Melbourne is beautiful. There’s so much to see and do – we’ve spent the first 2 days roaming around the city not knowing where we’re heading and not really with anything planned. But we have walked our legs off.
So far we have learnt the following:
- Overcast mornings do not mean that the sun will not appear later in the day and burn you like a lobster on day 1.
- Flipflops are not the optimum choice of footwear for long city walks.
- Possums are nocturnal.
We were surprisingly spritely after our first nights sleep and not suffering from jet lag. We decided to just get out into the city and have a walk around to find our bearings relative to where we are staying. There are lots of parks and gardens near to this end of the centre so we’ve done well with picking our accommodation. We quickly learnt that our favourite buzz word is ‘free’ so have stuck to doing all things that cost nothing. Luckily for us the iconic trams in the central business district are now FREE as of January 1st so we did a lap of the edge of the centre to see what else there is to do and see. We jumped off at the docklands and walked around the harbour. There was a huge colourful dragon still set up for the end of Chinese New Year, we parked ourselves on a grassy mound for a rest and rehydration. This, we have since decided, is where we burnt to a crisp. Such a deep shade of lobster pink. Adam was the first to go, so the focus became on covering his shoulders – unknowingly I was also getting rather red. We continued our tram journey around the other side of the centre and got talking to a lovely lady on the tram who’s from London and spent a lot of time in Melbourne – she had lots of hints and tips for us so we’ve noted them for later!
Fitzroy gardens was our next stop where Captain Cook’s cottage had just closed 15 minutes prior to our arrival so we’d just missed out for the day. We did see a sign not to feed the possums so were intrigued to see them and find out what they actually look like – we’ve only ever heard Dame Edna speak of them. My biggest tourist moment to date happened in Fitzroy park when I approached a staff member to naively ask ‘where are the possums!?’. I was met with a chuckle and an explanation that possums are infact nocturnal and I would not be seeing them until dark – to which I tried to ask more questions about possums to cement my lack of knowledge further by asking if they are ground animals or tree animals – she replied ‘um they are kind of round yes…’. I awkwardly said thank you and just left. I don’t think we’ll be seeing possums any time soon – it’s still on the list of things to do.
Emergency purchases of aftersun were made and a quick trip around the Woolworths supermarket for dinner completed, we headed back to the apartment for rest and cold showers.
3 out of 4 of us are pink, hot and shiny from yesterdays sun. We have layered on the sunscreen in a poor attempt to salvage the skin on our shoulders. I didn’t realise I was quite so bad and also burnt the back of my legs – total rookies. You’d think after all the time we have spent in the sun in America we would learn that the sun burns, apparently not. It’s sunnier today so the flip flops are on and we’ve got a spare layer incase the shoulders are feeling the burn again. We’re heading to the Botanic Gardens (one of the free things the lady on the tram told us about) just a short walk across Fitzroy gardens and past the Cricket grounds and Melbourne Olympic stadium over a bridge and we’d arrived (feet already a little tender). The park was beautiful, lots of people milling around and taking photos of plants and birds. Will’s camera is bigger than me and he’s got a better eye for good shots than me so whenever he gets his camera out I take the same photo in the hope I get some good ones too. I’m not sure if he’s noticed the pattern of us both randomly having our camera’s out at the same time or not, if he has he has been kind enough not to mention it! After the gardens we strolled along the river bank towards the city centre, passed the boat houses where schools were preparing for PE lessons on the river, row boats a plenty! One boat house for each school in the city, different crests and script differentiating each one. It makes you wonder about the lifestyle out here, it’s normal for a 14 year old to be rowing down the river in the centre of a hiving city with the sun beating down. My most exotic PE lesson was probably rounders on a sunny afternoon!
After all the walking we decided to have a cold pint so found a pub that didn’t have extortionate prices, got an array of different Australian lagers to try and find a good one. The pub turned out to be one of the hostels we had looked at online back in Bristol but had decided to avoid because reviews of the noisy pub downstairs kept people awake – very strange being sat in it only a week later! We walked back to the apartment and before we knew it were all asleep by 7pm with no dinner. We slept through until 6:30am the next day and are now starving. Adam is making the most of the free gym and pool in our complex and has been the first and only person to use the facilities at 7am each day. We’re waiting on him to get back so we can start the sausage sandwiches!
We’re hoping today brings painless walking, tanning without burning and some energy for being awake past 8pm.