It’s not often I get the chance to play tourist in my own city, so when the opportunity came up this week, I jumped on it! I had taken holiday time for my cousin’s wedding, however, when things didn’t work out, I figured that I could either mope about a lost opportunity or do some sightseeing of my own. I then built on that thought, and decided to introduce you all to my city. Therefore, here’s my online tour of Melbourne. I should first point out, that the title, is one of the ways we pronounce it. Either that or ‘Melb’n’. depending on how lazy we’re feeling. You may have noticed, we shorten everything. It saves time we could be using to drink our coffee… or chai, depending on what suburb you’re in
. This is the best way to see the city. Public transport with a coffee. It gives you a chance to sit back and read (if you can find a seat for those silly enough to travel in peak hour). I really hate driving in the city. I can handle the hook turns, (an experience on their own), but the dance of the parking towers and the traffic waltz feature heavily in my nightmares. I would much rather have a coffee perched on the luggage rack as the farms turn into skyscrapers.
The first place you should probably go if you’re new to the city is Federation square. It’s a great place to pick up those maps you know you left on your laptop, and you’ll want to save your phone battery! It also gives you a place to sit down for a minute, and soak in the first impression of the city. The buildings are so different from one another it’s like an architectural timeline. If you’re starting at the front, keep an eye out for the hidden lanes. They hide some amazing street art down there.
These photos don’t really do them justice, but I wanted to give you a taste of some of the talent we have. Our talent isn’t limited to art though, every street you walk down usually has at least one musician or performer out to impress the crowds, You won’t walk far without some kind of music to put that little skip in your step
On the topic of music, before we stray too far into alleyways that spit you out blocks away and turned around. If you take a peek down the back of Federation square, you find BIrrurung Marr. A place dedicated to aboriginal diversity. The walk leads you down past some spectacular landmarks on the way to the federation bells.
These bells are programmed to give you a beautiful composition with the sound of a series of church bells. It’s a little loud when you’re right among them, but in summer with a picnic on the grass beyond? It’s a highlight to the Melbourne soundtrack for me.
I’ve included some of the things I noticed, I won’t go into too much detail on the laneways as they really are an experience in themselves, and everyone who visits will see something different. I will say, that I asked about the second photo, and yes, apparently the warning labels were necessary! The fourth picture is of an animal I’ve taken to calling the Koalaroo. I have to go back in just to buy that!
No trip to Melbourne is complete without a visit to the Queen Vic Market. A writhing mass of people dodging other shoppers as they peruse home-made goods and cheap knock-offs, fresh food and flowers. It has been described as the heart and soul of Melbourne for a reason. Here again, you’ll be treated to buskers, vying for airwave space with spruikers and families. You can even indulge in a little wine-tasting if you’ve been on your feet all day so far! I should point out that if you tell a local that you went there, they are more than likely to ask what you thought of the donuts. If you reply that you didn’t try them, you run a serious risk of shunning. It’s almost a crime to visit and not try these fluffy clouds of sugar coated bliss.
Down a bit from the market, you’ll find Melbourn Central. From the outside, it’s an upended ice-cream cone covered with silver. When you get inside though, you can see that under the cone, is the preserved shot tower taking pride of place. If you have a minute, wait for the great big fob watch in front of it to ring in the hour. I forgot to take a picture of it, but I have fond childhood memories of begging mum to wait for it to go off before we moved on. I found something new here this time! There’s a little shop on level three that is the brain-child of a group of young people who are desperately wanting to do something about the homeless problem. While I was in there, I met Rich, (the artist in the middle) Who has been doing these amazing works. The boys at Homie are planning a gallery showing for him, and have asked him to illustrate a children’s book they’re working on following the life of a boy living on the streets. I can’t wait to be able to post a link here for you.
Downstairs from there, is the Max Brenner shop where I almost called it a day. The smells in here are amazing, and who wouldn’t stay for the dipping plate! Unfortunately, I did eventually run out of chocolate and forced myself to move on.
Before you start thinking that my whole day was spent shopping and chasing sugar and oddities, The whole reason I went was because I found a public lecture that I wanted to attend as it was centered on Dementia. If you’re into more intellectual pursuits, and the bookshelves and hipster nooks aren’t enough for you to sink your teeth into, I highly recommend jumping online and finding one of the many… and I do mean MANY different lectures open for the public to attend. Everything from mental health to history and culture can be found there, and with everything interconnected by public transport it’s so easy to get to. I can understand why we’ve been voted most livable city. Maybe I’ll see you there?