The Great Ocean Road Tour | Diary 004

The three days on the Great Ocean Road where an amazing experience with the best views, picture spots, lovely people, good music on the road and delicious food!

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Friday 5/10

My Friday started the earliest I ever woke up in Australia as I had to check out, grab all my belongings and walk 2km to the pickup point where my Great Ocean Road Tour with groovygrapetours started. It was pretty hard to walk for half an hour with my big backpack and my small backpack in the front and I probably couldn’t have walked for much longer as my shoulders were itching, but I made it and it was beautiful to walk through the city that early.

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On our tour, there were only eight people, all girls and five of them from Germany, two from Great Britain and one American girl. We were a pretty cool group and some of the girls love photography as well which is awesome! The American girl is even a Freelance photographer and pretty known on Instagram (@lizaherlands_). She takes manly New York, interior and food pictures and I really like her and it was super interesting to talk to her and learn a few things.

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After getting out of Melbourne the famous Ocean Drive started and we had such a wonderful view over the sea. We were super lucky with the weather as well, only a few clouds, lots of sunshine and not that much wind.

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We enjoyed the beautiful coastal drive, stopped for many viewpoints and “Insta-time’ – stops as our guide called the photo stops :D

Followed by lunch with a view over the ocean and a beach walk afterwards. We had wraps with lots of fresh greens and veggies and I was completely impressed by how much fresh food we got over the whole tour. I never ever expected the food to be this good!

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In the afternoon we stopped by a rainforest and walked through it and I really felt like in another world. Huge trees, fronds, all green and beautiful silence and bird noises.

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On time for sunset we made it to the most famous stop on the GOR – the twelve apostles. And we had a blast watching the sun drowning in the ocean water and the stones, sky and water changing colours. It was truly one of the most beautiful spectacles I ever watched in my entire life… have a look yourself:

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After this adventurous day, we had lots of pizza for dinner and fell asleep immediately.

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Saturday 6/10

Day two started early which a big breakfast (tour breakfast consists of toast, jam, chocolate spread, peanut butter, muesli & cornflakes, yoghurt and milk – I asked for vegan milk in advance which is no problem at all) to be fit for more viewpoints and looksouts.

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The Ocean Road was complete, so we had a wonderful view over sheep and cow fields, little mountains and the hinterland.

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Our tour guide luckily knew the best spot to see kangaroos very close and it was so cute to watch them eating grass. Some even had babies that looked out of their mom’s pouch.

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Afterwards we visited the Aboriginal Cultural Centre of this area and drove further to a Tower Hill National Park where we saw our first koala sleeping in the tree.

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For lunch we had a burger BBQ at a public BBQ place (which is very common in Australia). I ate a burger salad which was delicious!

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Afterwards we hiked to the McKenzie Waterfall and ended our day with cooking together in our lovely cabin we stayed for the night. We had pasta with (veggie) Bolognese and roasted oven zucchini.

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Sunday 7/10

Sunday started with a very early but beautiful morning hike. I really enjoy that you go on hikes together on the tours because I love hiking and walking in nature and it is a welcome change to the sitting on the bus a lot.

The view over the mountain ranges was beautiful and it is great that you get up super early on the tours and be the first one at the lookouts, because travelling alone/privately it is very difficult to motivate yourself to get up so early.

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On day three we had a lot of driving to do and only two lookouts over the mountain ranges and at a pink lake. This was the first time for me seeing one and it is kinda funny.

For our last lunch, we had leftovers and took a long nap on our way to Adelaide.

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As a group, we decided to meet again in the afternoon at 48 flavours in Adelaide that our tour guide recommended. This Ice Cream place is worldwide known as it created the best ice cream flavour of 2017: Gorgonzola, Fig, Walnut. Sounds weird but tastes amazing. They also have lots of vegan flavours and I tested their peanut butter soy which was super creamy and delicious!

In my next Diary blog post I’ll tell you more about my time in Adelaide!

