Down Under in Melbourne & Sydney!

Melbourne & Sydney, Australia.
March, 2017.

Just to be clear, the girls in the picture above are not named Melbourne and Sydney.

HELLO AUSTRALIA!!!

Table of Contents

There’s an amazing feeling of excitement and relief when you finally touch down in Australia after what feels like the longest flight ever.

This was a big one for me. It was March of 2017 and this was my third solo travel in 7 months. 

After Tokyo and Greece, I was now officially on a solo traveling roll.

We’re talking about almost a day away Australia here. This was big for me.

This was my second “Dreamtrip” via World Ventures. If you read my last adventure to Greece post, then you remember that World Ventures was a travel club I was trying out to see if it was really worth it.

It was a quick 3 or 4 days in Melbourne, and then I added a flight to Sydney for another 3 days there.

Take it from a now seasoned traveler, you don’t need to dump money into any travel clubs or monthly memberships to travel this world.

I’m putting together an article on how to travel like I do and, trust me, traveling as often as I do is totally affordable and doable if you know what you’re doing.

And here I was, as far away from home as I’d every been before in the land down under: Australia!

The Great Ocean Road & Twelve Apostles

the Great Ocean Road Australia

The first day after a really long flight, and I can’t remember exactly how long this one was, somewhere around 15 hours from LAX to Melbourne, it’s really important to just take it easy.

Or at the very least, take your first day at half speed. Chill mode.

Don’t go booking excursions that start right when the wheels of the plane touch down. You’ll be so drained and tired that you won’t enjoy any of the amazing sights in front of your eyes.

Be smart. Let yourself rest.

My hotel in Melbourne was the Crowne Melbourne in Southbank, a great spot and walking distance to so much in downtown.

After I checked in, I did just that. Chill mode.

There’s nothing like exploring a new city, stopping into random spots for a beer, and just taking it all in.

Personally, I love having free days when I’m traveling. 

Knowing I don’t have to be anywhere, that I don’t have to stick to any itinerary and can do literally anything I want.

I spent that whole first day just exploring the Southbank area of Melbourne, getting fully adjusted to being on the other side of the world, and getting ready for my full day excursion the next day.

I picked a good one, too: a full day trip down Australia’s coast along the Great Ocean Road!

The beaches in Australia just hit different.

See how it looks like you could just walk right out into the water and keep walking forever? That’s jaw dropping in person.

And the waves. Surfers travel from all over the world to surf these waves, and once you see them you totally get it.

These beaches were amazing. We stopped, got out, walked them. I’m telling you, next time I go back, I’m dedicating at least 2 full days as beach days.

And as beautiful and epic as this scenery was, the climax was yet to come: the Twelve Apostles.

Seeing the Twelve Apostles is an absolute MUST when you’re traveling down under.

It’s one of those epic views that no video or photo will ever do justice. You just have to see it for yourself.

There’s actually not twelve of them, but some crazy Australian from way back named them, it stuck, and when they’re right in front of you, you can’t help but stare.

I specifically remember holding my camera up and then taking my eyes off the camera and just looking at what was in front of me thinking, “This view is here 24/7, 365 days a year.”

Yet, how many times have I spent hours on my couch inside my house just sitting and watching tv or playing on my phone?

It’s a wake up call, isn’t it?

Don’t put off for later things that you can do right now! Drop your excuses, travel this world, and create amazing memories you’ll remember for a lifetime!

Scroll back up and take a look at that Twelve Apostles pic and the line of clouds rolling in.

When that blew in, it really blew in.

From one second to the next the temperature dropped and it felt like we were getting sandblasted. Everyone was running and screaming and laughing. It was kinda fun!

What a great time this was. I’ll never forget it.

Kangaroos, Koalas, Peacocks, Penguins & Wallabies

If you love animals like I do, Australia is the coolest place to visit! I took a great excursion to Maru Koala and Animal Park.

This place was LEGIT! It wasn’t one of those animal parks where you’re observing animals from behind a fence.

No, no, no… We got to walk right in amongst these amazing creatures and feed them right out of our hands!

The kangaroos were just like my dogs!

I loved it!

As if this wasn’t enough, the second half of this excursion involved making our way to Phillip Island for views of Pyramid Rock and a very special trip to Phillip Island Nature Park where actual penguins came up out of the water and waddled back to their homes at sunset!

Are you kidding me???

They set up bleachers right up on the beach for us to sit down and observe. The thing I wasn’t prepared for was the cold.

I’m in a t-shirt and shorts while everyone else got the memo and is wearing jackets. Then just as it got time for the penguins to show up, it poured down rain on us.

COLD, POURING rain.

I didn’t travel all the way across the world to run inside from the rain and miss the penguins waddling out from the beach.

(Remind me to tell you how a very similar thing happened to me in New Zealand years later.)

