Melbourne is renowned for it's temperamental climate. We have been told that you can experience four seasons in one day, that we should pack for all conditions, we should carry an umbrella at all times etc. Well we have been relatively lucky - it has been mostly hot and sunny. Certainly no rain. However, on our second day here Steph was forced to wear jeans and a hoody (I know, shocking!), as there was a definite drop in temperature. It was without doubt the coldest day we have experienced since leaving the UK. Probably a measly 18C. But as I write this we have a tacky, black substance all over the sole of our flip-flops (or thongs as they call them out here). It is so hot that the Tarmac is melting under foot. There is a breeze though. The kind of breeze that you get from a hairdryer on max heat. Not exactly a pleasant, cooling one. At least it's not snowing, eh? Anyway, enough of the weather....
Any one thinking of coming to Australia would be mad not to visit this part of the country. Melbourne is by far our favourite city so far, and the surrounding attractions are nothing short of jaw dropping. The great ocean road is one of the most diverse, surprising and rewarding drives you can do. We did this on a coach trip which lasted 13 hours - it felt like 3 hours. This was partly down to our driver who was as mad as a box of frogs. He knew everything. Not just about the impressive buildings in and around Melbourne, or the incredible limestone rock formations scattered down the coast. Not even just about the road itself and the scenery around it. This guy was driving and talking simultaneously for a good 9hrs and the majority of it wasn't even boring. We saw the 12 apostles, London Bridge and a few more amazing Coastal landmarks. As much as a cliche as this sounds - all need to be seen to realise how impressive they really are.
Our first stop on the Great Ocean Road was a small town going by the name of.......Torquay! It really was small. Not much to do, but the beach and some of the houses looking over it were really nice. The reason we stopped here was because we were offered a free 'Devon' cream tea as a morning treat. Which was great for most passengers. But I don't like cream. Or jam. Or scones. And I'm not particularly a fan of drinking tea in 30C heat. What an old grump!
Bells Beach was next. This is where the famous scene from the end of the 90s film Point Break was set. The surf was flat. Not just in comparison with other beaches we have seen or the scene from the film, but completely flat. Torre Abbey Sands flat. We were both pretty disappointed by this. Even more so when we found out that the famous scene with Keanu and Patrick was actually filmed in Hawaii. Steph was outraged by this revelation. She still doesn't understand why the film makers would lie to us like that! However we were both consoled later by the fact that we were shown the actual lighthouse from the children's TV show 'Around the Twist' (this is for the 80s/90s children who will all be singing the theme tune - # Have you ever, ever felt like this? #, you know the rest...).
Before the coach trip we went on the Neighbours tour (Now you can all join in - # Neighbours, everybody needs good...#). We saw the studios, the school, the mechanic, the cafe and Ramsay Street itself. We also met Dr Karl Kennedy who is a very nice chap. It went as expected and again our tour guide was very informative. If he was a contestant on Mastermind his chosen subject would be: 'Useless facts that nobody else could be bothered to notice or had enough time to research regarding the long running Australian soap, Neighbours'. Which is understandable because his job requires it. He too was a little loopy.
There is a Neighbours office in central Melbourne where you can book the tours. We noticed when we were there that they had a few computers that we could use for Internet so we came back a couple days later to do so. When we did, we managed to do more star spotting as ex-Neighbour Skye Something-Or-Other randomly walked in. She was way after my time (Brad and Beth) but Steph remembers her well. Bonus.
Melbourne itself is great. We went to the Eureka Sky Deck to get the best view of the city. It is the highest viewing platform in the southern hemisphere and sits on the 88th floor. There is another building which looks like Optimus Prime from transformers. But the best thing that we have done here is not stay in a dorm room! We have enjoyed four days of twin bedroom bliss in the best hostel so far. Clean, quite, cosy....best sleep yet! We even have a flat screen tv in our room. Unheard of. Well worth the 12hr overnight coach journey to get here. Speaking of which, Adelaide here we come!