Melbourne is one of the biggest cities of Australia, which we’ve visited twice now. We must say, the first time we thought we’d never come back … we had an awful night in the youth hostel and actually that ruined our two-day trip back then. But in 2013-2014 we spent a lot more time in the capital of Victoria, and we enjoyed it a lot! We still are Sydney-lovers, but Melbourne has gained a place in our hearts. Now we understand why this place is at the top of most liveable cities in the world!
We will not write about museums. Melbourne has a lot to offer on rainy days, but we enjoyed the outside attractions while we could. There are a lot of parks and open places. One of them we enjoyed most, and a good starting point to explore the city, is Federation Square. Just grab a chair, sit back and relax. Have a look at the people, or enjoy a streetartist performing. The Square is surrounded by museums, so if it’s raining, you can still entertain yourself at the Square! At the opposite you’ll find Flinders Street Station. At this place there was already a train station in 1854, the current building dates from 1910, which makes it the oldest train station of Australia. And at the corner of Swanston Str. and Fed Square stands the St Paul’s Cathedral. The first service was led in 1836, the building itself was build around 1880. The other cathedral, St Patrick’s, is situated near the Parliament.
From Fed Square, you can take a walk to the city centre, or to the river. Both are very interesting.
The centre is busy, with lots of shops, and lots of places to eat. Melbourne is a real foodie town with lots of influences from Asia and Europe. One place you should definitely visit, is the Queen Victoria Market. It dates from the late 19th Century. You’ll just
find anything (from all over the world) local and fresh! We also enjoyed the street art. Just use your eyes, and you’ll discover some of the finest art from artists all over the world. You can take a street art tour, or discover the pieces at your own pace. A good place to start is Hosier Lane, but there is a lot more!
The Yarra River crosses the city and is important for the drinking water supply of Melbourne. It is a lovely place to relax and escape the busy shopping streets. You can walk all the way up to Melbourne Park (Australian Open, Rod Laver Arena – you can
visit this place even if there isn’t a tournament going on), and cross the river to King’s Domain. A giant park (to our standards 😉 ). It comprises the Botanic Gardens, which is a beautiful garden whit a lot of diversion. At the other side of the park you can visit the Shrine of Remembrance. Every city in Australia, small or big, has it’s own remembrance monument. They commemorate the fallen men who served during the First World War, far away from home. Sadly, there was more than one war in modern history. These days, the monuments commemorate all servicemen and –women who lost their life. The Shrine is quite bombastic, but is well worth the visit. From the top of the building, you have a very nice view over the city. Each half hour, there is a Last Post.
Another place to have a panoramic view, is the Eureka Building. We didn’t visit the building, but it is on our list ‘to do’ J
And if you want to escape the city, or want to explore a bit further, you should definitely go to one of the beaches, St Kilda Pier (and wait till down to see penguins) or Cardinia Reservoir (to see big kangaroos and, if you are lucky, big echidna’s). The reservoir is one of those very important fresh water supplies for the people of Melbourne, and quite impressive.
Melbourne is the ideal starting point to discover the Great Ocean Road, Wilsons Promontory NP or Port Phillip Bay. And flying to Sydney might be the easiest or the fastest way to get there, but the road along the coast is definitely well worth the trip. More on our adventures around Melbourne in one of the next blogposts. (the complete flickr album here)
Interesting articles about Melbourne: Melbourne food trucks