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*Disclaimer! Just to clarify that: I got a discount for my tour with groovygrapetours, but I am obviously still 100% honest with all my reviews and thoughts!

Melbourne Travel Guide – Things to Do, See & Eat

My first destination in Australia now got my new favourite city in the world. Being overwhelmed at first and feeling uncomfortable, I fell in love more and more day by day and now I am already excited to go back.

Besides the wonderful cafés, pubs, shops and sights obviously the people I met there are a huge reason for my Melbourne love as well.

In this travel guide, I tell you all my beloved places to go to, things to see and facts to know that I discovered in 2 ½ weeks in the city and I will hopefully be adding more experiences and favourites when I go back soon.

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Blog posts from Melbourne

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Things to know

When you arrive at the Melbourne Tullamarine airport you can take the Skybus to the city for 19$

Melbourne has a Free Tram Zone in the CBD area which means that you don’t need to pay when travelling in this zone or when you use the Free Tram Route 35 that goes around the CBD. This makes exploring the city 100 times easier, quicker and cheaper and it was so practical to not worry about your ticket.

 

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I only paid for going to St. Kilda and Brighton Beach (both 20-30 minutes away from the centre) and otherwise I used the free tram and walked the rest.

Melbourne has a free Wifi in the whole CBD area which was great to use google maps, check out places and it also worked in my hostel (as most hostel Wifi’s are shit :D )

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I never ever thought that Melbourne is so cold! I’ve been there in the End of September / Beginning of October and even though it was 18-24 degrees at that time, I always wore all my warm clothes because the wind is freezing. When you are in the sun and protected from the wind it is nice but in the shades and windy streets, it feels like winter.

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The vibe of the city reminds me of a mix between London, Seattle and New York (even though I haven’t been to NY). I can’t really describe why, but the people, their style, the shops and restaurants have this urban hipster vibe (in a very good way!) – especially Fitzroy.

There are a lot of awesome Vintage Shops in Melbourne. This is another reason why I really want to go back – so I can shop the perfect Vintage Levi’s Mom Jeans and Shorts as well as Dr. Martens, cool Hoodies, band t-shirts and awesome jackets…

Fitzroy is the coolest, hippest, nicest area in Melbourne and especially the Brunswick street is awesome! Nice shops, cafés, restaurants, pubs and vintage shops.

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Apparently, Melbourne has the best coffee in the world! I don’t know if that is really the case, but at least they have the most coffee shops in the world (per person), but not the big chains – Melbourners love their individual, cute coffee places and you find them at every corner.

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Where to Stay

Of course, I can’t tell you which place is the best to stay in Melbourne as I haven’t tried them all.

In the beginning, I’ve stayed in the CBD area the Nomads All Nations hostel that was cheap, but not very clean and nice. The vibe and the kitchen weren’t that great and considering that it wasn’t even a good price (24$ for a 12-bed-dorm). They offer free pancakes for breakfast as well as tea, coffee, pasta and rice which is great!

Afterwards, I moved into The Nunnery in Fitzroy. I really recommend this area and also this hostel, but it is also pretty expensive (35$ for 12-bed-dorm). The vibe there is super chilled, it isn’t that big and it’s easy to meet people. Everything is clean and they offer free breakfast, tea, coffee and pasta as well as specials like a pub crowl, soup, BBQ or movie night every week.

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What to do

For me, the most important thing when visiting a city, is walking through its streets and soaking up its vibes. Not the sights but the streets, buildings and people give it its charm.

You will see a lot of Asian people, shops, supermarkets and restaurants, many barbers & hairdressers, coffeeshops, chocolateries & bisquiteries.

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Streets I recommend to check out are: Brunswick Street in Fitzroy (vintage shops, cute cafés, restaurants & pubs, many vegan places), Lygon Street in Calton (many European and especially Italian restaurants), Fliders St, Bourke St, Swanson St, Elisabeth St, Collin St (in the CBD) and Little Bourke St (Chinatown).

