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March 11th 2013
Published: March 11th 2013
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Hello everyone,
Hope you are all well. The year seems to be flying past. I can't believe that you are half way through the school year and we are approaching the last leg of our travelling.

We have spent the last 3 weeks in Melbourne. This is a city in the South of Australia. It is where Reuben's Uncle and cousins live, so we have been staying with him since we arrived in Australia. It has been lovely here, the weather has been super hot, so we have been staying indoors or in the shade until about 3pm, then exploring the area. It has been great spending time with family and having a 'home' for a few weeks, rather than living out of a backpack.

What have we done since we have been in Australia?

One of our adventures was that we spent a few days driving a section of road called the 'Great Ocean Road'. It is a stretch of coastline on the South of Australia that is famous because the coast line varies in landscape so much. Some of the rocks are made from a rock that wares away easily so makes lots of caves, stacks and jagged inlets. While other sections are harder rock they gently slope into the sea, rather than being jagged rocks. It was a fantastic couple of days and we saw the main attraction called 'The 12 Apostles'. We also stopped off at lots of little towns and saw other attractions, such as 'Loach Ard Gorge'.

Whilst we have been here we have been lucky enough to see lots of wildlife. Firstly we saw kangaroos and one had a joey! I was so excited and took lots of pictures. Kangarioos only live in Australia so I was really pleased I saw one. Then when we were on the Great Ocean Road, we saw Koala's sitting in Eucalyptus trees. They were much bigger than I expected and looked really fluffy. We obviously didn't get very close to them as they were in the wild, but they looked very sweet sitting and eating in the trees. Our last treat was to see penguins. We went to St. Kilda at dusk to watch the penguins coming back from hunting to feed their chicks. The chicks were really big and black, white and fluffy. The chicks hide in the rocks so they are safe and then when it gets dark they start to call for their parents. The parents swim into the beach, land on their tummies and then woddle up to their chick. It was a really special evening.

As an extra special treat we booked to swim with dolphins, but sadly on the day we went the weather was really windy, so it meant the sea was very choppy. This meant it was really rough and becuase of the waves we were unable to spot dolphins. We still had a lovely day though and were able to swim with seals instead. They were very graceful in the water and copy your movements when swimming. They also get very close, one swam about 1 meter from me! I am hopeful that we will see dolphins at some stage whilst we are away. Keep your fingers crossed for us.

Another treat, although very different from everything else we have done, is that we went to watch our friend race in the Superbike Race in Philip Island. It was really exciting! The bikes go SO fast. Unfortunately Chaz didn't win, but he came 4th in one race so that was very good. He took us into his garage and we were allowed to look at the technical side of racing which was very interesting.

During our time in Melbourne, there was a free arts festival called 'White Night' on. This festival ran for a day and had over 80 different artists performing. We saw lots of really interesting things; visual 3D art shows, street performers, break dancers, illusionists and sculptures (including a huge wicker house that had been built). One of my favourite exhibitions were these amazing lights that were shone at houses to create an effect that looked like they had been painted in really bright patterns. It was really unusual. There were also lots of bands on different stages. It was a great evening and the streets were heaving with young children in pushchairs all the way to older people in wheelchairs. Everyone had a great evening out together and really enjoyed themselves.

Since we arrived in Melbourne, they have started preparing for the Formula One race. For this they close a park in Melbourne and create a racing track in 'Albert Park'. We spent a day walking around the race circuit and watching them build the track. This was partiuclary exciting for me as I really enjoy watching Formula One.

Uncle Rick has taken us out on some day trips, showing us the local sights and native Australian Bush. We visited a scienic viewpoint that has a 'Giants chair', an arbutitum, local food markets and ate lots of yummy food. We have been on trams, trains, bikes, joined a local gym and met lots of Uncle Ricks friends. Although Australia feels quite like England in many ways, it has been lovely to stop in one place for a while and get to know an area better, rather than passing through all the time.

Overall, it has been quite a quiet few weeks, with lots of relaxing, but we now both feel completely recharged and are ready to get onto the last bit of travelling. We have 4 days in Sydney and then we fly to Bangkok, which we can not wait for as it will be totally different again.

I'll hopefully tell you all about Sydney soon.
Take care, Miss Thomas


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