites at Mai Tai, a cheesy Hawaiian bar that at least we knew everyone would be able to find. With another Canadian, the drinks definitely went a little quicker, and soon we were at Cookies. We weren’t there all that long because we were almost all feeling the effects of the alcohol, though we were there quite long enough regardless. I can’t even remember all the drinks we had, though apparently I shouted (bought a round of) some ouzo and sambuca. I remember turning down tequila but also sucking on a lemon, so I’m not sure which was that went. Judging by, well, everything, a bit later, I had the shot too. Andrew was in the worst state of us all, and we discovered him passed out in the handicap washroom. The bouncers basically had to pull him out of the building in a chair and sat him on the curb. Bianca was going to drive him to the hospital as he did not seem to be doing well or waking up at all, but I guess he woke up en route and they just drove him home. He was at work the next day.

Me on the other hand, well, I apparently went to Stalactites for a bit of food and wound up helping Cathy alongside Kirsty for about half an hour before catching a ride home from one of the regular Greek cabbies. At which point I definitely decided I didn’t want my liver to have to process too much and responsibly took a lot of alcohol out of the equation. It took several attempts over the course of the next 8 hours to remove it all, but I was successful though not necessarily the better for it. And I was definitely not in a good state for most of the next day. I had also started upgrading Nick’s laptop with a new hard drive and I went to work a little early despite not wanting to at all so I could pick up an external drive case/USB adapter for his old drive. I got to work just at 6:00 only to find I could’ve slept for another hour because my shift didn’t start until 7. I went next door and had coffee and a chat with the boys and picked up some kourambiethes for everyone back at work. I only had to work until 5:00, but it was a long shift.

I did the 7-7 on Friday and came home, cleaned the house a bit more and did my laundry for next week so I could have the weekend off without worrying about it. Nick’s parents were coming up while we were down in Ocean Grove having a party celebrating Nick’s completion of uni. So two hours of sleep later, I drove down to Ocean Grove with Kirsty, who was planning to pop in for a drink and go catch up with some cousins she never sees from down there. But she popped in and because the both of us were so tired, she stayed at the party. It was pretty big and a good time, though it might’ve been moreso with a lot more sleep and a bit less drink on Wednesday. Still, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves in one degree or another and Nick served up a great dinner and was a terrific host as always. Everyone stayed the night at Nick’s and Kirsty and I took off the next afternoon for Melbourne once more.

The day was meant to be a return to Melbourne, but we stopped in Geelong for lunch and a walk around the waterfront again, not to mention more pancakes, and ran a few errands for Nick’s present. We got back home in time to do a quick tour of Williamstown, which is a cute little ocean town within a bustling metropolis, and then went up to the top of the Rialto to have a view of Melbourne (the tallest “reinforced glass structure” in the southern half of the world) from 55 floors up. It was a beautiful if chilly view. Then, both Kirsty and I were tired and picked up a few groceries, had some steaks and salad for dinner, and watched The Island. So it was a full and fun day filled with all my favourite things: skyscrapers, food, movies, road trips, and getting stuff done.

Finally, I spent Monday and Tuesday working two-person lunches in a restaurant needing at least one more staff. The second day we had a reservation for 17 plus a walk-in of 14 not to mention a full restaurant and a line. The cooks had to help bus tables, we were so behind (though that’s in part due to the fact that the table of 17 upstairs seemed to think they were the only ones in the restaurant). I also had to run some errands in between and around work, running twice to Flinders Lane to get Nick’s gift semi-done before he left between serving tables. That’s a good 20 blocks. But it was worth it to have it done. Now, I’m going to get some sleep, because tomorrow night is most likely my last Wednesday-Out-In-Melbourne™ and it sounds like it has caught on in popularity and will be a big one – even the boss and her husband are coming out. Maybe these Wednesdays out will continue when I’ve gone and be my legacy to the crew, who knows? Then this weekend, a trip to Yarra Valley and Phillips Island to see some penguins! So it’ll actually be an entertaining blog post next time, I promise.