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At Federation Square a lot of open-air (Veranstaltungen) take place. You also find an aboriginal museum and ACMI Museum (modern, technology) there. The immigration museum is another recommended one on Federation St.

The Eureka Tower is the highest building in Melbourne and you can enjoy an awesome view from above over the city. Sadly I didn’t do it, but it is on the top of my things to do next time for sure!

 

The Queen Victoria Market is one of my favourite places in Melbourne. They don’t just sell fresh fruits & veggies for a great price (and offer so many different options), but also the best hummus I ever had and yummy bread, sweets and take-away dishes. There is also a part that sells shoes, clothes, souvenirs and everything else you could think of.

Another market in Melbourne is the South Melbourne Market that is meant to be great as well.

 

South of the Yarra River, you can find the Royal Botanical Garden (that I only saw a small part of and want to go back to!)…

…as well as the National Art Gallery that had a Moma exhibition from New York at the moment and the Arts Centre Melbourne where I really wanted to see the Australian Ballet dancing Spartacus, but the tickets where too expensive sadly.

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St. Pauls Cathedral, State Library Victoria, City Square and Melbourne Town Hall are worth a look as well.

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Walk101 do a Free Walking Tour in the centre of the city as well as in St. Kilda. Originally I wanted to do both, but I only made it to the centre tour which was a lot of fun and I highly recommend it.

You go to the meeting point, join the tour, meet a lot of other travellers, learn a lot about the city and history as well as some insider tips from the tour guide and in the end you pay as much as you can / want to.

The laneways in Melbourne are very famous with their street art. You just need to walk through some smaller streets and you will find amazing artworks. At ACDC lane and Flinders Lane (and the areas around), you will find the most famous pieces and walls. But also the streets of Fitzroy are great to see some pretty street art. The cool thing is, that they change daily/weekly because artists make new sprays all the time.

Furthermore, Arcades are very popular in Melbourne and I recommend to walk through the beautiful Royale Arcade and Block Arcade for it’s amazing architecture and the  Centreway Arcade to find cute book, vintage and soap shops.

To get a little bit outside the big city vibes I highly recommend to go to St. Kilda for one day. Especially when the weather is nice. The pier is only 25 minutes by tram away from the centre and you will find some vacation and beach vibes there. It’s great to stroll through the pedestrian zone and the not so busy streets, enjoy the peace in the Botanical Gardens or sit at the beach.

Behind the famous amusement park, I found a real oasis: VegOut an urban garden community that allows you to walk through the patches and forget that you are in a huge city.

Another great getaway that is even more quiet and peaceful is Brighton. A suburb of Melbourne about 25 minutes by train away from the city centre. The famous Brighton Bath Boxes are located there and you can enjoy some sunny time at the beach.

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Where to eat

Melbourne and especially Fitzroy is full of amazing (vegan) food places. Literally, every pub offers vegetarian and even vegan dishes but you can also find hundreds of beautiful, hipster, chic cafés that all have avocado toast, granola and even acai on their menu. Many coffee shops sell raw slices and vegan cookies as well as delicious looking banana bread or carrot cake.

It would already be worth coming back to Melbourne just to try out more food places, as I obviously couldn’t (or wouldn’t want) to afford eating out every day for every meal – but I really wished to!

 

Degraves Street

Degraves St is a pedestrian street where cafés, coffee shops and bakeries as well as restaurants and bistros are side by side and everyone can for sure find something to satisfy their taste buds.

I’ve been to Mock Turtle on Degraves St and…

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…here I ate the best Avocado Toast of my life. I can not really imagine someone being able to top it. Sadly it wasn’t vegan and I forgot to ask for a vegan option, but it was amazing and so worth it… I mean look at the variety of toppings and the bread was just delicious (which isn’t always the case if you are used to the great German bread :P ) and the Avo smash perfectly ripe and creamy. The price was pretty high but I would still always come back!

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Slow Poke

Another great breakfast place that is located on Brunswick St. A super quiet café that has a small courtyard where you can sit peacefully and enjoy the sunshine. Their orange juice is fresh pressed and they have some amazing looking baked sweets. They also have a yummy lunch menu.

