Victorian Splendour

Posted on November 26, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Sorry for the delay! We've been in Australia for over a week now, and have been flush with things to do, but our internet access hasn't been great so it's taking us a while to catch up. When we last left you, we were leaving Singapore to start the next region of our trip – Australasia.

It didn't start hugely promisingly. The flight from Singapore to Melbourne is only about 6 hours, and thus is typically an overnight flight. Given that the flight doesn't leave until 22:30 or so, and they serve you dinner on the flight, and we watched <i>Up</i> on the flight (which is a great film)..we didn't get much sleep.

Rachel had spent a few hours on the day we left Singapore sorting out a problem with the accommodation that we had booked, which eventually worked out reasonably well. The bus from the airport dropped us off at Southern Cross Rail station, and a brief 5 minute walk up the road took us to the hotel. Since the flight had arrived so early, we couldn't check in to our room until noon – a 5 hour wait. Wearily, we walked around the town and stumbled across the first of many amazing things – Melbourne has kick-ass cafes.

That first day we largely walked around the south of the Central Business District (CBD), slept and ate amazing food (another massive plus point for the city). The next day we began our exploration – with this view out of our window (over to the docklands):

At the south of the CBD is Federation (or simply 'Fed') Square, on which stands the Ian Potter Gallery of the Victorian State Art Gallery. There's some amazing Indigenous art inside, and the building itself is fantastic:

On our tram and train journeys through Melbourne, we had seen quite a lot of quality graffiti. After a Spanish tapas dinner, we walked down a side street which had walls *covered* with the stuff. 

We also spent an afternoon in St Kilda, a well known beach side suburb. It's strewn with great bakeries, a quality record shop, a restaurant called Lentil As Anything (where you pay as much as you feel the meal is worth), sandy beaches and flies. Lots and lots of flies. Very pretty though:

On our final day in Melbourne, we went to the Healesville Sanctuary, an institution run by Victorian Zoos which provides open bush habitat for Australian wildlife, and is a center for study and recovery for animals that are affected by natural disasters, or found injured. The sanctuary is organised around a path, that takes you to various areas – Wetlands (for birds), Wallaby zones, Kangaroo and so on (including the echinda below).

Every 30 minutes or so, there is also a show or a 'Meet the Keeper' section, where staff from the Sanctuary will explain the pecularities of particular animals, what problems they face in the wild and will field questions from anyone gathered. The Birds of Prey show was particularly good.

As always, click through to the photos for more on both our streams.

All we can say is, if you're ever in Melbourne, or even in Victoria state, take the time to head to the sanctuary. It's a worthwhile day trip.

That last evening in town, we met up with some of Rachel's family (hello to Christine and Joe!), who took us out for a wonderful meal. The next day, we caught a flight up country to Canberra, the nation's manufactured capital. Our story continues there..

James

Posted via email from dreadpiratesarcas

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