Road Trip Through New South Wales: My Blind Date Story

It’s 8:30am on a Friday morning and I’ve just touched down at Sydney airport. I’ve already been up and about for four hours and I’m exhausted. In a matter of moments I’m about to be picked up in a van by some random dude named Matt, to drive five hours through Central New South Wales to the small country town of Forbes. I don’t know anything about this guy except the fact that he won a sweet competition with Destination NSW to cruise around and visit the best New South Wales tourist attractions on offer. I’ve been invited to join him for the weekend, and in many ways it feels like I’ve been set up on a blind date.



I check myself out in the reflection of the bus shelter once more to make sure I’m looking presentable. Did I pack enough clothes? The right clothes? How’s my breath?

The Mighty camper van pulls up on the side of the road and the door swings open wide. A barefoot, tanned and tattooed guy looks at me behind some shades and says g’day. Matt looks like a guy who has just rolled out of bed, and, considering he’s been living in the back of this awesome van for the last few weeks, he probably has.



I jump in the van, shake his hand, and so the journey begins. We start by navigating the city streets of Sydney as we chat about all things life and travel. By the time we’re on the open road towards the Blue Mountains we’re already sharing similar world views and I can tell we’re going to get along great over the weekend. We talk about vegetarianism, Western consumerism and cheap beer in South East Asia. We’re a compatible match! Lucky really, because quite like a blind date in real life, this could have been a seriously awkward weekend if we didn’t connect.


New South Wales Tourism At It’s Best

On the itinerary this weekend is a trip to the newly established Vanfest music festival in Forbes, where Matt and I will be covering the event and checking out some of the other locations on our NSW road trip. On route to Forbes we’re passing many famous locations along the way: the iconic Blue Mountains, the legendary racing track Mount Panorama in Bathurst and the historic Parkes radio telescope that played a pivotal role in the 1969 moon landing.



Each NSW tourist destination on our trip is a true testament to the beauty of regional Australia. As a world traveler I don’t often get the opportunity to explore my own backyard, so trips like this are the perfect chance to experience all the wonders that Australia can offer both locals and tourists alike. If you’re headed out this way, here’s a list of things to see in NSW.


Things to Do in Forbes

Historically known for being an old mining town, Forbes has struck another little gem with the newly established Vanfest music festival occurring towards the end of the year. First launched in 2014, Vanfest has already grown into a premium event on the music festival calendar with its ability to secure incredible bands like John Butler Trio, Birds of Tokyo and Rudimental after only two years of operation. As the venue organizers continue to roll in world class acts and make improvements to the festival, Vanfest is steadily shaping up as one event you do not want to miss in the future!



Vanfest is a festival just begging to be included on a road trip through Central West NSW, as you can camp at the venue and really take in the whole community atmosphere of shared camping, portable showers and limited electricity. Pitch a tent in the dusty plains, leave the white shirts at home and get ready for a wild couple of days!



Thankfully we were blessed with perfect festival weather over the weekend, which is typical for December in Australia. The sun was shining, the cold beers were flowing and the music was pumping. And unlike many big festivals that spread out acts over multiple stages, Vanfest rocks one main stage so you never have to choose between who you want to see. The set up is in a primo spot for a festival with wide open spaces inside the main gates and plenty of camping areas outside.



Things to Do in Parkes

Elvis fans and space nerds unite! For a small country town, Parkes sure knows how to cram in a lot of unique things to see. The town of Parkes was made famous after the construction of the Parkes Observatory, most commonly known as The Dish, and the role it played in televising live pictures from the 1969 Apollo 11 landing on the moon. The reputation of this giant satellite dish was further popularized by the classic Australian movie The Dish, which highlights the story of the moon landing and the role the dish played. It’s a colossal sight and the pictures do it no justice until you’re actually standing beside it and witnessing just how impressive this piece of machinery is.



If you’re more of a party goer, with a soft spot for The King, then be sure to get to Parkes in the second week of January for the annual Parkes Elvis Festival. Started back in 1993, this festival has evolved into a five day event that attracts more than 20,000 visitor from all around the world. There are Elvis lookalike and sound-alike competitions, as well as tribute bands and an opportunity to renew your vows. Crack out the flare jumpsuit, whip that hair into shape and sharpen up those vocals for some hip thrusting, leg wobbling fun.



Things to Do in Bathurst

No trip through Central New South Wales is complete without a quick lap around the famous Mount Panorama in Bathurst. This racing track is known around the world for its exhilarating circuit of twists, turns and death defying corners. It’s a place where legends are born and history is made within Australia racing. When the track isn’t in use for races it’s open to the public for a leisurely cruise, but be careful about pushing your pedal to the metal, police patrol the area watching for any racing car wannabes.



