My parents’ trip to Melbourne

After 2 years living down under my parents decided it was time they plan a trip down to Melbourne to visit me. Since I had previously decided I couldn’t afford a trip home for Christmas this year they decided to stay with me in my apartment over the Christmas holidays (summer break in Australia!).

After their flight out of Vancouver was cancelled and delayed several times due to snow (whats wrong yvr, can’t handle a little powder?) they landed in Melb on a sunny December 20th afternoon. Our first stop was a tour of my apartment and then I took them to Laksa King. Laksa King is my roommate and I’s favorite restaurant in Melb. It just happened to be one of the first places we stumbled upon and then was close to both places we’ve lived. Its been our tradition to stop in for laksa after we get in from the airport.

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Laksa’s new biggest fans!

On the next day, I took my parents to see a large variety of places in the city. First stop was the University of Melbourne (vet building and main campus), my job, and then into the CBD. We had lunch at Hash cafe, one of my favourite hippy cafes for amazing coffee and cool vibes. Next we wandered through Flinders, Federation Square, along the Yarra River, Collins Street, Bourke and Little Bourke Street, Swanston Street and Christmas Square, Melbourne Central, the State Library, the Shrine of Remembrance, etc. To end the night off we went to the Summer Night Market at Queen Victoria Market for some dinner and then over to Lygon street for dessert! I can’t believe I managed to show my parents so many things in one day! But when you have a limited amount of time- you do what you gotta do!

The next morning, my friend from Canada who has been living and working in Wagga Wagga for the past few months came down to Melbourne to spend Christmas with our family. All 4 of us set out on the Great Ocean Road. This was my 3rd time doing the road trip and I still love it! The sights are so beautiful!

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Enjoying the sunshine at Loch Ard Gorge

December 23rd we hopped in the car again and drove out to the Yarra Valley for some exploring. Our first stop was the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery— all I can say is it lived up to its name! We all left there completely stuffed… and we may or may not have eaten a massive helping of dessert for lunch. We stopped in at a few wineries for tastings. We found it a bit odd that most wineries in the regions didn’t allow self tours or for guests to walk the vineyards; that is very common at wineries in Canada. We also stopped in at the Yarra Valley Dairy and wandered through the cute shops in Healesville before heading back to the city for an awesome dinner at one of my best friend’s house with his family. Thank you so much!!! My parents loved meeting his family and trying out new food. On the way home we stopped at The Boulevard in Ivanhoe— supposed to be one of the best places in Melbourne to see Christmas lights. While the streets were full of hoards of people, we couldn’t help but be underwhelmed… Christmas just isn’t the same without snow.

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Wine tasting at Yarrawood Estates

By Christmas Eve we needed a more chill morning, so after hanging out at home we drove in the the city to do some grocery shopping at Queen Victoria Market. Over the past 2 years, this is probably one of my most favorite places in Melb. It is almost always busy and bustling with activity. I love listening to the people yell their prices out and trying to find the cheapest fruits and veggies. In the evening we went to the Christmas Eve service at my church — Hilsong Melbourne. It was a great service and my parents and friend loved it! We had wanted to see the Christmas light show in the city, but since it was summer the sun hadn’t gone down yet. We stopped at Degraves St. for dinner and coffee until the sun dimmed. Then we wandered Fed Square and down the Yarra River to Southbank to see all the decorations, lights, musicians, and street performers.

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Christmas decorations by the Yarra River

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More Christmas decorations along the Yarra River

On Christmas morning we watched my favourite Christmas movie–Christmas with the Kranks while we prepared food for an Aussie Chrissie. We went to the park across from my apartment and had a BBQ in the blistering sun…. 36 degrees Celsius! Lunch was prawns, swordfish, steak, corn, pasta salad, fruit mince pies, and ice tea. We ended the day at Sandringham Beach in the sun!

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Family photo! Like my tree?

Boxing day was my parents’ last day in Melbourne and we had tickets to a test match (cricket!). Since none of us knew anything about cricket we watched an extremely informative YouTube video to prepare…. thank you internet! The game was at the Melbourne Cricket Grounds (MCG) and we had a lot of fun watching the game and trying to figure out what was going on…. I think I might stick with hockey and football though. Since test matches can apparently go on for days and days (!!!!) we left early and headed out on our road trip….. (blog post to follow).

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Watching cricket at the ‘G!

