26th May 2015- 27th December 2015
We stayed at Flinders backpackers for a few days when we arrived in Melbourne while we looked for a flat share. We found one quick enough- flat 1102, 270 King Street. Right in the city, on the next street over from Southern Cross Station and around the corner from Queen Vic Market. It was a perfect location and within walking distance from everything. It was $155pp/week with bills included and it had a gym and small swimming pool and jacuzzi downstairs. The apartment had one other room with Ghiseth, who was from Columbia, shared with different backpackers who moved in/out. Melbourne has free public transport within the CBD so you can just hop on a tram or bus if you wanted. Melbourne has been voted the most liveable city in the world for a couple of years running and we certainly agreed! We loved it! It was such a fantastic place to spend 7 months and we definitely didn't want to leave! We met some amazing people, mostly British/Irish backpackers too!
We both managed to get jobs quickly and started on the same day! Nath got a job for a removals company- Grace Removals, which is one of the biggest removals in Australia and NZ. It was casual work so he was never sure when he was working but he mostly got full time or even more hours and he was on a minimum of $23 an hour, more on weekends/nights etc. He worked mainly in the CBD in the office removals section and he enjoyed the job he did. He worked in some of the tallest buildings in the city, with great views! He also worked on the new Cancer Centre in the city, which was a brilliant project to be involved in! We met our friends through Nath's work and then met others through them friends. We had a good group of friends who we went out with on weekends.
I got a full time job in a cafe in the Myers office building at Docklands called The Paperchase. I worked 40 hours a week and I was on $20 an hour. I was paid cash too so didn't lose any money on tax, coming out with $800 a week. Sometimes I did more hours at events and in the food truck too. It was two brothers that owned the cafe and they also had another very popular cafe and a catering business with a food truck called Hammer and Tong. I started at the cafe as Foh on the till but I was then trained as a Barista, which I worked as for a couple of months, as well as managing the cafe too! It was very stressful but I loved it at the same time!
When we got to Melbourne it was going into winter (1st June) but we didn't find it very cold. People were walking around all wrapped up but we were still dressed in light clothing! In summer it was mainly over 30 degrees and into 40 degrees a lot of the time too. We soon adapted which was surprising and didn't find it unbearable like we thought we would. We really got used to living in the heat!
It was Nath's 23rd birthday when we were in Melbourne. We went out with friends bowling and then for a night out after. We both then went for a lovely all you can eat meal at Docklands, overlooking the water.
We went skiing in August at Mount Buller. We did a day trip from Melbourne and hired our skiis and equipment there. Mum sent over goggles and gloves for us both to use. It was a brilliant day and Nath's first time skiing. He did really well! He did spent a bit of time on the floor but he still picked it up very quickly! Apart from the drag lift which he just couldn't get the hang of and knocked us off it twice! I brought him down a red slope too, which was way too steep for him and he nearly skied straight of the mountain. Never s*** myself so much! Apart from nearly killing him, I think I was a good instructor!
We got the train and bus to Mount Dandenong for a day out on one weekend which had fantastic views out to Melbourne in the distance. The area surrounding was very flat and Melbourne CBD just stood up right in the middle. We had lunch up there and spent the day enjoying the views.
