Ben and Kirsteen's World Trip 2005/6 travel blog

Central Melbourne including trams

K at the Melbourne Gaol

The view from our hostel

B: We arrived off the train in the dark and the weather was properly cold for the first time on our trip. At the hostel, we upgraded from a dorm to our own private room. The hostel was very hip with funky colours, trendy toilets and a roof-top balcony with views over downtown Melbourne. That night we headed to the Metropolitan pub for a meal which turned out to be very good - it had won pub of the year in 2005.

We found Melbourne quite lacking in must-see sights and must-do activities; it is more of a lifestyle city. I suggested we head out to the Yarra Valley and try more wine as it had been at least a day since we'd done that :-) As it turned out, we enjoyed the numerous shops, bars and cafes and had a easy time.

The day when we set out to see the sights happened to be the same day that all the unions were striking in the city centre. We waited for the free tourist bus which would take us around the city for an hour and it didn't show so we headed off into town on foot. We then waited for the free tourist tram for 30 minutes but it didn't show. Then we thought lets go shopping instead. We wondered around the department stores and tried to remember what it was like to have an income.

K: The first night, as Ben said, we stopped at the local pub that had some amazing food. I was glad I didn't go for the "fat-arsed chook" on the menu as it was massive. We ended up chatting to two guys, one of whom was attempting to eat said dish but failing miserably. (I'm trying to be more sociable because if you avoid dorms and don't make an effort, you only really get to talk with the person your travelling with.) So I was teasing this guy, Jared, about his dinner and he explained he was feeling pretty rough and I presumed he felt a bit crap due to a hangover but no, he felt rotten as he had been at the hospital after being robbed and beaten the night before. I was mortified, poor man - how had I not noticed the bruising? Still, we had a good chat and I managed to extract my foot from my mouth eventually.

Ben wanted to do the Neighbours tour but unfortunately they only had one space left and by the time I had persuaded him to go (as I haven't watched Neighbours for a decade or so) it had been taken, and so that's something to do when we go back. Plus a wee tip, if you go on a Monday there's a special meet the stars trip. Apparently Dr Karl Kennedy has a band and he will serenade you - the mind boggles.

The next day we had a really nice brekky in a lovely cafe and half way into down we were saying how reasonble Melbourne was when we realised its very reasonable if you walk out without paying! Yet again, shameful embarassment to go back and pay but they were delighted to see us back as they hadn't realised either!

We didn't do too much. Wandered about the town and eventually got the free bus tour. We also got to see the prison where Ned Kelly was hanged, which was a bit morbid but interesting nonetheless, although I think he was more of a thug than the lastest Heath Ledger film makes out. We also went to the museum which was really good and had some great exhibits like a giant squid exhibit that ran across 3 floors to let you see the size of the thing. The museum has the largest example of an opalised fossil, an plesiosaur (think the Loch Ness Monster), its not fully intact but its vertebrae were a beautiful shiny blue and green opal - very pretty and unusual.

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