"I choose to be Amused!"-An Epic Trip to DL with a side of Oz(3/17-4 NEW POSTS pg17)

Discussion in 'Disneyland Trip Reports' started by skier_pete, Aug 19, 2012.

  1. Aussie Wendy

    Aussie Wendy DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2008
    Messages:
    1,497
    Ah but it wouldn't be a proper day out if it didn't involve a trek along a dirt road somewhere-English visitors are always surprised about the number we drive along when out sightseeing. Cola sounds like you were a great tour guide. I always forget meat pies and sausage rolls are unique to Aus - guess I take them for granted.
     
  2. Avatar

    Google AdSense Guest Advertisement


    to hide this advert.
  3. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2006
    Messages:
    6,186
    I never would've covered THAT much ground. That's all on Cola, she did a TON of driving to show us so much. I imagined her getting home and sleeping 12 hours.

    Yeah, I would have qualified King's Cross as a little sketchy. Not a place I would want to get lost in, but felt fine driving through in the early evening.

    Some days I take a lot of pictures...this day I didn't take as many, especially later in the day. If I left it to DW, we'd probably have about 28 pictures from the whole trip, though.

    See below for more on dirt roads.

    It's not like we don't have dirt roads in the US. Something like 50 % of the roads in Vermont are dirt roads. My parents, who were work-camping for quite a few summers at a KOA near Bryce Canyon in Utah told stories of people stranded in their motor homes because they follow a GPS that takes them down a dirt road that later turns out to be washed out! I am therefore very wary of what a GPS tells me to do.

    I liked the meat pies a lot, had them a few times over the length of the trip. Sausage rolls... at least the first one I had (which I don't think was at this restaurant) it was a ground sausage and very fatty and I didn't care for it, so only ever had the one. The other local food we tried in a similar vien were called "Pasties" I think, which were also I think a cheese/potato/vegatable mix in a sort of pie crust type wrap. DW liked these a lot.

    I always like trying the local "working man's" meals when we travel. My favorite was in Hawaii during our honeymoon, they have a dish in the local diners called the "Loco Moco". A big scoop of white rice, with 2 hamburger patties covered in gravy and topped with a fried egg or two. It was not what I expected in Hawaii. I don't think you'd find it in any of the tourist spots.
     
  4. khertz

    khertz Proud member of the WHO DAT NATION!!

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2008
    Messages:
    5,551
    So I finally had a chance to get all caught up. I am loving looking at all of your wonderful pictures!!

    Wow DD looks so tiny on that thing!!!

    The pics from the Aquarium are great. Love the one with that huge grouper too. That's a big fish!

    Quoted this just to say, that sounds DELICIOUS!
     
  5. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2006
    Messages:
    6,186
    Yeah, and it goes even higher. You can see some kids legs in the top of the picture. I just pictured the same structure in the US would have a ring of lawyers around it with business cards at the ready!


    The lammingtons were really, really yummy. Though we found you generally saw it in bakeries/pastry shops, it really wasn't available on restaurant menus. Considering some of the nice pastry shops we saw, we generally found the restaurant menu desserts extremely disappointing.
     
  6. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2006
    Messages:
    6,186
    So, today we knew we had access to the subway/transportation center for essentially free. ($2.50 per person for a “family Fun-day”) Well, DW really wanted to go to church since it was Sunday and we couldn’t go the weekend before. The thing is, she is a Ukrainian Catholic, and really insists on us going to a Ukrainian Catholic church where a regular Catholic service won’t due, which often makes it very hard to find a church to go to. Well, while I am not particularly religious, she gave into missing church to go to Disneyland the Sunday before, so we agreed this Sunday to go to church.

    But before we did that, we had decided to go out to breakfast at a place that multiple DISers recommended:
    [​IMG]

    We had walked by Pancakes on the Rocks earlier and saw that the prices were extremely reasonable, and so thought this would be perfect for having a breakfast out. DD ordered the “Caterpillar”.

    [​IMG]

    Yes, those are THREE scoops of ice cream on her breakfast. As well as chocolate sauce. Not to be outdone, the breakfasts for the adults were as follows: I had a macadamia nut pancakes with ice cream and syrup.

