Australia: Melbourne

IMG_1008A spur of the moment trip to Melbourne was the perfect way to spend my husband’s birthday. We had been talking about going to Australia for months, but it wasn’t until Friday afternoon that the deal was sealed: 40 hours across the Tasman!

With limited time we each had only one objective. Allen wanted to peruse Queen Victoria Market and I wished to spend time with a friend I made last time I was in Oz, over 6 years ago.

We used Melbourne’s 2-hour time difference to our advantage. Rising early to a chilly autumn day, the stalls were still being set up when we arrived at the market. We warmed up with coffee nearby and returned to check out the plethora of food on offer. I would have happily filled my luggage with an assortment of cured meats, cheese, bagels, and vegetables if New Zealand did not have strict bio-security regulations.

After that, we shopped until meeting my friend in Federation Square. She gave us a walking tour that included the sports complex with bronze busts of tennis players and the plaque commemorating the 1956s Olympics. Next, she took us through the city’s intricate laneways, pointing out street art and recommending tea houses that we would have overlooked.

Aboriginal Boy
Aboriginal Boy

We said goodbye and walked over the Yarra River eager to rest our legs at Hophaus, a bier garden on Southbank. Then we went in search of local beer Mountain Goat and finally found it, and other local craft brews, on tap at Cookie!

Our brief time in Melbourne came to a close Sunday morning. We returned to Southern Cross Station to catch the efficiently operated SkyBus. During the 20-minute journey to the airport we made a list of things we would have done with more time: Immigration Museum, National Gallery of Victoria, Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Italian food in Carlton, ride the tram, high tea at Hopetoun, get outside the city centre; hot chocolate at the Lindt cafe. Until next time…

Dates: 12-14 June 2015
Travel with: Allen
Weather: chilly; low 40s at night, sunny Saturday reached the 60s; should have brought gloves
Accommodation: private room at YHA Melbourne Central was awesome for exploring CBD, Southbank, & Federation Square


  • Queen Victoria Market;
  • Crown Casino fire display;
  • National Tennis Centre;
  • Olympic Park – Queeva excitedly pointed out the plaque memorializing Ireland’s 1st Olympic gold by R. Delaney;
  • Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral;
  • exploring hidden laneways;
  • shopping: Melbourne Central, Spencer Street Outlets; Bourke Street (H&M, Meyer)
braised pork belly gua baos, Wonderbao
braised pork belly gua baos, Wonderbao

Food & Drinks:

  • kebab shop near hostel;
  • Queen Victoria Market: cured meats, cheese, fruit;
  • Wonderbao – Asian buns (!!);
  • Coffea Coffee;
  • Hophaus beer garden;
  • Cookie for local beer including tasty Fancy Pants Amber Ale by Mountain Goat;
  • the Quarter;
  • Grasshopper’s Feast

Transportation: Nonstop flights on Air NZ from AKL to MEL; SkyBus to city; plenty of walking

Next time: See above for activities. For dining, Cezar (Armenian), Bomba (Spanish tapas), Movida (Spanish tapas), Red Spice Road (Asian fusion); Ca de Vin (pizza); Degraves Street eateries