Australian Travel Diary - 4 Days in Melbourne
There's something cathartic and freeing about traveling the world. You start with all these worries about what you're leaving behind, like work and--well, that's basically it. But you do forget about it as soon as you hit that foreign soil; it's that feeling "I'll let others handle it for a couple weeks" mixed with "I can pretend I don't have signal forever." After graduation, I went into work full-time and I barely had any time to relax. And I needed a break.
So here we are as my friend and I explore four cities across Australia and New Zealand in two weeks. No, it's not the backpacker's way of doing it, but the city dweller who's kinda lazy about traveling.
We chose Australia mostly because we have family there, but it's also Winter. It's a nice break from the scalding hot summers in North Carolina, and we get to enjoy some 50s to 60s weather. We start off our journey with two flights across the US to NZ, and a third to get to Melbourne.
Melbourne is the modern and cleaner version of a mini NYC. It's easy to maneuver through the city and get used to the streets, and you're able to walk through most of it in one day. From the La Trobe Library Reading Room to the Eye near the harbor. Plus there's a TopShop and Zara right near each other, so all your shopping dreams do come true.
I honestly went to a lot of tourist traps, and it was.......alright. When you don't have a car to travel places, the scheduled tours are a lifesaver. If you ignore the hoards of people that also come with you, you'll enjoy the spectacular sights you came to see.
Phillip Island happened to be my favorite tour. Beaches, cliffs, penguins, and kangaroos--it was kinda all of what I expected of Australia wrapped into one trip. I got great views and fed cute animals, what's not to love? I even got a selfie with a kangaroo, which was a lot harder than it looks. We walked on the edge of cliffs with the wind whipping our hair. The highlight was the end; watching fairy penguins waddle to their homes at sunset is something you won't forget.
The Great Ocean Road
What a long stretch it is to drive around this winding road next to the ocean. The Great Ocean Road was a highlight for miles and miles of beautiful ocean views. From gigantic waves crashing onto the rocks to the amazing 12 Apostles that stand proudly across the shore. From there we went on a journey to the Loch Ard Gorge that features a mix of desert atmospheres with the overlook of the gorge.
Melbourne is known for some of the best coffee in the world, and it didn't disappoint. Our first stop was at Max Brenner, a well known chocolate lounge with a killer white chocolate matcha latte. We also stopped by Manchester Press for a rustic morning of bagels and coffee. If you are craving bagels, this place has a great selection, including a delicious avocado and feta one that is to die for. Get here early because it's hard to find a place to sit
My favorite coffee shop in Melbourne was Brother Baba Budan, a cute little space no nonsense brews and lattes. No syrup, no sugar, just perfection.
I found myself walking through many alleys or laneways as they call them in Australia. These laneways are filled with small cafes, specialty shops, and street art. The street art laneways have many photo ops and highlight some talented work. The Arcades are a more high end kind of laneway much like a mall, with boutiques and grand decor. It's like entering the corridors of a palace.
Queen Victoria Nights Market
During the winter season of Australia, the Queen Victoria Market comes alive at night with food and clothing stalls. Endless lines for unique food creations are worth the wait, including Yuca fries, schniztel, and more. I'm still dreaming of the Desolation of Smaug burger that I ate, which is the best burger I've had. Chow down on some good food, and enjoy the live entertainment including bands, magic, and dancers.