Monday, July 9, 2012

Monday 9th July 2012

After a breakfast of pancakes with maple syrup, we caught the tram that went past the zoo. The weather was still dry, but it was overcast and grey. As it is still school holidays, there were a lot of families with children in tow. Early in the day a lot of the animals were keeping warm in their burrows or sleeping areas. The cages had wire fronts so it was difficult to take photos. Luckily other areas of the zoo had more modern enclosures with clear perspex windows. We did not get to see the butterfly house as it was undergoing renovations.

Water hens roam around the zoo.

Meer cats.

We headed home by train and tram, uploading some more money onto my Myki card to pay for the trips. We had a lovely meal at the restuarant and then I headed up to repack our bags, while Kevin went out to take photos.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sunday 8th July 2012

Last night we went to the football at Etihad Stafium. We went by tram and train. Our seats were right up the back of the lower level and we discovered that the gates were right behind us. It was freezing as there was nothing to stop the cold air on our backs. We demolished a bag of hot donuts, a coffee and a chocolate bar as we were so cold. Saint Kilda won the game easily as Essendon did not seem to be able to get through their defence. It was great seeing Ben Howlett playing.

When we went down this morning to have breakfast we saw that the Giants were staying at our hotel. Chris went to see them play against Hawthorn this afternoon. We checked out of the Sebel Hotel and took a taxi to the Mecure Hotel in Spring Street. It is nice and central and will be great for our last days.

After we checked in our bags we went down Flinder's street and met Mike and Louie at Elizabeth Street. After a long walk through a rabbit warren of arcades, lanes and cafes we settled on a food hall. After eating we walked over to the South Bank and had a coffee and macarons at Lindt. We sat and talked for quite a while. We then went in search of a new bag to carry our extra baggage. We got a duffle bag with wheels for $60.

As my feet are complaining about all the walking they are doing, we cut short our evening photography, had tea and then went back to the hotel to watch some telly.


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Saturday 7thJuly 2012

We explored St Kilda this morning and had breakfast at Rococcos in Acland Street. I had the best buttermilk pancakes with berries, marscapone and pistachios.

We then took the tram back into the city for a spot of shopping. I found a great shop called Typos. I picked up some scrapping papers, alphas, alpha stamps and some washi tape.

Kevin and Chris looked at some magazine shops but didn't buy much. We then took the train around the loop to the Southbank where we joined the locals for a walk and along the Yarra River. The weather was beautiful today, so everyman and his dog was out enjoying the sunshine.

Pavement art.

Sculpture on the broadwalk.

Artists plying their skills.

The view from the hotel window this evening.
Tonight we are off to the football to see St Kilda play Essendon.


Friday, July 6, 2012

Friday 6th July 2012

We set off very early this morning to avoid the traffic. We stopped for breakfast at a Maccas on the way. We arrived in Geelong at about 9am and we did a ticky tour of the sites, including the Geelong Football Club, the pier and the botanical gardens. The art works in the steampacket gardens were wonderful.

We stopped at the Ford Discovery Centre. I decided to miss this and sat in the car. Eventually the boys came back and we headed off to get some lunch and return to Melbourne. We did stop at another model shop but left them all in the shop. The drive back into Melbourne was quite difficult as the GPS sent us the wrong way a couple of times. Eventually we arrived at Loumik Design to visit Kevins brother and his partner. While we were there I checked out a wool shop and Kevin spent a lot of time and money in a bookshop which specialises in old motoring books. He was filling a box when I went to see what was taking so long. He organized to post them to Australia for us, so we did not have to pack them in our luggage.
We caught a train back into Flinders station and a tram back to the hotel. We are now owners of a MET card. After a quick refresh we were back on the tram heading to the MCG for our first football game between Carlton and Collingwood. Carlton had a good win. We walked back to the tram stop with the crowd and then caught a tram back to the hotel. I was eying off a seat that had become vacant when it was time to get off. Today has been a very long day.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Thursday 5 th July 2012

Our first full day in Melbourne was busy. Chris picked up the hire car and we headed into South Melbourne for breakfast at a gorgeous little cafe called "Cafe Sweethearts". I had poached eggs with bacon on rye toast.

Then we went in search of some motoring icons. First was the Albert Park raceway used for the formular one race. Then we headed for the Holden headquarters to look at the display of concept cars. It was right next to the Kraft factory and there was a distinct smell of vegemite in the air. We walked up to the Holden entrance to find that it would not be open to the public until 10.30. We did not have time to wait so had to miss the display. Kevin took photos anyway.

We eventually headed off for Phillip Island passing through suburban melbourne on the M1. We then turned off onto the South Gippsland freeway and headed south. It was rather hard to see anything as we travelled as there was a very grey fog. We stopped for a late morning tea at Caldermeade Cafe and Farm.

