Posts Tagged With: Melbourne

Melbourne Laneways

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It sounds silly but after 6 months we still hadn’t gone for Sunday Brunch in Melbourne! Papa Pedro, our lovely housemate treated us to a morning brunch followed by a walk around the cities lane ways and then coffee and cake. He really does spoil us. We chose this restaurant, Cafe Andiamo in Degraves St, for our Brunch!

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We then went to Hosier Lane to see the updated Graffiti (I went before back in February, click here to see the old graffiti) Here are my favourites! P1030269 P1030245P1030268

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Also this weekend we returned the favour and treated Pedro to brunch, this time in St. Kilda as Paul is leaving Melbourne this week. We then wandered the market on the Esplanade. I don’t think you can ever go wrong eating out in Melbourne, its a foodie heaven!

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We shall miss you Papa Pedro, thanks for adopting us and teaching us how to make Pebre and Sopaipilla!

 

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Dolphin and Seals Adventure Tour

Over the long Easter we wanted to do something special. A couple of weekends ago we hired a car and went to Wilsons Prom and then Mornington Peninsula. As part of that trip we booked to swim with seals and dolphins but because on the day it was so windy the tour was cancelled. So we tried again, we booked knowing that it was likely to be cancelled as rain was due on the day and although all morning was spent touring Mornington Peninsula in the drizzle the sun came out for the boat trip.

A highlight of the rain was this rainbow taken from Murrays Lookout on Arthurs Seat.

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The tour also stopped off in Portsea to see the famous “bathing boxes.” Considering it was raining and I have a beach hut at home that are much more funkily painted I wasn’t too impressed but the tour was worth it for the afternoon activities! (If you want to see bathing boxes in Melbourne go to Brighton Beach, they are so much better there!)

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We booked our tour through Bunyip tours as it picked us up in Melbourne and saved us hiring a car for the day, but if you have your own car you can book through Moonraker themselves. The tour was $199 including snorkelling or $159 with just going on the boat and seeing the animals from there.

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When we arrived in Sorrento (beautiful picturesque seaside town) we were given wetsuits, flippers and snorkels and climbed on the boat. In the morning they had also been out to Port Philip Bay and had a successful trip with the dolphins and seals and so we were told to hurry into our wetsuits incase the dolphins were nearby. After about 10 mins we came across a small pod of dolphins but they were really close to the shore and too far away for the boat to get near so we continued to Chinamans Hat – The stand on which there were lots of Australian fur seals.

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The tide was pretty strong so the guys on the boat  put a rope out and we all slid off the boat into the water. We were told that usually the seals are quite inquisitive and playful but that day only a few jumped into the water to see who we were.

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The next place we visited was Popes Eye marine park which is a horseshoe of rocks with lots of kelp and big fish around. In the water the wetsuit worked and kept us warm but because of the wind, inbetween each snorkel and getting back on the boat it was freezing cold so we had hot chocolates and Lamington cake.

Finally we were able to find a pod of dolphins that wanted to come near the boat. We all had to sit on the back steps of the boat and when the dolphins were close we were told to get in and follow the guides. The first time this happened I didn’t see a thing the dolphins were so fast! The second time I saw the dolphins very briefly playing underneath us and the final time I was able to swim alongside 2 dolphins with the guide. It was an incredible amazing experience and we so fortunate to get close to all the wild animals.

Dolphins near the shore (no photos up close as we were to busy swimming with them!)

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The Boat

 

 

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Upclose shot of the seals.

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Neighbours Set Tour

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Neighbours, Everybody needs good neighbours
With a little understanding
You can find the perfect blend
Neighbours…should be there for one another
That’s when good neighbours become good friends

I’m pretty sure most people have heard that theme tune and have memories of watching the Neighbours soap opera over the years. The tour was super cheesy and fabulous because we learnt lots of info about Neighbours that I would never need to have. But if you’ve clicked this blog then maybe you like neighbours and want to learn some useless facts also. The show has been running for 29 years this year and is broadcast to over 50 countries. Some famous people who have acted in Neighbours include Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, Natalie Imbruglia and Delta Goodrem who all went on to have music careers. And Margot Robbie who is currently in Wolf of Wall Street.