Long story short, I survived and it was worth it!

I wish I had more pics of the penguins, but we weren’t really allowed. All the pics and camera flashes would only disturb and disorient them.

I did manage to sneak a couple grainy ones without flash as they got close to their little homes in the dunes.

What a great experience this was!

View from Pyramid Rock Australia

If it comes down to a choice between a once in a lifetime experience and sacrificing your comfort for a few minutes, MAKE THE SACRIFICE! Life is all about these amazing experiences!

Leaving Melbourne in Style

Speaking of once in a lifetime experiences, when I saw this next excursion, I knew I had to book it.

How about watching the sunrise over Melbourne from a HOT AIR BALLOON?

If you call yourself Batman, this is how you leave Melbourne in style.

If you’ve never done this, it is the most relaxing, calming, awe inspiring, exhilarating way to see this world from just below the clouds.

It was a group of 9 of us including the pilot. We got up before sunrise, met at a park, helped him set up, and before we knew it these massive balloons were filling with hot air, coming to life right in front of us.

Up. We. Went!

Aren’t these pics the best???

Here’s a few quick clips from up in the air. The views were unreal.

At the end of the video you can see people down on the ground waving at us from their balcony as we’re approaching to land.

So cool!

The Flight Attendants Think I'm Famous

I’ve always been drawn to the iconic Sydney Opera House.

It’s always felt like some far away place I’d never get to see with my own eyes. And now I was just a short flight away from being there.

So on this short flight from Melbourne to Sydney I find myself stuck in the horrible middle seat between two other guys just as big as me.

This isn’t gonna work.

I hear the flight attendants talking to each other about how there’s empty seats they need to fill in the exit row.

I’m staring at them, summoning all my Jedi skills to notice me and it works. I hear one of them say, “Well why don’t we just move him?” pointing at me.

THANK YOU!

They motion me over and I move into my new exit row seat with all the legroom I could ask for. I’m a happy camper.

As we begin takeoff, the flight attendant sitting directly across from me in her jumpseat facing me leans over and says, “Would I know you from somewheh?”

(That’s my attempt at typing in an Australian accent.)

“Umm, I’m not sure if you would know me from somewhere.” I said.

“…because if I was an actah,” she says, “I would think it would be a huge compliment to be…” (and she really draws this out) “… recognized.”

Maybe it was my hat, or my beard, or the fact that I was wearing sunglasses on the bright plane cuz I drank a lot the night before, I don’t know, but this flight attendant was convinced I was somebody famous.

I think it's important when a pretty girl thinks you're famous to just go with it.

It really became obvious when it was time to pass out the in-flight snacks.

She comes over with the cart, and just before I can tell her that I’m not gonna have anything, she tells the other flight attendant, “Anything he wants…”

This is getting better and better.

Before I know it my tray table is covered with sandwiches, animal crackers, chewy fruit snacks, chocolates, and two cold beers for the quick trip.

This was awesome.

And I guess this attention I was getting from the flight attendants was enough to get the girl sitting next to me to notice.

She puts away her book and, I’m not even kidding about this, starts stretching her legs like some kind of gymnast.

She brings her knees up to her chest, then, wrapping her arms around the back of her knees, extends her legs straight up so she’s practically kissing her shins.

She puts her legs down, turns her head to me with her cheek pressed to her knee, “So what brings you to Sydney?”

So this is what it’s like to be a celebrity.

The Incredible Sydney Harbor

Opera Bar at Sydney Opera House

Understand this: Sydney does it right.

Sitting perfectly along the water at Sydney Harbor leading you to the iconic Sydney Opera House is Opera Bar.

Packed with people, music, food, and drinks, I spent a full day here and loved every second of it.

When I arrived it was packed. I walked up to one of the outside bars and ordered a drink and asked about food. They took my order and gave me a number

Now I just needed to find a place to sit.

There was a big table right in the middle of everything, front and center. The corner seat was open. I asked if I could sit, the table said yes, and just like that I was in a prime spot.

Around 20 minutes later, my food arrives just as the rest of the table settles their bill and leaves.

I had the entire table to myself as I enjoyed my delicious steak, beer, and fries.

I couldn’t believe I was here. The sun was out, the music was great, and the food was delicious.

As I’m finishing up my steak, a dad comes along and asks if the seats at my table are available for him and his family. There are 4 of them altogether, Dad, Mom, daughter, and her bestie.

I let him know that they’re more than welcome to join. He motions his family over, and it’s not until they’re actually sitting down that I notice, holy mother of god, his daughter and her bestie are beautiful.

Granted, everyone in Australia seems to be beautiful, but these girls… wow.

Mom starts a conversation with me, asking me where I’m from. I tell her I’m a firefighter from Texas, solo traveling, and that I’m actually sending pics right now to my buddies back at the station showing them what an incredible time I’m having.