    [​IMG]

    DW had a strawberry crepe, which again came with ice cream and tasted an awful lot like strawberry cheesecake.

    [​IMG]

    This place very much reminded me of an American place, in that it was a bit over-the-top. But the food was quite delicious, and fairly inexpensive. Breakfast ran us $34, which was not cheap, but really considering the food portions it wasn’t bad. So not bad, that we ended up back here the next day.
    After breakfast, we went to church based on one we had found on-line that was directly on the train route to the Southwest of where we were staying in the area of Lidcolme. It was about a 40 minute train ride away, and you can see the relative location on the map. (I will also point out you can see Bondi Beach as well as Watson’s Bay from our previous travels.)

    [​IMG]

    The church was a beautiful little church that similar to the Ukrainian churches at home did not have many parishioners. The service was relatively brief, and DW enjoyed it very much, so it was worth the trip.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We took the train back to the Rocks and were back by around 1 PM. By this time, the other event that we were planning on doing today was in full swing. The “Aroma” festival was taking place in the Rocks that day. We were kind of excited because it was very similar to the “Taste of…” type festivals that you see in many cities. Another analogy if you will would be to the Food and Wine festival at Ecpot. While the “Aroma” part of the festival was technically referring to coffees, there were food booths set up throughout the Rocks, where you could pay for individual portions at each booth. The areas were split up into 4 different regions: “The Orient” “The Continent” “The Latin Quarter” and “The Oasis”.

    [​IMG]

    So, the map above shows part of the layout for the festival. We were staying on Harrington street, which was at the bottom center, and you can see the festival sort of spread out from where we were staying. The roads in the Rocks were mostly blocked and traffic was all snarled, but we didn’t care as we were on-foot.

    DD was being very obstinate all day (Shocker – I know!) and insisted that she did not want to go to the festival as it was “boring”. However, we convinced her there would be some cool things for kids, so we first headed to the Rocks museum again, where they were making paper dragons. She enjoyed coloring and glueing this little guy.

    [​IMG]

    At this point we were absolutely starving (it was like 3 PM by this point and we hadn’t eaten since breakfast, so we headed outside the museum and there was a dim sum place right outside. We got a variety plate which was delish…I didn’t get a picture, but down the way we also tried some fried dumplings, which I did get a picture of:

    [​IMG]

    DD wanted a frozen lemonade, even though it was a little cold of an afternoon:
    [​IMG]

    We then got a skewer of chocolate strawberries, which we all shared:
    [​IMG]

    Walking further down towards the water, there were a ton of additional booths, but the food was pretty pricey, so we didn’t really try a lot of them. We ended up getting a Turkish spinach meat pita which was also awesome.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    In the meantime, they had an opportunity to do camel rides. DW and DD waited in a really long line while I went to get the Pita, and by the time I got back, DD was already on the camel. Turned out they were looking for a single rider, and she got to move up to the front!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I told DD that she should remember this moment, because while she may someday return to Australia, there’s a good chance that this was truly a once-in-a-lifetime moment, that she will never again ride a camel along the waterfront in view of the Sydney Opera House!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    After that, we had a few more nibbles. DW wanted to a get a Pavlova which is another Australia-only dessert that is made up of meringue and pudding and cake and is really pretty good, though sorry not as good as lamington. DD wanted a cupcake, so we wandered around looking for one of those. By this point , the festival was winding down, so we headed back to the hotel room for a little break. Overall, we spent about $80 on food at the festival, which I suppose wasn’t any worse than going to food and wine!

    We decided for dinner we would try this pizza place we saw, so we took a little break at the hotel and went back out to Pina Pizzeria. NOT impressed myself, DW enjoyed the pizza but I thought it was pretty marginal. I guess it was OK if you like the thin-crust style but I like a thicker pizza. DD had spaghetti, while DW and I split and garlic bread and a large pizza. It was only $52, which for dinner in the Rocks wasn’t bad, but for having Pizza for dinner was ridiculous. (Typically at home if we order a pizza for the three of us, it might be $15-20, and we have leftovers. $52 worth of pizza is usually what we order for the 16 people that come to our Superbowl party!)

