My weekend in Melbourne was unreal! I laid low on the Friday during the day because I had lots of catchup blogging to do and wanted to conserve my hard-earned cash for a fun night out 🙂 I met my friend Matt from University in Toronto at the main station downtown, and we headed off into the night to a trendy hotspot called Cookie for some Asian inspired eats and drinks. He is traveling through Aus with his girlfriend for a year and they are loving the Melbourne life! I was able to get a locals perspective from him about the city and we swapped travel stories into the night, stopping at another trendy bar before visiting his girlfriend Shayna at an upscale chocolate shop for after drinks hot chockie and macaroons, my kryptonite pastry snack. We had to call it a night after that due to the gross rain (again, same as Vancity!) but we made plans to meet up for the football game the next day and catch up some more.
Posts Tagged With: Melbourne
I woke up on Saturday to find Torrance had made a delicious vegan brunch for us, and we ate on the porch as her flatmates`beautiful cat Oscar looked on. What a cutie!! I was ready to party on this footy grand final day, and we got an early start at the casino that afternoon where we settled in to watch the game. I got to meet some of Matt and Shayna’s friends and hung out with their crew as we downed beers and watched a close match – wasn’t quite sure who to cheer for, so cheered for the winning team of course!! We hung around the casino after the game, eating a mediocre meal at the Italian restaurant and wasting some money at the poker machines. It actually wasn’t all wasted cause the guy beside us ended up winning three thousand dollars and treating us all to a drink – score!!
After that we went to Chapel Street, another neighborhood close to St. Kilda for more drinks. I wish i could remember the name of the trendy bar we ended up at but I was honestly too far gone at that point to take note – I had been drinking since one pm, give me a break! I DO remember that we had extremely good chips at a place called Lord of the Fries after that, and I excitedly ordered a Toronto dog which wasn’t even that good, I just ordered it cause it made me homesick lol.
I decided that I could somehow walk home after that, and got a wee bit lost before miraculously ending up at the restaurant that Torrance was working at without too much effort!! I literally walked by and was like “oh, this is it! what luck!” We walked home though St. Kilda and the area was still pumping, people were celebrating the win for the Hawks late into the night. I, however, needed to get home as I had to catch an 8am flight back to Sydney. EW. It was actually the worst the next morning, i needed a nap when I got back to David’s house, he graciously sacrificed his beauty sleep to pick me up from the airport.
We had a fun Sunday downtown after that, ending up going to the aquarium and the wildlife park down in Darling Harbor, and ate an amazing meal at the Meat and Wine Company on the harbor where David used to work, so we were treated like royalty! I had my last day in Australia today, it wasn’t actually very exciting, I took a walk around my now-homey feeling neighborhood and had one last cup of delicious coffee. Tonight we are going for Sushi (very Aussie, I know) and will be celebrating a successful six weeks in Australia! I feel like I managed to pack a lot into my trip. Tomorrow I board the plane to New Zealand and start the last leg of my journey around the world! Onwards to Middle Earth!!
Melbourne reminds me of Vancouver in a hundred little ways – although there are no mountains, there’s an ocean, the weather changes every five minutes, the people are hip and trendy, the coffee is delicious, there’s a hundred things to do and a great restaurant culture, and a hundred little communities that are worth exploring. I was lucky enough to have a friend who lives in trendy St. Kilda, I went to film school with Torrance and she’s only been in Aus for three months, living the life in Melbourne. She and her flatmates welcomed me into their home (and on their couch) for almost a whole week, I’m super thankful to them for letting me crash with them!
My first evening in Melbourne was pretty laid back, it was super easy to get from the airport to downtown on the SKybus, and then onwards to St.Kilda on the tram, a rail network that links the whole city and makes it super easy to get around. I got into St Kilda with a few hours to spare, so I went down to the beach and put my toes in the water while getting acquainted with this lovely suburb. It comes complete with its own kitschy beachside amusement park, cool cafes and delicious bakeshops. I gorged myself on sushi and grabbed some maps from the local hostel, checking out what to see and do while I am in town. There was so much free stuff to check out!! A plus for me cause I am on a super budget at this point in my trip – three months of travel can really do a number on your bank account!
