City Circle Tram

City Circle Tram

At the end of our trip along the Great Ocean Road we spent two nights in Melbourne with Phil and Rhiannon.

Melbourne is just over an hour south of Sydney on the plane, so a bit cooler and more temperate weather wise. It has a lot of culture going on, being a UNESCO City of Literature, the Australian capital of coffee and chocolate and a foodie and shopping lovers dream. Quite often we’ll meet people and discuss being from the UK, and they’ll say we would like Melbourne becasue its very European. It definitely has more of a European city vibe than Sydney in the main city center, maybe becasue of more historic buildings, dodgy weather (yes I know some of Europe is hot) and lack of beaches.

There is a lot to do, but we weren’t there long, so we picked out some of the key stuff:

On Monday night we arrived, had some yummy Laksa noddles near our hotel and went for a wander around the city. We were lucky to see some Christmas projection onto the Town Hall  a bit like the Vivid festival.  We also found Federation Square and the Yarra River.

On Tuesday morning we decided the best way to pack in a lot was with a free city tour from I’m Free. After a quick coffee in the library coffee shop we headed out on the tour with our excellent guide, Dan. Dan was friendly, knowledgeable, had a good style and pace, kept things interesting and got in a lot of jibes about Melbourne being better than Sydney – most of which were pretty dubious. There is a big rivalry between the cities dating right back to when they were first founded. The tour covered the historic and modern bits of the city including the Parliament, parks, Gaol (where Ned Kelly was hung), Street Art and lane ways with fab cafes. We learnt a lot about the history of the city in an interesting way, and the 3 hours went by very quickly. We did pay Dan a good tip but it was still excellent value.

Expo building

Expo building

After a yummy pancake lunch in the lanes we headed to the Immigration Museum as in the words of Dan ‘ the story of immigration is the story of Australia.’ Its also the story of the Shorts  now, so I found it really interesting from that perspective too. They museum had a timeline of immigration over the last 100 years and a replica boat with different cabins dating back to the late 1800’s. It was good to learn more about the history including the £10 Poms and made me feel better about our 24 hour plane trip – better than 30 days on a boat! There was a good exhibit on Identity and racism and we got to to the Citizenship test and passed with a score of 18/20. We also got to interview prospective immigrants and decide whether to let them in or not which proved entertaining!

Tuesday night we had a nice meal at the Hairy Canary and went to see King Long at the theater. More about that here.

On Wednesday the weather was a bit dodgy and wet. We started off with a very intellectual middle class trip around the library which is also a museum. As well as lots of old books and maps and a very cool octagonal reading room we got to see Ned Kellys armor and learn more about him.

Library Reading Room

Library Reading Room

Melbourne has a free tram which runs around most of the city, so we caught that after the library to check out the Harbor area. Its not as good as Sydney! We skipped the Glow Golf in the end as the reviews were dodgy and we didn’t have too long to spare. After another tasty lunch of burgers it was time to head back to the airport and fly back to Sydney. Leaving Phil and Rhiannon at the airport for them to go to Singapore and us to Sydney was pretty weird, but I was very brave and didn’t cry!

There is plenty more to see in Melbourne, and luckily for me i’m spending some more time there in January. Also on the list are:

  • St Kilda area and its fab cake shops
  • The zoo
  • The Eureka Tower and lookout
  • Botanic Gardens
  • The James Bond exhibition (maybe more for Matt)
  • Vampire cabaret (intriguing)
  • Art galleries and of course
  • Shopping!
Street Art

Street Art

 

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