Melbourne Australia February 9 – 16 2016

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We got in and found our way via shuttle to our air b&b apt
The proprietor met us with his car & helped us to the apartment. We went into the Hawthorn area by Uber to find a chiropractor- Shelley was in need  of an adjustment. We found lunch afterwards , shopped for some food & took a public tram back to St. Kilda where we will stay for the next week.
We woke early the next morning & took a streetcar tram into the city to meet up with our first tour of the week to the
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The wine region of the Yarra Valley. We were a group of 9 visiting 4 wineries including lunch.  It took about an hour to get to the wine region.
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Yarra valley is an agricultural area made up of vineyards, brussels sprouts , apples and sheep farms. Our first stop was at Chandon for a  sparkling wine tasting.
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We had lunch  at Tokar winery after a tasting there.
We drove past black & white magpies in the vineyards towards Helen & Joey Winery.
  DSCF2989 We liked their unicorn symbol
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We stopped at a chocolate making place which was mostly a big store to buy chocolates.
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Along the drive we saw alpacas that are on farms to protect the sheep from predators. We took another  public tram back to our apt.
Up & out for Chiropractic adjustments  for both of us & then off to the Botanical Gardens via a train. Melbourne has a great public transport system!
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There were beautiful specimens of trees,  many of which we have never seen before and black swans on the pond.
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We trammed back & rested, walked the 10 minutes to the beach for dinner and saw a beautiful sunset behind beach volleyball players.
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and we saw Hara Krishna singers & dancers.
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The next day , Hank walked down to the beach for a swim. We took a tram into the city to catch up with our bus tour to Phillips Island to see penguins; little penguins or fairy penguins . Our driver was easy to spot at our pick up point
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Our day started with a tour of the city & then through the country side for a 3 hour drive.  We saw wallabies, cape barring geese, and albatrosses.  We passed a burrow with a penguin chick in it on the drive & could take a photo, whereas photos were prohibited on the penguin walk.
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 DSCF3028                                                                Little Penguin in a burrow
At dark we watched the penguin parade as they marched from the ocean to the beach to their burrows. As they came from the water, groups stopped to rest  moving in fits and starts and in bunches. It was a fascinating to watch. No photos allowed on the beach so we went for the souvenir green screen photo
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The next day was a resting day and another chiropractic adjustment to keep us aligned. We maneuvered ourselves throughout the city by the tram system. Shelley found a manicure spot while Hank sought out fish & chips.
We booked for a Monday river cruise that will took us down the Yarra River to Willamstown, an old seaport.
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We rested in the afternoon & then walked to a seafood restaurant. Hank was  in oyster heaven. We walked to the St. Kilda pier to see the penguin colony there & were able to see six siting on rocks & one on the pier three feet from us.  Again, no photos, only an amazing memory to share.
We were up early on Sunday for our tour of the Great Ocean Rd. which was to be an  an all day tour of 95 miles . We drove all but six of those miles.
Our first stop was Torquay – famous for surfing.  There were beautiful breaking waves and  many families surfing together.image
We saw The Great Ocean Road archway along the Bass Strait
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There was a lot of historical interest about this hand built road. It was built by  many veterans of The First World War.  We were told that out of consideration for the war veterans who might have been sensitive to blasting sounds, no explosives were used during construction including digging numerous tunnels.
Then onto the Kennet River area to see koalas
Many koalas were sleeping in the eucalyptus trees.  They sleep for 20 hours a day. One was awake, which was unusual to see according to our guide.
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There were 2 kinds of parrots.  A Crimson Rosella rested on Shelley ‘s hand and a king parrot on Hank’s hand.
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Shelley spotted an  echidna  on the side of the road. It’s so amazing to see animals in the wild that we’ve only seen in photos or zoos.
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We drove to Kapok way for a walk through a  rain forest area full of King eucalyptus trees ( mountain ash) & tree ferns that were 800 years old.
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And we saw an Otway black snail,a carnivorous air-breathing  land snail only found in cool temperate rain forests.
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We then saw  spectacular towers of  eroded   sandstone which are called the 12 apostles.
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Walking back to our bus we saw a bird that our guide told us was a superb fairy wren. What  a pretty bird!
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We drove back home through Beech Forest, the town of Cliff  Young , famous for running the Melbourne to Sydney marathon in his sixties (a distance of about 540 miles). We were told that there’s an indie film about him called Cliffy. We stopped for dinner at a noodle house. and then back to the city at 8:30 & caught a tram to St Kilda.
 
Traveling on the tram we’ve noticed a big Jewish population in Melbourne and that St Kilda has a Jewish Museum of Australia.  We had dinner right by the water in St. Kilda. Hank looks like he’s in a picture postcard!
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We were up super early the next morning to catch our 6 am flight to Cairns.