I met up with Torrance after she was done work and we had a great meal together, catching up on several years of news and stories, we both have had some major moves and good stuff happen to us, along with a couple dozen friends in common, so we needed mucho catch up time! The next day I was off to explore the city, first taking a walk with Torrance through Saint Kilda to an animal sanctuary she is considering volunteering at (complete with cute lil piggy in the yard!) and then boarding the tram for downtown. Now, Torrance had said I could take my chances on not paying for the tram with a little refillable card, since the transit cops hardly ever checked, so i got on the tram without paying. Luck would have it the MY tram on THAT day would get checked as we went downtown, I was almost fined an outrageous $200!! NOOOOOOO!!!!
Luckily I was able to play dumb and prove that I had just gotten there yesterday and played up my Canadian accent (i just got here, eh?) and I got away with it!! The transit cop was NOT happy about letting me go, but he knew and I knew I was NOT going to be paying any ticket, so I was able to get off. Yes!! I was a bit shaken after that, and walked around the CBD aimlessly for a while, gawping at the buildings and the architecture, modern mixed with Victorian. I loved it! I wandered through the pedestrian only Bourke St Mall at all the shopping I couldn’t do (probably for the best as I still have to carry all my stuff on my back) and stumbled upon the Parliament Buildngs and the Cathedral of Saint Paul. I ate lunch in Chinatown (can’t get away from those!) and went up to the Queen Victoria Markets to see the action there (there was none, market was closed. damn.) The downtown of Melbourne is actually pretty small, so I thought I would conquer the ultimate downtown walk and attempt to walk back to St. Kilda via the beach! It took me a while – about two hours – but I needed the exercise and love exploring new places so it was worth it – I only got lost once!
I also saw the Southbank – which is the entertainment area on the bank of the Yarra river across from the city, and the State Library, which impressed me with its bohemian historic feel. I wandered around in there for a while, there were some really good free museum-like floors where the history of Melbourne was laid out and the history of the library as well. I walked and walked and WALKED along the shore, there’s TONS of beachfront and the day was warm, so I didn’t even mind when my feet started hurting as the sun went down!! That night we had a chill dinner at home and hung out with Torrance`s roomie over a bottle of wine. I knew the weekend was going to be messy on account of the Auusie Football League Grand Final, so I wanted to save some energy for that!!
My second day in Melbourne was full of more free adventures. I visited the National Gallery of Victoria (free) and marveled at their Picasso, Matisse and large collection of Southeast Asian Art. I also loved the large-scale art project in the lobby of the gallery with a hundred bowls floating in a shallow pond, making music as they clinked together. I walked up to Federation square, which was packed with footy festivities and revelers, but it started to rain and I ducked into the Cinema museum (my fav!) for an hour while it rained outside. Fed Square is an interesting `main hub`of activity in the CBD, right by the central station and a very vibrant part of downtown. Even though the architecture doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of the historic surroundings, it’s an interesting place to visit. I spent all afternoon typing and catching up on emails in a super cute hipstery cafe called Thousand Pound Bend, which is off a little alleyway in Melbourne’s downtown. There’s quite a few little laneways sprinkled throughout the downtown, that hold unmarked bars and cool shops and places to eat, I loved exploring this city!
That night I got a text from Torrance – she would be late cause she found a stray dog and was waiting for animal services to come and pick her up! The dog was extremely cute, large and malnourished so after I paid her a visit I bought us a bottle of wine and headed home to make us some dinner. Torrance and I also found time to redecorate her room and she made me some delicious vegan meals as well! Yum! After some active days, I was ready for a sleep and wanted to me rested up for my awesome weekend!!
