Expat Travels: Australia- Part I

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Hey hey now!

Festive near Federation Square in Melbourne during the holidays, which is also summer in Oz!

Nearly a month later I'm still relishing in how awesome Australia was. I was too geeked to be there and the trip did not disappoint.

I spent 3 weeks in the country and started my journey in Melbourne. I had heard Melbourne was the culture hub of Oz, so you know I had to get here stat.

I stayed in the CBD area and I'm glad, too, because I was walking distance to all of the action. I highly recommend the CBD for tourists, but St. Kilda, Fitzroy and Richmond are all other good options for Melbourne as well.

Aside from the sights and scenes in Melbourne, I was most looking forward to touring The Great Ocean Road. I made it the very first activity and it did not disappoint.

I booked the tour through Viator since it was the cheapest I came across, but of course when I got to Melbourne I saw it for about $20 less than I paid. No biggie, as our tour was small, intimate and overall a dream come true.

At the entrance heading for the coast of Great Ocean Road

Now, the Victoria region is an interesting place. In 24 hours, you can be exposed to all four seasons. At the beginning of our journey it.was.hot. December is scorching hot in Victoria. But by the time we got to Apollo Bay it was chilly (argh!) luckily, I brought a light jacket for the journey.

Windy and chilly, just down the road from where we were.

Another part of our tour included a trip to Great Otway where eucalyptus trees rise high into the clouds. It's a natural rain forest type area, and home to some of the world's deadliest reptiles. Eek!

Koala sighting at the top of the tree; they get pretty high

Our guide demonstrates how the tree can provide shelter and protection

Contemplating life among Mother Nature, and watching out for deadly serpents.

The absolute highlight of the tour and trip was arriving at the Twelve Apostles.


Normally, when I'm on vacation, I try to spend as economically as possible but I can't reiterate how much of a dream this was so instead of just seeing the beautiful landscape from the ground, I opted for the helicopter tour over the Twelve Apostles. Super dope to say the least, and I had a front row seat with the pilot!

There's 5 helis on site

95 AUD for a 10 minute ride, which was plenty for me
Note: my ENTIRE day trip cost this much, so def book thru Viator!

One of the "apostles"; they've actually diminished from 12 to just 7 due to erosion.

View from the helitour. No. Justice.

Our trip ended with a trip to the Loch Ard Gord area, where I unknowingly walked in front of someone's engagement in action to take my photos. I'm promise I'm usually more observant.

The tour was 14 hours total (6 hour round-trip drive from Melbourne) and included a lunch and ice cream stop. The ride was peaceful and comfortable. Since our group was so small, we got dibs on all the scenic stops and beat all the large coach buses and traffic. I was good and worn out when I got back to Melbourne that evening, but I still ventured out to see some of the CBD the next day.

Another fun activity I did while in Melbourne was a tour of the area with Freddy's Bike Tours. For a mere $29 AUD, I got a half day tour of greater Melbourne and the Fitzroy area. My endurance was put to the test in the summer heat but I kept the pace!

Ridin 'round and gettin it...sunburn that is :(

Seen in Fitzroy
Part of our bike tour included a stroll through Hosier Lane in Melbourne. This is where legal street art covers the buildings for a few blocks. Every day, something new is getting created or tagged there. This area is also easily accessible by bus or the free city circle tram.

Street art in Melbourne

This is as close as I got to a koala

P&G affinity :-)

I spent the rest of my time taking in the sights on the City Circle Tram, which is free within the CBD. It is also HOT (no A/C) and crowded during high season. I ate at several, wonderful restaurants including one of my fav, Nando's and a great Colombian restaurant whose name escapes me. 

Melbourne has so much to offer but I couldn't possibly squeeze it all into five days. There is St. Kilda beach, and a gorgeous harbor for people-watching, but I was advised to skip it since I was heading to Sydney, and Sydney allegedly has the absolute best coastline in the country. That's just what I heard.

All in all, I loved my time in the Victoria region and highly recommend it. There's something for everyone!

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  1. Omg so jealous. It all looks amazing! I'm curious as to the history behind the Twelve Apostles site.

    1. Similar to Cape Town, they were named for their formation. Most of the area was under water before being "settled". Thousands of years and erosion later, the 12 have decreased to just 7.

  2. Looks like you had a great experience. $20 bucks more..no biggie. Looks like the entire adventure was worth it. Love the photos

  3. First off I want to say, take me with you. Secondly I want to say your pictures are beautiful, it is the perfect escape for me. We currently have 2 feet of snow on the ground. The 7 Eleven made me giggle.

    1. Oh it was great while it lasted,, and thank you! I'm back in Seoul, where it's a nice -11 low with more snow on the way :-(

    2. Oh it was great while it lasted,, and thank you! I'm back in Seoul, where it's a nice -11 low with more snow on the way :-(