Australia Chuckles

Australia and the UK: an early comparison

We’ve been in Melbourne for a week now and it’s been awesome so far. We’ve explored St Kilda and checked out the CBD, and today we moved across the city to our new home in Brunswick.

A home away from home
A home away from home

Before we came here someone told us Melbourne is ‘the London of Australia’ – and judging by how quickly we’ve settled in they could be right. Everything is strangely familiar (including the street names!), and the tram system is so user-friendly that even I have managed to navigate around the city with ease!

I’ve already slipped into some of my UK bad habits – like planning to go for a run, and even laying out my running gear the night before so it’s all ready for me, yet somehow not actually going after all! I’ve also continued to watch Neighbours and managed to fit in a good few afternoon naps.

Alex is also much the same, except he’s chosen to eat soup twice, whereas UK Alex usually avoids soup altogether.

There are plenty of differences too – like the cost of internet packages, clothes and eating out. And it’s not just eating out – our first supermarket shop cost $75 (about £45) and we reckoned we could have bought the same stuff in Britain for closer to £30. And for some reason TV shows and films seem to start on the half hour, rather than on the hour – madness!

And last week we stumbled upon a real life house auction, which took place on the street right outside the house and involved last minute bids and all sorts of drama – just like on Neighbours! With all the auctions going on we could probably hit a new one every weekend. This is the sort of free entertainment you just don’t find in London!


So all in all we love this place. The people we’ve met have been incredibly friendly, the food has been delicious, and tonight we’re going to the theatre for free courtesy of our last Airbnb host! Plus the tram system really is excellent (and actually cheaper than Oyster prices in London), and they seem to sell pancakes and milkshakes everywhere. What more could you ask for?

Adventure Australia

The adventure begins!

On Tuesday at midday Alex and I hopped on a plane at Heathrow’s Terminal 4 to start our 365 day adventure in Australia!

I was feeling slightly anxious about being 3kg over the luggage weight limit, but the nice man at the Malaysia Airlines check-in desk either couldn’t add up or decided to turn a blind eye, so I didn’t have to fork out the £30 excess baggage fee after all – result!

Just 24 hours later, after watching The Internship, The Heat, A Perfect Getaway (I hadn’t heard of it before either!), World War Z and several episodes of Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory, we arrived in Melbourne. And just two hours after that we arrived at 1 Acland Street in St Kilda – our Airbnb accommodation for our first 8 days in the southern hemisphere.

Our first day (Thursday possibly? It’s hard to know!) started with a yummy brunch across the road, and then went by in a blur of jet-lag and shock at the cost of pretty much everything here compared to the UK! I had an afternoon nap, then we meandered along the beach at St Kilda and through Albert Park, where the cloudy weather made for chilly walking but beautiful photos!

Rainbow over Melbourne
Rainbow over Melbourne

The afternoon nap I had so craved at the time proved to be a terrible decision as I lay wide awake at 3am. And again at 6am! Luckily enough, Alex got tangled in the sheets at 3am and woke up, so I took the opportunity to provide him with a detailed account of the nightmare I’d just had, to help pass the time. Then when I woke up at 6am I managed to keep quiet for about an hour, but then I thought ‘screw this, I’m really bored’ – and in no time at all I’d woken Alex up too so I had someone to talk to. Plus what’s the point of sleeping when there’s a whole new country out there to explore!

Adventure Travel/holiday

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside

We’re currently in Cornwall on a family holiday and I’m loving it here! My sister Nicola and her boyfriend Alex (yes another Alex – confusing I know!) were here until Monday morning, so now it’s my mum, dad, dog Tasha, and Alex, plus my unofficial godmother, Rosie.

So far we’ve been on walks along the cliffs and beach in Porthleven where we’re staying, visited St Ives, Land’s End, Penzance, Padstow and Truro, and been to Falmouth twice to get contact lenses for Alex in preparation for a certain water-based activity!

Surfin' Cornwall
Surfin’ Cornwall

Now that we’re moving to Aus in less than a month I decided a surf lesson was definitely in order, and there just happened to be the Dan Joel Surf School in Poldhu, right along the coast from where we’re staying. (It was only later that we found out that Dan Joel used to be the UK champion – he was far too laid-back, friendly and modest to admit that to us in person!)

In my mind I’ve always been an excellent surfer who just doesn’t yet know how to surf. But in reality I was just like any other beginner (if not worse!) – I spent most of the time floundering in the sea with water up my nose. Alex and the other guy in our lesson were better – I reckon partly because they were stronger and so found it easier to get into position to catch a wave and then stand up quickly. By the end of the lesson they could stand up pretty easily and were even starting to turn!

But alas I have no upper body strength, so when it came to trying to stand up on the board I really struggled to hoist myself up onto my feet. The few times I nearly managed it, the wave died and I had no choice but to fall off! Until the last wave of the lesson, when I actually did stand up, and basically surfed all the way into the beach like a total pro (as I assume I must have appeared to on-lookers).

I found the lesson completely exhausting, and was slightly disappointed not to be a complete natural at this sport I’m so desperate to be good at, but I still massively enjoyed it. Dan was a fantastic instructor and I can’t wait to make surfing a regular part of my new life in Aus!