Of all the places that I’ve heard about and know of in Australia, time and time again there’s one location that people say is the must see place to visit. There’s one location which I’m told is the liveliest, the busiest, does the best food, does the best coffee, has the best bars, has the best clubs, and has the ‘coolest’ people. There’s one location that when I tell people I haven’t visited, they ask me in a shocked tone, “You haven’t been there yet?” Of course it’s Melbourne.
Having lived in Australia for over 6 months now, you might expect that I would have visited already, but for one reason or another, I just haven’t got around to it. This week however, I rectified that by flying over there to meet my family who are currently on a road trip around South East Australia.
Two days before my departure I booked the cheapest flights I could find, which happened to be with Tiger Air. I’ve been told that they are extremely unreliable and that I should steer clear of them, but the other airlines were a lot more expensive, so what the hell!
A short bumpy flight and I’m in Melbourne. I quickly exit the airport and board the Skybus which takes me directly in to the city, dropping me off at Southern Cross station. My family is waiting for me at Flinders Street station however, and it’s only a few minutes until I’m supposed to meet them. Oh dear. I walk and run as quickly as Melbourne’s traffic lights will let me, but I end up getting to them 10 minutes late. Whoops. They’re happy to see me though and we quickly get down to business and start exploring Melbourne.
First things first, lunch. I haven’t eaten since I left home, and I am Hank Marvin (starving)! We start exploring Melbourne’s side streets and back alleys and quickly find somewhere to eat. Being in Melbourne, and being vego, I feel obliged to go for the smashed avocado. It definitely doesn’t let me down.
Once our stomachs are filled we head to the first tourist stop of the day, the Eureka Tower. It’s located on the South Bank of the Yarra River and it’s 88 levels to the viewing floor. When you step out of the lift you’re just completely blown away by the view. On a clear day you can see the entire city and beyond. We were completely transfixed and spent well over an hour looking around all 360 degrees of the view.
Once we finish gazing over the city we head down to our next stop. The National Gallery of Victoria is home to a large collection of modern, contemporary, and fine art, and has some excellent temporary exhibitions. The current exhibition is on the Japanese artist Hokusai, and the preceding one was on Van Gogh. Awesome. As well as some amazing exhibitions and collections, the building is spectacular, with some brilliant water features at the front. People who know me know that I’m a particular fan of water features, and this was one of the best I’ve seen. The design coupled with the fact that they use all recycled rainwater means it gets a high score from me. 9/10.
After spending a couple of hours in the gallery we decide to go and explore the streets that are covered in street art, Hosier lane and AC/DC lane. They’re pretty crazy but our legs are getting tired after a day consisting of a lot of walking so we head to a bar on Federation Square to have a well deserved drink before moving onto Lygon Street for an Italian dinner!
The following morning we get going fairly quickly as I need to get to the airport by 3:30. The hotel is near the Queen Victoria Market so we go for a quick wander around after breakfast. It’s big and has some cool stalls, and if you have a lot of time to kill you could spend a good few hours wandering around, but we have to get going.
We head down to Flinders Lane to meet my dad’s cousin’s wife. I can’t remember the last time I saw her so it’s nice to have a coffee and chat for a while. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see my dad’s cousin and the rest of their family, but that just means I’ll have to return soon!
Now for the final stop before heading back to the airport. The Melbourne Cricket Ground, or MCG as it’s more commonly known. This stadium is somewhere I’ve wanted to come for a while now. It’s one of the top stadiums in the world, with a capacity of over 100,000. We take a guided tour, and it’s brilliant. The enormity of it is staggering, and I can only imagine what it’s like when it’s full of fans for a big game. It has an interesting history as well; one of the more interesting facts being that it was used as a makeshift military base during the Second World War.
With the tour coming to an end I realise I need to get a move on if I want to get back to the airport on time, so I say a quick goodbye and set off for the bus stop.
A few hours later I’m back in Adelaide, and driving home thinking about how fantastic Melbourne was. I cannot wait to get back there and explore the city even more, and I’m sure it won’t be too long before I do. It definitely lived up to the hype!