    We then again went back to the hotel. DD wanted to swim again, but when we went down, it seemed the heat wasn’t working at all in the hot tub, and I didn’t swim at all, while DD did go in for a few minutes, but not long!
     
  7. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2010
    Messages:
    96,295
    Pete - How cool that your DD got to have a camel ride at the Rocks with the SOH in the background! Something that she will really appreciate in years to come.

    Glad that DW managed to make it out for the service at the Ukrainian church.

    And yes...that is a LOT of icecream on the kid's pancake.

    Looking forward to your next installment.
     
  8. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2006
    Messages:
    6,186
    Next installment coming up shortly. While searching menu items for Pancakes on the Rocks I read a little of the history. The founder got the idea traveling in the United States (not surprising) and when he returned to Australia found that they did not have the right kind of grain to make pancakes, so for about 10 years he imported Aunt Jamima pancake mix. His first pancake restaurant was in Adelaide, but sold it and moved to Sydney to open PotR back in 1975. The current owners have expanded in recent years and now there are several locations throughout Sydney and beyond.
     
  9. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2006
    Messages:
    6,186
    Today we had our last few hours in Sydney, and it was the perfect time to schedule a tour of the Sydney Opera House. We had to check out of our hotel and be on our way to the airport by noon. So, we packed up our clothes, ate some breakfast, and walked over to the SOH in time for our 9 AM tour. We actually headed over there a bit early, not sure how long it would take to walk. We had a good 30 minutes to look around beforehand.

    Now, understand that coming from the United States there were three “must-dos” on my Australia list. These were seeing Ayers Rock, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Sydney Opera House. Well, Ayers Rock was ejected from the touring plan a long time ago due to budgetary and time constraints. But the other two were not, and we were all excited to see an up close of the SOH.
    First, we took some pictures looking back towards “The Rocks”:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Family Shot!
    [​IMG]

    We then walked up the stairs to the “Front” side of the SOH. For those that have never visited, the famous image of the SOH is of course the “side” view. From the “front”, where the patrons enter, you get a view more of glass than the tile sides;
    [​IMG]

    This is the spot where they first broke ground on the SOH.
    [​IMG]

    Climbing up on the steps we got a few pictures:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I wore my Buffalo Sabres shirt because they will often put your picture up on the Jumbotron during hockey games if you get pictures of yourself in Sabres gear in unusual/famous places. I only have to wait for hockey to return for contract unrest.

    We then headed in for the tour. They made you turn in your back-packs, and gave to a set of headphones/ radio mike so that you could hear the tour guide without them having to shout. You may not realize this, but the SOH is actually a complex of entertainment venues, with the main two theaters (For the Symphony and the Opera) only the obvious choices. I can’t remember the exact number, but I think there are 7 different possible venues. The tour started off going into one of the smaller theaters where they currently had a dance troupe stationed. The theatre was not much special to see, and definitely had a “constructed in the 60s / 70s” vibe. They then showed us the first part of a video about the design and construction. This is fascinating in itself and I recommend reading up on the history of the place.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Then, they took us into the main Symphony theatre, which is the bigger of the two theatres. It’s interesting seeing the construction of the place. The famous outer shell is outside made up entirely of small, off-white tiles.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    While the interior is made up of all concrete and steel, while the interior is practically a separate building which for acoustic purposes is almost entirely timber. Here you can sort of see them both in contrast.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We took the stairs up along the inside, which is sort of between the two theatres. The Symphony theatre is bigger than the Opera theatre, with one being about 2,600 seats, while the Opera one has somewhat less than 2,000. (People have asked us why we didn’t go to a show, the only thing playing while we were there would’ve been cool to see…the Symphony was playing live in front of a showing of Lord Of the Rings: Return of the King – but I don’t think DD would’ve tolerated that movie.)

