Neighbours, Point Break & Round the Twist.
29.10.2006 16 °C
We hadn't originally planned to travel as far south as Melbourne but we had cracked through the East Coast quicker than expected and time was on our side. We opted to stay in St Kilda a few Km's from the city centre - popular with the young, rich and beautiful so we figured why not hang out with our own kind for a week or two...!
I liked Melbourne as city but it's pretty different to Sydney in that there are alot less sights to see. The main part of the city focuses around big shopping centers, trendy bars & expensive restaurants, not ideal when your travelling on a tight budget but we really enjoyed moseying around and looking at stuff we couldn't afford. After a good look round the city and went to the ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image) in Federation Square to watch some funky short films but the majority of our time was spent hanging out in St Kilda. We were staying in a hostel which was a converted old house so it had a really homely feel to it and we shared a dorm with some nice Irish folk so we spent alot of time hanging out with them.
Melbourne is of course home to Neighbours so we thought it would be a right laugh to go on a Neighbours tour.
Would you feel like a wally on this bus?
FACT: Producers came up with the name Erinsborough the factious town Neighbours is set from the acronym Neighbours itself.
We clambered aboard the tour bus to a blaring Neighbours theme tune and cruised out of Melbourne listening to pop songs by old Neighbours cast members - plenty of Kylie, Holly Valance & Jason Donavan etc. When we arrived at Ramsey St (although obviously it is called something else in reality) we were all pretty surprised how small it was, there are literally only 5 houses on the street all of them had people living in them permanently. The guide gave us a brief history of each house so a proper walk down memory lane with the likes of Mrs. Mangle, Doug Willis, Helen Daniels & Bouncer. Then we were free to take our photo's. After Ramsey St we drove to the school they use for Erinsborough High and also past the studio's where they do the majority of the filming. Unfortunately with it being a weekend we weren't able to go and have a look at the sets. It was a good trip out but the real treat came on the drive home when we had to decide which classic Neighbours episode we wanted to watch. The overwhelming majority opted for Scott and Charlene's wedding, it was so cheesy but there still wasn't a dry eye on the bus.
Can't believe I'm on Ramsey St!
The Great Ocean Road
We also took a 2 day trip along the Great Ocean Road one of the worlds most scenic roads along the coastline of south-west Victoria. There are lots of sights to see along the way.
On our first day we visited the Bay of Islands, Bay of Martyrs, London Bridge and then watch the sunset over the 12 Apostles. It was amazing to learn that these sights have been created by the erosion of coastline by a combination of ocean and weather over thousands of years. The sunset really was spectacular, we were really lucky that it had been a clear day. After the sun had gone down there are hundreds of these tiny penguins which come ashore to spend the night on the beach to re-waterproof themselves ready for the following day (there is probably a more technical term for this procedure but they basically have a waterproof oil on their skin which protects from the water and cold conditions. They have to renew this every evening so they do this on the beach) They are only 30cms high so they really are tiny and they like to travel in groups for protection against predators so as they start to come onto the beach they wait until there are 40 or 50 of them and they all leg it up the beach together.
Bay of Islands
Bay of Martyrs
The 12 Apostles at dusk
Sunset at The 12 Apostles
We stayed in a really tiny hostel in the really tiny town of Port Campbell for the night. We had a BBQ for tea and then a group of us ventured out to the local pub. It was a proper locals place so we met some interesting characters including a older guy called Wozza who took abit of a shine to us. He was a really nice guy who said he just loved talking to travellers so we had a good chat. When the pub shut he wanted us all to go back to his caravan to carry on drinking and look at his photo's (of tuna...?) - we've all seen Wolf Creek and the plot seemed all too familiar (strange local guy befriends group of travellers and invites them back to his caravan in what seems like a random act of kindness... a mass murdering session me thinks) We said our goodbyes to Wozza and hit the hay.
For our second day on the Great Ocean Road we went back to the 12 Apostles where myself and Mark decided to take a helicopter ride over the 12 Apostles. It is the only way you can see all 12 Apostles (well there are actually only 11 left - one crumbled down last year) on a line. It was the first time I'd been in a helicopter - it was a pretty cool experience. We got some wicked photo's and were especially impressed that we got to wear Top Gun style headsets so we could communicate with one another during the trip. In the afternoon we visited Bays Beach one of Australia's best surfing beaches and where they filmed Point Break and also the lighthouse where they used to film Round the Twist if you remember that (Have you ever, ever felt like this, when strange things happen are you going round the twist?)
We had one last night in Melbourne but to be honest we were so exhausted from all the excitement of the Great Ocean Road that we just chilled at the hostel with our Irish dorm buddies. The following day we had to be out of the hostel by 10am but our night bus back to Sydney wasn't until 7pm so we had alot of time to kill. We decided to hit the casino in town - why not try and double our travelling budget...! The casino was massive, it had loads of pokies (Aussie for slot machines) which were being propped up by elderly Japanese women who looked like they had been in residency for weeks. They also had poker tables. I managed to resist the $100 poker tables, a decision based largely on the fact that eventually after 5 months of travelling I have only just about mastered Rummy. I thought I may look abit of an amateur playing with the big guys. However, we had a good afternoon wandering round and watching other people win big and lose big - then it was time for the bus.
Our next stop - Sydney (again)