Melbourne city here we come! Without the caravan unfortunately on this occasion, but with the purpose of seeing where my son and girlfriend have had to relocate for their careers. So a quick road trip and visit was planned but as always with some sightseeing, side tracking, must do’s thrown in.
Based in the suburb of Preston we had to go and see the Preston market and loved it. Apart from the expected fresh fruit and vegies overflowing the market stalls we also found so many butchers, fish mongers, poultry stalls, deli meats, bakeries and cheese specialists. There is such a great variety of food on offer to eat there too, the Italian desserts looked divine, plenty of Asian cuisine too and paella just to name a few varieties. This is the place to come to if you are looking to buy chicken feet, wallaby meat and Moreton bay bugs still jumping fresh, I kid you not.
There are quite a few good local bars and restaurants to eat at too, it seems the thing to do is buy an ex something or other shop or business and put in a bar/restaurant whilst keeping the original fixtures or quirks of the building. For instance a bar in an old panel beating and paint shop with the rustic interior including painted arrows on the floor highlighted. An old church another cool establishment complete with church organ, high pitched ceiling and religious signs about. It pays to look beyond the façade and go inside to see for yourself. Don’t judge a book by its cover.
Everyone visiting Melbourne needs the Myki card. Buy it, load it up with a dollar amount and hop on and off the trams and other public transport as easy as tapping the card and off you go. A very easy and quick way to look about at your leisure especially with trams being really frequent. Trust me even for someone who is not a public transport fan it is much quicker and easier being on a tram than trying to work out the different road rules, tolls and hectic traffic. It also gives you a chance to look at all the busy shopping strips and street art colour overload on the way to the city.
The trams within the city district are free to hop on and off so with a few sights to see you can easily fit a lot in a day or if the weather is fine as we were lucky to get, it pays to walk through the city and you’ll discover some well-known and not so well known laneways and cafes.
Even if you only do it once I would recommend the following city sights. Wander through Federation Square, there always seems to be something happening here, then along the banks of the Yarra River at Southbank where there are loads of places to eat and drink and then take in the wider views of the city from the 88th floor of the Eureka Tower skydeck. Wow! This is such an amazing experience from the minute you step into the elevator that takes you at speed, building up to 30kph to the 88th floor quicker than you can get your head around the facts. The 360 degrees views are astounding and you can pick out a lot of landmarks and get your bearings of the city of Melbourne. It did take me some time to slowly edge my way up to the floor to ceiling windows that angle out so that you get some pretty spectacular views straight down. For the truly adventurous though you can go one step further and do the ‘Edge’ experience which puts you in a glass (elevator style) box with other hardy souls, as it moves out from the building and you can see completely unimpeded views through the glass floor.
I had a number of wish list places to tick off on a quick visit to Melbourne so with days planned it was time to head out of the city in search of them.
There are some iconic images that sum up Melbourne for me and apart from the city areas we sought out, high on the list were the St Kilda pier and the Brighton Bathing Boxes. So both of these we tackled in one day. The bathing boxes didn’t disappoint, looking exactly as I expected, although there were more than I had imagined. A great photo opportunity but at *$337,000 to own? I don’t think so. (*One went up for auction the day after we were there and drew this record price.) For a weekday, out of holiday time and coolish weather the crowd number was amazing. Everyone is so keen to get good photos though that people generally get out of the way or wait for their turn to get ‘the shot’ they’re after. I even took a couple of phone snaps for people looking for something more than a selfie.
Next stop was St Kilda and a stroll along the jetty to the iconic building at the end of the pier. What a stunner and the restaurant prices were really reasonable so we couldn’t resist a lunch stop with these views. Not to mention that the food was perfect too.
That left only one other experience to get a taste of for this short trip and that was to the town of Healesville in the Yarra Ranges, to pick up some platter goodies and off to find a winery or two.
With some very quick homework done I didn’t want to miss visiting the shop ‘Kitchen and Butcher’ for deli meats, cheeses and freshly baked bread. There was so much more to this shop though with sauces, relishes, kitchen ware, pasta, honey – way too much for the senses on one visit, so I will definitely be paying a return visit.
We dropped in to a couple a wineries, by car…not helicopter, but I will have to do a bit more research on AFFORDABLE places to visit for next time. I’m sure there are plenty to choose from but any tips on people’s favourites would be welcomed.
Like so many other regions we are finding lately, Gin is the new drink of choice and we found two terrific establishments. I would definitely recommend stopping in to visit Four Pillars and Alchemy, both in Healesville.
As per usual though, so much to see, so little time but that just gives me even more incentive to return.
Happy travels & cin cin or should that be gin gin?