Right next door to the Hilton, where I was staying was one of Melbourne’s top sites and the temple for sports-mad Melbournians: the Melbourne Cricket Ground (also known as the MCG or just the “G”). Seating almost 100,000 fans, the G was the site of the first Australian Rules football game in 1858 and the first Test cricket match between Australia and England in 1877. It’s massive and I can only imagine what the atmosphere is like around here on a match day. From the G, I wound my way over to the Yarra River and walked along the water all the way to the Docklands area and Victoria Harbor. Along the way I passed several of Melbourne’s beautiful bridges. The most interesting of which was the Sandridge Bridge. From there, I cut over to the modern steel and glass wonderland that is Federation Square. This is Melbourne’s central meeting place and on a beautiful summer day like today it was overflowing with people. The square is home to the National Gallery of Victoria and the Australian Center for the Moving Image (ACMI) and is the site for regular cultural events and sports telecasts.
Queen Victoria Market
Greeted by glorious fruit, handicraft and busking street opera singers (What a dream) belting out classics like Phantom of the Opera pieces was reinvigorating, especially since we were tired out from the flight there. With the large variety of delicacies and handicraft, Queen Victoria market reminded me of London's Borough market, except that the latter has more upmarket gourmet cuisine. If you want to know, the Market stalls are open everyday, other than Mondays and Wednesdays :) (During the summer months, a night market filled with live entertainment, bars and dining and such can be found on Wednesday evenings) We made a lunch pit stop for cheesy tortellini and smoked chicken sandwiches. Of all choices, my sister had to settle for prata...Asian cuisine is slightly more expensive there so I suggest you settle for local food if you ever visit.
Port Campbell National Park
Campbell Bay National Park is a national park in India, located on the island of Great Nicobar, the largest of the Nicobar Islands in the eastern Indian Ocean some 190 km to the north of Sumatra. It was gazetted as a national park of India in 1992, and forms part of the Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserve. The park has an approximate area of some 426 km², and is separated from the smaller Galathea National Park by a 12-km wide forest buffer zone.
Loch Ard Gorge
We reached 12 Apostles at around 6 pm, the view of limestone stacks formed by erosion was simply breath-taking. Then we went to explore the Lord Ard Gorge beach. We came back to 12 Apostles and went to the beach using Gibson steps. The Apostles looked like monsters from the beach. The beautiful grasslands with Cows grazing looked beautiful at the sunset, we felt as if we have come to a different world. We didn’t feel like leaving the place. Finally we left 12 Apostles at 8:30 pm and reached Melbourne CBD at approximately 11:30 pm.Day 3
Great Ocean Road
Great Ocean RoadThe To and Fro journey accounts for approximately 600 km drive hence we left early morning at around 7 am in our rented car. After driving for nearly 1.5 hours, we touched the Great Ocean Road. This is one of the most spectacular coastal drives in the world. On our way to 12 Apostles, we stopped at Queenscliff beach, Lorne beach, Apollo bay, and Otway fly treetop walk.
Eureka Skydeck 88
On the last day, we decided to head up the Eureka tower aka Skydeck88, a 297.3 metre skyscraper in the Southbank precinct of Melbourne. It's the 10th tallest residential building in the world, and the highest public vantage point in a building in the Southern hemipshere. The view wasn't fantastic, but it did give us a glimpse of the landmarks we have been visiting in the past week.....the outside portion of the viewing platform was freezing though.
Next we went to The Nobbies where we wandered along the boardwalk around the rugged coastline. This place gives you a great view of offshore islands.In the end we went to the world famous Penguin Parade. The little penguins fish in the sea all the day and return to the shore just when it starts to get dark. It’s fun watching them gather at the shore and walk towards their nests. Approximately 900-1000 penguins participated in the parade. One must carry jackets as gets freezing cold at the night. Photography is not allowed as it may disturb the penguins.
Crown Melbourne is the largest casino in Australia and a large entertainment venue featuring nightclubs, restaurants, shopping outlets, hotels, as well as theatre and water shows within easy walking distance. You can start your night or end your night at Crown casino in Melbourne – it is up to you! Gamblers from around the world are welcome to enjoy more than 3.500 pokies. Indeed, you can easily get lost in an endless sea of pokies, hopefully in a good way. Catering to all manner of gamblers from Australia and other countries and meeting their different needs, this casino offers a great selection of gaming options, including a mix of pokie machines, table games and numerous other games across its huge gaming floor. To sum up, it is a great destination for everyone to hang out, have exciting gambling or dancing, enjoy food or theater, and spend a night.
Apollo Bay Fisherman Co-Op Society
We were craving for some fresh seafood and a quick search on tripadvisor brought us to Apollo Bay Fishermen’s Co-op on Breakwater Road. It’s a small shop tucked away from the town area, right beside the harbour. You can choose from a variety of fresh fish over the counter and sit outside by the bay, but beware the lurking seagulls nearby. We both enjoyed the food and ambience :)
Cape Otway Lightstation
The lighthouse was not really worth the 1hr detour since we didn’t want to pay the AU$19.50 entrance fee (we only found out upon arrival). Apparently you can have breathtaking views of the ocean (though not unique) and a historical tour of the area, with some very good kids activities. This is also a good place to spot wild koalas (although nothing beats Kennett River for me :) )
CERES Community Environment Park
I took the 96 tram for a morning’s stroll around the CERES Environmental Park. This is something you won't do if you are not from Melbourne. It is too local to be featured on some quick city guides. i moved along the park's markets, workshops. Even discovered a plant nursery and an outdoor cafe. It is such an amazing atmosphere. If you plan to go to Melbourne, this should feature among your must halts.
Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium
After you leave Melbourne Cricket ground, make your way in the state of Victoria to find yourself at The Melbourne Sea Aquarium. The bedazzling place has been featured in numerous movies and you need to feel the place yourself to understand why. During your time inside the tunnel that guides your way through the real aquatic habitat of Australia, you will actually realize the beauty and diversity of Australia.
Well I wanted to rest in the recluse of nature and serenity and that’s why I chose this particular lodging. It gives the vibe as if we are just staying at our home making it a home away from home. The hosts Pavi and Rita Sarin make the stay extremely comfortable being helpful hosts and cater to our special needs. There is fantastic view of the hills and of the tea plantations. However, for the perfect stay one needs to go at the right season otherwise service might dwindle.
River Crossing Lodge
Our journey in Africa began at Windhoek, Namibia where we stayed at River Crossing, a newly built boutique hotel located in a vast reserve just off the main airport road. After the long flight, we spent the day relaxing by the pool and taking in the incredible view of the African bush. In the evening we explored some of the many museums, galleries and markets that this cosmopolitan little city had to offer.
When in the city one may catch a film or see a band perform but being in the capital of the most sports mad place on earth, you have to go to the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Tell a local you are heading to 'The G' and they will scribble directions for you with a proud wide smile. Whichever season you decide to visit this city you can always catch a game here. Summers are for cricket while winters for Australian football. The supporters are so passionate about their players, umpires and opponents that is hard to not be a part of the screaming-cheering-crazy-loud crowd! The energy here is intense and so infectious!