Watch out for my next post about the next city we visited.
Today, we had plenty of free time on our hands and decided to explore more of Melbourne city. Unlike the other days when we had to wake up really early for the day trips, we were a bit more relaxed today.
A 5 minute walk from our hotel got us to us very first spot - Queen Victoria Market. This century old market sells food, clothing and other stuff all under one roof. There have a dedicated meat and fish area too. On the day we visited, they told us that not every shop would be open. However, we still got to see a lot. I can only imagine how it would have been on a normal day.
We had a lovely breakfast at the food court here. So much more cheaper than having it in at our hotel.
After exploring the market, we headed to the Central Station to catch a train to Brighton Beach. On our way, I saw this fancy staircase and just had to take a picture!
It was a 40 minute journey to Brighton Beach and it involved changing a couple of trains. We purchased a Myki card which could be topped up and used for our train and metro journey. Once we reached Brighton, we walked for about 20 minutes to reach the beach. It was very cold, but thankfully it didn't rain. While walking towards the beach, I couldn't help but notice how peaceful this area was. There were these luxurious villas all facing the sea. Wow, imagine waking up to a view of the sea every single day. There were hardly people walking around.
After a walk that never seemed to end, we finally reached Brighton Beach. Not your typical sunny day kinda beach, with people basking in the sun ...but beautiful nevertheless. And there they were .... those colouful Brighton bathing boxes standing in a row.
We then walked all the way back to the station, hopped on the train and reached Central Station. Our next stop was Flinders Street Station and St Paul's Cathedral. A free tram took us there. We didn't enter Flinders Street Station. It looked amazing from the outside with a dome shaped entrance and a row of clocks hanging from the top. This station is supposedly more than a 100 years old.
St. Paul's Cathedral was just a short walk away. It looked magnificent from the outside (very Gothic) and I had some trouble fitting the entire thing into my camera. The church is free to enter. The interior of the church was simple, nothing very fancy. Very peaceful though!
Now that we were done with all the attractions, there was one last place to visit - Lindt Chocolate Cafe. We took the tram and headed there. If you are a chocolate lover, this is one place you dont wanna miss. We had some of the most amazing desserts here. Click here for my review.
By the time we were done with Lindt, it was already sunset. Next morning was our flight to Adelaide. We strolled around for a bit and headed to the hotel for an early dinner. We didn't intend on having dinner at our hotel but I'm glad we did. HQ's On William (a restaurant in our hotel) is definitely a place worth trying out. I had the biggest steak in my life (900 grams) not to mention an array of delicious cocktails! Read my review about them here.
Then we went off to bed!
Watch out for my next post about the next city we visited.
Today, we were booked in for a day tour which included Puffing Billy and Healesville Sanctuary. We booked this tour in Dhabi itself. A big bus came to pick us up really early in the morning and we were well on our way. Surprisingly, it wasn't raining like the previous day but it sure looked gloomy.
We drove far, far away through the beautiful Dandenong Ranges until we reached our first stop which was a restaurant known as Grants on Sherbrooke. Here, we had an Aussie Billy Tea and some yummy Lamington cake. For those of you who don't know, Lamington is coconut kinda cake that originated in Australia. Do not leave Australia without trying out this cake. This was included in our tour.
However, none of us had breakfast that morning and decided to have it here. I loved this restaurant because it was in the middle of a jungle. Next to it were a lot of birds flying around. Feeding the birds were part of our tour too, that's when it started raining like crazy. So, we sat inside just enjoying the weather and the surroundings. My review of the restaurant can be found here.
After an hour of so, we hopped on the bus again and headed to Belgrave railway station. It was at this station where we caught "Puffing Billy". Puffing Billy is not your modern day luxury train. Its a century old, steam train and puffs with that smoke and all. Hence the name Puffing Billy.
Inside the train, its all woody. The best part about this train ride was that we could keep our legs out of the window the whole while as it passed through the ranges. It was a beautiful ride and thankfully it didn't rain! We reached Menzies Creek in an hour or so where we had to disembark.
