School no more….

That’s it, all done, no more, forever…  I’m talking about the kids K-to-12 schooling.  Madeleine, and now Georgia have successfully completed and passed year 12.  Jules and I are proud of them both for passing with great grades, and we’re even happier about not having to pay school fees ever again.  However, we’re really most proud about the fantastic young adults they’ve become.

On finishing year 12, George decided she didn’t want to do ‘leavers’ (or ‘schoolies’ if you’re on the East Coast).  She wasn’t interested in the all the shite that goes with leavers, so she asked instead to take a trip to Victoria to visit the family, being her Great Grandma, Grandparents, Auntie & Uncle and cousins. A somewhat flying visit of just 5 nights/6 days, we managed to fit heaps in without feeling rushed.  Read on for the trip highlights and pics.


Tuesday 21/11

Early flight from Perth to Melb, however, due to the 3hour time difference we didn’t arrive until mid afternoon.  Picked up our hire car and navigated the freeway roadworks to our first ever Airbnb experience, an apartment right in the CBD, on the 47th floor of the Manhattan Tower.  Although small, it was well equipped, very clean, with great views and easy access to everything!  After a quick freshen up, it was off for a wander around Melbourne, with the majority of our time spent at the Cookie bar on Swanston St.  A favourite bar of ours with heaps of different beers and great, Thai inspired, food.  Whilst purchasing our 2nd round, Ruby Rose and Jessica Origliasso (one of the twins from the Veronica’s) grabbed the balcony seats directly behind us, however I couldn’t convince the girls to go ask for a selfie.  We did end up moving to that balcony on round 4, so at least we can say we sat where someone (somewhat) famous sat..  Dinner was at Max’s in Hardware Lane, another favourite, before checking in for the night after a quick look at the nighttime view from the balcony.

— Our first Airbnb experience, an apartment on the 47th floor in the Melb CBD —

— The girls enjoying a drink at the Cookie Bar, the windowed doors behind them, lead out the to the small balcony where Ruby Rose and Jess sat —

 — Jules and me enjoying a drink — 

— The balcony at Cookie Bar —

— Another round of drinks, this time at the rooftop bar in Young and Jacksons —

— Mad’s wearing Billie’s (our dog) new toy, a cat mask thingy —

— Dinner in Hardware Lane —

— The nighttime view from our 47th floor balcony —

— The sunrise from our balcony —

— Looking straight down from our balcony —


Wednesday 22/11

After a fantastic breakfast at Manchester Press in Rankins Lane, we hit the road towards Frankston to see my Grandma (the girls Great Grandma).  My Grandma is amazing, at 92, she’s still sprightly and drives to the shops most days.  I can only hope to be as healthy as her when I reach the nineties.  It was great to see the girls catch-up again, unfortunately, living so far away means we only get to visit every few years.  The one negative for the trip occurred on the drive down to Frankston, where our hire car (a Toyota Kluger) exhibited severe vibrations whilst under acceleration, however, luckily the car hire company had an office in Frankston so after a quick visit, we drove away in a replacement Mitsubishi Pajero Sport.  It was then a pleasant drive towards Wonthaggi where my parents live, however en-route we detoured via San Remo for lunch, and then took the opportunity to drive down to Phillip Island, somewhere I’d not been before.  Lovely drive with some great coastline and we saw a few Fairy Penguins and Cape Barron Geese at the southern tip.  We also watched some bikes speed around the MotoGP circuit.  Capping off a good day, we arrived at my folks place, where good food, wine and much merriment ensued.

— The girls and Grandma —

— Cape Barron Goose on Phillip Island —

—  Fairy Penguin on Phillip Island —

— The view looking north’ish on the path out to Pyramid Rocks. From this spot you could hear the motorbikes racing around the MotoGP circuit which is just up on the flat green area behind the hill on the left —

— Pyramid Rock —


Thursday 23/11

Following a nice lunch with mum & dad at Inverloch, we then took the opportunity to shoot down to Tidal River in Wilsons Promontory.  Blessed with fantastic weather, the last 20kms or so of the drive was magic, with fantastic views of the mountains, ocean and various rivers running to the sea.  It’s a shame we didn’t have more time as you could easily blow a few days, if not weeks, down here.  Back at mum and dads that evening for another great meal, more wine and general merriment.

— The beach on the way into Inverloch —

— Lunch with the oldies at Inverloch —

— A colourful fence in Inverloch —

— The first real glimpse of the ocean on the way into Wilsons Promontory —

—  Can’t remember the name of this beach, it was a few stops up from Tidal River —

— Tidal River —

— The girls with the grandies —

— Sophie, no she’s not dead, just sleeping (I hope…) —


Friday 24/11

Following brekkie, we said our goodbyes to my folks and took the most roundabout, back route we could find from Wonthaggi to Ferny Creek.  This saw us pass through the fantastically named town of Poowong, and along some really scenic roads.  Following mums recommendation, we stopped at Loch for a chili hot chocolate (don’t knock it until you try it, it was great) at The Rustic Cacao Cafe (check out their chili products) and a visit to the distillery where they make some great gins and beers.  Lunch was at the Gembrook pub, before making our way to our second Airbnb, a lovely house in Tremont (just down the road from Ferny Creek where my sister lives).  Dinner was a BBQ at my sisters place, joined by mutual friends Phil, Mel and their kids.

— Wall and picture abstract, taken at the Rustic Cacao Cafe in Loch —

— Roof abstract at the Gembrook Hotel —

— Our second Airbnb experience, Quambie House (lovely spot) —

— The view out from our bedroom —

— The gardens at Quambie house —

—  The nighttime view from our house —

— A King Parrot at Max and Scotts —

— And a Sulfur Crested Cockatoo at Max and Scott’s —

— Good times with family and friends —


Saturday 25/11

We had a fantastic breakfast at Mel’s Kallista Deli & Cafe, followed by a visit to my sisters shop, Seven Pages in Sassafras.  We then visited the William Ricketts Sanctuary which was well worth a visit, with some fantastic, often emotive, sculptures set amongst the bush.  Following the flow of the weekend warrior traffic, we then shot out to Healesville to visit the Four Pillars Gin Distillery and the Watts River Brewery, before a great lunch at the Grand Hotel.  Kicked back at my sisters again that evening.

— Some of the statues at William Ricketts Sanctuary (there are heaps more) —

— Jules and Max, enjoying(….) the Four Pillars Gin Distillery —

— Jade, super cute —

— Jules, Mads and Max at Watt River Brewery —

— Some freaky statue/setting thing in Healesville —


Sunday 26/11

Another visit to Sassafras for some breakfast and shopping, before meeting up with Max, Scott and the family in the city for lunch and a walk around.  There’s always plenty going on in Melbourne and today was no exception with heaps of police around to control a very small, <50 person protest group…  Melbourne is also pretty famous for its graffiti and whilst most graffiti in the burbs is pure vandalism, there are approved areas in the CBD where artists are allowed to express their art, and the visiting crowds love it.  Dropping the car back to the airport, we then had a 3hr relax in the Qantas lounge before the late flight home.  All in all a great trip!

— Some building art in South Bank —

— The family, except Jade who is hiding behind Scott —

— Some Melbourne street graffiti —

— George in the Wallace and Grommit exhibition at Fed Square —

— An abstract shot, taken at Fed Square —

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