Archive for the ‘Melbourne’ Category

Melbourne–Wildlife

October 6, 2015

I know, I know, still catching up on Melbourne blogs before we get back to some semblance of a “normal” routine. 

So just a quick update of some of the wildlife encountered on our recent trip.  First there was the Koalas nonchalantly sitting up a tree…and no, they weren’t   K..I..S..S..I..N..G as the old school ground taunt goes.  These Koalas were in some trees in a layby just off the road on our way to they Great Ocean Road, most of them were sleeping but I did manage to capture this one having a scratch.

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Our next encounter was with birds, of all shapes sizes and colours

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These colourful natives were all found in laybys on the side of the main road and fed out of our hand with the food that our guide supplied.

On our walk into the Otway forest, we came across another native, this time a snail, completely black and also carnivorous19This is a picture off the information board, however we did find one along our walk but I forgot to photograph it.

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Melbourne – architecture

September 25, 2015

 

Their is a planning rule in Melbourne that states that no new build (Office or apartment) in the greater Melbourne area can be built the same colour, shape or clad in the same material as any other.  This makes for very interesting and varied architecture with old mixing in with new seamlessly.

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The above building is an optical illusion giving the impression that all the floors are on different angles, which is very effective.

28Colourful building in the Docklands. 

29Flinders Station building with the Eureka building in the background

604D632D-8F0A-4424-9266-BA971C7CC2C1This what you do with an old shot tower, enclose it under a dome and build a shopping mall around the base.

73676A89-013A-4B9C-BE36-29CA6A986A8DNational Art Gallery which had an exhibition of the Masterpieces from the Hermitage.  As we had previously had a fabulous tour of the Hermitage (see here), we spent time at the other excellent exhibitions.

169048F5-12E0-4E67-A18C-F890B4C5C065Parliament buildings

539068E9-4726-4694-AA0F-E43D8B460F88Performance centre next to the Art Gallery, this is supposed to represent a ballerina’s tutu?!

633683A8-C72A-401A-9A02-45585027F035Etihad Stadium and buildings in the Docklands area

3040188E-5C2B-4162-85C1-CA9666263390This black and white building looks like it has a face when seen from afar

C63A0750-CCEF-478C-959F-D8B182160519the famous Melbourne Cricket Ground or MCG or “the G” as locals call it.  Used not only for cricket but also AFL (Australian Rules Football), with seating for around 100,000 people.

EA2709C0-ACC0-4625-A4BC-51F9082A91EFEureka Tower

Eureka Tower is named after the Eureka stockade, a rebellion during the Victorian gold rush in 1854. This has been incorporated into the design, with the building’s gold crown representing the gold rush and a red stripe representing the blood spilt during the revolt. The blue glass cladding that covers most of the building represents the blue background of the stockade’s flag and the white lines also represent the Eureka Stockade flag. The white horizontal stripes also represent markings on a surveyors pole. 

When measured either by the height of its roof, or by the height of its highest habitable floor, Eureka Tower was the tallest residential building in the world when completed in 2006. It is also currently the building with the most floors available for residential occupancy in the world. The building stands 297 metres in height, with 91 storeys above ground plus one basement level. 

There is an observation deck on the 88th floor with a glass cube called The Edge a glass cube which projects 3m out from the building with visitors inside, suspended almost 300m above the ground. When one enters, the glass is opaque as the cube moves out over the edge of the building. Once fully extended over the edge, the glass becomes clear …and no, we did not go up, all of us have a certain nervousness associated  with heights, some are more extreme than others!

IMG_0909Another colourful building seen from the train. 

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IMG_0921 The impressive Dome reading room in the National Library, with galleries all the way around the octagonal room some displaying exhibitions, with the glassed dome at the top.

There are of course many many more interesting buildings in and around Melbourne, these are just a selected few.

Melbourne – oddities

September 24, 2015

One of the most unusual sights in Melbourne on the streets in the city, it is the unusual traffic rule of having to pull over to the left before turning right!  They call this a hook turn, it feels very strange but I have to admit that it works and it keeps traffic flowing.  Signs indicate where this rule is in place, note: “normal” rules are in effect at all other intersections i.e. To turn right, indicate and wait in right hand lane until safe to turn.

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Another day and the handrails at the Swanston Street tram stop had been ‘yarn bombed’.  The colourful yarn covering around 200metres of handrails – very impressive!

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Christmas arrives early in Melbourne, with this store near the Queen Victoria Markets decked out in its Xmas finery in September.  Nothing like getting in early!

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Melbourne – foodie heaven

September 23, 2015

Melbourne is renown for its food scene, they say that if you cannot find a particular world cuisine in Melbourne then you haven’t looked hard enough.  The advantage of having an apartment for our 17 day stay was that we did not have to eat out all the time and we could pick up ingredients to cook at home which we did regularly.  We have done the fine dining thing before in Melbourne – Grossi Florentino, Ezards, Circa and the like, so this time was more of the everyday foodie heaven.  I had a list of famous chefs favourite eats in Melbourne and we did get to try a number of them as well as a few old favourites.

We ended up at the Queen Victoria Markets every other day, either trying out foods like the amazing spicy lamb borek or their equally fabulous spicy potato borek or picking up ingredients for dinner.  Everything from the amazing selection of veggies and fruits, to the meat and fish choices, all fantastic quality and prices were amazingly reasonableness well.

