We started at the Goulburn home base. Not much time there but enough to get in a bike ride to the Fire Shed and back, a local road race route that showed me how out of cycling shape I was, plus some jet lag. Might have been the warmest day of the month with temps about 30 degrees C. Soon we were on the road to Melbourne through the local country, no interstate highways, stopping at scenic cafes and rest stops along the way to the big city. It takes no time to get into the open country, which is generally dry and a bit spartan, but this year is green due to cooler, wetter weather. Bushy’s newer Hyundai diesel van made the driving easy, great gas mileage considering fuel was anywhere from $1 a liter to $1.50 a liter. Lots of room for luggage, 4 people and 2 road bikes. (No track bikes this trip)
Our hotel in Melbourne was a boutique hotel in a laneway in the middle of the city. They make great use of what are basically alleys back home and turn them into entrances to cafes, restaurants, shopping, hotels, you name it. So smart and classy. Made it easy to just park and never have to get the van out again. Easy walking to trams, restaurants, shopping, tourist sites (Like the 1800’s Goal, jail for us Americans) where the Sargent charged us with our offenses and slammed the door on the nasty common lock up room. Can’t imagine being a repeat offender after only that short bit of time. The next few days were spent exploring a very small part of Melbourne including a boat ride up the river, name to be supplied later because I can’t remember for now, shopping in an upscale cosmopolitan city, bike ride up along the bike path past where the Australian Open was being held, great curry and Chinese dinners and coffee shop stops along the way. Our hotel was along a main mall area that had street musicians all day into the early evenings. Of course we had to buy a few CD’s to support the local scene.
Melbourne was our exit port for Tasmania as well. I also realized that using a US based cell phone for a month here was not going to work, the fees for my phone were already getting out of control so a stop at the local Telstra store got me their cheapest android phone and plan that would last the month and be less then $100 for the phone and plan. The challenge was to get email and other services set up on an android after being used to an IPhone. Eventually I got the hang of it and having it did save us and me some hassles. Well worth doing.