Camping in the Central Highlands

For two days I camped in a cold and wet forest in the Central Highlands (approx. 3 hours from Melbourne). Despite the bad timing (weather-wise), I had an excellent time and it was so great to get out into the countryside. I was invited along for the trip by one of the girls I was staying with – her Aussie mate drove us in his massive 4×4.


It took a while to get to the small camp site in the forest as we took a wrong turn… needless to stay it ended up being a rather fun but rocky ride in the car along all the dirt tracks – thank goodness we had an off-road vehicle!


We spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the secluded camp site and checking out the local town. Woods Point was once a thriving mining community – most residents worked in the gold mines. There was once multiple hotels, pubs, shops and a hospital. But now, with the closure of most mines (only a few come to work in the mines, but they stay in the provided accommodation), the town has dwindled to only 40 residents, but it still boasts an old fashioned pub and tiny general store. We enjoyed a drink in the pub, a game of pool on the tiny pool table, and walked around taking pictures of the abandoned petrol station and classic cars lying around in the bushes.



Whilst I was taking a photo of the above abandoned car an elderly gentleman walked past who had lived in the town for most of his life. He was taking his daily walk to the store to post his letter and have a chat with the policeman who seems to spend most of his day drinking coffee at the single table in the store, come post office, come cafe. He told me about the change in the town, about how one of the famous Australian beers was first brewed there, and how many pubs there once were lining the main street. He recognised my British accent because there’s a young girl working in the pub (I was surprised to hear a British accent in the middle of nowhere!) – this seems to be the talk of the month. The community seems very tight-nit, but also very friendly to outsiders.

It’s an incredibly fascinating town, and is an example of how many rural communities have dwindled in size because of the lack of employment and opportunities on offer.

Road tripping the Great Ocean Road

Whilst in Melbourne one simply has to find the time to enjoy a few days along the Great Ocean Road. So I hired a car, packed up some sleeping bags (so I could sleep (illegally) in the car – I found a dirt track and set up camp near the 12 Apostles) and headed off for 2 days along one of the world’s most famous roads.

The Great Ocean Road has stunning scenery at every turn – I stopped so many times and took a ridiculous amount of photos. The coastline is vast and varied, the first half is dotted with fabulous long and white beaches, the second half beautiful cliffs with amazing rocky outcrops – this section is also known as the Shipwreck coast because of the amount of ships that were wrecked there in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Words don’t really do it justice, so here’s a selection of photos from the many I took on my two days. (You can click on the photos to view the larger images).

If you visit Melbourne then the Great Ocean Road is a MUST do whilst in the area. You can do it by public transport – on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays you can get a bus that runs all the way to Warrnambool, which is at the end of the road, and then a train all the way back to Melbourne (costs around $70 return), however you don’t get to stop and enjoy the scenery. It’s best to do it in your own time and savour the moment. The road is ridiculously fun to drive (it’s so winding!), I intended to go back along the Highway but couldn’t resist driving along it for another day.

Go for it – and do at least 2 days (preferably 3) – it’s totally worth the trip.

Melbourne – a culturally fascinating city

Melbourne is a truly mesmerising city. It’s packed full ofย cafe’s selling delicious coffee, quirky pop-up shops, cool graffitied passageways and an abundance of varying street art performers who are all extremely talented. You’re never lost for things to do in ‘happening’ Melbourne.

I stayed in the city for a little over two weeks, and I could stay for much longer. The relaxed vibe, the ‘coffee culture’ and the great shopping were a refreshing change from Asia and it was a fantastic place to unwind, enjoy fab company and prepare for New Zealand.

Here are some of the highlights from my stay:

  • Brighton Beach – lined with colourful beach boxes it really felt like a sunnier version of home
  • Brunswick Street – filled with cool coffee shops, restaurants, vintage clothing stores and graffitied buildings, this place is the ‘hipster’ area of Melbourne and reminded me of Bristol.
  • Queen Victoria Market – on Wednesday nights this market comes to life with live music, masses of yummy food and a fantastic atmosphere. I celebrated my birthday here with my dear friend Rosie, and it was a memorable way to spend the evening (complete with dancing to Louisiana jazz).
  • Enjoying a beer along the river – on lovely sunny evenings there’s no better way to soak up the atmosphere than relaxing with a pint at the numerous bars along the Yarra river.
  • The Moomba festival – I was lucky enough to enjoy some of this yearly Melbourne festival (early-March), and it’s all free! The event lines the Yarra River and is packed full of fun for all the family. Watch the bird-man rally (people dress up and try and launch themselves as far as possible off a deck), cheer on the competing water-skiers, sit back and listen to some amazing live music, or simply share a picnic with some friends. A great way to spend a summer’s day in Melbourne.

These are just a snippet of what I got up to whilst in Melbourne, there are tonnes of other activities to do. Alternatively, simply while away your afternoon on the beach or sit back with a coffee or late breakfast like the rest of the Melbournians.

The above photos (a small selection of many) showcase my stay in this great city – check them out and judge for yourself whether Melbourne is worth a visit. Yes it may not have the iconic Sydney Opera House, but you’re never short of things to do or see whilst there.

Simply put, Melbourne has it all.