Melbourne was so cold! Apparently it has one of the most unpredictable weather patterns in the world, but we successfully predicted every day we were there to wear a shit load of layers because otherwise we’d freeze. We were staying at a hostel called The Nunnery, we were unsure whether it was a past or current nunnery because our email confirmation was signed ‘The nuns’. When we arrived, we soon realised it most certainly was not a current nunnery and I’m pretty sure any actual nun would be royally offended with the imagery and nun puns throughout the hostel. The hostel was in Fitzroy, an edgy suburb of Melbourne with lots of cafes and street art.
The number one thing to do in Melbourne is eat good food and lounge in cafes, definitely no complaints with that. We went to quite a few cafes, all with great coffee, chilled music and comfy sofas. The Black Cat was my fave because I had an amazing hot chocolate with marshmallows (because I’m an adult) and Dave’s fave was Newton Speciality Coffee for the best coffee he’d had in Australia!
In terms of more cultural things, our first visit was to the Melbourne Museum, right opposite where we were staying. The museum is huge and we probably could have done with allowing ourselves a whole day rather than just the afternoon. They had some really fascinating exhibits, we both really enjoyed their ‘Human mind’ section where they gave a lot of information about the historic to current treatment of mental illness, I don’t think I’ve ever seen much information about mental health in a museum before, really interesting. We also had a look round the dinosaur bones and the evolution section with loads of creepy taxidermy specimens. I think there’s something for everyone in that museum, its quite like the natural history museum in London, worth a visit.
We also did a city walking tour of Melbourne. This was my first ‘company’ walking tour (I’m free tours), free but based on tips, as opposed to just hostel run walking tours. It was definitely the best walking tour I’d done in terms of actual historic information but the delivery was perhaps a bit too cheesy and pantomime-esque for my liking. The tour starts at the State Library and then goes on to the Melbourne jail, infamous for where Ned Kelly was hung. We also visited Parliament Square, China Town, the Royal arcade (posh shopping centre), Carlton Gardens and a myriad of street art lanes (personal fave was children fighting back against a Trump tank – see below). Throughout the tour, the guide pointed out landmarks and buildings and talked about the Melbourne gold rush in the 1850s. The most interesting thing I learnt was that Melbourne was the first place in the world to start (and win) the 8 hour movement (8 hours work, recreation and rest) in 1856. The tour ended near the Arts centre (supposedly shaped like a tutu, but sort of resembles a crap Eiffel Tower) where we got a nice view of the city skyline.
We also visited the Ian Porter Gallery (free), but were perhaps a little underwhelmed after seeing it had glowing reviews. Maybe we weren’t in an art appreciative mindset when we went. We much preferred going to the State library to read about Ned Kelly. They hold the suit of arms he came out in to confront police in 1880. The last totally touristy thing we did was ride the number 35 city tram. Trams run all over Melbourne but this line is circular, has a basic audio guide and is most importantly, free! Most trams look fairly modern apart from the number 35 which reminds me of the American original San Francisco style trams; very quaint!
Melbourne has concluded our 5 weeks in Australia, but join us next time for our trip to Fiji!
Thanks for reading,
Sophie & Dave