We next went through Lang Lang where Holden has a private testing facility. It was well hidden from view. We arrived at the Phillip Island track at about 1 pm. We had a look at the museum and the gardens and then headed off to look at the Phillip Island Nature Park. There was a very well built wooden walkway which gave us great views of the ocean and Round Island ( Nobby Is). There were fairy penguins in their nesting boxes and the fur seals were out of view on a rocky island. On our way out we took a track around the coast and managed to see a few birds and a local wallaby.

We think this was oil on the water. There was a wide spread slick.

Kevin was asked to take a photo of this friendly group of tourists. He only took one as the battery was flat.

Lastly we drove on into Cowes where we had a late lunch of fish and chips. This town was similar to many holiday towns in Australia.
On our way back to Melbourne the sky put on a show.

Hopefully this is a good sign for tomorrows weather.

Location:Phillip Island

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Wednesday 4th July 2012

Our last day in New Zealand was still grey and drizzly. We packed the car and set off to the airport, stopping on the way for petrol and breakfast. We parked the car and faced the barage of processes that going on a plane brings. Our bags were too heavy so we rearranged a few books and our toilet bags into a small bag and paid for the extra baggage. We got through customs without incident and then found a comfy seat to wait for the boarding gate to be posted. We used our last coins to buy a magazine or two and a coffee.
We were pleasantly surprized to find that we had a spare seat next to us,so we were able to spread out a little. I watched Downton Abbey as we had missed quite a few episodes and I had the chance to catch up. The flight went quickly enough and we got through the formalities easily. We caught a bus into the city and then got a taxi to the hotel. We are staying opposite Albert Park at the Segal and Citigate.

We are on the 8th floor. I had my first tram ride into the city centre this evening and we had pizza for tea. We walked around for a while and then caught the tram back to the hotel, in time to watch the tour de France on telly.

The city is busy even though it is Wednesday night. We could have watched the rugby match on a huge screen in Federation Square, but it was too cold.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tuesday 3rd July 2012

I awoke at about 3.30am and decided that the day trip around the Coramandel penninsular was out of the question. The wintery weather had set in and it was grey, miserable and windy when we got up at 7.30am.
After packing and paying our bill we set off for Pukekohe where we found a laundry and washed our clothes ready for the Melbourne leg of our holiday. We had a quick look at the race track and the surrounding farmland. After repacking our bags we headed off to Manukau City for lunch and shopping.
Then we checked on Google for somewhere to stay and chose the Grange Lodge Motel near the golf course. The lure of warm muffins was too great. We arrived in the middle of a storm and were met with umbrellas and a warm welcome.
We spent the afternoon on line or reading the newspaper. I am glad we had a slow day as we are all tired. I haven't even taken any photos today.
I did however sign up for an online class by Nic Howard which starts in a couple of days. I might just have enough bits and pieces with me to do the first LO while I am in Melbourne.

It is through Big Picture Scrapbooking.


Monday, July 2, 2012

Monday 2nd July 2012

We woke to a minus 4 degrees frost in Ohakune. Luckily our unit was warm and cosy. Kevin was the only one who braved the cold for a morning walk to take photos. After breakfast we packed once again, checked out and drove out of Ohakune heading for Waiouru. We had hardly gone a kilometre when the call to stop came. It was a line of deer being fed hay.

I also took photos of the frozen grasses on the roadside.

The frost over night was very strong and there were lots of places on the road where the road was covered with ice. One car was driving too fast and ended up in the forest after going off the road.

This was a timely reminder for our driver to reduce his speed.

We took more photos of the mountains as we drove along the desert road. The NZ Army has a huge base in this area.

The power lines in the area look like Aliens in the landscape. All along the road were signs of the last snow fall and the water was frozen over.

We saw this helicopter carrying something in a bag land just near the road. Some vehicles were waiting.

After driving around the lake we stopped at Turangi for morning tea. The first two places we went into did not respond to our entry so we walked out. We finished up at Thyme for food which was really nice.

I had chocolate brownie with coffee.
Turangi is famous for trout fishing and we stopped at the bridge to see if they were catching anything. Chris saw a huge trout tyat was caught by one of the fishermen.

We then drove on to Taupo where we dropped in on MIL for some lunch. Back on the road again through Tokoroa, Putaruru, Tirau, Matamata, Te Aroha, Paeroa and Kopu to Thames. The clouds were beginning to appear in the sky and it was a little warmer than it was this morning. We found a motel (Shortland Motel) for the night, settled in and then went out to find some tea. Pork roast was on the menu.
We only have one full day left for Tiki touring. I just hope the rain is not too bad. We have been spoiled with fine weather.