Back to Melbourne Photos

Ballarat Race

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Monday night I finished up my blog updates and various internet schenanigans and headed for a bite before going home. For some reason I wound up at Stalactites and ate Rissoles and kefthedakia for dinner. I guess it was a decent choice as I had a bit of company from time to time in the forms of Nonda, Eva, and Bianca. I finished supper at midnight moreorless, which was pretty fortuitous timing as Bianca had also just finished her shift and gave me a ride home. We had a good little chat in her van about work and her school (she’s taking a hospitality course) and a few other things before I ventured inside at about 1:30. Nick was still up and I mentioned to him that I had Blades of Glory on my computer (and the movie isn’t even out here for a few more weeks). So it was that he was persuaded to stay up and watch it with me, and might I add that it’s pretty darned funny. He also poured me a scotch and coke, and then another, and one more before we ran out of coke. For some reason, it was decided that mixing with wine might not be too awful. And hence, two episodes of American Dad and one feature film later, I was asleep at about 5 AM, when I’d hoped to leave for Ballarat early the next morning.

I did leave for Ballarat, but it wasn’t until 2:00 in the afternoon and I knew I’d be racing to get there in time to see the old gold town called Sovereign Hill before they closed and sunset (I was hoping for some sunset photos of the town, actually). And the race was on. I made it to Sovereign Hill at just past 4:30 and bought a ticket for the night show, called Blood on the Southern Cross, and managed to get in to the town for free since they were closing at 5:00. I strolled through and took some photos of the old town, awash in kids playing and running around. One intersection they’d even set up a cricket wicket. The town itself was pretty great, though, and while I was too late to see all the people in period dress going about their daily business, I did get to poke my head in some old shops and smiths and even an old bowling alley thanks to a particularly nice guy (Stan) who let me in though he’d just closed it and let me toss a ball even. They also seemed to be making snow, though I wasn’t sure why.

I then made my way to the YHA just around the corner (though I took several wrong turns to get to that corner) and grabbed a bed before heading out to the show. The show itself was educational, I suppose, and when I returned to Sovereign Hill the next day, I could appreciate some of the locations and what I was seeing. For example, I was staying up in the government and military part of town. But if I had paid for both the show and Sovereign Hill, I would’ve felt pretty swindled. Luckily, I didn’t pay to get into the town itself, though I should say that the town was worth the admission for sure had I not paid too much for a pretty poor show. There was plenty of ‘snow’ lining the roads of Sovereign Hill that second day and a lot more activity. I watched a guy pour an $80k bar of pure gold, I did a little mine tour, panned for gold, and got the full experience this time. Stan remembered me from the day before and I mentioned that I had no idea what I was doing panning for gold and he said he’d show me or get one of his friends to after lunch if I was still around, which again, was very nice. Unfortunately, I wanted to be in the Grampians as early as possible which meant I had to pass his generous offer and settle for pretending I knew what I was doing.

So I drove from Ballarat on to Halls Gap, after stopping to top up my phone again and also taste some wine just north of Ararat. I decided to forgo the YHA in favour of Tim’s Place, which I think was a wise choice. Tim is a super nice guy, and he offers up free wireless plus free bikes and lots of help picking trails. Plus, I had the place to myself for the night, which I was reluctant about at first, but I rather liked it. By the time I left to grab a bite to eat (all I had were Anzac cookies at that point) it was dark. As I was getting into my car, I heard a noise in the bush behind me. I stopped. Nothing. I started to turn the key and a noise again. I peered into the darkness and it surrounded me. I quickly opened the door and got in the car, thinking I should look in the backseat for my piece of mind and then shaking my head and starting the car. As soon as I put the car in reverse, I saw what had been making the noise – a big kangaroo.

So I went and had some kangaroo fillets from a nice restaurant down the road called the Kookaburra. That’ll teach ‘em to scare me. Plus, I wanted to try kangaroo that wasn’t in burger form. Pretty good, actually, nice and tender, and in a delicious sauce that I had to order garlic bread with just to sop it up. Afterwards, I hung around the hostel trying to keep warm after that. It was a freezing night, absolutely cold. The next morning I set off on my first hike, right out the backyard of the hostel and up to Clematis Falls. I had company for the hike in the guise of Tim’s dog, Black Pudding. I would say that he followed me up the hill except for the fact that he lead the way – correctly across almost the entire track. Only at the top of Chatauqua Peak was it too steep for him to bound up the rocks, though he made it quite a ways. I laughed that he hadn’t been up to the peak much as I made my way down because he took the wrong way. I walked on, figuring he’d follow but after a bit, he still wasn’t there. I was about to call him when I saw him sitting on the path in front of me, waiting. I guess he wasn’t the one that took the wrong way. The peak was really nice, a great view of the valley afforded, but the falls were nothing to write home about. Nice, but I’ve been spoiled time and again on this trip and it didn’t compare. Still, a 5.6km trek was a good way to start.

