Melbourne Sea Life Aquarium

What to do on a rainy day? Me and Ash decided to pay Melbourne Sea Life Aquarium a visit. Before paying the admission fee we did a bit of research and seeing as we were probably going to visit some of the other Merlin attractions we purchased a Merlin annual pass.

Melbourne aquarium is the best aquarium I have been to. There is a large variety of things to see. Each enclosure/tank was very clean and well looked after. You could easily spend a full day there, as we did.


The highlight for me was a massive saltwater crocodile called Pinjarra. This 50 year old MEGA croc measures over 5 metres long and weighs approx 750kg. He was originally found stranded in Queensland so was looked after and used for breeding purposes at Koorana crocodile farm. Now that he’s too old to breed with younger females the guys at Melbourne aquarium decided to look after the giant salty. He now has his own enclosure at the aquarium which is pretty impressive. You can view him from behind glass underwater and also above his enclosure. Crocodiles spend a lot of time submerged under water and very still. The first time we saw Pinjarra he didn’t move much at all apart from floating up to get some air. On one occasion he opened his mouth which is usually a sign of them cooling down. On another occasion he had a big scratch with his hind legs which I’ve never seen a croc do before. He was very impressive and one of the reasons we ended up visiting the aquarium 3-4 times.


There was plenty of the usual marine life found in an aquarium fish, sharks, rays, octopus to name a few. The walk in aquarium was huge, the biggest I’ve seen. They also had a penguin enclosure with King and Gentoo Penguins. They were very playful swimming very fast chasing each other one minute, then flying out of the water and running along the snow the next.


It was a fun day and we took plenty of photos. I liked the way throughout the aquarium they are trying to educate people how they can conserve the marine life. It seems that the Sea Life centres do a lot themselves to help conserve marine life and have various breeding, rescue and rehabilitation programmes which is always good to see.


Goodbye Melbourne

“The story of life is quicker than the wink of an eye, the story of love is hello and goodbye…until we meet again”

Jimi Hendrix

Unfortunately time had come to say our goodbyes to Melbourne sooner than we had anticipated. We were sure that we were making the correct desicion for the long run. We wanted to be in Sydney for New Year and we needed to find work.

We were leaving behind our French buddy Antoine so seeing as it may be the last time we cross paths me and Ash arranged to meet him for fair-well drinks. We went out in Fitzroy with a few drinks to wet the palette in Little Creatures. We then headed to Naked For Satan a cool bar that I had previously read about on the Timeout and Urban Walkabout website. It was pretty busy and we soon found out why, when we stepped out onto the rooftop area with perfect views of Melbourne’s city scape. The bar area inside was also pretty cool and the walls of the corridor leading to the toilets were covered in posters of retro porn-like photos of scantily dressed men and women. We had a good laugh, so much so that one drink led to another and another… we still had to pack for tomorrow. We said our goodbyes to Antoine and started walking back to the city. We passed a bar called Black Cat and before you know it, the three of us had a drink in hand again!

We awoke the following morning hangover free and packed up the last of our bits. We had until 8pm to kill time before our Greyhound coach left for Syndey. We left our luggage at Space Hotel and hit the city. We went to the National Gallery of Victoria NGV. Ate a tasty burger at the much loved Grilld before watching Gravity at the cinema. I enjoyed the film, I liked the way suspense was built throughout. The film finished just in time for us to collect our luggage and to get our coach. We were both very disappointed to find that the coach had no WiFi as stated on the Greyhound website. It was going to be a long 12 hour journey. Predictably I couldn’t sleep at all.

St Kilda beach, The Nunnery, Fitzroy

Sadly Space Hotel was fully booked so we had to hunt down new accommodation. We booked some nights at The Nunnery, it was a bit further out than Space but only a 15 minute walk to CBD. It was a nice little hostel, we stayed in a 6 bed dorm ($34 each) but unfortunately apart from an American girl the other guys sharing the room were very annoying. Sleep was a blessing, as two nights in a row we were woken up numerous times. One of the guys from our dorm was a bit of a party animal and would come and wake us up in the middle of the night. “Come out!” He’d say “We’ve got goon! Come get some goon!” Another guy loved to walk in the room and turn all the lights on and then walk out leaving all the doors open. What a douche! Everyone was very clicky at the hostel so it was very hard to interact with them. At a free BBQ at the hostel we did manage to speak to a friendly guy from Argentina called Francisco.