Driving in NSW

Aside from visiting many other top destinations in NSW, such as Orange and the Blue Mountains, the drive through NSW is an experience in itself. Regional New South Wales has some seriously picturesque landscapes, which range from flat, dry plains to lush rigid mountain ranges. Panoramic views of the countryside are everywhere you look, so be sure to stop ever now and then to take in the sights. The easiest way to make sure you don’t miss anything is to rent a car in Sydney for a few days, which will give you the luxury of stopping whenever you feel like it.


For more recommendations about tourism attractions in New South Wales check out Destination NSW for all the information you’ll need to start your Aussie road trip today.


This trip was made possible by the following sponsors.

Eating Our Weight in Local Produce: The Victorian Gourmet Trail


If you’re like me and you get just as excited about finding the perfect spot for lunch as you do seeing, say, the Twelve Apostles, then I have just the road trip for you! On the second day of our Great Ocean Road adventure, Jules and I needed to head back inland for a platypus tour (most unique X-mas gift ever from Jules’ mom)! Originally we weren’t sure if there would be many sites inland, as the Great Ocean Road is really mostly about the ocean, go figure. Luckily we did a little investigating and learned about this equally amazing and insanely delicious road trip called The Victorian Gourmet Trail. My stomach is rumbling just thinking about it.

The Victorian Gourmet Trail is a series of local food and beverage makers just inland from the Great Ocean Road. Among the wide selections are producers of cheese, berries, ice-cream, chocolate, wine and whiskey. So pretty much everything delicious in this world.



Cheese World

Our first stop was Cheese World. Yes, a whole WORLD of cheese. I’ll wait while you let that image settle into your mind…. Cheese World was everything we’d hoped it would be and more. Besides having the biggest selection of diary products I’ve ever seen, there’s a small restaurant and a kitschy cheese museum out the back.

We participated in a free cheese tasting (they had me at “free cheese”) and had some of the yummiest little blocks of deliciousness that could ever fit on the end of a toothpick. Two of their cheeses had just won prestigious awards including best Australian for their matured cheddar and an international award for their extra tasty cheddar.

After sampling everything they had on offer (twice) we settled on a block of the matured cheddar to take home and a smaller block of garlic and pepper cheddar to eat then. We hopped back in the car, keeping our eyes out for a nice spot to set up a picnic. Our stomachs got the best of us, though, and we ended up just pulling to the side of the road to devour the entire cheese block with a fresh baguette and cherry tomatoes. Yum.



The Mousetrap Cafe

Our next stop was The Mousetrap Café, which is an adorable shop that sells local dairy, as well as wine and beer. We did another cheese tasting, this time with French cheeses including a triple (!) cream cheese and a beautiful Brie. The selection was mouthwatering and the tasting was very informative, but we were a bit cheesed out at this point and were craving milkshakes! Jules had his heart set on a Schulz milkshake, but they only had Schulz milk available. By this point I was pretty over everything cow-related, but Jules was determined to have his Schulz fix. We ended up buying a whole liter of low-fat milk and drank the entire liter while sitting in their gorgeous garden. It was actually super delicious.



Berry World

At this point we were ready to move on from all the dairy products, so we were stoked to find out our next stop on the Victorian Gourmet Trail was Berry World. Berry World is like Cheese World’s healthier, hippy little sister. With little more than a field of berries and an office in a shed, this place is what the Victorian Gourmet Trail is all about – independent local producers making delicious, wholesome food. It’s “pick your own berries,” so we bought a small plastic container (available for purchase there for about 60 cents) and started picking. Their main selection is strawberries and they are as fresh and sweet as you’d imagine. Pro tip: The super red small ones are the sweetest!

They also have a section of boysenberries, loganberries and silvenberries. These are hit and miss and while we were there the ripe berries were slim pickings. We had a few face-puckering moments before we learned our lesson to only pick the dark, juicy ones. After some time we wandered off a bit further and were stoked to find bushes and bushes of ripe loganberries. We nibbled and picked until our case was almost full. One of the workers came over and pointed out how great this section was because no one ever comes back here. She said it’s usually closed to the public because there’s a poisonous berry that grows in that area as well, so just be careful of the ones that look like blueberries. Needless to say we finished off our container with strawberries.




