Melbourne + food + friends + music = Happy times!

Trip Start Feb 06, 2011
1
9
44
Trip End Sep 15, 2011


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Flag of Australia  , Victoria,
Monday, March 14, 2011

After working on my Kiwi lingo for the last few weeks, it was officially time to brush up on my Aussie slang!  I flew into Melbourne on Thursday morning to meet up with Cynth (she was flying in from Sydney).  It was definitely good to see a familiar face after a solid month of constantly introducing my name and where I came from to other random backpackers.  To top it off, this would be my first night in a HOTEL.  I was excited!  We made our way into the city centre and dropped our bags off at our accomodations before trolling around for some much needed food.  I was warned by ALL the backpackers that Australia was expensive.  Yep, they weren't lying!  I spent more $$$ on brunch in Melbourne than what I was spending for all 3 meals in New Zealand.  We made our way to Queen Victoria Market, one of Melbourne's most popular destinations to buy local produce and tacky souvenirs.  We were both in shock when we saw the prices of everything from bananas ($3.60/lb) to apples ($2.30/lb) to red peppers ($2.70 EACH).  After getting my first taste of Asian food in Wellington, I was really craving Chinese food.  Given the huge Asian population in Melbourne, I thought it was fairly safe to give it a go.  We went to the Chinatown area for some claypot rice (bo jai fahn) and Chinese herbal soup for dinner.  It wasn't very good but at least palatable.  Decent Chinese food may have to wait until Sydney!

We had another full day of "sightseeing" the next day.  We utilized Urbanspoon to find this AMAZING brunch spot (Galleon Cafe) in St. Kilda and then proceeded to lie on the beach to rejuvenate my tan.  We made our way to South Melbourne market and snacked on half a dozen Coffinbay and Tasmanian raw oysters (only $5.50!) and freshly made cinnamon doughnuts before splurging on a 7-11 Slurpee ($3.20... I know they cost like $0.79 in Canada!).  Later that evening, we enjoyed a pasta dinner in Melbourne's Little Italy with some friends whom I had met earlier in Fiji.  It took us about 45 minutes to pick a spot to eat because the restaurant owners were trying to solicit potential customers by offering all sorts of freebies including bruschetta, free bottles of wine, and even 25% off the entire food bill.  I had never been harassed so much in my life before but it made for good entertainment!  We couldn't NOT have gelato for dessert so I'm guessing we consumed at least 3000 calories each that day :)   After a long flight delay, our favourite Aussie sisters finally arrived in Melbourne and we spent the rest of the evening/morning catching up on ALL the gossip!

Australia is all about the brunch so the next morning, we hit up one of the many hidden alleys  in the CBD and found Hardware Societe.  Their specialty dish is the baked eggs which doesn't sound too fancy but let me asssure you, it is a party in your mouth.  We also had iced coffees and it's definitely not what you expect.  There's a scoop of ice cream in it and it is delicious!

 We checked out Moomba, Melbourne's largest outdoor city festival later in the afternoon but the highlight of the day was the Belle & Sebastian gig @ The Forum, an awesome live music venue with capacity for 1500.  If you haven't heard of B & S, you must give them a listen.  This band from Glasgow has been together for the past 15 years and every album they've released is pure gold!  We got a "bit" lost walking back to the service apartment but we managed to spot about 12 possums happily munching on some acorns in the local park. We almost witnessed some possum sex but the female was clearly not interested.

The Aussies rented a car for the weekend, so after yet another brunch, we made the 90 min drive down south to Philip Island to visit the koala conservation centre (they're extremely cute!) and the penguin parade.  The fairy penguins on this island are the smallest species in the world and stand only 30cm tall.  At about 8pm, the penguins return from the ocean and scurry across the beach to their burrows.  It's not quite a parade but still a sight to see!  Unfortunately, one of them didn't make it as we saw a seal catch one for dinner :(

We spent our last day in Melbourne touring the Yarra Valley, one of the many wine regions in Australia.  Many of the winery restaurants were fully booked since it was the long weekend but we managed to score a table for lunch at TarraWarra Estates.  Lunch was tasty but it still doesn't top Quails Gate's Old Vines restaurant in the Okanagan.  Off to the airport to catch a flight to Canberra where we're staying for the next few days on our friends' 20 acre hobby farm property!

 If you haven't noticed, I've been eating a lot since arriving in Australia.  Don't be afraid to comment on the pictures if you no longer recognize me.  I won't be offended :)
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Comments

Lisa on

"Loose SEAL"!!!!

Highlight of the Melbourne trip - aside from meeting up with you lovely CanAHdans...

(1) Belle and Sebastian
(2) Seeing your faces when we stumbled across the exciting Melbourne nightlife aka possums
(3) Seeing a penguin being taken for dinner by a hungry, hungry loose-seal (think Arrested Development people).

And Mrs Lo - we love your girls to bits! We had such a wonderful time seeing them again!

stellaaaaaaa on

Love the blog and thoroughly enjoyed reading the journal of all your adventures. The pictures look amazing and you as ever look so happy.
Wish I was there too.
Stella.

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