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!

Lynn Canyon Hike + Kevin Hart Show

Last month (I know, this is so overdue, lol), Dan and I finally decided to get off our lazy butts and do a small hike up in Lynn Canyon. The only reason why I even suggested Lynn Canyon was because it’s been years since I’ve been back and I sort of wanted to do a suspension bridge but didn’t want to pay like $40 for the one in Capilano.

Getting to Lynn Canyon without a car is painful! The first time I was up there, my friend had a car but since Dan and I rely on car-share, we decided to take public transit instead because car-share doesn’t go up with North Vancouver and it wasn’t worth it to pay for it hourly as we hiked.

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We went early-ish in the morning to avoid the crowds and the hot sun. I couldn’t recall what time but I’m thinking 10am to 11am-ish? The only crowd we experience was this family of tourists but aside from that, the park was nearly empty and the bridge wasn’t too crowded!

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A little into our hike, we found a beautiful river stream!

(We later found a decent little lake where people were actually taking a swim).

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And of course, we had to take a selfie at the bridge! I don’t know about you but I get nervous around things like this when I’m holding something valuable. Like, it’s less about the height and more about someone bumping into me and making me drop my phone into the stream below, lol.

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After our hike, we decided to splurge and have a lunch out. We were nearby the area of Anton’s so we settled for having pasta for lunch, which was fitting since I was starving. Anton’s is one of those places famously known for huge portions – they even reward you if you manage to finish your dish in one sitting. Dan has a big appetite and he typically leaves the restaurant with leftovers.

Plus, for only $15 for a plate bigger than my face… it makes a good meal or two for me!

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Who here loves white sauce more than red?!

Later in the evening, after filled with pasta and some relaxation, we headed out to catch Kevin Hart’s Irresponsible tour. This was my second time catching Kevin Hart and Dan’s first. I remember the first time I caught him live, he was performing at The Orpheum where the stage was more than half the size at Rogers Arena. Like, The Orpheum is where the Vancouver orchestra performs and Rogers Arena is where our hockey is played… so you can see how he’s grown drastically.

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Last month, a sunny day like this was very rare in Vancouver. It was rainy and cloudy throughout the month. So naturally, we had to soak up as much sunshine as possible before the show started!

Kevin Hart’s tour had a really strict cell phone usage policy. The moment you sit down at your seats, you’re not allowed to use your cellphone – not even to check the time! During the time we waited for the open acts and Kevin to come out, Dan and I were watching other people use their cellphones and security coming over to them. Much to my dismay, no one actually got pulled away and kicked out of the arena… although one girl got taken out but she came back momentarily.

The security was so adamant about this no cellphone policy that one security guy came up and asked if my watch was a Fitbit and if it recorded videos… like, seriously? For those who aren’t aware of Fitbits, the interface remains turned off but sometimes when you flick your wrist or something (eg. to read what time it is), the screen lights up. I guess when I was applauding one of the opening acts, the act of clapping turned my display on momentarily.

Kevin didn’t come on until an hour or two later – I think he had about three opening acts? But, when he did come on, he was AMAZING! Kevin Hart is one of my favourite comedians so I got extremely excited to see him live. He was full of energy, his jokes and stories cracked me right up – my cheeks were hurting so much from smiling! My favourite one was his story about hiding guns around the house, LOL and his Tokyo one – only because Dan and I returned from Japan a few months ago and somewhat understood what he was going through.

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Sold out show!

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The only time we were given permission to use our phones was at the end of the show.

Don’t you just love my phone quality? LOL.

All in all, it was such a great date day! We had ourselves a neat little hike with a small suspension bridge, followed by a soak in the sun and catching the Kevin Hart show!