Tag Archive for seeaustralia

Daytrippin’ in Melbourne

It’s nearly time for me to leave Melbourne and continue my Australian adventure as I make my way down the East Coast. My 7 months here have been action-packed and memory filled and I will be sad to leave this incredible city where there is always something going on. Even if it is a tad chilly sometimes.

image

The bucket list we made when we first arrived in Melbourne has slowly but surely been ticked off one by one and new things were added as we discovered more adventures that this region had to offer. Honestly, there’s so much to do and see. And eat. And drink. Sigh. Melbourne, I do love you.

Here’s a collection of some of the best day trips I have been on during my time here in Melbourne….

Skiing at Mount Buller

I heard that Melbourne was colder than the rest of Australia, I just didn’t know it would be this cold. I imagined it to be a bit cooler, maybe a bit of breeze fluttering through my hair, not the arctic temperatures which forced me into buying a woolly jumper and winter hat. Another thing I did not know was that it snowed in Melbourne. Real life, actual snow. It’s crazy. And more than that, you can go skiing. In Australia! Nuts.

A work friend drove us up to Mount Buller, a mountain range a few hours out of the city, so we could enjoy a day on the slopes. The drive up in itself is pretty stunning. It’s all soft sunshine and rolling hills dotted with farmyard animals (and the occasional roadkill. But let’s not talk about that) easing into a winter wonderland of frosted trees and white mountain tops. Feeling like I had never seen snow before, I felt like a kid at Christmas time as we made our way up the mountain half expecting to come across Rudolph and his little red nose.

The last time I went skiing was over 2 years ago and I wound up getting abandoned at the top of the mountain so naturally, I was a tad nervous. And despite the thick fog which made it impossible to see where we going and the slight concern that my toes had fallen off due to frostbite, it was so much fun and definitely something I’d recommend you doing if you’re in Melbourne over the ski season.

Skiing in Australia! Now that’s something I never thought I’d do.

image

Peninsula Hot Springs

The Peninsula Hot Springs, a few hours from Melbourne, is the perfect way to spend a day relaxing. I came here on a cool, crisp winters afternoon but was pleased to find that the sun was shining and blue skies were peeping out between the clouds.

Peninsula Hot Springs, who work alongside Mental Health Australia, offer a huge range of different baths and treatments in a tranquil and stunning surrounding. From the plunge pool (of course I plunged. Well eased in slowly) to the sauna, to the hilltop pool offering panoramic views of Mornington, this is a magical way to spend a day out of the city whilst simultaneously absorbing the beautiful landscape of Victoria and relaxing yourself into a hot bath coma.

image

Grampians National Park

We saw Grampians National Park with Autopia Tours –  a tour group which can take you on all sorts of adventures around Melbourne. Grampians is around a 3 hour drive from Melbourne but is definitely worth the hours spent in a car when you see what it has to offer.

This mountain range offers beautifully rugged views of endless countryside and greenery as well as the chance to glimpse some of Australian’s favourite local friends – lots and lots of kangaroos! With amazing view points such as The Balconies as well as a trek down (about a million flights of stairs. The climb back up was fun) to McKenzie Falls, it’s hard not to be impressed by Australian’s natural beauty. I went on a cloudy day – which meant we were caught in hail showers and a layer of fog settled over the landscape – and whilst that was disappointing, it didn’t mean the view was any less mesmerising. I can only imagine what they would be like on a clear summers day…

image

Wilsons Prom

Just another of Melbourne’s many National Parks, Wilson’s Prom offers view points of spectacular beaches and masses of green forestry. And most importantly, lots of local wildlife – kangaroos, emus, koalas and wombats (such funny little creatures, wombats).

A road-trip here meant a long day with not much time to spend properly looking around (due to having to have the rental car back in the city by 5pm) so I would recommend you do this as a weekend trip, finding a nice spot to set up camp and ensuring you have plenty of time to explore the region.

image

Yarra Valley Wineries

Read more about my adventures in the Yarra Valley here.

image

I’d really love to stay Melbourne but the East Coast is calling and I’d really quite like some sun now please..

