The day finally arrived! I have been helping plan three family trips since October, and the first family member arrived in Australia last week. My Mom and Aunt Chris were slated for two weeks in April. My dad and sister will spend two weeks with us at the end of May. And John’s family – a total of seven people! – will come in for a few weeks in June. As of yesterday, a fourth trip has been added: my best friend Sam will be coming out in July due to the recent insane sale on Atlanta to Australia plane tickets!
Sadly, something came up at the last minute, and my Aunt Chris wasn’t able to make it on the trip. My mom arrived solo last Monday for a few days of sightseeing in and around Melbourne. John ended up working the final few days of his Melbourne job while Mom and I went out and explored the city – and she was a trooper fighting through the jet lag. On day one, we walked a lot. A lot, a lot – all over the CBD and the Shrine of Remembrance and the Botanical Gardens. We ate lunch on Degraves Street and had gelato in Little Italy!
Our next day was Phillip Island – home of the smallest penguins in the world. We stopped at had tea with family on the way down, and we spent an hour or so exploring Brighton Beach. We took our time getting down to Phillip Island, but arrived just in time for getting a good spot to watch the penguins come in from the ocean. They don’t allow any photos down there, which has its benefits – we got to stay very observant and very aware as the groups of tiny little guys made their way in groups across the beach. It’s amazing how exciting the penguins are – at St. Kilda and at Phillip Island, the penguins are worth the wait and the drive and the price.
Our final day was spent on a wine tour on the Mornington Peninsula. They’re famous down there for their Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. We had a great host take us around a few cellar doors with a fantastic lunch – the perfect way to spend our rainiest day! The next day we started our Great Ocean Road drive and left Melbourne behind!