It was a long trip going from Auckland to Melbourne, but we did it!
Jan. 5th, 2011
Started at 4 am to catch the 7 am flight to Sydney (wish we won’t do that again!); then a car hire (rental), and the 9-hour drive to Melbourne. An overnight stopover at Albury, a quaint place enroute. We reached Aunt Leslie’s home at 2 pm-ish the next day! The UTE (pronounced, “Yoot,” AKA utility vehicle, or SUV in American) was an Australian-made Holden Captiva – very comfy, but not that much space for luggage storage in back, though the SUV itself was high and easy to load. Most noticeable on the drive to Melbourne – the plethora of signs telling us to take a “power nap” if we felt tired in any degree. No billboards! Only a few yellow diamond signs cautioning Koala and Wombat crossings. Also no Kangaroo Crossing signs – What’s with that, eh, mate?
At Melbourne, we stayed at a really pleasant hostel – Miami Hotel and Hostel in the St. Kilda area of the city. Our UTE was a bit too tall to park in the covered spaces! Kelly reserved for us a very pleasant double and (2) twin bed room that overlooked the front, and complete with glassware lined up next to the mirror in the bathroom!
On our first day visiting, we headed to the Healesville Sanctuary where we saw up front and personal echidnas, emus, kangaroos, koalas, platypus, fruit bats, eco-friendly toilets and “wipe for wild” toilet paper. Hot and muggy, we tried not to melt as we walked around. On the way back to Aunt Leslie’s home, we just HAD to stop at Rockford winery, and have a taste test. Since Chris is legal to drink in Australia (18 is the minimum age!), we taught him the finesse of wine drinking. Ha ha…
All I can remember of Melbourne are our evenings of fine dining – first evening at Aunt Leslie’s home, a spinach and parmesan risotto (delicioso!), carrot cake and fruitcake; the next evening, a 10-course dinner at a Chinese restaurant; and finally a gourmet dinner at Limelight. The desserts at Limelight greeted us, but even with “pacing” I didn’t finish my great Gnocci to have dessert! Ah, such a missed opportunity.
Along the way to and back from Melbourne, we stopped at quaint and delightful Albury – about 1/3 of the way north from Melbourne. Clean streets, plentiful places to dine, shop and look around. Gothic architecture, stone work, cheek by jowl with modern touches, too. For Amy, the major redeeming factor was “Taco Bill” – a Mexican eatery that actually served — Burritos! Amy had gone for MONTHS without a real burrito and was suffering from withdrawal symptoms. Poor girl … ‘C)
Also along the way, we saw emu, kangaroo, and alpaca farms. However, not so many ranches as in Kiwi Land (NZ), and the landscape is very California-esque! Plenty of grasslands, vineyards, hills, and eucalyptus trees.
Now we’re back in Sydney!
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