Our overnight bus to Melbourne was my first experience of coaches in Australia after having the campervan and it was not good! There was no leg room so much so that the woman infront of me couldnt recline her seat at which she got stressed about! And charlotte got travel sick so had to sit at the front of the bus. So we didn't have a great journey and after checking in to a hostel, we caught up on a bit of sleep. We woke up to have some free pancakes at the hostel before heading out to explore the new city. On first impressions the city felt quite gothic for Australia, lots of old buildings, trams and everything seemed to be grey, including the sky! We started off with a huge market which was full of tacky souvenirs but we managed to have a lunch of free samples from all the food stalls! The rest of our afternoon was spent just wandering downtown Melbourne which was a real shopping city, but there were lots of nice alleyways and small backroads that gave the place a nice feel, much nicer than most other Australian towns. After a standard dinner of pasta and sauce, we headed to a comedy club which we found was shut down. So instead we managed to find a bit of live music that was in truth probably more hilarious than any comedy club would have been! It ended with a hard rock band who took themselves so seriously, it was as though they were playing Wembley, and the singer was so dramatic Charlotte and I were in histerics. It didn't help that we both made up a third of the audience and we felt bad when we left mid-song!
The following morning Charlotte went off on a guided tour to nearby phillip island where she met kangoroos and koalas before watching the penguins at sundown. I however had seen it all before on the east coast (penguins to come in NZ) and so decided to stay in the town and have my first day in Australia actually travelling alone! It was nice to have some time to myself though as I set off to the otherside of town and wandered round the river. I stopped off at a couple of musuems, brushed up on some Australian history and then realised there wasn't much more to do. So after wandering a bit more I found myself in the huge casino complex that housed a casino, 2 hotels and numerous expensive shops, bars and restaurants. After feeling out of place amongst the well dressed people, I wandered the casino and watched a chinese man lose $1500 in a matter on minutes on Blackjack. If only he couldv'e given it away to me! Deciding that I should try and do a bit of exercise (you don't get much chance whilst travelling!) I hit the swimming pool for a few lengths and spent the evening relaxing at the hostel.
Our 3rd day in Melbourne was spent on a tour of the Great Ocean Road along the south coast. We had been recommended a tour but it turned out to be really bad. The road and the scenery around it was amazing but our tour was useless and extremely rushed. We started off though by visiting the lighthouse that was used in the childrens show "round the twist" which Charlotte and I were very excited about. We spent a while driving along the cliff edges and taking in the awesome scenery and stopped for lunch of fish and chips. After feeding, we hit the real part people come to see, the huge cliffs and rock formations that erosion has created over the years. It was stunning as we looked out on the 12 apostles which stood mighty in the sea. We also stopped off at a big gorge and London Bridge (in my pic above) before heading back. The trouble with our tour was that we had a 14 hour day and only spent an hour of that sight seeing. When we arrived at a scenic spot our guide would wince and say we could only spare 10mins here but then said that it would give us plenty of time! It meant that we had to run down, take a photo and then get back on the bus! He got very stroppy with me for asking for some more time, and he didn't give us any info on the place. We did laugh later though when he was pulled over by the police for iratic driving and was breathalised and became quite nervous! Was glad we got to see the Great Ocean Road though but would have been nicer to drive it ourselves.
We spent our last day in the suburb of Fitzroy that was awesome, best part of Melbourne by far! It was full of really cool arty and retro shops and cafes and I could've spent all day wandering through the record shops and second hand book stores as well as all the other funky shops. I decided it was time for a haircut finally and went to Toni and Guy whereI got a haircut from one of the trainee staff. It's still a really good haircut but I didn't realise it would take 3 hours as she examined my hair and facial features and kept having to refer to her books and supervisor! Atleast it was cheap! That evening I met up with a mate of mine, Greg, who I met while in Malaysia and was staying across the road from us. Was great to see him again and we shared travelling stories and planned to meet again hopefully in NZ where our paths should cross again. Charlotte and I then caught another overnight bus this time down to Adelaide.
Melboune was a great place, a lot different to all the other towns in Australia, has a very European feel to it and theres tons to see and do. Everyone was telling us before we got there how the weather in Melbourne is always cold but we thought it was pretty decent! Wouldn't have minded staying longer and going to see some more (and better) live music as there's a good music scene there but as time was running short we had to get a move on and get to our next port of call.