“I like him!” hot girl #1 says. She’s the daughter. Her name’s Millie.

It turns out the family is from the UK and hot girl #2, Laken, is the bestie from here in Sydney.

This is where the dad comes up with the best idea in the history of ideas.

“Hey girls,” he says, “how about each of you sit beside him and get nice and close and we’ll take some pics so he can send back to his crew at the fire house!”

We took pictures. We took more pictures. We took a TON more pictures. This lasted like 10 minutes because they kept asking for retakes.

Best.
Photoshoot.
Ever.

I’ve been spending my whole life on the wrong side of the earth.

We talked, laughed, and exchanged numbers. They invited me to a gathering for later that night at nearby Darling Harbor and it still haunts me to this day that I didn’t go.

And, yet again, people around me started thinking I was somebody. The supermodel girlfriends on my arm may have had something to do with it.

One girl came right up to me, didn’t say a word, snapped a selfie with me, and walked away.

There has got to be some Australian soap star who looks like me because years later when I ventured to nearby New Zealand the same thing happened again.

Note to self: MOVE TO AUSTRALIA!

The rest of my time in Sydney was equally amazing.

I did the Sydney Harbor Bridge walk where you literally walk up to the very top of the bridge and get an AMAZING view of the Opera House and Sydney Harbor.

It was a PERFECT day for this. They don’t allow cameras while you’re doing the bridge walk or else I would have had some amazing pics and video. I highly recommend it.

I made my way to Scenic World where I got in some epic views of the Blue Mountains & Three Sisters.

And as if I hadn’t had enough wildlife, I ventured to the Featherdale Wildlife Park to get up close and personal with more koalas, wombats, wallabies, penguins and exotic birds.

Then, just in time to watch the sun go down I made my way back to Sydney Harbor for a sunset cruise. There’s so much to see in Sydney and I loved every second of it!

I remember specifically thinking about how as I was watching that sun setting in Australia, it was simultaneously rising for all my friends back home on their horizon. How cool is that?

Three Sisters, Sydney Australia
Sydney Opera House

I spent my last quiet night in Darling Harbor.

It’s filled with spots to eat, little bar and grills along the water. I hopped in and out, not staying at any one place longer than 2 beers.

There was an incredible street performer with a haunting voice singing songs that echoed throughout the harbor.

I can’t believe I didn’t take video.

Maybe it had something to do with the rain. Out of NOWHERE a sudden downpour hit.

I ran into a bar and grill for shelter and when the rain didn’t stop I ended up chilling with 2 servers taking shots until around 1 am when the rain finally let up.

This was a great solo travel. Australia, I can’t wait to see you again!

Beers in Darling Harbor

Have you ever been dann undahh? Is Australia on your travel bucket list? What was your favorite part of this adventure?

Let me know what you think in the comments section below! Scroll down and leave your questions, comments, and anything else you want to share!

I love reading them and I always respond. See you in the next adventure! Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog!

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32 Responses

  1. Hey Eric, what an incredible adventure for you in Australia. I envy you brother. It’s wonderful to be young and free to travel as you are doing. I commend you for doing this as I know there are many of my vintage, including myself who wish we had done the same while younger.

    That being said, I married my Filipina wife in 2019. We are seniors and are now planning our world travels. So, better late than never right. Keep on going my friend. This is something you will never regret. I’m looking forward t your next adventure.

    1. Better late than never is right! And I do appreciate being called young, lol. I don’t get that much anymore haha. Thanks for the comment and I hope you’ll sub!

  2. Your blog makes us live through the journey of your trip to Melbourne and Sydney as if we were there with you! Now I wanna go and visit these places too. The pics and videos are amazing! I thoroughly enjoyed them! Thank you for an inspiring blog. Please keep posting your journeys and travels!!

    1. Thanks so much! I’m excited about sharing all my adventures here. Thanks for the comment and I hope you’ll sub!

  3. I loved every picture in this blog. Let me prioritize my favorites. 

    1. Hot air balloon flying- Did you feel scared! even a little bit?
    2. Penguin and Animal watching
    3. Picture of you with the girls
    4. Sydney opera
    5. Apostles

    I truly am inspired to see you so happy and your true enjoyment from your heart which sets my spirits up. Keep doing these amazing travels and update us. Thank you for your entertaining and amazing blogging skills.

    1. I really appreciate the kind words. The hot air balloon ride wasn’t even remotely scary. It’s as relaxing as can be. I’d do it again in a heartbeat 🙂 Thanks for the comment and I hope you’ll subscribe!

