For starters, Australia has been number one on my destination bucket list ever since I was little. I’m a huge animal lover, so the thought of playing with kangaroos, snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef, and snuggling koalas was always so appealing to me (I used to want a wallaby as a pet… and this trip confirmed it). When Qantas reached out in hopes of partnering together for a sponsored trip to three different cities within Australia, I honestly didn’t think it could be real. Especially since it was so close to my birthday, it was a trip of a lifetime!
I was sought out to generate awareness about Qantas’ Explorer, a program geared towards Millennials to encourage how affordable it can be to travel domestically within the country, all while showcasing the Food & Wine of Australia. Like, okay fine twist my arm, I’m your girl 😉
Being the last minute trip that is was, we got *our (so thankful Bridger was able to travel with me) flight confirmations just two days before we left the states… a little nerve wracking for my type A travel personality. But, I will say that everything we did on this trip, including Airbnb and hotel stay, travel excursions, winery tours, etc. was booked no more than 2 days in advance, which taught me to be a lotta bit more spontaneous. I packed so much into this Australia tour—referring to this as a tour because we really saw so much in so little time—that writing this post is getting me so excited to share all that we did!
A last minute trip wouldn’t be complete without packing the day before we left!
I’ll have a link soon with a list of all my travel essentials !!
The tour started when we departed from Seattle and flew into LAX to catch what would be the longest flight I’ve ever taken (15.5 hours) to Melbourne, Australia. Of course, I was a little nervous to be flying this long. Would I be able to sleep? Was I going to attempt to fast the whole way? (opting not to consume food for the duration of a flight has been shown to reduce jet lag, bloat, etc.). How would I survive without wifi? All questions I asked myself. Surprisingly enough, the flight from LAX to Melbourne turned out to be the best, most comfortable flight of my life! We had the chance to fly on Qantas’ new Dreamliner plane in Premium Economy. I 100% recommend, it’s definitely worth it!! It felt like first class, the flight attendants were Australian and so friendly, the menu was actually so impressive, and I was able to sleep 7 hours overnight.
We landed in Melbourne mid-morning, took a bus to our Airbnb in St. Kilda and had the rest of the day to explore. The city felt very young, hip, a bit touristy and easily accessible from basically anywhere around the area.
Food things first.
Melbourne was very rich in healthy, wholesome foods. So much so, that I wasn’t able to try about 80% of the places I wanted to from my list of recommendations I got from you guys. *I’ll be sharing my entire list of eats, activities, beaches and wineries for each city we traveled to below, but a few of my favorite food spots in Melbourne included Short Straw (anything on the menu), Matcha Mylkbar (matcha, obvi, matcha pancakes, vegan egg: yolk made with sweet potato & turmeric), Serotonin Dealer (raw desserts/treats, smoothies), Tall Timber (literally anything), Legacy Camberwell (poké bowl or any avo toast), Grill’d (grass-fed burgers, vegetarian burger, low-carb bun, thick-cut sweet potato fries!!), Gilson (half roast chicken), and MOM café (bliss balls).
I was lucky enough to meet the two #girlboss owners behind Matcha Mylkbar and Serotonin Dealer, two cafés each with an incredible backstory. I left each place feeling so inspired not only to share more nutrition and wellness knowledge with those around me, but also to continue to dream big and push myself/pave the way for what I want in life.
P.S. the raw treats are absolutely incredible at Serotonin Dealer—drooling at the thought of them as I type this.
Bridger and I went on a run around Albert Lake near our stay. In my opinion, running is the best way to see a new city. Luckily enough, it was Saturday and the market was happening. A bunch of tents with the beach in the background; it was my perfect Saturday morning. I even scored some beautiful artwork from a local artist to hang in our new apartment. After the market, we rented a car and drove about an hour northeast to the Yarra Valley. The hardest part about getting there was learning how to drive on the opposite side of the car and the opposite side of the road… I volunteered Bridger to drive 😉
The Stones of Yarra Valley was our first winery of the trip and definitely one of the more picturesque locations. It was stunning. An entire precinct including stables and a barn turned café and bar, a dairy house made into a chapel, and their newest build; a wood fired pizza restaurant and bar.
That night we relaxed on the beach at sunset and watched the twenty-something kite-surfers in the ocean for hours before we picked up dinner at Gilson’s to eat back at the Airbnb.
We uber’d down to Brighten Beach to see the iconic Brighten Beach Boxes, a bunch of small shacks lined up along the beach painted all sorts of colors. The sun got us good and we left burnt. Really burnt.
PSA: don’t take the sun lightly during the summer months in Australia. I brought along my American organic sunscreen and it did nothing but leave us with a 2-3 day burn. Buy the 50spf Aussie sunscreen. Just do it.
PSA #2: something we learned very quickly; everything closes early, especially on the weekends. This may not be a big deal normally, but when you’re either traveling, coming back from a day-long excursion, or not locked in on the current time zone, it can be so frustrating! Almost to the point where it leaves you emotionally unstable and hanger forces you to shed a few tears… just kidding. But, seriously. Be prepared and plan ahead!
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