A Travellerspoint blog

Melbourne (part 2)

sunny 14 °C

Monday -

Didn't really do a great deal on Monday. Got up late, went for a late lunch/dinner in a place in the Italian area of Melbourne (Lygon Street).

I sent a load of stuff home via sea mail (which takes upto 3 months), so if it turns up Dad/Les, just keep hold of it for time being. Ta.

It was a really busy little coffee shop/eatery (there was a queue for tables by the time I left), selling seriously wicked chocolate mousse and great (decaf) latte's.

In the evening, I went on a 'live' tour of Melbourne Gaol, which is one of the oldest surviving buildings in the City.

A group of you walk onto the floor of the cell block, in total darkness, appart from one candle in the middle of the floor.

Then, some guy dressed in prison clothes from the 1800's come out of a cell and takes you round the prison, with only the candle for light.

There are lots of interesting facts (21 people used to share a cell 12" by 18" during the gold rush), and a few chilling tales.

Finally, he talks you through the execution process, at the exact spot where 400 previous occupants of the prison were hung (including Ned Kelly) before a public audience.

Apparently, after a hanging, they used to decapitate the bodies and take 'deathmasks' of the deceased (god knows why). Anyway, some of these deathmasks are on display in the cells.

Tuesday -

Did some shopping today to prepare for my trip into the outback (insect repellant, sunblock, etc). Also bought a new bag, so I can scuttle the Titanic luggage I set out with.

Went out for a few beers with Steph and an interesting chap from New Zealand, who told us some good stuff about Thailand and Burma.

No 21st birthday party going on this time....

Wednesday -

Went on the free tour around the Victoria Parliament building (Melbourne is the capital of the state of Victoria, for those who don't know).

It was quite interesting, especially for a freebie !

We got to sit in the MP's chairs, and even the Speakers chair. Ahh, the power...

After that, I came to the pub to use the free internet access (which I discovered yesterday).

It's $4/hour for internet access at the hostel.

It's $5 for a schooner of nice Lager in the pub.

If use the internet for 2 hours, and drink 2 schooners, I'm only $2 worse off than using the hostel internet connection ... no brainer really.

I need to get an early night tonight, my tour picks up at 6:30am tommorrow. It lasts 10 days, and involves camping (outdoors, with NO tents). I may not survive. Should the worst happen, James, you can have my TV and the car.

The first couple of days of the tour are along the Victoria coastline, so my mobile may still work. After that, I expect it will be pretty sporadic. Anyhow, I'll update the blog when I can.

Posted by richardn 03:37 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking Comments (2)

4 Days in Melbourne

sunny 16 °C

Sorry for lack of updates in the last few days.

You have to pay for internet access here, and I'm tight.

Here's about 4 days worth of nonsense ...

Thurs -

Didn't really do much today, just ambled around the Queen Victoria Market for a couple of hours.

They sell lots of really great fresh fish/meat/veg/fruit here, so I bought some prawns, some fresh pasta, some tomatoes, etc and did my first bit of 'home cooking'.

I prefer the eating-out option to be honest - less washing up, and pretty much as cheap over here.

Went for a few drinks with a nice Canadian girl called Claudie (that's a guess at the spelling - she pronounced it Klody, but she had a strong French accent).

Anyhow, she was going to be leaving for Darwin the following morning, so I got her number and said I'd give her a call when I got there.

Went to a free comedy night at a local venue, with a couple of the other folks from the hostel. There were about 6 acts on, but the funniest was actually the compere. Still, you can't beat it on value for money terms !

Fri -

Booked myself on a small group tour going from Melbourne to Alice Springs. That leaves on Thursday, so I have to entertain myself here for a couple more days than I expected.

I'll update my blog just before I go, because I'm not sure I'll be able to for the 10 days when I'm on the tour.

You probably won't be able to reach my mobile during the second half of the tour, either.

The tour itself sounds pretty decent. We do the Great Ocean Road (between Melbourne and Adelaide), then up towards Alice, via a few points of interest (Coober Pedy - a mining community where everyone lives underground, the actual centre of Australia, Uluru, and the Olgas).

I've also managed to pick up a free sleeping bag from someone who's just on their way home. Apparently I'll need it during this tour. Oh dear. Anyone know how to use a sleeping bag ?

Something else I've decided to do is to 'rationalise' my luggage.

I'm sending various bits and bobs home via 'slow mail', which will take about 3 months ! It'll get home after I do, probably.

I think I'm going to dump my Death Star sized suitcase, and get something smaller (a hatchback, perhaps).

Maybe I'll be able to sell the suitcase as a small fishing vessel. It's certainly big enough!

Sat -

Got a free ticket to the Aussie Rules Football game at the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) today, through the hostel.

Went with about 25 other folks from the hostel.

It was a good game (local team St Kilda beat no-hopers Richmond 174-71), and the MCG is a pretty nice stadium.

Afterwards, went for a few beers with one of the girls who was out for the footy. A nice lass from Preston called Steph. She's working in Melbourne for the YHA, so she gets a free room at the hostel.

We ended up (accidentaly) crashing someones 21st birthday party in a local pub.

I'm sure there were no 'private party' signs on the door when we went in, but after about an hour, the place was full of people in suits, plus us 2 in jeans.

I think we really twigged when they started handing round the nibbles, sometime later.

No-one seemed to mind too much (I don't think), and we kept getting served, so we just played dumb, and got drunk !

