Week 3 saw the beginning of my actual holiday. No more office hours needed, so I planned to cram lot of stuff into my last few remaining days in Oz. Initially I’d hoped to go to the Gold Coast to visit my friend’s in laws, but due to various reasons, I decided to spend my spare time in Melbourne, and I’m so glad I did! There will definitely be more written on this blog about Melbourne, but as I’m currently in Hong Kong on my last week of adventure, here is my third week summary.
Day 15: At last I had a weekend day in the glorious sunshine! Staying in Bondi and not being able to make the most of the beach was almost torture, but finally I had my way! I was joined on the beach by my best friend, her other half and another ex-Brit we know from home and we had a great day just sunbathing, swimming and eating.
Day 16: I flew to Melbourne early in the morning and instantly fell in love with the city a) because it’s so easy to get around and b) because I was upgraded to a bigger room for no extra cost! I stayed in St Kilda and spent the whole day exploring the area including the pier and promenade, Luna Park and the local botanical gardens. Later on I met with an old colleague who took me to an amazing bar in one of the laneways called Section 8, which was basically built from old crates and corregated iron. Not very waterproof, but luckily us and the fabulous live band, it didn’t rain.
Day 17: I headed to the laneways for breakfast then hit a few of the quirky independent shops on Degraves Street, Flinders Lane and the Block Arcade. I gave in temptation and bought a few bits, including some gifts for home. It’s much cheaper and more varied than Sydney so I recommend it as the place to shop if you’re on the east coast of Australia. My friend from Sydney came to stay with me and after lunch we walked through the city and found incredible street apart and an exhibition of typical household scenes made out of icing! We then walked over to Cooks Cottage before torrential rain hit us! When it cleared up that evening, we went to St Kilda pier to spot the little penguins that nest there every night before heading out to Chinta Blues for absolutely incredible Malaysian food.
Day 18: We walked so far on this day! After breakfast in St Kilda, we walked to Chapel Street, the well known area for vintage shopping (or ‘opp shops’ as they’re known in Australia). Once we’d made our way to the top, we walked through the stunning botanical gardens and stopped for lunch there. That led us to the imposing Shrine of Remembrance, with amazing views over the city. We then headed to the National Gallery of Victoria for some interactive art installations until it was closing time. We had dinner at the sublime Cumulus, and sat at the bar facing the kitchen so we could see all of our food being delicately prepared. The evening came in the form of rooftop drinks at Goldilocks with an old school friend and then late night cake buying to eat in bed in our pjs!
Day 19: After a great brunch at the organically focused Silo by Joost, we flew back to Sydney. Travelling took up most of our day and luckily we had Phoebe’s other half to make us a great dinner and sneakily tell me that he planned to propose to her in just two days time. Let the panic commence!
Day 20: I SAW A KOALA BABY. That pretty much sums up the day at Taronga Zoo. It was stupidly hot but we had amazing views over to the Opera House and saw so many cute and cuddly animals.
Day 21: The secret proposal! I had to make a panic trip to Bondi Junction to get a dress for the occasion and then spent a large part of my day doing the following: trying not to cry, making sure Phoebe ate and drank enough, persuading said friend to paint her nails, lying through my teeth. I’ll keep the details of the proposal quiet, as that’s their story to tell, but this photo is after I made a speech on behalf of all her friends and family in the UK. Emotional doesn’t even sum it up and needless to say, she said yes!