Hiking to Mornington Peninsula & Hanging With Hinge Guys
Another reason we turned in so early last night was because on our third day in Melbourne, we woke up with the sun to participate in a hiking tour through Mornington peninsula. We booked the excursion through Hike and Seek tours online, which cost roughly $140. The price was rather high, but right now, the company is donating all of its proceeds to help fight the bush fires currently blazing through Australia. This made it money that was very well spent. Plus, the tour was amazing.... so worth every dime!
We were picked up at the train station by a guy only a few years older than us named James who would be our guide for the day. Also on the tour were five other older women, who ended up being an absolute hoot. I fell asleep in the back of James’ van as he drove us about an hour and a half out of the city to the start of our trip on the peninsula. Pro tip: don't take melatonin the night before an early morning :/
The first stop of our adventurous outing was at a lookout where, to my excitement, numerous kangaroos were hanging out at. I was nervous I wouldn’t see much wildlife while in Australia since we were spending most of our time in the cities, so when we hopped out of the van and saw the little roos, I was ECSTATIC.... abnormally so.Yes, I know kangaroos are really common and to Australians are nothing new, but I had never seen one in person so I squealed and took a zillion pictures anyway. No shame.
Unfortunately, the fires made visibility really low with a thick cloud of smoke filling the air, so we weren’t able to see much other than the kangaroos at the lookout. The fires happening during our trip, and for several months before we got there, were nothing to joke about. Millions of acres have been burnt and a staggering number of animals have been killed - it was heartbreaking and difficult to watch Australia endure the hardship. However, I'm grateful to have been there, both to see the stunning land they call home and to hopefully help spread more awareness, even through my silly trip.
The missed view was quickly made up for too when we reached our actual hiking destination along the Mornington peninsula. The hike was roughly an hour and a half total and it took us through a thick forest all the way to the peninsula. We made our way through the winding trees, which suddenly fanned wide open to a breathtaking view of the roaring, blue gray ocean at the bottom of the hill. It left us all speechless and no amount of rain or haze changed that fact. I hopped around the black rocks in the water, did a few cartwheels and explored the beach just like I did as a little girl.
After gazing upon the dreamy site, we headed to another beautiful spot called Cape Schanck just a bit further down the road. Here, a wooden path winds down a steep hill to the beach with a lighthouse looming in the background. It's like something out of a dreary murder mystery novel.... my favorite! There were a ton of steps, providing a much needed workout, and the sites at the bottom, which were filled with huge rock formations and little tad pools, were well worth the exercise.
From Cape Schanck, James, who easily made us all feel like long time friends, took us to a restaurant in order to refuel. The food at Merchant & Maker was amazing, healthy and filling and each of us ladies ordered a cold one to enjoy while James laughed at his wild group of female travelers, sticking to a kombucha instead.
Already, the tour was living up to its’ price, but things only got better from there!
After filling our bellies with beer, we were off to the Peninsula Hot Springs, Victoria's first natural hot springs and day spa centre. These hot springs outside of Melbourne were inspired by the same hot springs in Japan that I visited last year, which was easily noticeable upon arrival.
The difference between these springs and the ones in Japan, however, were the hundreds of people all trying to find space in the pools to kick back in. Luckily, we weren't all limited to cram into a singular pool though, because there were a string of numerous of them along a path. Wanting to get away from the tourists a bit (even though we are ourselves) Kara and I went in and out of a few, trying to find the one that was the most secluded.
We didn’t succeed in finding any empty pools, but we did come across an amphitheater where folk musicians played ethereal music for everyone in the nearby pools. Not to be a huge A-hole or anything, but the music was next to awful. Although, it did provide for a good laugh! A young woman sang about how she belonged in the ocean, so instead of embracing things, Kara and I did what Kara and I do best, and started to joke around while making up our own versions of the song.
“I live by an Olive Garden and that’s where I belong,” sang Kara as I happily rolled by eyes next to her and added in verses about breadsticks. Again, this is why I love Kara... we both find the same stupid things to be hilarious and our dry senses of humor pair perfectly together.
The humorous and crowded hot springs marked the last leg of our Hike and Seek tour. We all filed back into the van as James handed us cups of coffee and fed us protein balls (a smart man), and then drove back to the city center.
While we were exhausted from the full day, Kara and I were determined to not be lame and stay in for yet another night, so instead, I made a couple of friends on Hinge (yes, the dating app…. It’s actually a great way to meet people when you travel) and we befriended some guys to meet up with at a bar in St. Kilda called Vineyards. St. Kilda is an area in Melbourne that overlooks the ocean and is filled with popular bars and restaurants.
It was my favorite part of the city by far. And, our company for the night was great. We drank (even more) wine while they quizzed us on Aussie slang (every time we wrongly guessed what a word meant we’d have to take a drink - a fun and effective game that I highly suggest).
Vineyards was a cool, grungy little spot that was great to start in. But from there, our new Australian friends took us to Espsys, a large nightclub within a hotel that apparently is one of the most popular spots in the city. Since it was a Monday, Espsys was empty, but it was easy to see why it’s a fan favorite. There were multiple varying rooms throughout the club, along with three different levels. The room we grabbed a drink in was nicely designed, big and trendy with a patio perfect for brunch outside.
At this point though, my tiredness was ONCE AGAIN setting in (I know, I'm pathetic), so we didn’t stay very long, but instead made our way back home to recover once more. But.... and here's the best part of the entire trip if you ask me....instead of immediately getting in to bed and watching Netflix this time, Kara and I decided to have ourselves a little jumping competition. Yes, you read that correctly.
I’m not sure how it started, but all I know is that Kara and I took turns trying to see who could jump the highest. Embarrassingly, each time one of us jumped, we were ABSOLUTELY positive that we had just propelled ourselves off the ground higher than any other human ever has.
That's when we started recording and things got interesting.
I set my phone up so we could watch exactly how high we were actually leaping into the air and within one try, we both realized we were in fact, pathetic. Neither of us could jump to save our lives, hardly even clearing the ground at all.
It was a hilarious way to end the night with us both falling to the ground because we were laughing so hard over how bad we were.
Now THAT is my ideal night, you guys. Jumping competition > club ANY. DAY.