That day we had a house to view not far from Carlton Park. We knocked on the door and Jess greeted us and let us in. My first impressions weren’t great, the room we walked into was her bedroom, mattress on the floor and clutter everywhere. She was a nice girl, a bit hippy looking wearing an oversized jumper and she had dreadlocks. Her friend was sporting a little pencil tash and to be honest seemed a bit high. His eyes were red and he spoke very scatty. The house overall was very cluttered, the bathroom had vines growing from outside, into the window and down the inside of the bathroom wall which did look cool but neither of us fancied sharing a shower with a load of spiders. After looking around the house we returned to Jess’s bedroom to find that tash-guy had the munchies. He found a bag of nuts amongst the clutter and began to munch away as Jess reminded him that he had a nut allergy. We sat there asking a few more questions and talking about Melbourne in general. Tash-guy stopped eating his nuts as he was feeling sick, which was our cue to leave.

During our stay at The Nunnery and in between the rain we had a nice day were it was 28°C so we went to St Kilda beach. It wasn’t the best of beaches but it was nice to be by the sea. Near the beach was Luna Park with a massive face as the entrance. We checked out some of the markets, walked in the sea and relaxed on the beach.


We managed to book more nights in the much loved Space Hotel. For our last night at The Nunnery we avoided the noise and the two of us headed to Fitzroy. It was similar to Northbridge in Perth, plenty of quirky shops and bars and a few good graffiti spots. We found a Little Creatures bar which we had missed since leaving Fremantle, we chilled out with a few bottles of pale ale discussing our plans and future trips.

Hello Melbourne

Above our heads the seatbelt light was flashing, everyone buckled up and shortly after that it was touchdown. We had arrived in Melbourne! Due to it being a domestic flight everything went pretty quickly in the airport we were reunited with our luggage and jumped straight onto a shuttle bus which dropped us outside our accommodation.

For the next two nights me and Ash were staying at Space Hotel. This is the best hostel style accommodation we have stayed in to date. It was $85 a night for a double room, very clean and modern. The toilet and shower facilities were shared but very clean and there was plenty of them. The shared kitchen was very spacious with plenty of cooking utensils and cooker hobs. There was also an outdoor balcony and indoor dining tables. Within the building there was also a nice little gym and movie lounge. To top it of there was a nice area on the rooftop for kicking back and enjoying the city view as well as a jacuzzi. We dumped our luggage in our room then went out to explore Melbourne.


Hosier Lane was a short walk from Space and enticed us with its graffiti covered walls. It’s become a very popular tourist spot due to the ever changing artwork covering the walls. It would be a great place for a fashion shoot, everywhere you look there is colour. Some of the graffiti had been freshly done and the smell of spray paint was still lingering. Our first  impressions of Melbourne was “cool” it was certainly a quirky, hip place to be. We already had an idea of the size difference compared to Perth, it is a much bigger city. Bigger buildings and bold statements everywhere, some of the architecture was awesome. There’s a mix of old and new such as the abstract shapes of buildings surrounding Federation Square and the older buildings such as Flinders Station.
We chilled out in Fed Square and watched the sunset behind Flinders Station. The sky had a beautiful pink and orange hue to it.


Perth and WA is always going to be special to me. I’m glad we spent nearly 5 months there as we experienced so much and met some great people. We have so much more yet to see and have not regretted anything.

Margaret River Road Trip

One of the many things I miss since coming to Australia is driving and Ash hasn’t drove since passing her test, over a year ago. A trip to Margaret river was next on our ‘things to do’ so we decided to rent a car. After shopping around we went with Bayswater car rentals and before you know it we had the keys for a Toyota Corolla. The roads were pretty easy to drive. Unlike in the UK, keep left unless overtaking doesn’t really apply. Over here drivers tend to just pick a lane and stick to it.

Our first stop of the journey was Bunbury. We walked along the coastline at Wyalup Rocky Point and watched big waves coming in and crashing into the rocks. We followed a short coastal walk near the lighthouse and enjoyed the views from the top of Marlston Hill lookout tower.

Next stop was Busselton where I saw the longest jetty I’ve ever seen. At the end of the jetty is an underwater observatory where you can see a variety of fish and coral. Unfortunately that day it was closed due to weather conditions.

We finally arrived at our accommodation, The Margaret River Beach Resort. We were pleasantly surprised, we had a nice view of the ocean and a spa bath. That night we went for a short walk along the beach and watched some surfers. We had dinner at the onsite restaurant called Gnarabar which served really nice food. With satisfied stomachs and armed with a complimentary bottle of red we chilled in our spa bath before passing out.

The following morning it was business time! We had prebooked a wine tour with bushtucker tours which cost us $90 each. There was about 15 of us all together from various parts of the globe.

The first winery we stopped at was Adinfern estate, a lovely  winery. It was still morning and we were having wine for breakfast! We were given a few wine tasting tips before we  tucked in. I never even knew that you could get sparkling red wine, the one we tantalised our taste buds with was amazing. It was called Shepards Fanfare (red) and was described as a deep ruby shade with rich sweet red fruit aromas. The luscious palate will enjoy rich flavours of plums and toffee, complimented by the gentle bubbles. Another favourite of ours was a fortified wine called Ruby Forte described as a port-styled wine which has rich cherry aromas and even richer Turkish Delight and raspberry flavours. The ideal late night after dinner treat.

Next stop was Brookwood Estate. They again had very nice wines and tasty dukkah. We treated ourselves to a bottle of red best served chilled called Mellow Rouge for $20. A fun 70/30 blend of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon that oozes juicy raspberry, blackcurrant and strawberry flavours. The palate is rounded and approachable with soft tannins and a balanced sweet finish.

By this point we had tasted a fair share of wines so needed to line our stomachs. Lunch was all prepared by our tour guide, Silvano and it was a wonderful spread. There was plenty to eat including kangaroo meat, olives, sun dried tomato’s, stuffed peppers, selection of breads and locally sourced food. One of the guys was lucky enough to taste a big juicy grub, unfortunately there was only one.

Our third stop was another winery called Tassell Park, followed by Cowaramup Brewery where we had a selection of beer and ales. Cheese tasting was next at Margaret River Cheese company.

Our final alcohol consuming stop was The Grove, a must on anyone’s trip to Margaret River. We were greeted by a grumpy guy with a grey handlebar moustache who turned out to be the highlight of the trip. He had a very dry, sarcastic sense of humour and wasn’t afraid of offending anyone. Some of the group didn’t quite know how to take him but he certainly made me laugh. He poured us a selection of tasty liqueurs and ports then finished us off with a cocktail.

We all jumped back on the bus and after a hard day of drinking we were all very merry so Silvano took advantage of the fact and played some classic songs to sing along to. Our last port of call was Margaret River Chocolate Factory where we made sure we ate plenty of samples. It was a really fun day and would recommend the bushtucker tour as there are many to choose from. Back at the resort me and Ash chilled by the beach and watched the sunset before making a nice pasta dish washed down with wine.

The following day we had to drive although we still managed to visit some more wineries for tastings although this time we had to spit most of them out. We went to Xanadu and Leeuwin Estate. We broke up the drive back by taking a longer scenic route with plenty of stops on the way. We went to Cape Naturale, Castle Rock, Dunsburough, Busselton and caught the sunset at Rockingham with a glimpse of Penguin Island before returning to Perth.

Perth to Monkey Mia: Day 4 – Kalbarri, Lancelin, Perth

It was a slow start to the morning thanks to Mark (our tour guide) for cutting the radiator hose on the minibus. We had a lot of land to cover to get back into Perth by early evening so knew it would be a day mostly spent travelling on the minibus. We went to a wildlife park near Geraldton and on arrival were given a small bag of food to feed the animals. A camel, horses, a pig, goats and kangaroo’s all had a good lick of our hands and enjoyed a bit of food in the process. There was also various other animals to checkout such as various birds, lizards, dingo’s and snakes. The crocodile was very dissapointing, we could just make out its eyes in its tiny pool. We had our last lunch together and I had my fair share of sundried tomato’s and olives.

Our very last stop was Lancelin sand dunes for a bit of sand boarding. You can rent a board for about $10 but we didn’t have to pay. It was good fun, a bit tiring trekking to the top of the hill every time but worth it. It was harder than it first looked Josefine seemed to have it mastered, gliding downhill every time with ease. I kept managing to bury my board under the sand but on the occasions where I nailed it, I loved it. There were some buggy’s racing around on the dunes whilst we were there which was fun to watch too. It’s a shame we couldn’t have stayed a bit longer so I could master the art of sand boarding but also to have seen the sunset over the dunes.

