Published: March 31st 2011March 30th 2011
I arrived in Melbourne on Thursday 24th March from Adelaide. I met my friend Helen to get a set of keys and headed down to their place in South Melbourne. First big thing I noticed, is that getting round Melbourne is really easy. $3.80 for a 2 hour or $7 for an all day public transport ticket for Zone 1. There are only two zones and I would find I never really strayed outside of Zone 1. The trams are great, two things they have really going for them are they are above ground (I'm used to the tube) and 2 they really are not busy at all. You can get around everywhere on one of the many trams that go round the city and there is a free City Circle tram which takes you on a "guided" tour around the city.
I decided to take the walking option, when I got into the city, and I came across quite a few streets with lots of graffiti adorning the walls. Some of it was pretty impressive (take the picture of the woman in the greyish tones for example).
The city itself is set out in a grid pattern so
it is really easy not to get lost and once you have your bearings and know where the main streets are it is easy to find your way round.
That evening I met up with friends - Megan, Tom, Olivia and Helen and James for something to eat. One little thing here, is that Melbourne (and I suspect the rest of the country, although not so noticeable in Adelaide) is quite expensive. A beer will set you back anything between £7 and £8 and that is about average. The food is pretty decent though and I had my first taste of the Melbourne famous Chicken Parma !
The next evening we were out round to Tom and Olivia's house for some very well home made food. Some pizza to start, some freshly made spaghetti for main and then ricotta cheesecake. All superbly made by Olivia, with Tom's help, but great great food. Tom and I got talking about cycling and I decided I would look into hiring a bike for some of the time I was here.
The Sunday was Grand Prix
day. I have never been to a Grand Prix before and I was really taken
aback at how well organised it was. There were over 100,000 people there and still it never really felt super busy, just nice and relaxed and great to watch the Formula 1 cars go loudly round the track. I am really glad I bought some ear plugs as otherwise I would have been suffering. Helen found a great spot called Bucky's Hill and we stayed there for the majority of the day, I popped off to the band area called Sidetracks (see what they did there ?) to see Liza but the music was pretty loud and I really wanted to check the race out.
The next morning I headed down to pick up a bike. A giant defy road bike. Pretty decent ! However, what happened next was better. Melbourne is MADE
for cycling. If you are a keen cyclist like me then you need to get your ass over here. I found the beach and headed down past St Kilda and on to Sandringham and back all along a bike track which stretches well past where I got to. I stopped off at a cafe for something to eat and got into a conversation with the owner.
He explained that on a Saturday and Sunday there are over 20,000 cyclists on the roads on the weekend in Melbourne. My kind of place !!
If you are in Melbourne, then you can hire this bike from Bike Now
on Park Street in South Melbourne, it costs $60 for a full days hire, and that means if you get it in the morning of day one you can take it back at the end of day 2. Pretty decent value.
After that cycle, my Mum and Uncle arrived from Sydney into Melbourne. They were staying at Punthill Apartments on Flinders Lane in the CBD and it is a pretty decent place too. They were also right next to Degraves Lane which has more coffee shops than people walking down it. Yes, I forgot to mention, if you like a coffee shop then Melbourne is the place to be. They have tonnes of them and the ones we went to were very good. Pretty good value for money, and if you like coffee then game on (I don't haha).
The next day I spent with my family on the beach in St Kilda. It was the
second really hot day we have had snce we got in to Australia. Even in Sydney, my Mum said the weather wasn't great. So a hot day on the beach was just what the doctor ordered. I stayed down there till about 5 or so as I had to then get back into the city to head out for some drinks and meet up with my friend Liza and some more mates.
We first went to a place called Madam Brussells
. This place, is erm, odd ! Basically, and this is a common feature of bars in Melbourne, it was on the top floor of a building and part of it was inside and the rest was outside on a terrace with great views. So yes, I hear you say, where is the odd bit ? Well the odd bit was..
There was a woman ironing in the bar area.
She was employed by the place, but yeah, she was ironing. I can't really see how that would have been advertised:
"1 bar staff member required, must be able to make cocktails and iron"
Erm, yeah right oh. The next odd thing about this place,
is when we were outside we were on a table and they had green massive parasols, but when I looked at them in detail they actually were massive cocktail umbrellas. So yeah wierd place. After that we headed to a Mexican restaurant called Mamasitas
. This was pretty good, but the service from our first waitress wasn't amazing. The second one was great though, I asked for some milk as my mouth was on fire and she told me to stop being a pussy ! Haha, quality. I like a bit of back chat.
The next day, was shopping day ! As some of you may know, I am not really into shopping but we went out to this outlet centre place in Docklands on the City Circle tram which was interesting and then headed back into town for some other bits and pieces. There are some really nice shops in Bourke Street mall if you are into the ripcurl/ quicksilver / volcom kind of brands. I picked up a couple of t-shirts there.
In the evening, my Mum, Uncle, Helen and James and I went out for a Thai meal at the Toff in the Town
and James. This was a great restaurant also and I thought the service was excellent. You get to stay in a little train carriage kind of both where you can pull the doors shut. You then have a button which you press to get the waitor's attention. Pretty sweet ! My Mum also left her camera and glasses in the booth and we were upstairs on another roof terrace having a drink before she realised. I headed back down and the guy looking after us there had already found it and put it away for us to pick it up. I love that kind of thing. Cheers mate !
The last day of my Mum and Uncle's stay, we just walked a bit more round the shops as theyd idn't have much time and after they left for the airport I walked over the bridge to the Eureka tower and headed up to the Sky Deck, where you can see great views of the city. It costs $17.50 for an adult and I thought it was pretty good value. The views were amazing and you could see for miles. Great that it was anothe sunny (if not as hot)
day. I also paid a bit extra and went on the Edge experience. Basically what this is, you get in a sealed room and this then edges out of the building and the floor then turns clear and you are standing on reinforced glass looking right down to the city below.
Well, thanks for reading, sorry it was a bit long. The next part will include my Great Ocean Road tour which I am doing on Monday :)
There are more photos below