Yes, I know. My last post promised more posts which I followed by not posting for a month. I failed.
To be fair though, three of those weeks were spent galavanting through Australia and New Zealand, so needless to say I was otherwise engaged in awesome fun and nerdiness!
And my goodness, what an incredible trip!
It’s no surprise to those who know me that less than six months after a foray into the UK I was happily turning my attention to an adventure halfway around the world. But to be fair, as much as I was interested in going to both countries, they had been relegated to “when I have more time/money” side of my travel list.
That is, until I got the invite to a wedding in Melbourne – the wedding of two really good friends who had moved back to Australia last summer. Two friends I missed. At that point, how could I turn down the opportunity to go to their wedding (which was held 12-years to the day of the first date), and use that as a comfy excuse to spend time exploring their part of the world.
So let me get on with the bragging! ;)
I flew out of Toronto on Feb 28, while we were mired in that awesome week of -30C weather, and arrived in Sydney on March 2 after an absolutely brutal 26 hours of travel.
I only had a few days in Sydney since my main destination in Australia was Melbourne – where I was spending almost a week – but I took advantage of what little time I did have there. I ensured I saw all the usual tourist spots, visited the Maritime Museum and the Sydney Museum, and spent a day out in Manly soaking up the sun and enjoying the balmy 32C at the beach.
Day 1 – The day of the sunburn.
While a large city, Sydney felt much smaller than it really was, mostly because I eventually realized they lacked the ‘height’ we’re so used to in North America. What I mean is not that the people are short, just that the buildings are. It’s more European in that sense: no towering skyscrapers that we expect to see in Toronto and New York, and more houses. Almost a suburban feel to someone who is used to seeing those skyscrapers extend out of the downtown core and well into the ‘bedroom’ communities of her home town.
It somehow makes the city feel old, despite the fact that the country is quite a bit younger than Canadian in terms of European exploration/settlement.
I then hopped a plane to Melbourne where I was greeted at the airport by Amy. Bundled into her car we drove downtown and explored a bit before meeting Kieran for dinner, and a relaxing evening of dealing with last minute wedding prep. The next day we had the whole day to ourselves, so Amy and I explored the Melbourne Botanical Gardens before heading over the the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Grounds) so that I could take a tour. She was very patient considering she’s not much for cricket, and while I can’t say I understand much of the sport I’ll admit I enjoyed seeing the MCG and hearing some of the history. It also didn’t hurt that the sports museum is on-site!
Once we were finished at the MCG it was then time for lunch, so we went downtown and found a place along the Yarra to have something to eat – in my case that included Wallaby dumplings because one must try the local fauna!
A walk along the Yarra, a trip to Melbourne’s beautiful war memorial, and some time on St. Kilda’s beach rounded out the afternoon.
The following day it was time to head out to Dalyston to start setting up for the Saturday wedding, so we picked up flowers, and spent the day arranging them and decorating the marquee before the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.
The day of the wedding dawned bright and early, and sadly overcast. But as guests started to arrive the clouds parted, the sun emerged, and we had a flawlessly azure-blue sky to go along with one of the sweetest, and most personal, weddings I’ve ever had the privilege to attend.
And I totally won the ‘prize’ as the guest to have travelled the furthest for Amy and Kieran’s nuptials to boot! :p
Following a brunch hosted by the newly married couple the next day, we enjoyed relaxing in anticipation of our scheduled Monday adventure: Phillip Island.
An hour exploring the Cape Patterson beach on Monday morning, and looking for crabs, we then headed to Phillip Island – a trip that required a bakery stop so Amy could indulge in getting me to eat a dessert that the locals call a ‘Snot Block’ – it’s more appetizingly referred to in the bakery as a vanilla slice. It was delicious by the way, a two thin layers of mille-feuille with about two inches of delicious custard in the middle! :p
Then it was a trip to the koala sanctuary where I was within a foot of one of the furry creatures, and came face-to-face with a wallaby who, based on the evil look he gave me, had been told I had eaten wallaby-tail dumplings… A wine-tasting, some delicious Flake (shark) and Chips on the beach, and then it was time for the Penguin Parade!
Phillip Island Koala Sanctuary
And oh my, the penguins were adorable! Small little guys, about half a foot tall they waddled onto the beach and towards their little dens allowing the guests to get within inches of them. Super cute!
Unfortunately for me that was my last full-day in Australia, and more importantly, with Amy and Kieran. The next morning we were all up early so they could head out on their honeymoon and I could head to New Zealand.
Which concludes part on of my Oz/NZ escapades!! I’ll post part 2 soon, I promise!