As we drove along the Great Ocean Road, the bright lights of Melbourne beckoned, but first we got to enjoy the delights of the wild coast. We spent a couple of nights in the bush by yellow sands and the surf of Johanna Beach. After several weeks of driving almost everyday we all enjoyed a day of relaxing and doing very little.
At the tiny village of Kennet River, we stopped to seek out koalas on a dirt road up the hill. We arrived in time for lunch and lots of tourist buses, making us realise we were back in the more populated part of Victoria, but by the time we had eaten we were almost alone again. We saw lots of cockatoos, parrots and about 10 snoozing koalas, high up in the trees.
That night in the unimaginatively named “Big Hill” free campsite, the parrots came to visit as we tucked up early as the temperature dropped to 8 degrees. The next afternoon as we headed into Melbourne the temperature started to rise, it kept on steadily getting hotter until it hit 42 degrees on the day we left. Phew! It even beat our previous personal record in Brazil.
Although the area around the caravan park we were staying in wasn’t too inspiring, it was an easy bus ride into town. After some Christmas shopping (Steve and I taking turns to distract the girls, while the other one dashed into a shop), we headed to the food trucks at Victoria Market. Steve knew it was his sort of place when he found 3 spit roasted pigs turning at the entrance. We managed to eat and drink our way round the world with Filipino pork, Southern Indian Dosas, Greek calamari, Spanish sangria, Thai coconuts and Australian beer – a perfect international mix.
We are lucky enough to have many friends from all over the world. During our time in Moscow we got to know many Australians and many of them have returned home after their time overseas. After a day of sightseeing and an afternoon “school trip” to the excellent Melbourne Museum, we headed out to the suburbs. It was lovely to catch up over some excellent wine and food with our old friends Dean and Janine. The girls disappeared with their lovely daughter Georgie, while we got to know delightful over 6ft tall Henry, who we had last seen as a toddler.
The next day the girls and I had a late start as Steve went in to town to meet Paul, who he had worked with over 20 years ago in London, he had a great time catching up. That afternoon we met up with yet more friends in Williamstown, Dave, Matt and Olga (all ex-Moscovites) for drinks at the pub. Fortunately Williamstown was near the sea and there was a nice breeze to lower the temperature a little.
Our last friend we saw isn’t even from Melbourne or even Australia but the timing worked out perfectly to see Benita, an old friend from University, who realised from the blog that we might be in the same place at the same time. She was just in Melbourne for a couple of days on holiday but we managed to catch up for brunch just before we left.
We had a lovely time in Melbourne and it was great to catch up with so many old friends.