We nearly didn’t leave Canberra, our alarm didn’t go off for some reason it was just lucky Ste woke up in time so it was a bit of a mad dash to be ready for the coach. Having no breakfast was probably why we both felt so rotten on the coach which made the 3 hour trip to the train station a bit rotten. We were starting to feel better by the time we got to the train station in the middle of no-where. The train ride to Melbourne was 6 hours but wasn’t too bad at all, there weren’t many stops and it seemed to go quite quickly.It was a bit crazy getting off the train in the massive southern cross station in Melbourne and it took us a little while to find our hostel in North Melbourne just a short walk to the city centre. The hostel was really really nice and clean especially. Probably one of the best we’d stayed in, good as we were here for 2 weeks. It had a great roof terrace with a BBQ and amazing views over the city.
Our first few days in Melbourne were spent exploring the CBD and doing christmas shopping. There were so many great shops including a Mango and Zara. Cat especially like this. We also watched some live show in Federation Square in the sunshine and visited the famous (from Neighbours anyway) Flinders Square Station. We also got the tram around to the trendy docklands and Etihad Stadium. We also went to the Queen Victoria Market, this amazing huge indoor and outdoor market where you can literally buy anything. We also took a walk over the Yarra River and walked along the Southbank which really reminded us of Newcastle Quayside with all the cool waterfront bars and restaurants, and, another shopping centre! We stopped at one place with some live music and had some very expensive beers, a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon, just like being at home really.
We really then got our touristy act together visiting the Parliament House, treasury gardens and Fitzroy Gardens. We also rented bikes and went on a massive 27kms bike ride!! We rode down Swanston street to Kings Domain and onto Albert Park where we rode around part of the Formula 1 Grand Prix track, including the pit lane and start-finish straight, it was great and we took loads of photos. We continued south to the beach and St Kilda, which was a really pretty place, definately the place to live. We continued onto Chapel street and to the newly opened first Australian Topshop, Cat was so excited to see Topshop clothes again and she had to be reigned in from spending a fortune. The last part of the bike ride home was the killer, all back up hill. The only option after a day like that was beer.
We also had a great day doing the Neighbours tour. The tour guide was a hoot, truly obsessed with neighbours! We saw the high school, Grease Monkeys, the garage, Dial-a-Kyle and the famous bus stop. Then we went to Ramsay Street and took loads of photos with the street sign outside of the houses and even got to meet James Mason that plays Chris. We got to watch loads of old episodes and found out lots of spoilers. It was a really fun and red hot day.
On the hottest day in Australia so far we spent visiting the Shrine of Rememberence and the lush Royal Botanical Gardens. It was too hot to even play Frisbee, could only manage to sunbathe and have an ice cream. It was red hot again the next day so we wandered around the cool suburb of North Melbourne where we were staying and had a great lunch in a hip cafe before heading down to the MCG for the T20 cricket between Shane Warne’s Melbourne Stars and the Sydney Thunder. It was a great fun match, just like sport in America, loads of free stuff and fireworks. We had a few beers and even got some of the guys autographs. Shame the Stars lost, but you can’t have everything. Melbourne was heaving when we left the MCG that Saturday night, loads of really busy bars and street performers and people just generally milling about, good fun.
We spent a leisurely sunday taking the tram down to St Kilda and wandering around Luna Park, the victorian amusement park and walked along the esplanade looking at the market, we had a little wander along the beach too before having a look along the very cool Acland Street. Shame it had to rain to spoil the fun.
During our last few days in Melbourne we went on a great trip to Phillip Island. It was a really fun day, our tour guide ’Paul the snake catcher’ was mad as a hatter. We visited the southern hemispheres largest flying fox colony - it stank. Then went on to a wildlife reserve and got to feed Wallabies, we even saw a little Joey close up, it was so cute! We stopped and got our feet wet at the very pretty Woolamai Beach, the waves were a bit too crazy for a swim though. We also went to swan lake and saw a copperhead snake which Paul tried to catch, scary. Then we got our first glimpse of the little penguins in their burrows around Nobbies before going up to the breathtaking Pyramid Rock, the views were spectacular! We had a quick tea in Cowes then raced to the beach to get good seats for sunset to see the cutest little blue penguins emerge from the sea and run up the beach to their burrows in the dunes for the night. It was an amazing and a bit of an emotional sight you just wanted to pick them up and carry them, it looked like such hard work, it was such a great experience, a must do when in Melbourne.
Melbourne was absolutely amazing. There was so much to do and it really fulfills its name of sorts capital of Australia, there sport mad! There was also loads of great shops and bars which is quite different to the rest of Australia but in a good way. We had a really good time in Melbourne, especially having 2 weeks there to take our time seeing everything. The only thing we would have liked to have done which we didn’t was to take a trip along the Great Ocean Road, they seemed really expensive at the time but now we wish we’d paid and gone, maybe next time.
Next stop Sydney!