Melbourne

We fell in love with this place, can’t recommend it enough.  

Getting from the airport is really easy; just one bus called the skybus which is $38 return and takes you to southern cross station which a has links to everywhere. That night we went to stay with our friend Emma in docklands, we were so excited as we hadn’t seen her since the summer when she left the UK. This was in the free tram area from southern cross so easy journey, although the tram took a while to arrive. 

Here we will mention some of the things we did in Melbourne :). There’s so much to do I’m sure you will find way more than what’s in our list but have a look! 

Firstly, getting around; We would advise walking or using the public bikes (work the same as the boris bikes). These are the cheapest, easiest and most fun ways to get around. If you are unable to walk/bike, get Ubers, they’re really not too expensive. For eg it cost us $10 from docklands to Fitzroy. The free tram in the CBD is really good but other than that we found the trams a bit of a pain, they’re pretty slow and not too reliable. Also the myki cards are $6 and non-refundable.  

Day 1 

On our first day we rented the bikes from docklands and cycled to St kilda beach. Such a fun cycle ūüôā it took us about 45mins. We then spent the day on the beach at a bar and had pimms and a pizza…pricey but tasted good! It was $30 for a jug and $20 for the pizza. There were loads of kite surfers but no-one swimming. We found out later that you can’t swim after there’s been a lot of rainfall (which there had been) so the water was dirty. 

That night we went to Fitzroy where we were staying with Nick and George in their flat for the week. Thank you so much for having us:). We had the best week and it was so great to see you both, we loved our family dinners! 

Day 2 

NYE! This is pretty exciting for us spending New Years on the other side of the world, seeing 2017 12 hours before all our family and friends back home. We had such a good night; going to Ems flat with her good friend Naomi and having drinks and the best cheese/ meze spread! We then got a taxi to South Yarra river and watched the fireworks from there, great fireworks Melbourne but no countdown or music! After the 10min display we went to the casino for some more drinks. 

Day 3/4

On New Year’s Day, feeling slightly ropey, we headed out on our Great Oceam Road trip: see the separate post for info. 

Day 5/6 

As most people probably know if you’ve heard anything about Melbourne, it’s well know for its bars, cafes and restaurants. During these couple of days we sampled just a few. Below is a pic of a coffee and croissant we had in Milk Jamm on Smith st. The coffee was great but the croissant (Nutella) was sour…watch out! 

Other places we went were Shoubu, well just me and George because Danielle was sick so had to stay home :(. This was a lovely little Japanese place also on Smith St. And George very kindly treated me to some great udon noodles!  Thank you ūüôā

One afternoon we met up with Lou who showed us Naked for Satan which is a really fun rooftop bar with great views of the city. Extremely popular hence the crazy prices, but it’s worth one drink. We shared a cocktail jug which was $48,,better than the $56 for the house bottle of white! 

After this we went to Marquis of Lorne which is a locals pub (also has a rooftop) and not too bad on the prices. I offers half price ‘tinnies’ from 1800-2000 everyday and On Tuesday’s they do a $16 steak and chips but apparently gets really busy so get there early. I’m sure there are more promotions we don’t know about so check it out. 

We met up with Fi at the pub and then went for a wander around, being shown nice little bars and restaurants. One with a whispering gallery on Brunswick Street, and a crazy ice cream parlour where they make the ice cream to order (strange combinations so we opted out). We went for dinner at a nice Vietnamese place ‘Pho La Que Basil leaf’. The portions were huge! After dinner had pudding (ice cream) in the Italian area, Lygon Street, a short walk away from Fitzroy…it’s a nice area to walk around, full of Italian stuff if you can imagine that in an Italian area!

Next day we met up with Lou near where she lives in… about an hour walk from Fitzroy. It was good to go up this way as there’s a bit of a hill to climb you can get a really great view of the city. We went to a pub for lunch, not the one Lou wanted to take us to but that was closed. Note*if you’re ever in Melbourne for Christmas/New years time, loads of stuff takes a long hol and closes so look into it if you’re excited about a specific place. 

After dropping Lou off at work we went to go meet up with Ems. Every Wednesday during the summer there’s a night market at Queen Victoria so we decided to go there. We mainly ate and drank, there were loads of yummy food stools and sangria bars. The market is pretty cool and as well as tonnes of food/ drink to chose from there’s also clothes/ stuff and live music. Really nice atmosphere:) (super busy). 

Day 7 

Wombat state forest road trip! Check out the other post where we’ve written more. 

Day 8 

Sad times as this meant saying goodbye to everyone. We had such a good time here and cant wait to come back again :).

Before we left we had one last Melbourne special; George took us to a great little cafe where we all had an ice cream coffee from a trailer. Defs recommend this place, very cute. 