After wrapping up at Berry World and listening to Jules make terrible berry puns to the woman behind the counter (“thank you berry much!”), we were back on the road. Since we’d spent our previous day on the gorgeous coast, I told Jules I wasn’t expecting much from the landscape inland. But I definitely ate my words (among many other things that day). The scenery was gorgeous. From flat golden farmland to narrow dirt roads almost completely enclosed in Eucalyptus trees, it was breathtaking. After the crowds on the Great Ocean Road, it was a refreshing change to have the backstreets to ourselves. One of my favorite parts about the Victorian Gourmet Trail was passing by all of the independent family farms, each with a sign out the front displaying which dairy company they produce for, so we knew exactly where our milk and cheese was coming from. As we passed we gave all the cows a big “mooo” in appreciation.



Timboon Railway Shed Distillery

As our afternoon of delicious was coming to an end we debated between calling it quits or pushing through to one more stop. We decided to finish our day at the Timboon Railway Shed Distillery with the one thing we’d been missing – milkshakes! Timboon Ice-Cream is a local company that makes fresh ice cream and it can be purchased at the Railway Shed, which also doubles as a distillery for single malt whiskey. We had a long drive ahead of us so we didn’t sample the alcohol, but we did split one of the best milkshakes I’ve had to date. The distillery is an old building and its walls were lined with black and white photos of generations of previous farmers and beverage makers. Thanks to them we were leaving with our bellies very, very full!


Side note: We didn’t have time to make all of the yummy stops on the Victorian Gourmet Trail. Next time we’ll have to check these out:

Apostle Whey Cheese – more free cheese tasting!

G.O.R.G.E. Chocolate – chocolate made fresh on site and free samples available. We did take some home from the Timboon Railway Shed Distillery! Yum!

Newtons Ridge Estate – wine tasting!


If you took a trip along the Victorian Gourmet Trail what would be your priority? Where would you stop first?


A Great Ocean Road Backpackers Guide: Lorne to Port Fairy

If you’re heading down to Melbourne on your travels around Australia, the Great Ocean Road is inevitably on your itinerary, and rightly so. This gorgeous coastal drive is quintessential Australia. During our two-day trip, we swam in beautiful beaches, got up close to native wildlife and ate our own weight in delicious local produce. We enjoyed our trip so much we couldn’t squeeze it all in one post. So here’s a Great Ocean Road Backpacking Guide Part Two: Lorne to Port Fairy! If you missed Part 1: Melbourne to Lorne you can check it out here.

Apollo Bay

Another town like Lorne, Apollo Bay is a good place to stop by for lunch or a snack. And just like Lorne is has an array of souvenir shops, nice beaches and waterfall hikes. To be honest I’ve never really spent much time in Apollo Bay, as I’ve always just opted to pass right through after stopping previously in Lorne. I mean it looks great, and I’m sure it’s really nice, but by this stage all you really want to do is hit the other spots before the bus loads of tourists roll up.

Great Otway National Park

After Apollo Bay you’ll need to cut inland to bypass Cape Otway. Follow the windy road that splits the trees and be sure to take a detour into the National Park via Otway Lighthouse Rd. As you make your way through the park don’t forget to look up. This area is famous for koalas just leisurely chilling in the trees that border the road. Check for other cars pulled up by the side of the road that have spotted them, or keep your eyes peeled.

At the end of the road you’ll hit the Cape Otway Lightstation, which is Australia’s oldest operating mainland lighthouse. It’s been trying to steer ships clear since 1848, and while its done a top job, there are also many unfortunte stories of loss along south-west Victoria’s treacherous shipwreck coast. Experience the full ordeal by taking a tour of the lighthouse and surrounding areas to learn about the history.


 “We were unlickly greeted by a huge Tiger snake, one of Australia’s most deadly!”

The Rocks

Ah yes, the rocks! What everyone came down to see. Don’t be mistaken by thinking that the 12 Apostles are the only delight along the way. Before you get to the main attraction be sure to stop at Gibson Steps, just outside of Princetown. These steps are believed to have been first carved into the cliff face by the original Kirrae Whurrong inhabitants, and since that time were maintained by the early settler Hugh Gibson who would use the access route. After descending down the path, you’ll find yourself on the foot of a wide, serene beach. Many people skip this stop, eager to get to the 12 Apostles, but it’s definitely worth your time. We had the beach almost entirely to ourselves and enjoyed the peaceful calm of the landscape.

Just a few minutes down the road are the car park and visitor centre for the 12 Apostles. There are a couple of different viewing platforms to take in these natural beauties and marvel at their creation. The 12 Apostles are a series of limestone rock formations that have been eroded by centuries of relentless power from the ocean. As an Aussie I might be slightly biased here, but they are absolutely amazing! Well worth the trip down!

