Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Eight Days in Melbourne, Adelaide and the Great Ocean Road!

Greetings from the land down under! Well, not quite -- we're already unfortunately back to the daily grind back home, looking forward to our next holiday!

Ahem. Anyway we spent a (relatively) short eight days in the Australian South East, landing in Melbourne and then slowly making our way up to Adelaide via the Great Ocean Road. Without further ado, do check out our video highlights reel below!

So on to a quick breakdown of things we did, places we visited and things we ate!

Day 0: Overnight flight from Singapore to Melbourne.
- Parents: Singapore Airlines First Class (80,000 KrisFlyer miles + s$56.60/person).
- The rest: Singapore Airlines Economy Class (s$811.20/person).

Thoughts: Singapore Airlines First Class is as awesome as ever, with superb dining options and extravagant service. Economy class is, well, economy class. And the darling's recline button was broken both ways, which sucked quite a bit.

Singapore Airlines First Class Lounge Food Changi

Day 1: A victorian suite, pho, and the world's best pizza.
- Car: Apex Car Rentals, s$85/day for a mid-size SUV, aud500 insurance excess.
- Hotel: The Hotel Windsor, s$554/day for the Victorian Suite
- Lunch: Pho Dzung City Noodle Shop.
- Afternoon: Ran some errands (moneychanger), did some shopping at target, and explored the city a bit before resting in the hotel.
- Dinner: Explored the Crown Entertainment complex and had the "world's best pizza" at Gradi.

Thoughts: The Windsor has a great location and the suite is huge, but the hotel is quite a bit overdue for an overhaul. Gradi was expensive and a little disappointing; but I understand from Melbourne natives that I should have visited the Brunswick branch instead.

Melbourne Parliament House at Night

Day 2: A market, a garden and an art gallery.
- Morning: Coffee and Bratwurst at the Queen Victoria Markets. Followed by oysters and shopping. And calamari, fish, and chips at Funk Fish.
- Afternoon: We started off touring the Royal Botanical Gardens before a bout of rain sent us scurrying to the free exhibits in the nearby National Gallery of Victoria.
- Dinner: Explored the South Bank and settled in for lamb shanks, paella and pork cheeks at The Bohemian.

Thoughts: It's awesome that the entire CBD has free-of-charge tram transport (and not only just for tourists). More cities should do this.

The Bohemian South Bank Melbourne

Day 3: Great Ocean Road, Day 1
- Morning: Checked out of the hotel, visited a long lost friend, and found out that shaved fresh black winter truffle over steak tastes awesome.
- Afternoon: Great Ocean Road Day 1, unfortunately having the time to make only one stop at Bell's Beach, home of the world's longest continually running surf competition.
- Evening: Checked into the semi-AirBnB/semi-hotel Seafarer's Getaway. s$311/night nets you a comfortable beach-view villa which comfortably sleeps 5 adults. Dinner was a forgettable fish & chips shop in the nearby Apollo Bay.

Thoughts: I didn't know until this trip that Australia (particularly the south-western corners) is a pretty solid Truffle Producer. Had always thought that truffles only come from France and other European countries.

Seafarer's Getaway, Apollo Bay

Day 4: Great Ocean Road, Part Deux
- Morning: Bacon and eggs (self-catered) in the villa, followed by a detour to the Cape Otway Lightstation.
- Afternoon: The 12 Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, The London Arch and The Grotto. Self-catered ham sandwiches in the car.
- Evening: Drove to our accommodation for the night: Rosa's Apartment in Mt. Gambier, which must be the best value (s$200) AirBnB that we've ever stayed in.
- Dinner: Some forgettable indian restaurant in the town.

Thoughts: It's pretty surprising that despite having an entire day on the road, we didn't really get to stop at that many places. Probably because we had to spend quite a bit of time on the road ...

The Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road

Day 5: Great Ocean Road --> Adelaide
- Morning: Bacon and eggs (self-catered, again) in the apartment, followed by a visit to the Blue Lake and Umpherston Sinkhole.
- Afternoon: Finished off the additional ~5 hour drive to Adelaide, stopping halfway to have sandwiches (meh) and coffee (awesome) at the Henry and Rose in Keith.
- Evening: AirBnB/Stayz - Neo Apartment in the City, which is roomy, has a kick-ass location (right next to the Adelaide Markets) but is perhaps getting a tad bit run down. s$266/night.
- Dinner: Shopping at the Rundle Mall, followed by forgettable kebabs somewhere nearby.

Thoughts: 3d/2n to do the drive from Melbourne to Adelaide is a bit rushed. With around ~5hours of driving a day (most of it in daylight), we really didn't have the time to stop at all the places we wanted to stop at, or to really explore. If we were to do it again we'd do at least 4d/3n, and maybe even 5d/4n.

Pig statues at Rundle Mall, Adelaide

Day 6: Got on a plane, waited around a bit and jumped off at 12,000 feet
- All Day: Skydiving with SA Skydiving at Langhorne Creek.
- Dinner: Self-catered with steak, chicken wings, bread and vegetables bought from the Adelaide Market.

Thoughts: Skydiving is the bomb! Definitely should be on anyone's bucket list (unless you've got a deathly fear of heights). Not exactly a cheap hobby, though: aud409 for a 12,000ft tandem jump (including transport to-and-from Adelaide and a lunch of sausages and bread).

Skydiving at Langhorne Creek

Day 7: Did some cosplay, went up a stage, and got a piece of paper from an old man.
- Breakfast: Group breakfast at Luigi Delicatessen, which serves up an awesome breakfast platter. And great coffee, of course.
- Morning: Graduation from the University of Adelaide.
- Lunch: Porchetta, Ribs and Pasta at Borsa Pasta Cucina.
- Evening: Adelaide Markets (again) followed by more self-catered steak and vegetables.

Thoughts: It really did feel that there were more foreign students graduating than local ones ...

Graduation University of Adelaide

Day 8: Two-dollar ketchup, a garden and a museum.
- Breakfast: Dim Sum at the Star House Chinese Restaurant. "OK" food, two dollars for ketchup.
- The rest of the day: A short detour to the Botanical gardens, followed by the Art Gallery of South Australia and the South Australian Museum. We then returned the car at the Adelaide Airport and took a s$100 Virgin Australia flight to Melbourne.
- Melbourne: Dinner at P.J.O'Brien's (awesome Irish Stew) and a short overnight at Cilom's Airport Lodge (s$159) before heading back to Singapore / KL.

Thoughts: The last day of a holiday is the crappiest one, especially once you start checking out of hotels and returning rental cars.

Adelaide Botanic Gardens

If you've made it this far, thanks for sticking around, and do let us know in the comments if you've got any questions!


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