I ate buckwheat chocolate granola with coconut yogurt and cacao nibs, almond milk and canned peas which was amazing. The Avo Toast looked good, but by far not reach the one from Mock Turtle.

Lentils as Anything

I fell in love with the philosophy of this place and I am so lucky that they have one local in Sydney (and about 5 in Melbourne, even in St. Kilda). This place is run by volunteers and they offer a completely vegan buffet for lunch and four dishes to choose from every day for dinner, as well as a dessert. At the end you pay the amount you think the food was worth it – and I tell you, the food is amazing!

We tried all the dishes they had that evening and everything was super delicious and I am really sad that I only went there once in Melbourne. I’ll definitely go there lots in Sydney!

Lord of the Fries

If you crave some unhealthy food, go to Lord of the Fries! A completely vegan fast food burger chain that make amazing burgers and delicious fries. They don’t advertise to be completely vegan, to attract everyone and to amaze them with the vegan deliciousness. And it’s also fairly cheap!

I ate a “Fish-burger” and sweet potato fries with vegan aioli and tried the normal fries and the classic burger from a friend and everything was yummy. But I still wouldn’t want to go there every second day, because you can really taste that it’s not healthy at all :D

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Madam Saigon

… is a better option when you want something healthy and cheap. This bistro makes great Asian dishes and they have vegan options on their menu. I tried the vegan noodle salad bowl with tofu and it was delicious, fresh, healthy and great for lunch while only costing 11$ (7€).

Zero Gradi Gelateria

A friend who has been living in Melbourne for a while crowned this place to the best Gelataria in town and they have vegan flavours too (and not only fruit sorbets). I combined vegan chocolate and coconut and it tasted amazing – creamy, chocolat-y and not too sweet.

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More great (vegan/healthy) places that I sadly could not try this time:

  • Fina’s Vegetarian Café
  • Pina Chocolate Café
  • Veggie time
  • Smith & Daughter
  • Veggie bar
  • Nice Guy
  • Particle
  • Urban Projuice
  • Yong Green Food
  • Vegilicious
  • Radhey Chai Bar
  • Tahina Bar
  • Mantra Lounge
  • Rue de Creperie
  • Loving hut Richmond

And you will find a lot more by just walking through the streets (especially Brunswick St)!

Eating out Vegan in Melbourne // What I Eat #2

In my first What I Eat in a day from Melbourne, I showed you a lot of very cheap, quick and easy meals I made in my first few days in Melbourne.

I really want to stay healthy, fit, mostly plant-based and eat on a budget while I travel, but I also want to try the amazing vegan food spots, enjoy my time and go out with friends.

That’s why you will find some restaurant recommendations for Melbourne in this post, as I went out for food quite a few times with my friends – and it was worth it!

Now I try to still keep on track with my money, but also enjoy the amazing (vegan) food they have here without any regrets!

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Saturday 29/9

On Saturday I had to leave my first hostel and move to Sabrina’s hostel in Fitzroy, so I enjoyed the free pancakes for the last time for breakfast.

I really wish they would not have them in most hostels for breakfast for free, because they aren’t vegan and pretty unhealthy but free – so it’s hard to resist :D

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For lunch, I had some leftover pasta with my go-to sauce at the moment that I keep repeating. You can find the recipe in my last What I Eat post!

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IMG_6176 After watching the Football game in a pub, I was super stoked for some unhealthy burger (as many people ate them in the pub) and so we went to ‚Lord of the Fries‘ an all vegan fast-food burger chain. It tasted unhealthy, but awesome at the same time! I had a ‚fish-burger‘ and sweet potato fries with vegan aioli and only spend 20$ for that.


Sunday 30/10

For breakfast, I met again with my AuPair mom in a wonderful, small and calm café called ’slowpoke‘ on Brunswick Street.

