Categotry Archives: Trip 2014


Trip 2014 – Article Index

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Categories: Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific, Status Update, Trip 2014, Tags: ,

Here is a quick index to the articles associated with the 2014 trip to New Zealand and Melbourne.

Day Location Notes
Day 1 Rotorua Arrive Rotorua
Day 2 Rotorua Rained out/Hobbiton/Tirau/Tauranga
Day 3 Rotorua Hell’s Gate/Blue Lake/Kerosene Creek
Day 4 Rotorua Hidden Valley/Huka Falls/Taupo
Day 5 Rotorua Downtown/Kuirau Park
Day 6 (A) Queenstown In Transit
Day 6 (B) Queenstown/Wanaka Waterfront/Peak
Day 7 Wanaka Waterfront/Puzzling World
Day 8 Wanaka Blue Pools/Lake Hawea/Lake Wanaka
Day 9 Wanaka Toy & Transport Museum/Beacon Point
Day 10 Wanaka West Lake Wanaka/Diamond Lake
Day 11 Wanaka Cromwell/Alexandra
Day 12 Wanaka Arrowtown
Day 13 Wanaka Mount Cook
Day 14 Wanaka Wanaka (Lakeside)
Day 15 Wanaka Warbirds and Wheels
Day 16 Rotorua In Transit/Rotorua Skyline
Day 17 Rotorua Rainbow Springs, In Transit
Day 18 Melbourne In Transit, Albury, Melbourne
Day 19 Melbourne Wedding, Melbourne CBD
Day 20 Melbourne Melbourne, In Transit, Wodonga
Summary Editorial  


Day 20 – Melbourne, In Transit

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Categories: Australia, In Transit, South Pacific, Trip 2014, Tags: , ,

Trip Index

After a night of children screaming, there was a certain serenity waking in the morning.  We’d had about a half hour overnight of Jake waking Damian and so on.  The advantage of the Wyndham is that it doesn’t get a lot of natural light, which meant everyone slept in soundly.  I had been up between 6 and 7am turning on the A/C, and by 8:30am decided it was time to start readying our belongings and going through the morning routine.

I was joined at this time by Damian who had woken to the sound of the shower.  Together we sorted the luggage and tidied up the apartment buying Jake and Toni some extra sleep time.  By 9:15am it was time to wake everyone and officially begin the day.  My stomach was in serious pain, although the lethargy which crippled me yesterday was gone.

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Interesting what you come across in Melbourne’s side streets

We decided around 10am to go out and locate a cafe to get a good Melbourne coffee from.  Reception directed us to a place between Little Bourke St and Queen St called “KnockKnock”.  Here we enjoyed piccolo lattes which both Toni and I consumed, we also picked up a pair of corn fritters which came with streaky bacon, mango chutney and lettuce.

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KnockKnock’s coffee and menu

The gale force wind was not too far away, and it was quite cold in contrast to the previous day.  We walked down to the Elizabeth St home of the H & M concept store which was housed inside an old heritage building.   Toni was unable to find exactly what she was looking for, but I did (a toilet) and started the long journey back to being healthy.

Inside the H & M concept Store

The boys were OK, but acting up a bit –Jake particularly.  It was approaching 11am and the time of the post-wedding brunch.  Based on my health and the boys temperament, we decided that we might need to depart Melbourne and unfortunately miss the brunch.  We made one last stop at Minotaur on Elizabeth (a long standing tradition of mine) and then made our way back to the hotel.

A quick ritual stop at Minotaur

We gathered luggage with the help of a porter and then checked out as Toni retrieved the car.  I threw a bunch of ice cubes into the esky and we made ready to depart on the long journey back to Canberra.

Aside from a stop for fuel outside the outskirts of Melbourne, it has been a trouble free journey thus far.  We are making good time and are looking to stop in Wodonga for lunch.  As I write this now, we are 145kms from that destination (it is 1:50pm), which will put us at around half way on our return.

Wodonga stop-over

We hit Wodonga at around 3pm and, with little open, we settled on chips and charcoal chicken from a local food place on the main street. The boys enjoyed some time out of the car, but it was a fairly quick stop – maybe a half hour – and then we were back on the road with me in the driver’s seat.  As we headed north, I was tempted to stop at the Ettamogah Pub and at the Dog and the Tucker Box (outside Gundagai) but didn’t to conserve time.

With good weather and luck we made it to the capital’s outskirts around 7:30pm and were home not long after.  The boys had a very long day, but despite that they were high spirited and even helped with the unpacking (in their own way).

Tomorrow I am back to work, so this formally concludes our 2014 trip! 

Stay tuned for a couple more entries in reflection.

Trip Index


Day 19 – Melbourne

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Trip Index

We woke at the Mercure Treasury Gardens, roughly opposite the location of the wedding ceremony.  The ceremony wasn’t until 10:00am-10:15am, and as we were all up at 8am, decided to try to find a cafe to eat breakfast.  It turns out that the travels had finally caught up to me and I was hit with a level of lethargy I’ve rarely encountered.  It’s not an understatement to say I could barely stand up.