There are a couple of tracks that take you to different view points, so be sure to follow them all. And while the path is well constructed and maintained, but don’t be fooled by the presentation, you’re still in the wild. As we were walking back to the car park we were unluckily greeted by a huge tiger snake, one of Australia’s most deadly. It popped its head out of the shrubs on the side and slithered across the path, chilled for a while as a crowded gather, and then took off into the bushes. Despite my calls to stay back and be careful a group of foolhardy tourists chased after it, as a mother almost pushed her pram over it. Seriously, if you see one, stay back!

After the 12 Apostles there are also the sensational rock formations of Loch Ard Gorge, London Bridge, Mutton Island and The Grotto. All with their unique story of either shipwrecks, native wildlife inhabitants or formation.


Port Campbell / Peterborough / Warrnambool

Each town a little bigger than the last. There are some places to sleep, eat and a couple of things to see, but nothing major. Take a little drive around to see what the quieter side of Victoria looks like compared to the hustle and bustle of Melbourne. If you want a decent, but greasy, meal check the appropriately named Frying Nemo at the Port Campbell petrol station to get your fish and chips fix. Well priced and sure to fill your stomach.

South Warrnambool has a surprisingly beautiful beach for a cool down if the sun is out in the afternoon.

 “Take a walk though the trails to spy native Australia animals going about their daily business.”

Tower Hill Reserve

Just 10 minutes out of Warrnambool is an awesome little location of natural wildlife and wonder. The reserve is set around an ancient volcanic crater and has grown up around the natural lake that formed in the middle. Drive in one way and follow the road that snakes its way through the reserve. Stop in the little parking bays and take a walk through the trails to spy native Australian animals going about their daily business. Dawn and dusk are generally the best times to catch the animals, but kangaroos can usually be seen round the clock. We recommend taking a picnic lunch or dinner to compliment the scenic sights and kick back in nature, it’s pretty awesome.


Port Fairy

Last on the Great Ocean Road Backpackers Guide is the quaint little town of Port Fairy. Established during early 19th Century this town has come a long way, but it has also made a really good effort to stick to its roots. There’s a couple of fun things to see in the area including Battery Hill, an old fort, and a beautiful port full of fishing ships.

If you’re looking for a drink to unwind from a big day of driving, swing into The Caledonian Inn and have a beer at Victoria’s oldest continually licensed hotel. It first started serving in 1844, and has been going strong ever since.

By now you should have a pretty good starting point to explore the amazing sights and places of the Great Ocean Road. There are loads more things to do, but we reckon this should keep you busy for a couple of days. The more time you’re able to spend at each spot the more you’re going to get out of them, so try not to skip past just for the sake of a photo. If you’re short on time pick the things that appeal to you and really enjoy them. If you miss something, so be it! It always gives you a reason to come back again!

Missed the first part? Come check out A Great Ocean Road Backpackers Guide: Melbourne to Lorne!

 What are you most excited to see down the famous Great Ocean Road? Drop us a comment below or find us on Facebook and Twitter!

A Great Ocean Road Backpackers Guide: Melbourne to Lorne

No trip to Melbourne is complete without a trip down Southwest Victoria’s famous Great Ocean Road. Famed for its iconic coastal rock formations, superb surf spots, chilled out locals and exotic wildlife, the Great Ocean Road is a must see destination for all travelers visiting Melbourne. And with our Great Ocean Road Backpackers Guide we’ll make sure you don’t miss a moment along the way.



Many tour companies run day trips out of Melbourne, but they’re often rushed and miss the finer details that make this road trip so incredible. Instead of paying someone to take you on a crowded tourist bus we suggest rounding up a couple of extra backpackers to split a rental car in Melbourne. This way you’ll have the freedom of exploring all the spots along the way without the horde of tourists that make the trip down daily. And judging from the number of Wicked Campervans and Juicy Rentals we saw packed with backpackers along the way, this is a popular sentiment.

Beginning is easy. Start in Melbourne, head west on the Princes Fwy for an hour and make your first pit stop in…




Famous for everything to do with surfing. Home of the major surfing label Rip Curl, the quintessential surf spot of Bells Beach and legendary surfboard shaper Maurice Cole, among many other things.

Torquay is the perfect spot to start your Great Ocean Road road trip! Browse the outlet stores for a bargain from some of the biggest surf brands in the world, or pick up a second hand surfboard to try your luck at the waves.