Our big bus, which was there waiting for us picked us up here and we were on our way to the next place which was Healesville Sanctuary. Healesville was the first wildlife sanctuary we visited while we were in Australia. The moment we entered inside we headed straight to a restaurant for lunch.
After that we had a choice of a guided tour of the zoo or exploring it ourselves. We chose the guided tour. The last thing we wanted to do was go around in circles. At he zoo, we had an opportunity to interact with native Australian animals such as kangaroos, koalas, emus as well as other animals. We witnessed a beautiful bird show called "Spirits of the Sky". They even have a mini wildlife hospital in there.
By the time we reached the city, it was already 5pm. Instead of heading back to the hotel we asked our driver to drop us somewhere near Chinatown where we saw this funky looking bar called Touche Hombre. Oh boy, the drinks they whipped up for us were amazing. This bar is definitely a must visit when you're in Melbourne. Make sure you have their "chicken jug". For more pictures and my review about them, click here. Dinner that night was at a nearby mall's food court.
Well, it was supposed to be 16 days (the first day being in Sydney) if Qantas hadn't ruined it for us. But that's a totally different story which I don't even wanna remember. Let me give you a hint though ... peak season? overbooking? yeah something like that.
So here we were in Melbourne ... cold cold Melbourne. We visited Australia in July, which is actually winter for them. We chose to stay at Radisson on Flagstaff Gardens as it was closer to the Central Station as well as it had some trams passing nearby. The plan that day was to visit Sovereign Hill ... which was 1.5 hours by train. There are other options too like a bus or car, but they are expensive. You can simply imagine how tired we were. We reached Melbourne after 17 hours (14 hours to Sydney + 1 hour from Sydney to Melbourne + some time at the airport ) and here we were travelling again. Not to mention running behind Qantas in Dubai for a day struggling to get on any flight to Australia! Okay, this was more like 17 + 24 hours! Anyway, when you're on a holiday, every minute is precious. We booked our tickets to Sovereign Hill while we were in Abu Dhabi itself. All we had to do now was just hop on a train!
The reason we chose to visit Sovereign Hill that day and not the next or after was because they had a "Christmas in July" thingy going on which was supposedly gonna end the day we reached. I really wanted to see it. When we reached the city of Ballarat ( the place where Sovereign Hill was located), we took a cab to reach Sovereign Hill. Gosh, it was just so cold, and gloomy that day. It just wouldn't stop raining!
Sovereign Hill is one of Melbourne's popular attractions. Its where Australia's history comes to life. You'll be transported to the 1850s ... an era of horse driven carriages, streets filled with costumed characters, steam driven machines .... an era when gold was discovered. Everything there was built based on that.
We visited a Gold Museum too (this was part of Sovereign Hill ) and saw some gold artifacts, coins ..basically everything associated with the gold rush. And about that "Christmas in July" thing - you always associate Christmas with winter. Since it was winter in Melbourne, they turned Sovereign Hill into a winter wonderful. There was Santa Claus, Christmas tree, mulled wine, snow, etc. Although Sovereign Hill didn't look like anything what we'd seen in the pictures ( because of the rain and all), we still had fun.
I remember having a lovely roast beef sandwich at one of the restaurants and lots of mulled wine.
We left Sovereign Hill around 4pm and reached the city centre at 6pm. All that travelling and walking had made us hungry. After hunting around for a place to eat, we finally found this Malaysian restaurant called Mamak. Oh my, those yummy curries and spicy noodles were just what we needed. Here are some of the things we had. For more pictures & my review, click here.
As if that wasn't enough, we thought we'd hit an ice cream place! Yes ice cream in a 4 degree freezing Melbourne. But N2 extreme was on my "TO-DO" list and we were lucky that it was just near our hotel. These were no ordinary ice creams! And those injections were WOW!! Click here to read my review about them.
Then, we headed back to the hotel and called it a day.
P.S. All my Aussie restaurant reviews can be found on Zomato.
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