    So, we traveled up the staircase to the “back”, which is the side that faces the bay.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    You could see the opera theatre just next door. This is all glass enclosed, and was very warm in the sun. Most of the seats are accessed either going up the sides or the back.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I can imagine how cool this would all look at night. I guess that’s a goal for any future trip!

    To Be Continued...
     
  10. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2006
    Messages:
    6,186
    The best part of the tour doesn’t have any pictures. At this point, they brought us into the Symphony Hall, and we were fortunate enough to be there when the Orchestra was there warming up. We were off in a corner way in the back, and the acoustics were simply superb. The interior was also beautiful, again entirely timber and while of a 1970s design it was still quite beautiful. We got to listen for about 5 minutes. Outstanding. Here’s a picture I stole from someone else on photobucket. Picture where we were standing is behind the seats on the lower left edge of the picture.

    [​IMG]

    We next headed back down to the front and watched the other half of the “building the SOH” video, followed by then going into the actual Opera portion. The were setting up the lighting for South Pacific, so it was dark and not much going on, just some stage hands, but also a beautiful theatre. Here are a few more shots as we were heading over:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We went into the souvenir shop and picked up quite a few little souviniers for friends and family. The prices really weren’t too bad, and we got a discount with our tour.

    In conclusion, this was a fantastic tour. It only runs about $30 if you pre-buy on-line, and it would be interesting even if you live in the vicinity and have never done it.

    After this, we headed back around Circular Quay. We spotted this drinking fountain, which I though was architecturally very clever. The water squirts out, hits the wide metal panel, and runs down it into a slot in the ground.

    [​IMG]

    We also saw one of these, which are not very common anywhere anymore:

    [​IMG]

    We decided to head for an early lunch at Pancakes on the Rocks. There were lots of interesting stuff on the menu we didn’t get to try the day before, and the prices were so good. DD stuck with the tried and true, this time a smile face pancake that still came with ice cream.

    [​IMG]

    I got the Mexican Crepes – “with Mexican style beef, tomato salsa, spicy tomato sauce, tasty cheese, guacamole, sour cream and shallots, served on a bed of mixed lettuce”..... this was really excellent. It tasted pretty authentic Mexican.

    [​IMG]

    DW had Chicken and Bacon Pizza – “Chicken breast pieces with bacon, fresh and sundried tomatoes, marinated mushrooms, tomato salsa on a guacamole and mozzarella cheese base. Topped with sour cream, guacamole and shallots.” Also, really yummy!

    [​IMG]

    Overall, this meal only ran us $42 and it was a pretty hearty lunch.

    We went back to our hotel to get our luggage and meet our taxi ride to the airport for the trip to Melbourne. The ride to the airport was only like $35…boy did we get ripped off coming here. The flight from Sydney to Melbourne was uneventful except for one thing that really surprised me. Going through the airport was very similar to what you would do in the states: Check-in for the boarding pass and checked bags, going through security (where they confiscated DW’s sewing scissors), waiting to board, boarding, etc. However, not one single time did anyone ask for ID. Not ONCE! Now, the US has backed off a bit from the post 9/11 paranoia of having to show your ID 4 times so now its typically only twice. However, not showing your ID at all? This struck me as so strange. At first I thought it was an oversight, but we through 3 more times within Australia, and never once were we asked for ID. I guess now if I ever need to go on the lam, I’ll know which country to head for!

    The flight was only about 90 minutes, and we were in Melbourne. Melbourne is the 2nd biggest city in Australia behind Sydney and it is on the Southern coast. While not the most southern point on the continent, it is significantly cooler than Sydney. The temperatures while we were there were typically in the low 50s. (Low teens for those on the Celsius scale.) We actually had relatively good weather though, because it didn’t rain much at all while we were there.

    We were mainly coming to Melbourne to visit DWs good friend. Let’s call her BFF for the purposes of the trip report. This woman is someone she had known since they were kids through the Ukrainian American community, and BFF had met her husband visiting from Australia also part of the Ukrainian community, had married him 20 years ago and moved to Australia, raising 2 kids. DW had visited her 3 times, the most recent in 1995, so now it had been 17 years. (My how time flies.) We’ve met her and the rest of her family a few times in Buffalo, so they weren’t strangers to me either. Most recently they were over the previous winter for about 6 weeks during her kids summer break. (The oldest girl is in University and the younger son is in year 11.)