I went to the Info Centre after since time was ticking and I wanted a little more help on picking the most must-see hikes here. They were quite helpful and sent me up to Wonderland car park to start a hike to The Pinnacle through the Grand Canyon. This was a much nicer hike. Sure, there were some embarrassing ‘features’ that should never have been named much less signposted, namely Bridal Veil Falls, but the Grand Canyon was a beautiful and impressive walk, and the Pinnacle gave some great views from an outstanding outcropping. Or is that an outcropping outstanding. Either way, a nice view even though the weather was pretty poor. This is a definite must-hike while here. 5.5km added to the total, and just enough daylight left to check out the Venus Baths before resting my legs. They were not worth the hike. Sure, it was nice, a smoothed section of rock that the water flowed over and pooled beyond, but if I was hiking specifically to see it (and I was) I might’ve been disappointed. Still, another 2.3km of exercise, bringing the total to about 13.5km. Not too bad considering I didn’t start til after lunch.

I went to the pub for dinner that night and chatted with a local who told me about his 40th birthday being spent with tonnes of family and friends camped out in his yard and having a big party, meat on the spit, and BBQ’d bacon and eggs in the morning. I tried to imagine that back home, but I couldn’t. I loved the idea of it, so definitely Australian. I went back and discovered that I wasn’t alone at the hostel anymore. There were two couples and three guys traveling from the UK to keep me company. I chatted for a while but was feeling groggy and developing a headache, so I went to bed a little early.

The next morning I woke up and was out the door by 11:00. It was a much nicer day than yesterday, so I wanted to get some decent photos that conveyed how nice this park was. To the extent that I actually hiked back into and up the Grand Canyon a ways to get some photos, most of which still were no good. Then I drove up to Boroka Lookout, where I ran into the Scottish couple that was staying in the hostel with me. They were leaving as I arrived, but I took some photos of the lookout, which was quite lovely. A boardwalk into emptiness, with a tree in the middle of it. It really looked surreal, I loved it. Definitely a must-see for anyone in the mountains here.

Then I drove up to The Balconies, the next lookout on the path. They weren’t that intriguing on their own, but quite nice once you hopped the fence and stood on one of them. The rock really stuck out quite a bit overhanging the valley below and it was pretty freaky to climb out on them, but I figure it made for some good photos. The Scottish couple were there when I got there and we walked to them together and they took my photo as they called me crazy. I then took the guy’s photo as he decided to give it a walk, and I think it’s even more scary to watch someone than to do it on your own.

Finally, one wrong turn and a u’ey later, I made my last stop for the day at Mackenzie Falls. There was a steep track to the bottom and also one that looked down from above. It was around here that I realized that I had underestimated the trip time to Melbourne by about an hour and midway on the track that I had left my pants at the drycleaners and had to be back an hour earlier since they closed at 6:00. So I ran the trail as much as I could, enjoyed Mackenzie Falls for enough time to get some photos and catch my breath, and jogged back to the car. The Scottish couple was still snacking in their car, but I gave them my room key (which I’d forgotten to return) and hit the road fast. I stopped once for gas ($1.36/litre!) and once for fuel (I knew I’d need to eat while driving, so an HJ was in order). I made it back, traffic and all, about 40 mins faster than I was supposed to at, shall we say, legal limits, which is all the more impressive because I’d also forgotten it was a long weekend and traffic was not light.

In fact, I made it back to Nick’s at about 5:30, which gave me just enough time to throw my stuff on the ground and run to grab my pants. With a sprint, I just managed to catch the tram, and made it to the dry cleaners with 14 minutes to spare. I ran back home, jumped in the shower, shaved, and ran out the door, but the tram that was supposed to be there wasn’t. So I ran down the street to see all these other trams heading along my street that aren’t supposed to run in that direction. There’d been some sort of tram accident, I guess, and by now it was looking likely that I’d be late for work. I walked down the street as fast as I could and managed to flag down a tram finally, making it into work exactly 30 seconds early. Not bad for going flat out since 11 that morning 300km away and squeezing in three mini-hikes. Whew. Finally, work that night went quickly, and was fun because Paris and Kirsti were both working and are lots of fun, plus Andrew and Heather were there until midnight and they’re both fun to work with, too. Kirsti gave me a lift home and we hung out a bit before I slept a hard-earned sleep. Coming up next, my last few weeks in Melbourne.

