Showing Friends Around – Part 1

Robin BoyleAustralia Mainland, Greek, International, Melbourne & Victoria, Recipe, Salad

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In 2014 we received some surprise news: our two German friends, from Bavaria, would be visiting us in Australia in August 2015.

They are perhaps the two most travelled people we know, and since meeting them for the first time in the late 1980s we have received numerous postcards from their exotic and mysterious destinations.

We have been fortunate to be able catch up with them every few years in Europe and had encouraged them to come and see us in our country. However, it seemed it would never happen as one of them had an unshakeable fixation about the dangers of our wildlife: our spiders, snakes, sharks, crocodiles, stingers, stonefish, blue-ringed octopus….just to name the first seven in the list of our most dangerous creatures.

But then it happened – the shock! They had decided to come! We had about twelve months of helping them plan their five-week itinerary.

Five weeks, of course, is not nearly long enough.

Suffice to say, they had a full itinerary by the time we had finished with them!

In this and the next few blog posts we will indicate the highlights.

Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road

Day 1:

Melbourne city for a walk around the streets and some shopping, including the arcades, State Library and Eureka Tower. Lunch in Degraves Street.

Melbourne State Library

Melbourne from Eureka Tower

Melbourne Arcade


Bayside beaches in the afternoon and the bathing boxes.

Bathing boxes and Melbourne skyline

The walk through the foreshore parks and bush enabled us to give our German friends a ‘short course’ in Australian flora, in particular, the main tree types such as eucalyptus, wattle, banksia, grevillia, melaleuca, casuarina, … We explained that the extraordinary variety of Australian plants made the landscape so distinctive and changeable with not just changes from one part of Australia to the next but often from one bend in the road to the next. International tourists know about Australian animals but educating them in our plants raises their appreciation and enjoyment to another level.

Melbourne Recital Centre – a tourist attraction in its own right – for a concert by violinist, Pinchas Zukerman.

Day 2:

Drive to the Mornington Peninsula that morning to visit a winery or two and then brunch. Then to Sorrento to catch the ferry across the Port Phillip Bay ‘heads’.

Walks and drives around Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale, then along to the start of the Great Ocean Road and overnight at Lorne.

Day 3:

Our German friends woke to find several cockatoos and parrots on their balcony!

110 Lorne

117 Lorne

A walk to Erskine Falls followed by coffee at the Lorne Pier restaurant, looking into the waters of Bass Strait.

121 Erskine FallsFish and chips on the foreshore at Apollo Bay.

The amazing Maits Rest Rainforest Walk in the rain.

Stunning Johanna Beach.

179 Johanna

Then to our overnight accommodation nearby.

An early dinner at the rather rudimentary tavern at Lavers Hill only to be served an extraordinary Greek salad that reminded us what a great dish it is.

Greek Salad b

For a recipe, click here: Greek Style Salad

Day 4:

Start the next day with a stop at a wildlife sanctuary with an extensive range of Australian animals and birds.

217 Wildlife Park

Then on to the amazing cliff section of the Great Ocean Road: Gibson Steps, The 12 Apostles, London Bridge and Loch Ard Gorge.

237 Twelve Apostles

Overnight in Port Campbell.

Day 5:

We return to Melbourne via Camperdown and the Geelong waterfront.

276 Geelong - Eastern Beach

Dinner at home that night.

Day 6:

Two hour walk through the outstanding parks and gardens near the centre of Melbourne including the Royal Botanic Gardens and the new Birrarung Marr.

Melbourne gardens walk

136 City walk

145 Melbourne city walk

MCG – Melbourne Cricket Ground – by 5 pm for pre-match meal in the Members’ area. Then the ‘footie’ match between AFL teams Hawthorn and Geelong.

Day 7:

Visit the beach and Sunday art and craft market at St Kilda, then visit Acland Street.

One of the world’s best sunsets – over Port Phillip Bay – followed by a piano concert that evening at the National Trust property, Rippon Lea. Dinner afterwards with the performers and others.

Hampton sunset

To be continued!

– Next, we go to Tassie for six days.

(Continued in: Showing Friends Around – Part 2)