Friday, July 4, 2014

Melbourne Day 8 - 4 July 2014

Today was yet another exciting day as I went for another day trip to the Yarra Valley.  I've been wanting to visit this place as I've heard so much about the beautiful vineyards and valleys. 

After setting off from Federation Square at 8pm, we headed towards the Dandenong Ranges. The bus stopped over at the Hardy Gully Nature Walk, a rainforest and picnic grounds where gigantic mountain ash trees are found. Most of the trees are a few hundred years old and they are probably at least 30-50 metres tall, stretching majestically into the sky.  Although I was freezing from the cold, it was a great experience to stroll in this beautiful rainforest and to breathe in fresh air, amidst the calling of native birds. 

After leaving the nature walk, the bus cruised along the Dandenong Ranges while heading towards the next exciting destination, the Puffing Billy. This part of the trip was something I've been looking forward to. The Puffing Billy is a steam train which has existed in Victoria since the 1900s. It's one of the few steam trains which still existed in the world today. The present line runs between Belgrave and Gembrook, through beautiful forests, fern gullies and farmlands of the Dandenong Ranges. The entire train ride from Belgrave took 20 minutes and ended at Menzies Creek as part of our tour.  It was an amazing experience sitting in this antique train cabin and hearing the siren of the train and the steam puffing away!

After the exciting train ride, we continued on our journey to the Yarra Valley.  This place is indeed beautiful and breathtaking. Seeing scores of valleys, vineyards, farmlands and cattle grazing simply takes my breath away and reminded me of God's wonderful creation of nature.  We had a delicious spit roast lunch and wine tasting at the Fergusson Winery and Restaurant. I'm disappointed with the quality and variety of wines though. They didn't have a good variety of sweet and fruity wines and I ended up buying only a bottle of Moscato. Guess I should have joined the winery tour instead to visit more wineries. However time doesn't allow me to do so due to the wildlife tour at Healsville Sanctuary. 

The Yarra Valley Chocolaterie was our next stop. They offer a wide variety of white, milk and dark chocolates in various packaging. Bought a few packets for my family and colleagues.  

The last stop of our tour was the Healsville Sanctuary. This is a wildlife park to see native Aussie animals in their natural environment. There are koalas, kangaroos, emus, platypus and more. A zoo guide was assigned to our group to bring us through the different sanctuary areas, with detailed explanations of the various animals and their habitats. I had expected to be able to cuddle koalas and feed kangaroos but unfortunately, we were not able to do so. Most of the koalas were asleep and I didn't manage to get good photos of them. We were allowed to have an emu feeding session though. 

The day was long but eventful, as I was given the opportunity to get close to and appreciate the beauty of nature. 

What's up tomorrow? It's the day I've been looking forward to, Les Miz musical! Yeah, cant wait to come face to face with my favourite musical, which I've been yearning to watch again for the past 20 years! :)

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