Melbourne in Minutes

It’s been quite a while since I have had the chance to find time in my busy Sydney schedule to write a blog. It is something I had planned on doing regularly while travelling, yet had once again fallen off the horse. Though traditional “New Years Resolutions” have past about a month ago, I am making it my “New Years plus a month’s” Resolution to blog weekly about my “where-abouts” and “what-abouts.” Just over a couple weeks ago, I returned from a long weekend away in Melbourne with my Canadian roommate Maddie. Maddie and I met in first year at the University of Western Ontario and have been friends ever since.

Day 1: We began our journey to Melbourne with an early morning flight (655am) on Tiger Airways. A short catnap later we arrived in the Melbourne heat wave.  It was such a nice feeling to be back in Melbourne; the place I called home 2 years ago to date. With the feeling of excitement and a smile on my face not being able to be washed away no matter how hot it was, it was time to explore!

We made our way to Southern Cross, and caught a train directly to Flinders Station. Flinders Train Station is the busiest train station in the Southern Hemisphere and the oldest train station in Australia. Personally, this is one of my favourite landmarks I have seen all across Australia. There is something about walking into Flinders Train Station that will never get old; I can’t quite put my finger on what it is though.

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Flinders Train Station

Our first stop of the day was to grab breakfast in one of the many lanes and alleyways that cover the Melbourne city. We found ourselves on Degraves Street at a small café, which served Canadian pancakes with maple syrup – sold us right away!

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Degraves Street – Best Coffee in Town!

After breakfast, we headed towards the Melbourne City Peterpans Shop. After dropping our luggage we attempted to do some exploring but it didn’t take much to realize the heat (43degrees) was to much to handle; so we chose to prop ourselves onto a rooftop patio and have a few casual drinks. Since we had to wait for our hosts (Maddie’s friends she met on her East Coast road trip) to be finished work for the day, we had no problem relaxing in the sun with a few drinks in hand.

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Lounge Lizards keeping cool in the 43 degree Celsius weather. 

The boys live in the suburb of Prahran, which is minutes from one of the best shopping street in Melbourne called Chapel Street. It didn’t take us long to for us to find our way there and scout out the best shops for the days to come. The remainder of the evening was spent having dinner, catching up with the boys, and calling it an early night.

Day 2: The next morning (Friday 17th Jan) was just as hot, if not hotter than the day before. We headed out down Chapel Street and checked out some of the cafes and shops along the street. As the afternoon rolled around, we made our way to Federation Square (directly across from Flinders Street) to meet up with a fellow Peterpanners, Darryl. The remainder of the early afternoon was spent cooling off in Transport bar with a few drinks.

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Federation Square, looking towards Flinders Train Station.

The Australian Open; annually held in Melbourne every January, was a must-see event on our bucket list. After a short train ride from Flinders Station, we arrived at Richmond station and entered the Australian Open grounds.

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Where’s Nadal?

As a group we wandered the grounds; checked out the various event sponsor booths, the training courts and of course… the Beer Garden. After we finished up in the Beer Gardens we sauntered into the Hisense Arena and managed to catch the tail end of a males singles match.

Another day in the sun resulted in an early night in Melbourne – ready to go for the rest of the weekend!

Day 3: Bright and early we woke up and made our way into the city to check out the Aquarium and the Eureka 88 Skydeck. The Melbourne Aquarium has several exhibits to explore with various different species of animals including frogs, turtles, snakes, stingrays, sharks and more.

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Fish, Sharks and Turtles! Oh My!

The best and most enjoyable part of the aquarium was hands down the Penguin Playground. The penguins are absolutely hilarious – you can spend hours watching them play with each other, slide down the ice slides, and jumping in and out of the water.

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Following the Aquarium, we headed to the Eureka 88 Skydeck. The Eureka Skydeck is a 297.3-metre skyscraper located in the Southbank precinct of Melbourne. You can get from floor 1 all the way to floor 88, within 40 seconds flat. Don’t be surprised if your ears pop along the way! From the 88th floor, you have the chance of seeing a panoramic view of the Melbourne city. Everything from the Olympic Park (where the Australian Open was located), which includes the Rod Laver Arena, Hisense Arena and the various outdoor courts, Federation Square, Flinders Train Station, as well as the Parliament buildings, can be seen from above.

20140118_161923Melbourne’s Olympic Park

20140118_162359Federation Square and Flinders Train Station from the Eureka 88 Skydeck.

You can also choose to have “The Edge” experience and get into a glass cube that projects out of the building and suspends you 88 floors above the ground – it nearly put one of the British guys in tears!

After an afternoon of being real “tourists,” we headed back to Prahran to get ready for a night out on Chapel Street. The evening unravelled into a few drinks at the boys and then the night spent at the “Lucky Coq.”

Day 4: Our final day in Melbourne was spent in the St Kilda Beach area. When we eventually all woke up, we made our way to St Kilda to grab some lunch. Next, we wandered around Luna Park, which is a similar amusement park as the one you can see in North Sydney across the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Amusement parks like Luna Park really remind me of the ones in the movies. The classic Ferris wheel in the middle of the park, the cotton candy vendors, and the clowns that wander the grounds – brings me back to being a kid!

Located directly outside the entrance to the park was Britz camper vans and 4WD car rentals doing some promotional work. Maddie had no reservations in going and seeing what all the fuss was about – it didn’t take her long to choose to line up and model her “snake” boa around her neck. It also didn’t take me long to see the snake, and run in the complete opposite direction as fast as I possibly could!

Later in the afternoon, Maddie and myself split from the group and decided to walk down the St Kilda boardwalk and head towards the fishing pier. We were set on walking along the pier until we were abruptly stopped and distracted by the bar… at least we can say we say the pier from afar!

DSCN0235St Kilda Pier from afar.

We ended up spending the rest of the evening having a few casual drinks in Republica and Captain Baxter’s looking out on the beach – enjoying the amazing weather in Melbourne before heading back to Sydney early the next morning.

1526528_10152148302026142_68384161_nCheers! Captain Baxter’s patio on St Kilda.

From the short amount of time that we spent in St Kilda, it didn’t take long to realize that it was a place I could see myself really enjoy living in at during my time in Australia. St Kilda is definitely a highlight when travelling through Melbourne! You don’t want to miss it 🙂

Since living in Sydney, I have found myself comparing Melbourne and Sydney on a daily basis. When people ask which city I prefer, I find it quite hard to give a concrete answer. While living in Melbourne (during exchange) I loved the hustle and bustle of the busy Melbourne CBD; I loved the historical and artsy feel that Melbourne gave off, and of course I loved the Starbucks directly across from Flinders’ Station. It was amazing to re-experience a lot of what made Melbourne special to me while visiting this weekend. Melbourne will always be a place that I hold close to my heart and I know I will never get bored of revisiting it time after time.

20140118_152739Thanks boys for the stellar hospitality!

Sam

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