The week was jam-packed and I didn’t even get to show my parents everything I had wanted too…I think we bit off a good chunk of it though. It was a lot of fun to introduce my parents to my second home and I can’t wait for my next visitor!

 

 

 

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The Great Ocean Road Trip Weekend

I almost don’t know what to write about I’ve had such a busy few weeks! My roommate’s boyfriend has been visiting for about a month now so between juggling exploring with him, studying, and doing other things it has been busy! My own friend came and stayed with us for about a week as well! I haven’t seen her in almost a year so that was really exciting! Our little apartment was quite the full house for a bit! But last weekend was one the the biggest highlights I’ve had in Australia to date.

After studying pretty hard for a couple of weeks and writing 2 exams on the Friday our brains were dead and in huge need of a mental break! Thus we kicked off our weekend by going out for supper and heading out to a footy game! Footy is a sport unique to Australia (I think… correct me if I’m wrong) and it seems to me to be a bit of a cross between football and rugby. I loved sitting in the huge MCG stadium and cheering for a team I just learned about and taking in all the sights and sounds. I was highly entertained by the fact that in Melbourne you can get meat pies at sports games (instead of hot dogs and hamburgers) and single glasses of wine and cider (So classy, Australia). I like to think I did a pretty good job of trying to memorize all the rules of footy. After that we went into the CBD (central business district aka downtown) for some late night snacks and exploring!

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We got to sit right behind the goal! You get the most points for getting the ball between the 2 middle poles

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My friend and I enjoying the game!

This is the part of the weekend I really loved: The 4 Canadians (Me, Jessica (the roommate), her boyfriend, and my friend) decided to road trip the Great Ocean Road. It is the world’s largest war memorial and FULL of amazing coastal sights! The Great Ocean Road is one of the main tourist attractions in Victoria and stretches for about 245km. It can also be backpacked or camped—plans for the future!

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We rented a car and left on Saturday morning! First stop was Bell’s Beach where the famous Rip curl surfing competitions are held. The waves were huge and despite the rain and the wind there was still a lot of surfers out in the water! I’ve actually never seen so many surfers before in my life so I found it really fun to stand there and watch them bobbing around in the water before popping up and riding the waves.

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Apparently it is a very Australian thing to eat fish n chips on the beach… so we had great intentions at lunch time. However, autumn in Melbourne had alternative ideas and we got rained out. We enjoyed our fish n chips in a nearby park in Anglesea whilst watching a kangaroo! There was also a quirky sulpher crested cockatoo that found and ate a whole donut as his lunch!

We made quite a few stops along the road to check out the changing coast line– full of blue water, crashing waves, tall
cliffs, rainforest, and wind. LOTS of wind.

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One of the major site seeing stops is near Port Campbell at the 12 Apostles. They are these incredibly impressive rock formations standing tall out in the surf. The light colored sandstone rock looks amazing as the blue waves crash around them. We took our time meandering down the road so by the time we reached the 12 Apostles the sun was going down. Unfortunately the wind and the rain was pretty bad at this time of the day so our group selfie left some beauty to be desired…. but the 12 Apostles looked amazing:

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The prairie girl loving the wind and the rain

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Our beautiful windy group selfie

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The 12 Apostles cannot all be seen from one view, and some have crumbled and fell into the ocean over the years.

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We warmed up from the rain in our hotel and at a local cafe bar… even trying some shucked oysters! #yum

The next day we set off the finish our drive to our last planned stop: Port Fairy. I had heard about a walk to a lighthouse where we might be able to see some rock wallabies! And we were in luck, not only did we see a walleby-we saw 3! As well as a seal! The lighthouse was beautiful as well 🙂

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We stopped at a cool cafe for lunch and to warm up before making the long drive home! We still got out and looked at a lot of the sites we had missed, including a whale nursery (we were a bit early in the season… need to come back in a month or so to catch some Southern Right whale sightings) and Cheeseworld (where we obviously bought cheese and sampled their ‘world famous’ milkshakes!). One thing we all wanted to do was a quick rainforest hike, so we took advantage of a momentary break in the wind and the rain to go for a quick hike into the forest to check out Triplet Falls! Apparently there are supposed to be platypus in the creek at the bottom—but we didn’t see any!

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By the time we finally made it back into the city it was dark out, but since our weekend wasn’t full enough we decided to head down to Lygon Street. Lygon is in the suburb of Carlton which is a very Italian district. The street is always bustling and full of good food and amazing gelato. It was my friends last night in town so we wandered around Lygon before heading back to our apartment to crash!

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