Mate, it’s all good Down Under!
Model Nikita Chawla explores the laidback continent of Australia
You know, Melbourne was to be named Batmania.” Surprised, I turn around to see a handsome Italian guy talking to me as I admire the aerial view from the tallest Sky deck in the Southern Hemisphere. I learn he runs a scaffolding business and comes here job scouting.
“You see the construction happening right off Yarra River? That’s where I’ll be pitchin mah business next.” I thank him for the city tour that follows and he gives me a thumbs’ up “Aah, no worries mate!” This catchphrase pretty much sums up the Aussie attitude towards love, life and everything in between. Perhaps they draw inspiration from the fairly laidback natives — the kangaroo and koala.
Speaking of wildlife, Phillip Island is a major attraction. Time bound or on a shoestring budget? No worries! Just take the tram to St Kilda’s pier at dusk. The breakwater is home to fairy penguins that charm you with their quirks and waddle back to their nests after a swim.
No trip to the Great Ocean Road is complete without visiting the mighty 12 Apostles. These defiant limestone columns juxtaposed with mankind’s best laid roads are a photog’s dream come true. “Careful with that selfie there! It is heaps of paperwork if you topple!”
My guide jolts me back to reality. So I signed up for the next best thing: A 20-minute helicopter ride to soak in the breathtaking views of the bay of islands via the London arch and other mesmerising cliffs forged by the indomitable will of nature. I experienced a slice of Victorian heaven as the orange sun folded into the distant blue.
Next on my bucket list was the iconic Barossa valley. Its reputation hinges on its unique terroir and Mediterranean climate producing one of Australia’s finest blends. The serpentine road flanked by lush almond olive orchards, strawberry farms and a whiff of eucalyptus add to the picturesque drive. Throw in wild kangaroos, thoroughbred horses and an oblivious koala, and you have a heady mix of nature and wildlife right by your steering wheel. A kookaburra sings in the old gum tree watching me laze with a glass of bubbly.
Wine valley in Barossa
Panoramic view of Melbourne from Southbank Bridge
At The Twelve Apostles