22.01.2011 - 30.01.2011 40 °C
After a long couple of days and lengthy stop over in Perth we eventually arrived in Melbourne, and headed straight to the hostel in the central city. The following morning we ventured into the city. Despite being based on a navigale grid system we still managed to get lost in the city centre! Our expressions must have lead us to be identified as "the lost tourists!" and consequently some friendly locals directed us to Federation Square, the focal point of the centre. The atmosphere is vibrant and 'buzzy' as masses of multi ethnic individuals congregate on the main street. Federation square is architectually fascinating. Plus, with numerous street entertainers and dozens of eateries being positioned opposite the historic Flinders Street Station it is the perfect place to just sit and watch. That afternoon we walked along the banks of the Yarra River where we got a great view of the Sports Precinct and Alexandra Gardens. The following day we travelled to Melbourne Zoo. The temperature was slightly cooler and it was more overcast making it more comortable to walk around. Both Trev and I were very impressed with the zoo. A great diversity of species are housed at the zoo. A highlight was the underwater section where we saw both marine life and seals. The following morning we walked to Degraves Street, where it was suggested by the hostel staff we eat breakfast, which although pricey was excellent. Throughout, all of Melbourne there seems to be a great cafe culture however it seems to be accentuated on this particular street, with table after table lining it! Subsequently, we took the tram to St. Kilda, which we were less impressed with! The area of very touristy and I don't think portrays Australia's beaches in the best light! Despite enjoying our stay in the centre we were ready to move on after a few days and on the Wednesday travelled to Mornington Peninsula to stay with family friends. It was lovely to move out of the city and enjoy the picturesque coastal scenery. Having arrived on Australia Day we drove into the local town in the evening were we ate fish and chips on the beach whilst watching an amazing fire work display in the bay. Since then we have been really busy, visiting a range of attractions and discovering local spots, for example Sorrento and Portsea. We also went back into the city on Friday evening and walked along the Southbank before going to the MCG to watch a state game, which may have made me a cricket convert! Having climbed to the top of the stands we could see the Rod Laver Arena where the Australian Open is being staged. The majority of Saturday was spent on the beautiful Phillip Island, where we saw a mother and baby koala at the Koala Conservation Centre, fed kangaroos and wallabies at a wildlife centre and patiently waited for the penguins to waddle up Summerland Beach as they journeyed from the ocean to their burrows. It was amazing to see the penguins, (through the crowds of tourists!) who are tiny! Today it has been forty degrees! However we have spent most of our day in a nice air conditioned car, as we drove down the Great Ocean Road. The views are exquisite. The hours spent driving a well worth it especially when we got to see the Twelve Apostles which clearly illustrate the power of nature.