Surprise, I’m in Melbourne!

Look. I know I said I wasn’t coming to the East, but after the clustertruck with the car, I reserve the right to change any and all subsequent plans!

After the Contiki Tour, I flew from Alice Springs to Melbourne. It feels pretty weird to be back in a big city, having spent a few weeks in the outback. Add to that the fact that I hadn’t planned any of my movements post-flight and the first half hour or so of my time here was a little overwhelming..! But I soon found my way onto a bus and into a hostel.

I’m staying at Flinders Backpackers, right in the CBD (which means Central Business District, as I learned a couple of days ago, despite having been in this country for two months!). Tired from travelling, I aimed to get an early night my first night here, but I ended up acquainting myself with two of my dorm-mates and going for a walk with them. Nicole from Glasgow and Tom from Cambridge met in Sydney and then came down to Melbourne together, and since I arrived they’ve taken me under their wings also. Tom came home to bed but Nicole and I stayed out wandering the town until past 11…oops!

The last couple of days have consisted of about 50% sleeping and 50% sightseeing. For some reason, I’ve been feeling very fatigued over the last few days, which I’m not at all happy about. This is something I struggled with back home but, save for the jet lag, haven’t experienced while I’ve been out here. I seem to be slipping into a routine of getting up around 8:30 for the free breakfast at the hostel, going back to sleep for a morning nap, waking up around lunchtime and then spending the afternoon sightseeing. Not ideal, but I wouldn’t say I’ve not made the most of the time I have been awake!

In the three days I’ve been here, I have:

  • Explored Bourke Street Mall (including the biggest bloody H&M I’ve seen in my life!).
  • Been up to the Eureka Skydeck to see the city from the 88th Floor.
  • Visited the Immigration Museum, which was immensely interesting and thought provoking.
  • Spent the evening at the Victoria Street Night Market, upon entering which, my first thought was ‘This is like Covent Garden, but better!’
  • Lit a candle in St Paul’s Cathedral (yes, they’ve got one here as well).
  • Been to the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), a museum all about the history of film, TV and video games, including a whole tonne of interactive areas.
  • Had a mooch around the National Gallery, Victoria.
  • Visited the Eureka Skydeck again at sunset.
  • And done a whole lotta exploring the city on foot!
View from the Eureka Skydeck, 285m over the city of Melbourne. The lift takes you up 88 floors in 38 seconds!
One of the more interesting mirror selfies I’ve taken in my time.
That pointy thing is Melbourne’s Arts Centre!
Posting my Mummy a post card from Australia’s highest postbox.
Feeling smiley in the sun!
The sheds of Victoria Street Market, home of The Night Market. (It looks dead cause I took this on my way out, after the market closed/ended.)
Sat listening to these amazingly talented guys for a good half hour. Go check them out on Instagram, they’re planning to release an EP soon.

I’m loving Melbourne; it’s been voted the world’s most liveable city something like 8 years in a row, and is dubbed the cultural hub of Australia. There’s something about the gentle hubbub of Melbourne, combined with some beautiful architecture in amongst the skyscrapers that make it feel homely rather than overwhelming.

All that being said, I am wanting to explore further afield while I’m here on the south coast, so this afternoon I went to a Backpackers travel shop and booked myself onto a couple of day trips over the weekend; on Saturday I’ll be taking on the famous Great Ocean Road, seeing the likes of the 12 Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge and the Otway Rainforest, and on Monday I’m off to the Yarra Valley Wine Region for a day of wine and cheese tasting – yes, please!

After what I think will be a much needed lie in Tuesday, after all the wine, I’m catching a late-afternoon flight to Sydney, where the adventure continues! Of course, I will let you know in detail how all of this pans out, but for now, I’m going to sleep!

Chilling in Geraldton

As it happens, and to nobody’s surprise, there were things to do in Geraldton, and while I’m still slightly pining after Monkey Mia, I had a pretty good day today.

The first thing I needed to do was go and seek out some breakfast, and I discovered a cute little place called Piper Lane Café. They had an original breakfast menu, not just your usual eggs and bacon, and their seating area was almost entirely outside, comprised of not-quite-matching outdoor furniture, including milk crates (cushioned) and bean bags for seats! Perfect for a smol human such as myself 😊

But look at the most important part; my delicious breakfast! I had vanilla pannacotta with seasonal fruit and granola, and a slice of banana bread, all washed down with a glass of fresh OJ!

