Fun and Games in Melbourne

Flew from Christchurch to Sydney, only spent one full day there-with my cousin in the aquarium, it was really nice to spend some time with him again and I got an expert view of all the fish too.  The next day I flew to Melbourne for the Commonwealth games.  Despite its reputation of having four seasons in one day, the weather was glorious for my whole stay! Maybe my reputation as weather witch is unwarranted after all.

This city is buzzing! They have organised an arts festival too, that coincides with the gaps between events, so there is always something to do and watch.  Went to the stadium yesterday to see the athletics, and despite being outnumbered by the aussie supporters, I still found a small bunch of poms to cheer on Dean Macey with! When it came to the 5000m I did find myself joining the crowd-when the aussie runner overtook the Kenyan with 4 laps left-it went mad! The crowd erupted and screamed and cheered him on.  The Kenyan was right on his heels and managed to overtake him again right at the end, what an exciting race!  Also got to see the fastest man in the world (Asafa Powell) race, in the semis (eventually-after 3 false starts, think they were all nervous to be with him) and then again in finals of the 100m race.  It was hard to follow events where the Australians weren’t winning, because the television coverage was very annoyingly biased. Had to hunt around to find out who won the decathlon eventually, because all that was being reported here was the fact that the Australian competitor got the bronze medal!!

I had the fortune of staying with a friend’s uncle, so I could stay in Melbourne a little while longer after the games, to see the sights and relax.  I went on a trip to Philip Island to see the little penguins come in from the ocean.  They were so cute! They sort of surfed in on the waves, gathered themselves together, looked around, then inevitably one would decide he’s not going and dive back in, so would his mate, then his mate, and then the rest would chicken out too! Then it would all happen again, and again, until they all decided-right we’re going in, and as they start waddling in, a wave would knock them over!  Eventually they would scuttle past us (we were sitting very still on the beach) and back to their homes.  They are called “little penguins” or “fairy penguins” and are the smallest type of penguin around.

As we could only see them at night, we spent the day at a wildlife park, feeding kangaroos, koalas and tasmanian devils! Saw a great sunset while eating a barbeque on the beach.

Also went on a trip down the “Great Ocean Road” which lived up to its name!  It was a beautiful day too, so all the beaches and rock formations looked really good.  We also managed to spot some koalas in the wild and an echidnea.  The bus driver was a bit of a character, took the mick out of everyone and liked to tell us of his views on everything!

Then, while in the city where AFL is like a religion, I had to go and watch a game of “aussie rules”  It was great! There aren’t really any rules, so it’s really easy to follow and it’s fast, so it gets really exciting. The only thing that lets it down is the cheesy brass band music which they warm up to and play at the end. Apparently Essendon (who I was supporting) has the best song-if that’s the case I dread to think what the rest sound like!!

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