"One of the most well-known highlights of the Great Ocean Road is The Twelve Apostles. Situated in the Port Campbell National Park, the massive limestone structures that tower 45 metres above the tempestuous Southern Ocean, leave its visitors awe-struck in wonder at their size and beauty. Behind the eight remaining stacks (five have fallen since their discovery) are majestic cliffs, around 70 metres high." ~ visitgreatoceanroad.org.au

It would be a travesty to move on...
 to more recent travels...
before sharing the beauty of our road trip...
 along the Great Ocean Road in Australia.
 Small villages await with beaches for human play...
and for dogs to chase birds.
You can whiz by or stop... 
and enjoy some refreshments under the shade of these umbrellas.
From Melbourne...
the 275 Km (170 miles) drive west...
offers quite the reminder of the impact...
wind and water...
have on land...
with the poetic remnants left behind.
This adventure discovering the coast...
is well worth the effort and time...
especially when your day ends...
in the quaint village...
of Port Campbell...
where you choose a lovely place to rest your head.

We left Port Campbell the next morning...
and were pleasantly surprised with camels in a field of cows
 as well as the non-coastal part of our road trip.

"Melbourne, where I grew up, is one of the street art capitals of the world. Something about discovering freshly painted walls always fills me with optimism; it's autonomous and democratic, and reminds me that maybe people are paying attention after all." Penelope Mitchell

Because of the ubiquitous art throughout...
we spent an afternoon...
meandering...
through the laneways...
where new murals pop up overnight.
There have been controversies when the new...
leave only glimpses of the past.
Reaction to current affairs...
reveal political leanings...
and...
other social commentary.
The artists refer to their medium...
as "burnings"...
as their art seems to burn...
off of the wall.

Others give free design... 
to surrounding businesses.
Some businesses...
welcome the art...
and have commissioned... 
work to be done.
We happened upon a few personal photo shoots...
and definitely had our favorites.
 Pig with a crown anyone?  Ha!
Or, maybe a sweet peeking pup?

These laneways take on a whole new personality
 when the surrounding bars open their doors each night,
requiring a whole other post!


"On Melbourne summer mornings the green trams go rolling in stately progress down tunnels thick with leaves: the bright air carries along the avenue their patient chime, the chattering of their wheels." Helen Garner

Overnight flights give hotels an opportunity to make your day.
A chance to rise to the top of favorite hotel lists.
So, when we arrived at QT Melbourne...
and a smiling person grabbed our bags
 and escorted us into the festive lobby,
we were already feeling revitalized. 

The morning continued to improve... 
when they led us to our room hours before stated check-in time, 
for a quick freshening up before our first adventure.

Since it was American Thanksgiving,
we decided to board the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant...
for a cruise through the city to get our bearings, 
while eating a surprisingly tasty meal served by a crew who aimed to please.

Once our Thanksgiving meal was complete 
my internal Christmas timing barometer kicked in...
and it was a respectable time to enjoy Melbourne's Christmas cheer.
Shopping at my new favorite store, David Jones...
was complete with live music...
and even the trees offer cozy reminders
 of what Christmas is all about.
Most of the museums in Melbourne are free...
  and the National Gallery of Victoria...
is filled with an eclectic... 
mixture of art mediums...
where visitors are free to snap away. 
Our quick visit limited us to only one museum,
but there are many to choose from.

The walkability of Melbourne... 
makes a stroll along the Yarra River...
an enjoyable way to see much of the city.
The newest park in Melbourne...
Birrarung Marr, was built
on traditional land of the Wurundjeri people. 
 A walk along the river also allows you...
to cross over the river multiple times...
for an up close and personal...
look at the unique bridges...
for foot passages only.
Some bridges even offer a rest area...
with refreshments!
Other river crossings are complete with frisky animals...
and mastheads.
As night fell,
the buildings put on a show...
and crowds paused to peer,
where they have been peering for 62 years, 
into the infamous Myer Department store windows.

With some excellent tips from the concierge at the hotel...
we managed to locate...
a few interesting cocktail bars.
Of course, one of them pretentiously did not allow photos. Ha!
We were ignorant of that rule when this was taken!

Meanwhile...
the beautiful Christmas tree...
is sitting pretty at the base of the Petronas Towers here in KL.



  




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