Saturday, February 28, 2009


Melbourne - 23rd – 28th Feb

Melbourne Skyline at Night
Melbourne Night Victoria Australia
From Melbourne

Wangaratta to Melbourne is 250+kms, we woke up with no idea where we would stay as usual. We thought that we would stay in an inexpensive self contained apartment close to Melbourne city. Camping was going to take a break for now!! WOTIF came to the rescue and we found a nice apartment in St Kilda Road about 4kms from the CBD. There is one snag with staying close to Melbourne – Hotels appear to charge for parking! It ain’t cheap either at $15 a day, so beware.
Heidi drove 2 hours from Wangaratta to just outside Melbourne down the Hume Hwy. We drove through some areas that had clearly had fires go through them. There were many black fields, trees and even signposts. It made you start to realise the scale of these fires.

Burnt Road to Melbourne
Melbourne Victoria Australia
From Melbourne

We stopped for a break 40kms outside Melbourne and Carl took over the driving in to Melbourne (I think that was planned!). The first thing we noticed on the way in were the rails in the road – TRAMS! At first there was only one lane and it appeared to be shared by cars and trams. Pretty scary for a first time Melbourne driver! Anyway the drive to the apartment was fairly uneventful and Nuvi got us to our destination without too much fuss. When we got to the apartment we had to park OJ in the loading bay as she was too big to go in the car park! – They had car lifts that took you up to different parking levels!

Melbourne Trams
From Melbourne

We wandered the 4ks into the city and went to the Tourist Info and picked up some brochures. A little light reading for the night!
The next day we spent all day wandering around the city sightseeing and taking loads of pics, browsed the shops, bought some cheese and wine and headed off back to the apartment. Melbourne is a really nice city, there are Grand buildings, cathedrals and waterfront. If you have money to spend in Melbourne it’s not hard. What is hard, is not spending it when you are on a budget!!

Flinders Street Station
Flinders Street Station Melbourne Victoria Australia
From Melbourne

We went to a museum of the moving image the next day, then went out that night and took some night shots of Melbourne using the tripod.
The next day we went off down the coastline to check out Melbourne’s local beaches and the famous multi-coloured Beach houses. The beach houses are small, on the sand and a lot like the ones you find in one of the UK’s southern towns – I can’t think where that is now?? (Answers on a postcard please, or at least in the comments on the blog!)

Brighton Beach Huts
Brighton Beach Melbourne Victoria Australia
From Melbourne

Following the road down and round the bays we headed across to Phillip Island to see the Penguins. These funny little critters come out of the sea every evening and trundle up the beach to their burrows in the dunes. As they do this at dusk we had a couple of hours to kill so we had a walk around ‘The Nobbies’ at the point of the island.

Penguin Parade - Cute!
From Melbourne

Again Penguins make there homes here to and the authorities have built a boardwalk to protect the animals and vegetation. As we were walking along a few penguins were under the boardwalk. These little birds are the smallest of all the penguins and stand just 30cm tall. After having something to eat we still had some time to kill so took a drive over to Cowes and then headed back for the Penguin Parade. If I have one piece of advice for this event, it is to take some warm clothing and am I glad we did! We took our seats about an hour before the parade and as the sun went down it got cold and very windy. As the sun went behind the cliff we could see these little white bodies come out of the sea, the tide was out so they had a lot of beach to cross and were a bit nervous, but as their friends joined them at the shoreline, they plucked up the courage and came waddling up the beach. I have to say they were very cute. We were sat in a good position and the group came right up to the viewing platform and then waddled off to the side up the sand dune. We could see another group forming at the shoreline so we decided to wait to seem them come up the beach, this group were very nervous and took ages, party due to a pacific seagull just down the beach which is one of their predators. About 40mins later they started to cross the beach and there must have been about 20 of them, they were quite comical to watch as they practically walked over one another to get up the beach. As we were leaving we were able to walk back with some of them as they walked along side the boardwalk to their burrows.
Today we have been doing a bit of window shopping and catching up on a few things (like this blog!). Tomorrow we leave the comfort of our Melbourne hotel and set sail for Tasmania. We have a night time crossing with “Ocean view” recliners, so preparing ourselves for a long night with not much sleep, if it is anything like an aeroplane!?

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