How you going? We have now arrived in Melbourne, the cosmopolitan capitol city of Victoria! Melbourne is the second most populated city in the whole country and was previously the capitol of Australia whilst Canberra was under construction. It was officially declared as a city by Queen Victoria who decided to name it after Lord Melbourne her close acquaintance and English Priminster. Melbourne rates highly in education, entertainment, health care, tourism and sport making it the ‘World’s most liveable city’ for the sixth year in a row in 2016.
23rd November 2016 – Max Temp: 16°C
Today was our first full day in Melbourne so we decided to walk to the central business district of the city via the Yarra River and past the Melbourne Olympic Park. Our first glimpse of the city was of the famous Eureka Skydeck Tower which literally towers over the city. We finally reached Federation Square where we found the impressive Flinders Street Station, St Pauls Cathedral and The ACMI (Australian Cente for the Moving Image).
We then headed towards Bourke St Mall which was manic but filled with music, people, shops and food providing an uplifting atmosphere where we stopped at MYER which is an enormous Australian department store (mainly because of ‘One Christmas Eve’ story display in the window which was beautiful). We headed to floor 6 which had been transformed into a Christmas land, it was as if someone had put everything that I love in to one place. As soon as you enter the floor the Christmas music and cheerful atmosphere hits you, you could personalise your own Christmas decorations or presents including things by Disney, Marvel, Lego etc! If you wanted to you could meet Santa or ride his Lapland train but perhaps we’re getting a bit too old for that! If there is one thing we have learnt since being in Melbourne it is that it is humongous and that Adelaide feels like a town in comparison! Unfortunately the weather wasn’t so great today and we got soaked walking back to our apartment in South Yarra, hopefully the weather will be better tomorrow.
Fun fact: Melbourne has the highest number of restaurants and cafes per capita than any other city in the world!
24th November 2016 – Max Temp: 18°C
Ok so, the weather isn’t really any better than yesterday but today we headed out of the city to the beautiful Mornington Peninsula. The Peninsula is primarily a tourist region due to its natural attractions such as its beaches, national parks and wineries. However, we were visiting the Peninsula Hot Springs, Victoria’s very first hot springs and spa centre. Here they use natural thermal mineral waters which flow in to pools and private baths for ultimate relaxation and rejuvenation. We were each given white robes, which we felt a bit silly in at first but they where were comfy and did come in handy. We started the Bath House experience with simple foot, hand and body baths which are used to increase your circulation and leave you with softer skin. We then moved on to the hot springs lake where we could sit back and enjoy the natural surroundings.
After, we tried a form of stress therapy where you make your body sweat in the Sauna with air temperatures around 85°C and then either use the cold plunge, which was absolutely freezing, or use the shower to immediately cool down.
The cold plunge was one of Petes personal favourites whereas, there was no way that I was going to do to that so I opted for the slightly warmer shower! After this we also tried the Turkish Steam Bath which has a similar way of working but a lot more relaxing! My personal favourite was The Reflexology Walk, where you follow a short trail in shallow water over 10 different types of stones. Each stones shape and texture interacts with the bases of your feet differently. The benefits of this include relaxation of the body and mind, relieving stress and tension, improvement of nervous system functioning and improvement of blood circulation.
25th November 2015 – Max Temp: 16°C
Today we decided to explore more of the city as there is so much to see! We started by taking a stroll through the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria following the Australian Forest Walk trail which led us past the botanic lake, rose and arid gardens, pavilions ending at the observatory.
At the observatory a school band was playing music, they were actually really good so we stayed a little while to hear them play. My personal favourites were ‘Wonderful world’ by Louis Armstrong and ‘You’ve got a friend in me’ from Toy Story which I managed to get a short clip of:
We carried on our venture towards Melbournes CBD past the iconic ‘Shrine of Remembrance’ which is the cities memorial to all the men and woman who served their country in World War 1. It’s architecture is very impressive and at the top of this shrine we found our favourite view of Melbourne’s skyline.
We stopped for a picnic next to the Yarra River with a beautiful backdrop of the city. Stupidly, I fed a duck which was in the river which attracted bigger birds who began fighting for our lunch, it was quite amusing though. Waking past Parliament House, The Royal Exhibition building and Melbourne Museum we ended up watching J.K Rowlings, ‘Fantastic Beasts and where to find them’ (3D) on the largest cinema screen in the world at the Melbourne museum IMAX which was amazing! We even treated ourselves to some Berty Botts every flavour beans to set the scene of the wizarding world! I would definitely recommend it. Although the ‘Vomit’ and ‘Rotten Egg’ flavours weren’t a welcome surprise!
26th November 2016 – Max Temp: 17°C
This morning we didn’t have anything planned so we took a walk to the Melbourne Arts Centre to the Christmas Market. However, none of the stalls really had anything to do with Christmas so we were a bit disappointed. Not to waste our day we carried on to Bourke St Mall where they were having a Christmas Street Festival where we did some shopping then headed for lunch. We ended up eating at Melbournes Southbank which is a bustling waterfront hub renowned for its restaurants, public art and retailers . It was really nice to have a view of the city from a different perspective whilst we ate.
On the way home Pete found a small shop selling souvenirs where we bought some authentic Australian home furnishings for our future house! Walking back past the Yarra, we watched some university boat teams racing each other down the river! I genuinely think today was the coldest day, which I hadn’t prepared for clothes wise, so I had to buy two long sleeve tops! It’s just like being in England! (Well not quite!)
27th November 2016 – Max Temp: 16°C
Today is our last full day in Melbourne so we wanted to make sure that we made the most of it. This morning we took a bus into the city to the Melbourne Arts Centre to see the ‘Kylie on Stage’ exhibition. The exhibit celebrates moments from Kylie Minogue’s highly successful concert tours from her first in 1989, to her latest. It was interesting to see the drawing designs of each costume by the designers, the actual dress itself and Kylie wearing it. Some designers included Dolce & Gabbana, Karl Lagerfeld and Jean Paul Gaultier! I think I enjoyed looking at all the dresses a lot more than Pete did!
Next we stopped at the Arts Centes market on the way into town where Pete bought some artwork called ’12 Apostles’ by local artist Pete Pascoe. It is a beautiful piece and is a nice way for us to remember Melbourne and the 12 Apostles we had previously seen on The Great Ocean Road. We then stopped for lunch at an Italian Cafe called Caffe E Torta where we both had giant Belgium Waffles, mine with maple syrup and Petes with chocolate sauce, they were delicious! Bravissimo! On the way back home we took the city tram as we hadn’t been on one yet and they are popularly associated with the city of Melbourne.
So our time in Melbourne has come to an end, I can’t believe how quickly our time is going. I never expected Melbourne to be quite as big and busy as it is. but once you get over its towering skyline and busy streets you can understand why so many people want to live or visit here. It’s a beautiful city with the river and gardens at the heart of it. I’ve never been somewhere which celebrates the arts as much as Melbourne does and it’s nice to see the passion of creativity flow through the city. So from the Yarra River, to the Mornington Peninsula to Federation Square, we are definitely going to miss Melbourne but it will always have a place in our hearts. Now my feet need a rest .. we’re off to the capitol!
Before we go I forgot to mention that we came across the friendliest cat waiting at a bus station which we named Bob. He was so cute and playful I felt that he deserved a mention!