The Great Ocean Road

Day 2
Our ride

It took me nearly 3 months, but with only 10 days left til I leave Australia I finally got around to doing the Great Ocean Road. I guess thinking that I’d lost my job turned out to be a good thing as it meant I made plans for the weekend (when I normally work), so when I got told I could keep working until I leave I still ended up getting the weekend off. And while it was a little bit cold and I’d rather have done it a couple of months ago when the weather was warmer, at this point I thought I wasn’t going to get to do it at all so better late than never!

From Loch Ard Gorge
Some of the amazing rock formations along the coast

Seeing as most of my friends had already made the trip, I ended up going with a group of girls I’d never met before who happened to have a spare seat in their car. If someone had told me before I came here the amount of times I would end up doing things with complete strangers I would never have believed it, but it’s just become the norm. So at 8am we set off, a group of one Scottish, one French, one German and one Finnish girl.

A Bird in the Hand...
Feeding parrots at Kennett River

The Great Ocean Road mainly follows the coast, but there are times when it goes inland and 10 minutes drive from the beach you suddenly find yourself in a rain forest. So in amongst driving along ridiculously scenic coastal roads and admiring the stunning rock formations and beaches, we went for a lot of walks in perfectly silent rainforests where quite often we were the only people around. I guess the good thing about going at this time of year rather than in the summer is that it was a lot quieter, and it wasn’t until we reached the 12 Apostles that it felt at all touristy.

12 Apostles
The 12 Apostles at dusk

We drove as far as Port Campbell, where we stayed overnight in a hostel. By the time we got there it was dark, and so we didn’t realise what a gorgeous little town it is until the next morning. From there we headed a little further along the road to see The Arch and London Bridge, before heading back and stopping at Loch Ard Gorge before taking a slightly different route back part of the way.

Port Campbell
Port Campbell

The Arch
The Arch

London Bridge
London Bridge

So I finally did it, and it was really great. Considering we spent so much of the time sitting in the car, I’m surprisingly exhausted from driving nearly 800km in 2 days! But that’s another thing crossed of my Melbourne To Do List, and with only a handful of days before I head back to the UK I need to get down to the other things that are left!

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Two Weeks To Go

Sunset from Mt Dandenong
Sunset from Mt Dandenong & a very small CBD in the distance

Two weeks! That’s it! Then I’ll be hopping on a plane for another gruelling 30 hours of travel and leaving behind this beautiful city. At the weekend those two weeks seemed like an awfully long time. Things got a bit rocky when I was suddenly told that today would be my last day of work, which left me wondering what I was going to do and where I was going to stay for two weeks, but things have since been resolved, the panic has subsided, and I’m back to figuring out how to make the most of those two weeks.

Last weekend also brought with it some heat and sunshine, after over a week of almost solid rain and cold temperatures, so I decided it was time to get out of the city again and headed back up to the Dandenongs on Saturday. Our first stop was to see Puffing Billy, the little steam train that takes you around the mountains. It’s pretty cool, but at almost $50 slightly outside our budget, and we were there to walk anyway! So we headed up to Sherbrooke Forest where we had a nice walk and saw some cockatoos and rosellas. Afterwards we made our way to Sky High at the top of Mount Dandenong to watch the sunset. It was only up here that I realised how far the Dandenongs actually are from Melbourne, which was just a tiny speck on the horizon.

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Puffing Billy

Sherbrooke Forest
Sherbrooke Forest

Cockatoos
Cockatoos

Rosella
Rosella

The good weather managed to last until Tuesday when the rain and cold returned, but with things looking up again for this weekend, which I’ve been given off, I’m hoping to (finally!) do the Great Ocean Road. Fingers crossed!

Ommm…

I realise it’s been a while, but my life seemed to become very routine and (most likely to other people) boring after I came back from Sydney. Partly it was the sudden and very unwelcome arrival of Winter which prevented me from going on any adventures, but mostly it was because I threw myself into yoga.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned my out of control ice cream addiction before. Well after a weekend of over-indulgence in Sydney in the form of pistachio, Creme Egg, white chocolate fudge macadamia and some other flavours I can’t even remember, I decided enough is enough and I had to kick the habit and start making some attempt to be healthy again. While at first replacing ice cream with yoga seemed like a much healthier option, it is undoubtedly going to be a lot worse for my bank account. Sure, I’m no longer splurging on N2’s gelato (this is actually a lie, my friends dragged me in there the other day after weeks of resisting) or getting carried away at the self-serve fro-yo, but yoga don’t come cheap either. But it’s too late, I’ve been sucked in.

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Ok, ok, I went twice. YOLO. Bread & butter crème brulée & Grand Marnier soaked strawberries with chocolate. Yum.

It started out with a two week unlimited pass to Humming Puppy in Prahran, which is without a doubt the nicest studio I’ve ever seen, and I made the most of those two weeks by going at least once every day. After just a couple of days I developed a severe addiction to the omm-ing, the tiny cups of coconut water, the beautiful, serene yogis with their inspiring quotes and wise teachings on how to love ourselves a little bit more. Unfortunately all good things must come to and end and it almost broke my little heart to leave, but my measly au pair salary just can’t keep up.

Luckily for me I discovered Happy Melon, a mind and body studio which has just opened in Malvern who are offering a week of unlimited classes completely free, so I’ve been taking advantage of that this week. It’s not quite as beautiful and their yoga doesn’t really do it for me in the same way, but as they offer other classes as well I tried my first meditation and pilates classes this week, the latter of which I discovered I love.

In between all the yoga I’ve been having a lot of Melbourne-based fun these past few weeks. Discovering new bars, cafés & restaurants, singing karaoke, trying some of Acland Street’s finest cakes in St Kilda, seeing some free stand-up comedy (wouldn’t necessarily recommend this one), visiting a pink lake, discovering the semi-healthy joys of raw baking, perfecting my Sunday Sesh-ing, and most importantly going to my first AFL game. It’s starting to hit me that I’m leaving soon (less than 3 weeks!), and I have really mixed feelings about it right now. On the one hand I can’t wait to see my friends and family again, but I also feel like I’m starting to put roots down here and having fallen in love with Melbourne from day 1 it’s going to be very hard to leave.

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Sunny days in St Kilda

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AFL at the MCG

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‘Healthy’ raw desserts – bliss balls & chocolate avocado mousse cake

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For a post about yoga & being healthy this has ended up with a lot of food & drink & unhealthiness… Gotta have a balance I guess!