Family and downtime

My sister is old. Yep, she and Scott, my bro in law, both turned 50 this year and to celebrate they held a combined 100th Birthday Party. Due to COVID and other things, Jules and I had not seen Max and Scott since 2019, or my parents since 2016, so a visit east was well overdue.

I’m currently travelling east with work so I managed to tie my week off at the end of a work trip, with Jules flying into Melb late on Thursday night. Unfortunately, Jules’ flight was delayed 3 hours, so rather than arriving at 10 pm as planned, she instead landed at about 1 am and it was around 2 am before we managed to get to bed.

For our first day of holidays, we did a leisurely 10kms, walking around and through the Melbourne CBD. Not going anywhere specific, or with any real purpose, just taking in the sights and sounds. Breakfast was from Degraves St, where all the cafes have chairs sitting under umbrellas and heaters in the laneway. The coffee and food is generally good all along the strip and we weren’t disappointed with our Big Breakfasts.

Degraves St and street dining
Brekky time at Degraves St

We then proceeded to explore the streets of Melbourne, dodging rain showers and exploring the shops and laneways.

A camera shop advertisement in Melbourne

All the walking eventually built up a thirst, so we miraculously found ourselves at Cookie Bar on Swanston St, for a nice pint and some people watching from the outdoor balcony.

A sneaky pint at Cookie Bar on Swanston St

With an hour or so to kill before meeting up with Max, we meandered down to Young and Jacksons pub, home of the famous Chloe painting, on the corner of Flinders and Swanston Streets. Whilst it’s a bit embarrassing to publically admit it, we then proceeded to order Devonshire Tea and Scones, again whilst watching and enjoying the many varied, often weird and wonderful people of Melbourne as they walked past our window seat.

Making our way through Southbank, with a quick detour through the Crown Casino, we met up with Max and her friend Perry, also visiting from Perth for Max’s birthday for our lift “up the mountain”, to their home in Ferny Creek.

It was great catching up with the Lancasters again, especially so as it was also my nieces’, Ella’s, 20th birthday today, so Friday evening was spent eating birthday meat cake (Ella’s Lasagna dinner request) and chatting.

For Saturday morning, Max had booked us brunch at Heartswood in Yarra Glen, so we piled into two cars and braved the cold for a scrumptious brekky.

Brekky at Heartswood Yarra Glen
Jules’ brekky dish. Most of us failed to finish our brekkies as they were large!

Leaving Heartswood, we dropped into the Yarra Glen Chocolaterie, where Jules and I managed to lose 100 bucks on chocolate. And as chocolate is so sweet, we needed something a little more savoury, so we stopped off at Victoria’s first vineyard, Yering Station, established in 1838. There we sampled the wines, bought a couple of bottles for ‘on’, and took in the spectacular views.

Scott, Jade and Jules at the Yarra Glen Chocolaterie
Jules and me at Yerring Station Winery
The views from Yerring Station Winery
Scott, Jade and Abby at Yerring Station Winery

Arriving back at Max and Scott’s in mid-afternoon, we then all chipped in to rearrange the house in preparation for their 100th birthday celebration.

Max became increasingly anxious as she waited for her booked Cocktail Makers to arrive, but her worry was unwarranted, with the bar staff and about 70’odd birthday guests showing up around 7’ish.

As you’d expect at a joint 50th birthday, things started great, but the cocktails kept flowing and the noise and enjoyment kept increasing. A great night, much of which was spent outside in the sub 5C degree cold mountain air, next to the roaring open firepit. Sunday was VERY subdued and quiet…. (#JulesChundered).

Joint 50yr old farts, Max and Scott
The nibblies spread
Ella, Max, Scott and Abby (Jade was at babysitter)
Jules finally faces up to the day, at about 3pm, day after the party

Miraculously feeling much better on Monday, Max and Scott, who’d both taken a day off work, took us out for a day trip to Mount Donna Buang to see the snow, well some snow anyway.

