We took the morning flight back to Melbourne via Jetstar, and the moment we landed we felt kind of lost having somewhat been in the Aussie wilderness over the past week or so. The first thing we did was to board the shuttle bus to our car rental office (we went with Apex having had a good experience with them in Hobart, plus their rates were the best). The process went smoothly and we got a new Hyundai Santa Fe, a monster of a vehicle compared to the relatively small Ford Kuga we landed the last time round.
We headed to DFO Essendon, hoping it was as good as the Premium Outlets in Boston or Mitsui Outlets in Tokyo. Unfortunately, it was nowhere near. I ended up with nothing and finished walking the entire place in a matter of an hour.
For most part, DFO Essendon was largely on the pricey side and a disappointment since I was expecting good bargains. Pari however did manage to snare a few incredibly cheap tops from Cotton On, so at least one person left relatively pleased with the encounter.
We checked in to our apartment at Fitzroy before dinner and it was an absolute stunner, in a good way of course.
This 3 storey apartment was tastefully decorated, immaculately clean and comfortable and we were glad we picked it for 2 nights.
Owners Enzo and Mary were kind and hospitable, checking us in personally and explaining the house in detail before leaving us. Highly recommended for families or a party of 4.
I scoured the internet for some good dining spots in the area and came across Houndstooth a couple of times, so we decided to give it a punt.
Along the way, we encountered some wonderful street art.
Safe to say that creativity of such order would no doubt be punished quickly back in squeaky clean Singapore.
The menu in Houndstooth was pretty straightforward, you decide the number of courses you wanted and picked them from the pretty condensed menu, on the chalkboard.
The portions certainly weren’t great, but at least it left us with stomach for dessert at Gelatino Messina, probably the best gelato in Australia.
The place was so packed that we didn’t think it was appropriate to ask for samples, though you were certainly entitled to if you wanted. None of the flavors we selected disappointed. We went with a medley of Dark Chocolate, Salted Caramel, and Coconut.
On our final full day we woke up a little earlier to have a head start as the day was expected to be packed and in view that it was our last one on our epic road trip.
Our first stop was South Melbourne Market, probably lesser known compared to Queen Victoria but certainly not worse off in terms of its offerings.
Don’t miss these wonderful (but expensive) French pastries near the entrance! We had a delightful chocolate croissant.
If you’re the kind that loves fresh seafood, South Melbourne Market is a great place for you. You don’t have to wait till you get home since you can pop some freshly shucked oysters on the spot as long as you’re up for it.
After we had a quick lunch we took an hour’s drive to Blue Hills Berries and Cherries, and Warratina Lavender Farm to take a peek.
We didn’t fancy another strawberry PYO, so we quickly moved on.
The lavenders weren’t in season, so most of the visitors came for the cafe and gift shop, which served all things, well, lavender.
The last and final sight for our trip was something we enjoyed the most throughout this great holiday, a waterfall.
For reasons unknown to me all the members of my family enjoy seeing water tumble down from high above so even though Steavanson Falls wasn’t the prettiest we’ve seen, it was still a nice encounter and certainly made better with the people I love most.
It was slightly over an hour’s drive but the views along the way were one of the best we saw during our road trip, driving among some of the tallest trees we’ve seen.
We encountered an Australian guy who told me that he was betting I had never seen such tall trees in China before.
I told him I did, and I was from Singapore. I was pretty sure the (man-made) Super Trees at Gardens by the Bay back home were bigger and taller, though I couldn’t be absolutely sure.
It was a comic moment for sure, but I wasn’t certain if he was genuinely happy for me or that he was just trying to be racist.
If you’re feeling good that day, you can take a hike up to the top of the waterfall for some nice views. It will likely take you an hour both ways, so a certain level of fitness might be required as there are some slopes you will encounter. Nevertheless, my parents made it so it shouldn’t present a great difficulty to most able-bodied adults.
Planning a trip with my parents was certainly trickier in some ways compared to my trips with Pari since I had to factor in their fitness levels, diet and comfort levels with regards to certain types of accommodation. I was really glad that the trip turned out perfect for most part of the trip and it was heart warming to hear that this was one of their best trips ever.
Much credit to my dearest Pari too for her kindness and patience towards my folks and never failing to surprise me with her antics.
Parents are wonderful – bring them to trips whenever you can, and while they still can!