SPB Around Melbourne

SPB Trip Planning
SPB Qantas First Class to Sydney
SPB Park Hyatt Sydney
SPB Sydney Opera House
SPB Around Sydney
SPB Flying to/from Uluru
SPB Emu Walk Apartments
SPB Uluru and Kata Tjuta
SPB Park Hyatt Melbourne
SPB Around Melbourne
SPB Flying to Fiji
SPB Hilton Fiji
SPB Snorkeling Trip
SPB Fiji Air Business Class to Los Angeles
SPB Hyatt Regency DFW

We weren’t really sure what to expect from Melbourne as its sites are not as famous as, say, Sydney’s Opera House or Harbour Bridge. We did learn there’s a hop-on/hop-off bus and a free trolley system so we grabbed tourist maps from the front desk and walked to the closest stop.

The bus stop was diagonally opposite the Victoria Train Station, which I thought was just a beautiful building. Not wanting to miss our bus we didn’t go inside to explore but I sorta wish we had.

Victoria Station, Melbourne

Victoria Station, Melbourne

The first stop was the MCG, the Melbourne Cricket Ground. We looked around a bit but, not being cricket fans, didn’t take the tour. From the gift shop we were able to look out on to the field where some maintenance was taking place.

The pitch at Melbourne Cricket Ground as viewed from inside the gift shop

The pitch at Melbourne Cricket Ground as viewed from inside the gift shop

As we circled the MCG on the far side was a bridge across a street which led to the Melbourne Park, home of the Australian Open, which is held each January. There are three primary courts: Rod Laver Arena, Hisense Arena and Margaret Court Arena.

Hisense Arena hosts some of the matches of the Australian Open

Hisense Arena hosts some of the matches of the Australian Open

We also saw the outside of the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium (what a name!) aka AAMI Park (for its sponsor), which several rugby teams call home. It’s certainly very distinctive-looking!

AAMI Park

AAMI Park

We hopped back on the bus and our next stop was the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens. As the exhibition was about classic cars, we decided not to drop in but just strolled the grounds and enjoyed the greenery. I like how many small parks and green spaces there were in the parts of town we visited.

The Royal Exhibition Building

The Royal Exhibition Building

Fountain in Carlton Gardens, beside the Royal Exhibition Building

Fountain in Carlton Gardens, beside the Royal Exhibition Building

We walked a little ways to the Old Melbourne Gaol. After learning so much history at Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin, I was hoping to visit but my traveling companions weren’t as keen so we only checked out the gift shop.

This way to the Old Melbourne Gaol

This way to the Old Melbourne Gaol

Our next stop took us to the Victoria Markets. I’m one who is not big on shopping but I have to admit it was kinda fun wandering through all the stalls there. Fresh food, clothing, souvenirs, leather goods – you’ll find all of these and more. Dozens of sheds, each with dozens of stalls. We spent a few hours here just wandering. There are some permanent buildings and we stopped in the food court there for lunch.

Food Stall at Victoria Markets

Food Stall at Victoria Markets

I came away with a carved wooden goanna to sit beside the replica of Gaudi’s lizard that I got in Barcelona.

The next day started a bit strangely as we received a call from the Sunbus shuttle at 8:30 AM stating they had arrived to take us to the airport. Um, our flight was near midnight – they were supposed to pick us up at 8:30 PM, not AM. The bellman apologized and passed the info on to the Sunbus driver.

As we perused our tourist map we saw something marked and decided we just HAD to check it out. I mean, if you saw a point of interest called “Cow in a Tree” what else could you possibly do but check it out?! We hopped on the trolley this time and rode to a point just about as far away from the hotel as it could take us. And soon enough we saw it – a cow in a tree. not a real cow, of course but there it was!

Cow. In A Tree.

Cow. In A Tree.

We walked around the area and found some more shopping and stopped for a cuppa tea but were soon hungry for lunch. There didn’t seem to be many full-fledged restaurants in the area so we hopped back on the trolley to a stop by the Yarra River, which runs right through the city, to a tourist-friendly district with loads of restaurants. On such a gorgeous day there were lots of folks dining al fresco.

There were several interesting sculptures and displays right along the river. I assume the metal ones light up at night.

Metal Designs of People

Metal Designs of People

Metal Design of ... a rabbit? Something with a bass drum?

Metal Design of … a rabbit? Something with a bass drum?

I still have no idea what this is, but it sure is different!

Still have no idea what this is

Still have no idea what this is

This section of the river is also where a number of the rowing crews are headquartered. We passed several barns of male crews and then saw these ladies getting ready to practice.

Women's Crew

Women’s Crew

After checking out several of the menus we ended up dining inside at an Irish pub and followed that up with a stop at the ice cream shop.

We then took the trolley back to the hotel to store our purchases and finish checking out as our flight left later that night. We noticed that our hotel was very close to Fitzroy Gardens, so we walked over. It’s a lovely park and after doing so much walking we enjoyed resting our feet for awhile. We did finally get up and meander through the park, just wandering around and seeing the flowers. There were a couple of historical buildings in the park.

Sinclair’s Cottage was built in 1866 for the caretaker and his family. It is not open to the public.

Sinclair's Cottage

Sinclair’s Cottage

Fitzroy Gardens

Fitzroy Gardens

There’s also Cook’s Cottage, which was moved from Yorkshire, England to this park in 1934. It’s named for Captain James Cook, whose detailed and accurate mapping of the South Pacific were critical to expanding the knowledge of the region. There were re-enactors at this cottage and an opportunity to dress up in period costume. Since that was not really our cup of tea we wandered on to find the cafe where we enjoyed a real cup of tea!

Eventually we went back to our hotel to kill some time before the Sunbus shuttle was to take us to the airport. Based on our earlier interaction with Sunbus we expected them to arrive at 8:30 PM. By 8:45 we’d had no contact from them. One of the bellmen took charge, calling Sunbus to see what was causing the delay. Apparently he got a bit of a runaround but he pushed back and we were eventually told to expect the driver about 9 PM. He was only a few minutes late and I felt bad for him as he was the one who’d come by at 8:30 AM! But he got us to the airport in plenty of time, thank goodness!

Next up, our first flight on Fiji Air.

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