Only In The Outback..

 

image

The first thing I noticed when I landed at the airport at Uluru was how friendly everybody was. From the man at Thrifty car rentals who offered us a lift into the city after we missed the shuttle, to the people at the reception of Outback Pioneer Lodge who dealt with our bombardment of questions with a smile and a solution. The second was the heat. Having spent the winter in Melbourne where it is cold and windy and generally finger-numbing, this heat was a welcome change and so the fact that we couldn’t check in till 3pm did not faze us – it meant that we just had to lie by the pool in the sunshine filled blue skies. Sigh. Such a hardship.

Spending time here at Ayers Rock Resort was like something I’ve never experienced before. It was worlds apart from the busy people-clogged streets of Melbourne and a breath of fresh air from the usual tourist stuff I have been doing. The resort itself is a little strange – it’s like one big campsite in the middle of nowhere – a huge tourist spider web. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great location for visitors all over the world who want to marvel at Uluru but I can’t help but feel a little sad for this once deserted area so sacred to aboriginal culture which is now being trampled all over by truck loads of tourists. Me being one of them.

Up bright and early on our first day, after a rude awakening at 3.30am by some girls who appeared to be having a competition as to who could make the most noise, we picked up our rental car, stocked up on snacks, got some music on and set of to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. We decided to head over to the Kata Tjuta part first, knowing that we had plenty, perhaps too much, time to see everything. After a brief pit-stop to view the sight from afar, we found a car park and went on a short walk to see Walpa Gorge. Now, if we thought this was impressive, it didn’t prepare us for what we thought when we started the hike at Valley of the Winds. It was incredible. We couldn’t help but stare in awe as we slowly walked the circuit, taking in the empty landscape, the huge walls of the rock formations, the feeling that we were suddenly very small in a very big world. The hike took less time than expected, despite the numerous stops to take in our landscape and the obligatory camera shots. Although, the camera doesn’t really do this piece of geographical masterpiece justice. At all.

image

It was then we decided to head over to the sunset viewing spot in order to see Uluru at sunset. Only 3 hours earlier than scheldued..

With only 100km allowed a day with the car we rented (the only issue I had with Thrifty in an otherwise perfect service. And pretty snazzy car – and that comes from someone who knows nothing about cars), we decided that rather than wasting km driving back and then in again, we may as well set up camp and wait for sunset. And despite the cabin fever, the sugar rush from too much chocolate and the general boredom, it was most definitely worth it. As the sky changed into a beautiful smear of pinks to yellow to light blue, Uluru lit up in all its amazing orange glory. And that kids, is why I travel. Where else can you see something like that?

image

Day 2 consisted of a well deserved lie in before setting off and eating some breakfast with a picture perfect view of Uluru. By now, we had seen it from so many angles but it was still just as impressive as it was the first time. Today, we were going to walk around the base. A 10km walk which offered an up close and personal viewing of the rock and its many distinct patterns and crevices.

image

Feeling like I was in every geologist’s Heaven, it was amazing to see so many different textures and layers of the rock and it was interesting being able to point out the aboriginal meanings behind some of these markings which we had read about briefly at the Cultural Centre. The walk was windy and hot and tiresome on our already tired hiking legs, but in all aspects, pretty damn cool. (Although, I think personally that whilst it was impressive up close, the view of Uluru from afar is far more incredible).

My few days in the Outback is something I think I’m probably going to remember forever. I’ll be that Grandma that fondly tells their Grandkids about that time they spent a year in Australia and saw some awe-inspiring things that you just have to see to believe. If you are travelling in Australia, a visit to Uluru should be on your agenda. You may as well right? Why come all the way to Australia and not truly experience it. That’s my reasoning for spending all my money on travel anyway. I think it works…

image