Two weekends ago I went for a short getaway to Melbourne with my boyfriend PJ for his birthday. We could only go away for a weekend (if you’ve read my previous posts you’ll know I’m in a long distance relationship) because he had to rush back to Thailand for work. It was nevertheless a really busy and fun weekend and I can’t wait to share it with you all!
The last time I was in Melbourne was for a family trip way back when I was 9. I definitely don’t remember anything significant about that holiday it other than this picture of my sister and I sitting on this giant purse! As a result of that, I really wanted to squeeze in more sightseeing and seeing as much of Melbourne as I could during this holiday.
I’m the one with short hair because I went through a phase in my childhood when I only had short hair (many regrets from that!).
Our holiday started off on Wednesday night when we caught the red eye flight from Perth to Melbourne. We arrived at 6.30am and had some McDonalds for breakfast (definitely not the breakfast of champions) before collecting our rental car and starting our long journey to the Twelve Apostles in Port Campbell National Park, along the Great Ocean Road. The Twelve Apostles are a collection of limestone stacks along the coast that eroded from the harsh weather conditions to form arches and caves. These arches and caves collapsed due to even more erosion till only stacks were left – the Twelve Apostles!
The drive from Melbourne Airport to the Twelve Apostles Visitor Centre took us around 4 hours in total to get there but that’s mainly because we made a few stops along the way. The first stop was in Geelong to get some snacks for the drive (lots of sugar and caffeine to keep us going throughout the day). The second stop was at the sort of “entrance” or archway that signifies the start of the Great Ocean Road.
I was so excited for the drive along the Great Ocean Road because I’ve always wanted to experience the famous scenic coastal drive. Unfortunately for me though, we discovered that some parts of the Great Ocean Road were closed off and we had to take a detour that led us inland through the scenic rainforests of Great Otway National Park. The view was still breathtaking though and I loved the windy roads surrounded by lush forests!
Our next stop was at Apollo Bay for a quick lunch at the Apollo Bay Bakery. This bakery is famous for their pies and pastries and one of their signature pies is the scallop mornay pie. Its safe to say, the reviews were right and that pie was DELICIOUS! It looks like any old Aussie pie but it felt so good biting into that warm pie with juicy scallops and vegetables in a creamy sauce on a cold rainy day.
Finally after more driving we arrived at Gibson Steps which wasn’t just a lookout point of one of the Apostles, but a set of stairs leading down to the beach below where you could take more pictures of the first apostle in sight. While I was there the huge limestone cliffs reminded me of the Wall in Game of Thrones!
We also went to Loch Ard Gorge (which has a really sad history behind this place involving a shipwreck) and London Bridge.
Poor PJ then had to drive us all the way back to Melbourne city where we had a quick dinner, checked in to our backpackers lodge and had a great sleep.
We started day 2 off by having brunch at this cafe called Proud Mary’s. I ordered this ricotta hotcake with orange caramel, freeze dried raspberries, cardamom sour cream, caramelized mandarin and choc nut goji crumbs.
We then went to check out Brighton Beach to see the famous Brighton bathing boxes along the beach. I loved how each one had its own unique design but here are my favourites:
After that we went to Billilla Mansion for a quick look around the gardens – I knew we weren’t allowed inside the actual mansion as it is leased out to a college but I did want to see it nevertheless.
We then headed over to Luna Park in St. Kilda. The place was bustling with people since it’s the school holidays and I really wanted to go on the roller coaster (none of those mild kiddy rides for me- I want real thrills) but the ride wasn’t open then.
We then got drawn into this cafe called Acland Continential Cakes by looking at all the mouth watering pastries, cakes and desserts that they displayed in their window. I ordered a nutella donut with an iced coffee and PJ had an eclair.
After our quick bite, we spent the rest of the evening browsing around Chadstone Shopping Centre.
That night for dinner we went to Minamishima – a Japanese restaurant that serves the 15 course omakase of Chef Koichi Minamishima. The restaurant’s minimalist approach to its decor and its dim lighting make the atmosphere very relaxing and intimate – which is probably one of the reason why most of the patrons that night were couples. PJ loves his Japanese food and eagerly wanted to try it. Fortunately we made a booking around 7 weeks in advance as I heard that it’s hard to get a reservation at times there due to its popularity.
We were lucky enough to get a seat at the sushi bar so we got to watch the chef live in action! The experience starts off with an entree, from there you can also order an additional entree (which in this case was sea urchin with soba noodles) which naturally PJ ordered. You are then served 15 individual freshly made pieces of sushi before having a soup and dessert after. Here are some of the sushi:
Sorry for the bad pictures but I only brought along my phone that night. The omakase was amazing! Every course had such distinct flavours and different textures that kept you excited and anticipating for the next course. Dessert was also a stunner!
We started dinner around 8.30 but finished close to 11pm. The experience was definitely worth the price paid – every mouthful was worth it and I highly recommend this place for any foodie who has a soft spot for Japanese cuisine.
I’ll have to end it here for now but will definitely write my second and final post on this trip about days 3 and 4 soon. Thanks for reading!
xx Ing from According to Ing