Melbourne Travel Blog

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Melbourne doesn’t disappoint!  We loved it!  When we arrived we take back the rental car (and p.s. they we so dissappointed that the agent in Adelaide hadn't given us the Rav4, apparently the people in Melbourne or in a panic about getting it.  Yikes!).  We check into our hotel, then head out to Little Italy, on Lygon Street and enjoy an amazing risotto and sparkling wine.  This part of the city is buzzing with people, which is amazing for a weeknight!  We strolled the city streets after dinner.  Finding our way to a bar called Cookie near our hotel.  This bar was recommended in a guide book I had for Australia.  It was sensational!  The beer menu alone was an inch thick!  You can pick a beer from nearly anywhere in the world.

New Zealand beer - delish!
  We sat at the high marble bar, and engaged in cheery conversation with our dramatic looking, 1950’s styled bartender. 

The next day we tour the city, taking in beautiful architecture and café culture.  We start on the east side, near Parliament House.  We sit at tiny bistro tables on the sidewalk, drinking coffee and make plans for the day.  I like the buzz of this place, its urban and cultured.  The population is more diverse here than other Aussie cities and towns, which is reflected in the shops, cafes and restaurants.  Our first stop after breakfast is the Old Treasury Building.  It is considered to be on the finest buildings in Australia.  If you can believe it it was actually designed by a nineteen year old architect named John James Clark.

Captain Cook's parents cottage
  It was completed in 1862 and over its history it has been used for numerous important functions for the city.  Mostly notably it was used to store the colony’s gold during the Australian gold rush!  The gold vaults are available for viewing and the museum has developed interactive multimedia displays to help vistors understand what life was like during the gold rush and the functioning of the treasury building at that time.  The Museum includes an excellent summary of Melbourne’s history, including artifacts throughout history.  There are beautiful dresses wore by women in the 1800’s, pieces of gold mined during the gold rush, the first film of the famous Melbourne Cup horse races, and original letters from the first settlers of the area.  There is also a fantastic copy of the original drawings that J.J. Clark did of the then proposed Treasury Building.  His craft was truly amazing.
Our amazing view from the Greek restaurant
  He designed a renaissance revival style building, based on the Italian palazzo form.  I can’t even draw a stick person well and this man at 19 designed this building.  Apparently J.J. Clark was working as a draftsman by age 14 and he was so good he got paid adult wages.

The City Museum is a great was to being a trip to Melbourne.  You get a detailed understanding of the city’s history, architecture and culture.  The building is also located in a prime spot in the city for viewing other beautiful buildings, including Parliament House and the Windsor Hotel.  You can also easily get to Fitzroy Gardens, which was our next stop.  We walked along the winding garden paths, to Cook’s Cottage.  The cottage was the English home of Captain James Cook’s parents.

  It was purchased from the owner in England, dismantled and rebuild in Fitzroy Gardens in 1933.  The house depicts 18th century life and has a concise and impressive explanation of Captain Cook’s sailing career, including his trips to Canada (which I liked!) and the challenges he faced in Australia.

Dave and I decide to have lunch in China town.  It was perfect.  Was ate dumplings and soup, all of which tasted just like my days in China.  I love authentic Chinese food!  Then it was off to the shops.  We had a few specialty shops we wanted to see.  We toured some beautiful shopping arcades and then found our way to Ben Sherman – one of Dave’s favourite stores.  Dave got some amazing stuff!!!

That night we went to Southbank looking for a nice restaurant.

Looking on onto Southbank from inside a shopping centre
  We decided to get steaks at this gorgeous Greek restaurant called Kouzina, which overlooked the Yarra River.  We sat on the balcony.  Melbourne’s night lights glistened off the water and set the scene for our romantic and beautiful evening. 

We went back to Cookie after dinner.  Our bartender remembered us and was so happy to see us.  He told us about a movie he had been watching the night before and how he thought we’d like it.  We were introduced to other staff and made ourselves at home with them at the bar.  We rolled the electronic dice on Dave’s phone to randomly pick beers from the huge menu – we loved them all! 

On our last day in Melbourne we toured the Old Melbourne Gaol (or in Canada we say Jail).  Between 1845 and 1929 the site had 136 executions.  Most of the Gaol has been demolished but the Second Cell Block still stands and is an interesting museum.  The former City Watch House is also standing which served as the central processing and lock up area for criminals between 1908 and 1994.  We took a crazy tour though the Watch House where you are arrested, processed, put in a cell and then let out to the excersize grounds.  You are treated in the same inhumane way as the criminals that passed through the facility, experiencing first hand the harsh, systematic environment of the criminal system.  The most well-known execution at the Melbourne Gaol was of Ned Kelly, the famous Australian bushranger.  People have different opinions about Ned Kelly.  Some people think he’s a national hero, who fought against the oppression of English-based law, while others see him as a villian, who deserved to be caught and punished. 

We walk through the city by the ornate towers of the Old Magistrate’s Court, south to Flinders Station (Melbourne’s main railway terminal) on the north side of Southbank, head through to the south side and find our way to the Eureka Tower to see panoramic views of the City.  What a site!  For anyone who’s gone up the CN Tower in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and stood on the glass floor, you’ll know what we experienced.  The Eureka tower provides the same thrills – big views and scary heights.  There is an outdoor observation deck which we went out on to feel the winds on our face and look down onto the city from outdoors.  Awesome! 

After a small dinner at our beloved Kouzina we picked up our bags and headed to the airport.  Time to go back to Adelaide. 
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New Zealand beer - delish!
New Zealand beer - delish!
Captain Cooks parents cottage
Captain Cook's parents cottage
Our amazing view from the Greek re…
Our amazing view from the Greek r…
Looking on onto Southbank from ins…
Looking on onto Southbank from in…
photo by: jendara