Tuesday, January 24, 2012

December Holiday with the McConnells, Part 2

Lilly and Jeff arrived on our second day in Melbourne.  After a very long flight, they were both ready for showers and food.  After they settled into the hotel, we headed into Chinatown which was just a short walk from our hotel.  The hotel conceirge recommended a very good dumpling house - it was amazing!  I'd dare say one of the best Chinese restaurants we've been to in Australia.  I can't recall the name of the place, but I know I could find it again.  It was so nice to be with Lilly and Jeff again.  I really missed them a lot.  Lilly and Jeff were hanging in there despite any feelings of jetlag setting in.  To my surprise, both were up for a run in the morning.  So, we headed out not too early through the streets of Melbourne down to the Yarra River and back.  I love running in a new city - its a great way to really get to know the area.   We did a bit of sightseeing around the city, then with a rental headed off to Phillip Island to see the famous penguin parade.

Since picture taking is not allowed at the penguin parade I cannot show you what it was about.  Trust me, if you ever visit Australia, it is definitely something you want to add to your "must see" list.  At sunset, the fairy penguins come in from their day of feeding in the ocean back to their burrows along the beach.  This is such an amazing event to witness.  The fairy penguin is the smallest breed penguin, standing about 12-16 inches.  The night was cold and windy, but it was worth it. 
The following pictures are at the beaches on Phillip Island:

Lilly, Anabella and me

Aunt Lilly, Anabella and Chloe

The Nobbies on Phillip Island

Family photo

After our trip to Phillip Island, the next day we headed south to the Great Ocean Road.  We spent two days driving the Great Ocean Road.  This has got to be one of the most picturesque roads in Australia, following along the southern coast 280 kilometers or 175 miles from Torquay to Warnambool.  The weather could have been better, but that didn't stop us from swimming in the ocean at Warnambool.  Along the way we stopped at the famous Bell's Beach, saw koalas in the wild at Kennett River, viewed the 12 Apostles, lunched in Port Campbell and landed in Warnambool for some playtime in the ocean and salt-water heated pool (heaven).
Jeff in surf heaven, Torquay
Bells Beach - famous surfing beach.  Did not see one surfer though.

Anabella and Uncle Jeff

We spent our first night in the quaint coast village of Lorne.  We enjoyed drinks on the deck while the girls played in the ocean.  At this point, the weather was terrible - on and off rain and cold!

Kennett River - Along the GOR - after Lorne is a nice, somewhat unexpected spot to view koalas in the wild.  Here we are taking a walk along the dirt road where we spotted more than 6 koalas just chillin'.

"Our Ride" - this is for you Jeff, LOL.

The 12 Apostles

 We spent our 2nd and final night in Warnambool.  It was a lot of driving along the road, but it sure was gorgeous.  We enjoyed our half a day in Warnambool.  Lil, Jeff and I took a nice jog along the ocean bike path in the morning before heading back to Canberra.  The drive back to Canberra was incredibly long.  I'd definitely recommend the train over driving it any day. 

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