One of the things that has been on my Australia bucket list was to see the Twelve Apostles; a unique rock formation along the Southern Australian Coast. We rented a car for the week we spent in Melbourne in order to drive the Great Ocean Road. Budget Travel Tip: It ended up being cheaper to rent a car for the entire week instead of paying for a taxi to/from the airport plus paying for a tour of the Great Ocean Road.
So, we woke up early one morning, and headed West from St. Kilda. It took us almost 4 hours to reach the Twelve Apostles. Once we were there, we were able to do a few short hikes to different outlooks.
We made a few more stops along the Great Ocean road on the way back to Melbourne. At one clearing, we even saw wild kangaroos!
Around dinner time, we had reached Geelong, a city right outside of Melbourne. Our quest for Mexican food around the world has been on-going, so we chose a Mexican restaurant for dinner. It was pretty good Aussie-Mexican fusion! Jeff drove us back to St. Kilda, and we stopped near our Airbnb at the St. Kilda pier. A popular tourist activity in Melbourne is going to see the ‘Penguin Parade’ on St. Phillip Island. Budget Travel Tip #2: there is no need to go all the way to Phillip Island! The penguins return to the St. Kilda pier from the sea every evening to nest, and you can get up close to them! ( I know it's a dark picture, but I swear there are penguins behind me.)
Mom and Jeff also saw what they thought was a giant rat on the pier, but it ended up being a protected species of water rat. You can see nature in Australia, even in the big city!
We spent the rests of our week in Melbourne checking out cute café alleyways, street art, shops, markets and restaurants!
We also spent some time at the library- it was beautiful. After church on Sunday, we went out to eat at a Greek restaurant. Melbourne supposedly has the one of the largest Greek speaking populations in the world outside of Greece. The food was great!
We also spent an evening catching up with our friend Jess, who we met last summer on our tour of Scottland! We met her and her roommate Emma at a really quaint little bar in St. Kilda. It was great to see a familiar face and catch up. Thanks for meeting up with us girls!
Jeff’s money recap for Australia:
Modes of transportation: Plane, ferry, boat, bus, rental car, train, trolley
Total Spent: $2570.23 (Includes flight into Gold Coast and 2 flights in Australia plus a day on the Great Barrier Reef, but Cara’s parents paid for a lot of the food and lodging)
Average Per Day: $102.81
Australia is definitely more expensive, especially Sydney. Even though the currency exchange works in our favor, it is a relatively expensive place, especially if you eat out for most of your meals. We learned that there is a 10% surcharge at meals on the weekends in Sydney. Airbnb’s were pretty inexpensive around the country (except for Sydney) and once again we really enjoyed our stays.