‘Brawl In the Bierhaus’ At Thousand Pound Bend

So wrestling isn’t something I’d normally follow or go to see live, but the sound of this event reminded me of Jack Black’s film Nacho Libre so expecting a lot of entertainment I decided to go along.  Thousand Pound Bend is a cafe in the CBD on Little Lonsdale and at the back is a warehouse space used for all sorts of events.  Markets, blogger networking…. and wrestling.  This event was hosted by Wrestleclash and was called ‘Brawl In The Bierhaus’, celebrating Oktoberfest.

Upon arrival the first three things I noticed were the ring, beer and sausages.  They’d gone all out, there was ‘authentic’ German music playing and the commentator looked like a member of the Von Trap family.

We lined our stomachs with onion and mustard smothered sausages and waited for the match to start.  Or I should say show to start, because it was like watching a play.  From start to finish everyone was in hysterics with the occasional ‘oooh’ and ‘aaah’ at the more impressive moves from the wrestlers.  It was so much fun to watch.

 

 

 

 

The two guys above were my favourite act.  There were no niceties at the start of their fight, they went straight for each other and did a loop through the audience first.  Then once in the ring they used all manner of things to fight each other with, including a ladder!  The guy with the long hair’s nickname was ‘The Mad Bastard’.

 

 

This round (above) was between a very 1920s looking guy in a lovely leopard print leotard and a big fat ‘German’ guy who entered the ring carrying a barrel of beer.  Their fight was a drinking contest.

 

The last round was with the classic Mexican wrestlers who we were told were ‘the bad guys’.  When the show finished the warehouse was opened up into the bar and we continued drinking beer and cider.  A great alternative to a normal night out.  Head to the Wrestleclash website to find out when their next event is, or to Thousand Pound Bend.

Great Ocean Road – Pt 2

So on Sunday morning we were woken up by the miserable sound of rain drops on our tent.  Determined not to be deterred by bad weather we had had breakfast and packed the tent up in record time.  A shower each later and we’d left the campsite and were on our way to Apollo Bay for another morning snack and a strong coffee.

Plum and white chocolate muffin, served warm.  This was a special moment, I won’t forget it in a hurry.  If you ever happen to be in Apollo Bay be sure to check out this place, it’s called La Bimba.  The breakfasts looked incredible, we were very tempted.

Feeling a little more awake we headed to the Twelve Apostles (with a quick stop at Kennett River where we went Koala and Kangaroo spotting).  The Twelve Apostles are usually the evidence people provide of their trips down Great Ocean Road.  They’re amazing and breathtaking, but for some reason the weather is always terrible.  The wind was baltic!

 

 

The wind was at the speed where it whips your ears and generally makes you hate life, so we took the obligatory photos and then ran back to the car.  Now, after this our general plan was to get lunch somewhere and head home via the highway.  So we set off keeping our eyes peeled for a nice and not windy spot when suddenly a sign for a chocolate factory caught our gaze.  Why not?

 

 

I love finding local places offering local produce, wherever in the world I am.  I think it promotes a good attitude for any community.

Sampled all of these.  Twice.

I was about to jump right in and buy some chocolate, but something made me hesitate.  When the counter man started chatting to us we learnt there was also a cheese factory and a winery further down the road.  My hesitation was obviously meant to be, I was delaying gratification.

We arrived just in time for a cheese tasting, someone up there liked us today!  We tried them all and I bought some blue.  Jenn on the other hand had a little more trouble deciding and bought loads.

 

 

I can smell it from here
Take note of this name and come here if you can

Then we made it to the winery just in time for a wine tasting.  The weather had nothing on us by this point, we were perfectly happy with this turn of events.

 

 

I loved the winery, it was small, unassuming and laid back.

Happy with our lot we left, had lunch and drove back to Melbourne on the highway.  A brilliant weekend with one of my favourite Aussies.

Great Ocean Road – Pt 1

This weekend I finally got to go down the Great Ocean Road.  Delayed gratification, if you will.  Saturday morning I jumped into Jenn’s car and a after a quick check we had the essentials (wine, cider, chocolate, snacks and a tent) we headed straight off.