Ballarat and Grampians Photos

June in Winter

Monday, June 04, 2007

Contrary to June being a month of warmth and sun, shorts and sandals, lakes and boating, and moreover, a summer month, down here in topsy-turvey Australia, winter is setting in. No, there’s no snow, and no, it’s not really TOO cold, but nevertheless, I look at temperatures in Saskatoon and Melbourne, and here the temperature is 10C and back home in Canada, 12C (in the middle of the night, expected to hit 26C tomorrow). So, perhaps my wisdom wanes in being in Australia over winter, but I am enjoying it nonetheless. However, June has started, we’ll see how it goes. In the meantime, here’s my recap of the last two weeks of May. If I may.

Starting around the 21st of May, I worked pretty much the entire week through, with a couple short lunch shifts early on that allowed me to wander around the city in the afternoons and evenings, and then some dinner shifts (6-12) that gave me my afternoons completely free. Where that time went is beyond me. I was sick with a bit of strep throat and flu during that week, but I do remember stumbling around and rediscovering that little lane where Melinda and I had crepes, which I discovered is called Degraves St. It was a pleasant discovery on a day where I was just looking for a place that wasn’t Starbucks to get a nice chai latte. I sat and had a bowl of soup at a place called, ironically, In a Rush, and then went to Hudson’s (which I later discovered is a chain anyway) and got a chocolate chai latte. Ah, therapeutic.

Jess, another girl I know from my adventures through Scandinavia, was coming down to visit Nick, who happens to be her boyfriend, and so I was determined to get out of the house for the weekend. Plus, my work schedule wasn’t remotely overlapping with Kirsti’s, so I was hoping to visit with her and Dave. It worked out quite well. We worked the 7-7 shift together, moreorless (she was done at about 5) and then I drove out to her place and crashed. It was my first Saturday night off since starting at Stalactites, and I was pretty determined to get out on the town at least a little bit. Dave called and mentioned that a friend from Queensland was in town and we were going to the MCG to see an AFL game with them, so we headed down and I stroked another item off my Melbourne todo list. The game was pretty poor until the last quarter, but the ‘G’ itself was a world-class stadium and suitably impressive, even half-filled. Afterwards, we met up with Andrew (another coworker) and went out for some food in Chinatown but didn’t go out per se as Dave was pretty tired. So, back home to Croydon, a little bit of Wii tennis against Dave (he still can’t beat me, but he’s gotten much better :) ) and then bed.

I left their house the next evening to visit with Jess and Nick before she went back to Lismore, but she missed her flight and we got to spend a bit more time together than I hoped. She’s a cool girl and it was a fun little convo with the two of them. I had a really sweet week ahead of me, and this was a nice way to kick it off. I met Norm at 1:00 “Under the clocks” in true Melbourne fashion (I felt like such a local to be told that and know what it meant) and we went on a huge ride, almost 50km down the coast of Phillip Bay all the way to Carrum. Norm was kind enough to map out the track which is on the left and you can enlarge by clicking on it. It was mostly a coastal ride, but we veered off and drove along a creek then a golf course and finally back to the coast through a canaled housing area that looked very ritzy and pristine. We stopped to have a bite in one of the man-made harbours and I bought Norm a long-overdue birthday Guiness as well. Then back on the train and Norm and I checked out the new Pirates movie which was pretty average. I suppose I needed to see the second movie more recently, because I felt a little lost at the beginning, but eventually I got back into the swing and actually enjoyed the movie better than the second one.

And so ended Monday. Tuesday, I was definitely in the mood to do some more exploring as I’d had so much fun Monday. However, it just didn’t happen. I admittedly have been waking up later than I’d like because of my night shifts and so I basically was home most of the daylight hours. Finally, as I wracked my mind for something that wasn’t a movie to do in the evening, I remembered I’d been wanting to see a play or musical here in Melbourne. I went online and found that Pirates of Penzance, the Gilbert and Sullivan classic from which “Model of a modern Major-General” comes from started in 45 minutes. Conveniently, Nick lives a five minute walk from the Arts Centre, so I walked over, got a ticket in the lower balcony, and grabbed a seat just before the lights dimmed. The play was pretty good and definitely had moments of hilarity, though I felt like it was a bit more amateur that I’d expected from a major play in an Arts city like Melbourne. Still, a good time and worth a see, I’m glad I got out of the house.

