Seems like a while since my last update. I am now of course in Australia, having spent the last week or so in Melbourne. Heard a lot of good things about the city and it does indeed feel quite relaxed for it’s size but still with plenty going on. For me too my time now will be more relaxed, with no fixed plans and a lot of time ahead of me I no longer feel the need to fit lots into every day of the week. The first thing that was a shock upon arriving was I actually felt cold for the first time! Even had to get my hoody out of the bottom of my backpack as the weather here seems very changeable, going from as low as 16c from one day but up to the 30s just a day or two later. Coming from Thailand and Malaysia the other shock to the system is the cost of everything, as an example a pint in most places is around £6, not that anyone seems to drink pints…always halfs for some reason.
My first proper night here was planned to coincide with Moonsorrow playing, which was an excellent gig to kick off what may well be a long run of decent bands touring whilst I happen to be here.
The next few days were spent exploring the city, walking the parks and gardens as well as the central district and shops. A visit to Melbourne museum was worthwhile with some very interesting exhibitions on the mind and psychology. Of the greener spaces the botanical gardens were a pleasant way to spend walking for a few hours, the cityscape providing a contrasting backdrop. Nearby was also the Shrine of Remembrance, an impressive memorial to all Australians who have fought around the world.
After meeting an old friend who now lives and works here for a very pleasant couple of pints I did continue the night out, making my way to AC/DC Lane and the only bar there to find myself watching a fairly decent Led Zeppelin cover band as well as some real Aussie rock.
For a day trip out of the city I decided to travel down to Phillip Island to see the “penguin parade” – the last remaining colony on the island of what are commonly called “Little Penguins”. Every evening around sunset hundreds of them return from feeding in the sea and flock together before all waddling up the beach to return to their burrows. As an animal lover it was a great experience, it’s always great to see animals in their natural environment and from the boardwalks you could walk around and see many of them quite close up. The only downside was no photography allowed, so unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of my own of it. Did see some Wallabies around the rocky coastline nearby though.
I then moved to a different hostel in the St Kilda suburb, but still in Melbourne. This was mostly so I could be nearby to Sonic Forge, a one day metal festival of (mostly) local and national bands. The music scene here seems very much alive and well, I witnessed some great younger local bands as well as some of the countries finest that will hopefully find there way over to Europe more in the future. Besides the bands the turnout was equally impressive, it will be interesting to see how Sydney and elsewhere compares as I have heard many people saying Melbourne has the best metal scene.
Otherwise St Kilda is very much all about the beach and bars, quite busy and not particularly my kind of people so happy to be moving on tomorrow. I have booked a car rental for 24 hours so I can drive the great ocean road, stay somewhere for the night and the continue the drive up to Adelaide in the morning. Really looking forward to what should be some of the country’s most spectacular coastal scenery.