 

 

The coast is beautiful, obviously.  So it’s really easy to get sucked in and stay in one place longer than planned.  For this reason I think it’s better to take your own car or hire car and go at your own pace.  Tours are great for winery visits and stuff, but I don’t think they’d be the same for the Great Ocean Road.  This road is best done without a strict plan.

 

 

We took the scenic route to Wye River where we camped for the night.  En route we made a fair few stops to take it in (and grab some fish and chips).  Scenery is something that never bores me, it’s nice to just go and see.
Our stops included Torquay, Bells Beach, Aireys Inlet and Lorne.

 

 

 

 

 

Erskrine falls

 

I much prefer Aussie fish and chips to British.  The fish is so much fresher.
The fish and chips were delicious, I’m glad we waited til Lorne to eat.  The beach was quiet save for a few locals – delayed gratification pays off again.  After eating our fill we took a short nap on the beach, we were well and truly knackered by this point.  I could have easily stayed here til dusk, but instead we decided to find a campsite and get set up.  It’s very lucky we did – we arrived at our site at 6:20pm and it transpired that they closed at 6:30pm.
We camped at BIG4 Wye River, it was a great place.  Lots of families, lots of young people, old couples.  The showers were immaculate and the staff were awesome.  Plus for an unpowered site you only need to pay 40 bucks a night.  Half an hour later we’d pitched our tent and cracked open a cider, at which point we noticed we had company in the tree above us – a wee Koala bear just hanging out.  I secretly hoped that the drop bear rumours weren’t true and took a snap as he smiled.

 

We’d been thinking of this cider since about midday, delayed gratification once more.  Seemed to be becoming a bit of theme by this point.

 

Lying out on our picnic blanket we sipped ciders until the moon came out then retired to bed with red wine and blueberry Lindt chocolate (probably the best chocolate I’ve ever had).  Despite the rain that came later and the Koala’s loud night cries we slept like logs (the wine probably helped).

Yarra Bend Park, Melbourne

On Friday Marlee took me to Yarra Bend Park.  It’s about 15 minutes from the CBD (although it took us a little longer than that to get there because we got lost…) and is a beautiful snapshot of Australian terrain.
There’s something about the buildings in parks over here that looks so colonial

 

 

We had lunch at the Boathouse cafe overlooking the river and then took time to wander around the park.  I love Australian landscape, being amongst gum trees and hearing kookaburras and magpies in the background just sums up Oz for me.

 

 

 

Another semi-successful adventure with the best Aussie blogger in the land!  Read Marlee’s post here.

Back To Mornington

At the start of the year I worked for one of the universities here in Melbourne and met Caitlin.  After I left, Caitlin and I stayed in touch and last weekend I visited her for a second time on the Victorian peninsula – previous post here.  The thing that I have loved about staying in one place for a long time, as opposed to constantly moving when you’re backpacking, is that I’ve been able to meet real locals and make real friends.  Here, I’ve had so many expats and locals alike invite me into their personal lives with arms wide open.  I feel very lucky and privileged to have experienced this.

On Saturday morning Caitlin’s partner managed to convince me to try vegemite.  I hate marmite, but he insisted it was a different taste.  I have to admit he was right.  It was actually good – with butter and cheese on bread that is.

After breakfast we drove to the Dandenong ranges to do the Kokoda memorial walk, also known as the 1000 Steps.  It was hard work, clearly I’m not in the same physical condition I was this time last year.  A lot of dedicated runners do this walk and must be so well off for it.  This part of Victoria is very lush and green – I felt like I was in the Lake District back in the UK to be honest.  I’m really glad I got to do this because I love walking and running.

 

 

 

We also visited Warburton which reminded me even more of the UK (maybe because it’s the brand name of the bread my folks sometimes buy).  I feel excited to get back home but I feel it’s only because I know I’m going back now.

On Sunday we spent the day with Caitlin’s family to celebrate various birthdays.  It’s a real shame that Australia is so far from my family, the standard of living people can access out here is amazing.

On the drive home I stopped to take this photo.  Now, if you look very closely towards the left of the picture, you might just be able to make out the skyline of Melbourne CBD.

Most people automatically think of Great Ocean Road when they consider getting out of Melbourne, but the Dandenong ranges and the Mornington Peninsula are just as good alternatives.  This might now be the last time I come down here, which is a very, very strange feeling!