After a long layover in Auckland airport and an eventful time in the Melbourne customs office we arrived at our accommodation, the Nunnery, which used to serve as a nunnery but was bought up and is now run as a funky hostel in Fitzroy which is quite an arty district a short walking distance from the city. We were upgraded (result!) to a private room, which was wonderful as we were staying 5 nights here. It's really nice to stay in an independent hostel as it has a really nice homely feel to it and this place even makes you complementary pancakes on a Friday, incidentally not the first set of pancakes we had in Melbourne, ooops. Anyway, the first day comprised of mainly 'getting our barings' of the city which on first impressions is a really nice city, has quite a European feel to it, and visiting the old Melbourne Gaul, yes another prison! Its quite cool as they have various exhibits on Ned Kelly and we went on a 'jailhose experience' which is basically this frightful woman screaming at you to 'look forweard' and we were locked in a blacked out cell for a while, which was different! There was also a re-enactment of Ned Kelly's trial which was good, it used members of the audience, and therefore their acting ability, so would have been better with real actors but pretty cool if you knew one of the guys who had volunteered, neither Joey or I were brave enough on this occasion!
We also took in a boat ride along the Yarra River which to the eye looks really dirty but they explained that it is just at the top and that the water underneath is actually a lot cleaner, we got to see a great deal of the many stadiums and arenas that Melbourne have along with learning a little more about the city from our guide. Melbourne has really lovely parks which contain lots of interesting statues and works of art along with various memorials, the shrine of remembrance is really quite an impressive sight to be seen.
We also tool some time out to head towards St Kilda markets on the Sunday which were absolutely buzzing, it contains a lot of arts and craft items, I keep seeing all of these lovely paintings that I would love to buy, maybe if I see a really lovely one I will buy it and send it back! The sunshine came out today and it was really lovely to get a few photos by the ocean before heading back along the main street to take in a few of the street artists performances, there were a few interesting guys doing a fireman up ladder routine that was pretty entertaining!
On our final day we head out of the city on the 'Great Ocean Road Tour', our lovely driver took us first of all to the Surf Coast where we saw the beaches that the annual surf competitions are held, no surfers out today as the water was pretty tame. We stopped at various pints along the coast and we were taken to the lighthouse made famous by 'Round the Twist' kids TV program which was pretty cool. The Otway Ranges were next and we had a lovely walk through the rainforest before lunch, we then got to see some lovely wild Koalas!! The final element saw us take in the stunning 12 apostles and London Bridge, its amazing to think that the coast line is changing so often that if we had been here a few months before other parts of the london bridge would have existed that have since collapsed! A great day, well worth doing! Next stop, Sydney on the Oz Experience bus!