Wednesday, September 4, 2013

5 days in Melbourne!

So let me just start with how we even got to Melbourne; it was quite the trek, let me tell you.
Walk to train station at 8:30 pm Thursday. Take train from Newcastle to Sydney, arrive at 11:30 pm. Take taxi from Central Station to the international airport, since domestic is closed until 4 am. Sleep on floor of international until 4 am. Take train from international to domestic. Fly to Melbourne-Avalon airport, arrive at 9 am Friday. Take hour long bus ride from Avalon to city of Melbourne. Take city tram from Southern Cross station to our hostel at St. Kilda beach. Yeah.
The Australian airports were so so different from American ones. You can leave jackets and shoes on. They do not care about liquids or food in your carry-on, not even water bottles. They do not check your ID or boarding pass at security; they just scan your boarding pass at the gate. It's crazy! Like what?! I could have just stolen someone's boarding pass and taken their flight for them. I was absolutely stunned.

The first day there, we dropped our stuff off at our hostel, Base Backpackers Melbourne. Then we took the tram back into the heart of the city and did a little shopping at the Queen Victoria Market, which is Melbourne's version of Paddy's Market in Sydney. That day actually happened to be "Melbourne Day," which celebrated the birthday of the city; August 30, 2013 was its 178th birthday.
After exploring around downtown, we walked to the Eureka Skydeck, which is the top floor of the tallest building in the city- it's 88 floors! After, we went back to the hostile to get dinner and go to bed; we were exhausted from barely any sleep the night before.

The next morning, Saturday, we had to get up early to be picked up at 8 am for our two day excursion by Wildlife Tours. If you're interested in everything we did this trip, click on that link, it's just too much to type! My favorite places were obviously the two main highlights of the trip: the 12 apostles and the penguin parade on Philip Island (unfortunately I do not have any photos of the latter; you weren't allowed to have any photography because the flash will blind the penguins forever). The Great Ocean Road was absolutely gorgeous! There was not one thing on the entire two day trip that I would have changed. Our tour guide, Ben, was a big part in why the trip was absolutely perfect. He was so incredibly hilarious and knew exactly what to tell us (interesting things) and what not to bore us with. And he told us exactly where to sit for the Penguin Parade, so we got such a close view for that, unlike most people who sit in the part that seems like it would have the best view but actually doesn't. That trip was priceless and will forever be one of the best times I've ever had.
12 Apostles
Great Ocean Road
Philip Island
Philip Island, Penguin Parade (we sat in the stadium)
After the trip, we checked into our new hostile, Discovery Melbourne Backpackers, which was located right in the center of downtown Melbourne; it was sweeeet! One downside of this: construction right next door woke you up around 6 am.
This trip was my very first experience staying at hostels. It was definitely interesting! If you don't know much about hostels, they're basically really cheap hotels, usually housing young adults, that have group rooms and lockers; so you stay in a room with bunk beds and random other people and use the lockers to lock your stuff up while you're gone. They definitely aren't the most fun but you get what you pay for; most are $15 to $30 a night. Base had one bathroom for a room with 8 people in it and Discovery had a hall bathroom.

The next day, Monday, was filled with shopping! After a few hours of burning holes in our wallets, we decided to go find Croft Alley, which has a bunch of cool graffiti; it was very neat!
 

Tuesday was the day of our flight but luckily we were able to have until about 1 pm to see more of the city. We walked down to the harbor and enjoyed the surprisingly beautiful weather. Since Australia is below the equator, the more south you go, the colder it gets; it was supposed to be pretty chilly but luckily we went on an unusually warm weekend.
Now we ask the question, do I like Melbourne more than Sydney? Sorry Sydney, but yes I do. I can't exactly explain why, it just felt more comfortable; perhaps it's because it's known for its great shopping? All I know for sure is that I will definitely make it back there again in my lifetime! Thanks for a great trip, Melbourne.
Melbourne Central Pier

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