It’s also where my folks live. And because I’m now an international nomad there’s always a free bed in my room. So hit them up! (Sorry mum). Otherwise the foreshore caravan park is a great central spot to stay if you want to have a crack at the waves. Don’t worry if you’re a beginner, Torquay also offers some of the best surf schools in Australia.



Bells Beach

This beach is technically in Torquay’s neighbor, Jan Juc, and it’s by far one of the most well known surfing spots not only in Australia, but also the world. Every year thousands of people make the trip down to Torquay over Easter to witness the surfing greats battle it out at the Rip Curl Pro. For the experienced surfers there are some amazing waves working all through this area. If Bells is busy try some of its neighbors in Winki-Pop, Centreside or Southside.

* Disclaimer * – To many tourists disappointment (and believe me I’ve been asked a number of times) this is not the final resting place of Bodhi from Point Break after the 50 year storm hit. The shooting of the classic Bells Beach scene was taken in none other than Oregon, USA.




Just 15 minutes down the road from Torquay is the quieter coastal town of Anglesea. It might not have the big surf shops and glamour of Torquay, but don’t underestimate this little town. Take a walk around the main street and sample some of the awesome food on offer. Although I’m now a vegetarian Jum’s Chicken Shop has been a favorite of mine since I was about ten years old. Hit up the chips and gravy for a real treat!

Another great activity is to take a drive up Noble St to the Anglesea Golf Course. On a nice quiet day you can spot kangaroos just lounging in the sun and kicking back on the gold course. Hop the fence and take a little walk around the course to see how close you can get to grab a few snaps.



Aireys Inlet

Another 10 minutes down the road you’ll come across Aireys Inlet. It’s even smaller than Anglesea, but has a pretty cool tourist attraction in the Spilt Point Lighthouse. Park at the base of the lighthouse and take a walk up to the point of the inlet. You can get some wicked views of the coast and even take a tour of the lighthouse. Prices start at $12 and go for about 45mins. From the top of the lighthouse you’ll get some sweet panoramic shots of the coast.

For all the Aussie readers, and possibly others around the world. This is also the lighthouse made famous by the popular early 90s children’s show Round the Twist. Be sure to take a picture in front of the lighthouse while singing the tune ‘have you ever… ever felt like this? When strange things happen, are you going round the twist?’




Another 25mins or so along the curving Great Ocean Road and you’ll be in Lorne. Lorne is worth a stop to walk its main strip lined with outdoor cafes and shops selling kitschy beach souvenirs. There’s plenty of great roadside cut offs to take pictures, and observe the local scenery. Head towards Erskine Falls for a perfect opportunity to park the car, take a walk and stretch the legs. The trail isn’t particularly strenuous and you can cool off in the falls if it’s hot out. There’s also a range of other hikes and trails for those wanting to get deeper in the wild.

After the waterfalls take a stroll down the Lorne pier. At the end you’ll catch a cracking view, as well as a bunch of fisherman trying to catch some dinner. Check the huge sting-rays hanging around looking for a free feed. If you’re there during the evening, grab a spot on one of the benches and enjoy a stunning sunset.


With enough adorable beach towns and scenic coastal views to last for ages, it’s pretty hard to condense all of the Great Ocean Road into just one article. That’s why we’ve written another!



If you’re heading to the 12 Apostles and you want to see koalas and kangaroos in the wild for free, be sure check out our Great Ocean Road Backpackers Guide: Lorne to Port Fairy to see all the unmissable spots along the way.

Snapshot From: The Twelve Apostles


Happy weekend Movers! We’ve had quite a BUSY week preparing for our trip. In just 4 short days, we leave to Phuket, Thailand!! We’ve tried to cram as much of Australia in as possible the past few weeks, including a two day trip down the Great Ocean Road! This beautiful highway runs along the coast of Victoria, just Southwest of Melbourne. We’ll be posting a full itinerary in the next couple days (spoiler alert: there was a lot of eating!) but for now, enjoy a snapshot of one of the most popular attractions on the Great Ocean Road, The Twelve Apostles. The gorgeous rock formations were once part of the cliff line but were eventually chipped away by erosion until they stood on their own. Even though this site is a bit crowded with tourists, it’s really an incredible view and a good reminder of the immense power of the ocean.

This coming week we’ll be wrapping up our posts about Melbourne and then moving on to writing about Asia! Stay tuned!

The Best Way to Spend an Afternoon of Activities in St Kilda


One of the best things about Melbourne is that the city is made up of such fun and diverse neighborhoods, each with their own unique vibe. Of these areas St. Kilda is a favorite for backpackers and locals alike. This eclectic beachside suburb has everything that you could ask for on a beautiful warm summer’s evening. Fine dining, grungy pubs, classy nightlife, boutique cake shops, a gorgeous beach, fairy penguins and it even has its own amusement park. Seriously what is missing?