Louise and I visited in the week and so did the Option A with Bunyip tours. This meant we toured the outside set and met a cast member. I was really hoping to meet someone who’d been in Neighbours a little while as since being in Thailand I haven’t caught up with the show! However we met “Georgia Brookes” played by Saskia Hampele and “Imogen Willis” played by Ariel Kaplan. Both were lovely ladies.P1030157

Our tour guide had swallowed Wikipedia and knew a lot of facts and was able to remind us where certain things had been filmed and showed us how they were able to film certain things. For example the studio building on the outside is also used as the school, the hospital and the gates to enter have been used as the jail also.

In Ramsay Street (in real life Pine Oak Court in Vermont South) – Outside Karl and Susans’ house.

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I remember this one as the Scully house but now has Kyle and family living in it.

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It was very cheesy and on the bus on the way back to the city we watched an episode also 😀

 

 

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Wilsons Promontory

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For a weekend away Paul, Louise, Ana, Hyashi and I rented out a car and went on a mini road trip to explore Wilsons Prom and the surrounding area. It is beautiful! Mountains and beaches including Squeaky beach! It rained most of the morning but when we arrived at squeaky beach the sun came out, after 3 hours in the car from Melbourne. As the name suggests the sand is so fine that when you walk it squeaks, according to google this is because the sand is rounded quartz. We entertained ourselves running around and listening to the sounds.

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Also around the area we were able to see local wildlife. Below; an Echidna and a Kookaburra.

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The next day we had booked a dolphin and seals tour together with a visit to the Peninsula Hot Springs. However due to windy weather the dolphin snorkel tour was cancelled so instead we just spent the day at the hot springs, so worth it on a cold day, it has lots of pools up a hill and the top one looks out over the scenery. (We eventually did the dolphin tour a few weeks later – click here to read about it .)

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Graffiti around Melbourne CBD

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If you see a group of shoes hanging over a not so nice area (like the one above) it means there are drug dealers operating in the area, apparently. A man fixing the window in a shop told me that today, as I asked why their vans were blocking off half of Hosier Street, a laneway dedicated to graffiti art, just off of Flinders street in Melbourne. You learn something new every day. Due to the window insert I was only able to see half the street but the art was pretty cool. I was luckily enough to see an artist at work, enjoy the bright colours!

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Healesville Sanctuary

Healesville Sanctuary is an Australian Wildlife park about an hour and a half drive from Melbourne. We rented a car for the weekend and took it to the Sanctuary to celebrate Pauls’ 25th Birthday. The night before we also went out for Mexican food at the Fiesta restaurant in South Yarra. It was yum with big portions, enough for leftover dinner the next day!

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En route to Healesville, our housemates Giuseppe and Manuel joined us for the day there too. Road trip!

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The Sanctuary costs $30 for adults, $23 for students. We also paid $12 extra to play and feed the kangaroos and Paul also paid $12 extra for feeding an echidna. We were able to get close and see so many australian animals and this time it was nice that quite a few of the nocturnal ones were awake or being fed. My highlight was seeing Steve, the baby koala, and his mum run on the ground to get the fresh eucalyptus leaves. There was also a talk about tasmania devils. An animal I had never seen before was a platypus, they were so much smaller than what i expected but so cute. The trainer did a talk about them and tickled its belly and let it play in the water with them. Customers can pay an extra $195 to play with the platypus but I felt that although a great idea, it would break the budget! Scroll down to see photos of the cute wildlife.

Our “magic moment” with a roo named Crystal.

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Platypus..

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A koala caught mid-yawn

 

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Mummy koala on the run.

 

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Baby Steve

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Tasmanian Devil

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Paul having a “magic moment” with the echidna.

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Living in a Land Down Under

After a year (13 months) in Thailand being in Australia is kind of easy. Most of the time being in Melbourne and having lots of rainy/cloudy/sometimes hot and sunny days it almost feels like I am back home in the UK, especially now that I’m living with friends from home. So this is a bit of an intro into my life here and how easy it is to settle down on the other side of the world.

The boring stuff first…

Medicare card (for cheaper bills if you have to visit the doc) is easy, get the form online and fill it in, then take it to your nearest medicare family assistance office. There are a few about, then you receive the number there and then and the card a while later. I say a while, its been 2 months and mine hasn’t arrived yet.

Banking – rock up to a bank and sign up. We chose Commonwealth as they are everywhere! But other popular ones are TAB or Westpac. Pretty sure they’ve now got a way to set it all up before you even get out here. You can register the address to the hostel you’re in and your UK phone number and change them when you’re sorted.

