After a weekend in Sydney we took a plane back to Melbourne where we would spend the remaining week and a half of our trip (sans a trip down the Great Ocean Road).  We stayed with Tay’s friend, Jess, and her family in Wantirna, a suburb of Melbourne close to the Dandenong Mountain Ranges.  Tay lived there for many years which is how she met Jess and her boyfriend, Nathan.  Jess and Nathan flew all the way over for our wedding about a year earlier, and we hung out with them pretty much every day we were there.  After we got there the first thing we did (after lunch) was go out for a “bush walk” in search of some wildlife.  We went to a trail where Jess and her family had seen wallabies and kangaroos in the past.  We hiked in a big loop through some foothills keeping an eye out but couldn’t find any.  Then just as we made it back to the parking lot we spotted two wallabies through the bushes!  Jess’ brother, Sean, and I set off and followed them for about ten minutes.  Along the way they met up with several other groups of wallabies and we were able to get pretty close at times.  Unfortunately the longest lens I had on the trip was a 50mm so the photos I got appear pretty far away.  On our next trip to Australia I’ll make sure the bring a longer lens just in case.

The weather on our trip so far had been in the 80s and 90s.  The last hot day in the forecast was one of the hottest so we decided to head over to Brighton to go to the beach.  Earlier in the year we visited the coastal town of the same name in England, so it was cool to see the Aussie version.  We ate fish and chips before heading to the water.  It was a very windy day so much of the coast was lined with kite surfers which were pretty fun to watch.  Later on we made our way along the water in search of Brighton’s famous beach boxes.  Brighton, England has some famous beach boxes as well but I thought the ones here were much cooler.  They were painted in all kinds of designs and murals that the English ones lacked.  The weather was sunny and in the 90s but during the day we watched some very threatening looking clouds move in.  After we made it back home the temperature dropped to 60 and it dumped rain like crazy.  It was unbelievable how fast the weather turned.  Tay, Jess, and Nathan all had trouble breathing due to their asthma.  Apparently the high winds and storm caused a huge outbreak of asthma attacks than evening.  Emergency services were stretched to the max and many people died due to slow response times.  Luckily my three companions made it through the night okay with just their inhalers.

We spent two full days of the trip exploring the city.  It felt weird seeing so many Christmas decorations up in late spring.  I just had to remember that it was almost December so Christmas was indeed coming up.  Melbourne has a lot of graffiti which was fun to look for.  There are many alleyways that are completely covered.  We had heard about a street called Elaine Way that had photos of Elaine from Seinfeld plastered all over.  We went way out of our way just to find it and it ended up being super underwhelming.  Luckily though it put us in a neighborhood that had the best graffiti of anywhere we saw, lots of great restaurants, and a craft market.  We saw a bunch of other stuff but I’ll let the photos do the talking.

Much of our time in Melbourne was spent catching up with Tay’s friends and family so there were plenty of days that I didn’t take any photos.  We also spent several days traveling down the Great Ocean Road but I’ll put photos from that in a separate post.  We were gone during Thanksgiving which isn’t a holiday in Australia, but we ended up having two different Thanksgiving dinners.  We had one at Tay’s grandparent’s house when it was Thanksgiving in Australia, and one at Nathan’s parent’s house when it was Thanksgiving in America.  It ended up being one of the best Thanksgivings ever.  Big thanks to Jess and Nathan, their families, Tay’s grandparents, and everyone else who made our stay in Australia great!

–kyle