Travel With Jamie & Matt

Feb & March 2016

It’s been a long time since the last blog and for that, we apologise. It’s the end of March now and Summer appears to be well and truly done in Australia. The nights are now getting cold and the days not much warmer. Whilst everyone in England is getting excited about Spring and Summer we are dreading Autumn and Winter. The one good thing about the upcoming seasons might be that we stop going out so much and maybe save some money!

You might be wondering what we have been up to over the last couple of months so here goes nothing (I’ll cut out the really boring bits).

One of the first weekends in Melbourne we decided to continue our tour of Australian Zoos and we headed over to Werribee open range zoo which is an African safari-inspired zoo. Werribee is about an hour from ours by a drive which in Australian terms is basically just next door.  We managed to see some baby lion cubs which were amazing and adorable as well as seeing Hippos, Rhinos, Zebra, Giraffes and tons of other animals. It was really fun and they even have a Safari style tour bus which is definitely the best bit. Being a meter away from Giraffes and Rhinos running free is pretty amazing, especially for Jamie the Giraffe lover. As it was Valentine’s Day Matt bought Jamie a 4 ft cuddly Giraffe which is currently sitting overlooking our sofa. Jamie treated Matt to a really good Mexican with plenty of Tequila based cocktails.

The following weekend we entered into our 2nd escape room (we have now done 4 and are planning more!). This one was Alice and Wonderland themed and was really good fun, however it was a bit annoying that we totally failed the Chess puzzle even though it shouldn’t have been that hard (with a couple of Chess players in the room).

The next weekend we were planning to go to the water adventure park near Melbourne but then realised it was perhaps for children and settled on going to our final Zoo in Victoria, Healesville Sanctuary!  This is again a short 1hr 15 min drive from our house set in the picturesque Yarra Valley near the Dandenong mountain range.  

So Mid-February and we have been here for just over 4 months now, Jamie has some Australian family that lives about an hour out of Melbourne so we decided to visit them and catch up. Jamie hadn’t seen them in many years. So we arrived and had a lovely day lots of wine, talking and our first real Australian BBQ with more than just 2 people. It was a lovely day of catching up and enjoying the Australian lifestyle, great company with great food in a beautiful setting (we had house envy).

Next weekend was White Night, there were light shows across the city running from 6pm to 6am. The night started with 2 of our good friends and a homemade Australian classic. A Beef and Pepper Pie, we all really enjoyed it so it was time to get the tram and head into the city and see all the excitement. White Night was pretty cool, we saw some good light shows throughout the city and had a great night exploring with friends, getting home at about 4am after a very satisfying evening. The city was insanely busy (maybe as busy as New Year’s, or worse! At times it felt like swimming through a river of flesh, Matt hadn’t seen this many people in one place since Glastonbury. There were buskers and food stalls everywhere giving it a pretty amazing atmosphere even If the queues for some of the events did let it down a little bit.

Another Saturday and what a great Australian thing to do and go and visit a Vineyard, with one of our friends Joseph. So we drove about an hour into the Yarra Valley, had great food and even better wine it was a lovely afternoon. It was a perfect day, with beautiful weather. On our way back we decided we would keep on going as it was going so lovely. We picked up Jaxon, who is Joseph’s lovely boyfriend and our other good friend Sam who has had many features in our blog so far.

Everyone knows how we have become lovers of Escape Rooms so we decided to book one, we headed to the place and had an hour or so spare so it was time to play bowling, and super-size Jenga and Connect 4. Time for the Escape room, it was serial killer themed obviously with a Butcher being the suspect, we worked well as a team and did it in about 40 Minutes, it was tricky but good to do another one. We finish and are all buzzed so we thought its 11pm let’s do another room! Time for the casino, this one was so much easier and we finished it in about 20 minutes. It was such a great evening and lovely just to relax and hang out with friends, which is what lots of our weekends consist of now and the reason we have not posted much as the crazy adventures have slowed down a little bit.

Next up and it’s now early March and about time it was Matts Birthday, so as most of you will know we both love board games so he got a few that he has wanted for a while as his presents. Sadly it was a weekday so we both had to go to work, Jamie took him to nice French restaurant for dinner to celebrate the day and then we came home to play one of his new games and Jamie’s new favourite, Letters From Whitechapel, it was a lovely evening and we were going away the following weekend to celebrate properly and go on another adventure.

