The Great Ocean Walk runs along the southern coast of Victoria, Australia. Despite a couple of steep sections, the short days and well-marked trail make it a scenic and relaxed hike, suitable for hikers getting their first taste of long distance walks. You’ll pass through the green forests of the Otways to the rugged coast, past some of Australia’s most well-known landmarks.
It’s been a tough couple of weeks for me, and I always know that when everything feels overwhelming the best thing for me is to get back into nature. I’d been meaning to visit Organ Pipes National Park for ages – it’s only a half-hour drive from my house, and it’s got one of the few examples of these special basalt stone structures in Australia, formed from volcanic lava which has shrunk and cracked over millions of years.
With a thriving café scene, arts culture and festivals every other week, it’s no wonder Melbourne’s been dubbed the world’s most liveable city six years in a row!
After a two-year round the world trip I made Melbourne my home and I reckon it’s one of the best places in the world (not biased or anything). There’s so much to do in this city, so here are my very top tips for spending 24 hours in Melbourne. I’ll give you the things I love doing as a local. None of this tourist stuff (okay some tourist stuff, but it’s cool tourist stuff).
There’s an undeniable attraction for writers to New York City. Whether it’s the conglomeration of culture, the proportion of publishers or just the way the city has featured in so many art forms. Walking New York is like being in an artwork itself. The buildings are the paintings, the streets the galleries. Having been to the city twice, I spent a week after the World Fantasy Convention exploring and revisiting some of my favourite destinations.
The scales were hard under my fingers, but after 120 million years, I still expected to feel some of the softness of a live fish. And yet, here I was, in the presence of possibly the oldest thing I had ever touched, apart from the Earth which I walk upon. While children ran around, shouting in joy at the dinosaur skeletons, I took a moment to stop and think, this is where I am, and it is a small place indeed.
Being a lover of dramatic overdressing and crime, I couldn’t help but fall in love with the TV show that is Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. Based on the book series by Kerry Greenwood, Miss Phryne Fisher, lady detective, seems to always find her well-heeled foot in crime. She investigates with a pearl-handled gun, 1920s convertible, and the dashing Detective Inspector Jack Robinson in tow.
Driving out through the grey outskirts of Melbourne, I knew I needed a day out in nature. Nothing calms the stressful mind than being present in the green of the bush, without mobile phone reception.
Within 90 minutes of Melbourne, the Yarra Valley is an ideal day trip. One popular driving route is the loop which goes through Lilydale, Healesville through the Yarra Ranges National Park, then down to Warburton and back to Melbourne. There are plenty of great cafes and stops along the way, whether you want to do the loop in one day or three, it’s a morish trip full of natural and nourishing beauty.
There’s something beautiful about crisp winter country air; there’s a bittersweet sharpness to the tang of cold on the skin. I stood on the curb of Lancefield’s wide street wondering why I didn’t bring a warmer jacket, stuffing my hands into my pockets in the hope to get warmer. The clear sky gave way to cool shade and warm sun.
In the middle of Melbourne is a hidden place, accessible only by magic doorway… well, it seems that way, but you can also walk from Collingwood Station. No special train platform is required to visit Abbotsford Convent, but it sure feels like you’ve stepped into Hogwarts or Brakebills.