We landed in Melbourne and were greeted at the airport by our old pals, Karen and Martyn, who were on holiday. Generously, we were invited to stay with Karen’s family on the outskirts of the city, where we were spoiled with home comforts including an outdoor spa, tennis courts and loads of lovely food and drink.
A few days were spent visiting the sites of Melbourne and a lovely day on nearby Phillip Island where we saw pelicans, koalas, wallabies (small kangaroos), (“flaming”) galahs and the smallest penguins in the world. It was an amazing sight to watch thousands (actually 1,035) of them emerge from the sea as the sun set and waddle up the beach (right past us) to their burrows.
The next day we set off on our road trip along the Great Ocean Road between Melbourne and Adelaide. As we wound our way along the coast we saw beautiful scenery at every turn including the famous 12 Apostles.
Martyn and I had left the booking of accommodation to the girls which we came to regret as we pulled into a rundown motel which looked like it had closed ten years ago. For a special treat, on our second night we all shared a family room. Thanks girls.
Our next stop was one of the largest wine producing regions of Australia, the Barossa Valley. This time, the boys look charge and booked us into a huge cottage (it had ten rooms) in the rolling countryside surrounded by vineyards.
We spent a lovely two days driving/cycling around the nearby wineries tasting everything from sparkling shiraz to mead (honey wine) with the occasional stop for a picnic. We obviously had to buy a bottle of something from every establishment so we could properly the sample the goods. Therefore, once we got back we to the cottage we worked our way through them alongside a BBQ in ‘our’ garden.