We flew into Melbourne and immediately hopped in our two day rental to head along “The Great Ocean Drive.” It’s a windy, scenic road that passes along small coastal towns, including some world famous surf spots known for consistently big, predictable waves – it was fun to check out the towns and watch impressive surfers. We drove along for about five hours, soaking up the coastal town charm, then hit the big draw to the area: the Twelve Apostles. It was gorgeous. After a night in one of the small towns near there, we headed back, this time opting for a more inland route, going through a National Park of dense, beautiful rain forest. It was Jon’s birthday, so we celebrated with a nice lunch and beers from our first micro-brewery in a long time. The area is known as the best mountain biking in SE Australia, but unfortunately we did not have the time… surfing and biking will have to wait until further up the East Coast.
After returning our car downtown, we were lucky to stay with our unbelievable our new friends Jon and Poppy in Melbourne. After having met us on a boat trip in Vietnam, they welcomed us into their home for three days! (Probably against their better judgement.) They were such incredible hosts: they took us to great restaurants and bars in their area, St Kilda, one of the hippest areas of Melbourne; they lent us their bikes so we could ride along the beaches from their house to downtown Melbourne; they even drove us 1 hour to drop us off at our airport! We loved Melbourne, found the city very liveable, and especially loved spending time with Jon and Poppy. They are such great friends, we hope that we can host them in Colorado!
We got off the plane in Sydney and we were welcomed at arrivals by Karina, Jen’s good friend and roommate from University, along with her husband, Tony. They were also incredible hosts. Taking us shopping for much-needed errands, having “Sunday family fun day” in downtown Sydney, giving up their room so we could sleep soundly. Best of all, we got to know Gabriella, affectionately known as “Baby G”. She is adorable, and we had a blast hanging out and getting to know her. Sydney was great, the harbor and surrounding towns and beaches are fantastic. Overall we loved our time in Sydney, most of all being able to slow-down a bit and hang out with Karina, Tony and Baby G.
From Sydney we rented a car and begun our 14-day road trip up the East Coast, with our final stop Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef. Our first stop was the Hunter Valley, two hours from Sydney, an area similar to Napa Valley, known for its wines and vineyards. We had a nice day tasting wine and relaxing.
Next post: up the East Coast of Australia!