Down Under

I’m currently in Melbourne for a project and I just managed to get through the acceptance-tests today. Means, tomorrow evening I’m bound to Düsseldorf again, leaving this place.

I had a really nice week over here, Melbourne is a fine place to stay although a bit pricey. However, I have a daily allowance of 39 EUR per day so it’s not too bad. I guess that I have to pay around 300 EUR from my personal money for this trip. However, it was worth every cent!

I left Düsseldorf last Tuesday night, going to Dubai first. I checked with how the weather in Melbourne is like in June and I found out that it’s supposed to be an average temperature of around 15°C. So I thought I could get along with shorts, T-Shirt and sandals (bloody hell, I know what you think: I really fit to german stereotype of a german tourist)

That was good for Dubai, it was alread ~32°C when I landed there at 6AM. I had to wait for my connecting flight for almost 6 hours which was boring as hell. DXB is pretty much just a huge duty-free shop and a Mc Donald’s, not much else. I couldn’t find much sleep on the plane so I started to get really tired by now. Eventually I got on the plane bound for Melbourne and I couldn’t find much sleep there either… So I landed in Melbourne on Thursday morning at around 7AM just to find out that it was bloody freezing – just barely over 0°C. Luckily I had a sweater and my jacket in my cabin-luggage so it wasn’t too bad – except for the sandals.

Thursday was jet-lag day – I arrived in my hotel around 8AM but had the luck that my appartment was available right away. So shower, brush teeth, get dressed, call up colleague, breakfast, go to customer. I even managed it for a real dinner on Bronswick St. in some Malaysia-Restaurant. Food was nice, but eventually I just broke down and had to get some sleep.

Friday evening, after work, we just grabbed a rental car and drove down the Great Ocean Road till Warrambool. We arrived there at 1:30AM on saturday morning and somehow managed to get a place to crash in a Best Western Motel. Quite a room for 120 AUD per night! Then we drove down the Great Ocean Road eastbound back to Melbourne and just tried to visit every nice sceniv view we could possibly find. It was absolutely fabulous, the coast in Victoria is just great. I’ve never seen something like that anywhere else in the world.

We’ve been to the big caldera of the Tower Hill volcano where we took some breath-taking pictures of the site. We also managed to get into that caldera and found wild-living Koalas, Wallabies, Emus and grey kangaroos.

Sleeping Koala in a tree

Koala sleeping in a tree – Tower Hill caldera

Wallabies in the wild

Some Wallabies in the wild – Tower Hill caldera

I’ve seen those critters in the zoo, but it’s really something entirely else to seem them in the wild. It was marvelous. Later the day we crashed in Peterborough and had a nice dinner in a local pub (actually, the only pub).

Next day was “scenice view” day, we tried to visit as much places as possible, like the Blowhole, the 12 Apostles and such. We also visited some Kangaroo-farm, run by a real Aussie who looked pretty much like a mix of Steve Irvin and Rob Zombie (so much for the beard). Feeding Roos is fun! They also had a Wombat named James. Wombats make cool noises, I must get my hands on a MP3 of a grumpy Wombat, that’d make a superb ringtone when receiving SMS.

James, the Wombat

A wombat in Otway deer & wildlife park – Princetown

Me feeding a Wallaby

That’s me, feeding a Wallabie – Princetown

But the real highlight was on that very Sunday night: Actually we wanted to visit the Otway Fly, a pedestrian bridge in the rain-forrest 600 metres long and 25 metres high but we ended up at Melba Gully national park in the middle of the night. It was pitch-black dark but we decided to take out our flashlights and so a little hike through the rain-forrest.

Ever been in a rain-forest in the night? No? Me neither. But what we found was fantastic. I actually don’t know what it was, but the whole forrest was illuminated by green lights (looks blue on the photo, but it was green). Firefly, algae, whatever, you just can’t imagine how it looked. It was beautiful.

Glowing thingies in the rain-forrest

Glowing thingies around midnight in the Otway rain-forrest – near Princetown

We also found that darn old tree – at the base a circumference of about 25 metres, god-damn high and as old as 400 years as we learned later.

Christian Nagl, Alexander Janssen, Michael Usko

From left to right: Christian, me, Michael. Background: 400 year old eucalyptus tree. Circumference at base: 27 metres

On our way back to the car-park we found a dead hollow tree, radius of about 2 metres and the hollow part had a diameter of about 1 metre which went for almost 10 meters down the trunk. We almost wanted to go inside to take some pictures when we found it to be a nest of Funnel Web Spiders. We’re so damn lucky that we didn’t go in there. If there’s an animal on the planet I really don’t want to mess with, then it’s the Funnel Web Spider.
I have a blurry picture of that on my cellphone, but you’d rather check with Wikipedia. Interesting enough the locals told us that Funnel Webs are not common in Victoria because it’s too cold. They might be right. However, I wouldn’t mess with those critters at all.

Well, late in the night we got back to Melbourne and since that sunday nothing really happened for I was just working. It’s just after midnight, friday morning 00:01AM and I summarize: That was my best business-trip ever.

Some skyline pictures – courtesy of Christian – are here.

No worries from Melbourne,

2 Responses to Down Under

  1. Glad you enjoyed your time down here is Australia. Hope the Melbourne weather wasn’t too bad. Next time you should come during summer!

    Oh and just quickly some of the places you mentioned…

    Bronswick St should be Brunswick St
    Warrambool should be Warrnambool

    Sorry for being picky!

  2. Hi!

    Yes, you’re right with the typos :-)

    Well, the weather was ok on the weekend; I had to work for the rest of the week anyway so I don’t mind about the weather. Yesterday I finally had the time to walk around Melbourne and have a closer look at the CBD – wasn’t too bad. Also hit the Aquarium, that was nice. Missed the fire-show on the riverside of the Crown’s though, didn’t had the time to wait for the next full hour.

    Just arrived Düsseldorf this afternoon again, feeling jetlagged now. Will try to drink it away ;)

    Cheers, Alex.

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