I don’t know a lot about Melbourne, or Australia at all for that matter. A lot of people would probably have a little bit of an idea about where they’re going before they get there. I’m all for this, knowing a bit about the city that I’m hoping to call home for a while is no bad thing. What follows are the most common sights and activities found in a selection of guide books and some more interesting ideas from blogs across the ‘net.
The Guidebook Approach
I’ve always purchased a Lonely Planet Shoestring guide before I go anywhere. I read maybe 10% of it before I get there and often use it as a first point of call if ever I’m stumped on what to do or where to grab a bite to eat. I’ve been flicking through a couple that are lying round the house to get an idea of places that are definitely worth checking out when I arrive in Melbourne.
Queen Victoria Market
If you’re familiar with my posts from previous trips you’ll know that I can’t pass up a market, especially not when everyone, everywhere, seems to recommend it. An ideal place to pick up ingredients for a gourment picnic and perhaps just enjoy the aromas, sights and sounds.
Plenty of Parks
Albert Park, Alexandra Gardens, Birrarung Marr, Brimbank Park, Carlton Gardens, Cremorne Gardens, Edinburgh Gardens, Fawkner Park, Fitzroy Gardens, Flagstaff Gardens, Footscray Park, Hedgeley Dene Gardens, Jells Park, Keilor Botanic Gardens, Kings Domain, Princes Park, Queen Victoria Gardens, Royal Botanic Gardens, Cranbourne Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne Royal Park, Ruffey Lake Park, St Kilda Botanic Gardens, St Vincent Gardens, Wattle Park, Westerfolds Park, Yarra Park to name a few.
I’m a big fan of parks. Where ever I am in the world, I can hardly resist the opportunity to scout out a good bench and settle down in a spot of sunshine and enjoy a couple of chapters of a good book. They’re also great spots to enjoy that gourmet picnic.
Reading an article on the Matador network I came across this line: “Melbourne is not a city to see; it’s a city to do.” This alone gets the excitement going and I’m eagerly anticipating my opportunity to do Melbourne.
Something I’ve quickly learned about Melbourne is that it’s quite a hip city; independent coffee shops, bars and boutiques are on everyone’s list. An exploration of the inner city suburb’s also comes highly recommended. Looking back on my great week in D.C. last year I can’t wait to get lost wandering down streets and alleys, always waiting for the next surprise.
Also, there is an extensive tram network. Who doesn’t love trams?
Beyond the city itself, within Victoria are the Grampians which has been recommended for walking and canoeing and of course the Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road.
A brief overview perhaps, but there seems like there will be more than enough to keep me going for the duration of my stay in Melbourne, no matter how long it might be. Knowing a little bit about Melbourne has edged my excitement that little bit higher. Four weeks ’til I fly. Also, there’s got an extensive tram network. Who doesn’t love trams?
Whenever I have people visiting from outside of Melbourne, I like taking them to one of the “hidden gems” of Melbourne. It is just a piece of rock, but it is not your typical bit of stone. This one came from Antarctica. Yes – you can be in Australia AND sit on a top of an Antarctic rock at the same time. It got smuggled out of Antarctica in the 50th, before all the international laws came into effect, prohibiting this sort of things.
Where is it? Northern part of the City, on Exhibition St, in a little triangle formed by Victoria, La Trobe and Exhibition streets