Phone – I went through a company called Global Gossip. Since we signed up as 3 friends together we have free texts and calls to each other ALL THE TIME. Pretty fab because they’re the people i talk to most. It’s also great for calling house lines at home. I spoke to my parents for half an hour and it cost less than $5. I’ve only used $30 of credit since I’ve been here.

Housing – Some people say stay away from Gumtree.com.au but nearly every foreigner i know who lives in a share house here found it through gumtree. We tried the proper route of signing up to agencies to properly rent a house but hardly any here are furnished and they were miles away form CBD. Plus we wanted to live with more than just the 3 of us. In the end we used http://www.housesharemelbourne.com.au. In theory the idea is great. (I say in theory, for a month we only had 2 forks for 11 of us. And sometimes the landlords take a while to deal with problems) All their properties are close to public transport, and near supermarkets and are all pretty newly made (so new that when we moved in my friend still didn’t have walls to her room for first 2 days.) Plus you can sign the contract for as little/long as you like but you pay different prices for different rooms and length of stay. We are in Caulfield South, 25 mins on train from the centre and there are 11 of us living here, the place is pretty big. I pay $250 a week everything included for a double room, desk, cupboard, bedisde table, bedlinen etc with tv. Singles here are $200 a week, all the same as above but no tv, based on 6 months contract. Yeah its expensive but its simple. Our house is international, living with Italians, Swedish, SriLankans and Brits, its a good mix! Sometimes it reminds me of being at uni except people are more grown up (sometimes) and we go to work instead.

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Our house came with free Possums in the back yard!

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Finding work – This is not easy. No one is going to offer you a job if you don’t write a CV and start applying for roles. Gumtree.com.au and seek.com.au are the best websites. Also many cafes/restaurants/bar work require you to complete trial shifts or have an RSA to work with alcohol. I had interesting experiences with jobs here. My first job was advertised on gumtree asking for you to phone if you wanted to work taking coffee orders at Melbourne cup, paid cash in hand. I figured I could do that, phoned them, chatted about experience and what was expected of me and told how to get to the race course for 2 days later for 4 days work. (Melbourne cup is a HUGE horse racing event here.) I really enjoyed the work and have worked on and off for the company at other events this summer, including a few gigs. Although the coffee stuff was good i was also looking for a full time job and got a role as door to door energy sales. The company was pretty lax on rules and no training. Then someone got high on the job and i realised it definitely wasn’t professional enough for me. After applying for i think around 50 jobs i had a phone interview for a Telesales job at a really good company, then i had a full 3 hour assessment day with them including roleplay on the phones, taking calls, to see how well we did in a “real” situation. Basically don’t stop selling and keep trying. Then I had online assessments with them and was eventually offered the job. I had a full weeks training and am now working 11.30 -7.30 during the week for them. Pretty good hourly wage plus commissions on sales. If you have just graduated be warned that the companies want to give grad jobs to Aussie Citizens because we can only work 6 months for the same company. Below, the view of my job at Melbourne Cup…

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The fun stuff….

Exploring Melbourne! There is so much to see and do. Our hostel was located in St. Kilda and I am so glad we chose this spot! It’s stunning and has something for everyone.. a beach, shops, lots of bars, froyos (every other shop sells diff flavoured frozen yoghurt) and cafes, famous cake shops, iconic Luna park, Palais Theatre and little penguins at the end of the pier each sunset.

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Sunset at St. Kilda

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A little penguin (also called Fairy or Blue penguins) found at the end of the pier..

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St. Kilda beach for dinner one night

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Other free/cheap things we have done are wandering around Melbourne city and seeing Federation Square. If you are a student the Melbourne Museum has some really great exhibits for free (£10 if not a student) We also went to the docklands to see some random statues and did a train trip to Brighton beach where the brightly painted beach huts are. My Christmas party with work was at the ACMI, the Australian Centre of Moving Image which has some fabulous exhibits to do with films and music videos (silent disco thing) which because of the party being there i got to see for free!

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Close to the centre is the Shrine of Remembrance, which is a nice building commemorating those who served in the wars. If you climb the stairs to the top there is a view over the city and the Kings Domain park and it looks really pretty. In November another event we went to was the Night Noodle Markets in Alexandra Gardens for Goodfood month. For 2 weeks they had stalls selling lots of yummy Asian food. Everyone sat on picnic rugs in the gardens and listened to the music and ate good food.

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Coming soon… Trips away from Melbourne!

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