Spending an afternoon of activities in St. Kilda isn’t a hard thing by any means. What’s hard is making sure you spend it the right way and don’t miss a thing!



Pre-Dinner Drinks

Take your pick from the plethora of selections and recommendations, but this is probably going to come down to individual choice. One thing’s for sure, you won’t struggle to find a location that suits your mood. The beachside bar at Republica is a great pick, as is anywhere along that boardwalk when the sun is high in the sky.

If you’re in the mood for something a little grungier hit up The Esplanade Hotel (affectionately known as The Espy) for a nice beach view. Grab a cold Victoria Bitter and sit out over the balcony and watch the afternoon go by. Another top recommendation is The Vineyard, if you can find a seat in the always packed out bar.




Pre-Drinks on a Budget

If you’re on a tight budget and can’t afford to sit in a bar or pub on $10 pints then our suggestion is to grab a couple of sneaky drinks from the bottle shop and hit up the beach or the park opposite Luna Park. You won’t be alone in choosing the cheaper option, especially if the sun’s out. Acland Cellars, on Acland St, has a MASSIVE collection of international and local beers, so if you’re craving something from back home this is your best bet. Swing past the bottle-o (liquor store), grab a sixer (six pack of beers) and she’ll be right (it’s all good).






Another tough decision to be made. If the weather is great, money is tight and you want to enjoy the sun, you can’t beat some fish and chips to go, a couple of take away beers and a spot on the beach or in the park. You’ll find a few fish and chip shops on Acland St, in fact you’ll find pretty much everything you need on Acland St.

If you’re looking for something different, check out Lentil As Anything for a unique dining experience. Designed around the premise of ‘pay what you think your meal is worth’, this quirky little restaurant only serves vegetarian meals, is staffed by volunteers and has an honesty system where you choose how much you pay and anonymously deposit it into their collection box. Get ready to encounter long waits to get in on busy nights, shared communal dining and that awkward moment when you need to decide how much to give.

Otherwise there is an abundance of places to choose along Acland St and Fitzroy St. Both are jam packed with restaurants. La Porchetta is a simple Italian restaurant that never fails to fill the stomach with reasonably priced pizza and pastas.




Post Dinner

A post dinner stroll through St. Kilda is perfect at sunset. Head down the pier to the St. Kilda Breakwater to check out a little natural beach wildlife. No, I don’t mean those annoying seagulls or flopping fish, but actual warm climate penguins! You can join the crowd that gathers around sundown to watch these little guys gliding through the water, back to their nests in the rocks.

After you’ve had your fill of penguin watching, head back to Ackland Street for some dessert. The street is famous for gourmet cake shops and the window displays are always chock-full of fruit tarts, shortbread cookies, homemade chocolates and pretty much any other sweet you could be craving. I highly recommend the fruit flans, and Christine loved the blueberry slice .

Once you’ve stuffed yourself with treats keep walking down to Luna Park. This old school amusement park is famous for its big mouth entrance. Take your obligatory photo shoot out front and then head inside (entrance is free) to check out all the retro rides. If your inner child is calling, hop on a coaster for the full Luna Park experience.



Post-Post Dinner

If you’re still in the mood for some late night activities then you don’t need to go far. From the pubs and bars of Acland Street you can take a walk up the Esplanade and into Fitzroy Street. If live music is your scene drop by The Espy and see what live gigs are on. You’ll be sure to find a number of different bands playing all types of music across the multiple rooms, from rock to reggae to rap.

If you’re into DJ sets and house music then Fitzroy Street has a bunch of lounge bars that conveniently double up as raging night life, depending on the night. You’re always a safe bet in Cushion Lounge, Robarta or the Prince Bandroom where you’ll find a mixture of musical talents.

Further up the street, on the corner of Canterbury Rd and Fitzroy Street, there’s another couple of  funky little spots at Metropol and Secret Garden.

Whether you’re looking for a quiet iced coffee after a day on the beach or a big night out for drinks,  St. Kilda offers a spot for everyone!


Spent a day of activities in St Kilda and now looking to explore Melbourne? Check out our Flat Broke Guide to Melbourne, for the cheapest and best activities around town!


Our Summer Melbourne Bucket List

Holy moly, guys. Is it already mid November?! But you now what that mean… Summer is coming! During our times spent in Melbourne we always have a such an amazing time exploring the city, especially during summer. While we really enjoy traveling around the world, taking any incredible places everywhere we go, there’s still nothing like a summer in Melbourne. The sun is out (unless you get some crazy unpredictable Melbourne weather), the festivals are pumping and the city comes alive with classic Melbourne diversity in art, culture and music.

