The Grampians Trip | New to Melbourne Bus Tours

Hey, can you believe it? We finally got around to doing something touristy and leaving the city! It only took about 2 months to do so… lol.

On Australia Day (Jan 26th), we finally went on the long-awaited Grampians bus tour. I found this bus tour hosted by New to Melbourne on Facebook and it’s aimed towards travellers and budget travellers. We missed out on the early birds special and got the next tier which was about $65? I think early bird special was only $50 per person.

I mean… that is significantly cheaper than renting a car! I pushed Dan to join me on this bus tour because the reviews were great buuut… I think we’ll skip these bus tours going forward. We originally planned on doing two more tours with them but it’s not our style, despite the cheap prices.


I took a nap before arriving at our first stop, Beaufort, a small little town about 2-2.5 hours away from Melbourne downtown. It’s one of those towns with only one major main street as their downtown and everything is local. It was our first pit stop to grab some lunch and for the next 30-40 minutes or so, I just loved Beaufort. I don’t know why but I love small towns.

From there, it was only about 40ish minutes to The Grampians.

*Cue Country Roads by John Denver*

So, Grampians is like a national park in the state of Victoria and our first stop was Mackenzie Falls. It’s at the top of the park and let me just say… holy crap, it’s beautiful!

It’s a giant waterfall but the scenery and landscape were just so beautiful and peaceful. Everything was blue. The water stream was refreshing and cold on a nice 30 degrees day. It really was breathtaking and I don’t think I’ve ever seen something like this before.

The great Mackenzie Falls.

We then hiked a bit further down to get away from the crowds.

Does anyone else like copying their significant other? LOL.


Unfortunately, the tour started later than usual and the tour guide had trouble sticking to the itinerary throughout the stops so Mackenzie Falls was only about an hour… like seriously?! Only an hour to experience this beauty?

So we hopped on the bus and visited our next stop, The Balconies that overlooks The Grampian, I suppose.

This was a mediocre stop. The view was great but definitely not worth cutting Mackenzie Falls short.


And ten minutes away was Reed Lookout (I think??? lol). This was literally the dumbest thing because she only gave us 20 minutes to experience this lookout, and the best lookout was 1km always. Like, it would take 15-20 minutes alone just to walk back and forth from the lookout to the bus.

Sorry! This panorama wouldn’t rotate T__T

The last stop at the bottom of the Grampians was this kangaroo park. Unfortunately, it’s weather dependent and it was a hot day so the kangaroo park was empty. I think that sort of stricken a chord with Dan because when you look back retrospectively, we didn’t have to rush all the stops and could’ve experienced a bit more.

The next and final pit stop was in a town called Ararat where we stopped for some dinner. We had Nando’s planned (since we get dropped off right in front of it after the tour) so we just ordered some fries and drinks at McDonald’s to keep us satisfied until Nando’s.


So, all in all, the itinerary was planned for 9am to 9pm and we got back into the city at 8:45pm despite having a late start… I mean, I disliked the tour enough for me to actually be happy to have it end earlier than anticipated.

Don’t get me wrong – The Grampians was a beautiful experience and trip but the bus tour thing is not us. And New to Melbourne could really tighten up their game.

The tour guide was late to greet us. The bus was late to arrive. The bus driver was haggard and needed to take breaks on the side of the road. We stopped at a hotel to pick up another passenger’s mom?! And every stop was cut short to ensure we arrive back into the city at 9pm.

Not worth it. Crammed in a bus, our legs were tired and our shoulders were stuff, and when we arrived at our stops, we barely had time to fully stretch our legs and enjoy the views.

Sure, it’s $50-65 but for a once in a lifetime experience, I think it’s worth it to chuck out some money to rent a car and do things to your own desire and not wait on anyone else.

Oh well… lesson learned for our next road trip!

My First Australian Open!

Last week, I went to my first ever Australia Opening… actually, make it my first tennis game ever. If you don’t count any games I’ve watched my classmates play back in high school.

