Weekend in Melbourne

After a weekend in Sydney and a few days of work we flew to Melbourne, a new city for me. We spent some time exploring the city and popping in to a bunch of great coffee shops, plenty of hours in meetings and, before I knew it, the work part of our trip was over.

It was almost a relief to say goodbye to the crew – not because they aren’t great (they are) – but because we ate SO MUCH. We ate at some really great places such as Gazi which served Greek street food. Our host treated us to a ten – yes, TEN – course meal there which extravagant and delicious and ended with two desserts which we were all basically far too full to eat. There was probably enough food for 10 or 12, and there were only 7 of us at the table. To celebrate my coworker’s birthday we went to Huxtable for a dinner out. This was a great spot to try a bunch of flavours. The dishes were intended for sharing so we got to try a great variety of tasty dishes. The perfect ending was the beautiful pavlova. Afterwards, we went to The Everleigh for a drink. They had an extensive menu or you could tell them the liquor and flavours you like and they would make you something unique. We loved it! I also checked out Lupino, an Italian bistro for some lovely fresh pasta with beautiful fresh ingredients (conveniently located just down the road from the hotel I was staying at, the Sheraton Melbourne, which was beautiful). Still in my “Missing Mexican” phase, I really enjoyed Guzman y Gomez, Australia’s answer to Chipotle. Last but not least, I tried my first flat white, Australia’s contribution to the coffee world. It’s similar to a latte but with velvety smooth steamed milk. Try one!

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Incredible deconstructed pavlova with rhubarb ice cream at Huxtable.
Zucchini and prawn pasta from Lupino – lovely.
My first flat white!

After saying g’bye (is that a thing?…I don’t know) to my colleagues I decided to check out a new area of town. I stayed at The Oaks South Yarra in the South Yarra neighbourhood which is cool party of town known for its local vibe and good shopping on Chapel Street. Even though there was a fair bit of noise from the adjacent train station I slept well and it was super affordable little spot for a couple of nights, especially since I has already had quite a bit of time in the Central Business District.

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The entry to my little home for a couple nights
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It was nice to have a separate seating area.
My comfy little room.

I spent some time exploring Chapel street and really enjoyed it. There were lots of great shops, both chains and independent retailers. I wasn’t familiar with many of them so it was good browsing.

View down Chapel Street.

To get back to the CBD all I needed to do was hop on the train, which was right next to where I was staying. I took the train from the South Yarra Station to get back to the city centre when I needed to.

South Yarra Station platforms.

Back in the city I did some exploring, wandering through the streets of Melbourne. I also enjoyed poking around the large mall: The Melbourne Emporium.

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The gates to China town. Just a hint regarding authenticity: I live in China and haven’t seen a single red lantern.
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The RMIT Building 22, one of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology campus buildings is a listed heritage site and former Singer sewing machine building. The green addition is know as the “Green Brain”.
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The Royal Exhibition Building, the Melbourne Museum.
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I didn’t realize how many cable lines there were until I looked back at these photos. There is a free tram that runs through the central part of the city.
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Lots of buildings and winter sky.
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I stumbled upon what looked to be a commissioned art wall to celebrate Bond’s 100 Year anniversary.

My hotel was just a couple blocks from the Yarra River, which runs through Melbourne. Still feeling full from all of the aforementioned food and inspired by the SeaWheeze, which some of my friends were running in Vancouver, I decided to go out for a run one morning. It was a great path to jog early in the morning and I enjoyed watching all of the rowers pass by.

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View of the Melbourne CBD along the Yarra River.
At the end of my run I sat down on a bench to enjoy the view for a moment.
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It’s always nice to see a swan…and a black one at that!

I mentioned that I was in Australia eleven years ago to visit my cousin. After a three week trip traveling from Sydney to Cairns, I flew down to Brisbane to stay with her for a few weeks. She lived in a little neighbourhood called St. Lucia near The University of Queensland. She shared the house with four other students who I got to know when I was staying there and I have stayed in touch with two of the girls. It’s mostly on Facebook and Instagram, but when I knew I was coming to Melbourne I got in touch with Hayley to see if she would be around. She came in to the city to meet me and we we had a great afternoon wandering around. I saw lots of areas of the city I hadn’t explored yet.

Melbourne is known for its incredible street art (read more about exact locations here), which Hayley took me to see. These are painted mural (not graffiti) and quite stunning in their creativity and vividness.

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Look at this funny guy with piano keys for teeth!
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Enjoyed watching two artists working on a new piece.
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It was tricky to get a photo with nobody else in it. These alleys were packed with people.
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Another artist touching up his work.
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I also enjoyed the wire filled with hanging shoes in this alley.
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Busy busy alley.
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I liked this painting of an Aboriginal kid high up on the building.
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My favourite part of this one is the singing chicken (?) fish (?) on the left.
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There doesn’t seem to be an inch of wall uncovered on many of these buildings – at least up to ladder height.
Hayley and I cuddle up with Mike from Monsters Inc!

There’s one more adventure from this trip still to come – my day trip on The Great Ocean Road to see the Twelve Apostles and other beautiful sites along the coast. I’ll post the final installment to my time in Australia later this week.

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