Melbourne Escapade: Graffiti, Lovebirds, and a Couple Rocks

It’s been surreal you know, having found yourself in a place where atleast everyone and their grandmas have been referring to since the day I landed in South Australia. “Melbourne’s the place to be mate, it’s got the food, the looks, the art, the money.” I initially failed to grasp the suggestion, and misinterpreted it as the lack of consolation to a town they apparently have been stuck in for the past 20 years. I packed my bags, and headed for what’s allegedly the most artistic of the six australian states.

“Keen to head to Melbourne?”, asks Kiki one ordinary afternoon. A glance at my bleak bank account smacks my face with a deplorable ‘no’, but I figured 6 months grounded and grinding in college got me some brownie points. A packed suitcase, four brilliant friends, and a 4PM jetstar flight later, I find myself enjoying the Victorian Sunset with a glass of white.

I took an earlier flight you see, and by doing so I was able to catch up with a couple old friends from highschool in Hong Kong, Sahil and Harman, the former being in the latest Sydney Excursion entry, introduced as one of the most passionate aviators I know.

Our Airbnb, hosted by Vivian, was by the Docklands, 10 minutes from the Melbourne CBD, and had a Balcony that conveniently faced the west for these killer sunsets. The apartment’s brilliant! It belonged in a secure and quiet neighborhood, had very modern amenities, and would accomodate anything from a school leaver’s trip to a family getaway.

The itinerary was as follows:

  • Travel Day: Take 4PM into Melbourne; meet Sahil and Harman, sunset shots
  • Day 1: City Tour; Hosier Lane, Botanical Gardens,; Nightout
  • Day 2: Great Ocean Road Tour: 12 Apostles
  • Day 3: Relax; Victoria Market, Brighton Beach; pack
  • Travel Day: Take the 7:30 AM back to Adelaide

Day 1 into the Melbourne CBD, and the vibe and the presence of skyscrapers in the skyline was already quite overwhelming for someone who’d been in quite suburban Adelaide for awhile. Trams around the city-zone were free, by far the easiest way to get around.

The people are incredibly pleasant. While majority in core of the CBD appear to always be on some brisk-walking mission to save the world, the steady and speedy downstream of people along the sidewalk’s ready to accomodate any lost tourist, and directions are easy to come by with every “Hi there, how’s it going?”

Sculptures and artistic pieces are sprawled along the streets, and most definitely does justice to the artistic reputation Melbourne bears. You can find almost 20 pieces should one take a day ticking off one point of interest at a time, according to this map at https://walkingmaps.com.au/walk/2020

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On the aspect Melbourne’s integration of art and urbanisation, Hosier Lane embodies all the good traits of an instagram wall: variance, perfect lighting, culture, diversity, and expression. As one of the city’s oldest and renowned destinations, the kaleidoscope that seem to have peered into a colour wheel remains a must-see, must-pose, and definitely a must-post.

and a wee bit of #pinoy pride!

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🇵🇭 Filipino* 😂👌🏻

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With Hosier Lane given a mighty fat check in the city expedition, we took it upon ourselves to take a revitalising visit at the Royal Botanical Garden. A 20 minute walk southbound past the Yarra river takes you to a myraid of nature’s take on art.

Having spent an extensve photoshoot with the rest of the squad, we take it upon ourselves to head back into town, grab some grub, and call in a nap before we take the Friday night with a slightest bit of fun and indulgement. and yes, our mate Lucas is essentially a reincarnation of former Lord Commander Jon Snow slash Targaryen

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Day 2 was a full-day’s agenda (to the hungover college student; groans), a student budget-friendly one at that, with much appreciation for Melbourne Australia Tours. For 85 AUD, the tour included the earling hotel pickup, a caffeine jumpstart, lunch, and shuttle services to scenic lookouts, and iconic overlooks within the Great Ocean Road, including the big tamali, the 12 Apostles.

One interesting stopover happens to be the most fascinting bathroom break I’ve had in awhile. Upon disembarkation, we were swarmed, nay, dominated, by a pack of wild love birds. Silly little things showed unwavering lack of concern for one’s personal space, which surely made for quite the photo-op.

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Alas, right before the killer rocks we see in every art gallery, postcard, and every salvos store, the tour bus takes a stopover at Ngatanwarr, a temperate deciduous forest at the heart of the Great Otway National Park, a 30 minute drive to the 12 Apostles.

A veil mde of the Earth’s breath encapsulated that forest, and this was respected in curious eyes and deafening silence deemed unusual in location built for tourism. The lack of a phone signal contributed to the authenticity of naturalism, as if to prepare yourself, keep your breath about you, so to speak, right before Australia stuns you once again.

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The place was littered with tourists, and the panoramic walkpath that led to a viewpoint by the end of the cliffside involved a joust and couple fencing duels with selfie-sticks and tripods.

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4 kilometres to the west is Loch and Gorge, a smaller and more intimate beach inlet that caters to those down for a chill pill along the sand, or a quick dip along the coast.

From here, we made our way to London Bridge, another rock formation a good 15 km, or a 10 minute drive from the Loch, as the final destination within the 12 Apostles National Park.

The 12 Apostles? Tick. and having managed to pull the day off with little to no sleep, was an accomplishment in itself. The 85 AUD priced tour provided by Melbourne Tours was definitely worth the price, for freedom and independence of time, stop-overs, and photo opportunities, a car rental would definitely be recommended (especially for my fellow drone pilots).

Day 3 was a culmination of this spontaneous escapade we crazy group of five had decided to take, and surely enough, the physical tax of disturbed sleeping patterns, whole-day touristing, and the non-existence of a proper food diet had really accumulated in a nature quite hostile. Breakfast right at the Victoria Market, where we happen to run into some international food fair, was a brilliant pick-me-up.

Surely enough, we weren’t to leave Melbourne without the signature, compulsory, (and definitely inadmissable evidence that you’re a tourist in the state) photos. The Brighton Beach Bathing Boxes, takes an hour and a half with three interchanges on public transport from the CBD… or a 25 minute uber ride. Behold

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and there you have it! An interstate weekend getaway in Australia!

acknowledgements:

  • Cameras used: Canon EOS 750D, GoPro Hero 4, iPhone 6S
  • Kiki Cheung, for initiating and planning the trip
  • Sahil Shazadpuri and Harman Singh for taking the time to meet me in the city
  • Talitha Mattoni, Francesca Citterio, and Lucas Horas for being great travel mates
  • Big Man Upstairs for having such a place exist
  • Email: zacharykeithsantos@gmail.com (for BUSINESS INQUIRIES)
  • Instagram / Twitter / Facebook/ YouTube / Vimeo: @voyagerzulu

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