Part of the Great Ocean Road. The water here is so blue (unlike the turquois beaches of Thailand).
Another country, another lifestyle... Australia has been amazing! Upon arrival at customs, Katie and I got interviewed by an airport employee (how long are you staying for?, who are you staying with?, how do you know them? what was you last job?, how much money do you currently have on you?). It was quite the welcome to Oz, especially since i had to bite my tongue to stop myself from laughing at how ridiculous it was! Mark (our friend we met in Thailand) picked us up from the airport and became our official Melbourne tour guide. We visited the St. Kilda area, which is artsy and has tons of cute boutiques, cafes, galleries and bakeries, and quickly realized why people love this city. The downtown area is beautiful with funky architecture, a cute river in the middle and the worlds easiest public transportation system. It kind of reminds me of Chicago in a way, but minus the snow and wind. There's also a beach right near Melbourne, so this city is pretty great!
We've also taken advantage of living in a home again. I never thought it'd be possible to be so excited to see a kitchen, but me and
The 12 Apostels
One of the main signs along the road the 12 (or 7) Apostels. I like to call them the crumbling/dying Apostels since they're not holding up so well these days.
Katie have been on a homemade food kick since we got here. Being back in civilization for a bit has definitely been a good thing, and being able to eat produce all the time has made me quite happy too! It's still incredibly confusing crossing the streets here (the traffic goes the wrong way), but now I'm just the overly cautious, look every direction 3 times, and then cross kind of person.
After hanging around Melbourne for a bit we decided it was time to do a road trip! Me, Katie and Mark drove down the Great Ocean Road, which is exactly what the name entails. There's a cliff to the left of the road that drops straight to the ocean and there are all kinds of little stops we made along the way. We stopped at a surfer beach, a little beach town, the Twelve Apostle (limestone/rock formations in the ocean, but over time a few have toppled over, so there are really only 7 left), and camped out at another beach town for the first night. We taught Mark some of the exciting things Americans do while camping like roasting hot dogs and making smores (even though
The typical tourist photo at the 12 Apostels... don't mind the horrible light. We got there at the start of sunset, which was beautiful but not ideal for picture taking.
they had the wrong supplies so they weren't quite what you'd have at home). The next morning we woke up to a lovely rain shower coming through our tent. Yes, we neglected to put up the rain fly and quickly realized this was a horrible idea. So we scrambled to throw everything in the car, grabbed some hot cocoa since it wasn't exactly a warm tropical kind of rain shower and headed into the Great Otway National Park. The road was more or less an uneven rocky path, which didn't go so well with Mark's car, but we made it and were so glad we did. There were fern and eucalyptus forests all around us and a few redwoods here and there too! During the drive me and Katie saw our first wild kangaroo and when we pulled into the campground, there was another one grazing in some grasses. The campsite was completely deserted, so we had it all to ourselves. We set up the somewhat soggy tent, got a fire going and began exploring the area. Australia has some beautiful wild birds that all sort of congregated in this national park, so had one of us been an avid
Near the 12 Apostels
One of our stops along the coast during our road trip.
bird watcher, it would have been even better. There was also a river not too far away and all along it were wild blackberry bushes (Aba, you should be jealous right about now). Of course this meant that we just stood in the bushes for about an hour eating blackberries until our hands were stained and we were stuffed. We lucked out and avoided any more rain and the next day Mark took us to an animal sanctuary. Once again me and Katie were in heaven. You walk in and there are kangaroos hopping around everywhere waiting for you to pet the or feed them. They seriously have control of the place and some even follow you around a bit. An of course there were other Australian animals there like koalas, echindnas, wombats, and wallaby. We got to pet the wombat too, but we weren't technically supposed to. The funniest thing was the crazy eagle that kept trying to attack me. Thank god he was in a cage, but every time I walked by, he'd fly full force into the cage and make strange eagle noises. But anytime Katie or Mark walked by he'd sit on his stoop calmly and
These signs were all along the Great Ocean Road. I guess some tourists really struggle with this, so I'm glad Mark was the official group driver.
let them take pictures. Let's just say me and the eagle didn't get along, so I went back to hanging out with the kangaroos.
Once back in Melbourne we did some more sight seeing, went to Liam's (another guy we met in Thailand) house for a barbecue, and have been taken out to quite a few different bars by Mark, Liam, Katie's friends here, and all of our friend's friends. We've been in great hands here to say the least! One of the more entertaining nights was when we went to a bar where Katie's friend works and ended up talking to a group of Aussie cops. Once we found out they were cops and and Katie were in shock since you'd never be caught dead hanging out with cops at a bar at home!
We're heading up to the Gold Coast area tomorrow to visit some more friends of ours. I can't wait to see more of Australia, even though there are so many things about these people I will never understand. Well, mostly cricket and ordering drinks at a bar (have any of you ever heard of a pot, stubby, or jug?...). I'll keep you all
There are crazy spray painted vans that you can rent all around the Great Ocean Road area. I guess we happened to be driving along the road when quite a few of them were out.
posted on the final week in Oz!
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