Rugging up
The view from the lookout tower at the summit
Selfie at the top of the lookout tower
Looking down on Max, Scott, Jules and Jade from the lookout tower
Obligatory photo in front of the summit sign
Max, Jade and Scott
Me and her
Some bush snow pics
Some bush snow pics
Looking down towards the toboggan run
Fresh Wombat poo
Some bush snow pics
Some bush snow pics
Some bush snow pics
Snow runoff on the road up to the summit
Snow runoff on the road up to the summit
An amazingly bright and colourful rainbow on the trip home (taken from the car window as we were driving)

Saying our goodbyes to Max, Scott and the family, we hired a car and followed the roads lessor travelled (back roads) down to Mum & Dad’s place at Wonthaggi. Again, it was great catching up again after nearly 7 years.

Wednesday morning dawned pretty bleak, but we four travellers braved the elements and drove a loop route from Wonthaggi, down to Cape Patterson, out to Lower Tarwin, before stopping for a coffee and snack at Meeyinan.

The best of about 7 photos. All the others had some stupid bugger looking the other way or pulling a face..

Then, taking even more lessor roads, we drove up the mountains into Korumburra, then back down again to Wonthaggi. Settling in for the night with a hot lamb roast and conversation.

Me and Mum
Me and Dad, who can’t help himself, having to pull a silly face
Me and Dad
Me, Mum and Dad
Then Jules chips in with her silly bugger face
Us lot
Us lot

With a few days remaining on our Melbourne trip, we left Mum and Dads on Thursday morning, retracing our path back to Korumburra for some morning tea.

The ceiling of the old warehouse-like building where we had brekky
The old servo at Kongwak
The old servo at Kongwak

Back in Melbourne again, we had a nice meal at Max’s on Hardware Lane and we were off to a fantastic night at the Harry Potter – The Cursed Child play at the Princess Theatre. Seats in the centre, just three rows back from the stage and the show was brilliant. We finished the night with a quick cocktail at 1806 bar.

Dinner at Max’s on Hardware Lane
At Harry Potter – The Cursed Child
At Harry Potter – The Cursed Child
At Harry Potter – The Cursed Child
Some street art on the way home

Friday we managed to clock up 19km walking around Melbourne, starting off with breakfast and an exploration of the Queen Victoria Markets. Ending up meeting Max, Scott, Phil and Mel for a few drinks and a great dinner at Makan (though it took some finding as it was tucked away down an alley). Drinks were had at Young & Jackons, followed by the secret bar (behind the bookcase) at State of Grace – both pre-dinner, then Lily Black and finally calling it a night at Boilermaker, a whisky bar. Always fun to catch up and laugh with this lot.

1st drinks at Young & Jackson
2nd’s at State of Grace secret bar
2nd’s at State of Grace secret bar
Dinner at Makan
Dinner at Makan
Dinner at Makan
3rds at Lily Black
3rds at Lily Black
The drinks were clearly affecting Scott at Lily Black
The drinks were clearly affecting Scott at Lily Black
The girls en route between bars
Another Melbourne alleyway

Despite the previous night’s bar efforts, we actually didn’t drink too much, so Saturday morning we wandered through more of Melbourne, before taking in the Doggies beating Freo at Marvel Stadium.

Jules was craving pasta so for dinner we walked up to Lygon St, eventually finding and eating at Johnny, Vince and Sam’s Ristorante which had just opened only a few days prior. Jules follows these guys on Instagram where they have some food theme comedy going on and the place was heaving – so many people. Luckily and completely coincidentally, the restaurant was across the road from Fossey’s Distillery and it’d be rude not to check it out, so we wandered over there after dinner to sample their gin and rum paddles. Before finally rounding out the night with another quick cocktail at StoryVille, a fantasy/fiction book-themed bar in the city.

Some art in a Melbourne shopping arcade
At the footy
At the footy
Melbourne street art, you guessed it, down an alleyway
Dinner at Johnny, Vince and Sams
Cocktails at StoryVille
Jules had the Butterbeer and I had the Polyjuice – both were yummy
Jules and I in Bourke St Mall

Sunday, our last day of the trip and we were somewhat thankful as we’d done heaps and were ready for a rest! But we weren’t flying until Sunday evening so we caught the tram down to St Kilda to view the small Sunday markets, grabbing some breakfast and morno’s between the mizzle (miserable drizzle) and shizzle (pigeons shitting from the power lines).

Paul Kelly mural in St Kilda
Another St Kilda wall mural
An apt Melbourne alleyway st art pic to finish this post!

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