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Sunday, 1 May 2011

Back from Melbourne

I'm back

It's so nice to be back.

Back amongst the sweet song of Tui echoing up the valley.

The growl and moan of chainsaws,weed eaters and mowers.

Our little dog barking and prancing around our ankles.

It's really nice to be back.


Who the hell let Don Brash into ACT.  You leave the country for 5 days and it all goes pear-shaped.(For non-Kiwi readers, Don Brash was a former Governor of the Reserve Bank, who entered politics in 2002,became the leader of the (then) opposition National Party, got dumped in favour of the now Prime Minister John Key, and has now replaced the rather odd Rodney Hide as the leader of the ACT party)

Never mind, we had a lovely 5 days in Melbourne.  Apart from the flight, the hotel, the arguments, the strain on the wallet, the disappointing wines, the cramped coaches, the experience of having two tyres burst on the motorway at night at 120kph.  Apart from all that, we had a lovely time. At least I missed the Royal bloody Wedding, and that in itself is worth at least $2000.

Melbourne is really an attractive city. It's well laid out, the buildings are attractive and there's plenty of things to do and see.

Federation Square is an original idea, giving Melbourne a definite focus.  It's right next to one of the main railway stations on Flinders Street, and it has an eclectic mix of cultural exhibits and eateries, all surrounded by some rather striking architecture.

We generally wandered round the city for the first day, but we had a trip booked for day 2, to the Yarra Valley, a renowned wine producing area.

I was looking forward to this, as it included many small drinkies, and a lunch.

First was Domain Chandon, producing sparkling wines using the "method traditionelle" (2 glasses)

Then onto Rochford, an up-market winery where we had lunch (4 tastes and 2 glasses)

Then a smaller, more rustic place called the Yering vineyard (6 tastes)

and finally to the Kelly Brook winery and orchard (14 tastes of wines, 2 each of apple brandy and a fortified wine, and a large glass or two of cider)

Exshellent drinkies.  The only drink I really enjoyed was the cider, all of the wines I tried didn't do that much for me. Maybe we'll try Adelaide and the Barossa Valley next time.
They poured us out at our hotel at 5pm. Needed a wee nap before setting of for Chinatown and the fantastic array of restaurants.  Noodle Kingdom in Russell Street looked really cheap and plastic, but they were making noodles by hand, and they served huge portions. Very tasty and quite cheap, about $8 per dish.  Recommended.

Next day, we stayed in the city, and toured some of the galleries and museums.

Went to a Peking Duck specialist restaurant that night , followed by a show called  Hairspray. Very enthusiastic cast, and quite enjoyable, but I couldn't remember any of the music the next day. My beloved really enjoyed it, so it was definitely worthwhile.

Geelong from the Cunningham Pier

7:30 am start on Thursday, we were off up the Great Ocean Road, from Melbourne, through Geelong, Torquay, to Lorne. (no sausage unfortunately joke for Glaswegians)

Me at Lorne

A quick stop to see some Koalas and parrots.

Then on to Apollo Bay for lunch.

A gentle walk through some rain forest to work off the calories.

Great Otway National Park

Then finally we saw the 12 Apostles, natural sandstone features in the sea off Port Campbell.


My Beloved (It's the only picture that she'd let me use)

Saw lots more beaches and rocks then set of back to Melbourne.

At around 8pm, about 70 km from Melbourne, two tyres blew on our bus while we were rattling along the freeway at well over the 100kph limit.  We spent the next 1½ hours waiting at the side of the road until a replacement bus arrived.
What a lovely way to spend an evening

Unfortunately, this bus was too small to take us all, so they insisted that the eldest go first.  It's the first time I've actually been glad I'm over 50.

Enough for now. 


Travelling Companions.


  1. it's true many a Scotsman would be for-Lorne if he had to do without his square slice.

    But all that wine is quite good compensation.....

    Sounds like a good time. Welcome back.

    Ha - the word verification is 'pisht'

  2. That is an absolutely terrible pun Alistair.

    *reels away with a sickness of the soul*

    Well done.

  3. Man what a trip. The Apostles are fabulous.
    I calculate that in the Yarra you had 4 glasses of wine, 24 'tastes' (probably totalled up to over half a bottle), 2 brandies and 2 ciders! It is a wonder you could discern anything after that. Admittedly Yarra wines are disappointing. Apart from some excellent Domaine Chandon wines and the occasional good Pinot Noir they are all ordinary. Next time for wine, avoid Victoria or NSW and go to South Australia (Barossa, Clare, McLaren Vale) or Margaret Valley in West Australia.
    Your tyre blow-out story reminds me of a near death experience Lynn and I had in Melbourne years ago. We had stopped off in Melbourne on the way to Europe and, in the taxi from the airport to the city we were clipped by a car coming on to the motorway. At 100kph plus the taxi went out of control, veered across 4 lanes to hit the central barrier, blew out a front tyre, veered back across the 4 lanes to hit the left side barrier, blew out another tyre, went right again to hit the central barrier which threw us back to the left where we stopped on a grass bank. Luckily the city-going traffic saw all this and virtually stopped so we didn't get rammed. Lynn and I held hands and looked at each other throughout, firmly believing that out time was up but at least we were going together. Eventually getting to the hotel we ordered the best bottle of wine they had (Champagne) after a cognac of course.

  4. TC: Bloody Hell man, what an experience. Your near death experience gives me the shudders. At least you had Lynn with you at that time. it's sort of encouraging to have the love of your life holding hands like that.
    It puts things in perspective.

    I agree about the Yarra wines...I found them very disappointing. Even the Chandon didn't strike me as being as good as the French Domaines, or even the Loire Pettilants.

  5. Comeinyourpants' comment could be classified as a book.

  6. Yes, but it is interesting. He probably wants to get it off his chest before he departs to China.

  7. The 12 Apostles are STUNNING! Wow!

    I am appalled at you missing the Royal Wedding. How could you? *mock horror* We had CAKE! Hats! Frocks! Tea! Many, many bottles of things with corks that popped beautifully....

    I think you'll find, a bit like Donald Sutherland in that Bodysnatchers film, that there is NO escape from The Royal Wedding EVER :-D

    Glad to hear that you had a nice time. Despite everything.

    Ali xxxxx

  8. Ali xxxx: Yes, the Apostles were stunning, especially as we arrived as the sun was quite low, giving some gorgeous shadow effects.
    Unfortunately, you're spot on with the damned royal wedding. After we got home, at 1:30 in the morning, my beloved switched on the TV, just as Sky News was doing a replay of the whole damned thing.
    I had to go to bed with a large whisky and earplugs,but the saccharine radiation being produced still made me feel very sick.
    Thanks, we had a really great time.


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