There’s the drive along the Riviera in France. Pacific Coast Highway along the California coast. The “Croatian Riviera” from Zadar to Dubrovnik. And now, we have experienced one of the other top coastal drives on the planet – Australia’s Great Ocean Road. Wow. The 150-mile road began as a way to employ returning servicemen from WWI. It follows the contours of the land, dipping to sea level to give access to beaches, and climbing to give stupendous views over the Bass Strait and the Great Southern Ocean. One of the biggest attractions is the Twelve Apostles, rocks that jut out of the water as temporary remnants of a retreating limestone coastline. Some fun info is provided beneath their photos!
Melbourne continues to fascinate. It is a very young, very vibrant city. Today is Australia Day, a national holiday, analogous to July 4 for Americans. All sorts of free food was available at Fed Square in the next block down from us. Free hot dogs, free chicken bowls, free smoothies, free coconut drinks, free ice cream, and free popcorn were all available. The lines for each were very very long, as you might imagine. If waiting in the sun for an hour or so wasn’t an issue, a free treat was yours! We have been here for 10 days, and we are starting to think that 10 days may be our new “normal” stay in a city. It gave us time to explore, take days off to recuperate, and find other places in the city to enjoy. The whole downtown has a free tram system – you just jump on or off wherever you wish. There are several markets, several urban shopping areas, retail shops and restaurants everywhere, and the city is known for great coffee – and rightly so! We found many museums as we walked, both free and modestly priced, as well as movie theaters and performance theaters. The Australian Open is just a 10-minute walk down the street. Not being sports fans, we didn’t even know it was taking place in Melbourne until people started asking if it was why we were here! We unknowingly keep booking hotels where there are major sporting events. One man commented – that may be because you follow summer around the world, and it caught up with you!
We also took our 30th Food Tour while here. “This is Melbourne” had a Street Eats tour, and we spent three hours with our guide, Martina, who started the company four years ago. The other clients on our tour cancelled, so it was just the three of us, eating some of the best Asian food that Melbourne has to offer while learning about the history of Australian immigration. We visited the National Gallery of Victoria here, along with ACMI, Australia’s museum of screen and film culture. There is so much to do! Alas, we have run out of days before running out of activities. That just means we will have to schedule another trip…..another year!
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