We arrived at Nomads Melbourne late in the afternoon of the 9th of August. Once we were all checked in and settled, we decided to have a wonder around the city, go grab some dinner and a few beers. Matt really wanted to try some native Aussie meat, so, thanks to good old Google, I found a bar that would do just nicely. The Crafty Squire, served crocodile, kangaroo, emu and more; not only that, but it was also a brewery for James Squire, and so had plenty of different beers on tap.
I had some Morten Bay Bug bites for starters, and a less exotic mac ‘n’ cheese for my main. Matt got himself a croc starter and kangaroo steak as his main. Ryan went for chicken wings, and a good old Aussie chicken parmi. We were all pretty happy with the food, and we even tried a few of the exclusive beers on tap. I had a dark ale, that tasted like Jaffa Cakes! It was sooo good, but it was like a meal in itself haha. After dinner we headed back to the hostel and had a few drinks at the bar for the rest of the evening.
The next day we explored a little further and headed down to the south bank. We walked along the river and popped into the Crown casino. It was HUGE! It wasn’t just the casino either, the building went on and on, there were fancy restaurants, expensive looking shops, and more. It was fun to walk around and see everyone playing all the different games. I wasn’t feeling too lucky, but Matt won himself $20. He didn’t chance himself though, so we left shortly after that!
We continued on to the Eureka Sky Tower, just down the road. We went up to the 88th floor and saw some spectacular views of Melbourne. I got a bit wobbly legged up there for some reason. I don’t dislike heights or anything, for some reason I just seem to lose all sense of balance, but it was good fun. We even went out on THE EDGE. The Edge, is an extra which you pay to go on. It’s a small glass box, which hangs 3 meters out of the side of the building. That I wasn’t too happy with, it’s the glass bottom…eeekk. We survived though. The Sky deck is the highest tower on the southern hemisphere too, which I thought was pretty cool.
After all that excitement, I needed a beverage to calm myself! I mean, to reward my bravery 😉 We stopped at a cool little bar that is right in the middle of the river. It had a really quirky vibe, and was in a great location, if only it hadn’t been so windy. We had a couple there, then explored the city some more.
On Thursday, myself and Matt woke with a little bit of a hangover head ache, so we went on a long walk to clear the cobwebs. We walked to the botanical gardens which were beautiful! It’s a huge place though. I really liked the Guilfoyle Volcano display. It is a gorgeous array of flora and a sustainable water feature. We also visited the Shrine of Remembrance, which was a particularly impressive building to commemorate those who fought during various wars.
Friday, was to be our last day in Melbourne, so we booked ourselves on a day tour to Philip Island, to see the tiny penguins! We set off from Federation Square, in the early afternoon, and made our way to our first stop at Maru koala and animal park. The little wildlife park is home to a range of Australian native animals. While we were there we got to feed some of the free ranging roos and wallabies. Ryan and myself have fed kangaroos before at Lone Pine Koala sanctuary, so weren’t phased, Matt however, took a little convincing! It was good fun, and a nice little stop off along the way.
After that we continued on to Philip Island. We arrived a few hours before sunset, so the driver took us on a little drive along the coast to see the penguin nests and wildlife around the island. As the evening drew in, we made our way to the viewing area on the beach and waited for the sun to go down, and the penguins to arrive. The penguins began to arrive not long after sun down. They leave the water after the sun goes down, so as to avoid predators. They head back to sea in the morning just before sunrise, for the same reason, so this penguin parade is a nightly ritual.
They are so cute! One comes up out of the sea to check out the situation, jumps back in, then brings all the others. The make their way on to the beach, then start the long trek up the hills to their nests. They are so adorable, and actually tiny! To think how far they have to go to make it to some on the nests, with their tiny legs, is just amazing. We watched them for a while, then headed up the board walk to watch them continue their journey on the island. They are so noisy too!
I really enjoyed watching the tiny penguins. We weren’t allowed to take photos because they found that the flash was damaging their eyes. It was nice to just watch and enjoy the experience, even if some people didn’t listen to the rules (which really annoyed me, but the rangers soon got to them). I would highly recommend anyone visiting Melbourne, to take the time to visit Philip Island and see they little guys because they are fabulous. The trip was a really nice way to round off our time in Melbourne, and on Saturday morning, we hit the road again.
Bye for now