    Anyways, that’s a little background. BFF met us at the gate, and took us through the airport. We went from there to pick up the rental car (more on that another time) and followed her from the airport to her mother-in-law’s house where we would be staying. (The DMIL had two spare bedrooms that we could use, so it made sense.) The whole family was there to meet us, DMIL, BFF’s husband, son and daughter. We had a huge dinner of chicken and sausage and sauerkraut and mashed potatoes and vegitables and salad and pavlova for dessert. Sorry, no pictures, I couldn’t bring myself to ask to take snaps of their food. (Do you know some people actually consider that strange?) I was looking forward to getting away from restaurants for a bit, but we actually ended up getting more stuffed with food staying with these people than we ever would’ve going out, but it was still a nice break.

    After dinner it was getting pretty late, so we settled in our rooms and said goodnight – with plans made for the next day.
    Up next – first day in Melbourne
     
  11. battymum

    battymum DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2010
    Messages:
    1,811
    Another great day, you have some great photos of the SOH. Sounds like the tour would be good, m

    My DD was involved in an all schools combined choir when she was younger and the highlight of their year is a concert in the SOH.
     
  12. Aussie Wendy

    Aussie Wendy DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2008
    Messages:
    1,497
    It sounds like you had another lovely day. The Pancake Manor (same original owner as the Rocks) has been operating in Brissie since the late 1970's and it's open 24 hours-in what was originally a cathedral in 1904 then an Anglican Church Mission-beautiful timbers and atmosphere too. Its an institution-I laughed to hear my teenage daughter tell her stories of fetching up there in the early hours of the morning when she first started going out-and we used to do the same thing 20 years earlier while living at college at uni-its kind of nice some things don't change!

    On the Opera House we have never done the tour and are inspired since your TR. My step-brother was a window cleaner there in the 1980's-I forget how long it took them to do the circuit and be back at the start-I think 6 months. He met several famous performers in the course of his job.
     
  13. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2010
    Messages:
    96,295
    Nice shots of the SOH. And yes, I've done the tour and found it fascinating. That back area gets pretty H-O-T in summer!


    Really? I don't think I've ever noticed...but then again, most people do think I'm strange.! :upsidedow
     
  14. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2006
    Messages:
    6,186
    That would definitely be a cool treat!

    Ah nothing screams college/university like pancakes at 2 AM!

    There are some pretty massive windows in that place, I wouldn't be surprised at all that its a full time job to just go around and clean them.

    Oh, it must be a roaster oven back there. It was at least 10 C warmer inside than out!

    And while I have no shame about taking pictures in restaurants, I guess I draw the line at going into a strangers house and taking pictures of the meal they are serving to me. And BFF's MIL was a complete stranger who I just met before sitting down at her table.
     
  15. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2006
    Messages:
    6,186
    So, our first day in Melbourne and BFF was going to tour us around. She wanted to take us to the zoo and then some other things, and I had planned a brief meet-up in the afternoon with DISer “Princess in Oz”. Well, we got a bit of a late start getting to the zoo around 10 AM. We actually ended up spending about 5 hours there, including a break for lunch. BFF drove, so I didn’t have to!
    [​IMG]
    I was very impressed with this zoo. Lots of habitats and they were of very high quality. BFF said they had added a lot over the last 5-7 years since she had last gone to the zoo. We started out by checking out the sea lions. DD got herself trapped in a kelp bed.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Next up we went to Asia.
    [​IMG]
    Bengal Tigers:
    [​IMG]
    A Golden Pheasant:
    [​IMG]
    Baby Orangutan:
    [​IMG]
    There were several large areas for elephants, but the elephants were more out in the back of that area, so we couldn’t get a really good view of them. However, there was another Savannah area that had Zebras and Giraffe and supposedly Ostriches.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Of course no zoo in Australia would be complete without Koalas:
    [​IMG]
    There was a massive aviary with dozens of species of birds:
    [​IMG]
    They also had an endangered Cassowary. I thought these were really beautiful birds. Well, both beautiful and ugly:
    [​IMG]
    There was a large area for wombats, including a cave where kids could crawl back to get there picture with a wombat statue:
    [​IMG]
    But, then there were also real Wombats as well. I think this was the guy that posed for the statue.
    [​IMG]

    To be continued...
     
