Hello from Melbourne Australia!
We have finally made it to Melbourne, capital of Victoria, and it’s boiling! There seems to be a light coverage of cloud that is locking the heat in creating a warm breeze resulting in such a rise in temperature compared to what we are used to. Coming from New Zealand— we couldn’t take it! The population in the city here is so much larger (second largest in Australia) than NZ and everything seems so much bigger. I really like it though and it’s a welcome change.
The first day we arrived into Melbourne consisted of a bit of travel admin, we completed our Australia itinerary and booked a few upcoming trips including the Whitsundays and Fraser Island. We bought SIM cards which are so cheap here and we had a wander around the city to get our bearings. As the day ended we found ourselves in the Southbank area (which we loved) watching the sun setting over the river— Melbourne was leaving a great first impression!
The shopping in Melbourne was so great, you should have seen the size of H&M!! There are big department stores here call David Jones and Myer and although they have very expensive brands in you can still find yourself getting a good deal here and there in some of the cheaper auzzie labels (although on a traveller’s budget it is very limited with the actual buying part)! There are streets upon streets of shops and we managed to spend an entire day wandering around most of them, I know what you’re thinking, how can they spend a whole day shopping when they’re travelling? Well, we’re both shoppers and I love nothing more than to have a day trip shopping so that’s what we did!!
Also, hidden amongst the many shopping streets you will often find yourself walking down a street covered in graffiti, the city is known for its street art.
We were staying in Base Hostel (not recommended) in the centre of the city which was a great location and it was easy to walk to places. However, take my word, Melbourne is a big city and we were doing over 20,000 steps a day just getting around— we didn’t mind though!
Another area a lot of people stay when visiting Melbourne is St Kilda, this is the beachside area just outside of the city centre. We visited St Kilda one day to see the beaches and enjoyed a meal on the seafront. One thing St Kilda is famous for is the penguins that live here. There is a particular pier in St Kilda that the penguins return to each night to sleep after a day of fishing— it’s hit and miss with how many penguins you see. We got to the pier in time for the sunset and managed to get one of the few remaining front line spots to wait for the penguins, it was really popular and we must have waited about 2 hours before the penguins swam in. It was worth it though to see the cute tiny penguins swim in and shake off the water from the day before getting comfortable for their nights rest. A must do while you’re in Melbourne! St Kilda is a lovely area and I would recommend splitting your time between the city and this area.
About a half an hour walk from the centre of Melbourne is the botanical gardens, I know, another botanical gardens— they love them on this side of the world!! Of course, we had to take a look to compare to the several others we have seen from our travels. Melbourne’s gardens are on the south side of the Yarra River and consist of trees, garden beds, lakes and lawns over 89 acres— they are beautiful, as expected, and we spent a lazy afternoon here relaxing in the sun.
On our last night in Melbourne we paid a visit to the Eureka Skydeck to catch the sunset over the city. It was well and truly worth it and I’d definitely recommend doing this— who doesn’t love a sky deck?! We picked a really good night to go as the skies were clear, so we had a great view of the city from 88 floors up. You can see the MCG stadium, the botanical gardens, the city centre, the beach and so much more. It was great to see all the places we had visited during our time here. As the sun was setting we plonked ourselves down to get the best view and it was stunning— it made me sad to leave Melbourne as I can see why it was voted the most liveable city in the world for seven years running, I just wish it wasn’t on the other side of the world to England!!
Australia was giving me a very good impression already! I can definitely see why so many British people migrate here, the cultures are similar, but Australia has better weather!
The next destination on my Australian travels was Sydney! This is the place in Australia I’d been looking forward to the most. From speaking to other travellers we had met in NZ, it seemed to be a 50/50 split as to which city between Melbourne and Sydney was their favourite and I was excited to see what I thought. Melbourne had made such a good impression I knew it would be hard to beat. I planned 6 nights here which I thought would be enough time to see the sights plus a bit of relaxed wandering around the City.
