Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road

I was about to write an article that would probably have banned me from travel blogs forever, or maybe there would have been the first comments of this blog, but hate comments. I was about to write an article saying that *gasp* I don't like Melbourne.

Yes, it's true, I don't see what the fuss is all about in Melbourne. And what's with the "The place to be" on car plates? Seriously, it's way too hipster for me, and in my humble opinion, street art should be spontaneous, not commissioned.
My image of Melbourne: a city burning with hipsters and street art...

I mean, while Sydney seduced me right away, with Melbourne, I really had to try to see the best of it, and even then, I feel like I missed a clue or something. But it's true that the architecture is audacious, and, as I was in town during the food and wine festival, Melbourne got my attention through my two weaknesses: food and music. Whether it's Chinatown or the wharves, or the World Food Market on Sunday at the Queen Victoria Market, whether it's russian tastings or italian mozzarella, the streets were immersed in amazing food scents and music, and that in itself allowed me to enjoyed myself. Complete it with a stroll in Batman park or ACDC Lane, and it had me. And it's funny to see how beyond Queen Victoria Market, away from the CBD, the city transforms into an entirely different - and way calmer - environment. Fitzroy and Carlton, for instance, just vibrate on a completely different note.

Now, about the Great Ocean Road... Well, one thing is for sure: it's not great. It's grand, it's spectacular, and it's quite long. At first, from Memorial Arch to Apollo's Bay, it's beautiful, but not uncommon: secluded beaches surrounded by rocks and cliffs, it's breathtaking wherever you are. But then you arrive at the Port Campbell National Park, and then it becomes epic. I mean, the Twelve Apostles (even though there's only 8 of them standing), despite seeing the pictures of them with every possible angle, seeing it for real is purely magnificent, all the more if you take a helicopter flight.
the most expensive seven minutes of my life, but totally worth it
The tour to the Great Ocean Road was with Wildlife Adventures, but it was reassuring to see that apart from the lunch at Apollo's Bay, all the other tours were doing the exact same things. I'm pretty sure the other buses didn't have a driver like Barry, though, the proud author of the following joke (and so much more of the same kind): "We don't shoo the flies here, we let them walk barefoot"
Anyway, even though there were some grey clouds in the morning, they were pushed away by the strong wind and the weather was splendid. We even managed to go back to Melbourne right when the Raptors were doing their show in the Avalon Airport Airshow, which was a great bonus to end this beautiful day.

And then there was Phillip Island. The main event there is the penguin parade, which was great but a bit disappointing in that we couldn't even film, even without flash. But the rest of the island is nice as well, Woolamai beach is gorgeous, and the coastline being volcanic, that make for great pictures. And during the day, you can still spot some little penguins sheltering themselves from the sun. As for the parade itself, it was really cute. It was weird to see the seagulls that an hour before would beg you for a piece of bread, behaving like the predators they are, waiting for their preys, the penguins, to come out. Fortunately, we didn't see any seagull gulping those cute ferry penguins, and even though it is the scariest moment of their day, you can't help laughing as they run as one on the beach to join their burrows.

Well, now, I'm heading for Asia for 3 intense weeks before coming back to Australia, but I don't think I will come back to Victoria, I saw what I really wanted to see, and I'm plainly satisfied.

What did YOU think of Victoria? Did I miss anything worth seeing?

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