Have you already read the first part? The journey starts from Day 1-12 from Brisbane to Airlie Beach, the Whitsundays, Townsville until Cairns.
Day 13-15 MELBOURNE
At 2 in the morning, Melli and I again sat in an airplane to arrive in freezing cold (10 degrees, winter is harsh) Melbourne at 5am. Unfortunately I made a big mistake when planning this trip: I knew that the World Cup Final would take place on the 13th July, but I forgot to consider that due to time shift, it would start right after our plane would touch the ground of Melbourne. So we spend the first half time pushing the bus driver to go faster while JenX kept us up to date via text messages. When we finally arrived in the hostel we joined 30 other Germans in the bar to witness the story of the 4th star. As soon as Germany became world champion, everyone left to catch up some sleep. Melli and I whereas fell asleep on the couches, completely wasted as we were. Check-In was supposed to be at 2pm, so we didn’t have a choice #backpackerslife. Luckily for us, the hostel manager came by and felt sorry, so she arranged for us to be checked-in early. Without setting a clock, we then happily slept until 2pm in the surprisingly comfortable beds.
After this recreative sleep we explored the streets of Melbourne. Our hostel was located really centrally, so we could get to the main shopping area by feet and then took the City Circle, a free shuttle service which takes you everywhere within the CBD. Also, the Queen Victoria Market is right outside the back door of the hostel. Here you can find cheap veggies and fruits, clothes and souvenirs. For those, who want to get to know Melbourne better, the I’m free walking tours are strongly recommended. They are taking place twice every day, you just have to show up at the meeting place in time and then your tour guide will walk you to several points of interests while talking about the history of Melbourne. After 2.5 hours full of impressive streets covered in street art, knowledge about the development of the city and reasons why Melbourne is the better place to stay than Sydney, everyone just pays as much as they feel like – this is the idea of the walking tours.
At the same day Melli and I bought ourselves a myki, so we were able to use public transport and go to St. Kilda, a nice part of Melbourne due to its beautiful beach esplanade. We stopped at a big window full of delicious looking cakes and tartes and decided to enter the shop to treat ourselves with a vanilla slice and some Caramel Chocolate Sensation. My belated birthday cake. $5.30 were unfortunately not justifiable in sense of taste. However, dinner on that day was great. Before we came to Australia, my sister and I decided to especially save some money for one evening of good food. Now was the time: We both put on our best clothes (Since we shared one suitcase, the choice was kind of limited) and went to the Hardware Lane that we passed on the day before and in which we spotted some nice restaurants. As it was my belated birthday dinner, it was up to me to choose, so I decided for a seafood plate at VONS. They served us salmon, prawns, oysters, mussels, squids, calamari and rosemary potatoes with two glasses of house wine, one entrée and a delicious dessert. What a change to our daily backpacker meals!
We spontaneously spend the whole next day in Fitzroy. Fitzroy offers several outlet shops, original vintage shops, small designer boutiques and individual cafes. We walked down the whole Brunswick Street as well as the Smith Street and stopped for a Flat White at the Black Cat Café, which I highly recommend. Sitting in one of the comfortable couches, you can observe Fitzroy’s individual inhabitants passing by while sipping on your coffee. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to buy new stuff, since our luggage was restricted concerning its weight. However, somehow I managed to buy a new jacket, new jumpers, thongs, …, and Melli did too. On that evening we had some trouble closing our suitcase. On the next day we were forced to put on all the clothes which did not fit into the suitcase. But before we went to the airport for our next flight, we visited the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI). The ACMI has a free exhibition about the historical development of the moving image. Highlights were the interactive parts like the 360-camera with which you could record some Matrix-moves, the station where you could create your own flipbook, a Nintendo 64 on which you could play Super Mario, but I haven’t spotted an Ahoi Sophie video yet. After our visit we quickly bought some summer rolls with salmon for only $2 at Central Place, if you have the chance, you should really try them with Hoi Sin sauce!
A short notice to our hostel, where we stayed: As mentioned before we were completely disappointed by Nomads Cairns, however, the Nomads in Melbourne positively surprised us. It was clean, staff was nice, there were free pancakes, rice, noodles and tea for everyone, weekly trivia nights or even beerpong championships. Furthermore it is located really centrally, the Queen Victoria Market, Aldi and the Circle Line are only a stone’s throw from there.
