March 13, 2017

3 Days in Melbourne, Australia

After 6 months, I'm finally getting around to wrapping up my posts about our Australia trip! You can read some of my other posts here. Enjoy!

After cutting our trip to Cairns short and getting on the first flight we could, we left sunny 90-degree Cairns where it still felt like summer and made our way south to Melbourne, arriving in the dead of winter. When our plane landed and we walked out of the airport, there was freezing rain. 

It amazed me just how different the weather was in each of the cities we visited in Australia. In Sydney, it felt like the first nice weekend of spring. In Cairns, it was still summer, and in Melbourne, definitely still winter. It's a lot like traveling from DC to Miami to Portland, Maine during the last week of March - major changes of season!

Before we left for Australia, I reached out to Kristen to get the low down on what we should see and do in Melbourne and she warned me to prepare for "four seasons in one day." I had no idea what that meant, but we were about to learn!

As we did in Sydney, we booked another Air BnB outside the CBD (Central Business District) but still in the middle of everything. We stayed in Collingwood with an English couple who had moved to Australia about six months before. Collingwood was adorable and I immediately fell in love with the neighborhood! There were so many adorable restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and shops! I could have spent the entire time just in our neighborhood!

We landed pretty late and, by the time we got to our Air BnB, it was close to midnight. We had been up since 6 and had spent the day snorkeling on the Great Barrer Reef so we were exhausted!

We woke up well rested and ready to explore our first day in Melbourne! There was an adorable coffee shop called Gontran Cherrier near where we were staying and we stopped in for delicious pastries and coffee. Melbourne is famous for their coffee and the coffee certainly didn't disappoint, although, I was really thrown off every time someone asked me if I took my coffee black or white, which just means with milk.

We knew that the free walking tour we did in Sydney was also offered in Melbourne so we made took a leisurely walk to the CBD to start the tour. The minute we got there, I realized I had forgotten my camera! Luckily, we had The Pilot's tablet but I was so bummed to be taking pictures with that thing instead of my DSLR!

The tour was awesome and so much better than the one we went on in Sydney! Unfortunately, about half way through the tour, we got caught in a torrential downpour. Oh, my goodness, I have never seen rain like this...and I was wearing Toms! Some people left the tour but we stuck it out. When the tour was over, we made our way back to Collingwood (after stopping at a store to buy some dry clothes!) to take hot showers, drink some tea, and try to dry out our shoes!

We were still pretty tired from the day before and the rain didn't help things so we hung around Collingwood for most of the evening, wandering around, exploring the neighborhood before making our way into the CBD for dinner at an awesome Greek restaurant called Stalactite. They actually had stalactites hanging from the ceiling! The food was great and it was a nice homage to our honeymoon in Greece during our 2-year anniversary trip!

Our first day in Melbourne was cold, wet, and miserable, but we fell in love with the city. It was so unbelievably charming, and unlike any city I've ever been to. It had the charm of London and the edginess of New York, with the hospitality of the south. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming and I couldn't wait to explore more of the city!

The next morning, we stopped off for "brekkie" at a place near our Air BnB called Eat a Scroll. We had "cruffins" (croissant muffins) and chai and headed off to explore. The sun was out and it was a lot warmer than the day before. We took the tram to Parliament and wandered around the CBD in and out of bookstores and shops. We got to revisit Hoey Lane and some of the famously graffitied laneways that we rushed through during our rainy tour the day before.

We took a trip to the Queen Victoria Market and bought some souvenirs. My favorite were spices from this cute little spice shop called Gewurzhaus.

From there, we took the tram to St. Kilda, had some lunch, and went in search of the penguins. The views of Melbourne from St. Kilda were unbelievable and I was so happy that we got a warm-ish day compared with the day before!

From St. Kilda, We made our way back to the CBD and paid a visit to the (free) Australian Centre for the Moving Image, which was pretty cool!

We had learned that the Australian Football League playoffs were going on while we were there and The Pilot really wanted to catch a game. The Western Bulldogs, one of Melbourne's teams were playing that night at The Melbourne Cricket Ground, or "The G" for short. The 100,000+ person stadium wasn't completely sold out for the night and The Pilot and I were able to buy tickets for $50 each.

We went back to our apartment to get ready for the game and our hosts were watching the news. They were talking about the match and we learned that the Bulldogs hadn't won the Australian premiership in 62 years, so naturally, we decided to cheer them on! Oh my gosh, I didn't think it was possible to have so much fun watching something that is completely incomprehensible. We had no idea what was going on and the rules were so complicated but the Bulldogs won and it was awesome! They actually went on to win the premiership, ending their 62-year drought! I guess you can call us fans now!

We were flying out late the next day, so we had one more day to explore. The Pilot had to take care of some stuff for work so I headed off for a 4-mile run through Fitzroy Gardens, and around the Olympic Park. It was an absolutely beautiful day!

When I finished my run, The Pilot and I walked down to the CBD and had lunch at a brewery called The Crafty Squire, which I highly recommend. Aside from great beer and good people watching, this was just a cool spot to be in!

We did a flight tasting and then walked down the south Bank along the Yarra. The sun had finally come out and it was a gorgeous day to be out in Melbourne.

We took the tram up to Ligon Street, Melbourne's Little Italy, and stood in line at the highly recommended Pidapipo for some gelato drenched in Nutella from a fountain (OMG). We took a long walk back through Carlton and Fitzroy and then packed up and headed to the airport.

I loved Melbourne. It was so wildly different from what I expected! I definitely didn't feel like we had enough time there. If it hadn't rained our entire first day, I might not have felt that way, but I would have loved to have an extra day in Melbourne. The Pilot and I had plans to fly back to Sydney and then back home the next day. Things didn't quite work out that way as you'll soon learn but I really loved Melbourne and would love to go back in the summertime!

Have you been to Melbourne?
Planning a trip, or know someone who is? Share the love!

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