Sunday, 13 September 2015

A Quick Pit Stop in Melbourne

After a long day of travelling on a coach and a train, we finally arrived in Melbourne. We had booked to stay in Melbourne for a week to make the most out of the city before heading onto our next adventure. We didn't arrive until late in the evening, we had just enough time to have a quick wander around the main streets and grab some dinner before crashing out back at the hostel. 

We had a few places in mind to visit during our stay, with plenty of time to do so, so there was no rush and for a change we took things easy. We began by exploring the Queen Victoria Markets. Unfortunately it did feel a bit like we were wandering around Felixstowe Market with all the fake brand goods, so we didn't stay there long. Instead we headed straight to the high street shops, oh what a bad idea that was. Of course we needed some new clothes and trainers, we have earned them... Right?
It wasn't long before I got Leigh hooked on coffee stops and even onto coffee. So Starbucks became our new best friend over all 7 of the days of our visit, free wifi definitely encouraged this relationship. Whilst walking around Fitzroy, there was a number of quirky coffee shops dotted around. Melbourne definitely loves a good coffee as they were always packed with people. I suppose it is just the same at home.

Being an awkward eater, we thought it would be difficult to find delicious places to eat out. Turns out that was not the case. Melbourne is packed with tempting food stalls and restaurants which cater to the needs of everyone. We tended to eat out for lunch or dinner every day during our stay. Yes we did end up in Nandos at one point, however it still doesn't compare to the Nandos at home. Nowhere does a good spicy rice like English Nandos! We also found the trusty Spud Bar, which was ideal for a quick lunch. It is funny that even after speaking with other people from England, we all seem to miss the same things, the main one being good restaurants and food. Leigh and I have already produced a list of where we will eat as soon as we get home, oh how I miss Prezzos! 
Like so many other cities we have been to on our travels, we couldn't resist to see Melbourne from above. So we took a trip to the Eureka Skydeck, where we travelled 88 levels up to get a 360 degree view of the city below. We booked a Sun and Star package, where you could travel up during the day and night on consecutive days. However, the evening we were meant to go it was pouring down with rain and you couldn't even see the tower due to the low clouds, so we decided it wasn't worth getting soaked in the rain for to get there. The view during the day though was spectacular, we were able to identify key landmarks and places we would like to go see a bit closer up. I'm sure we will take another trip up here when we are back in a few weeks time with the parents. 

The weather throughout our stay in Melbourne was pretty dismal. It was either freezing cold or raining, sometimes a mixture of them both. So trying to find activities which weren't ridiculously expensive but were inside proved to be quite tricky at times. There is only so many times you can wander around the shops without breaking into the funds reserved for better things. So on the day the heavens decided to completely open their flood gates, we took a trip to the Melbourne Museum. After the success of the museum in Adelaide, we were very open minded and it turned out to be the best educational visit yet. After exploring the traditional animal/dinosaur displays and further developing our knowledge of aboriginal history, we encountered an exhibit all related to the history of psychological disorders. Reading the information took me right back to sixth form, sitting in a classroom reciting Erikson's 8 stages of development and wrapping my brain around Freud's bizarre way of thinking. It all came flooding back to me and I totally forgot about how much I thoroughly enjoyed this subject. We spent ages at this exhibit, comparing the different ways the disorders were dealt with back in the day compared to now. All I can say is that I am so glad theories have developed since then! We both were surprised by how much we enjoyed this visit, definitely a must do if you are in Melbourne.

On one of the days we travelled to St Kilda to have a quick view of the beach. So we jumped on the tram and headed out. It was absolutely freezing! A perfect excuse to find a cafe and watch the sea from inside. I'm sure it is probably lovely on a warm day, but today we just weren't feeling the gail force winds sweeping us off our feet. 

The next day we thought we would visit Victoria Harbour and we chose the perfect day to do it. It was Melbourne Day (Which we were completely unaware of), so there was live music and lots of little stalls set up along the waters edge. We grabbed a gluten free pizza for lunch and sat and ate it by the waters edge, luckily the weather was pretty pleasant today and the live music in the background made it very relaxing.
We checked out of the hostel this morning but had all day spare before we needed to be at the airport. So we left our huge rucksacks behind and tried the think of somewhere to go for the day. Neither Leigh or myself have ever seen a gorilla before, so we couldn't turn down the chance to see one in the flesh at Melbourne Zoo. The Zoo was packed with excited children on school trips, clipboards in hand, wandering off in directions they weren't meant to go. Oh how I do not envy their teachers today. The gorillas were the first and the last animal we encountered (As we had to go back to see them one last time before we left). There were some magnificent animals throughout the whole on the zoo. My favourite were the gorillas (Obviously) and the Honey Bear. She didn't quite come across as the same as the bear in the film Over The Hedge, but I'm sure when she is rattled she is a creature not to be messed with. A brilliant trip to end our visit in Melbourne and the weather held out too.

We will be returning to Melbourne in a few weeks time when the parents arrive, so anything we have missed I'm sure we will have time to cover then. But for now it's time to sling on our backpacks again and board our next flight because for the next 20 days we will be in... New Zealand! 

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