We spent four days out of our week in Melbourne in the city itself, exploring it and the suburbs surrounding it.
A good way to start any visit to Melbourne is with a walking tour. We’d loved the free walking tour in Sydney and, happily, they also had a Melbourne version! The tour only covers a route around Melbourne – you don’t get to go inside any of the buildings – but we chose to revisit the ones that piqued our interest. Craig has also asked me to mention he got a free McDonalds on the tour (not a regular feature, apparently), which was his favourite bit.
We chose to revisit the beautiful State Library, which housed the outfit worn by the outlaw Ned Kelly for his final showdown with the police. The jury is still out on whether he was a good guy or a bad guy, but he seems to have captured the imagination of Melbourne either way. The library is a beautiful building in its own right, and has a very grand study atrium which was packed with students cramming for exams when we went in.
On the advice of Pete, we also visited the Shrine of Remembrance- a dignified, peaceful building built to commemorate the dead of WW1. Every day, the sun passes over a window in the roof and shines on a plaque in the centre, which is really quite moving.
The view from the balcony at the top of the building looks back over Melbourne, and gives a great view of the city.
The Melbourne Botanical Gardens are a short walk away from the shrine, and a lovely walk. We visited in 30 degree heat and the cool gardens were a welcome respite!
For a spot of shopping the Queen Victoria Market (or “QVM”) is enormous. Much of it is given over to standard market fare (strange souvenirs and terrible shoes feature prominently) but the food and deli bit are excellent. The market is open Tuesdays and Thursdays – Sundays.
Pete also kindly took us for an explore of Melbourne’s inner suburbs.
Historical Williamstown offers fantastic views across the harbour to Melbourne’s central skyline, as well as a nice marina and an excellent selection of gelato which, in the interests of research, I made sure to sample. The things I go through for you…
St. Kitts – a hop and skip from the city – has a charming, old-school English seaside town feel to it. As well as a lovely, laid back vibe, it is home to a colony of Little Penguins who arrive at the pier around dusk.
Luna Park – an old fashioned amusement park with a terrifying face – sits just over the road. It’s free to go in for a wander and to marvel at the wooden roller coaster and the other rather old-school rides.