All good things must come to an end and in this case it was time to head back to Perth. The trip as a whole was a great experience and one that I will not forget. We saw more wildlife in the space of 4 days days than we did in Perth for 4 months. Before this trip I had never seen a dolphin never mind having the chance to feed a wild one. There were plenty more first times for me and Ash: first time abseiling, first sighting of a wild roo, first contact with a thorny devil, first time seeing the milky way … I could go on. On top of all this I don’t think we could have had a nicer group of people to experience it with. We all got on very well and have kept in contact and met a number of individuals after the tour has ended. I’d definitely visit Monkey Mia again if given the chance.

Perth to Monkey Mia: Day 2 – Kalbarri, Murchison Gorge, Shell Beach, Monkey Mia

It was an early start leaving the farm and a team effort to get everything packed onto the minibus. We said goodbye to the horses then off we set for Kalbarri National park. It was a beautiful sunny day and once we arrived at our destination we had views to match. A rocky landscape like nothing I’d ever seen before apart from on TV. We walked a rocky path to get to Natures Window a naturally made hole in a rock that frames the river. It’s an iconic attraction and was a great photo opportunity. Lindsay said “is this the window?” which made us all chuckle as it was as if she was sarcastically saying “is that it?” I couldn’t help myself from hanging from a few of the rocks to get some good photo’s. For some reason the film 127 hours came to mind. We all jumped back on the minibus to get a bit closer to Z-bend gorge. The walk was a bit more demanding, at times there was no actual path and a few uneven rocks to climb down but it was nothing too taxing. Nearing the river we met some abseiling guys and for $30 we could abseil down a 30 metre cliff face, which was pretty sweet. Most of the group got involved including Ash whilst those who didn’t took snaps. After that boost of adrenaline we chilled on the rocks by the river before climbing back up to enjoy some more views.

Back on the open road and our stomachs were howling at us like a pack of hungry wolves. Luckily we had some music to sing along with to distract us. My ipod was picked to be blasted out and the first song that came on was “whip it” by Devo. Everyone seemed to find it hilarious especially Antoine who said “this is so 80s”. We stopped at Billabong roadhouse for lunch. No BBQ today but there was plenty of food to make a decent sandwich to silence the wolves. Beetroot, sweet corn, ham, cheese, lettuce, tomato, carrot, tuna and more. Once again a group effort to get everything prepared and put away again.

Back into the oven we went… Ahem, I mean minibus. By this time it was pretty hot but once we got moving it became more bearable. We’d already seen a lot of wildlife whilst being on the road, a lot of roo’s live and dead. Suddenly Kelly, our tour guide slammed on the brakes, turned the minibus around, stopped and then jumped out. We hadn’t a clue what was happening and then we noticed she picked up a lizard. Somehow whilst probably driving about 100kph she spotted this well camouflaged lizard which turned out to be a thorny devil. It was great to see one up close and in the wild. We all took some photos then she carefully put it back.


Shell beach was really cool, a beach of shells… self explanatory really. No fine sand just loads of tiny shells. There was no one else there and water was so clear and blue I couldn’t resist a quick dip. You could walk a fair bit out and the sea wouldn’t go any higher than your knees. We all got some great group photos of us jumping in the air whilst throwing a handful of shells. Thanks Kelly for the idea.

It was minibus time again like Adventure Time but without Jake the dog and Fin the human. Actually nothing like Adventure Time apart from the fact it was an adventure. More tunes from my iPod followed, one in particular was Heroes by David Bowie. We were excited to see dolphins at Monkey Mia and the lyric “like dolphins can swim” became a catch phrase, us cool kids on the back row sung the whole song. We arrived at Monkey Mia just as the sun was setting. Straight away we saw something in the sea…Dolphins! As if! Wild bottle nosed dolphins just like that, at least 3 of them swimming no more than 10 metres away. It was amazing and to top it off the beach was beautiful.

We all unloaded our gear at the hostel and enjoyed a BBQ. Steak was the dish and I enjoyed it all the more washing it down with a cold beer. That night a few of us chilled on the beach, the sky was so clear you could see the milky way! We sat there star gazing sipping back a few beers it really was a beautiful night. Monkey Mia had already got a firm hold on me with two hands and I didn’t want to leave.