After the cruise, we made our way to Melbourne. This was probably my favorite city out of all our Australian destinations. Fortunately, we were also able to stop here again at the end of our trip before flying back to the US. The food was a primary highlight of this city, having some of the highest rated culinary spots in the world. This is also where we saw the most wildlife (actually in the wild!) and enjoyed many excursions along the coast. There are even vineyards nearby that are definitely worth checking out if you like wine, or just pretty scenery.
Where to stay:
- Treasury on Collins – This eclectic hotel offers wonderful amenities, including nightly wine tastings with hors d’oeuvres. You are also within walking distance to many Melbourne highlights.
- If you are doing the Great Ocean Road (you should!), we recommend staying a night at each of the following places, if your time and budget allow, to get a true feel for each rather than doing the drive all in one day (actually, I wish we could have stayed longer at each!)
Where to eat:
- Claypots Barbarossa – This is a casual dining option with delicious muscles and other seafood/fish/veggie small plate options. I was in Heaven!
- Ezard – Visit this restaurant for a fancy tasting menu (there is a vegetarian option as well).
- Swing Bridge Cafe and Boathouse – In Lorne, we walked to this beautiful spot and had a delicious breakfast along the water.
What to do:
- Take a ride on the historic Puffing Billy Railway.
- Visit the Yarra Valley Wineries – They offer many private and group tours of various wineries in the area. We enjoyed a tour that included both the Puffing Billy and Wine Tastings.
- Visit Hosier Lane or any of the other morals and graffiti art around.
- Check out the Queen Victoria Market.
- Make sure to drive some along the Great Ocean Road! Here are some fantastic stops to make on your journey.
- Visit Kafe Koala along the GOR. Upon arrival, you will most likely find some koalas sleeping up in the nearby trees and plenty of birds. However, for a more private viewing, we recommend driving up along that same road. Whoever is not driving must keep their eyes peeled while studying the Eucalyptus trees. We were very fortunate to find koalas up there. Some were sleeping, some awake and eating, and one even jumped between the trees for us. They are definitely hard to spot and even harder to capture on film, but the memories will last forever.
- While driving through the more rural roads with weeded grasses look out for kangaroos! We were able to watch kangas and wallabies…these are easier to spot than the koalas. Do not get too close as they may become fearful and get aggressive.
- Twelve Apostles – A gorgeous collection of limestone stacks near Port Campbell along the GOR.
- Visit the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne.
Another fascinating feature of Australia is that there are public bathrooms everywhere! Not only that, but they are well-maintained. If you know me, you know this was a huge plus. We’d be out walking and exploring, and I’d say that I needed to find a restroom, and there would almost always be one nearby. In addition, they all had indicators to show whether stalls were vacant or occupied, so we never had to find ourselves awkwardly knocking or creepily peering for feet under the door. Many also contained entertaining picture signs describing what is okay and not okay when using a restroom. Examples below: