Oz and the Big Lap travel blog

25 June - Melbourne

We left Balllarat early as we needed to get to Melbourne ready for Ruth's cousin, Olive, birthday party. An easy run into Melbourne, we found Janet and John's house that they kindly offered the use of while they were away in the warm up north.

We unpacked the car and the trailer (had to erect the tent in the street to get to all the stuff inside the trailer!) and piled it into the house. Closed down the trailer, grabbed a quick shower, met cousin Miles and drove out to the party at William's house.

A great party, met some of William and Melanie's friends and Georgia, Miles' daughter. Lots of kids around, friends of Olive and Micah, William's children. Great food and wine and conversation, eventually we left.

Back to the house, a bit of TV then bed. Exhausted.

26 June

Today we had to clean the trailer, so it was pitched once again in the street. In the daylight we could see there was still a fair bit of red dust sticking in crevices all around the trailer. Cleaned it off as best we could, thoroughly cleaned the interior and the kitchen and fridge and it did look very presentable but with a pink tinge to the metalwork of the trailer. Called Kellie of the Melbourne Camper Trailer Centre, where we had bought the trailer back in January, and arranged to deliver the trailer back to her that afternoon.

So after lunch we headed to Pakenham, some 60 kilometres away to the southeast. Kellie had customers who were looking to buy a Cub Escape, the very trailer we were hoping to sell, so fingers crossed. Long long chat with Kellie sorting out a number of issues with the trailer, agreeing a sale price, dealing with Vicroads etc. Left the trailer with Kellie and drove back to Melbourne, dinner with a bit of TV (again!). Bed.

27 June

Now for the car. We spent all morning just on the interior and it still needs a little more work, just buffing up really. Tomorrow?

Lunch and a brief drive out to find Bunnings to get a product Ruth had seen on TV some time ago that is supposed to help keep wood burning stoves clean. Eventually found it and moved on to get some car interior cleaner. A drive around Moonee Ponds, a very pretty town with lots of late 1800s properties.

28 June

Cold outside so started to sort out all our stuff, including the souvenirs we had bought. Took ages. Need to decide whether or not we should make up a parcel to send home as we are limited to 40kilos each for our flight to Bali.

Wednesday was food night at the Queen Victoria Market and we fancied eating there, for a change. We had been there on our previous trip. We drove to the Market but the whole area was solid traffic, we couldn't find anywhere to park and after trying for quite a while, gave up and drove to Lygon Street, the Italian Quarter to see if we could get a meal there. Same problem, no parking so we gave up and returned to the house for cheese and wine.

29 June

Off to help Carolyn, Ruth's niece, to pack up her flat as she will be moving out over the weekend. So much stuff! Amazing just how much one accumulates over the years.

Left Carolyn and drove to Lygon Street, where Ruth wanted to visit a shop she had bought from back in January. Nothing grabbed but we had a gentle walk up and down the street. Booked a restaurant for dinner and returned to the house. Ruth checked the restaurant for reviews and as it got such a mixed bag we cancelled the booking and cooked dinner instead.

30 June

Visited the Queen Victoria Market for meat and fresh vegetables and a bit of a wander around. Cleaned the interior of the car, took ages, but looks pretty good now, lets hope that helps with the sale. We will take the car in on Monday.

Set up currency transfer account so we can remit the proceeds of sale to my UK bank account. The fx people said we needed an Australian bank account, hopefully we can set that up tomorrow morning. Heard from Chris and Jan who we met on the Kimberley tour and got on well with.

1 July

Into town to open a bank account. Fortunately there are a few city branches that are open on a Saturday morning. Helped by a charming assistant who set the account u, all i needed was my passport! He then set up online banking and checked it all worked on my iPad. Wonderul and so easy.

Got back, had lunch then off to Carolyn's to help her clean the flat. All the contents had gone!

2 July

Visited Carolyns new house out in Kilmore, just over an hour away. Lovely house on the outskirts of the little town. Caryn and Luke were in a panic as Galli, the cat, had disappeared and they were still searching for him when we arrived. Anyway, in preparation for setting up the bed, I moved a chest and lo and behold, there was the cat!

We stayed for a while helping to unpack and set stuff up. Celebratory cachaca and then we left then, not amongst quite as many boxes as earlier but there was a bit to do.

3 July

Took car to Melbourne City Toyota, to the same salesman, Sabi, agreed a price and arranged to drop the car on Thursday. Commenced sorting out all our stuff and the packing.

4 July

Into town again, this time to see the Van Gogh exhibition at the NGV. We took the train, an easy journey, and walked across the river to the south bank. Walked along the bank until we realised the NGV was in the other direction, never mind it was a lovely sunny, if cool day and we enjoyed the walk. Arrived at the venue to find there was an hour and a half wait to buy tickets. Ruth kindly offered to queue while I looked around the rest of the art centre. Some quite interesting Asian art, plus the usual rooms of European art. Found Ruth, who had been chatting to a young man during her wait. She was nearly at the ticket office. Bought the tickets to discover there was another hour's wait for ticket holders to get onto the exhibition! We were told we could return any day until Saturday on todays ticket so planned to return Thursday morning, before Ruth's hair appointment. Found lunch at a popup cafe nearby then walked into the CBD and wandered the streets and arcades with Ruth stopping at every jeweller's window!

Getting a little tired now we walked back to the NGV so see how busy it was. We walked straight into the exhibition! It showed the progression of Van Gogh's painting style, presented as a journey through the seasons. Glad we made it, the art was fantastic. Back to the house to get ready for our booking at 'Scopri', a fine dining Italian restaurant. The food was absolutely wonderful.

5 July

Cleaning! After lunch we drove across town to Armadale, a suburb of Melbourne we had driven through in January. Very pretty town with lots of late 1800s buildings and residential areas. Ruth counted 13 wedding dress shops along the high street!

Back to the house to place our ad for the trailer on Gumtree and to meet with Carolyn for a second attempt to eat at the Queen vIctoria night market. Eventually found a parking spot ten minutes from the Market, walked in and met with Luke. The place was heaving with huge queues at each food stall so after walking round we decided to go to a Korean 'restaurant' nearby. Food was good despite most of it having been deep fried.

6 July

Bit more sorting and packing before heading to St Kilda's for Ruth's hairdo. Eventually found the salon and I dropped her to return to drop the car at Melbourne City Toyota. Signed all the papers and got dropped back at the house.

Carolyn had the appointment after Ruth's and then they had a somewhat extended lunch before returning to the house.

Final packing and now ready for a 5 o'clock start tomorrow to catch our flight to Bali. Carolyn stayed with us to drive to the airport in the morning.

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