The weekend following Matt’s birthday was Labour Day weekend (Monday is a bank holiday) so off to Gippsland to go and explore more of Victoria.  Gippsland is West of Melbourne and runs along the south coast of Australia.  We headed off early Saturday morning, much to Matt’s dismay. The drive own was actually pretty busy for the normally quiet Victoria roads. Our first stop was a Cape Liptrap Lighthouse which appeared to be in the middle of nowhere, we had to head down a gravel road (the first of many over the weekend) which Igloo (our car) wasn’t very happy with. The views were pretty stunning though and it was nice and deserted apart from the odd other tourists.

Next stop was Lunch we realised that there wasn’t too much choice in the middle of nowhere so we did a bit of googling (internet permitting) and headed over to a really tiny Vineyard which apparently is the stopping point for people going to Wilsons Promontory which was our next stop.  We did a quick wine tasting which Matt really enjoyed but Jamie wasn’t a fan of the wines. We then sat down for Lunch which from limited Choices was Portuguese chicken and a Spanish Tapas platter.  It was really nice sitting in a converted barn looking out over the vineyard

Wilsons Promontory is the most southerly point on the Australian Mainland and is a huge national park (195 square miles).  We drove down to the main area and stumbled upon a really big campsite. It felt like being in a caravan park in some English town with kids running around everywhere, a shop and an outdoor cinema and loads of other stuff to keep the kids entertained.  We headed straight away from that up a nice walking track. It wasn’t too difficult and it ended up at a huge stretch of beach that was basically our own private beach. Given the weather wasn’t great though we decided it wasn’t time for a swim. As we were walking down the beach we saw a couple with a Drone flying out to sea. This was pretty cool we would definitely be keen to get one.  We continued heading down the beach and found the millions of people surfing around! We continued to wander down and found a beautiful river spot which we did some exploring.

As we exited the prom we stopped over at a beautiful white sandy beach, Jamie was shocked that sand could be that colour! After the prom we had a couple of hours drive to our Hotel in a “City” called Sale. The drive back was nice and relaxed with the only thing to see fields and fields of cows. As were driving back we did see one of the most amazing sights a Wild Koala, who happened to be standing in the road.  We were both super excited and disappointed we couldn’t stop and get closer to him.  Other wildlife we saw on the back included a huge flock of Cockatoos which are everywhere in Australia, we tried to slow down but One of the birds hit the car and may have passed on to the afterlife.  We arrived at our Motel and understood why it was so cheap (and still available last minute on the Long Weekend. Breakfast was delivered the night before and consisted of bread wrapped in Clingfilm and there was a creepy worm in the shower which scared Jamie no end.

Next day we headed to a place called Lakes Entrance which sits on the 90-mile beach and is a pretty seaside town. We enjoyed exploring and having some excellent fish and chips, the only fear was the seagulls trying to steal our chips.

After Lakes entrance we decided to head to a national park which was pretty cool, we almost got lost but managed to escape and got to see some wonderful views. Sunday night as we arrived back to our wonderful motel in Sale we decide to explore the local Lakes which are huge. As we were driving down to the Lakes we stumbled upon a local music festival for Labour day weekend. It was really interesting and something Jamie had never seen before, being from London. It reminded me of summer fayres and what, not in Witham.  After the music festival, we headed to the lakes proper and ended up finding a game nature reserve, which in certain seasons is a hunting ground for Ducks and other animals which is something we definitely had never seen before. We drove through part of it and saw some beautiful sites with trees submerged in the Lakes. 

On Monday we decided to head home early to make sure we recovered before work. We stopped off at Eastland’s shopping centre for a quick cinema trip (the Lady in the Van) and managed to make it home in good time.

The last few weeks Matt has been working away in a place called Warrnambool, three and a half hours from Melbourne, so it has been really quiet and we have not been up to anything exciting, just hanging out with friends and eating lots of good food.

We will post more regular this time we do promise, as soon as we do some exciting things.

Jamie & Matt


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