Before every trip, I buy a DK travel book to scope out the lay of the land and figure out what touristy things I want to do. When I arrived in Melbourne, my friend Alison (who spent three years as an ex-pat in Oz) and I spent some time figuring out our itinerary, including the famous painted beach houses in Brighton, a fabulous tour of the Old Melbourne Gaol (pronounced like our “jail,” but we enjoyed calling it a “gale”), and some light shopping in the Central Business District at the Quick Brown Fox and Witchery.
Melbourne is the 2nd largest city in Australia, and it boasts the oldest Chinatown outside of China in the world. We enjoyed some truly delish international cuisine: Stalactites for Greek fare and Malaysian food at casual favorite Nudel Bar. Also, two local teams were in the Australian Rules Football Final during my September visit, so I got a little caught up in footy fever. Melbourne was easy to get around: we mostly walked everywhere after arriving at Flinders Street Station. There was also a darling little tram to take around the downtown CBD.
I asked Alison the whole trip if we could go somewhere where I could hold a koala and jump with the kangaroos. While that didn’t exactly happen, we got close when we made a day trip to the Yarra Valley Wine Country. We stopped by a couple of quite lovely wineries before having a scrumptious lunch of salmon and cheese soufflé at one of them, before heading to Healsville Sanctuary. There, we saw many native Aussie animals, including Hamish the koala, kangaroos, wombats, and Tasmanian devils! It was a dream come true, and the first of three great visits to Melbourne!
Perhaps in a future blog post, I’ll share my tips for getting over jet lag in on a long international journey, as the trip home included a 15 hour leg. Until then, ta (thanks) to my friend for hosting a bonzer (fantastic) trip Down Under!