After feeding my rumbly tummy (why am I now speaking like Winnie-the-Pooh?), I wandered down to the foreshore where I sat reading by the ocean for a while. When I decided it was time to get out of the sun, I moseyed into the Monsignor Hawes Heritage Museum, where I met a lovely lady called Maureen. John Hawes was an architect-slash-priest who was actually born in England and designed various church buildings across England, Australia and The Bahamas.

The lovely Maureen gave me a 5 minute rundown before leaving me to read through the displays myself. Pretty interesting guy was this John Hawes; the Geraldton Cathedral, one of his masterpieces was my next destination.

Doesn’t quite match up to our beloved Salisbury Cathedral, but this one was beautiful in a different, contemporary way.

Outside the Queens Park Theatre I found the coolest sundial ever!

I couldn’t quite work out how to make perfect sense of it – I got as far as working out that we’re at the beginning-ish of February! But it was pretty cool to look at anyway with its intricate and clever little details. It’s called the Iris sundial; the designer named it after his wife, and the two children are their daughters.

The rest of the day was spent killing time, eating pasta from a cup in a fun little restaurant (see below), and desperately trying to stay awake.

I jumped on a coach at 01:20am and 7 hours later, here I am… next stop Exmouth!

(Seriously though, shout out to Maureen, she was so kind and enthusiastic and seemed generally impressed to see a young person in the Hawes museum!)

The Story of The Dragon Tree

img_1126-1After my tiring walk from Elizabeth Quay to Kings Park, this little story made me feel all happy inside, and I thought it deserved its own blog post!

The Dragon Tree, which is around 80 years old, was relocated from a property in Dalkeith (a suburb of Perth, about 9km from Kings Park), after the property was sold and scheduled for demolition. On the 18th November 2014, under police escort no less! this brave little tree (or not so little) began its journey on the back of a truck to Kings Park.

They started the relocation at midnight to avoid traffic disruption, (which is a lot more considerate than anything Salisbury would’ve done..!), and the 10km journey took THREE hours!

Once the tree arrived at Kings Park and was safely upright, they installed support anchors to keep The Dragon Tree stable until the root system re-establishes itself, which’ll probably take a few years.

I just thought this was such a nice little story, that this rare and ancient tree got a new lease of life and wasn’t destroyed by demolition crews!

Oh, and one more fun fact – The Dragon Tree (Dracaena draco) is named as such because of its bright red sap, which is often referred to as Dragon’s Blood…so there you go!

Elizabeth Quay & Kings Park

Today was my first day left entirely to my own devices, since Beth was at work. If you want to learn to enjoy your own company, a day in Perth City is the way to do it!

My day included getting off the train at the wrong stop, an amazing potato salad, some beautiful views and a hella long walk in the 35 degree heat. But, since a picture speaks a thousand words…

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View of Elizabeth Quay Bridge

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Look! Look at this! $10 for a delicious, healthy lunch!

 

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Frangipani flowers – Spotting these beauties on the pavement made the long walk up to Kings Park much more bearable.

I spent the morning at the Quay, sitting in a little café by the Swan River, reading, writing and watching the world (and the boats) go by. After a mooch around the tourist shops, I decided to shun the suggestion of getting an Uber to Kings Park, and walked there instead. Even looked at an honest-to-God paper map! It was only a couple of KMs but in the 35 degree heat, it was a bit of a challenge for my little legs! Worth it though, as once I got there, I had a look at some of the features – including the War Memorials and the Dragon Tree (more on that here), before finding a patch of shade and settling down on the grass for a snooze.

Kings Park was honestly such a serene and beautiful place; I could’ve spent all day there. I also had a look around Aspects of Kings Park, a gallery and shop which showcases and sells contemporary Australian craft and design items. They focus on local artists, and display the names of those artists next to their work. I love this, as it’s so special to buy a souvenir or a gift, knowing that it was designed and made in the place you actually bought it and represents something about that place – the authenticity makes it mean so much more. I’ll definitely be going back there before I leave Perth!(https://www.aspectsofkingspark.com.au/)