  16. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2006
    Messages:
    6,186
    Kangaroos and Emus were in there own enclosure. You were allowed to wander around with them, but not allowed to feed them.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We saw the family of Meerkats all huddled together.
    [​IMG]
    With the lone lookout keeping an eye out for overenthusiastic children. “Scurry, Sniff, FLINCH!” (Lion King 1 ½ reference for you)
    [​IMG]
    We stopped by several times to see the Little/Fairy Penguins. BFF was insisting that we see them, because even though we were going to go to Phillip Island later in the trip to see them in the wild, you can’t get pictures of them there. Finally on the third try they came out:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The search for Perry continued. He’s stiff as a statue!

    [​IMG]

    Oh, let’s check inside. This guy sure knows how to move.

    [​IMG]

    The Lion enclosure (which also contained Hyenas) was very nice, with a walkway that traversed OVER the enclosure:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    After we’d seen most of the zoo, we headed into the downtown area. We were going to meet “Princess In Oz” for a coffee near her work, so we met at a nearby Mall complex. (She will have to chime in with the name of it, I can’t even remember.) It’s funny when you meet someone who’s a stranger, but you’ve known for a while on-line. She didn’t feel at all like a stranger to me, very easy to talk to. We sat and all chatted for perhaps 45 minutes, not just about Disney, but about various things, what we do for a living for instance. It was very pleasant, and we made further arrangements to get together for dinner in a few days at her house to meet the whole family.

    Before leaving the mall, we stopped at the “Big W”. I had thought about renting a GPS unit with our rental car, but they wanted to charge $15 a day. I said, “Screw that! I’ll buy one for less!” so I wanted to check out the prices. Well, they had a TomTom for only $98 AUS. Compare to the price of the trip (>>> $98) this was chicken feed, so I bought it. It was well worth the money, as it was hard enough driving on the other side of the road without having an easy way to know where you were going. I ended up selling it on e-bay when I got home, and unfortunately I only got $25 for it, but that’s OK, a $73 net cost was fine with me.

    We then drove back to the MIL’s house for a dinner which she again had made for us.
     
  17. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2010
    Messages:
    96,295
    You did see a lot of animals at the zoo! And that seems to be a very 'suspiciously bright' picture of Perry......:rolleyes:....Hmmmm.


    The area in Melbourne we met was at the QV and we had our drinks and snacks at Max Brenner's Chocolate shop.
    I felt the same....meeting you (and your family and BFF) was like meeting an old friend, not quite a stranger but strange to finally put 3D-ness into the friendship! :rotfl:
     
  18. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2006
    Messages:
    6,186
    I can see the ads now

    DIS friendships - NOW IN 3D
     
  19. skier_pete

    skier_pete None

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2006
    Messages:
    6,186

    It's a busy week this week, so I think this will be my only new update for week. Late-October gets pretty crazy, what with Halloween and several friends children's birthdays as well, there are a lot of parties going on.

    This day was one of the big days of the trip – the day I got to check a big one off my bucket list. “Skiing in Australia”. Actually, for those that didn’t follow my PTR – one of the few items on my “bucket list” is to ski on 5 different continents before I die. Well, I have two under my belt, North America and Europe, but the others remain elusive, especially considering I haven’t actually BEEN to any other continent. So, not knowing if we were ever going to return to Australia, we had to do it this trip. We had decided to make the drive to Mt. Buller, which is approximately 3.5 hours away from where we were in Melbourne. Plans were to leave by 7 AM, but we were perhaps 20 minutes behind on that. We got out of town and it was approaching 11 AM by the time we got to the mountain.

