We embraced our inner ‘bird nerd’ and joined Will and Natalie on a trip to Sherbrooke Forest. Just an hour train journey away from the centre of Melbourne we found ourselves in the centre of nowhere. Our view of trees went far and wide. Prepared in our best outdoor adventure trekking gear (new balance trainers and some carki shorts) we set off in search of some wildlife. Natalie chose a ‘moderate’ route which consisted of a 7.1km, 2 hour trek covering the Lyrebird trail and a track to the picnic ground. The description fails to mention the 1km vertical climb (Mt. Everest) at the end of the route – boy did we earn our picnic! We started the walk with very low expectations of seeing any Lyrebirds at all as we’d heard their numbers are rapidly decreasing. To our surprise we saw our first one within 30 minutes of starting the walk. For those who are not familiar with the Lyre bird (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjE0Kdfos4Y) it can mimic the sounds it hears to attract the attention of it’s lady friends (car alarms/chainsaws/camera shutter), we felt pretty cool to see one in real life! In fact we saw around 15 of them by the end of the trek and the whole afternoon became about tiptoeing through the forest, eyes peeled, looking for more. Along the way were Kookaburras, Cockatoos, Crimson and Rainbow Lorikeets! A bonus would have been to see some marsupials; echidnas, wallabies, wombats, but we didn’t want to push our luck.
We made it back to the apartment complex with enough sun for a nap beside the rooftop pool – dribbles, snores and all. After nearly a week of home cooking and dry sandwiches for lunch we decided to treat ourselves. Meatballs & Wine was our chosen restaurant, where we ate just that! It was cool and dimly lit, we were sat at a table with 3 other girls as it seems tables were filled to capacity instead of pre-allocated for the number of guests in your party. Melt in your mouth meatballs made the trek up Everest totally worth it. We found a hidden bar behind one of the theatres in the city, Siglo. We were looking for our next bar when we saw 3 people pop out of a plain brown door. On asking where we might find the supper club, the group told us not to go there but to follow the staircase to the top floor where we’d find a better atmosphere. Following instructions we walked all the way to the top and popped out on top of the building, with a view of the parliament building and night sky. Turns out it pays to speak to the locals.
Our legs felt like they had fallen off and been reattached backwards after all the walking but we perservered with our day and headed for the first day of the Moomba Festival on the Yarra River. Here we found very few tourists and even less life in the festival. According to the guide, the festival started today with the women’s and men’s ski jump qualifying rounds taking place all afternoon. We made the most of the extra lounging space on the south bank grass and stayed put for a good few hours to watch the event – all water skiers are built like machines and could crack walnuts with their lats! Hench! Thankfully for our exposed skin the sun wasn’t too strong so the sunburn we previously encountered was not made any worse – although Steph has now transformed into a snake and is shedding.
At Federation Square we stumbled upon a Chinese film production with song and dance and many cameras capturing all angles. At first we weren’t sure what was happening but after countless takes and reruns we concluded we would probably never see the film in all its glory and hoped we’d made it into the back of at least one shot. We made the most of the happy hour in the cricketer arms and gulped down a glass or two of wine (becoming a diet staple) before heading back to the apartment via the scenic route. For some unknown reason, we were now racing each other in the Olympic sport of ‘power walking’. The legs which did not belong to us earlier that day were now being put through their paces in a sprint of “race you to the next lamppost!”. The locals thought this was a delight and allowed us our 5 minutes of insanity before realising we’d made a mistake and neither our legs nor heart were capable of the unexpectedly difficult sport. We returned home slower than expected and succumbed to the award winning Kiwi fish and chips in the apartment complex, washed down with some blonde stubbies.
Natalie and Will were awake at their earliest so far this trip, 8:30am, and departed at 9am for their taxi to the airport heading for Tasmania. We would have gone with them but the new balance and carki’s previously worn are not really cut out for 24:7 trekking. Instead, we packed our bags too and set off like carthorses towards the centre of Melbourne to get the tram down to St. Kilda where we have accommodation booked through Airbnb! A modern apartment on the 11th floor allows us sea views and a view of the race track for the Melbourne formula 1 taking place as of the 12th March. Good job we kept the free ear plugs from the plane. As a bonus we also have access to the gym in the building and provisions for cooking and cleaning which will cut down on spending – more for wine.
We headed back up to the Moomba Festival, which was far busier today, and had hotdogs and churros on the south bank whilst watching the men’s semi final of the slalom. Catching the tram back down to St. Kilda we walked along the boardwalk and stumble upon a Zorb Soccer game, teams were already allocated, much to Adam’s dismay! We sat there in the sun, watching and laughing at the players ignoring the soccer ball entirely and focussing on knocking each other down – death ball is a more apt name for the sport.