Honeymoon Adventures: Australia Part II

Blogger’s note: So the order of this post is a tad misleading—we were in Melbourne before heading to New Zealand, but for the sake of keeping my posts organized by country, I’m including Melbourne here.

After spending an adventurous five days up at the reef and rainforest, we took a three-hour flight down to Victoria to spend some time in Melbourne.  To us, this was one of the coolest and hippest cities we’ve ever been to (Montreal and Austin are also on that list).  If we ever moved to Australia, we would totally live in Melbourne.

All photos personal

Melbourne at night, from 55 stories up at the restaurant Vue de Monde

What We Did

  • Lanes & Arcades Tour

This was a fascinating tour that took us through all the little alleys (known as arcades) throughout the city of Melbourne. Not only are there tons of cool little shops and restaurants in some of these alleys, but there is an INCREDIBLE amount of street art that changes every month. Here is some of the amazing artwork that we were lucky enough to see.

Mr. M got a panorama of this incredible mural.

This huge mural was created by a husband/wife team who go around the world painting different chapters of a storybook in each city.  How cool is that?? When we got there, her bottom half was already painted over, so our tour guide sent us this original.

Beautiful and intricate street art

More cool street art

We found an ankh! This symbol has been special to us ever since the day we met. I also got Mr. M ankh cuff links as a wedding present.

  • Wine Tour in Yarra Valley

The next day, we booked a tour with Epicurean Food and Wine Tours and were lucky enough to be the only people on the tour. Our guide Fiona took us to some amazing wineries in Yarra Valley where we drank and bought some fantastic wines. We also stopped for lunch at the fabulous Chandon winery.

Fabulous weather for a day in wine country

This was the last winery we visited and we ordered a case of their Pinot Noir to be shipped back home.

Where We Stayed & Ate

We stayed at the Hotel Lindrum, a really nice, modern hotel. There are a ton of amazing restaurants in Melbourne, so we went on a food frenzy while in town. And luckily for us, we were within walking distance to quite a few of them! Our most elaborate, indulgent, and the most expensive meal of our lives was at Vue de Monde. We had to make the reservation a month in advance and decided to do the Degustation menu, which consisted of 14 courses of (very) small plates. The chocolate souffle we had for dessert was to DIE for. The cost of this meal was insanely expensive—about half of what we pay for a month’s rent. But if there is one time to indulge in the finer things in life, it’s on your honeymoon. ;) Needless to say, we have been on a strict budget since returning from our honeymoon and have been cooking MANY meals at home.

But hands down the best meal we had in Melbourne and quite possibly on our entire trip was at the Asian fusion restaurant called Chin Chin. For only $66 a person, you ask for the “Feed Me” menu, where they continue to bring dish after dish of special items from the large menu. At around the seventh course, we threw in the towel and said no more—so of course they brought us one last dish of dessert. (I can’t even remember what it was, we were so full!)

Chin Chin, the best restaurant in Melbourne!

After Melbourne, we headed to New Zealand then came back to Sydney for the final week of our trip.

View of the Sydney Opera House from our hotel room

It was bittersweet coming back to where we started, knowing that we only had four days until we had to head home, so we didn’t waste any time. We cracked open a bottle of delicious sparkling pinot shiraz from Chandon in Yarra Valley and toasted to our trip so far.

A drink with a view!

What We Did

  • Sydney Pub Tour

This tour was a blast! We booked through Sydney Pub Tours and once again lucked out as the only people on the tour. We got to learn more about the history of Australia through the city’s oldest pubs and subsequently through drinking some great beers (for Mr. M) and hard ciders (for me). I tried to keep up drinking-wise with the guys but got pretty tipsy only three ciders in and had to slow my roll.

I was still getting over my cold from New Zealand, so the tour guide was kind enough to introduce me to a whisky hot toddy, claiming that it would kill the germs. It must have worked because I finally felt normal again the next day (and slightly hungover, LOL).

Checking out some awesome pubs and having kangaroo pizza for the first time

Showing us where unfortunate soldiers used to get “Shanghai’ed” back in the day. So of course we had to pose in one of the cells. Scary!

  •  Wildlife Tour

We explored the wild yet again, this time about two hours outside of Sydney, and instead of a wildlife park, this was out in the wild on 1,000 acres of privately owned land. This tour was really cool because we got to see kangaroos, wombats, and koalas in their natural environments. And our guide Steve was awesome! We booked this through Boutique Tours Australia.

After searching for hours, we finally got to see two koalas. It was truly amazing to see them eating and traveling in their natural environment.

This is a gigantic wombat hole—these animals basically look like huge hamsters and dig these massive holes. Underground, they have an intricate network of holes where they can hide from predators.

  •  Sydney Bike Tour

The next day, we did a bike tour of Sydney and got to see various city sights up close and personal. We booked this tour through Bonza Bike Tour.

Riding over the Harbour Bridge; upper right, across the water with the bridge and Opera House in the background

The upper images are from our ride through Hyde Park; lower photos are from the Botanical Gardens

  • Surf Lessons at Bondi Beach

On our last full day in Sydney, we booked surf lessons at the world famous Bondi Beach. We took the city bus about 45 minutes east to get to the beach, and it was a brutally hot day (almost 95 degrees!) Lucky for us, the water was ice cold. Unfortunately, we don’t have any photos of us actually surfing. (I’m still a little peeved that the surf school we booked through didn’t have their photographer on hand that day.)

But after a grueling two-hour lesson, I finally managed to stand up on my board and I road the wave all the way to the shore. I had NO idea surfing was so incredibly hard and such a crazy workout—definitely have a new-found respect for surfers!

We snapped this photo while having lunch at the Icebergs Sports Club, right before our lesson.