We did a lot of exploring the city, visiting and drinking at St. Kilda beach, we visited Brighton beach, exactly the same as our Brighton beach with the colourful beach boxes. We went on a lot of nights out or drinks at people's houses. We mainly went out the same places and usually out on Chapel Street in Prahan/St. Kilda. We went to an AFL (Australian football league) game at the MCG whilst we where there. They call it football but it's really not! It's nothing like our footy and we weren't overly keen on the game. There were 83,804 people at the game though so it was a big game! They are mad for AFL here! We went to see Real Madrid vs Man City in the International Champions Cup at the MCG too. That was brilliant and we saw some amazing players! I managed to hospitalise myself whilst we were there! After a night out, the next morning I was throwing my guts up, as usual when I drink! This usually goes on until about 7 at night and I can't eat or keep any water down during the day. Half way through the day after being sick numerous times, my sick, which was just water really, turned red. I thought it was a bit strange and the next time I was sick I realised it was blood. I rang the medical helpline and they told me to go to the hospital. I was a bit reluctant to go but after it happening again I decided I should. We got the tram there and I had to wait in A&E. As we are a part of the reciprocal agreement with Australia, I didn't need to pay anything, just show my passport, so that was good. I was pretty embarrassed to be there. I hate the thought of wasting their valuable time. I was very honest with them and told them it was due to being sick from alcohol. Some staff judged me a bit, asking me why I drink so much etc. but my doctor was really nice and said I did the right thing coming in. He explained it was Mallory-Weiss Syndrome, caused by severe and prolonged vomiting which results in tears in the lining of the esophagus (the tube that connects your throat to your stomach). They said they needed to keep me in over night, the got me in a bed, hooked me up to a drip and gave me some medication to stop the vomiting. The medication made me feel very strange and all my limbs felt very heavy. It was an awful and very strange feeling. Not an experience I want again. I stopped being sick and I was hydrated again so they let me go about 11pm thank god. I just wanted to get home. It was a real shake to the head! I don't want that happening again. The care at the hospital was amazing though! I had to have the next day off work and I was on medication for a week or two but after that, and some pain in stomach for a while, I was okay. Just knocked some sense into me!
In December before we left we got the chance to go see Ed Sheeran at AAMI arena. It was amazing!! A big highlight of my time in Melbourne! He was just brilliant, I loved every second. I think Nath liked it secretly too!
Before we left we did the Great Ocean Road and Grampians National Park in December after we finished work on 18th. We hired a car and did 3 days- 2 nights. There car cost us around $600 which was expensive but it was nice little car! It was a lovely drive along the GOR, stopping at different towns/villages and certain tourist spots and lookouts. We stayed for the first night in at Apostles Camping Park as Cabins in Princetown just 12km from the 12 Apostles. We stayed in a little log cabin but got seriously infested by flies and it was way too warm! It was 44 degrees on the first day, way way too hot! Nath tried his best to stay in the car with the air con through the day! We went to go see the 12 Apostles at sunset and then again in the morning for sunrise. It was really lovely. The second day we did the rest of the GOR and down to Port Fairy, where we then turned right up towards Grampians NP, where we stayed the night.
We stayed in Halls Gap in Grampians NP at Gariwerd Motel, which was nice. We got up before dawn and set off for the Pinnacles walk which had fantastic views at the top. On our whole trip we saw koalas and kangaroos and wallabies for the first time which was very exciting! It was a lovely trip and definitely worth doing. A few days after we got back on Christmas Day there were huge bush fires that destroyed a great deal of the GOR and many homes which was very sad.
We spent Christmas in Melbourne before setting off to Sydney for New Year. We went to the beach at St. Kilda on Christmas Eve and had a BBQ and Ben and Shira came for a while which was nice. On Christmas Day we went out for Christmas lunch at Docklands at the same buffet restaurant we went to for Nath's birthday- IGG International Buffet. It was strange not having Christmas dinner but it was a nice day for our first Christmas alone! It was also about 40 degrees! We then went to the beach and met up with everybody there and spent the rest of the day and night drinking and having a good laugh!
On the 26th we had a few last drinks with friends before leaving on the 27th.
Melbourne was just amazing and such a brilliant place to live. It's a great city with always something going on. We went to a lot of food markets and festivals there, some very random weird arts and drama festivals and some good musical festivals like the rhythm and blues festival. Melbourne is the coffee capital of Australia and only after leaving did we realise how good the coffee was. It was a very multicultural city with many international travellers or citizens who had moved there. It has the biggest population of Greeks outside of Greece. It reminded us a bit of home, it just had better weather and a more relaxed atmosphere. We will really miss Melbourne! It really felt like home!