I arrived in Melbourne Australia at 1am in the morning on 23rd January and for the first time on my travels I didn’t have to worry about being hauded into taxi’s, which bus to get on or even the worry of getting scammed, I had Amelia waiting (patiently for 2 hours) on my arrival at the airport.
Amelia and I lived together in 2007/08 at University. Most days I’d find her impersonating a sloth in bed all day and when she’d get up in the evenings we’d randomly learn dance routines e.g Soulja Boi (we were cool). I’ve really missed this girl!
Amelia has come a long way since Uni… shockingly to us all she is the first in our uni group to married. She met a lovely Australian bloke called Guy, fell in love and went for it and I’ve never seen her so happy. Amelia, Guy and their 2 dogs/kids/horses kindly took me and Bekki in for a few nights on our travels.
On day one in Melbourne Amelia was my personal driver and showed me around. First things first… I am now on western territory which means I needed some normal clothes and also some clothes that fit. After hearing how expensive Australia is we went ‘Op Shopping’ which is essentially charity shops. The area was quite posh so I was amazed by the clothes I found. I was determined to still be a budget traveller even in Australia.
We had a really good shopping morning followed by a driving tour of the area. What initially struck me about the suberbs of Melbourne was the houses – wow they are so beautiful, each one different and something out of a magazine! We really do just live in boxes in the UK. We also took a visit to the place where Amelia got married last year which was amazing to see as I was unable to attend. It was a perfect location!
The following morning Bekki arrived!! However our time together was cut short with Amelia’s as her visa time was up (yes, sadly even though she is married she has the same tourist visa as us) so by the afternoon she was off to New Zealand where we’ll see her again in February/March. After a catch up/getting over jetlag day with Bekki and I explored the city…
Then it was Australia Day!!! Well planned. From East Brighton we got the 64 tram into town early to see the parade.
I was blown away by this parade, it was so genuinely patriotic and also welcoming to people that have made Australia their home. There were so many people from different cultures, clubs, walks of life celebrating being Australian. You could really feel the love. My most memorable moment was when a Sihk society passed us and an old woman about 70 years of age, traditionally dressed in a sari and head scarf jumped over to the crowd and chanted in a strong Australian accent: “Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!” We did not expect that!! Bekki cried. Amazing! The only noteworthy country that was not in the parade was the Brits. Not to worry though, Bekki and I were doing our bit in the crowd. 🙂
After this we had a walk around to the Australian Open and around the stadiums we wandered over to an event close to town. Bekki had read about this in a ‘What’s on’ guide so we decided to check it out… it seemed like a chilled little family event… but an hour later my shoes were off and Bekki and I were dancing in a park to an Ethiopian band. The nice weather here really does make people get up and enjoy themselves!
After this we went to St Kilda – a popular area in Melbourne next to the coast for backpackers and locals. There’s a beach, cafés and shops – the usual. This is where Bekki and I went for our first drink… everyone I had spoken to about Australia had warned me about the dreaded alcohol prices but my glass of house wine was a mere $5. About £3.50 which is cheap! Like the UK, it really does depend on where you go!
The next day Guy had a day off and kindly offered to take us to the coast. We thought we were going 5 minutes up the road to Brighton Beach but after an hour or so we were at The Rocks restaurant, in Mornington, south of Victoria – a posh little restaurant on the bay where guy used to work. I sat in the exact same place as Kylie Minogue apparently. After 3 pieces of cake we drove further south, up a hill to see view points of the coast. We finished up at a vineyard for some wine tasting – I’m strangely starting to actually like wine lately. Maybe it’s my age or my love of anything that complements cheese but definitely growing an interest in wine.
This day was 27th January. The day a random man told me in Singapore would be a lucky day for me… sadly there was nothing out of the ordinary other than I was reunited with my hairwand (thanks to my brother and Bekki) but a really good day.
I do really like Melbourne – the coffee (best coffee I have ever tried), the city, the nicely designed houses and it feels like there’s always something going on in town. Although it was very cold, surprisingly cold for the summer. So it did just feel like I’d taken a trip to a different city in the UK that I’d never been to visiting friends – at times I had to remind myself this wasn’t a weekend away to Birmingham, I’m in Australia!!! It was almost as if my travels were over and I was winding down, catching up with old friends and was preparing to settle back into old ways… it’s a scary thought.
Thanks for having us Guy and Amelia!! And thank your dogs for not eating me.