Dan has been doing some work at the AO and decided to grab some court tickets to catch this event. I didn’t know just how big an Australia Opening is until my colleagues were talking about it. When I mentioned that I’m heading there on Sunday, my colleague, Charlotte, was telling me how much I’d love the atmosphere and Dan thinks the atmosphere would be pretty cool for me as well.

We went with our roommate, Tiffany, and her brother, Tom. When we first arrived, we walked around the grounds filled with yummy vendor stands and shops.

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely LOOOOOVE visiting souvenir shops so when I saw the Fan Shop, I dragged Dan in. He did warn me that all the Australia Opening swag is hella expensive so just how expensive? A damn baseball cap costs $40 and all it has is ‘AO’ embroidered on the front.

We got tickets to Margaret Court and I watched some legendaries played. They must be legendaries but I had no idea who they were, lol.

After this, it was the Women’s Double.

After that, it was a break before the Women’s Single match. We went to this BBQ pulled pork vendor for lunch and made it back to our seats in time for the Women’s Single match.

So, prior to the Women’s Single match, the court was rather empty. But when this match was starting, the entire court was nearly filled seat to seat. I think this was the “title match” for ticket holders to Margaret Court.

I remember this match because everyone was talking about it! It was the match between Danielle Collins and Angie… something, lol. I don’t know the players but I believe Angie was world’s #2 and she was knocked out by Collins under an hour! At that time, Collins was #14 in the world.


Since Collins smashed the match fairly quickly, we were pretty much out of our seats as fast as we got there. I mean, it was a good match but Tiffany made a good comment saying we spent money on these tickets and sort of wish we got to see more tennis.

We were about to head home until we decided to watch another big game outdoors since we don’t have tickets to see that game. It was a good experience to see how so many Aussies would just hang out with drinks and food and catch some good tennis.


Overall, it was a great day and a nice real Aussie experience! I learned a lot of tennis as well and can see how much of an addictive game it can be to watch.

The Summer Nightmarket

The Queen Victoria Summer Nightmarket was one of the events that every Melbourian has suggested we attend. Even previous Working Holiday travellers told us to not miss this event.

We’re no strangers to nightmarkets; back in Vancouver, there’s several summer nightmarkets happening around the city. I try to go every year but at the end of the day, it’s more or less the same shit. We also hate crowds too.

After work, we trained over to Melbourne Central and walked up the Queen Victoria market. We wanted to keep it cheap so we limited ourselves to $25. I hate nightmarkets for the reason that it’s usually cash only – although, this nightmarket seems fancy enough that vendors have Square now.

Anyways, first impression – it’s massive and very crowded. The vendors essentially create a rectangle around you (with a few vendors in the middle), and in the middle is just a big seating area. Back at home, the nightmarkets had a few tables scattered around but most people just stand in one area and eat, or walk and eat.

What surprised Dan the most was how this vendor managed to have a stone pizza oven in the middle of this marketplace, lol. I must admit, it’s pretty impressive….

We also saw a bunch of people with this huuuuge mango thing so I made it a mission to find it and omg, it was legit only $5. I was expecting to cough up like $10-$12 for the thing because of its size but it was literally only $5 and nothing more.

Like, seriously… how do you offer this much mango for only $5? Tell me your secrets.

We also decided to have dinner at the nightmarket as well, and we both agreed on this pulled pork place. No regrets because it’s the best pulled pork nachos I’ve ever had. I kept on moaning as I stuffed my face, lol.

Overall experience? It was great and I’m happy to have stopped by and check it out but I don’t know why so many people hype it up. The food selection was mediocre and only had a few good options, and the goods vendor were all selling cheap knockoff brands.

But, the food was overall cheaper than I expected. I guess it’s not like at home where they gauge you for as much cash as possible.

Journal Entry #006

Friday, January 11th, 2019

I can’t believe it’s almost halfway through January! January is one of those months that always flies by for me, regardless if my life is eventful or not.

