On the morning of the 25th November, we flew into Melbourne from Singapore via an overnight flight. My first impressions of Melbourne were poor, we needed to get a taxi to the car rental offices so that James and I could pick up the Van that we would be living in for the next three weeks. Two taxi’s refused to take us due to the ‘short fare’ (We couldn’t have walked 4 km with 15KG bags on our backs) and the third taxi driver was threatened with a fine if he refused so he begrudgingly took us, cursing throughout the entire journey and proclaiming the situation ‘Bullshit’- what a charmer!
It took us a couple of hours to sort out the van hire stuff so we were happy to be eventually on our way with ‘Vanessa’. We stopped at an Aldi to do a food shop on our way to our campsite for the evening. I cannot express to your how I excited I was at the prospect of buying fresh food and cooking for myself. I know it sounds a bit sad, but I enjoy cooking and having to eat out almost every night was something I found quite difficult during our 3 months in Asia.
We pulled into our first campsite of this trip which was a ‘Big 4 parks’ located in Coburg. The lady at the desk was lovely and gave us a discount once she saw the type of van that we were driving (which was a Hippie Drift van). It was late afternoon by this point and jet lag hit us both pretty hard so we decided to stay on the campsite, make some burritos and chill out for the evening.
The next morning, we got up and headed to the nearest tram stop so that we could head into Melbourne City Centre. We’d paid for an extra night at the campsite so that we could explore the city without having to move on that evening. One thing to be aware of, should you use the tram systems in Melbourne is that you need to purchase a Myki card before you can board , we didn’t know about this beforehand and had to have a little wander looking for a milk bar that could sell us one. With that sorted, we were on our way and within Melbourne in 25 minutes!
We started off by walking through Hosier Lane. A massively Instagrammed area of Melbourne, it was packed with tourists but pretty to walk through. Of course, yours truly had a few obligatory photos, especially when I found someone’s sketch of Ariel. Melbourne immediately struck me as a bit of a ‘hipster’ city. It’s filled with coffee shops, arty instalments and lots of healthy food stops. It’s gorgeous and I have to admit, I fell a little bit in love with it in a very short amount of time.
We walked along Federation Square where we got some tips on places to visit from the Information Centre. Whenever we felt a bit overwhelmed and unsure where to start, we found the Information Centres to be super useful so I would recommend to anyone visiting Australia.
On the centre’s recommendation, we started walking towards the Queen Victoria Market via the arcades filled with independent shops. These shops were gorgeous and I regret not being able to spend more time exploring them. They are definitely on the list for our next trip! We had a little wander through the markets before finding somewhere for lunch in the food centre. We settled on an independent Indian stall where we both opted for platter combos. Absolutely delicious!
After lunch, we walked through the streets towards the State Library of Victoria. It was a gorgeous building and a nice spot to sit outside to catch our breaths. We decided at this point to head towards the Royal Botanic Gardens. Rather than walking, we jumped on the city centre tramline which is free to use and talks passengers through the historical side of the city. A nice way to learn a bit about Melbourne if you’re short on time!
We got off the tram back at Federation Square as that was the closest stop for us to begin our stroll to the Botanical Gardens. The parks are gorgeous and have lots of fountains dotted around for when you need to quench your thirst in the hot sun. We even found a little theatre pavilion where a troupe performs Shakespeare outside but sadly there wasn’t anything on during our stay in Melbourne. We then found a little ice cream van and had a cone each while we strolled through the grounds and it was bliss. We actually walked further intended and ended up at the Shrine of Remembrance where we arrived just in time to see the flag being lowered and the trumpets being played, signalling the closure of the shrine for the day.
The shrine is quite far out of the city centre so rather than walking back, we took the lazy option and jumped on a tram (which we may as well have since we paid for a day ticket). We had another little mooch around the streets before jumping back on the tram and making our way back to the campsite for the evening. Melbourne is big on being active and we had walked for miles and miles that day. We were both knackered but content with the sheer number of things that we had already seen that day.
Unfortunately, we were on a tight schedule as we were driving up to Brisbane. So one day was all that we could afford to spend in Melbourne. It was absolutely gorgeous though and I will definitely be returning for a much longer time in the near future!