Travel With Jamie & Matt

January 2016

So it’s been a long time since our last blog. January has already come and gone. I’m sure back home January has been cold, and boring but here it’s the middle of summer. We have had the Australian Open here in Melbourne and a heatwave or two to keep us busy. We have had a pretty busy month with tons of food & drink of course as well as plenty of exploring and adventures along the way.
 
Since we last updated you we entered 2016! We didn’t have any major plans for new years and it was all a bit last minute but we did drink some Local Sparkly in a very boutique restaurant called TGI Fridays. Very exclusive but we managed to get a table. We then had a chill in the park in t-shirt and shorts waiting for the fireworks. Fireworks were pretty cool being let off from 16 sites across Melbourne simultaneously meaning wherever you were you would be able to see.  We were surrounded by 4 different shows so had to keep spinning around to try and catch them all. We then had the wonderful journey back home, the streets were heaving with thousands of people but we eventually managed to get through and jump on the tram home. We later realised we probably would have had a great view of the fireworks from our rooftop but oh well, maybe next year.
 
After New Year it was back to work for both us as we didn’t want to use up too much of our holiday due to all our future adventure plans. Shortly after New Year Matt had to head out again to South Australia for a client. He was based 3 hours north of Adelaide in a little town called Port Pirie. It was safe to say it was a small town where perhaps everyone knew each other (only 13,206 people live there). Matt, unfortunately, was there during a bit of a heatwave so it was consistently 30+ even at night. This did give us the chance to Tick off another state with us now visiting 3 of the 8 states of Aus. Jamie flew down on Friday night for a weekend of Adventure in Adelaide.  We timed it pretty well with the Tour down under (part of the same cycling tour as the Tour de France) was in town. It was pretty buzzy with cyclists everywhere.  We spent the weekend exploring Adelaide which is perhaps a little bit smaller and less interesting than Melbourne. We did, however, continue to have some great food and managed to fit in a visit to the botanical gardens, the national wine centre and the Zoo.

The national wine centre was pretty cool and it had a room with each wall covered in bottles of wine. You could buy a swipe card and then try whatever wines you wanted. Safe to say we had a good afternoon.

Adelaide zoo is also pretty special for 1 main reason, it has the only Pandas in the southern hemisphere. We were lucky enough to get to see them out and about and found out that there is a good chance that one of them might be pregnant. As you can see from the photos Jamie was pretty happy to see the Pandas.

After returning from Adelaide we managed to fit in a day of Wine tasting in the Yarra Valley! The Yarra Valley is about 40 minutes’ drive east of Melbourne and is made up of hundreds of vineyards and wine producers. We booked ourselves onto a wine tour with a bunch of old American tourists (mainly) as a bit of an anniversary present to each other. We spent the day sampling many many wines and then buying a fair few bottles to take home. We visited the Domain Chandon estate, which is a sparkling wine producer sent up in Australia by a French Champagne producer to produce high quality sparkly for Australia. The ‘Champagne’ was pretty amazing and we bought a few bottles home for a special occasion (so when people come visit expect some bubbles to celebrate!). At all of the vineyards, the views were amazing and we had such great weather all round.

Since Tuesday 26th was Australia Day we had a Tuesday off as a bank Holiday (I know what you are thinking, why on earth was a bank Holiday a Tuesday) which we decided to drive down to Phillip Island, which is a picturesque island about an hour and a half out of Melbourne. Our Kiwi friend Sam joined us too for a day full of adventure. It was nice to get a full use out of the car.

We got to see some pretty amazing beaches, with waves crashing around and beautiful blue waters and yellow sands. Phillip Island is known for its colony of little penguins that live in little holes up in the mountains, they are nocturnal however and only really come out at night. As we were visiting in the day and didn’t want to hang around till sunset we didn’t get a proper chance to do the full penguin experience which was a bit unfortunate. We did, however, get to see 1 of the little penguins who had woken up early coming out of his Den, as you can imagine he was pretty cute.

We also got to experience some extremely windy contains which gave rise to some crazy waves on the cliffs. We even saw a wild snake (luckily it was not in reaching a distance of us! It looked like it was eying up the penguin so hopefully, it didn’t manage to eat him. All in all, it was a really good day and we finished it off with some delicious Thai food and games with some of the new crew.

You might be thinking at this stage of the blog that surely that’s all, they can’t have done anything else this month but you would be wrong, there’s still 2 weeks to go (until we are truly up to date).

After all our driving around we decided it was time to stay in Melbourne for a bit. We hit up the local cinema and got to see the pretty spectacular (and snowy) the Revenant.  We then decided that after the Australian Open it was time to try our hands at playing at a bit of tennis as they make it look so easy. We discovered that in fact Tennis is not quite so easy and we spent the majority of our time running around trying to find the balls which we had managed to hit here there and everywhere, it was a good hour though and nice to do something a bit different. Saturday night we took part in an Escape room. Essentially 4 of us were locked in a dark room that was the scene of a crime and we had to solve about 5 different riddles in an hour to find the final clue and reveal the murderer. It was really fun with plenty of tricky bits to keep us entertained. After finishing we were buzzing to do another one and it’s something we would highly recommend to anyone in London (where there are tons of escape rooms).

On Sunday it was Gay Pride in Melbourne (known as the Midssuma festival here) and so we went along to the parade to see what Melbourne had compared to London. It was perhaps a more laid back affair with only 1 road closed rather than the 5 miles that they stretch across London. The parade however still good fun, the sun even started to come out (compared to a pretty cloudy start to the day). After that we headed out for some drinks which ended up with us staying out drinking all day until about 11pm, not such a great idea on a Sunday night. It was a really fun day though and nice to meet some new people and actually hit up some of the gay bars in Melbourne.

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After drinking all that wine we decided it was time to buy a car. After a couple of weeks of looking at cars and all the different options, we settled on getting a 2-year lease through Matt’s work for a Kia Rio, a nice little car. It even saves tax, what more could you want from a car (says Matt). We named him Igloo after his number plate and he is amazing.

Since getting Igloo we have had some excellent adventures. One of the best things about buying him, however, was the night that we bought him we got a call from Kia offering us free tickets to the Australian open for the next day In the Rod laver Arena (the centre court) as well as access to the corporate tent. As you can imagine we were pretty chuffed and got to see the all-time greatest Serena Williams (as well As Djokovic). It was an amazing day with some excellent tennis. We had great seats and were really close the action, we even got free wine and nibbles.

Today (Sunday) we had a relaxed day, got our hair cut bought some plants for our balcony and had Brunch (obviously) and a bit of a roast dinner. It’s almost time for bed now and another week of work is ahead. We will try really hard to keep the blog updated a bit more frequently but hope you enjoyed reading what we have been up to. 
 
And Now for this Months Gallery of Food!!!

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