  • Watching a show at the Sydney Opera House

We got tickets to the show South Pacific, which felt like an appropriate way to end our trip.

This is what’s up on the stage before the show starts.

Mr. M enjoying a glass of champagne during intermission

Where We Stayed & Ate

We stayed at the incredibly gorgeous and luxurious Shangri-La hotel in The Rocks (a really cool part of Sydney). I’m just realizing now that I didn’t take any pictures of our room. :( But here’s an idea of what it looked like.

Similar room to ours at the Shangri-La / Image via Agoda

We also ate at some fantastic restaurants while in Sydney, most notably the Glenmore Hotel (with a rooftop deck that has sick views of the harbour and awesome bar food), Din Tai Fung (AMAZING soup dumplings), Robocog (delicious brunch), Malaya (yummy Malaysian food), and a pre-theatre dinner at Guillaume et Bennelong, a gorgeous French restaurant inside the Sydney Opera House.

Inside Guillaume et Bennelong

View of the sunset at dinner

And with that, our incredible journey Down Under came to an end. We were actually pretty sad to leave, but it was time to get back to reality. Luckily, the plane ride home was just as fabulous as our way there, so it made the transition a bit easier, though it took me about a week to get back on East Coast time. The night we got home, we went to bed at 9:00 PM, we woke up at 4:00 AM, and Mr. M was so wired that he went to a deli to get us breakfast sandwiches. I fell back asleep at 8:00 AM and didn’t wake up again until 2:00 PM. Needless to say, it was ROUGH getting over the jet lag…but totally worth it!

BLOGGER

Mrs. Mongoose

Location:
New Haven, CT
Wedding Date:
May 2013
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comments

  1. Guest
    estella, Guest @ 11:50 am

    oooh kangaroo pizza is THE BEST. Did you get it at the Australian Hotel? Your trip looks amazing!

  2. Member
    Mrs. Genie 709 posts, Busy bee @ 12:08 pm

    This is seriously great news about Melbourne’s coolness. My aunt lives outside of Victoria, and I always thought that that week would be the mellow part of our trip, but it sounds like you had a great time!

  3. Member
    Mrs. Campfire 971 posts, Busy bee @ 12:09 pm

    Sounds like you had a blast! We have two Din Tai Fung’s here in Seattle and they are AMAZING. :)

  4. Member
    bridesmomma 427 posts, Helper bee @ 12:24 pm

    Your honeymoon sounded absolutely PERFECT! Thank you for writing up such wonderful recaps!

  5. Member
    Mrs. Mongoose 726 posts, Busy bee @ 2:23 pm

    @estella: Yup it was at the Australian Hotel!! It was surprisingly good but I felt guilty eating it since we had just feed kangaroos earlier in out trip hahaha.

    @Mrs. Genie: Melbourne is so incredibly hip–great culture, art, food and just overall a cool vibe. Probably our new favorite city!

    @Mrs. Campfire: Okay I’m super jealous that you have Din Tai Fung’s near you ;)

    @bridesmomma: Thank you for reading them!

  6. Member
    Mrs. Wallaby 2809 posts, Sugar bee @ 5:40 am

    You guys are so classy!! I love all of the shots of you sippling on bubbly. Pretty sure we ate street food for half our meals in Sydney hahaha. The street art in Melbourne looks awesome, it reminds me a lot of the art in Amsterdam. Are you guys ready to go back or what?! :)

  7. Member
    bebelicious1 944 posts, Busy bee @ 5:46 am

    Seriously, what an amazing journey!!!! Thanks for sharing so many details. Congrats with everything! I really enjoy reading your posts!

  8. Member
    Mrs. Palm Tree 1069 posts, Bumble bee @ 10:52 am

    Omg those glow worms! I’m dying. My brain immediately went to the thought of getting that picture as a canvas and hanging it – maybe even on the ceiling above your bed? Gahhhhhhhh. Love love love.

  9. Member
    Mrs. Pony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 1:43 pm

    Your honeymoon just looks amazing! I’m in awe of all your adventures!

  10. Member
    Mrs. Mongoose 726 posts, Busy bee @ 2:07 pm

    @Mrs. Wallaby: Hahaha we were ready to go back the minute we got on the plane home!

    @bebelicious1: I’m glad you enjoyed my posts–it was the greatest adventure of our lives for sure :)

    @Mrs. Palm Tree: I wish we would have been able to take a photo of the glowworms ourselves–I’ve never seen anything like it in my life! Truly breathtaking sight.

    @Mrs. Pony: Thank you!

  11. Member
    dommiebatsch 48 posts, Newbee @ 4:08 pm

    Melbourne Represent! Glad to hear it made your list of awesome places! Did you have the macaroons at Vue De Monde? AMAZING! (and did you notice the little Vue De Monde cafe at the airport, best airport food ever!)

  12. Member
    Mrs. Mongoose 726 posts, Busy bee @ 4:38 pm

    @dommiebatsch: Ooh they might have come with the petit-fours for dessert but I honestly can’t remember–we didn’t get seated until 9:30 so dinner wasn’t over until almost 1am hahaha. And I did notice the cafe at the airport when we were leaving–now I’m wishing we would have had time to grab something to eat!

  13. Member
    dommiebatsch 48 posts, Newbee @ 4:50 pm

    oh wow, late dinner but super super yummy! I’ve always wanted to eat there, i’ve only ever been to the cafe on St Kilda Road

  14. Member
    Mrs. Waterfall 1300 posts, Bumble bee @ 10:50 am

    Wow! What a honeymoon! I’ve always wanted to try surfing, but it looks so hard!

  15. Member
    Miss Pyramid 807 posts, Busy bee @ 7:09 am

    Your honeymoon was amazing! All of the food and tours sound incredible! I saw South Pacific when it came to NOLA last year, and I loved it!

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