Sorry, I've been really bad about updating the blog. But for those of you who are still reading, here's my post-Australia update!
My last 3 weeks in Australia were the best time and memories in Australia. My parents flew into Melbourne and spent a week and a half in Australia with me before flying home. It was such an adventure and I have so many pictures! First they explored Melbourne for a few days, (I still had to work) and then I met up with them to start our road trip! We explored the Great Ocean Road for a few days and saw some breathtaking views of the ocean along the coast! The Great Ocean Road is basically the Highway 1 of Australia. Also on that trip was our first sightings of koalas! They are actually quite rare and hard to find. From there we headed north to the Grampian National Park. It's these huge rock/mountain formations in the middle of nowhere. We stayed in these cute cabins next to the park. Hiked around to some waterfalls, spotted more wildlife, and enjoyed the scenery of western Victoria. We drove back to Melbourne and picked up my boyfriend Robby from the Airport! From there we headed to the Yarra Valley. I showed everyone the small town of Yarra Glen I would walk to on weekends and then gave them a tour of the winery. They were all really impressed with the size and the wines we tasted from the fermenter tanks. I was really thankful for the opportunity to work there, said my goodbyes to Mario, Chris, and Simon. The next day my parents were flying home and Robby and I were heading into Melbourne to explore the city. But before we left, we went and checked out the Healesville Sanctuary where they had a wide array of Australian animals from Kangaroos, to the birds, to some of the deadly snakes. It was pretty fun!
My parents flew home and Robby and I took the train into Melbourne and stayed near the Chapel St. district. It's filled with great restaurants and bars. I showed him around the main part of the city and he wanted to stop and eat everything! We explored a little of Melbourne's Chinatown and found a good dumpling house. For dinner we went to my favorite restaurant that I went on my birthday, Saigon Sally. It was soooo good, and every more spicy than I remember! The next day we flew from Melbourne to Sydney! We got cheap tickets for $30 Australian dollars! Once we arrived at Sydney, we walked around Darling harbor and ate some nachos next to the water. And that night we went and ate dinner in Sydney's Chinatown. We found a hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant that had Christmas decorations that look like they've been there for 10 years and never taken down, and also boxes of ginger piled against the walls, and only a handful of tables that were mostly full. We weren't sure what we were getting into, but that was the best Chinese food I've had! And it was a pretty funny experience. The next day in Sydney we decided to be really touristy and take this walking tour of the city. We met up with our tour guide in the morning and it was a 3 hour tour walking around the city and her pointing out all the monuments and telling us the history of the city. We learned that Sydney was founded as a convict colony, as the prisons in England were getting full. It was a really interesting city with a lot of history and set beautifully next to all these harbors. The tour ended by "The Rocks" and had a great view of the Harbor Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. After the tour we took a break at the Hilton Hotel and had a few fancy cocktails. Then in the late afternoon we took a ferry across the harbor to Manly Beach. Which was really touristy with shops and restaurants and a crowded beach. We went and had some drinks at 4 Pines Brewery. Just as the sun was setting we took the ferry back to Sydney and got some great pictures of the sun setting and the Opera House all lit up! Best views were on the ferry! Once we got back to Sydney, we grabbed a beer at the oldest bar in Sydney. For dinner we ventured back into Chinatown to find some more good food.
The next day we rented a car! Our flight back home was out of Melbourne, so we decided to drive along the coast back to Melbourne. Robby had to learn to drive on the wrong side of the road real quick. Getting out of Sydney was a bit stressful, but once we got on the highway it wasn't too bad. We took the scenic routes and stayed along the coast. Our first day we drove until sunset and I didn't realize that I booked a hotel for the wrong city, so we still had an hour drive to our hotel. The first night we stayed in a small town called Narooma. We woke up early that morning to catch the sunrise over the ocean. We also walked along a different part of the beach and saw some seals. We continued down south and stopped in at Bega Creamery. They are one of the biggest creameries in Australia. The second night we stayed at Lakes Entrance. The lady at the hotel desk told us about Raymond Island, which is a small island that is being taken over by koalas! So that's what we went to check out the next day. Koalas are thriving there and protected. We saw probably about 20 different koalas on our walk. They are so funny! From there we drove back to Yarra Glen and stayed at the guest house at the winery. The one last thing I wanted to show Robby in Melbourne was the Queen Victoria Market. It only happens on certain days and we missed it when we were first in the city. But it's a market filled with food, deli, farmer's market, and a random assortment of goods! And lots of souvenirs. We found some good cheese and bread and other treats to eat for lunch. And of course some boomerangs to bring home. We had such a blast on our trip, it was sad to know that we were flying home the next day.
I loved all of Australia and plan to be back!