At home in South Australia, one of my favourite winter pastimes is to go whale spotting on a weekend. Luckily you only have to venture to the Fleurieu coast in South Australia to find one of their holiday playgrounds where they spend a few months in warmer waters with their calves. There are certainly other spots in South Australia where you can see them but for proximity to Adelaide and likelihood of spotting whales it’s a good area to start. There is also the added bonus of being able to see them fairly close up from the land and at a popular surfing beach.
A day trip heading into the Dandenong Ranges in Victoria will give you just a taste for this region and have you wanting to come back for more. It’s only an hour out of Melbourne but it feels like a world away from the city and even in winter, or maybe especially, it has a charm to lure you back.
Just 3 kilometres out of Melbourne city is the suburb of Fitzroy. A number of reasons have made this a must see and experience destination when in Melbourne. It has become well known for its little bars, restaurants & cafes, street art and markets. My tip would be to head there on a Saturday morning and spend a few hours discovering markets, enjoying a breakfast or brunch and wandering around looking at the street art and shops. It’s easily accessible on a tram route or there are a couple of pay car parks in the street.
The laneways of Melbourne are well known for the street art, a couple of the best are ACDC Lane and Hosier Lane. As the name suggests, ACDC Lane has a lot of art that pays homage to the great Aussie rock band of the same name and in particular to Bon Scott and Malcom Young. Credit goes to artists Lushsux & Mike Makatron, Steen Jones and Putos (amongst others) for their work in these laneways.
When in Melbourne you just have to go with whatever the quirky, trendy or just plain weird bar and restaurant combination you find. Don’t get me wrong I love it, but some of them have to be seen to be believed. This is definitely a ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ experience but here’s a few that we’ve found and loved, in our recent travels. All of them can be found a short tram ride out of Melbourne on the tram 86 route.
The town of Kaniva is in the West Wimmera area of Victoria. It’s a perfect place to stop on the drive between Adelaide and Melbourne and in fact when you’re driving, its closer to Adelaide at 315 kilometres away, than to Melbourne with around 415 kilometres to go.
There’s a lot to see in Kaniva and you can’t miss for starters the big windmill as you drive into the main street of the town. It is there as a symbol of the abundant underground water supply in the town that supports this farming district. Surrounding the town are green farms, sheep stations, wheat fields and canola.
We’ve driven National Highway A8 and the Western Highway a few times in the last few months and it’s a relatively easy drive. You can of course break it up, staying overnight or as long as you like on the way to Melbourne, but it’s also doable in a day. The entire route takes a little over 8 hours to drive, remembering that when you hit the Victorian border you will lose half an hour when the time zone moves forward.