AUS: Melbourne

You know how Inception is about a dream within a dream? I think “vacation” could be like a break within a break. NZ would be my break from California, and now Australia is my break from NZ. It makes sense to me in my head, but now that I’ve typed it out, I’m not so sure.

p.s. I’m a poser because I haven’t actually seen Inception, I only know that it’s about dreams (sorry for the spoiler alert). But I guess you could say I used ..deception. Okay sorry, I’ll stop.

We were in each city for 4 days and 3 nights.

Friday (April 15): I was worried about potentially missing the 7:30 pm flight because I wasn’t sure when I would get out of my 2-5 pm class. I talked to my professor beforehand, and he said the latest I’d get out is 4:30 pm if I took the entire time for my essays. Evan and I decided to Uber to the airport because we could just go whenever I finished, and it’d be faster than the bus.

I ended up finishing my test at 3:40ish and we left in the Uber (it was my first time!) a little before 4. There wasn’t too much traffic, and we made it to the airport before 5!

Long story short, it doesn’t help to worry – unless you want gray hair.

Our flight (third from the top on the right side) telling us to relax

Jessica, our study abroad friend who also goes to Chapman back home, ran into us while waiting for her flight to Fiji, so we were able to catch up with her until we had to board. Sorry that your flight got delayed!

Once we were airborne, I asked the man next to me if what the flight attendants were handing us was ice cream. As I was asking him, a flight attendant overheard and told me, “It’s not just ice cream. It’s Tip Top and it’s also delicious.”

He wasn’t wrong.

UPDATED Thursday, May 12 @ 9:15 PM: OH, I forgot to add this! The album for this whole Australia trip was Coldplay’s A Head Full of Dreams.

Once we landed in Melbourne at 9:40ish pm, Evan and I took the Sky Bus to Southern Cross Station where we met up with Theresa and Celeste (they took an earlier flight). From there, we all walked to where our hostel was located, but we couldn’t find it. We didn’t realize it was right in front of us until after we talked to the doorman.. The sign on the building didn’t match the hostel name!! Silly Melbourne.

Saturday (April 16): Our first full day in Australia!! I’ll try and let the photos do most of the work for the rest of this trip. We met up with Emily, Kedisha, and Kinsey (our fellow University friends) and made a new friend, Kim, who they shared a room with.

Neat building

This is just a building near our hostel that I think looks pretty nifty.

Blurry tram ride photo

We all took a tram and explored the city before meeting up with Celeste’s friend Ines, who’s studying abroad in Melbourne. Also, this marks the beginning of all the selfie’s Celeste made us take. I never thought I’d be thankful for being in a selfie, but they did capture some good moments – thanks Celeste!

Also, I found out how much I enjoy tram rides during this trip.

If you insist

There’s a ton of graffiti art and quotes/sayings throughout the city. It kind of reminds me of San Fransisco.

Pretty COOL spot

We saw this Parliament Reserve from a distance and decided to relax here for a bit. Emily may or may not have – definitely the latter one – fallen while trying to run in the water, but we did what good friends do and laughed about it while helping her up.


On our way to the meet-up spot, we walked through Chinatown. It was fun to just roam around the streets and take everything in. There’s so many alleyways in Melbourne, and I just wanted to go through them all and see what I could find.

Ate lunch on a roof!

We all ate lunch at this place called the Rooftop Burger Shack! It was good food with even better company, and the nice view of Melbourne wasn’t bad either.

Graffiti/Art on Hosier Lane

I used to always associate graffiti with negative connotations, but I’ve realized that it doesn’t always have to be bad.

One of my favorite artworks I saw here

People are so talented!!

I like all these colors

I don’t know if I understood anything I saw, but they were all fun to look at.

Overview of some street art

I wonder how many times the walls have been painted on. Like, if we could peel off each layer of graffiti that has been done, how many artworks would I find?

Streets of Melbourne

Me admiring people admiring artwork.

Federation Square

This was the street across from Hosier’s Lane where we listened to some performers and looked at what people were selling. It was a nice atmosphere and shielded us from the potential rain.

Downtown Melbourne

We finished walking around Federation Square and then went to the Vistor’s Centre so that we could rent a car for tomorrow’s journey.

Going up!

We had some time to spare before heading to the Flemington Racecourse for the Color Run, so we decided to check out the skydeck. The elevator to get to the top went to floors 1, 2, and 85, 86, 87, and 88 (skydeck). They just left a few numbers out (or 82 of them, same difference).

I love bird’s-eye views!!

There’s always something refreshing about seeing places from different perspectives.

Still beautiful on a cloudy day

I’m glad I’m not afraid of heights.

Us before the run ft. a photobomber.

After thanking Ines for showing us around Melbourne, we headed to the racecourse for the Color Run! We were all stoked. Once we got there, we were given some free swag, including a Color Run shirt and a headlight.

Us waiting for the run to start

It was pretty chilly out, so I was excited to run because it’d make me warmer.

Starting line

Eeep so many people were there, and we were glad to be a part of it!

