A few weeks ago (has it been that long already?) Derrick and I got back from an amazing trip to Australia and New Zealand! And I’m finally catching up on life after time travelling (it’s a lot harder than you think, time travel is) and sitting down to start writing about the trip. This will probably take several posts to keep from having a ridiculously long and cumbersome post, but I’ll try to make it entertaining 🙂
Derrick actually left for Australia a week before I left since the whole reason he was in Oz in the first place was for work. He had several days of traveling across the country (Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, and Adelaide) and then a one-day workshop in Adelaide before flying back over to Melbourne to meet me. So I left on Friday (the 29th of August) and got to Melbourne on Sunday September 1. Stupid date line. I had a layover in Auckland on my way over. The flight itself wasn’t too bad. I watched movies, slept, and read. Had some delicious plane food (honestly, it was actually one of the better meals I had…the food from Melbourne back to Auckland and Auckland to San Fran was wretched). In Auckland, I had a bit of time to kill, so I had my first “flat white” at a little cafe. A flat white is like a latte or cappuccino, but it isn’t. Just google it, along with short blacks and long blacks (two other main coffee drinks you’ll find down under). Anyway, revived by the espresso, I wandered around the airport a bit until my next flight. The flight to Melbourne was good and seemed so short compared to the first flight!
After the hassle of immigrations/customs, etc at the airport, I got a taxi to our hotel: The Windsor Hotel. The hotel is right across from the Parliament House for Victoria. It’s a beautiful, old hotel, built in 1883 and originally called the Grand Hotel. They are proud of their list of distinguished visitors which include Margaret Thatcher, Vivian Leigh, Sir Laurence Olivier, and the list goes on and on (you can find a full list at their website if you are really curious).
To fight off jet lag, I went straight on Melbourne time and soon had to find some lunch. I stopped in at the pub, The Elephant and Wheelbarrow, for a bite. While sitting there watching some Australian Football, a large protest/march came heading up the street next to the pub. Lots of police, megaphones, shouting, signs, etc. Rather exciting, I suppose except for the fact that their final destination was the Parliament house (which, remember, is right across from my hotel). So to get back to the hotel I had to circle around wide and come up a different way so that I didn’t have to get caught up in any part of the protest. But I did take pictures of it…
I spent the rest of the day just hanging out at the hotel, watching Australian TV, and trying not to fall asleep! I managed to make it until around 8 or 830 I think before falling asleep. Derrick makes fun of me though because I grabbed a sub from Subway for dinner. In Melbourne, a huge “foodie” city, but I didn’t have it in me to venture out far from the hotel for dinner.
Derrick made it in to Melbourne around 11 on Monday and after he got a chance to check out our hotel, we ventured out for lunch. We had pasta at a small cafe, followed by flat whites to keep up our energy. It was a misty gray day, but it was actually quite pleasant to be outside. We went to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, built in the mid-19th century (Melbourne itself was only founded in 1835).
After the cathedral, we wandered into Fitzroy Gardens, which includes Cook’s cottage, several large fountains, and a conservatory.
For our evening, we headed to Southbank, a suburb of Melbourne that has a lot of shopping, dining, and a large casino. We stopped at a Lindt Chocolate store to enjoy a hot beverage, macaron, and a Bailey’s Irish cream truffle. Fortified against the wind and rain, we struck out to explore the shopping/dining district along the Yarra River. When the rain got wicked, we high-tailed it into the casino and wandered through the maze of it all until the rain died down again. We finished our evening in Southbank with a few drinks and dinner on the (covered) outdoor patio at The Breslin Bar and Grill. In addition to the delicious lamb shank we had, we enjoyed getting to relax by the river, listen to the rain, and watch the city light up as night fell.