Farewell to Melbourne

Hello to everyone in the sunny (!) UK…

Five weeks after our arrival in Melbourne, we are getting ready to hit the road again. We leave town on Wednesday morning, heading for Adelaide, the state capital of South Australia, which is nearly 1000km (700 miles) away. Running from Melbourne towards Adelaide is the Great Ocean Road, which is famous worldwide as being a fantastic and stunning road trip – we can’t wait to see it.

Yesterday we attended the Formula 1 Grand Prix, where the track runs through the streets of the suburbs of Melbourne. As you must know by now, the weather in Melbourne has been dreadful for much of the time that we have been here, and we found ourselves wearing hoodies and Ugg boots again last week! Having pre-purchased tickets for the Grand Prix, we waited [im]patiently for the date of the race – had we not already made this commitment we would have left town weeks ago, leaving in search of sunnier climes. Anyway, in the days leading up to the race, the weather was still crap, but on the big day, the sun came out and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. We had a great time, basking in the sunshine and enjoying the activities on the race track. This was Sarah’s first experience of watching F1 cars “in the flesh”, and she loved it!

We were not allowed to use our cameras at Penguin Parade, so this is NOT our photo. Thank you to theage.com.au

You will recall that we had a date with the little penguins at Penguin Parade a couple of weeks ago. Penguin Parade is probably the biggest tourist attraction in Melbourne and entertains about 2000 people every night, on one of Phillips Island’s beaches, where the audience watch the penguins making their nightly journey from the ocean back to their burrows in the sand dunes. We had opted to pay for Penguin Parade’s ‘Ultimate’ tour, which, despite costing about three times as much as the standard package, was well worth every cent. We were to join a group of no more than 10 people on one of the more remote beaches on the island, where we would sit on the sand with night vision goggles and watch the penguins without the bright lights or commentary service. When we arrived and were told that we would be joined by just one other couple, we could not believe our luck – just us 4 and the tour leader. Result! During our half hour on the beach, we watched more than 80 penguins waddling across the sand, with some coming within inches of where we were sitting. On top of this, the weather was on our side as, again, after several days of misery, the sun came out and the rain stayed away. Without doubt, this was our favourite part of our trip so far, but with the Grand Prix yesterday, and a cage dive with Great White Sharks planned for when we leave Adelaide, we are getting new favourites all the time!

We did have some sad news this week when Simon’s camera was confined to the rubbish dump after it died on the way to the Grand Prix. With repairs costing more than the value of the camera, it is time for a replacement. So, with that, a few minor repairs to the van, and, now that we have had a roof rack fitted, the imminent purchase of a surfboard, we need to find jobs to pay for all of this. That sucks, but hey… We will probably wait until we get to Perth, as we are planning to spend at least a couple of months there before we start the long trek up the west coast of Australia.

In other news, Simon “got sporty” when he took up a new hobby – fishing, something he hasn’t done for 20 years or more; and Sarah got a new hair-do! Keep an eye on our Flickr account for photographic evidence.

Lots of love to you all, xx

PS – happy wedding anniversary to Jacq & Nick. We hope that you have a lovely day. x

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