Just to be clear, the beautiful girls in this picture are not named Sydney and Melbourne. Why are they kissing me? Why do people in Australia think I’m famous? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves…
That’s seriously how it feels on the inside when you land! You want to scream it as loud as you can as you realize you’ve actually landed in this amazing country / continent that you never really thought you’d ever get to.
Especially coming from south Texas. I mean, traveling to Europe, sure, totally doable. The UK, absolutely. But Australia? As in almost-a-day-away-Australia?
This was my second “Dream Trip” via World Ventures, which, if you read the “Adventures in Thessaloniki” post, you remember is a travel club I was trying out to see if it was worth it.
And as I mentioned in that previous post, while both Dream Trips were amazing, you don’t need travel clubs in any way if you want to see the world. Seriously.
Save your money for the adventures you’ll have on the trip itself, not monthly memberships. 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.
So, the World Ventures part of this trip was Melbourne, and since I had flown all the way across the world, I figured I might as well add on Sydney too, right?
The Great Ocean Road & the Twelve Apostles
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.
I think people get so caught up in the whole “I’ve got to take advantage of every single moment here” that they forget to rest! And as a seasoned traveler, I’m telling you, REST!
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 absorb all the amazing sights in front of your eyes, and that’s not what vacations are supposed to be about.
My hotel was the Crowne Melbourne in Southbank, a great spot and walking distance to so much in downtown Melbourne. 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.
This being my second Dream Trip with World Ventures, I kinda knew the routine now. You check in, there’s a rep there to meet you at the hotel and give you the low down on all the hotel’s amenities and what your schedule looks like, and then you have the first day as a free one to explore, with the second day being the full day excursion you go on with the group.
And this excursion was a fun one. A full day trip down Australia’s coast and the Great Ocean Road!
I’m telling you, the beaches in Australia just hit different. I live on the Texas gulf coast and have my entire life, so the beach is just minutes away, but I vividly remember driving down the winding turns of the Great Ocean road and looking out the bus window at the waves and saying “Wow!”
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 to Australia from all over the world and once you see the waves right in front of you you totally get it. These beaches were amazing! We stopped, we got out and walked them… I’m telling you, the next time I go back, I’m dedicating at least 2 days as full beach days.
I couldn’t get enough.
And as beautiful and epic as this scenery is you’re still not prepared for the incredible climax: 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 have to see this for yourself.
There’s actually not twelve of them, but some crazy Australian named them, it stuck, and when they’re right in front of you, you won’t stop staring.
I remember thinking: “This is here 24/7/365. Every single day this unbelievable view is here. Yet how many times have I spent hours on my couch inside my house sitting and watching television?”
It’s a wake up call isn’t it? This is just one of sooooo mannnnyyyyy amazing sights out there to be seen in this world. Yet we spend so much time at work, or watching tv, and not exploring the one world we have to live on.
Don’t grow old and grey and wish you had seen more! Drop your excuses, travel this world, and create amazing memories you’ll remember for a lifetime!
Scroll back up to that top Twelve Apostles pic. You see that line of clouds rolling in? Well when that blew in, it really blew in.
While we were all in awe, taking pictures of everything, the winds picked up dramatically and literally started sandblasting us all at once. Everybody started running and screaming, but it was so much fun!
I gotta get back. One visit just isn’t enough.
Kangaroos, Koalas, Peacocks, Penguins, and Wallabies!
Do you love animals like I do? If so, Australia is the coolest place to go to! So, another spot to add to your list is the Maru Koala and Animal Park.
This place was LEGIT! It wasn’t one of those animal parks where you’re observing the animals from behind a fence or something.
No, no, no, no, noooo... We got to walk in right amongst these amazing creatures and feed them right out of our hands!
I LOVED IT!
And as if that wasn’t enough, the rest of this excursion involved a trip down to Phillip Island Nature Park where actual penguins come up out of the water and waddle back to their homes at sunset!
Are you kidding me???
They set up bleachers right up on the beach for you to sit down and observe. The insane part was, just like at Twelve Apostles, sudden wind and POURING rain came out of nowhere and drenched us.
It was friggin cold too!
Mind you, I’m in a t-shirt and shorts. But I didn’t travel across the world to run inside cuz of some rain. I didn’t even have an umbrella. I just sat in the cold wind and rain, mind-over-mattering it and telling myself “nah, it ain’t cold” while I shivered and watched these amazing creatures waddling up right in front of my eyes.
Trust me, if you have the opportunity to sacrifice your own comfort for a chance to see something that’s truly once in a lifetime, MAKE THE SACRIFICE!
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 in as they got close to their little homes in the dunes. What a great experience this was!
Leaving Melbourne in Style
If you call yourself Batman (granted, I fight crime at night, vigilante style, dressed as a bat so it makes total sense), then you make sure that with your last day in Melbourne you go out with some style.
So I woke up before sunrise, got to a park, and jumped into a hot air balloon.
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. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
It was a group of 9 of us including the pilot. We helped him set up, watched as these massive balloons filled with hot air and came to life, and then up we went.