Sun -

Went on a trip to Philip Island to see the 'Penguin Run'.

Every night, 'Little Penguins' (they are only about 10 inches tall) congregate in the surf, and then cross the beach en-masse to reach their burrows in the hills behind.

This all happens just after sunset, so you have to get there about 5:45pm, and wait about 15 mins for the action.

The penguins gather into groups of about 10, and then have a go at crossing the beach. Sometimes they make it, sometimes one chickens out, and they all scurry back into the sea.

Unfortunately, you can't take photos (it's dark, and any flashes would scare the penguins), so you'll have to rely on my description.

Before that, we went to a nature reserve to see wombats (including Molly, who farts when stroked ... bit like me really), koalas and kangaroos.

They're all rescued animals, and are pretty tame (you can hand feed the 'roos).

Good day, overall.

Posted by richardn 20:55 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Off to Melbourne

semi-overcast 12 °C

Hi folks.

Here's what I've been upto in the last couple of days...

Tuesday -

Checked out of my hostel, but they let me leave my stuff there during the day.

My train to Melbourne didnt't leave until 8:30pm, so I had some time to kill.

Decided to go to Bondi beach, and do the walk down to Coogee (it was recommended by the girl who was working on the hostel desk).

Very nice beach at Bondi (as you might expect), but it was also really quiet (even though it was a nice day).

The walk to Coogee was pretty, running along some cliffs, and through a few other bays with nice beaches.

Sat around for acouple of hours on the beach with a (decaf)coffee or two, and wandered back to the hostel to get my stuff.

Train left on time, journey was 11 hours, but didn't get much sleep, and arrived this morning at 8am pretty kn*ckered...

Wednesday -

I'm in a proper YHA hostel, which is a bit too big to be really friendly. Most of the people here are 15 year olds, or 50 year olds. Maybe the crowd will improve during the next few days.

Anyhow, I have managed to get a free ticket to the Aussie rules footy at the Telstra Dome on Saturday, through the hostel. No idea what the rules are, who's playing who, or if it's a big game. Doesn't really matter if it's free, does it ?

Oh yeah, also went up the Rialto Observation Deck, which gives you a good view of the Melbourne skyline. It's definitely less impressive than Sydney from a distance. However, once you get to street level, there are more nice old buildings, and it doesn't feel so 'built-up' as Sydney.

Posted by richardn 04:49 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking Comments (4)

Getting the Hump

overcast 14 °C

Sunday -

Got in at 5am this morning.

That sounds good, but I'm a mere amateur compared to Eve and Gavin, who got back at about 11am !! Heroic stuff...

Took advantage of Phil and Martins whale watching voucher today.

Fortunately it was nice and sunny.

Unfortunately I had virtually no sleep, and a hangover.

Eve decided to come along, which turned out to be a bad idea, as she got pretty seasick.

I had a great time, however. The sea air sorted out my hangover, and we got to see some humpback whales really close up.

They didn't really do anything exiting, just a bit of swimming, diving and blowing spouts.

Monday -

Didn't do much today, just booked my train to Melbourne (tommorrow night) and a few days in a hostel there. Decided to do the other things around Sydney when I come back here at the end of September. Hopefully the weather will be more enticing then.

I think the drinking/jetlag is catching up with me, 'coz I'm really knackered today.

Actually looking forward to spending 11 hours on a train, doing nothing but reading and sleeping!


Posted by richardn 02:57 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking Comments (2)

Catching up ...

sunny 17 °C

Been more busy the last couple of days, so I haven't had time to update the old blog.

Here we go then ...

Thursday night -

Went out on Thur with Reinder (no, not Rudolf, my dutch room mate) and Eva (nice German girl from the hostel).

Our local bar is open until 4am on Thur-Sat, so got rather drunk and rolled in at about 2ish.

Friday -

Hangover. Check.
Raining. Check.

Ho hum, another rainy day. Decided to brave it anyway, and went for a walk around the botanical gardens, and through to the Opera House.

The Opera House is pretty specatucular close-up, I'll upload a couple of photos when I get more time to do it...

Met up with Phil and Martin for a few beers later on in a really nice pub (athough they call them a 'hotel' here) called 'The Orient'.

Said 'cheerio' to the 2 guys, as it was their last night in Sydney. Can't say I envy the 25 hour flight they have in store ...

Phil's got a picture of this lovely moment, so maybe he'll e-mail me a copy so I can post it here...

Anyhow, after all this, came back to Kings Cross, and had a beer or 2 with Gavin, one of the lads from the hostel.

Saturday -

Hangover. Nope.
Raining. Nope.

Yes, you're reading that correctly - NO BL**DY RAIN ! Hurrah.

Celebrated by oversleeping and getting up at 2pm. Damn.

Had nice day though. Got the ferry to Manly, which takes about 30 mins. Gives you a great view of the bridge/Opera House on the way, and lets you see some of the pretty rugged cliffs around the coast here.

Manly was really nice, the beach is totally spotless, although people with food tend to get terrorised by the VERY forward seaguls.

Spend a couple of hours reading / drinking coffee on the beach.

All in all, very relaxing.

Got a few piccies, but I haven't go time to upload them now.

Just got back to the hostel about 1 hour ago, and am off for a few beers (again ... hmmm I detect a pattern) with Eva again.

That should keep you whingers (<cough>Imy) quiet for a bit !


Posted by richardn 04:46 Archived in Australia Tagged backpacking Comments (2)

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