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Near the cafe / catching a tram back

We ended up on Swanston Street and found a 24 hour cafe – it turns out the Mercure is located smack bang in the business district and on weekends is essentially dead.  I had a bowl of bircher muesli which I could barely eat.  I was throwing down water most of the time, trying desperately to rehydrate after yesterday’s shocker of a heat wave.

We caught a tram back down Collins street once we’d finished with breakfast.  The heat was up again, and it was getting intolerable..  We got back to the hotel and got dressed for the wedding. 

The Wedding Ceremony

We’d mistimed a little, and were rushing to get across Spring Street in time to head off the bride who had arrived not much before we’d left the hotel.

Spring St

The ceremony was held in the marriage registry in the gorgeous old treasury building.  It was slightly cooler inside, but there was some delay in getting the registrar, so the ceremony did not start until well after 10:30am.  For some reason the boys were not ready to behave, and we had to frequently step outside during the ceremony.

Fortunately, I was present for the key parts, i.e. the exchange of vows and the presentation of the rings.  Once the formalities were taken care of, the bride and groom walked down the aisle together and we then followed.  On the steps of the old treasury building the guests gathered forming as tunnel, and the new married couple emerged to applause and hundreds of bubbles blown from supplied equipment.

Newlywed couple emerges

We had to abandon the crowd and head back to the Mercure as the checkout time had arrived.  I went and retrieved the car from offsite parking while Toni mustered the boys.  We had been somewhat prepared, and had our luggage ready to go.  Once we’d completed checkout, we packed the car and headed off for nearby St Kilda and the wedding reception.

The Reception

The location was a former mansion on St Kilda road, a venue with history and character.  It was still stupidly hot and now came complete with gale force winds. 


The Willows

Once at the venue, I continued to drink as much water as I could get my hands on; it was helping, but I was fast running out of energy.  The boys were very active, and poor Toni had difficulty keeping track of both while I was effectively an invalid.  I skipped all the canapés, half the battle was avoiding feeling sick!

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Wedding reception menu / Newlyweds arrive

The entrees were served, and to underscore how ill I felt, I selected pumpkin risotto as it was the only entree that I felt I could eat.  Not long after the entrees, the speeches began.  The co-best men roasted the groom slightly, and it was well received.  Then the groom had an opportunity to toast his lovely bride.

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40 Year old bottle of port

My duties on the day involved a 40 year bottle of port which the groom’s father had bought when he was born.  I had the responsibility of opening and decanting the delicate wine.  With experience, I managed to carefully uncork the bottle without corking the port, and then successfully poured 4/5 of the bottle into the antique decanter.

Cutting the cake

Shortly thereafter the main course was served.  I had the porterhouse steak which was slightly overcooked, and still stuck to water for drinks.  The boys kept disappearing off to odd places inside the venue, and Toni and I had to keep tracking them down, which made socialising difficult.  I ended up nearly asleep on a couch near the photo booth, trying to recover some energy.

By 3:30pm I was too tired to continue.  As they were preparing for the bridal waltz, I gathered Toni and the boys together and we said our farewells. 

Wyndham Melbourne

The phone had run out of charge and we had no idea where in the city we were staying.  Toni found the pre-printed paperwork for the car parking and while the phone charged off the car, I had map capability restored.

We parked the car and then realised that the hotel was about a city block away from the car park.  We checked in, making note of our disappointment about the parking situation.  The Wyndham Melbourne has only been open to owners for six weeks, and is still basically brand new.  It is certainly a new benchmark for the Wyndham Resorts, although the level of customer service could do with some improvement.

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We had a two bedroom apartment reserved which was large and roomy and modern.  All I wanted to do was sleep, but the boys were still antsy and Toni needed a break just as much.  So we gathered some towels and headed to level 23 which contained a rooftop pool.


Unfortunately, the gale force winds were making life impossible for those making use of the pool and deck chairs, as the idiot who designed the building didn’t bother to include any features to mitigate excessive wind speeds(!).  So we did not spend too much time in the pool, which was cold but refreshing and after only about 20 minutes we were heading back to the room.

We showered and changed myself and the boys and then put Damian into the red stroller and carefully ventured out into the waiting CBD.

Melbourne CBD

It was approaching early evening when we made our way out.  It was still pretty hot, but had come down a fair bit due to cloud which had come over the city.

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The shot tower at Melbourne Central

We were principally looking to get to the Coles Express at Melbourne Central to pick up milk and some infant formula, which we eventually did.  It’s worth noting that the CBD is not particularly stroller friendly.

While we were out, we did look at some of the little alleyways which contained an assortment of bars and restaurants, but couldn’t find the right food to take away for dinner.  So we returned to the Wyndham and later I went out by myself and eventually found a Japanese restaurant on King street which did takeaway.

By the time I returned, Damian was fast asleep and Toni and Jake were curled up on the couch watching the movie “Matilda” on TV.  We ate Unagi (Eel) and teriyaki salmon as well as some California maki (sushi/sashimi) and eventually put Jake down to bed.  We turned in ourselves just past 9pm and had decent sleep until about 2am when the boys woke. 

More on that in tomorrow’s article.

Trip Index

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