Aren’t those pics the best???
If you want to check out some quick videos from wayyyy up in the air, go to these posts from my instagram feed. Just click on each image below. There’s even one where people down on the ground are saying hi from their balcony. So cool!
On to Sydney Where Everyone Thinks You’re Famous
I’ve always been drawn to pictures of the iconic Sydney Opera House. It 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.
And this brings us to the beginning of my bizarre “Are you famous?” experiences I’ve had down under.
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. Yeah, I’m 6’4″ and this is NOT gonna work.
I hear the flight attendants talking to each other about how there’s empty seats in the exit row and they need someone to sit there. I’m staring at them summoning all my Jedi skills to make them look at me and think, “hey why don’t we just move him?” and it totally works.
[Side note, I seriously feel like I have this power to control things with my mind because this happens to me a lot. I’m not kidding. I can do this, maybe not on command just yet but only cuz I haven’t mastered how to fully control it, but it’s there. I’m telling you with all my heart that I have the power to control things with my mind, and I know you don’t believe me, but I feel that needs to be made public. Anyway, back to the story.]
I move into my new exit row seat with all the legroom I could ask for, leaving those two chumps behind in the row I was in, and I’m a happy camper. As we begin takeoff, the really attractive flight attendant sitting directly across from me, facing me in her jump seat, leans towards me and motions me over.
I can tell she’s trying to be discreet as she says, “Would I knooooowwww you from somewheh?…”
“Umm, I’m not sure if you would know me from somewhere…” I said.
“…because if I was an actor or something,” she says, “I would think it would be a huge compliment to be…” (and she really draws this out) “recognized…”
“I feel the same way.” I said. (I think it’s important when a pretty girl thinks you’re famous to just go with it.)
Maybe it was the hat, or the fact that I was wearing sunglasses in the plane cuz my eyes were tired, I don’t know. But this beautiful flight attendant was convinced I was somebody and it really came out 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…” and she makes that motion with her hand like just give it to him.
Before I know it my tray table is covered with sandwiches, cookies, fruit, chocolates, and a couple cold beers for this quick trip.
And I guess this was just enough to now get the attention of the girl who’s been sitting next to me with her nose in a book this whole time.
She puts the book away, and I’m not even kidding about this, she starts stretching her legs like some kind of gymnast. First she brings her knees up to her chest, and then, wrapping her arms around the back of her knees, she extends her legs straight up so she’s practically kissing her shins.
“So…,” she says, turning her head with her cheek pressed to her knee, “what brings you to Sydney?”
The rest of this flight I sat back, eating my snacks, drinking my beers, sharing my fruit, and talking to her along with the whole crew of flight attendants who seemingly took turns coming up to my seat, laughing at everything I said, showing incredible interest in my morning watching the sun come up over Melbourne from a hot air balloon, brushing my arm as they laughed, telling me they’d be right back, and asking if I wanted more snacks.
So this is what it’s like to be a celebrity.
The Incredible Sydney Harbour
Understand this: Sydney does it right.
Sitting perfectly along the water at Sydney Harbour 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 front and center that had a corner seat that no one was in. I asked if I could sit, they said yes, and I was now in a prime spot. Around 20 minutes later, the group sitting there got up and left, my food arrived, and now I had that prime table all to myself as I enjoyed my delicious steak and beer.
This was incredible. 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, an older gentleman comes up and asks if he and his family could sit at my table. It’s him and his wife along with his daughter and her friend who straight up look like supermodels.
The mom takes an interest in me and starts asking me where I’m from. As we’re talking I tell them how I’m a firefighter from Texas and that right now my buddies are back home at the station and I’m sending them pics of how incredible a time I’m having.
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 that he can send back to his buddies at the station.”
I’ve been spending my whole life on the wrong side of the earth.
How awesome is this? We talked, laughed, they invited me to a gathering that was happening at nearby Darling Harbour. This was great.
And apparently, the fact that I had girls draped over me, taking pictures with me as I sat at this prime table, got other Aussies thinking “that guy must be famous” because way after the girls left, more than once, people came right up to me, didn’t say a word, and just snapped a pic either of me or with me. No joke.
There has got to be some Australian soap star that bears a resemblance to me cuz years later when I ventured to 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 Harbour bridge walk where you literally walk up to the very top of the bridge and get an amazing view of the Opera House and harbor. I got up close and personal with more koalas, wombats, wallabies, and penguins at a wildlife park. I saw the amazing views at Three Sisters. And I spent a last quiet night in Darling Harbour where yet another sudden rainstorm came out of nowhere and it was literally me and two servers taking shots while I was trapped and waiting for the storm to pass so I could walk back to my hotel.
Australia, I can’t wait to see you again…
Have you ever been “dann undahh”? What’s your favorite spot in Australia? Have you ventured out past Sydney and Melbourne? Did flight attendants give you tons of free stuff and girls who looked like supermodels come over to you to pose for pics while kissing on you? Let me know what you think in the comments section below! Give me your questions, your comments, and anything else you want to share. I love reading them and I always respond! Thanks again for checking out my adventures!