The next day, I went and did some shopping. I picked up some new shoes since my existing pair is running low on, well, sturdiness, and some clothes at CMs, fulfilling my vow to get at least one or two things from there before leaving Melbourne. The checklist gets shorter and shorter! I also got a parking ticket as they apparently changed the parking zone and that wasn’t so nice but I suppose that for all the free parking I’d been doing it’s not too horrible, as long as they aren’t a regular occurrence. I went to work from 6-midnight and then Nick and I had a few drinks and called it a night. Thursday night, Kirsti planned a night out since I hadn't really been 'out' in Melbourne as such. Although we wound up going out in Croydon instead, it was still a lot of fun and I met some of her other friends as well as seeing a few again. We went out to a place with a live acoustic act, hung out there for a spell, and then went back to Kirsti's and Dave's and played a little bit of Wii before Nick and I hit the road for home. Definitely good times and as always Kirsti was very cool organizing this particular night.

Friday I got some internet things done and worked the night shift, which went pretty fast. Saturday, another night shift and I met some of Nick’s friends from school that I hadn’t met at the Thy-Thy-Thai nights before heading out. It was a long shift and I was wiped out before it even started, but there were a few customers that made it worthwhile. Finally, Sunday, I headed to the historic Astor theatre and watched a double feature of Humphrey Bogart movies, African Queen and Treasure of the Sierra Madre. The former was filmed in that just-discovering-blue-screen era and wasn’t a particularly notable movie though I could see how its exotic location would’ve been a thrill for movie goers in that era. Treasure of the Sierra Madre, an older black and white number, is definitely a worthy classic. I loved that movie. The theatre itself was awash in art deco stylings with a real aura to it of an older time when a night at the movies was a little more special. Incidentally, Nick and my experiments are going fairly smoothly. We've ruled out the 'poo taste' apple in favour of pink lady, and hit a bit of a snag in that I chose Red Delicious over Royal Gala while he chose the Gala, meaning both apples will advance to the next delicious round. I like that the gala is a nice compromise in tartness and sweetness but I like the sweet apple flavour that goes with the Red Delicious for the baked apples while Nick prefers the contrast. The next round, coming soon, is the green apple round. I suspect neither will compare.

And so we arrive on today. I wandered around the city a bit and tried to see some things I’d not seen. I took a stroll through the historic Block Pl, the oldest Arcade in Australia (I think) and up as far as Williams St before doubling back towards the more familiar Swanston and Russel St. I finally found a place called Hardware Lane that I’d heard so much about. While walking through, a painting caught my eye in an art gallery and I wandered in and had a chat with the guy running the show there. It’s kind of impressionistic, the paintings are made of circles of paint, aerosol paint no less, but look absolutely fantastic. If I had money to spare and a wall to hang it, I’d definitely pick up one of his pieces in original form, but even the smaller paintings were $4500. Still, I bet those paintings are worth a lot more than that in a few years’ time and if not, well, they’re almost worth that price to me, so much do I enjoy them. I took a photo of a couple of them though the photos don’t really do paintings justice. And I’ll probably stop by the gallery for the official opening night on Friday before work to meet James Cochran (the painter) and see what an art opening is all about.

In the meantime, I’m hoping to hit the road for a few days before working again on Friday. We were planning to do a camping trip through the goldfields of Victoria but as that has fallen through, I’m thinking of driving out to Ballarat (a gold rush town) and then the Grampians for a day or two of hiking and/or camping on my own. I don’t think I’ll be in Melbourne too much longer as there is so much more of Australia to see, but I definitely do love it here and wouldn’t mind coming back before I leave. But I’m thinking that I’ll hang around until Nick’s big post-uni party in Ocean Grove and see his hometown a bit before taking the Great Ocean Road to Adelaide to visit Dave and Belinda and of course Adelaide itself. From there, well, who knows? I may head up through the desert to Alice Springs and Uluru, or maybe just fly there and then drive my way back up the east coast into Queensland. Either way, I’m heading north for the winter, but I’m going to enjoy my last few weeks here in Victoria and Melbourne.

Melbourne Photos