Sydney, New South Wales | Melbourne, Victoria
5th August 2014, Tuesday
We landed in Melbourne (Tullamarine) around 7pm in the evening. My cousin, who has been living in Oz since 2002, picked us up from the airport. From there, he drove us back to his apartment in the Caulfield suburb. And since pretty much everything – less the bars and certain restaurants – closes early in Australia, we couldn’t do much! We just had dinner at a nice restaurant before returning back to his place.
I should also mention that this was our first time visiting our cousin in Australia. I have heard stories about this puppy he bought – a labrador retriever.
He was an old man (of 10 years) by the time I got around to actually meet him. Oh, how time flies!
6th August 2014, Wednesday
We set off early in the morning for a 3-hour drive to Mount Baw Baw that was close to 200km away. Along the way, we took a pit stop to grab some breakfast at Hungry Jacks. Fun fact: Hungry Jacks is essentially Burger King. The name Burger King was already trademarked by a local company when the fast food restaurant franchised into Australia.
Mount Baw Baw
The road trip was bearable right up to the ‘Mount Baw Baw Tourist Road’. If my memory serves me well, we had to drive another 21km on a long and meandering road up the mountain. Half-way through, my sister and I were beginning to feel the signs of motion-sickness.
We got really excited when we started to notice the snow cover as we were reaching the top. This was the first time we were going to experience real, natural snow!
Bucket List: Go Skiing [√]
We reached the Mount Baw Baw Alpine Resort to ski (for the first time ever). We had to pay an entrance fee of $40 for cars. And then each of us paid $96 for a package deal of 1. Ski Gear, 2. Lift Pass, and 3. Hot meal at the Alpine Bistro.
For someone who knows how to ice skate, Skiing is NOT easy at all. My cousin patiently taught us the very basics of skiing. And trust me; even after that, I was barely skiing. I was merely just gliding and trying my best not to fall – which I did on several occasions.
Even though the mountain top was freezing, I was perspiring profusely. It was a great work out (falls included). I daringly took the lift up, having no other way but to ski down a huge slope. I narrowly survived the trip down – I fell about 3 times in that same trip. The hardest part was putting your skis on during mid-slope. I almost contemplated rolling down the slope instead – which seemed like a safer option.
All in all, I had great fun trying to ski. One more item crossed of the bucket list! Perhaps in the future, I would consider taking proper lessons before actually going skiing!
7th August 2014, Thursday
Melbourne decided to be unkind to us on our last day. It rained the entire time, ruining most of our plans.
We met our friend, Genieve, who is currently doing her Bachelor’s in Melbourne. She took us to the Fairfield Boathouse, where we were supposed to go boating – but the rain just wouldn’t let up. So instead, we just had breakfast at the restaurant. And you definitely must try their ‘scones’ which were just simply delicious. After which, we bought some bread to feed the ducks in the rain.
In the afternoon, our friend brought us to the city centre. We first went to Victoria’s Market, and then to some of the shopping malls. Oh, I tried Churros (Spanish doughnuts) for the first time, and where can I get more??
I think I should also mention that I found some things in Melbourne that were pretty weird. Like this, for example:
It’s the CBD, and the car parking is in the middle of the two-way road. I just find it rather dangerous – cars might just suddenly swerve into the first empty lot they find (without warning), or they might suddenly exit the lot to join the lane.
Another funny thing was the right turns. In Melbourne, they do what you would call a ‘hook turn’. Essentially you keep left first, allow all the other cars to pass you before you turn right. I was perplexed. Isn’t it much more inefficient? When I asked about why it was so different here in Melbourne as compared to Sydney, I received a reply saying, “Sydney is too mainstream.”
At about 6.30pm, we reached Southern Cross Terminal to catch our bus to Sydney. You heard me right – bus. A twelve-hour bus ride to Sydney from Melbourne (because it was the cheapest). We took the Firefly Bus service which costed us $60 each for a night ride. At least, we didn’t lose the day and managed to catch some sleep on the bus.