I’m currently sick right now. I don’t know what happened but Thursday morning on my way to work, I was just hit with motion sickness that wouldn’t go away so I left work early to rest up. This morning, I woke up without the nausea but just sharp headaches and a very achy body. You know the type of achy-ness that comes with fevers? Where you feel like you’re an 80 year old old nanny and the aches just seeps into your bones? I have that right now as I type this journal entry, lol.

The good thing about being stuck at home like an 80 year old granny is the fact that I’m able to finally catch up on blogs, write new entries, and discover new blogs. I really want to keep consistent with my blogging this year and grow my blog.

I was looking through my Google Photos and have a back log of photos… so, here’s a photo dump!

Where are all my B99 fans?! This shirt is from Greyline AU and I just had to buy it after seeing the Instagram ad for it. I got one for Dan as well but his shirt says Amazing Genius/Detective lol.

Dan’s mom sent us pictures of Cooper and look at how big he has gotten in just two years! As you can tell from the picture, I’m a dog aunt. Cooper belongs to Tyler, Dan’s older brother.


Last Friday, we went on a walking ghost tour! This would be my third one (lol, I know right?) and it was great. I found Lantern Ghost Tours off Groupon but otherwise, I normally wouldn’t pay full price for these activities. The host, Jason, was very good and the tour was fun. A lot to learn about Melbourne and its criminal past.

The other two ghost tours I’ve been on was back in Seattle and Vancouver. For those who think it’s ridiculous… I honestly recommend trying a ghost tour… you may just get into it like I did! This was Dan’s first ghost tour and he said he had a great time as well.

Also, during the daytime, it was hella hot… like 42 degrees Celsius hot.

I’ve never experience this heat before. The moment I left my nice air-con office, I felt my eyes being dehydrated asap. It was a weird feeling.

I’m trying to cook more and save money instead of always ordering out. I tried this recipe I found online for spicy tuna avocado wraps and it was the bomb dot com. I ended up making the same thing 2 days later because it was sooooo good and hella easy and cheap to make.

That’s all from me! I’ll try to keep consistent with my blogging so I don’t have a backlog of entries and photos to spam.

Date Day at Melbourne Zoo

A week before Christmas, Dan and I headed out to Melbourne Zoo on the weekend. Much to my surprise, it was Dan’s idea ๐Ÿ™‚

I can count the amount of times I’ve been to a zoo on one hand, and the last zoo I was in was the Calgary Zoo (or Edmonton? – I can’t even remember…) back in 2012 or something. I haven’t even been to the Vancouver Zoo yet!

Straight off the bat what I loved about Melbourne Zoo was how easy it was to get there. It was about a 15-20 minutes tram ride out of the city… like what?! I’m not driving 1 hour to go visit a zoo?! It amazes me that such a big zoo is just outside the downtown core.

First stop was the Gorilla section of the zoo. I didn’t take any pictures because my phone camera is shite in that area and the gorillas were super far… but, here’s a selfie at the “Ranger’s Den”, lol.

We later came across the Butterfly House which… you guessed it, a house full of butterflies! I was a bit scared at first but after spending time there, they’re just harmless butterflies.

After the Butterfly House, we ventured off the the elephants and giraffes.

When I asked Dan to take a picture of me with the elephants… his response was “I got a picture of you with an elephant’s butt… and the elephant.” So, it’s only natural that I do the same when he wants a picture with an elephant.

Here’s me with a side profile of a zebra’s butt.

We also dropped by the koala home but this koala was too busy eating ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

I think we spent about 2.5 hours at the zoo already at this point and we were just ready to get away from all the kids and grab some late lunch/dinner. So, we sort of just sped through the remainder of the zoo (not many sections left anyways).

Here’s a sleeping wombat.

Here’s our favourite part!

We stumbled across this “cat alley” with beautifully painted cat murals. I couldn’t resist getting some pictures with it, and best of all? No loud kids pushing and shoving, shouting, and being in the background (lol).

Here’s our little cat family, lol… I love how the brown cat is staring at Dan!

