We arrived in Melbourne nearly three weeks ago and stayed on the Mornington Peninsular to the south east of the city for the first week with a couple we met in Vietnam who kindly took us in; Pam and Russell. We caught up on a lot of sleep at first and did a few drives around the peninsular including Arthur's Seat which is the tallest peak on the peninsular, and Sorrento right on the end.
We did a day's wine tasting down there as well which was great as it was all free and the wine was excellent. The wine tour of Australia has begun! We went to Healesville Sanctuary to the north east of the city at the weekend where we got to stroke a koala which was excellent, and also saw some great examples of Aussie wildlife including dingos, kangaroos, wallabies and possoms.
We moved up to the city last Friday and have been here almost two weeks now. We've done a lot of wandering around and have totally exhausted the free activities here - Australia seems so expensive after South East Asia. We found a great stand-up comedy night and entered a pub quiz in the hopes of winning $350 - we didn't due to the unfairness of everyone else being an Aussie and us knowing nothing whatsoever about popular culture here! Never mind.
We did a tour of the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) last week. It was huge in comparison to cricket grounds in England, but looks a bit like a building site as they are putting in a new stand (capacity will be 100,000 when they're done). Very impressive - especially as they reckon they'll be playing a test there on Boxing Day!
We have also been to Chinatown, the Botanic Gardens and Victoria Market. Last Sunday we went to a Fiesta in the Latin quarter, there was lots of free live music and cheap food, it was a good day! This Sunday we watched some of the Billycart Grand Prix - a crazy race of home-made carts. There always seems to be something going on here, on the same day we also saw a concert for World AIDS Day and the Sunday market at the Arts Centre.
We have also bought a car! It's a 1987 Ford Falcon Stationwagon, on dual fuel (in other words cheap to run as gas is one-quarter the price of petrol at home). For the girls - it's light blue and big!
As you can tell we have slowed down a bit since we got here, it's nice to stay in one place for a while although we haven't found any work, perhaps because we didn't really look!
The weather has been pretty poor, much colder than we expected. But today it's 34 degrees and very sunny so the suncream is getting some use again.
Arriving in Australia has been a bit like coming home, there is Cadbury's chocolate in abundance and people drink tea with milk, yay! The Aussies are really lovely people and it's so good to be speaking the same language as the locals after 2 months of 'You have room?' and other such basic English.
Leaving for Sydney tomorrow once the car has had its MOT etc. We are going via lots of places in Victoria and will spend a few days in Canberra en route. Looking forward to getting out into the real Australian outback!