August 8th 2016 – The Great Ocean Road

Today I woke up early again so that I could get ready in time for my tour of The Great Ocean Road. I took the train into the CBD and waited at the Immigration Museum for pickup at 7:45am. The tour was a medium sized tour with 22 people. I deliberately picked a smaller tour, because I felt it would be a bit more personalized, and I’m glad I did because it was fantastic. Steve, the tour guide, was exceptionally knowledgeable about the grand history of Melbourne and told us all fascinating facts about Melbourne, and various things along the way.

As we were passing over West Gate bridge Steve pointed out that two years into the construction of the bridge that a portion of the bridge actually collapsed, killing 35 workers. It was the worst industrial accident in Australia’s history. He said the bridge has numerous problems and they are working on it nearly every day. The bridge was opened in 1978.

During our commute to our first stop steve pointed out that Melbourne is actually a fairly young town, around a 150 years old, and the gold rush caused expansive growth, with a lot of Italian and Greek immigrants. The gold was about 100km south of Melbourne. The settlers actually had an opportunity to settle closer in Geelong, but the British actually messed up drawing the map and made it seem as if Melbourne was closer, so most people settled there. Steve also pointed out that Avalon airport, the airport I landed at a few days ago, is owned by Lindsay Fox, who is a multi-billionaire. He started his first business (Linfox) as a truck driver delivering lemonade during the summer, and firewood during the winter.

We were almost at our first stop when Steve pointed out the famous Pole House, which stands many metres above the bush. It’s a posh place to stay if you want a romantic weekend for a few hundred dollars. This house survived the great bush fire on 1983 because it was so high above the bushes.

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Our first stop was for tea, coffee, and biscuits. Our second stop was the Archway commemorating the workers who built The Great Ocean Road. Originally there was a toll booth to collect toll fares for using The Great Ocean Road, but it is now free. Three archways have been built on this site. The first was knocked down in 1970 by a truck that was too tall, the second burned down in the 1983 bush fire. The road originally was started in 1919 after World War 1, and opened three years later in 1922. Picks, shovels, and Dynamite were used to clear the way for the road. The second phase of the road was built in the Great Depression, to stimulate the economy.

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On our way to the third stop we oversaw the Grand Pacific Hotel, which Steve pointed out was named incorrectly, as it should have been the Grand Atlantic Hotel. The third stop was Cumberland River. The Fourth stop was Kennett River, where we saw Koala’s and four types of birds. There was a red bird called Crimson Rosella, a green bird which is some kind of Parrot, a white bird called a Cockatoo, and a black bird which was some sort of raven.

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Our fifth stop was Apollo Bay, which was a whaling station. It received its name from a whaling ship that frequently ported there. Right before arriving in Apollo Bay we passed a waterfall on the right side of the bus that belonged to Wild Dog Creek. In Apollo bay a complimentary lunch of pizza was served. I had a Hawaiian pizza, which was actually quite delicious!

The sixth stop was a “cool” rain forest. Most rain forest that we are used to are the ones that we think of in South America which are “hot” rain forests, but this one is a “cool” rain forest. It doesn’t get too hot here all year round, but it does get fairly wet, and rains over 2 metres of rain per year. This rain forest has world’s tallest and oldest eucalyptus trees, with some reaching over 80 metres tall, and some are over 400 years old. There also was some beautiful ferns here!

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The seventh stop was Loch and Gorge, which was just amazing!

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The eight stop was the 12 Apostles, which Steve told us makes no sense because there was only ever 8, and now they are down to 7.

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The ninth and final stop before heading home was Gibson Steps, which we walked down to see two famous rocks called Gog and Magog.

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The tour ended at 8:45pm back where I was picked up in Melbourne. I thanked Steve for the great day, gave him a tip, and boarded the train back towards my hotel. I then went to bed at around 11:00pm.

Tomorrow I will be exploring more of Melbourne, before I board a 9:30pm flight to Darwin. Check back soon for my latest blog!

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August 7th 2016 – Melbourne

Today I woke up early at 5:30am. I made myself my first “fancy” breakfast on this trip; toast with smoked salmon, melted cheese, and eggs. It was delicious! I got ready to leave, and left to catch the 7:20am train to Flinders Street Station.
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After arriving at Flinders Street station I walked to Hosier Lane, which is one Melbourne’s most famous grafitti street art locations. There are 16 locations that are officially recognized by the council. While I was walking up Hosier Lane I saw a gentleman with the exact same camera is mine, which is a rare sight, so I said “nice camera”. He introduced himself as Mark. Mark had so much valueable information to give me about the street art, because he works with homeless people and people with mental health disorders. When Mark isn’t working he goes around and takes photos of the street art, which he says is quite relaxing. He pointed out a few fabulous pieces of art, which had caught my eye earlier, and told me the Melbourne famous “LushSUX” had painted those pieces. Later on in the day as I was exploring other locations I was able to spot the “LushSUX” pieces with ease.
After admiring the beautiful work in Hosier Lane I walked around the CBD (central business district), similar to our downtown, and came across and information booth, where I grabbed some maps and information pamphlets. One of the pamphlets I picked up showed the location of all the 16 grafitti art locations that are officially recognized by the council. Natually I was curious so I explored them all. The one that struct my eyes the most was the one of the Kardashians. Mark had told me the council had to censor it, so they painted over their breasts with black paint. The council is quite quick to cover up anything that is beyond PG13.
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After visiting all 16 grafitti art locations I came acorss the Queen Victoria Marketplace, where I walked around for a bit and admired all the delicious food trucks and venue’s. I thought I had almost safely cleared the area without having any purchases, when I came to a truck selling fresh mini donuts. Naturally I had to purchase them! I recieved 5 hot mini donuts filled with strawberry goo for $5.50. I was almost able to finish all of them, but I gave up on the last one!
I then walked to the Italian district to view some very old architecture. After visiting the Italian district my feet were starting to get tired as I had already walked 15km today. I caught a ride on a tram to the CBD, and then caught another tram to the Docklands area. Melbourne’s tram network is fantastic! Trams run every 10 mintutes or so, have lots of space, and the network is huge. In fact if you’re even lucky you’ll get on an original rolling stock train, which is quite beautiful. They even have some restaurant trams where you can get on and have a fine dining experience while circling the CBD.
The Docklands area is an upcoming trendy area, similar to East Village back at home. There is tons of development going on here, ranging from many malls and hotels, to low and medium rise condominium developments. There is even a huge ferris wheel called the Melbourne Star. I sat down here and ate the lunch which I had packed for myself (ham and cheese sandwich, apple, and a banana).
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After walking around the Docklands area I boarded a tram back to the CBD, where I switched to another tram to take me to Saint Kilda beach. There is a very long boardwalk at Saint Kilda where you can get a pretty beautiful view of the entire CBD.
After Saint Kilda I took a tram straight into the CBD, where I walked around a bit more until my feet could no longer take it. I got on a train back towards my hotel, but this time stayed on a stop further in search of delicious food. I disembarked the train at Preston station and walked towards High Street, where again the first thing that caught my eye was a Vietnamese place. I caved and had to go there. I’m glad I did because it was the best Vietnamese food I’ve ever eaten to date. After having dinner I walked back to my hotel, where I worked on my blog and fell asleep at 8:00pm.
Check back tomorrow so you can read about my Great Ocean Road experience!

If you like the content that I produce and want to donate money towards my travel, or buy me a cup of coffee please feel free to contribute towards it. I really appreciate it.