If you’re planning a trip to Melbourne over the summer then you can’t miss the opportunity to visit some of these iconic destinations along the way. With a little something for everyone, here’s our top summer Melbourne travel guide.


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Luna Park

Luna Park- The clown face entrance to this St. Kilda amusement park is almost as recognizable as the Sydney Opera House, at least to locals. Just opposite the beach, this classic theme park was built in 1912. Most of the original rides have been replaced, but the old school look and feel has been kept the same. The park is home to the oldest continually operating rollercoaster in the world, the Scenic Railway. Even if coasters aren’t your thing, the entrance is free and I’ve heard its definitely worth an explore on a warm summer night. It’s also in the ever entertaining area of St. Kilda, where there’s never any shortage of cafes, bars and delicious deserts to sample.


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Great Ocean Road

If there’s one sight you can’t miss while visiting Melbourne, it’s this one. Not unlike the Pacific Coast Highway in California, the Great Ocean Road is a beautiful road trip along the south coast of Australia. There’s lots of sights to stop off along the way, including the Cape Otway Lighthouse and a bunch of cute little coastal towns to stop for lunch or a walk. If you’re thinking of planning a trip down this famous road we recommend taking a few days out to really see the sights. It just so happens that we’ve created the perfect Great Ocean Road itinerary to get you started!


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The Twelve Apostles

The Twelve Apostles is probably the most popular stop along the Great Ocean Road. They’re a series of huge limestone rocks dramatically jutting out the sea. The view from the cliffs is absolutely stunning. Apparently there’s only 8 left, and were actually only 9 to begin with, so moral of the story is that Australians can’t count.


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You Yangs

Jules has been suggesting we check out this hike for ages, but I’ve been putting it off; I really have to be in the right mood to hike (yes I’m a bit lazy). But I’m determined we check it out before we leave because it does look really breathtaking. This a beautiful park for walking the trials, mountain biking and seeing wildlife. Watching koalas snooze away in the eucalyptus? Yes please!


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Wilson’s Promontory

Neither Jules nor I have been here yet, but it’s been recommended to us by tons of locals. Checking out photos of Wilson’s Prom seriously makes me want to jump in the car and head there immediately. Despite being super popular with tourists, this park has been immaculately preserved. The natural vegetation, wildlife and gorgeous views of the oceans are exactly what I picture when I imagine Australia.


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Royal Botanical Gardens

These gardens are meant to be a peaceful paradise in the middle of urban Melbourne. I imagine this is a great spot to feel like you’re getting out of the hectic busy-ness of the city, while actually staying right in the heart of it. I can’t wait to explore the park, take in the stunning lake and chill out with a picnic lunch on a warm afternoon.


Did we miss any Melbourne must-sees? What should we add to our summer Melbourne bucket list? Drop us a comment below or find us on Facebook and Twitter!

Tips for Being a Backpacker in Your Hometown

Whether you’re a long-term, short-term or weekend traveller, when you decide to go off exploring a new city or country you almost instantly become a different person. A person with their eyes open and their ears to the ground. Suddenly everything seems different, and you start to notice small things that you’d usually rush by in your day-to-day life back home.

The more time you spend in these foreign places the more you learn about them. From places to eat deliciously, sleep comfortably and watch live music, to cheap activities, fun local culture and the best spots for a sunset. Backpackers gather around hostels at night digesting the day’s events and the mysteries of the city.

“However ask them about their own own hometown and they’d have to think about it for a while…”

As you meet other travellers your conversations begin to center around the unique ways to enjoy your new temporary home. You all share your tips and take turns uncovering the secrets you’ve unlocked. It’s an awesome way to truly understand and learn about your new surroundings. Most travellers we’ve met are pretty similar. They could tell you the best place to score a cheap bed, discover a delicious meal or find free activities to do in the most random places around the would. However, ask them about their own hometown and they’d have to think about it for a while. Some might even struggle to answer.

And while I’d like to think I know a fair bit about Melbourne, there’s also a hell of a lot of stuff that’s new to me. I mean, I probably don’t need to worry too much about things like hostels, but in terms of hidden eateries, secret art openings or sweet underground live music events, I’m pretty much out of the loop. And that’s because I’ve never needed to know, I’ve never needed to explore and make the most of it. And most people are the same for their hometowns.

“Having a new pair of eyes on your old tired city can open you up to site you’ve previously overlooked.”

