Saturday, 27 December 2014

Melbourne in Australia

Emily and I arrived in Melbourne after a three hour flight from Christchurch. You can read about our three week adventure in New Zealand here

We boarded the Airport Shuttle bus, which took us into the city and then used the super user-friendly train system to find our way to the Claremont Guest House in South Yarra, which we had pre-booked. This was a good value and well located place to stay. The only downside was that there were three different large school groups staying there at the same time, so it was noisy and chaotic for our whole stay! Later in the week we discovered that by chance, our friends Kim and Stew used to live on the same road, and had stayed at the same guest house as us when they first arrived! We had a quiet evening on our first night and had some Thai food from a bargain little takeaway near our guest house. It was delicious and it was nice to eat some tasty Asian food after not indulging in any for what seemed like ages [just three weeks!]

We spent the next morning exploring the city. As ever, we used a Lonely Planet guide book to help us get our bearings. Melbourne is well known for it's food and we spotted so many great looking places that made us feel very hungry! We also found the library, where we later returned to use the computers free of charge - great travelling tip! In the guide book I'd spotted the Old Melbourne Gaol, where Ned Kelly was tried and hanged. I thought this would be really interesting and something a bit different, so we headed there later in the morning. The first part of the tour involves being processed like you are a criminal in the Watch Tower area of the prison. An actor in police uniform sternly [and entertainingly] reads you your rights and briefly locks you in a cell. There is time to view the cells, including the padded one, before you can take your mugshot, as you can see below! The second part of the prison is self-guided, with lots of interesting things to see and read. The Ned Kelly area is particularly interesting, if you like a bit of morbid history!
 melbourne gaol
Emily's mugshot!

After a tasty lunch in one of the many Laneways, we headed to the National Gallery of Victoria. Art galleries are usually an interesting [and free] way to spend an afternoon and we were particularly lucky that there was a David Shrigley exhibition on when we visited. The gallery was also hosting a John Paul Gautier exhibiton, but we gave it as miss, as the tickets weren't particularly cheap for that particular exhibition. 

If you're not familiar with David Shrigley, his style is rather humourous and generally a bit silly. Take his piece 'Woman Having A Poo' that you can see below, for example...

melbourne art gallery
David Shrigley's 'Woman Having A Poo'

Check out the video below for another particularly strange exhibit, which bought back great memories of using the ROMA at infant school! Back in the day we thought it was the coolest thing ever to be allowed to programme this small robot that would move across the floor. It seems so basic now, with such huge advancement in technology since I left school.

A video posted by Josh Kinnersley (@joshkinnersley) on

There was one huge room, where you could sit and do a life drawing. This model pees in the bucket every so often and creepily blinks too. Hundreds of life drawings by members of the public are displayed on the wall. We didn't stop and create our own art, but enjoyed looking at all the interesting ones other people had done! All very creative in different ways...

melbourne art gallery
David Shrigley's 'Life Drawing'

We boarded a tram from outside the art gallery and headed to St Kilda, a beach area recommended in our guide book. Our friend Bex had also told us that you can see Penguins on the Promenade at sunset in St Kilda, which we were keen to spot in the wild! We stopped for a popular photo outside the Luna Park funfair [which wasn't open and is super expensive to visit when it is!] before sitting on the beach and enjoying possibly the best ice cream of our lives! Now there's a bold statement. We walked down the Promenade, where we spotted some cute little Penguins hiding in the rocks. This area is a carefully protected area, which was originally built to create an area for an Olympic sailing contest. Flash photography is forbidden and sadly we didn't manage to get any decent photos of these cute animals.

st kilda beach
Beware of giant killer Penguins!

st kilda beach
Bitter Blood Orange ice cream

luna park
Luna Park Fun Fair

The following day we were both feeling a bit under the weather and slowly wandering around the city, doing a bit of shopping. We visited the Ian Potter Centre, which is part of a huge arts complex in the city. The IPC is home to lots of interesting art, including a large collection of Australian indigenous art. We had another tasty lunch in the city's Laneways, before catching up on blogging and e-mails at the library. 

ian potter centre
Ian Potter Centre

Our friend Kim recommended we visit the Meatball and Wine Bar for dinner in the city. Apparently it's always super busy and we were lucky to get there at the right time and get a table outside when we arrived, without having to wait. There is a vegetarian option on the menu, but the waitress pointed out that it has anchovie paste in it, which is really annoying. Emily had what she said were delicious meaty sliders and I opted for some sides to create my own meat-free dinner. This was mash potato, with grilled mushroom and tomato sauce. My makeshift dinner was actually pretty tasty, but it was frustrating that their only vegetarian option on the menu wasn't actually vegetarian. 


We spent the next couple of days doing an incredible tour of the simply amazing Great Ocean Road, which is easily accessible from Melbourne. Check back soon, as I will be writing about this in the next couple of days - you can view my posts about Australia by clicking here. After this tour, we had one more morning in Melbourne before flying to Sydney. We found that two days exploring the city of Melbourne and two days on the Great Ocean Road was a perfect amount of time in this area. Any longer n Melbourne and I think we would have been bored, unless we had done more relatively expensive tourist activities, many of which are the kind you can do anywhere, rather than being location specific. 

There are lots of well kept parks in the suburbs of Melbourne, and we spent our final morning chilling out in one, watching some people play cricket. We then walked to the Shrine of Rememberance, which is a very poignant and well presented war memorial, located in the Botanic Gardens. 

Our next and final stop of our adventure was Sydney, which I'll post about this week. Thanks for reading!

lest we forget
'Lest We Forget'

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