After my last blog entry I went to meet Rachael, a family friend who now lives in Perth. We went up to Kings Park, above the city, and ate kebabs looking out at the sky-line which was lit up and reflecting off the river. It really is a beautiful city at night!
The following day I took the train to Fremantle which is a small city just South of Perth where there is a port. I spent a few days there, the weather was lovely, and met a couple of nice girls at my hostel who I spent some time with. We went to Rottnest Island and hired bikes as no cars are allowed there and spent a couple of hours at the beach. I really liked Fremantle as it is a lot older than a lot of the places I have visited in Australia so has some lovely architecture and no sky-scrapers, for a change! I also went to Cottesloe Beach nearby which is another popular holiday destination for locals.
I left Fremantle last Thursday to travel to Melbourne. I also sent 2.5kg of luggage home as I was really starting to get fed up of struggling with packing my bag every time I had to move to a different place! It now seems half empty but is still very borderline where the weight limit is concerned!
Anyway, I arrived in Melbourne and the following day took a weekend trip along the Great Ocean road, ending in Philip Island the following day. The Great Ocean Road really does have some fantastic views of the Ocean and at Philip Island we watched the "Penguin Parade". Basically there are tiered seats where everyone sits and waits for the penguins to come out of the ocean at the end of a long day of hunting. They are the smallest penguins in the world at just 33cm tall and extremely cute!!
Upon arriving back in Melbourne I made friends with a German girl, Tamara. We decided to go the Aquarium the following day to see more penguins! And to the botanic gardens which really are lovely. You really wouldnt know you were so close to the city! And the weather has been pretty good over the last few days too. The following day we went to the National Gallery of Victoria, I particularly wanted to go here to see the Aboriginal Art, and then to the Melbourne Museum which was extremely good and we still hadnt finished exploring when it closed at 5pm!
Unfortunately Tamara left to head home to Germany that evening. The next day I went on a tour of the Queen Victoria Markets. They are the biggest markets in the Southern Hemisphere and have a fantastic variety of food for sale as well as other general retail items. Yesterday I took a day trip to St. Kilda, the local seaside town. It is very small but has some lovely cafes and I treated myself to lunch and enjoyed some time on the beach reading my new book (The Bronze Horseman which I am totally addicted to!).
Today I am leaving Melbourne. It is a lovely city and I have been pleasantly surprised by how much there is to do here. I have managed to fill 8 days with sightseeing and I am sure there is still plenty more to do. The city centre itself is huge with a mix of sky-scrapers and older buildings. It would certainly be a great place for shopping!
This evening I am flying to Sydney where I will meet Neal, unfortunately his flight from the UK was delayed so he wont be arriving until tomorrow morning. I have been missing home a lot recently so am really looking forward to seeing a familiar face and having a good friend! I have met some lovely people in the hostels but with everyone moving around so much you just dont get time to build up those good relationships that you have with people at home.
To see photos from Melbourne: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=105833&id=223101243&l=93b940c9eb