We want to say thanks so much to Nick and George for having us, Lou, Fi and Ems for showing us around town and Anne and Tony for showing us the forest. It was the best week! Xxx

Now onto Sydney…

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Los Angeles (Day 12-13/207)

We spent most of the morning navigating our way across LA to get to the hostel on Hollywood Blvd. The hostel was decent, named ‘walk of fame’ because of its location. Imagine being right in Leicester Square. ¬†Very central but not a particularly scenic part of town! It was good for getting to bars etc.

 

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In the afternoon we got a bus to Santa Monica, this seemed to take forever at there was so much traffic. Probably recommend an uber, walking or leaving early enough so you get the whole day to make it worth it. The beach is very cool though And there’s loads going on. A couple hours definitely wasn’t enough. Go to the pier and have a walk around too :).

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That night we headed out to a couple of bars, hamburger marys and a cowboy bar. At the end of the night we couldn’t resist getting an ihop at 2am :). Met some great people tonight,.. such a good vibe, wish we’d had longer to explore a bit more.

 

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The next morning we just had enough time to go on the hostels free hike to the Hollywood sign. This is another must do while your there, a really nice hike with some great views and then a classic pic for the souvenir.

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Merica flag

That afternoon we headed to the airport for our flight to fiji, so excited!  

New Zealand: landing in Auckland 

‚ÄčWe got an uber from the airport to our Airbnb in Ponsonby. ¬†It seemed to be the easiest way to do it as our flight arrived pretty late.

We had a great airbnb, a short walk from Ponsonby high street which was a lovely little place with lots of bars and restaurants. Our place was about a 40 mins walk from Auckland.

Day 1

On our first day we spent most of it trying to plan the rest of our trip.

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TIP

Be a little bit more organised than us : all campervans were either sold out or too expensive, so that was our original plan scrapped.  It was the same story with cars.

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So that left us with two choices; bus tour or hitchhiking.

Neither of us had ever hitchhiked and we had limited time so the bus tour was the final decision.

We then went out for a drink and bite to eat,  this was when it hit us how expensive new zealand was going to be! We spent $13 on a pretty average burrito from a fast food stall.

Day 2 morning

We left the house pretty early to get to the ferry port to take the ferry to devenport to see one of Danielles good friends and her daughter.

Devenport is a beautiful little seaside town with some nice beaches. We had a lovely walk along the promenade and went for breakfast at the navy museum.  *

* Tip

Awesome breakfast ! Best french toast.

We then had a great walk up mount Victoria which has some great views over auckland.  Would definitely recommend the trip across to devenport.

 

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Day 2 afternoon

Travel agent ‘Base’ was our next destination.

After lots Of deliberations, we decided to book the ‘Moe’ pass with the Stray bus.

Very kindly Danielles friend was lending us their car for a few days so we could do the bay and the cape and then come back to Auckland to start with the Stray bus.

So the next chapter begins!

Read on if you want to know our version of travelling NZ ūüôā

Pacific Coastal Highway (Day 9-12/207)

Picked up our relocation campervan. .. OMG. Instead of a 5 berth it was a 9 and 30 ft long! Luckily Danielle has truckers genes and was able to get us on the road :).

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Our first stop for the night was a lovely little place called Carmel and we parked the RV in a lay by next to the road on one side and the beach (Carmel by the river) on the other. We’re not too ¬†sure we’d recommend this as a place to sleep as the road was so noisy and every time a car went past at speed it felt like we might topple over. However! ¬†It’s a great spot for a rest stop and for a stroll on the beach :).

Next morning we carried on south on the PCH taking in more of the beautiful scenery. The roads really started to wind and we spent a lot of the time on what felt the the edge of a cliff.  A really stunning drive!

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We stopped on the way at a beach where we could see elephant seals, this is a must!

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There are clear sign posts so you won’t miss it. The beach/lookout point where you see them from also has free wifi- a nice little bonus. It was logging into this wifi ¬†where we found out Trump won the election…a surreal moment. Getting back on the road we also saw a couple of fields of zebras… ¬†Not quite sure how they got to California!

That night we stayed in an RV park called pismo sands. We were really struggling to find somewhere to pull in to stay and were losing light so this was the best option at the time.  It was pretty resonable at $50 dollars for the night;  full hook up, wifi and acces to the pool and Jacuzzi.  We had a lovely time enjoying the jacuzzi and watching the stars.

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Next morning we carried on heading towards LA. There seemed to be a few stops along the way for RVs to park uo for the night but most you had to pay for and all full anyway. Luckily we found one with some free spaces just south of malibu which was right on the beach, people were swimming and bbq ing,  there was a really nice atmosphere. Also we were exempt from the $30 fee as we were leaving so early in the morning and arrived quite late that night (talk to the person on reception nicely and see what they can do for you). Waking up to crashing waves and a rising sun, we set off for our final drive into south LA to hand the RV back.