- St. Kilda Beach (deigal.wordpress.com)
- Strewth this Sheila’s fair dinkum! (fromozwithlaav.com)
- Jill Meagher remembered as thousands march down Sydney Road in Melbourne (abc.net.au)
I spent my last weekend in Sydney visiting my friend Rachel and her hubby, Brendan in Avoca Beach which is about an hour from Sydney to the North. The train ride out was picturesque, it winds through the countryside and along the bay and it was a nice day so I was able to enjoy the view. My friend Rachel picked me up from the station in Gosford, a little town about 20 minutes from the coast where she lived in North Avoca beach. It`s a gorgeous seaside town, and after I got a driving tour of all the beautiful beaches along the way, I settled into the Swan household for the evening. I was treated to several new Aussie beers beachside at the beer garden, and caught up with my friend over (a great many) drinks and delicious Thai food. We had a blast, I even got to take in some footy and got to listen to some Aussie musicians that I hadn’t heard of before.
The next morning was Rachel’s birthday, so I got to be a guest at her birthday brunch with the whole family! Rachel lived with my family in Canada for a while, and I had forgotten her parents had also visited, so it turned out her family knows my whole family, it was great to chat and hang out with people who knew all about my life in Canada and to experience a taste of beachside life outside of Sydney. After a seaside breakfast at the surf club on Avoca Beach, we hit up the local markets where there were trinkets, antiques, handmade crafts, clothing and food for sale. It was a perfect way to spend a lazy sunny Sunday, and I bought some gifts and even a few trinkets for myself! I loved the beachy atmosphere of the town, it was super friendly and reminded me of some of the summer neighborhood markets we have back home in Toronto.
After the markets we had a “sausage sizzle” with Snags (sausages) and Rissoles (home-made hamburger patties) and I sampled some good Australian beer (on fifty lashes, coopers ale) on the front deck of the Swan household, and then was treated to a scenic drive of the surrounding area, including a visit to the beach where Rachel and Brendan had gotten married six months earlier, and a stop of ice cream as well. The surrounding ares is gorgeous, national parks are all over the place, and it seems like a great family community so close to the city. I’m glad I’ve been able to get out of the city so much while I’m in Sydney and into the surrounding countryside, it’s very different from the rest of Australia, and stunningly gorgeous! I feel pretty lucky to have so many friends in this country – I think I will be back to take advantage of this country sooner than later, there so much that I missed, and more that I want to see!
After a sunny afternoon train ride back to the city, I was ready for my next adventure – a week-long trip to Melbourne, to catch up with some more Aussie and Canadian friends. My plane ride was pretty uneventful as far as rides go, only an hour and a half to get there. I ditched my big backpack for the week so it was fast and painless – I didn’t even have to wait for my luggage!
I Love this CITY! My time in Sydney so far has been really relaxing, a perfect recovery breath in the midst of all my travels. I’ve settled into apartment life with my friend David, who lives close to the city in the suburb of Leichhardt, the little Italy area which reminds me of Toronto a lot. I’ve spent a bit of time this week recovering from my Asian Bird Flu as I lovingly refer to it, I’ve been feeling sick-ish on and off since Malaysia and am happy to have some time to sleep and get myself over whatever is attacking my insides at the moment! In my first few days I had dinner overlooking the Opera House (very memorable!) and saw all around the harbor area, saw Bondi Beach and sampled some of the nightlife there, explored Leichhardt and the Little Italy area, read, relaxed, recuperated and generally tried to save $$ cause there are lots of things I want to do in Melbourne and NZ, i need to make sure I have enough to do the other things I want to do. I’ve been watching lots of Australian movies (Chopper, Ned Kelly, The Castle, Crocodile Dundee) and got to sample a famous meat pie from Harry’s down on Finger Wharf one night as well. Also in the books, I’m planning to visit Melbourne at the end of September before I jet off to the last country on my list, and some visits to friends who live in or near Sydney as well!
This weekend on the agenda is the beautiful Hunter Valley, a wine region not too far from the city which produces some of the best wines in the country, including the Sparkling Shiraz which is exclusive to the area. Mmmm. Wine.