    We had travelled with our ski clothes (except for a snowsuit we borrowed from BFF for Adriana), but didn’t have any equipment. We got to the bottom of Mt. Buller and found that (1) you had to rent chains in order to drive up the mountain, whether you would use them or not and (2) they charge you $35 to drive up the mountain. Nice rip-off. So, we got up the mountain and there was actually no snow on the ground on the drive up, so we never needed the chains. It was a fairly sunny day, though this dark ominous cloud hung over the mountain most of the time we were there. We needed to rent equipment. This didn’t go so smoothly as DW has problem finding boots that will buckle onto her calves, so the first place we went to didn’t have boots her size. We rode the shuttle from the parking lot up to the mountain, and found a rental shop there that we could use. By the time we were buying our lift tickets, it was noon, so we got the afternoon rate. I wanted to be coming off the mountain by 3 PM, and we hadn’t yet had lunch, so we decided to ski about an hour, stop for lunch, and then ski a bit more. While we were walking to the lift, DW slipped and tweaked a pulled muscle in her leg, so after all this she wasn’t sure she could ski, but she managed.

    In the end, we stuck to skiing the main hill only, as DD is still learning the ropes. Considering we barely got in 2 hours of skiing at a cost of around $600, when I was skiing down that mountain I was so thrilled I was doing it. This was big-time highlight of the trip for me, and well worth the cost and effort. Some pictures from the adventure below:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I didn’t take a ton of pictures as there was this big grey crowd covering around. Ski photos never come out great anyways, as the light is usually so flat it just looks like a big white patch.

    We stopped partway through our ski-day and ate lunch at a tavern called the “Ball and Chain Restaurant”. Prices were very expensive, but portions were big. I had a bowl of chili with chips (not fries chips – chip chips), DW had the salad and DD had her go-to Spaghetti Bolognese. No pictures, but I would be shocked should someone from these boards ever eat there based on this recommendation!

    After another hour or two of skiing, we had to reserve all the effort we did to get there. DW took her skis back to the rental shop while I took DD to the OTHER rental shop to return OUR stuff. The good thing about only skiing 2 hours on the bunny slope is I wasn’t really very worn out from it. We got back to the car, and apparently I had left the lights on and the battery was dead! (What! We’d only left the car for maybe 4 hours! I could not "choose to be amused" over this one!) Anyways, we had to get a truck to give us a jump, which led to a delay getting down the mountain. We also bought a few souvenirs, including a T-shirt for me and a stuffed “Blake the Buller Flake” for DD. (Below is NOT stuff version!)

    [​IMG]

    The drive back wasn’t too bad, about half of it was very back-road, and because of the delay getting down, we ended up driving the last hour or so in the very very dark, which I wasn’t too thrilled with. Once we got to the highway though, it was pretty smooth sailing. It took us a while to decide where to stop for dinner, but ended up eating at the Hotel KalKallo just off the highway and only about an hour out of Melbourne. Food was OK, again a "go to the counter to order" restaurant. It was probably only about 8:30 PM when we pulled back into the house we were staying, but we were beat, or at least I was. At this point we were pretty well used to the time change, but if nothing else, this pushed us to really get a good night sleep.
     
  20. PrincessInOz

    PrincessInOz Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2010
    Messages:
    96,295
    I know it was on your bucket list and I'm glad you ticked it off. But I think you've found another reason why Aussies travel overseas to ski. The cost of 5 days on mountain skiing would more than cover my costs of flying to the US, my food AND spending money. :faint:

    But your pictures on Buller look great. :thumbsup2




    We need to wear the special 3D glasses.

    :cool2:
     
  21. miss.potatohead

    miss.potatohead Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2010
    Messages:
    482
    oh wow I love the photos from Mt Buller. I've never been to the snow, as you say it gets rather $$$ quite quickly, but it looks like you had good weather for the day trip! Friends of mine who are ski bunnies leave Melbourne at crazy hours in the morning (think 4am) and return home at 11pm the same night, I'd be exhausted!

    Just quietly I think you've experienced more of Australia in your short trip than I have in my entire life!
     

Share This Page