So it got to us being away from home for about 10 months until our parents decided they missed us too much and had to come out to Australia to visit us. It turns out, we may have missed them a little too so it was exciting to have the chance to show them why we loved living in Melbourne so much.
Jordan’s Dad, Pete, was first to arrive. It was a very hot and sticky evening (one of Melbourne’s last hot summer days) on Thursday 17th March when we met him at the Southern Cross train station after he caught the Sky Bus into the city. It was great to see him and we quickly fell into the routine of having him in our lives for a few weeks. Some highlights from his first week with us are:
1. Dinner down Degraves Street
This was his first proper night in Australia and we were keen to give him a true Melbourne experience. So food was definitely on the agenda. And so was Degraves Street as it is iconically Melbourne and was less than a 2 minute walk from our old flat in Flinders Lane. We settled on dinner in Degraves Espresso Bar which has vintage cinema seats inside and a delicious menu, including tapas such as pork belly, breadcrumb squid and chicken skewers.
2. Fun at the Aquarium
The next day we couldn’t decide what to do! There were so many things we wanted to show Jordan’s dad and we just didn’t know where to start. The weather wasn’t great that day so we decided to stick with an indoor activity and went to the Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium. Natalie loves aquariums...she drags Jordan to every single one that they pass so it was pretty impressive that we had not been there before. Although it was expensive to get in ($40.50AUD each!) it was a really fun experience watching all the tropical sealife and reading that most of the sea life there actually come from a variety of locations across Australia. The giant manta rays in the huge tank which has a tunnel you can walk through were spectacular, and the cute penguins at the end were a bonus. (Natalie loves penguins!). And the giant croc called Pinjarra who is one of Australia’s largest saltwater crocodiles looked too big to be real!
3. Melbourne Grand Prix
Jordan and Pete had a lads day on Sunday 20th March and spent the day at the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix in which the circuit was around Albert Park Lake. The boys had a great day in the sun watching all the incredible cars race round the track, and even saw a huge crash between Fernando Alonso’s and Esteban Gutierrez destroying a McLaren. The boys also got to see an impressive air display by the Royal Australian Air Force Roulette, flying in formation speeds of up to 590 km per hour in the skies above the Albert Park circuit. The noise was so loud it could be heard from in the city. Whilst the male bonding was going on, Natalie had a lovely day lunching and shopping with a friend she had made at a nearby hair salon called Francesca.
4. Delicious Food at Victoria Night Market
Wednesday nights are great during the summer in Melbourne because the Night Market is on at Victoria Market - which means insanely delicious food and drink can be enjoyed from a huge variety of countries and cultures from all over the world. Being lovers and travel and food, the Victoria Night Market was one of our favourite things to do in Melbourne so we had to show Jordan’s dad Pete all about it. We started of having wander around the different stalls to see what we each fancied. Once decided, we split off to get our own dinner and congregated in the middle to try to find somewhere to sit down. It was one of the last Night Markets for the summer so it was heaving with people, and eventually we had to settle for sitting on the floor in a picnic area near the Pimms stand. The seating arrangements didn’t make the food taste any less delicious, with us all trying each others to get as much food in us as possible. Sri Lankan, Indian and BBQ meats was what we went for and it was all so tasty. Definitely a must do if you’re in Melbourne.
5. Exploring the beaches
On Friday 25th March Jordan had the day off with his dad and it was meant to be fairly nice weather. So they rented a car from Budget Car (which wasn’t cheap!) and drove down to Mount Martha and Seaford as we had done in February. The boys enjoyed a day of relaxing on the beach in their swimmers - it was just hot enough! - and playing catch along the sand. This was all whilst Natalie was slaving away at work we might add! That night we took Pete for dinner at one of our favourite restaurants Meatballs Wine Bar. It’s one of our favourites for several reasons - 1. It’s only a 5 minute walk from our flat in Flinders Lane, 2. It does incredibly good pork, beef, chicken or fish meatballs with your choice of sauce and side for only $22, and 3. It plays really good old R&B music which we love. We think it’s safe to say, Pete enjoyed it there too.
6. Wine tasting in Yarra Valley
The boys still had the car for another day and Jordan and I hadn’t yet explored north of Melbourne - in particular Yarra Valley where all the wineries were. So we made a day of it and left in the morning to discover what Yarra Valley had to offer. It took longer than we thought to drive there but that was partly due to us getting lost because we wanted to avoid the toll roads. So in the end it probably took nearly 2 hours. We’ve mentioned before about an app called Maps.me which is great as it runs off GPS like a SatNav so you don’t use up your data like you do Google Maps on your phone. Definitely download the app if you’re driving somewhere you don’t know. Once we got there and figured out where the wineries were in relation to each other, we had a great time. The only thing with driving yourselves there is that you need a designated driver (in this case Natalie) to resist trying absolutely all the wines. Even so, it was really nice to learn more about wine and work out which wines we actually liked and which ones we didn’t. We each bought a cheeky bottle and then went on to the cheese tasting places. All in all, it was a day filled with drinking and eating a lot! Late that afternoon we did a big food shop and made sure Pete settled into his hotel for a few days as Natalie’s mum and dad, Sally and Simon, were flying in at 10pm that night.