- Shop: Vintage Shops, Designer Boutiques and Outlets in Fitzroy (Brunswick Street and Smith Street)
- Stay: Nomads Melbourne or Discovery
- Eat: Hardware Lane, VONS Seafood Plate for $50, Entrée or Dessert for $5 as well as every glass of wine. If you are nice you will get the house wine for free. Central Place, $2 Summer Rolls with Salmon, Flat White at the Black Cat (Brunswick Street)
- Do: Circle Line, Free Walking Tour, Queen Victoria Market, St. Kilda Beach Promenade, Fitzroy
Day 16-19 SYDNEY
1.5h of flight later, we arrived in Sydney. A cab drove us to our relatives – mum has some cousins living here, who I already visited during my Easter break. They insisted on hosting Melli and me once again and spoiled us with incredibly good food (there’s nothing like the Vietnamese cuisine!). And once again I was overwhelmed by the cordiality and warmth of my great aunts and uncles – I love this big bunch of Vietnamese family!
After our breakfast they packed us some lunch and drove us to the train station, so we could spend the day in the city. On the first day we enjoyed the sun in the botanical gardens and then walked to the Opera House and the Harbor Bridge. On the second day our great uncle showed us the Vietnamese quarter and bought us food at every stall. On the third day my sister and I bought a Day Pass for $23 so we had unlimited use of the public transport for the whole day. Thus, we went to the market at “The Rocks”, before we walked to the Cicular Quay in order to take a ferry to Manly Beach. The ferry ride itself is really impressive, because the size of the city gets clear, looking from the water. At Manly we ate our lunch while gazing at all the Surfers defying the cold weather. On our way back, we warmed ourselves up with a hot chocolate of Josophans Fine Chocolate and passed by Darling Harbour and Paddys Market. Every day when we arrived at my uncle’s home, dinner was already ready to serve. This family was too good to us.
- Shop: The Rocks market for individual presents, Paddys Market for cheap souvenirs
- Do: Manly beach by Ferry, Botanical Gardens
- Eat: Hot Chocolate of Josophans Fine Chocolate
- Stay: there’s no better place than a loving family
DAY 20-22 BYRON BAY
On Monday morning, we again sat in the airplane to travel to Byron Bay. We stayed at the Backpackers Inn on the Beach, the only hostel in Byron with direct beach access and a surf school. I’ve already been to this hostel twice and made friends with the surf teacher, so I promised him to come back with my sister. Thus, Melli took her first surfing lesson in Byron. And as one lesson was not enough for her, she also joined the second group that day. And right after her second lesson, we went to rent a board, so we could surf on our own. Ever since we were officially declared as the girls gone mad about surfing. This called the attention of Jayme, the owner of the surf school, who then gave us his private surfboard for free. From then on, Melli and I caught the waves all day long and only left the water to eat and sleep. And as athletes are really demanding in their nutrition, we ate the best burger in the world at the beloporto burger bar. Tender Portuguese style chicken in soft bread with melting cheese, fresh salads and served with fries and a cool drink – all this for $10 on Tuesdays. Beloporto is a dream!
On my last post about Byron Bay, I recommended the Nomads as a good alternative to stay at. By now I have to revise this statement. I have to agree with Jayme, who said “Nomads sold its soul”. It is a hostel for the mass without any charm (but a Jacuzzi).
- Do: Byron Bay Surf School
- Eat: @Beloporto, Hawaian Burger, Tuesdays as a menu for $10
- Stay: Backpackers Inn
DAY 23-24 BRISBANE
After three days of living the surfer’s life, we took the Greyhound bus to get back to Brisbane in order to get organized for our flight back to Germany. As we got home, Sarah and Sam surprised us with a farewell dinner and Nick (who is the founder of a really cool start-up PeeP Digital) spontaneously came by to say goodbye. On the next day we went for a walk at Southbank, a park and at the same time Brisbane’s cultural Centre. It was a nice place to enjoy Brisbane, before we went to the International Airport with 58kg of luggage and two big backpacks. I couldn’t believe that I would leave Australia (at least for now). But I was too overwhelmed by the feeling of gratitude, to be sad. At this point I’d like to say thank you! Thank you to the Castle, to the Fifth Lad Pad, to the Brissi Crew, thank you that y’all just walked into my life and made yourself comfortable in my heart.