We spent four days in Melbourne last week, mainly because it was our last interstate babymoon, but also because Kitty wanted to see the Dali exhibit and visit her brother.
The Dali exhibit was good, but way too crowded, and we didn’t even go on a weekend. There was a lot of variation which was good, but we expected a lot more of his surrealist works.
The rest of Melbourne was same same. The weather was crap (rainy and cold), the hotel (Hilton on the Park) was good, the street art hasn’t changed much, but the Rose St Markets were cool. We had a really great meal at Pacific Seafood & BBQ House at South Yarra.
We probably won’t be back to Melbourne for some time, which I am glad about in some ways. One final word of warning, “fly Tiger airways? Australia says No“.
Melbourne makes it ridiculously easy for you to find street art. Just wander around the city and within minutes you’ll come across an entire lane way of street art such as Union Lane.
The great thing about art is that it is such a personal thing. You can find art in the smallest of things. For example, I thought that there was something cool about the Hotel Windsor room card sleeve…
Bridge road has a good variety of stores including some outlets. I love the Body Shop outlet (the only one in Australia I believe) and Macro Wholefoods (which Brisbane sadly misses out on). Kitty loves the Mimco outlet, aptly named ‘Mimco Aisle’.
The Fitzroy stores are more eclectic than the stores at Bridge road. The Brunswick Street Bookstore (business card below) is a good place to visit, so is Industria at 202 Gertrude Street. The originalT2 store is in Brunswick Street too.
Little Collins Street has some great little stores, one of them being ‘Little Salon’ (below). DFO at Southern Cross station is worth a visit as it is so handy to the city.
Melbourne Airport (Tullamarine) is a about 20km northwest of Melbourne city. Since there aren’t any public trains or trams that travel from the airport to the city, you need to catch a bus or taxi.
We usually use the Skybus service. It is fairly cheap ($26 return per person) and it includes the Skybus direct to Spencer Street Southern Cross Station and then a smaller shuttle bus to your hotel. The Skybus takes about 20 minutes and then the shuttle bus can take another 30 depending on where you get off.
You should remember to book your return shuttle bus pickup at least a day before departure to guarantee a seat.
It is very easy to get around Melbourne city with the excellent tram network. The city circle is a free tram service that runs during the day. You have to put up with annoying voice over announcements of various tourist attractions, but it is free. For other trams, a daily zone 1 metcard is the best value ($6.50) as you can travel in inner Melbourne all day on any tram (also buses and trains). You can buy metcards in newsagents and convenience stores, as well as from the concierge desk at most hotels.
I misjudged our return flight times last Sunday, so in a frantic dash to the airport we had to catch a cab. It was quicker than the bus (as expected) but it cost us $49 one way including highway tolls. This was a quiet Sunday afternoon so I imagine during the week it would cost a lot more. We got to the airport with less than half an hour before departure but we were still allowed to check in (thanks to Virgin Blue!).
Kit and I spent the weekend in Melbourne. One of my favourite things about Melbourne is the food. The variety and quality is hard to beat.
Supper Inn was really tasty and popular on Friday night, they were turning away the crowds as usual. We had salt & pepper king prawns, stir fried kai-lan with garlic (yum) and steamed rice. It was simple Cantonese food, but so fresh and full of flavour. The menu is comprehensive with lots of specialties including crispy pigeon, which we avoided.
Liagon street was as good as usual. We tried Trotters on Saturday night. Nice, but not as good as Tiamos for Sunday lunch. Tiamo’s does really good simple pastas. Tiamo’s sister restaurant, Tiamo 2, is currently closed due to renovations but due to reopen soon.
Flinders street station is amazingly busy. This busyness supports specialist food places, including one that predominantly sells fries. Chips is a better description, fat ones. Handcut and served in either cardboard cones or boxes. Your choice of sauce and less than five bucks.
Brunswick Street Fitzroy, like a lot of the city, was grotty. We still found a great modern Vietnamese place for lunch called Red Rice. Apparently they do red rice, we saw it being delivered to another table. The food was great, not your typical Vietnamese. We had two appetizers each, plus a large serve of Asian salad greens with a Vietnamese dressing.
The only thing I dislike about food in Melbourne is the acceptance of smoking in outdoor eating areas. The weather was beautiful, we would have loved to eat outside except that we didn’t want someone’s dirty cigarette ruining our meal.
I was in Melbourne for the last day of winter, and the first three days of spring. The weather was unpredictable, but the whole trip was consistently enjoyable. The five things I enjoyed the most were: