So back to Melbourne. I was there for 6 nights. I had a bit of a nightmare trying to find my tram to my hostel and ended up walking around for an hour almost with my backpack on my back..not fun at all :( Sweaty and tired I got to Habitat and it was a lovely hostel. Definitely one of the best I have stayed in OZ so far. There was also a free food cupboard and free food in the fridge. Never seen that before. I chilled out the Saturday and made some dinner. The Sunday I went and booked my Great Ocean road trip for the Monday. I originally was going to do a 2 day and head to the Grampians but it was shut due to the flooding in Victoria. I then checked out the St Kilda area which was a cute little area with an array of cake shops.. yummy on the Ackland road. The Sunday market was on near the beach as well. I chilled on the beach for a few hours as it was the first bit of sun I had seen in a while. I then went for a stroll on the walkway to the Pier and took some snaps. On the way I went past a little accessories stall and picked up a bracelet. The guy asked me to look after the stall and he would give me another one for free. I did that and spent some time chatting to him, he was also English and had been in OZ 8 years. We chatted about South America and he gave me a few tips.After this I headed and went back to the hostel to get ready for my road trip the next day.
On the Monday I was picked up at 7.25 and it was pouring with rain. Not a great start to the road trip. A girl Ilse was doing the trip as well so we hung out for the day. Our tour guide was Beau who had worked all over OZ. First stop was Bells Beach, they reference it in Point Break (although they do not use this beach but one in America). Next stop was Memorial Arch which has been burnt down and rebuilt several times. There have been 2 big bush fires in Victoria 1934 and 1983 which have destoryed a lot of the area. One of them destoryed 75% of the area and only 3 buildings remained. A light house, Mel Gibsons old house form Mad Max and also a house which was built on a big concrete block as the guy suspected there would be a bush fire so his house was unreachable, guess he got the last laugh. We then stopped and did some koala spotting at a wildlife park called Kennett River. The drive was spectaucular and there were some serious bendy roads as you can imagine but it was brilliant. It took 13 years to build the road and it was started in 1919 and completed in 1932. We went for a lunch at Apollo Bay and I chose a cheeseburger and chips (no surprise there). After lunch we went for a walk in Otways rainforest. Beau said that for Jurassic park they came to this forest and got a lot of their influence for the creatives in the film. Especially the Mrytle tree which I think is in the scene where they fall asleep then wake up and the veggie dinosaur is there.There are alot of gum trees in OZ and they can grow sometimes once they 'know' the rainforest is ready. We then went to the spot of the famous '12 Apostles'. For those that do not know what this is, its rock fomations that are in the ocean and there used to be 8 of them but 1 fell in June 1995. I guess they were once part of land but now stand solo. We then went to another spot which had similar rocks but were called salt and pepper and razorback. We were so lucky as the weather had turned gorgeous so in all the pictures it is blue skies. We walked to the Loch Ard gorge which was the site of a ship wreck many years ago and had a nice beach there. We did a few small walks to few all of these. When the Lord Ard crashed there were only 2 survivors a guy and girl. He fell in love with her but sadly it was not reciprocated and she married someone else years later and he carried on his career as a captain. Our last stop was London Bridge. The arch which joined the piece to land fell down in 1990 and a couple were stranded on the island. Luckily an older couple had seen this happen and reported it to the police who did not believe it. Eventually a company agreed to sending a helicopter out but only if a reported could join it. Some good PR hey.. the couple were reluctant to discuss who they were or anything really. It turned out they were a couple having an affair with each other and he had called in sick that day. Oh dear.. things have a funny way of coming out :) After all this very scenic driving we turned back and headed to Melbourne. We did a dinner stop on the way back and got back to the hostel for 9ish.
The next day I woke to let my friend Gary in the room. He fell asleep in the top bunk. We spent the day with Michelle and a guy from our room and went to St Kilda for a look around. We then spent the day in the courtyard sunbathing and chilling out. Later on 5 of us had a pasta dinner with some mince which Gary was disappointed in but it was all good. We spent the evening getting drunk in the courtyard, this was the night before Australia day. It was a rainy night so we did not venture out.
On Australia day Gary and I headed on the tram to check out the city. We had a look around the gardens near St Kilda as there were some big celebrations going on for the big day. Fireman booths, food, face painting and even a dog show. That was a first one for me. We then walked up to catch the city bus but we seemed to have missed it. We walked to Federation Sq, the Cricket grounds and took some pictures and then China Town. We then caught the bus which took us around all the big tourist spots like Queen Victoria Markets, Docklands, Brunswick street, Melbourne Uni and back to St Kilda road. After this we then headed back to the hostel to drink and get ready for the evening. We stayed in the courtyard then thought we would catch the fireworks from St Kilda beach but a silly girl told me it was 9.30 and so we missed it and arrived only to see smoke. We chilled there for a bit and finished some drinks before we then headed to Base. It was Michelle. Steph, Ben and the 2 Essex lads Tom and Marco. We had lost Gary earlier to the land of nod :) We had a $50 bar tab so we were happy to get a free drink. Base was not really that great so we headed to 29th apartment. The queue was massive but after a while we were in. It was a funky bar with a bed, washing machine and other random house items in.. well I guess they were getting into theme. We had a dance there :) After a while we staggered home and got pizza on the way. The next day was gorgeous and the original plan was to hire a car and head to Philip Island but we decided to give it a miss and sit on the beach for the day and bake ourselves. Later on they did a sausage sizzle and boy there were some serious sausages.. they went on for ages so I ate far to many :) Later on the guys headed out but I stayed in with some others and uploaded some pictures and spoke to Robo.
The next day was my last day in Australia :( I checked out and then booked my bus for 7pm which would take me to the airport. My flight was 23.59 but as it turned out it was 23pm due to daylight savings (although there ended up being an hour delay) I then went on the Neighbours tour with Gary and Michelle and yes it was totally cheesey but good fun. We were a little disappointed to hear we were going to meet 'Lucas' I have no idea who he was but luckily it turned out we were now meeting Alan Fletcher aka Dr Karl Kennedy. We first went to Erinsbrough high school, then the most famous Australian street in history. Also with the famous sign so we took tons of pictures. We then headed for the studios and saw the cafe and greasy monkey garage where we met Karl. He was an absolute star and was very nice. We took pictures and signed books and all was good. It was then back to the hostel. We had some food and then headed to the beach for a short while. On the way back Michelle and I shared a chocolate eclair from the famous Ackland cake shop. Taylor our new friend also had one. I then picked up some suncream and headed back to get my stuff ready for my bus. After quickly washing and changing and uploading some piccies I said my goodbyes to Michelle and Gary and headed for the airport. It was great to see Gary as I started my stint in OZ with him and was ending it with him. I got to the airport and had a look about. I actually ate some Nandos as had some cash left and thought I may as well treat myself and it would be the first and last Nandos for a while. I felt quite sad to leave Australia and I can not believe my 4 months were over there, time really is flying. I was however excited about the next countries.. FIJI first BABY!!