Of course, after passing through the cat alley, we made our way to the meerkat section. This is Dan’s favourite part of the zoo and I didn’t think I would like it too much but these little buggers stole my heart! Look at how cute they are!

I love souvenir shops so it’s only fitting that we make time to visit the souvenir shop on the way out. I don’t know what it is about them because it’s not like I buy a shit ton of things! But I just love grabbing at least one item from a cool place, and Melbourne Zoo was pretty cool.

We ended up getting a meerkat magnet that I can’t wait to stick to the fridge when we get back home to Canada!


All in all, I had a great date day and I’m very grateful for Dan to have planned the day and dinner out! It was relaxing and very fun to see all these different animals. Personally, I prefer zoos more than aquariums. I find aquariums to be very repetitive, and the zoo had a marine life exhibition but we breezed through it.

Merry Christmas + Happy New Year!

Christmas Eve 2018

Being the newbie at work, I was the one who had to stay during the holidays and sure, I have no family or friends to spend the holidays with so I do make the perfect candidate for coming into work but it was sooooo dead. It sucks even more that I’m new because if I was there for a while, I would’ve had some backlog of work to get through and pass the time.

My colleagues agreed that I could call it early and get started on my Christmas since it was very quiet. Times like this, I wish I was back at home because my old job has flex days and the office would just be closed and we’ll work from home.

Santa also came a bit earlier and my ring finally came from Canada! I am sooooo in love with it…


Christmas Day 2018

Merry Christmas! We woke up to a whopping 30+ degrees and it didn’t feel like Christmas at all. For us, we associate Christmas with cold and snow, lol. At work, there’s another Canadian that moved to Melbourne 30+ years ago and she told me that even after all these years, she still can’t get used to an Aussie Christmas.

Dan and I went down to Brighton Beach. We opted out of St. Kilda’s because we figured it will be packed with tourists. Brighton Beach felt more local and it was much, much quieter.

After the beach, we headed home to relax and have our Christmas dinner. Since it was just us – our housemates both left for the holidays – we decided to do the most stereotypical thing … we had a bbq and threw shrimps on the barbie, haha.

Since it was also the most stereotypical thing to do, we decided to take some photos for our last minute Christmas card idea. We had a lot of fun doing it that I think we’ll like to make this the start of a tradition! Making cheesy and cringey family cards.


Boxing Day 2018

I didn’t partake in Boxing Day this year as I felt that I didn’t need much… plus, being a traveller sort of makes you a bit more conscious of your purchases because you’re going to have to think how to bring all your crap back home or if you want to invest in something so temporary.

Instead, we opted to catch Aquaman in theaters. And…

Aquaman was horrible. The group in front of us walked out. But oh my gosh, I was feeling relief when the movie finally ended. I would give it a 3/10 and Dan gives it about a 5 or 6/10.

The actors were good enough, but the writing was soooo bad and cheesy. Seriously. On top of that, we weren’t a fan of how futuristic the film was – it felt like we were watching an underwater Star Wars movie.

I would probably catch this movie only if you can get discounted tickets – otherwise, wait for it to come on a streaming platform.

Also, I also found out that my one hour of sunbathing on Christmas Day resulted in my first ever sunburn! Literally, my first ever sunburn. I’m not even mad, lol.


New Year’s Eve

For NYE, we decided to head out to King’s Domain to catch the city’s fireworks. We normally hate going out on NYE because everything is overpriced and transport (public or private) sucks ass. But, being new to the city and without friends or family, public events are pretty much our only choice to celebrate a holiday, lol.

I’m usually skeptical about public celebrations because Vancouver has always put on shite fireworks and entertainment so I didn’t have much expectations for Melbourne’s.

To end off 2018, we went to Sushi Hub. It’s technically a fast food sushi restaurant but we haven’t found an actual sit-in sushi restaurant yet (without it being super expensive).

We arrived a bit earlier than the entertainment because we weren’t sure when Sushi Hub would close. So we just hung around the park and chatted, enjoying each other’s company.

The entertainment included music videos and a live DJ – nothing too extravagant.

