Meeting Melbourne, A Second Time.

The first time I went to Melbourne, it was 2009, I was 26 years old. It was my first major trip from my hard-earned money as a working professional. I’ve always been fascinated with Australia and have always wanted to live there even if I haven’t been yet. My dearest Tito Lito (younger brother of my mom, who’s like a father to me) migrated there with his family before I was born. All four of my cousins grew up in Melbourne and I only got to meet them once all together with the whole family complete, when they went home to Manila and celebrated Christmas with us with our Lolo and Lola. This was in the 90s when I was in High School.

I remember saving my AUD given to me by my Tito during that time, bought some more and opened myself an AUD account. I remember that for every bad time in my life growing up, my instinct back then was to move to Australia. It became my haven, my dream country. During college, I remember planning with my friend Nesch how to move there to work. Together, we went and checked all requirements, inquired about IELTS and all the other tests and paperworks needed to work there. But for some reason, I wasn’t able to push through with mine. I met Kendrick and couldn’t really leave my family then. But Nesch went on with her plan and I’m so proud of her for fulfilling this dream of ours. Today, she is already an Aussie citizen.

So back to 2009, I had already saved up enough to fund my trip and so off I went with my friend Jojo. We stayed with my family then stayed at Nesch’s, then from Melbourne we flew to Sydney. We had the best time. It was springtime and the Holy Week.

Fast forward to 2017, I got to go back last December and this time around with my husband and baby. I was so excited to bring them to one of my favourite countries ever. I planned the trip the for months and booked tours in advance but only to be greeted with Melb’s schizo weather. We had a super sunny day when we arrived but the following days were stormy and our tours got cancelled. Booooo!!! 😦 But nonetheless, we had a memorable time. It was Elian’s first long haul flight and first trip to another continent. It was also his first time to meet family and friends in Melbourne. It was our lil family’s first experience of Christmas in another country!

Here’s a recap of the first leg of our adventure Down Under! πŸ™‚

Our flight was at night. This was our first longest trip ever and my mom and my dearest nephew, Moky couldn’t resist bringing us to the airport. 2 weeks away from Elian and his cousins were already counting down to the day we’ll be back. Elian had a baon of sinigang from his Noona for his in-flight meal lol.

He very much enjoyed his first long haul flight. He was an angel and just slept through the whole 8-hours. He also had fun watching Cars before bedtime in the plane. When he woke up, we were already landing in Melbourne. We arrived at 8AM.

We were greeted with a hot and sunny first day. My friend Nesch, picked us up at the airport and took us out for brunch at this beautiful place called Second Home at Eltham. Their interiors are gorgeous. Everything’s so light, airy and the food was good too.

Then Nesch drove us to Yarra Valley. We visited the Chocolaterie first. This is highly recommend for the best unique chocolate finds. They really have interesting flavors like Lavander & Honeycomb and Strawberries & Balsamic which are super yum! πŸ™‚ It’s massive too so you’ll need to spend a little bit of time here to go through everything. They give away free chocolates too while you go around!

Afterwards, we went to Chardonnay then ended our day at Healesville Sanctuary to show Elian the koalas and kangaroos and other Aussie animals. It was a lovely day but just oh-so-hot! It’s just the start of December then but the heat is already very intense. I can’t imagine how much more hotter Oz gets during January.

When we went back, we were dropped off at our apartment which we booked thru AirBnB. It’s a 1-bedroom apartment at Spencer Street with a killer view of the city skyline. It was really nice too but we had a very bad experience with the landlord which really got us off to a bad start. Imagine coming home from a very hot day to a very hot apartment with a tired and crying toddler and we couldn’t turn our AC on and the owner cannot be reached and was very unhelpful. It was a very bad experience but thankfully after it was sorted out, the rest of our stay turned out good. The location of our apartment was very ideal, the train station (Southern Cross Station) and bus station (SkyBus) was just right across. Plus, there are restaurants nearby and the grocery and the tram stops is just right outside too. It made going around very easy. And it’s so nice to come home to this view of the city. Elian loved watching the trains and the busses and cars from our window and it’s relaxing at night.

The rest of our days were spent just in the city since our days supposedly reserved for Puffing Billy and Werribee Zoo were cancelled because of the storm. It was raining the rest of our stay which made the temperature drop. We were ready for summer and weren’t really geared for 13 degrees so it was tough to go out. We just went to the malls and in Sea Life whenever it was raining. I admire how the city is so prepared for a storm. They had officials roaming the streets, assisting people and even giving out free raincoats and plastic ponchos and boots. It’s funny because it’s not even like a storm, like how it is in the Philippines. But again, they were ready and very much prepared.

On the weekend before we left, we spent Sunday lunch at my Tito’s house and it was so great to get to see everyone again and meet my niece and nephews for the first time. It was so nice to get to catch up with everyone. Elian enjoyed our day with the family and up until today he talks about his Lolo Lito and Ate Marley. It helps that I make a video of our every trip as he likes watching and remembering all our adventures.

We spent 6 days in Melbourne before flying off to Gold Coast for the second leg of our trip. On our last day, weather was still a bit bad so we just went to Sea Life in the morning then walked around Docklands after. I was already feeling so bummed with how our trip got rained out almost the entire time that we weren’t able to do what we had planned. I was looking forward to seeing Brighton Beach but it was cloudy and drizzling and Ken said we might have a hard time going. But but but! Just as that day was ending and the sun finally came out, my friend Nesch suddenly called and said she was off work early and wanted to bring us to Brighton Beach. YAHOOOOO!! So we drove off immediately and despite a little bit of traffic, made it in time for sunset! Thankful that Aussie sun sets past 7pm and it gets dark only at 8pm lol!! We arrived there a little after 6pm and we enjoyed a cold and breezy but beautiful sunset at Brighton. It was a lovely time and a beautiful place, I’m really glad we got to see it all — the colourful bath houses, the wide stretch of beach overlooking a glowing sunset.

It was the perfect ending to our Melbourne adventure. πŸ™‚

Catch our video here. Gold Coast and Sydney up next! When I get time again lol! πŸ™‚

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