This time I ordered buckwheat chocolate granola with coconut yogurt, almond milk and pears which was super delicious and very filling. Luckily, I didn’t got the Avo Toast this time, as it could have never topped the one I had two days ago with her!

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As a snack, I had some bread with hummus as well as carrots to dip.

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Sadly, I forgot to take a picture from our actual dinner.

We had an oven roast with sweet potato, broccoli and capsicum with tomato chutney.

As a dessert, we got these funny Asian rice balls with peanut butter from the Asian supermarket.

They taste weird but okay and it was cool to try them.

 

 

 

More Meals…

As I had pretty much the same for breakfast most days / it didn’t look that great / I just forgot to take pictures I will only show you a few more meals I had in Melbourne.

My breakfast was either free pancakes with maple syrup, rice-porridge (that I showed you in part one) or toast and chocolate spread/strawberry jam at the free breakfast in my 2nd hostel.

Sadly it wasn’t as healthy as I imagined it, but it’s hard to decide between being cheap or healthy…

 

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My last week in Melbourne was a little less tourist-y and more enjoying time with the friends I met. We went to the market to go food shopping and had a late breakfast / early brunch there. I bought a falafel wrap for 4$ (2,50€) at the food court which was very good as well as another slice of banana bread.

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Even though the banana bread from Aldi is packed individually in plastic which sucks, it is so practical to take with you and not eat everything at once. And it also keeps it moist and yummy!

And if you wonder: yes! They have Aldi here :D

 

 

 

 

 

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The day we went to Brighton Beach, I had olive ciabatta with olive hummus for lunch in the sunshine and the same for dinner with another slice of banana bread.

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Another day Sabrina and me slept in and then made this amazing vegan pasta bolognese for lunch. Super easy, quick and delicious!

Quick Vegan Pasta Bolognese

You need: pasta, carrots, onion, tofu, tomato sauce, salt, some spices and a little bit of oil and soy sauce

How to: Boil pasta with salt. Fry chopped onion with a little bit of oil in a pan. Add chopped carrots and a bit of water and steam for a while. Mash firm tofu with a fork and sprinkle with soy sauce, add into the pan. Spice with salt, pepper, veggie broth, Italian herbs (whatever you have/like). Add tomato sauce and the cooked pasta.

If you like you can add cheese or nutritional yeast as well as fresh spinach & tomatoes to make it even more nutritious.

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The next night we ate some leftover tofu fried with onion, capsicum and carrots in a wrap with hummus, tomato chutney and lots of spinach. I really like wraps and eat them a lot here because they are healthy, easy, variable and delicious!

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Soy, mushroom and tomato noodles with fried tofu, broccoli, salad and fried onion.

One night we went to ‚Lentils as Anything‘ and it was a feast! We tried all the dished they had that evening and everything was just AWESOME! I am for sure going there in Sydney as well. Oh and everything is VEGAN by the way!

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Savoury Japanese pancake with tomato relish, vegan aioli, firm tofu and nori. Extremely delicious and something I never ate before.
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Veggie Ratatouille with mashed potato, salad and nutritional yeast. My favourite dish!

Cauliflower and something soup and dried fruit chocolate brownie for dessert.

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You can see that I couldn’t really resist eating out on my second week in Melbourne :D That’s just how it is when you meet people and want to enjoy your time with them and for me, that’s totally okay! I rather sleep in a 12-bed-dorm and live cheap as much as I can, but spend a little bit more on dining out with friends and having a wonderful time! Especially when it’s healthy and vegan food!

At ‚Madam Saigon‘ I had this amazing vegan noodle salad bowl for only 11$ (7€) which is amazingly cheap for eating out here!

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My second hostel had a free soup night every Tuesday, so I had vegan carrot soup with bread and some more fresh carrots with hummus for dinner that night.


That’s more or less everything I ate in Melbourne! Besides my Breakfast mostly healthy and besides eating out mostly cheap :D

How do you like my Backpacking What I Eat in a Day’s? Is it interesting? What would you like to see and hear more of?