Last month I went home with Zac for a weekend to Ballarat. It was about an hour and a half by train from Melbourne and was a nice getaway from the city for the weekend. His family was lovely and it was nice to have a home-cooked meal for a change, too. I think it's definitely worth visiting the smaller, lesser known cities in the country you're studying in because there is still a lot to take away from those cities, too, in addition to the well-known cities.
The Ballarat Gold Rush!
Ballarat played a big part in the Victorian Gold Rush back in the 1850's and Ballarat has a well-known outside museum called Sovereign Hill which recreates the Gold Rush era. It's a big tourist attraction for the city.
While I didn't have the chance to go there, the highlight of the weekend was definitely going to the Ballarat Wildlife Park. I was able to pet multiple kangaroos, an emu, a koala and a snake. I was able to essentially see all of the Australian wildlife (finally) in one place!
At first, the kangaroos seemed really scary - some were pretty big!! I didn't have food to give them, so once I went near them and they figured out I had no food, they lost interest and laid back down. Some made some really cute faces. There were a few joeys and we came across one kangaroo with a joey in its pouch. It was actually pretty scary looking, because just the tail and one foot was hanging out of the pouch.
When we were looking at the koalas, there was one that had a little baby koala attached to its front. It's the same way monkeys carry their babies - it was so cute!
And of course the emu. I was afraid to touch it at first because their beaks look extremely sharp and I didn't feel like getting pecked! But once Zac pet one, I pet it and it was fine. Apparently emus make a deep sound, almost like drums, when they're walking around. It was pretty cool, but pretty weird, too! It wasn't a sound I expected them to make.
Casually Playing UNO... At the Bar
Of course, I had to experience the Ballarat nightlife. So we went to one of the karaoke bars to meet up with some of Zac's friends on Saturday night. By the end of the night, hard core games of UNO were being played... at the bar. I'm pretty sure I can say that is both the first and last time I will ever see or take part in a game of UNO at a bar.
All in all, it was an interesting weekend and I'm happy I made the trip out to Ballarat! Below are a few more pictures from the park!
I've been a bit preoccupied with life lately and thoroughly enjoying my time in Australia. As a result, this post has been a long time coming. A few of the highlights of the past couple of weeks include another night spent at the Luna1878 night market, an australian gig and a trip with friends to Phillip Island.
The next weekend, I went on a trip to Phillip Island with 7 others. We rented a private beach house. It was a nice break from Melbourne and the city, although I do wish we could've stayed longer. We spent a lot of time down on the beach. We went for walks, played catch, played soccer and a couple of guys brought a guitar and mandolin. The weather was PERFECT for being the first couple days of spring! I even went into the ocean. It was a bit chilly though. On Saturday night we went down to see the Fairy Penguins, also known as little penguins. They we TINY but so cute!!! It was so awesome seeing them wash up on the shore then waddle through the rocks to get to their burrows. We also saw a kangaroo up on the hill while we we watching the penguins - my first kangaroo sighting! Overall, It was just an amazing weekend spent with amazing people. Definitely one of the highlights of my time here so far.
While going for a run in the park a few weekends ago, I noticed there are TONS of wild parrots in Melbourne. They're noisy, but beautiful. I knew there were parrots here, but I didn't actually see them until then. They drove the dogs in the park nuts - they stopped at the bottom of the tree and kept barking at them. I've seen quite a few more since then - they seem to be out closer to dusk, it's interesting!
I'm falling more and more in love with Australia every day and this has been one of the best decisions of my life deciding to come here. I can't complain about a single thing, this place is awesome.
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