Sydney Harbour Bridge
We got straight into exploring the City and the first day we arrived we booked to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge! This was such a great thing to do and I’m pleased we did it straight away. You see so much of the city from the top of the bridge and you climb one of the most iconic city landmarks in the world!!
It was a fantastic experience from the moment you are kitted up into the very attractive boiler suits and you take your first step onto the bridge. You ascend through the arches of the bridge and up to the summit and back down, stopping frequently to take in the views and have your photo taken (you weren’t allowed to take any photography devices yourself which was disappointing). The guides were very knowledgeable of the history and culture of the Sydney Harbour bridge; from its construction, to the opening and of course its involvement in current day celebrations.
Sydney Harbour Bridge was another one ticked off my travel bucket list!!
The Blue Mountains is another must do activity when visiting Sydney, it’s only an hour’s drive out of the city. The trip we did was great, we had fantastic views of the Blue Mountains with a very knowledgeable guide and we got quite a bit of exercise too which was also good! We were picked up in the city and taken straight to one of the best viewing points of the Blue Mountains and the Three Sisters before it got too busy with tourists— the view was spectacular and you can definitely see the blue hue coming off the eucalyptus trees as you look far into the distance.
We then headed out on a 2-hour hike through the lush rainforest in the Jamison Valley where we hiked to the stunning Wentworth Falls. Our guide stopped a couple of times to share her knowledge of the wildlife and nature that surrounds this area, including the deadly funnel web spider! We hiked at quite a pace and she warned us before we hiked down the waterfall that it was a hard climb back up so if we couldn’t do it, we would split off, of course we wouldn’t give in so we endured the very difficult climb back up from the waterfall— I think it was worth it!
Following this, went on the hunt to find some wild Kangaroo at Euroka. A tour group before us had been there and scared some off but we managed to find one and it was amazing! You can get close to them before they get nervous and hop away!
Our last stop of the trip was a watering hole in the Blue Mountains national park where we played a bit of volleyball and cooled off after the long hot day. It was good fun and I would recommend this trip to anyone!
Of course, we spent some time shopping in the city!! Sydney is another great city for shopping with a number of shops that Zoe and I loved— it was so difficult not to give into temptation and buy too many things, we did, of course, buy one or two!
Seadeck boat party
On the Sunday afternoon the weather really picked up and we bought tickets for the Seadeck Boat Cruise/Boat Party. It was a lot of fun, sailing around Sydney Harbour, past the Opera House and under the Harbour Bridge before docking up so that you had a great view of the City. Their was a DJ which had everyone dancing and we met up with one of our friends from the kiwi bus in NZ who suggested we do this— it was a fun afternoon and something different to the usual tourist activities!
You couldn’t go to Sydney without a visit to Bondi Beach! We spent a couple of days here and I love the area. The sand was so comfortable to sunbathe on and while we had good weather we definitely didn’t want to waste the opportunity. I also had a dip in the sea but I didn’t go in too far because I’ve watched Bondi Rescue too many times and I wasn’t going to be the idiot tourist who had to be rescued, and of course, the sharks out there are too scary for me!
There is a great coastal walk from Coogee beach to Bondi Beach (or whichever way you’d prefer to go). You walk for 6km along the cliff tops with views of all the beautiful beaches you pass. Of course its recommended to stop at each one, especially when it’s as hot as it was, but sadly we had run out of time by this point so our eyes were on the finish line.
On our last evening in Sydney we visited the Sydney Opera House bar at sunset. This bar probably has the best views in the city as you are overlooking the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House at the same time. Saying this, it wasn’t surprising that it was very busy and quite expensive. We didn’t let this rain on our parade and we enjoyed a bottle of Prosecco as the sun set over the harbour— we had a number of recommendations to do this so thank you!
I love Sydney and I wish we had longer to spend here, I’d have liked to go to Manly beach and to have visited a few museums but time ran out. We couldn’t delay picking up our campervan any longer for our road trip up the East Coast!
Thanks for reading, my road trip blogs will be online shortly!