Written by Wesley Klehm
We started out early from Port Lincoln at about 5:50. Our driver from yesterday was happy enough to also take us to the airport. He was a jolly fellow. We got to the airport and its definitely the smallest airport we’ve ever been to. We went to check in, since it was only about 45 minutes till the flight, but the gate and check in booth were still closed. We waited in the seating area for a while chatting with a couple that we went shark diving with who happened to be flying out at the same time. Before long the booth opened up and we went to check in. Their computer systems were apparently down and the guy was a bit grumpy. He forced me to check my backpack even though we flew here with it and even though there were only about 12 people on the flight. I was a bit peeved but i moved on with my life.
We eventually were called to get on the plane. We didn’t have to go though security since it’s not a secure port for some reason. So after a short 30 minute flight we landed and were bussed to a small exit terminal that shot us out into the parking lot. We then just had to check in and go through security to get to Melbourne. Melbourne was only about an hour away so both flights were nice.
We arrived in Melbourne and tracked down a shuttle that would take us to our hotel. The hotel was fairly small but it was old and fancy looking. The clerk was named Trainee! She was a kiwi and was really friendly. She checked us in and then informed us about their awkward and terrible wifi policy of only 100mb per device per night. So we grabbed some wifi codes and went to the room. We rested for bit and munched on some snacks before venturing out. We headed for the King’s Domain/Botanic Gardens.
Near there was some large shrine they have in remembrance of those that died in all of their wars. It was a huge monument that you could walk into and then climb up to the balcony of. We’re both starting to get curious about why there are SO many war memorials here. They’re everywhere, huge, and extraordinary. Have they really been that involved in wars? Sure WW2 was a big deal for them, but the Anzac seems to be the one they go on about a lot. Oh well.
We continued wandering through the domain and into the gardens. Their botanic gardens were quite nice and bigger than Adelaide’s. We sat for a bit and took some photos of these strange raptor chickens. Shortly after my alarm went off and we started heading towards downtown. We walked along the river and saw the olympic park and some nice bridges. The water was a dreadful brown and was actually dirtier than what i remember of chicago. We wandered through the Crown casino and got a little lost inside.
We eventually found our way out and found the stop that the trolley restaurant would pick us up at. We got there a little early so we waited around. Other couples started trickling in and were also waiting. Many were really young couples and the PDA was kind of ridiculous. It was sometimes quite disgusting what they were doing in public.
After waiting for a bit the trolley showed up and we were guided to our seats. The trolley and the decor inside was really nice. It had a 1940’s style to it and was just really fun to sit in. The food was pretty good and Sterling enjoyed some wine and champagne. I ordered a coke and the waitress looked at me rather blankly when i said it, like i was crazy. I had a small glass of port, which was not nearly as good as what i had on our minimoon. The desserts though were amazing. There was a vanilla bean flan-type thing and a hazelnut cake. We chatted a bit with a couple across the aisle as well. Everyone there was so friendly! The views from the trolley weren’t all that. They mostly drove up and down the same couple of side streets. There was a small incident where the driver had to slam on the brakes. We were the only ones quick enough to grab out drinks. Everyone else in the car got covered in alcohol!
At the end of the dinner we went back to the same spot, said our goodbyes the the staff and other patrons and took off. What a lovely dinner! We walked into the Crown casino to check out the movie theater there. The tickets were $19 a person, wow! We didn’t want to see any movies that badly so Sterling suggested that we gamble a bit. She gave me a $20 and said this is all I get. We started at the roulette table where i started losing and go down to ten before my look turned around. I turned it into $40 and stepped away satisfied. We went downstairs where we found a $5 blackjack table. I played a little there and went up and down but walked away with a total of $45. I was happy that we doubled our money and cashed out. We went and grabbed a taxi and went back to the hotel. We played a bit of pool on the table they had and then went to bed.
Melbourne Day 2
Again and early rise! Today we are going on the Great Ocean Road. Our tour guide was young and a little odd and not at all energetic. The bus had wifi though so that part was really nice.
Our first stop was pulling over to see some fenced in kangaroos. I think it was a kangaroo farm. We didn’t bother getting off the bus to take pictures since we’d seen plenty of them in other parks and on the kangaroo island.
The second stop was Bell’s beach. This is a popular surfing beach. It was pretty and we took some nice pictures but it was nothing compared to what we saw on other days. I was starting to get concerned but then we started getting up into the more mountainous regions and I forgot that thought. It was beautiful driving along in the hilly mountainy roads by the sea.
We stopped for a small lunch and went to a store to get some snacks. We took a few pictures of the ocean and beach there and then drove on. Next stop was a small rainforest. There isn’t a lot of that left but the walk through it was incredible. There are old eucalyptus trees that are huge in there. Fern trees and other vegetation lined the path.
A bit of a drive through some rolling hills that were lovely and reminded us of ireland came next before we finally arrived at the 12 apostles. These are large columns of calcium based rock that survived the tumult of the ocean and were standing just off the beach. They were quite large and the lookout points gave a spectacular view of them. There was one that had fallen down and we decided that that one must be Judas.
Another short drive later and we arrived at Loch Ard gorge. This was small gorge that jutted out into the sea. It was named for a shipwreck that happened just outside of it. We didn’t have much time there so we rushed down to the inside of it to take pictures of the water and cave and then rushed back up to go out to the lookout point to take pictures of it from above. We rushed back to the coach we journeyed on to our final destination for the day, London Bridge. This was a couple small land bridges that extended out to rocks in the water. One had fallen down 20 years ago but the other arch remained. It was pretty and did actually look a bit like London bridge.
We drove on through some more lovely hills and stopped to eat dinner at a Maccas (McDonald’s). Sterling was less than thrilled. We arrived back in Melbroune around 9 pm and we went right to sleep.
Melbourne Day 3
We slept in a little before heading out. Today we are going to get our Dive Medicals done. The doctor was really friendly but lectured us on not exercising. She declared us both quite healthy with great hearing, balance, blood pressure and other things. Both of us evidently had issues with our right eardrum but nothing too serious. We passed the tests, got our certificate signed and left. It was extremely fortunate we happened to have this free time and track down this doctor. Without a Dive Medical, you are not allowed to learn to SCUBA here.
We left and had breakfast before going over to Federation square for our next tour. The email was wrong about when we needed to arrive so we were 2 hours early. So we went to Swanston street and shopped a bit. We picked up a few trinkets and some gifts for people. We stopped in a game store that I wish we had in the US. It had tons of board games, RPGs, card games, and other things. We also stopped in an opal jewelry shop where i bought sterling some earrings. She loved them very much and was very happy.
We went back to the bus station and got onto our bus. There were only about 18 or so people on this tour, so it was smaller than some of the others. The driver talked a lot about a lot of things about the city. Mostly it wasn’t interesting so i only sort of paid attention. There was a chinese family in front of us and the kids were really loud.
We eventually arrived at our destination. We were seeing the Phillip’s Island penguin beach crossing. They had some bleachers set up at the beach so people could come and watch the penguins creep quickly across the beach at dusk. They’re extremely scared while crossing so sometimes they scurry back into the water. It was really fun watching them cross and then watching them socialize in the dunes by the beach. The site had some boardwalks set up so people could walk around and watch the penguins without disturbing them. Sterling was really excited because the penguins were so cute. We took some secret pictures, grabbed some food from the cafeteria there and hopped back on the bus. The driver put on the movie Surf’s Up (a penguin movie) for the ride back to Melbourne. He dropped us off at the hotel last, we arranged morning transport to the airport and went to bed.