  4. I am totally living through you right now! My husband and I are working on getting to a financial point where we can travel with our children and create memories while they are young. We are working hard, that’s for sure! Australia is high on our list of places to travel and see and I can tell from your pictures that it will not disappoint. Thank you so much for your wholesome content, never stop traveling and blogging about it! Some people are inspired by it 🙂

    1. I really appreciate that, thank you! And yes, I’m addicted! Thanks for the comment and I hope you’ll sub!

  5. Hey, that’s an awesome article. It brought back some lovely memories. I’ve lived in Australia for a year, and I love everything about it. Aussies are so relaxed and easy going. Downunder is gorgeous, and everyone should visit. Looking forward to reading more about your adventures. Keep them coming. Gday! 

  6. I’ve always wanted to to go Australia. It looks like you had a great time. I’ve seen several pictures of the 12 Apostles and one day I would like to see it for real.
    The koalas and kangaroo babies are so cute!

  7. AUSTRALIAAAAAAAA!!!!! I am definitely going to Australia before I leave this earth. A really beautiful place anyone should visit. Thank you Eric this detailed experience of your time in both Sydney and Melbourne. I was really fascinated with the hot air balloon in Melbourne. I have always wanted to try it out and just know what it feels like and then I can finally check off my bucket list.
    This has been really soothing to read. Cheers and keep up the good work

  8. Hi,
    This site is going to be a huge hit. I am telling you, you are gonna be a millionaire. You write beautifully, and you write stuff that people like me want to read!
    Beautiful article on Australia. You are surely going to make me spend all my money on trips 🙂
    Regards,
    Aps

  9. Absolutely superb!  You really have sold it to me!

    I certainly agree with taking a rest on the first day.  Once my family and I took a long haul flight and we thought we’d be clever and stay up and go to bed at the local bed time and then we’d be sorted.  We went to s cafe for lunch and were so exhausted that the kids were sleeping on the bench seats and my wife and I were miserable.  So the only thing for it was to go back to the hotel and sleep it out.

    Australia looks like a wonderful place and the 12 apostles look like a great sight.  I also would love the balloon ride, the views would be fantastic.

    Time to start saving!

    1. Thanks so much, brother! Yes, rest is a MUST when you’re traveling clear across the world! Even if it’s just a 2 hour nap it means everything. Take that first day at half speed, get a full night’s sleep, and you’ll enjoy everything so much more! Thanks for the comment!

  10. I love your website! These adventures are proof of how many wonderful places we can visit and yet just like you said most of the time we decide to spend it indoors sitting in front of out TV/tablet/smartphone/laptop. There are real marvels in our world and some of your photos are really amazing. It makes me want to visit them also! Thank you!

  11. These are some really crackin looking places you have listed here. I’m in Scotland in the United Kingdom, so it’s still rather far for me at the moment but hopefully some day I will make it over to that neck of the woods. Reading your article here certainly gives me the inspiration to do so anyway.

  12. Your trip has been so interesting and the pictures make me want to book a flight to Australia. I’d like to go towards the end of the year when cold winter hits us here. Australia is famous worldwide for its natural wonders and wide open spaces. I particularly loved your pictures of its beaches. I also want to visit “the bush” and “the outback”, nice dessert sites for pictures.

    1. Thank you so much! I need to go back so I can check out the outback as well. There’s so much to explore! Thanks for the comment!

  13. Australia has been on my bucket list for such a long time, but I need at least a month to do everything i want to do and I’d still be rushed. This is a great article and I love the pictures. The twelve apostles look amazing with the storm clouds, it just adds to their beauty. Thanks for reminding me why I need to go.

  14. Wow this was such a refreshing and unique blog and experience.
    Australia is definitely amazing man, You pics are great and tell the whole story.
    I laughed when you said that people thought you were a celebrity and taking pics. That was awesome though to have those girls around you! nice one!

  15. you had the cabin crew all swooning over you and they didn’t take one pic with you?? what a bummer!
    Anyways, what an awesome trip; makes me remember the time I had gone dannn unddaaa lol. Aussies reallly have the best wildlife and their beaches are fantastic! I remember bondii beach to have gorgeous white sands but way too crowded. Taronga zoo was another great visit because u take a cable car or maybe its called a gondola and you see the entire zoo from the sky! It is spectacular!
    Keep these posts coming; your travels are super fun to read!

    1. As I was putting this post together I was like “how did I not take a pic with the flight crew??” Lol, I guess I was enjoying myself too much. Rookie mistake! Thanks for the comment!

  16. OMG! A trip to Australia is definitely on my bucket list! I’m looking forward to escaping our winters and traveling to the southern hemisphere in January or February. You seem to have hit so many highlights on your trip! Amazing! The country has so much from amazing natural scenic wonders to world-renowned architecture in the cities! Looking forward to seeing it in person!!

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With Millie and Laken at Opera Bar in Sydney
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I want to travel this world so that when I'm old and grey I can say that I LIVED!