Literally waited about 3.5 hours for the fireworks and countdown!


So, hello to 2019 in Melbourne! 2018 has been a great year but I wasn’t fan of the last two months.

I’m not sure what to make 2019, to be honest. 2018 has been a great year and I just want to continue the flow of savings, new experiences and travelling. Sure, there are habits I’d like to kick but for the most part, I think I’ll continue to live and experience 2019 the same way as I did in 2018 with a little bit more pushing myself out of the comfort zone!


A Date in the Old Melbourne Gaol

Yesterday, Dan and I went to the Old Melbourne Gaolย for date day. For those like me, I didn’t know “gaol” was an alternative spelling to “jail” and pronounced it as “gah-ol” until Dan corrected me, lol.ย 

Honestly, I’ve never seen jail spelled like that before!

Prior to visiting the jail, we stopped by the Queen Victoria Market because we wanted to see a Christmas market… unfortunately, it wasn’t much of a Christmas market and just a regular vendor market selling fresh produce, meats and seafood… and knock off clothing.ย 

There was a big Christmas shop on the corner of the market, BUT, the moment we walked in, we had one of the sales associates follow us throughout the ENTIRE store. I’ve never been profiled at a store before so that was a new experience for me and made me feel very uncomfortable. I was about to tell the associate off when Dan said let’s go because he didn’t like the vibes they were giving us as well. I’m really happy we didn’t end up grabbing anything from that store.ย 

Anyways, enough of that nonsense and let’s talk about the jail experience!


This is the second jail tour I’ve been in. The first one was back in Alcatraz when I visited San Francisco.

When we arrived to purchase our tickets, we were lucky to arrive just in time for the Watch Tower experience where we get arrested and booked. It was a fun little experience to sort of see what the detainees went through. Our tour guide was very fun and entertaining. Near the end of the Watch Tower tour, we overheard another tour where a female was giving the tour and she was more of the strict cop – she was literally yelling at the other tour group!

Some of the graffiti written by those arrested and booked.

These were the cells that they locked us in. We thought it was just sitting around for a few seconds until the guard yelled “LIGHTS OUT!” and actually turned the lights off! We sat there in darkness for about 30 seconds before the guard came back and said “Good morning!” and let us out to the courtyard. We were also divided up by gender to make it a bit more realistic too.ย 

The Watch Tower experience was about a 30ish minute tour. After the lock-up experience, the guard/staff told us a little bit of the history of the jail and also led us to the new exhibit on the Russell Street bombing.ย 

After that, we ventured into the actual jail and toured the three levels. We learned a lot about the Kelly gang and Colin Campbell Ross. Not to mention, this jail hung 133 convicts so it’s a bit eerie to stand in the courtyard where the hanging would happen and see the gallows, and also the torture and punishment tools used on these inmates.ย 

Some of the torturing tools they used. On the far left, those were gloves given to inmates to prevent them from masturbating (lol).ย 

I think out of everyone that passed through the Melbourne Jail, two inmates stood out to me: Colin Ross and Alexander Ross (next picture). These two inmates were not related.

I don’t know why but I felt so sorry to see this adorable little boy be punished! I didn’t take any pictures but part of the museum displayed how inmates would be whipped so I think that’s another reason why he stuck with me because he survived being strapped down and whipped, and died in 1954 in a suburb next to where I’m currently living.ย 

The gallows used for hanging. I believe Dan Kelly was hung here rather than outside in the courtyard…
Tools used for hanging.
On the third floor.

After the jail, we headed down to Federation Square to see the Christmas tree. We originally wanted to see it a night time but it was still bright AF at 5pm and we really didn’t want to kill 3-4 hours roaming around.ย 

At the time, there was also an African Celebration going on so we saw a few cool performances.ย 

Ugh, I seriously can’t wait until my hair grows out and I’m out of the awkward growing phase.

And, to end date day, Dan took me out to a sushi dinner and Starbucks dessert.ย 

PS: It’s actually pretty cheap to have a wedding in the jail, LOL. I did check the wedding hire brochure.