For my birthday this year, Alec took me to Melbourne. We were blessed with lovely weather. A full three days of sunshine, wheee! We stayed at The Olsen, a fabulous new hotel in South Yarra, decorated with the artwork of John Olsen.
I love this – I did take one home with me!
Stylish room with artwork by Olsen.
Morning light – hitting the shops.
We had a lazy Saturday morning before wandering down Chapel St to grab some brunch and shop. Fun for me, perhaps less fun for Alec.
The exhibition was great. It contained a lot of artefacts that had been recovered from the wreck as well as telling many personal stories of people who survived and perished. It also had sobering facts about the sheer number of people who died.
“I’m the king of the world!”
Snack time at Koko Black.
One more coffee for the road.
Heating from the inside out. Brr Melbourne is cold.
Mousse martini. Looks amazing. Made me feel ill afterwards.
Masa was keen to see the Hunter Valley, so we decided on a small tour group so we would all get to enjoy the wine. We visited three boutique wineries and the Smelly Cheese Shop. The wineries were all fabulous, and we bought some wine at all of them. The cheese shop also had some great food, and we left with multiple local cheeses and gelato.
Last day! We drove to Port Fairy for breakfast to start the day. Port Fairy is a cute little historic town with an unsavory whaling past. Nowadays it’s a tourist stop on the Great Ocean Road. The town has some gorgeous old buildings and lovely cafes. We enjoyed a delicious breakfast and took a stroll around the waterfront – around an island area that used to be home to an Aboriginal tribe.
We cut cross country to get back to the airport, stopping along the way at Tower Hill, an area that was formed by a volcano. We went on several bush walks along the crater rim and saw wild animals like emus and more koalas.
Sadly it was then time to head back to make our plane at Avalon. We had one last stop in Geelong to watch the sunset, then it was back home to rainy Sydney …
We then head on up the coast to Port Campbell National Park, where the Twelve Apostles are.
Along the way we stopped at the majestic Gibson Steps and then at the Twelve Apostles look out. The Twelve Aposltes were very beautiful, but after seeing so many photos they weren’t as impressive as the rest of the rock formations I knew nothing about.
I really loved Loch Ard Gorge (below), named after a clipper ship that ran aground nearby in 1878. We also stopped by the London Arch (formerly London Bridge until it collapsed while people were on it).
We drove out of the park until we reached our destination for the evening, Warrnambool. Nothing much to report here – it’s a great place to stop during whale season, but that’s about it. The whales have their babies right off shore, so it would be great to pass by again at the right time.
Today we planned a day of nature. We drove the long way to Otway Fly, a walk through the national park that includes a boardwalk through the trees. There were lots of people there unfortunately, which ruined the ambiance somewhat, but it was still a majestic walk through the treetops, looking at some amazingly tall trees and huge ferns.
Our next stop was Triplet Falls, a bush walk that wound past three waterfalls.
We had hoped to visit another waterfall after this, and drove there quickly as the sun was starting to sink in the sky. We figured we had about 30 mins until the sun set, so dashed through the bush trying to find the waterfall before the sun completely set and we were left in the dark in the bush. It was a little like being in a movie where the main characters do something completely stupid, like run into the bush at sunset with no phones, torches or supplies and then get eaten by rodents of unusual size … after about 15 minutes of running through the bush and still not finding the waterfall, we admitted defeat and quickly returned to the car – just in time to get back to the road before dark completely fell.
Dinner was at one of Apollo Bay’s most highly recommended venues, Buff’s Bistro, an Italian / contemporary Australian little place that was booked out solid the whole time we were there. The food was delish, the staff friendly and the wine they served was local and matched well to the meals. Yum!
For our first Easter weekend for just the two of us, we decided to drive the Great Ocean Road in Victoria. We flew down to Avalon Airport after work on Thursday night and spent Good Friday checking out Geelong (what’s with the weird peg people?) and then driving along the coast.
We had a quick stop at Torquay, then drove on to Bells Beach, where the Rip Curl Surf Pro was being held. We stopped off for a while and watched the grommet competition that was being run at the time. Next stop was Anglesea for lunch and a play on the beach, followed by a stop off at Airley Inlet lighthouse, which was used in the TV series “Round The Twist”.
It was then a windy drive to out evening accommodation in Apollo Bay. The road hugs the coast line so the whole drive is amazingly picturesque. Somewhere along one of the endless stretches of road we saw a few people had pulled their cars over and we standing around pointing their cameras into the bush. Being the stickybeak I am and always after a good photo, I pulled over also, and found that they were photographing koalas in the wild – right by the side of the road!
The koalas were sooo cute. Sleepy, grumpy little people. and they were really close to is – so close I could have reached our and given one a little pat if I didn’t think it might have gouged my eyes out for waking it from its eucalyptus-induced coma.
We spent tonight and the following night at a cute little BnB called Captain’s On The Bay – highly recommend.
It’s off to the National Art Gallery to see the Degas exhibition. It was definitely worth the long drive down! We joined a tour group and learned a great many things about my favourite artist.
Following the art gallery we took a walk around the Old Parliament House Gardens and had a look at the hundreds of roses that are planted there.
A visit to our nation’s capital isn’t complete without a trip to Parliament House. We had a quick look around, walked over the top, and stopped for lunch. We hadn’t intended to stop there at all, but I’m glad we did as I found it really interesting.
Last stop in the Berra before our journey home was at Koko Black, a chocolate cafe recommended to me by a work friend. It’s a Melbourne company and has yet to open in Sydney. I was a bit of a glutton and ordered way too much, but I wanted to try a few things.
I wasn’t disappointed that’s for sure! The ice chocolate I had was amazing and filled with two different types of ice-cream. Alec’s ice coffee was also great, and the ice-cream martini we shared was absolutely fantastic.
I can’t remember the full name of this, but it was a delicious caramel ice-cream made on the premises with coconut and chocolate and possibly something else.
Gone in 60 seconds!
Lots more chocolate!
After Koko Black we slowly drove back to Sydney … after an immensely enjoyable Canberra mini-break.