After a red-eye flight from Perth, I arrived to the last city of my visit to Australia, Melbourne. From the Melbourne Airport, I took a a ride on the Skybus to Southern Cross Station, and since it was an early morning arrival, it was going to be a while before the Airbnb house I was staying at for the next few days would be ready for check in. So I I was happy to find that Southern Cross Station had pay showers and luggage lockers that could take advantage of so that I didn't have to wait until I could check into the Airbnb. If I remember correctly, the shower was about $8-$10 AUD, which was well worth it after the red-eye to feel freshened up before wandering around Melbourne. Having the luggage lockers was also of great benefit so that I didn't have to haul my bags everywhere with me.
Something else that I truly appreciate about Melbourne is their trolleys. They have them all over the city, and in the Central Business District, they have a fare-free zone, so that you can ride them for no additional cost! This would be incredibly helpful for exploring the city as you could cover a lot of distance without spending a lot of extra cash while saving energy going from place to place.
The first part of Melbourne that I explored after arrival was on the East side of the city, near the Victoria Parliament building (which I would come back for a tour of at a later time). In this area of Melbourne, there were several plazas with fountains, statues and sculptures that help to tell the story and history of Australia and the state of Victoria.
Just a little further was a beautiful building, St. Patrick's Cathedral, a gorgeous building resembling the large cathedrals of Europe.
I then made my way to the central part of Melbourne's Central Business District and into the core shopping area. One of the main department stores here called Myer had special Christmas window displays that when you followed down the row, it would tell a story. It seems that they go with a different theme or story each year, and for this year, it followed the story of a family who would make a special Christmas visit to Melbourne's Luna Park, with some of the windows featuring replicas of the rides you can enjoy at the park.
It was at this point that my friend Aaron, a resident of Melbourne, arrived and gave me a bit of a tour around Melbourne. We started by going to the Western end of the Central Business District to and area known as the Docklands where you could find a harbour that was also the home to Etihad Stadium and the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel.
We then went for a walk along the Yarra river that goes through the Southern portion of Melbourne's Central Business District. In many ways, this area reminded me of the Chicago River as it passed through the City of Chicago with the sky scrapers right along side the river. The Yarra had some excellent walkways along side of it, as well as multiple bridges for crossing it, making for a very pleasant stroll.
Aaron and I then made our way over towards the main stadium district of Melbourne where many of their large events take place, including the annual Australian Open tennis tournament. Other sports including soccer, rugby and cricket can be enjoyed at one of the venues in this area.
A day later, I came back to do more exploring of Melbourne, returning to the area along the Yarra River, and this time found several different street performers, ranging from musicians, acrobats and living statues. To me, street performers truly add to the atmosphere of a place with their performances.
Just on the North side of the Yarra is St. Paul's Cathedral. It is slightly shorter than St. Patrick's, around 30-40 years newer and doesn't quite stand alone that way St. Patrick's does since it is right in the heart of the CBD, but it too is an absolutely gorgeous building.
On the opposite corner is the Flinders Street Railway Station. Inside of the station, I found a shop that was selling "Spanish Doughnuts", which appeared to be either filled or dipped churros. I decided to Cookies and Creme variety, and it was delicious!
Just a couple blocks to the East, you can visit Hosier Lane for some incredible street art. Graffiti had become really popular in Melbourne in the 1970's and 1980's, and started to appear in several areas. The state of Victoria has used it as a backdrop for their tourism campaigns, and others have used it as a backdrop for fashion and wedding photography. Many of the murals may cover a variety of subjects, including current events and politics. And from what I am aware of, it changes from time to time as artists will create new pieces to replace their older works, so it may not always be the same.
Melbourne is an excellent city for taking a stroll or enjoying a ride on the trolleys.
Up next, we head out to St. Kilda for a visit to the local area, including Melbourne's historic Luna Park!
See more of 2016 New Zealand & Australia Trip:
1: Arriving in New Zealand / 2: Walk to Mission Bay / 3 : Mount Eden / 4: Rainbow's End / 5: Arrival in Sydney /
6: Mrs. Macquarie's Point / 7: Sydney's Luna Park / 8: Sydney Habour Bridge & Rocks Tour /
9: Bondi Beach & Darling Harbour / 10: Walking Through Cairns / 11: Green Island & The Great Barrier Reef /
12: Warner Bros. Movie World / 13: Australia Zoo / 14: Aussie World / 15: Sea World & Wet'n'Wild / 16: Alice Springs /
17: Kings Park & Indian Ocean / 18: Fremantle / 19: Perth CBD & Elizabeth Quay / 20: Adventure World /
21: Walking Through Melbourne / 22: Luna Park Melbourne & St. Kilda / 23: Victoria Parliament / 24: Back to Auckland