“Down Undah”

The land of Australia, where everything can kill you! That’s what they say…  The country is a huge land mass, but its population size does not correlate.  There are approximately 23 million people that live in the country! Most of the population is concentrated along the coastal cities. Our first stop in ‘Oz’ (Aussie shortened even further), as some call it, was Melbourne (silent ‘r’).  It reminds me of San Francisco to be honest…but with warmer weather.  It has a good coffee culture, it is pretty, and there’s a multicultural population.   Melbourne got voted “Most Livable City” in the world by the economist for four years in a row! IMG_3296 copy It is also one of the most expensive places to live.  Australia in general is expensive and you feel it more as a traveler on a budget. The hotels/AirBNB will be around $60/night for a decent place to stay near transportation.  After coming from Southeast Asia where I can live on $30/day like a queen, this is going to take some getting used to.  I soon got over myself as we walked the streets and saw some awesome street art.  It is legal to do graffiti in Melbourne in the designated areas and it is a quite famous attraction. IMG_3046 copy IMG_3056 copy IMG_3064 copy Currently, the most impressive in my opinion is the mural of the Aboriginal kid.  Its amazing! Can you believe this is graffiti?IMG_3081 copy Aboriginal Australians are the natives of the land before colonization.  Britain used the land as a penal convent in 1788.  Can you believe that? Since Britain at the time had overflowing prisons, they decided to just ship them off.  And so a fleet of 11 ships and 1500 people (50% convicts) came and settled in Sydney Harbor.  Today, Australia has a lower crime rate than Britain and holding the title of most livable city is not too shabby for a nation that began with criminals! IMG_3158 copy IMG_3176 copy IMG_3182 copy Melbourne had a gold rush in 1851 which brought people from all over the world.  There was an abundance of wealth to be had and rumor has it that people did crazy things with their money. We learned that and much more with our bike tour with Freddy’s Bike Tours.  He was funny and informative, we got some exercise, and got to see the city! IMG_3467 copy One of the the ‘musts’ on the trip that came out of it was the Great Ocean Road. The road, which stretches along the Southeastern coast for 151 miles, is a World War I memorial for the Australian Soldiers.  It is beautiful to drive along it.  We did a day tour with Melbourne Coastal Tours  to see various sites along the coasts.  It was well worth the trip! IMG_3485 copy On our way through the coast it was a beautiful view.  We had various stops and saw some birds and Koalas. IMG_3516 copy IMG_3537 copy Part of the trip included a Rainforest walk! IMG_3566 copy IMG_3582 copy Finally, the highlight of the trip was arriving at the sea where we got to see amazing blue waters and cool limestone formations including the 12 Apostles.   Currently there are only less than 10 left due to erosion.IMG_3754 copy IMG_3631 copy IMG_3647 copy IMG_3825 copy Exploring ‘Oz’ is off to a good start.  There is so much natural beauty to see. If you plan on coming, save up! We were also fortunate enough to get some help from our friend Adam. He graciously let us stay with him a few nights and showed us around the city when he was free. IMG_3111 copy  It was clear why its such a great city and it was a pleasure to visit it!  IMG_3868 copy Traveling to Melbourne? Here is a summary of how we did it. Accommodation: AirBNB apt in Seddon (near Footscray), friend in Brunswick Musts: Great Ocean Road, Street Art, Federation Sq, Take the public transportation (Its super easy and affordable), wander around Fitzroy Tours: Great Ocean Road tours- there are many with good reviews.  Try and get one of the smaller group ones.  Freddy’s bike tour. Watchouts: Food and accommodation is expensive so budget yourself! The weather was amazing!  It is the beginning of the Summer therefore it was sunny with a nice breeze during the day.  The nights could get cold so we just put on some layers.


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