Trip to Australia

Our visit to Mexico had vetted my travel genes. So, when my daughter suggested a visit to Australia during the Lunar New year, we jumped at the chance! This was our first visit to the Southern Hemisphere, and my husband and I were excited!

The online visa process was quite easy.  My daughter had carefully prepared an itinerary to suit our needs. We covered the two main cities, Sydney and Melbourne as well as the country side; Yarra Valley and a farm stay. Our journey included traversing through the great ocean road getting a glimpse of the seaside attractions.

On 10 February, six of us (My daughter’s family, my husband and I) took off from Singapore to Sydney on an 8-hour flight! It was a comfortable journey though it stretched to nearly 8 hours.

 We landed at Sydney in the evening and got a taxi to reach our studio apartment on Bond Street. My first impression of Sydney was pleasant; It had an old-world charm with heritage buildings and tram cars running through the city. The public transport systems were excellent, including the ferry service and the bus/ tram services.


The next day we took a tram to the iconic Sydney Opera House along the bay. The area was teeming with tourists. The harbor bridge on the backdrop gave the complete picture a unique perspective. After that, we walked along George Street for window shopping. There were many tourists who had come to see the harbour. The shops displayed souvenirs. There were many restaurants and eateries.

The next evening, we flew to Melbourne, and picked up a rental a car to take us to the small-town Cold Stream, in Yarra valley. As we moved out of Melbourne, we had a pleasant view of scenic landscape, including vast open lands with vineyards. My daughter planned our stay in a beautiful house, The House in the Vines, which had a vineyard behind it. The next day we visited the nearby town, Healsville. At the Healsville sanctuary, I saw my first ever Koala bear sitting on a tree! We also saw many birds native to Australia and kangaroos running across the road in some places!

Koala Bear

The day had been HOT, and suddenly there was a heavy storm which resulted in a power outage. We could not visit a winery, but managed to take shelter in a Chocolaterie’! There was a foot long chocolate which fascinated the kids. This reminded me of my trip to Cadbury’s chocolate factory at Birmingham, UK, which  was much bigger. Our meal at Healsvilile was sumptuous and tasty.

The next day we drove South nearly 300 Kilometers to arrive at a   farmhouse called The Twelve Apostles Farm stay, in Paaratte, Victoria. What a great experience it was for my grandchildren! They collected eggs, saw several cows and horses, and had open space to play and run around. On our way to the house, we stopped at a restaurant called Farm Fudge which had the most amazing coffee! It reminded me of our own filter coffee of the very strong kind. We also got a variety of delicious chocolate fudge made in-house. In fact thoughout our vacation we had incredible coffee; that too at 5 am. It is what I do in Bangalore.

The next morning, we started our trip along the Great Ocean Road. Circling the Indian ocean the road takes you along to many picturesque spots, starting with  The Twelve Apostles, which are limestone structures eroded by the sea. We had lunch at the southernmost pub in mainland Australia, The Great Ocean Road, Brewhouse, in Appollo Bay. Finally, we drove on to the picturesque, Torquay! We reached Melbourne that night and moved in to an Air BnB on the 38 floor of Melbourne Square!

The next two days were our last in Australia. At Melbourne, we sauntered through the colorful Victoria Market and ended it with lunch at Saravana Bhavan – a South Indian restaurant! What a delight it was to eat my comfort food- Idli, Dosa and Curd rice!

The next day we drove around the Rod Laver Area and the Melbourne Cricket Ground. We could not go inside a there was a Taylor Swift Concert for three days in Melbourne. The authorities had secured the area and no one could go in. Rather sad, as we wanted to see the cricket ground and compare it to our trip to the Lords in London. Next, we visited the Melbourne Botanical Garden. Were taken around on a tour by a native Australian, who explained the different species of trees and shrubs native to Australia as well as their medicinal properties. There were notices displayed which gratefully acknowledged the native Australians contribution.

On both days we had breakfast in highly-rated popular restaurants. After breakfast on 18 February, it was time to head home.As we sat in the aircraft both my husband and I thanked my daughter for such a wonderful and thoughtfully planned trip. Our trip to Australia had been a fulfilling, enriching experience!

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