A Home Away From Home

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Our February blog winner

twelve apostles

The Twelve Apostles (well, two of twelve)

You might have read her stuff earlier on in the blog, and since arriving in Australia last year Alex Simpson has put some serious travel miles under her belt and seen a helluva lot of country. As you'll read though, Alex still feels the magical "wow I'm in Australia" moments:

We were both excited and apprehensive about meeting Melbourne as it's where we're planning to live and work for 2+ months and wanted to love it. The good news is, we do.

A lot of people have raved on about how great it is, really cultural, young and trendy so we had high hopes but it really is as good as the recommendations. A cross between London and Brighton, street art adorning every brick wall and tiny cafes, bars and clubs poking out of holes in back alleys. We're very excited to be heading back there, defo my favourite Australian city.

On day 1 we caught a tram into the CBD and followed the Lonely Planet's recommended walking guide to get to know the streets fast, it was a cool tour and took us past everything we needed to see to get a feel for the place. We'd only just got started when we promptly stopped again and enjoyed and very cosmopolitan lunch of risotto and wine while sitting at a little cafe table under the shade of a big canvas umbrella.

After our walk we made time for a quick fondue from Max Brenner and then got comfy in our Imax seats for Avatar 3D which was absolutely, unbelievably, incredibly amazing. A life changing experience really, just astounding. Especially as Melbourne has the 3rd biggest screen in the world :).

We ended up walking over 7 miles on day 2 because we wanted to check out St Kilda and all the funky suburbs we might want to live in. St Kilda had a fun beachy vibeto it and the huge palms reminded me of America which made me a bit travel sick for LA.

It was really windy so I got a great unexpected surprise when I spotted a kite hovering in the air a mile or so away.

I sat bolt upright staring at the horizon and then noticed a whole sky full of kite colour WOOHOO! I walked down to the harbour and went straight up to a guy to ask him about the wind seasons and kite community which is apparently thriving so have made the decision to get my stuff sent down to Melbourne for when I'm there, don't know how yet but can't wait!

On our last day we walked another 7 miles into a different district (also uber-cool) to check that out and ended up treating ourselves to another cosmo lunch, oops! We loved our 3 days in Melbourne and packed our bags happy in the knowledge we are heading back in a month or two.

The last 3 days we've been travelling from Melbourne over to Adelaide via the Great Ocean Road on the Groovy Grape tour bus lol! It's been really fun, Tina and I are the only English on the mini bus which seems quite rare but it's taken us past some awesome views including my highlight, sunset at the 12 Apostles. The Apostles are a coastal rock formation formed by sea and wind erosion but they don't sound so mystical like that so we'll leave it as The Apostles.

The day before yesterday we drove up into the Grampian mountains and saw Koalas just chilling in their natural habitat which was so cool and nice to see, I'm not sure I'd fancy going to a zoo again after that. In the evening we stayed at little cabins surrounded by bush so as dusk fell loads of kangaroos started appearing out from the trees and coming right up to us where we were having a BBQ! It was one of those "wow, I'm really in Australia moments".

Our final day took us on a hike up into Hollow Mountain which sounds a bit like a Disneyland ride but was actually some dramatic sandstone mountains we got to scramble up to reach the summit, amazing views and worth the effort for sure.

Then we had a quick pit stop for a picnic lunch and hit the road for the remaining 5 hour drive to Adelaide. We arrived quite late, too late to do anything yet had that agitated 'been stuck on a bus' feeling so I managed to persuade Tina to go on a jog around the town before bed, not sure how that happened!

So now we're in Adelaide and we're off to explore the town, we've chosen a good time to come as the Fringe Festival is currently on and the area seems to be buzzing more than usual.

Next stop is Alice Springs and the desert, hope I don't get bitten by a scorpian...or snake...or spider...or...

- What's your "wow" moment in Australia? Send us your working holiday stories by via email, with photos or edited video attached and the word “Australia” in the subject box, to bestblogintheworld@visabureau.com.