That’s why taking a walk around the city with Christine is so exciting. Sometimes I forget that this is all new to her. All the amazing things that Melbourne has to offer are second nature to me, but absolutely incredible to a first timer. Melbourne has iconic sporting, music, art and food culture. Every month in Melbourne is celebrated with some form of festival, and it always feels like something is going on. Here’s how you can find the best your hometown has to offer:

Host a Couchsurfer

Having a new pair of eyes on your old tired city can open you up to sites you’ve previously overlooked. Travelers have a way of finding the fun and exciting in the most mundane places. Host a couchsurfer or other traveller for a drink or coffee (or give them a couch to crash on!) to get a valuable outsiders perspective.

Hit Up Your Visitor Center

Information at visitor centers around the world changes, but at the least they’ll have city maps available for some self-guided tours. At their best visitor centers have local staff dedicated to assisting all your inquiries. They’ll know exactly what’s going on in the city and how you can get involved. Be sure to ask around for upcoming events or activities.

Google That Shit

You may feel silly searching your own city, but sometimes all it takes is a quick Google to see what’s going on. Visit the tourism board websites for your city and see what’s on. Also, check out blogs, news and any other online content you can find that’s promoting events happening around the city.

Walk a Different Path

Got a usual bar, lunch hangout or restaurant you frequent? Throw caution into the wind and mix it up. Read your local food guides and see what’s up and coming and check it out. Take recommendations from people you talk to and actually follow up on them. Talk a walk outside your normal route.

Using these tips to feel like a tourist in your own area will help you appreciate what many of us take for granted. Being a backpacker in your hometown may not seem like the most exciting adventure on your bucketlist, but if you’re between trips or saving up money for your next travels, it can be a cheap and convenient way to feel like a traveler again!

 Have you ever been a backpacker in your hometown? Drop us a comment below or find us on Facebook and Twitter!

How to Pack for Melbourne Weather

How to Pack for Melbourne Weather

Ever wondered why the weather in Melbourne is so unbelievably unpredictable? We certainly have! And while we mightn’t be experts at decoding the mystery of the sky, we can give you a couple of handy tips if you’re planning on heading Down Under and want to know how to pack for Melbourne weather!


In fact, as I wrote this article it was absolutely hammering down with rain! After a pretty calm morning the dark clouds of rain rolled over the sky, as the clapping sound of thunder grew closer and closer. Next thing, bang! We were flooded. It’s hard to think this was even possible considering the last few days were absolutely gorgeous! I mean proper sun out, beach tanning weather.



Melbourne’s weather can best be summed up as four seasons in a day, and we mean this quite literally! Predicting the weather is about as difficult as trying to pin a kangaroo down on a trampoline. There are seasons, with semi-predictable weather patterns, but you’re just as likely to be caught up in a rainstorm in the middle of summer, as you are a mini-heat wave in winter. So when the weather can jump from sun to storm in a matter of 12 hours how do you even begin to pack for Melbourne?


All About The Layers

This is the easiest way around battling the hot or cold. Opt for thinner layers as opposed to bulky ones, that way you can always throw a few extra layers in your bag that fold away easy. You don’t want to get caught out having to carry around your massive winter coat all day.



Invest in a Rain Coat

A simple spray coat is a super handy multi-purpose weather saver. It packs up light and tight, and can be easily tucked into a day bag when you go out exploring the city. Invest in a decent one that lets you breath if it’s still humid, but also works to block out the cold Antarctic breeze that can whip through the city.


Slip Slop Slap!

Just as the rain might surprise you, you never know when the sun might break through the clouds and send its UV rich rays down upon you. Unfortunately Melbourne sits within a hole in the ozone layer and the UV count is high. Even on overcast days don’t be fooled by the grey skies, the sun can seep through and catch you off guard. The state of Victoria is home to some of the highest cases on skin cancer, so don’t forget to Slip, Slop Slap. (Do yourself a favor and check out this hilarious 1980 sun smart awareness ad on YouTube. Some classic Aussie pubic service announcement work here.)




Scarves, beanies, hats and gloves are all small enough to do their job, without taking up too much room in your bag. Personally I’m not a fan of umbrellas, even though I can see the practicality of them, but if they’re your thing then at least look for one of those small umbrellas that fold up.


It might not be all you need to know to combat Melbourne’s weather Gods, but it’ll give you a decent head start next time you’re wondering what to throw in your bag for a trip to the greatest city in the world (no bias, swear!).

Been to Melbourne or planning on it? What have you got in your bag? Drop us a comment below or on Facebook

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