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You don’t get much for your $30 as there arn’t any hook ups or facilities…we had an extremely eventful journey attempting to empty the tanks before returning the RV, I won’t tell you too much we’ll have the US authorities after us!

 

 

 

San Francisco (Day 7-8/207)

We were in need of a shower by the time we reached san fran so looked up public pools in the area and found a great one called ‘sava’. A good recommendation for a nice swim and shower! Just make sure you check the opening times as they change most days.

After our little swim we drove over to a free campsite we had looked up at Marin Headlands (across the bridge from the city. This was a really cool drive over the bridge with some iconic views even if there was a fair bit of traffic.

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Sadly when we got to the campsite we were told it was tents only so ended up staying at the Marin headlands hostel instead. The drive over to the other side of the city was definitely not in vain, right next to campsite is a great viewpoint of the bridge where you can take some cool photos.

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There is also a nice drive to the beach where we had a good walk. If you dont have a car when visiting san fran you can either come over this side easily on bike or take a ferrry. (There are probably buses too but we didn’t see these) .

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The hostel was lovely with really comfy beds and provided food to make pancakes for breakfast. Really nice after a couple days sleeping in the car. That night we made a short drive to sausolito where we had take away fish and chips and sat by the ferry port so we could look out at the bridge.  This was lovely and much cheaper than any of the restaurants.

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In the morning we returned the car and checked into our hostel: international city. We then had the whole day to explore. Main places on the agenda; fisherman’s wharf – try the crab chowder from any of the take out huts, watch out for the seagulls stealing your food! We found a cool little taxi boat ride from pier 39 which was $15 each much cheaper than the big tours, it took us close up to the seals, the houseboat and out into the bay to get views of the bridge and alcatraz.

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Then we journeyed to the Mrs doubtfire house. Outside on the paving stones and tree were tributes to Robin Williams.

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That night we went to a local dive bar we’d read about called the tempest. ¬†It was a popular place with good drinks deals and lots of pool being played. ¬†Lots of the guys seemed to be taking this very seriously. ¬†They also let you bring outside good into the bar so they obviously have a good deal with the food place next door as everyone goes there and brings food back. We had a really fun night and met a few nice locals who played pool with us. If you do go here just be aware. It didn’t seem like the nicest of neighbourhoods (needles on the street down to the bar) but we didnt have any trouble and im sure it’s fine if you keep to yourself and it was $5 for a beer and a double shot of jim beam!

Next day we got the bart train (pretty easy) to dublin where we were picking up the RV for the road trip down to LA.

*side note about the hostel, fine for a very short time (one night stay) but we’d go somewhere else for longer. Not very sociable to meet anyone and it’s used as the local homeless sanctuary…which we recognise as a worthy cause. However makes for a slightly interesting standard of cleanliness and staff helpfulness… definitely not recommended for solo travellers!¬†

Death Valley and Yosemite road trip (Day 5-6/207)

From vegas we picked up a hire car to start our journey through Death valley and yosemite to get to San Francisco. This was a proper american road trip; blue skys and long roads with no-one else for miles. This was truly an amazing drive though the desert.

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Our first night we slept in the back of the car in a free campsite called ‘wildrose’ which is in death Valley. ¬†This was a great free spot with toilets and there were a fair few other campers so it felt very safe. We were parked next to a nice guy called Alan who was taking pics of the moon and stars with a big zoom camera. It got really cold at night, ¬†be prepared if you’re going in winter.*

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*Tip

Before commencing on this road trip make sure you’re really prepared and know your route well. We came across lots of road closures and had to keep changing plans! If your doing it in summer be careful as the temperatures reach so high a lot of car rentals don’t cover you and rescue trucks just won’t come out to you. Take plenty of fuel/water/food and spare if on a bike. There is not much around!

A few miles before wildrose there was one garage and saloon bar where we stopped for food,  be warned the chicken burger came out cold and completely raw!  And they still charged it to the bill.

The next morning we woke early to start the drive to Yosemite. As mentioned we hit a few road closures due to icy weather. The main pass through the park was closed so we had to use the Sonora pass which is a bit further north, adding on a good few hours to the trip. We ¬†then researched campsites to stay at but when we arrived it was closed for tree chopping. We had to park the car (sleeping in the car again) next to Heidi ‘ s (abandoned) ski shop. ¬†*

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*Tip

We definitely would not recommend this, we probably could have been moved on and it was pretty scary. It looked like a scene from an American horror movie. Plan your journey well! It’s not all bad though, the drive is so beautiful and there are some nice spots along the way. One of them we’d recommend is pinecrest lake where you can have a good walk or swim if you like the cold water :).

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The next morning we quickly started our journey to San Francisco. Carry on to the next page!