Wednesday, October 28, 2009
More on Melbourne
As promised, here are some more photos and details about my trip to Melbourne and the South Coast. There exists somewhat of a rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne, and residents of one city will frequently ask you which of the two you prefer. Naturally, I say that I like them both. I stayed in two different neighborhoods in Melbourne- the first was the Fitzroy/Carlton, which I loved- a funky area with loads of cafes, restaurants, shops, bars and a couple of beautiful parks nearby. The second was St. Kilda, a beachfront area a little south of downtown accesible by tram (it's really easy to get around Melbourne via tram, and they are free in the city center). I was not a fan St. Kilda. My hostel was terrible- it was full of European fratboy teenagers (the bar had a daily jaegerbomb special...'nuff said.) and even if I had been ten years younger, I don't think I was ever much into the spring break party scene, which is permanently on display in St. Kilda. So I saw the best and the worst of the city and definitely could have done without two nights in St. Kilda. I tried to move back to the Nunnery (dirty hippies > trashy teenagers) but I had already paid upfront for my accommodations in St. Kilda so I sucked it up.
My jaunt to Melbourne was also the first time I've traveled by myself. Australia is a very travel-friendly country, with and abundance of cheap and clean hostels and backpacker tours widely available. I really enjoyed the two tours I did and would definitely recommend that method if you're traveling on your own- you meet a lot of people and see interesting places without having to worry about making nitpicky arrangements. But the time I spent in the city itself would have been a lot more enjoyable if I had friends with me.
One of the highlights of the trip has been seeing all of Australia's bizarre animals in the wild. One night on the tour we camped in a koala forest and saw TONS of them- most of them were pretty high up in the trees so my pictures weren't all that great. The seem cute and cuddly until night falls- their absurdly loud mating calls and noises kept us up all night. Fun fact of the day: the majority of koalas are infected with chlamydia.
Here are a few more pictures of a sleeping koala, me feeding a wallaby, the gorgeous Great Ocean Road coastline, a waterfall in the Grampians mountain range, and a bright yellow canola field.