Saturday 18 November 2017
The flight from Perth landed in Melbourne just after 5:00am and less than an hour later we were on the skybus for the thirty minute trip to the city.
This trip is a short break with two days in Melbourne and then a five day cruise to Tasmania. Peter was unable to get time off work so I am here with my sister Lisa. Our youngest sister lives in Melbourne with her husband and two young children so this is a perfect opportunity to visit them also.
At this time of year Melbourne has daylight savings which putting it three hours ahead of Perth, which doesn’t. So travelling on the skybus to Melbourne at 6:00am was really 3:00am for us and even though we were tired it didn’t stop us from sitting on the top deck and at the front of the bus for the best views.
Melbourne is waking up to a beautiful day
The skybus dropped us off at Southern Cross station where we switched to a smaller shuttle bus to the hotel. We arrived at the hotel about 7:00am which was way too early for our room to be available though we were able to check in and leave our luggage behind, then tiredly walk out onto Swanston Street and look for somewhere to go for breakfast.
I love Melbourne. I have been here once before, almost four years ago, and back then it didn’t take me long to love this city, its beautiful old buildings, trams, the street art and just the feel of the place. Walking out into Swanston Street early on a Saturday morning and I still love this city.
Our priority was finding somewhere to have coffee and breakfast but there was plenty to see on the way.
The grand Melbourne Town Hall
In our quest to find an open cafe for brekkie, we walked through Chinatown
After breakfast and a spot of shopping for a new camera for Lisa, we took a tram to the State Library further down Swanston Street. Trams are all free if you are travelling within the CBD area but if you plan on a journey that takes you further than that you need to buy a Myki card to pay for your rides.
Some of that great street art, outside the State Library
The State Library is a wonderful old building, and inside is something special.
After a quick look at the library we went to check in for a free walking tour Melbourne which meets at the statue in front of the library at 10:30am. The tour is free though they like you to tip your guide at the end of the tour. Today there must have been close on 100 people who showed up for the tour so we were all split up into three groups as there were three guides.
After a talk about the library we walked down the side of the building and onto Latrobe Street up towards Russell Street.
On the corner of Latrobe and Russell was the old City Court building which kinda reminds me of the Addams Family
Continuing up Russell Street near the corner of Victoria Street we passed the Eight Hours Monument which has the inscription “To commemorate the 8 hours movement initiated in Victoria 1856 erected 1903”
On the opposite corner of Russell and Victoria is the Victorian Trades Hall Council
Another block further up Victoria Street is Drummond Street and this pretty row of houses
Near where we entered the gardens, our guide stopped us be these trees to ask the group why we though the trees in the park had a protective metal sheet around their trunks. The group of about 30 consists of plenty of overseas tourists and someone shouted out the answer of “possums”. “No”, declared our guide. “It’s to stop the drop bears!” And so began an entertaining telling of the legend of drop bears – after which he admitted to them that no, drop bears don’t exist (shhh don’t tell anybody, we love to scare overseas tourists with drop bears). And yes, the metal is to keep the possums off the trees.
We walked deeper into the gardens towards the Royal Exhibition Building
I imagine there are quite a few people who get married or have their wedding photos taken in the gardens
We walked back towards Victoria Street and exited the gardens at the corner of Nicholson Street, then walked past the College of Surgeons Gardens onto Spring Street. We stopped for a few minutes at the historic, heritage listed Princess Theatre where The Book of Mormon is currently playing. This made me very happy as tonight I am coming back here to see the show with my youngest sister “C”.
Across the road from the theatre is Parliament House for the Victorian state government
Then we walked down Bourke Street for a little way and then some laneways
Now we were walking through the Chinatown area
Another thing Melbourne is famous for is its laneways – some for their street art and some others for their cafes
Continuing after a mid-tour break walking through Stevenson Lane
Onto Little Bourke Street to Swanston Street, then to Bourke Street and into Bourke Street Mall, the main shopping district in the CBD.
Entering from the mall, we walked through the historic, gorgeous Royal Arcade to Little Collins Street
Off Little Collins Street we walked through a popular laneway to another arcade
I must have taken a wrong turn in this arcade because when I exited the arcade onto Collins Street I could not see the tour group anywhere. All was good though as the group came out a few minutes later.
We then walked through another wonderful laneway, Centre Place, to Flinders Lane
We walked up Flinders Lane past Swanston Street to Hosier Lane and it’s street art
Rutledge Lane comes off Hosier Lane where we saw some street artists in action
By the time I reached the bottom of Hosier Lane on Flinders Street the rest of the tour group was nowhere to be seen. I called Lisa who was still in Hosier Lane to check if the group was still there, but no – we lost the group and missed the end of the tour. Funny enough, we weren’t the only ones.
We were outside Federation Square and waited for a few more minutes before walking to the corner of Flinders and Russell Streets.
At Federation Square we bought a drink and rested for about 15 minutes as my feet were killing me from all that walking. We knew that the tour was almost finished but it was a shame that we weren’t there to the end and we didn’t get a chance to tip our guide.
We started walking back towards Swanston Street to grab a tram
At the corner of Flinders and Swanston Streets is the famous Flinders Street Station but today it is covered in tarps and scaffolding for maintenance/refurbishment work so you can’t really see how great it normally looks
So here’s one I prepared earlier (about four years earlier)
We caught a tram back to the hotel as our room was now ready for us. We decided to have a nap to catch up on some sleep and so that we wouldn’t be too tired to meet up with C later and of course for The Book of Mormon.
While napping, the weather turned. What started out as a beautiful, warm and sunny day about 30°C turned into lightning, thunder and rain from about 3:00pm for the rest of the afternoon and night. Later when we woke up we went and bought an umbrella before taking a tram to Southern Cross Station to collect C.
Some more Melbourne street art at Swanston and Bourke Streets
Then the three of us took another tram that dropped us near the Princess Theatre. We had dinner at an Italian cafe and pizzeria. Afterwards, Lisa went back to the hotel (she didn’t come with us to the show as she doesn’t like musical theatre) while C and I went to the theatre for what was probably the funniest show I have ever seen.
After the show C headed back home which is about 50km from the city. Tomorrow we will meet C, my niece T and nephew H at Kryal Castle in Ballarat.