|Flinders Street Station, Melbourne|
We flew into Melbourne and had no bookings or plans other than to fly out of Sydney three weeks later. The Melbourne hostel we stayed in was my first experience of a hostel and it was fine, apart from the midnight wakings: on the first night, a fire alarm went off in the middle of the night and we all staggered out into the corridors to be told it was a false alarm. The same thing happened on the second night. On the third night, we managed to sleep through the night and expressed surprise to the staff the next morning, and one of them told us that the alarm system had been recently installed as a government requirement, but that steam from the showers was setting it off. "So nobody had a shower last night?" I asked. "Yes, but we just turned off the whole alarm system." Very safe!
After the best part of a week exploring Melbourne, we caught a bus up to Albury-Wodonga and stayed on the Victorian side of this twin town, Wodonga. It was off-peak season and the gorgeous youth hostel we stayed in was nearly empty, and the owner offered us free use of bikes to explore the river and other areas. From there we bussed up to Canberra (with a bonus bus stop at Gundagai, the second time I got to see the dog on the tuckerbox) and stayed in a fantastic hostel there, full of foreigners - in fact, someone told me they never encouraged Australians to stay there because they drink too much! I've always loved visiting Canberra for its flurry of "national" activities like the National Gallery, War Memorial and Parliament House (old and new), and getting around it on public transport was no big drama.
|Looking over Lake Burley Griffin to old and new Parliament House, Canberra|
|View from Sydney Tower|
Have you ever backpacked in your backyard?