Melbourne! Reviewed. And no, my fabric isn’t here yet.

No, my fabric for my PhD is still not here.  I thought surely it would arrive while I was away in Melbourne for the last 7 days but alas!  It was not to be.  Perhaps next week (like we haven’t heard that one before)?

Once my fabric does arrive, there will probably be little time for blogging (so you may anticipate a gap in posts).  But in the meantime, lets talk about Melbourne!

So, bf and I went for a little jaunt over to our cousin country, Australia for bf’s friend’s wedding.  We decided since we were paying for flights, we might as well make a week long holiday of it.  Haha.  hahahahaha.

We flew with Virgin Blue and Pacific Blue.  These would be the discount airlines of Australasia.  These airlines have a false sense of economy:

  1. We had to pay a $25 airport fee before we even departed.  WTF?  Isn’t that usually included in the price of the ticket?  Apparently not.
  2. You don’t even get a free water, coffee or tea on your flight.  Entertainment?  Ha.  Hahahaha.
  3. Our Melbourne flight departed at 6am, meaning we were at the airport at 5 am, meaning we left the hostel at 4:30 am meaning I woke up at 3:50 am…  ugh!  And we paid $70AUD to get a taxi to the airport because we couldn’t really be bothered trying to catch the night air bus at like 4 am.
  4. And we only had carry-ons.  No luggage because that would have cost extra, of course!

Our flights were not terrible or anything, but next time, I’ll just fly Air NZ and make sure my flights are on sale.

Did I mention the AUD is higher than the USD at the moment?  Yep.  We pretty much sucked it big time with the exchange rate (1NZD bought about .79 or .80 Australian – in other words, add about 25% to everything).  Our hostel (Claremont Guesthouse) was $70AUD per night for the room (which equates about $50NZD per person, per night.  yikes!).  But it was a pretty nice hostel – we had a private room with linens supplied (yay!  considering we only had carry-ons), and breakfast included (okay, basic toast and cereal, but still.  It filled a void).  They even had hairdryers you could borrow for free (again – yay!).  I was pleased my days of hostel researching paid off (thank you, hostelworld.com) because apparently there are some really scuzzy hostels in Melbourne.  Oh, and the location was good as well – it wasn’t in the CBD, but in South Yarra which was obviously a hip and upscale neighborhood (I likened it to Uptown).  We were right by Chapel street which had awesome shops and restaurants, and the trams stopped just outside, along with the train station (if you’re so inclined).

Since we had been to Melbourne before (back in 2009, yo!) there were quite a few things we had already done.  However, because of the exchange rate and general lack of funds, there were quite a few things I wish we had done this time, but didn’t.  Including:

  • Puffing Billy steam train
  • Healesville Sanctuary

However, here are my recommended picks for things I would do again (and recommend to others!) from this trip.

Chapel Street

As I mentioned above, lots of cool shops, restaurants (Cafe Greco – we didn’t eat dessert there but now I wish we had!  I didn’t know their cakes were so amazing.  Next time for sure though!) and bars, etc.  A few standouts that we didn’t go to but I would have liked to were Mad Mex, The Pancake Parlour, Borsch Vodka & Tears, and the Soda Rock Diner.  Summary – Chapel Street:  A general Hub of hip activity.

Kinki Gerlinki

This store is awesome (I shopped at the newest location, 191 Carlisle Street in Balaclava).  I came across their website before I went to Melbourne – but the website doesn’t do the store justice.  Not at all.  Retro and vintage inspired, bright colours…  Vintage.  Retro.  Bright colours….  Yes, I’m salivating.  Yes, I bought stuff here.  Nice quality too, helpful friendly staff.  I.  Heart.  This.  Store.

Antons

Another store which was awesome, and sold both Men’s and Women’ stuff.  This was located in Melbourne Central and was full of 1920s vintage and gangster style – jackets, ties, the most amazing collection of printed suspenders I have ever seen…  Seriously, this was such a cool store.  I wish they had a website.

Queen Victoria Markets

Food.  Food and more food.  I wish I lived in Melbourne.  I would be buying sausages and cheese and tasty desserts and fresh fruit and ohmigod I’d be so fat, but I think it would be worth it.

Tram on Chapel Street

The Trams

This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the trams.  Easy to use (tourist friendly!).  Awesome.  We bought a weekly pass and rode them all the time (a great way to see the city!).  Why can’t there be public transport like this everywhere?

Melbourne city (in general)

Melbourne has to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world.  The historic buildings.  The art and sculptures every 100 metres.  The parks!  Honestly, the amount of money spent on keeping Melbourne Central beautiful, artistic and visually stimulating at every step is mindboggling…  If only every city with that many historic buildings invested so much effort into the upkeep (hint hint Dunedin city council!)!

Lygon Street

This was the only repeat activity from our last trip.  Lygon Street is just too good to miss.  We only got a free bottle of wine and a garlic bread this time, but still, the food was amazing as usual and it’s fun to watch the person on the street (not sure exactly what they are called?  Host?  Business/traffic driver?) lure people into the restaurant with promises of the best food, best deals and free drinks.  I had kangaroo again, and it was delish.

*  *  *

Well, that’s Melbourne in a wrap.  It was a great trip, but next time I’d either go for fewer days, or bring more money (foru future reference, Melbourne is not a budget holiday – there is too much shopping and eating!  So many shops, so little money).  I did enjoy packing for a week in just a carry-on.  I still managed to have more than I probably needed though (I wore almost everything I brought with me).  3 books (one of which was 672 pages) was just enough books to get me through the week (I didn’t even read on the trams or during other ‘down’ times – of which there were many – fyi!).  I definitely wish I had a kindle, especially as the random guy next to me on the flight home commented sarcastically that my book Dawn on a Distant Shore looked like “heavy reading”.  I was not impressed.  Maybe I am too private of a person (e.g.  It really irritates me when people read over my shoulder at the computer)?  Just leave me alone with my trashy books already!

Okay, hope you enjoyed that sum up of the highlights of Melbourne!

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