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Previous Blogs: Day 1 Portland & Honolulu | Day 2 Oahu | Day 3+4 Melbourne | Day 5 Williamstown | Day 6 Launceston | Day 7 Cradle Mountain | Day 8 Road to Hobart | Day 9 Port Arthur | Day 10 Apollo Beach | Day 11 Port Fairy | Day12+13 Southern Ports | Day 14 Kangaroo Island | Day 15 Kangaroo Island | Day 16 Kangaroo Island | Day 17 Adelaide | Day 18 Adelaide | Day 19 Adelaide Hills | Day 20+21 Uluru | Day 22+23 Alice Springs | Day 24 Darwin | Day 25 Darwin | Day 26+27 Port Douglas | Day 28 Daintree | Day 29+30 Gold Coast | Day 31+32 Brisbane | Day 33 Brisbane | Day 34-36 Hawaii

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The flight from Honolulu to Melbourne was 11 hours. We flew with Jetstar - an Australian budget airline. It was surprisingly comfortable, probably because the plane was a brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliner. We negotiated a window and aisle seat with no one between us - even though the plane was almost full. Very comfortable.

With Jetstar everything is extra. Pay for meals, pay for drinks, pay for check in bags and pay to use the state-of-the-art entertainment system. We left at 8 am and arrived at 4 PM the NEXT DAY! What happened to December 31???

We took a quick shuttle to our hotel which is probably the nicest "hotel room" we have ever stayed in. It's actually more like a 1 bed condo. Full kitchen with all appliances including dish washer. Washing machine and dryer in the bathroom, full bath and shower.

We're on the 14th Floor

Full size stove, fridge, dishwasher and microwave.

42" Flat screen and separate stereo system

Dual night stands, luggage stands and great view

Nice balcony

View from Balcony looking inland

The currency is funky. Some of the notes are see through! 1 AUS $ = 75 US Cents so just take 25% off each price you see to figure the cost in USD. Easy.

After settling in, we went grocery shopping at a store a couple blocks away. Prices are very reasonable with most grocery items similar in price or even cheaper than the USA.

Beer is quite a bit more though, with a six pack running at about $12. Wine is comparable and liquor we picked up at the arrivals duty free shop at Melbourne airport very inexpensively.

Duty free allowance into Australia is generous, 2 1/2 liters PER PERSON. That's five bottles for us and more than double you are allowed entering the USA. Cigarettes though, are US$25 a pack!

Having been up since 4 am Honolulu time and then adding another 2 hours in time difference, we were exhausted by the time we got back to our hotel at 8 PM.

So we decided not to take the 6 block walk to the madness at the waterfront. Just the crazy amount of pedestrians in the streets heading to the fireworks 6 blocks away was nuts.

We decided to stay in the hotel room to avoid the crowds and watch what we could from our hotel balcony, even though it faced away from the main waterfront display.

Wendy landed up falling asleep on the couch at 10.30 PM and only woke up 3 minutes after the fireworks ended!  Really!  I did try to wake her up!

This morning, after making breakfast in our kitchen, we headed downstairs to pick up the hop on hop off trolley that stops right outside our hotel.

And believe it or not, in Melbourne the hop on hop off tram is totally FREE OF CHARGE! How tourist friendly is that!

It makes a big circle around the downtown area with many stops. One goes clockwise and the other counter-clockwise, or anti-clockwise as we say in Oz.

We first went to the river front area, which is the crazy busy area where both sides of the Yarra River are lined with restaurants, bars and shops.

As you can see below, Melbourne is on a huge bay and then a river runs through the center of the city, so it has 3 waterfronts, one each side of the river and another on the bay.

Melbourne is famous for it's "laneway" restaurants - a narrow alley filled with art and food.

And of course lots and lots of shopping!

From Downtown we then took the tram to the harbor district called Docklands and Harbour Town. Being New Year's Day, a lot was closed, such as the giant Ferris wheel, so not a lot to do. We stpped at a Turkish restaurant for a snack lunch. We were looking for meat pies (of course) but none were to be found, downtown Melbourne is more about multicultural food than Australian food.

So once you have parked your boat to the pilings, how do you get to shore???

Melbourne has a population of 4.1 million people making it almost as big as Sydney (4.3 million) and by far the 2nd largest city in Australia. Next largest is Brisbane at half the size.

For six years in a row Melbourne has been voted the World's most livable city. The EIU index scores the world's major cities in healthcare, education, stability, culture, environment and infrastructure.

The city is clean (other than quite a bit of graffiti) and is very pretty with what appears to be a great public transport system.

Sadly it was a grey and someone drizzly day so we called it quits and went back to our hotel a little before 4 PM.


And finally....


Just in case you were wondering what to get me for my birthday next week, THIS will do nicely!

LOVE the flip up transom and dual steering!

Would you really name a fast food place after something related to FLIES???
I am not even in Australia for 24 hours before being molested by a street performer.

Yeah, he just HAD to choose me to be the brunt of his acrobatics (and comedy) and YOU KNOW how much I just LOVE that (NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!)