Post-run party

I fell near the very end of the race (don’t worry, I’m fine) and ended up breaking my drawstring bag in the process. It’s okay though because I wasn’t in pain and I ended up taking away a neat battle scar on my left ankle.

There was an after-run party where we listened to some music, danced, and got a lot more powder thrown on us. At one point, the announcer gave a shout-out to all the Americans by making fun of how we say Melbourne – we pronounce it “mel-born” but it’s actually pronounced “mel-bin.”

Us after the run!

Good times. We got tons of color powder on us and we were surprised with bubbles and foam too! Even my camera had powder all over it even though it was in my bag the whole time. We jogged and ran the majority of the Color Run, and the rain decided to join in on the fun as well.

The tram ride back

After the run, we headed back to catch the train and grab some food. Have you ever seen a tram full of people in plastic ponchos? Well, I guess now you have. Fun fact: they call these plastic ponchos “personal seat protectors” because it keeps the tram powder-free.

Tram station

I just really like the architecture.

Cookies & cream filled donut

We had Krispy Kreme donuts for dinner. After that, we went to this place called Pie Face (lol) for some real food where we all ate sandwiches. NOTE: I’m not saying donuts aren’t real because they definitely are. They’re real! Real good.

As Evan put it, Pie Face “was a good dessert to our dinner.”

Sunday (April 17): We rented a car so we could get to Phillip Island. I was DJ Deeps (played some sweet tunes) and co-pilot (gave Evan directions and kept worrying when he drove too close to the bikers on the left side).

View from my seat!

It was a really nice hour-long drive and we didn’t get lost, so that’s a plus.


Note that there aren’t too many cars on the road (probably because they all overtook us, but that’s okay).


After we made it to the Koala Conservation Centre, we grabbed some food (I got a sandwich) in the Visitor’s Centre and then bought our tickets to see some koalas! It was nice and warm outside with barely any clouds in sight. It’s kinda funny how excited we got when we saw this koala move just a tiny bit.

Oddly cute

It looks so peaceful! We spent some koalaty time with them.

Us with a koala!

There’s a koala in there somewhere, I promise! That was me trying to point at it. The koala was sleeping, woke up for a second to readjust, and then went back to sleep.


I took exactly 99 photos of this one wallaby out of the 467 total photos I took in Melbourne. Whoops.

Theresa was our designated wildlife guide during our trip and taught us a lot about the animals we were seeing. We all got really excited when we saw our first wallaby (the one featured above). We also saw some parrots and other birds.

Chocolate penguins!

We then went to a chocolate factory (not Willy Wonka’s though) that we passed by on the way to the koalas.

Frozen banana!

It was really nice out, so I decided to get a cold snack. I thought of Arrested Development while eating it.

Penguin watching platforms

After our chocolate pit stop, we made our way to the penguin parade destination. We had an hour to spare while there, so we walked around the gift shop and rest of the store while we waited for the doors to open. Once they opened, we walked to this area, which were our seats for the evening.

Waiting for the penguins

I don’t think I could ever get tired of looking at nature.

Penguins parading!!

Thanks to Celeste for sneaking this photo in!

We knew the penguins were coming around 6 pm, but it’s hard to say when exactly they’d come. When we all saw the first penguin waddle his (or her) way to the top, all of our faces wore smiles. As minutes passed, we would see penguins, one by one, slowly make their way to us. One penguin even slid down the mini sand hill on his belly – it was adorable. Eventually, heaps of penguins were in front of us as we watched them waddle to their burrows. Watching the world’s smallest penguins in their natural habitat was an incredible experience and suffering through the cold was so worth it.

It was a great animal-filled day.

Monday (April 18): We checked out of our hostel, returned the rental car, and then wandered the city before deciding on a place to eat for lunch.

Shopping Centre

We walked into the Queen Victoria Shopping Centre where I people-watched and thought about how fun it would be to just come here when bored.

Nutella & banana crepe for breakfast

We decided to get food from Centre Place, a little side street we had passed by the day we were with Ines. This crepe was yummy in my tummy.

Looks cool

I’m still not sure what this is, but I remember seeing it when we were on the skydeck and we all thought of the Eiffel Tower (or maybe that was just me).

We decided to go into the NGV (National Gallery of Victoria) to check out some artwork. I was really glad we were able to keep our suitcases and carry-ons in the coat room so we didn’t have to lug it around the museum. WOW I just realized that’s why LUGgage is called luggage!

Sia’s inspiration (probably)

I liked all the different kinds of art pieces in the museum. It was a nice way to spend a travel day.

HEAPS of bikes.

I promise it’s not a blurry photo, that’s what the sculpture looks like! It is aptly titled “Forever Bicycles” and was created by Ai Weiwei.

Close-up of bikes

It’s composed of over 1,500 bicycles!

Pretty architecture outside

I think it’s technically called John Wardle’s Summer Architecture or something like that, but I think I’ll just stick to calling it pretty.

Cute stuffed animals

Looking at my camera, the security guard told me, “You can take photos, but just don’t feed the animals.”

Me & Celeste in the National Gallery of Victoria.

Melbourne, thanks for showing us all some tasty food, cute animals, and awesome artwork.


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