Setting foot in Australia was a bit surreal – really really really far from home in a place we’d wanted to visit for quite a while. Melbourne was a great introduction to the country. It’s an easy city to love.
We stayed in the Central Business District, or CBD. There’s free tram transportation in the neighborhood which is really nice. We were close to the Yarra River where we could take long walks. And we had great views of the city. We watched sunset every day.
Parks and Museums
On the South side of the Yarra, across the St. Kilda Road Bridge, are a large park and a few museums. We had a nice stroll through the Queen Victoria Gardens and went to the National Gallery of Victoria (which is free!). There is definitely more to see and explore in the area including the Botanic Gardens.
The biggest open-air market in not just Melbourne, but the whole Southern Hemisphere, is Queen Victoria Market. It’s a massive place with rows of sellers of all kinds. Vegetables, flowers, chickens, electronics, clothes, everything! There’s also a great electronics store there, Victoria Market Communications, where bought a SIM card. The owner was incredibly helpful.
St. Kinda is a neighborhood in Melbourne that’s right on the beach. We went one night for dinner and to see penguins! We enjoyed a Japanese dinner at Ichi Ni. It was an izakaya-style restaurant with small plates and delicious sushi.
After dinner, we walked down to the breakwater, which was very windy, to see a colony of Fairy penguins. You can only see the penguins at night and it’s really dark and sort of hard to see, but it was a really cool thing to see the tiny little penguins in and among the rocks.
First LAM meet-up in Australia
Sarah was overjoyed to be able to see her friend Gill, who she met in Edinburgh, in Melbourne, and to meet Heather, one of the founders of LAM Australia. They gave Sarah an introduction to Australian coffee culture at a really cool spot, Manchester Press. You can read more about our time together here. There’s a pretty big LAM community in Melbourne, and we’d love to return one to to meet more people and explore this great city further.