The surrounding countryside around Melbourne is stunning. From incredible beach views along the Great Ocean Road to the mountains and rain forest areas. I was on a quest to see kangaroos (check that off) and koalas (sadly no so I shall just have to go back).
The driving is easy (on the left side) with open roads and no one really aggressive. Although we did see some sadly squashed kangaroos at the side of the road so dusk and night may be difficult similar to deer.
Our big jaunt around the world started when we flew from Mexico to Los Angeles and spent 24 hours there due to flights not lining up well. It was fun to go over to The Grove and Farmer’s Market as it we’d been there before just prior to Christmas so somewhere I have pictures of the kids about 10 years apart.
We flew out the next day to Sydney and while it was 15.5 hours, it went surprisingly fast and we did manage to sleep (a miracle). It was strange leaving on Nov 29 and arriving Dec. 1. I kept pondering how we had completely lost the 30th! Our first day was purposefully relaxing with just restaurant nearby. Thankfully we were in a great area (Central Park) and had tons of amazing places to choose from. We ate Malaysian, Thai, Chinese, and more for our time there – all delish.
The first day we took an Uber to the Opera House and went on a tour. I hadn’t realized there were so many different theaters within this iconic building. Multiple shows running at the same time but we just couldn’t swing seeing anything there. It’s OK as we are going to Phantom (seen multiple times before but it’s a fave) and Hamilton in Melbourne so are pretty excited about that. The building is impressive and a tour was very good as we saw inside plus learned the history behind the building. Well worth the money.
From there we wandered around the dock area and The Rocks which is a cute area with narrow lanes and outdoor cafes etc. It’s all pretty with a great mix of old and new buildings plus nice green spaces and parks. We really did like Sydney a lot.
During our visit we hit up some museums and walked quite a bit to explore. Darling Harbor was nice and reminded us of the UAE a bit.
Our flight to Melbourne left at 6am so it was an early shift but very easy and everything went smoothly. Sadly Melbourne airport when I was leaving for Thailand a few days later was anything but. We all stood in line to try and check in with 3 employees helping. It took 3.5 hours to get thru the line and of course the flight was delayed. Coming back, they were announcing that due to chronic staff shortages, bags were very delayed and it could be at least an hour wait! Hope they can hire more people soon.
Anyway, Sydney was lovely. Perfect weather, friendly people, pretty architecture, and good food.
Max, Charlotte, and I were hugely excited to get to Melbourne because this is where Jake is living. They got to stay with him while I went to Thailand to co-lead a 10-day study abroad.
Melbourne is lovely although the weather was hard to predict. It was summer one day (and actually the season we were there) but some days it felt cool and rainy.
We did so many things it’s hard to get it all in here for one post. We hit up quite a few markets (happens with a chef son) and they were impressive. Fresh oysters and all kinds of nibbles.
Melbourne view from Jake’s apartment
Some of the highlights were all our shows we were able to see. Hamilton, Phantom of the Opera, and Joseph were so much fun. COVID limited our show viewing so we tried to make up for it.
We also had a great evening at the botanical gardens watching movies on a giant screen (complete with huge fruit bats flying overhead). We saw the Whitney Houston movie, I Wanna Dance With Somebody, and it was almost like being at a concert. Amazing night.
We ate some amazing food around the city but the best was my son’s restaurant — Mesa Verde. Wow is it ever good.
We had two house swaps over the holiday season so spent Christmas in a suburban beach town. We took lots of day trips from there into the countryside and cooked some good food at home in the really nice kitchen. We even had chickens in the garden that we cared for and were able to get eggs.
And then for New Year we moved to a city house that was a beautifully renovated warehouse in Fitzroy area. NYE was spent wandering down the road to an Afghani restaurant (complete with belly dancer) and then watching the city fireworks from our roof top patio.