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We love the churros with chocolate dipping sauce and this time we also discovered fabulous American doughnuts, filled with jam, they were light fluffy baubles of deliciousness.  If you go to the markets, these are well worth searching out.

Our other regular visit was to Lygon Strreet, the Italian quarter of Melbourne.  We just love the variety of good Italian food along this stretch of street.  One of our regular haunts is to Brunetti’s – cake shop extraordinaire

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And as the following sign attests, speaking Italian is not a prerequisite

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There is a good variety of other ethnic foods to try, and we had good experiences with Japanese Vietnamese, Chinese, Greek, and many others…..but we did not venture into this restaurant in Ballarat

image(Con)fusion food at its best!

Another find was just off Chinatown, where we found a stall making and selling Royal Custard Buns.  Every time we wandered along to try out these delights, there was at least a 30minute wait time.  It was fascinating watching them being made – completely untouched by human hand, as it was a completely automated system.  The mix was automatically piped into small cast iron molds before moving along the conveyor where the custard middle was piped in as well as more batter piped into the other half of the mold.   The top mold was then flipped onto the base, and moved along the conveyor being cooked as it moved along before reaching the halfway point and the mold then flipped to cook the other side.  imageCustard bun machine

All in all, a fantastic culinary experience and we look forward to our next visit.

Holiday vacation

August 29, 2015

This holiday business is exhausting!! I need a holiday, or at least a break – from my vacation – from our holiday lifestyle!!! It’s hard work being on holiday, and there is certainly no time in which to write up blogs, which means lucky readers, you also get a holiday…from blog entries. We are just either far too busy or far too exhausted at the end of the days to contemplate writing up entries, it makes me wonder how on earth we managed it whilst we were in Europe.

But here in Melbourne we have explored the city and walked our feet off finding things to see and do. We spent a couple of days familiarising ourselves with the city and visiting the must see places like Docklands, central city streetscapes, Queen Victoria Market, Chinatown, the Greek quarter and Italian quarter aka Lygon street, Etihad stadium, the MCG and other stadiums, libraries, art galleries and museums etc etc.

I took myself off to see the show Strictly Ballroom one evening, another day Karel & I went off for a very long day tour along the Great Ocean Road, and another day we all went to Ballarat for the day. We shall write up all these in detail at a later date so be prepared for a barrage of entries in another couple of weeks time.

Rest assured however, that we are working very hard at sightseeing, having fun, enjoying the culinary delights of every known cuisine of the world available right here in Melbourne as well as getting our cultural fix. Enjoy your blog holiday.

Auckland to Melbourne

August 26, 2015

It was an early start to the day on Saturday morning, up at 4.45am to get ourselves organised for our flight to Melbourne. After showers and a quick reorganisation of the bag we headed from the hotel to the Park & Ride facility where we would be leaving our car for the next 17 days. That was all done very quickly and efficiently and we arrived at the airport in plenty of time to check in and get out boarding passes which was all done very efficiently via kiosk. Well, sort of efficiency, the silly machine would not read Roy’s brand new passport so we had to garner some attention from an attendant. That all done, it was time for some breakfast, not much choice really apart from the usual fast food outlets and a cafe, time to head through into the duty free shops. Not that we are looking for anything in particular but we did purchase of a couple of bottles before wandering along to our gate.

It was here that I recognised an AirNZ hostess passing us by and sure enough it was our friend Diana (who used to work for Roy as a programmer when he was head of what was called EDP, now known as IT, at Kinleith many years ago). We haven’t seen Di for a year or so, so it was lovely to catch up. It turns out that she was working on our flight, albeit up the front of the aircraft in First Class, and no she couldn’t get us upgraded as that end was full! Never mind, we had reasonable seats in cattle class in the centre portion with no one beside us so we had a little room to spread ourselves out. We had just got settled into our seats when some champagne arrived for us (thanx Di) via attentive staff. And no, it’s never too early to drink champagne!!! An uneventful flight, Di did manage to sneak off to see us for a bit during the flight (delivering more champagne) and we will catch up with her on our return from Melbourne.

imageOur plane

We were off the plane pretty smartly to catch the shuttle bus into the city to our apartment home for the next 2 weeks or so.

After unpacking our bag and a quick cuppa, we were off out the door to walk around and try and get our bearings. Only 100metres or so from the door we turned the corner to find ourselves looking across at two restaurants we enjoyed on our past visit here.

We headed over to Pelligrini’s for our fix of Italian. Pelligrini’s is an iconic Melbourne cafe that remains unchanged from the 1950’s although a little disappointing this time tho and we are sure that we were overcharged as well with the amount rung on the till bearing no resemblance to what we were paid, we did query it but were quickly given the brush off. We headed off just back a couple of doors down to Grossi Florentino, where a few years ago we had the most memorable meal and service, we did not head in today but we did check out the menu.

imagePelligrini’s Bar

imageBehind that tree is Grossi Florentino

From there we wandered down Bourke Street and on into the surrounding streets before returning home to have a light dinner of a selection of delights picked up from China Town and then falling asleep on the couch at a reasonably early hour.

Sunday morning and we were out the door and off to the Queen Victoria Markets to do a bit of fresh produce shopping to see us through the next couple of weeks.

imageA prawn for the barbie??

imageHow about some veg?

imageSalami anyone?

imageMarket

imageChecking out what’s on offer

imageChurro’s for morning tea….and yes, they are as good as we remember them from our last visit here!!

We were done by early afternoon so went back to the apartment to await the arrival of Roy’s sister Karel. She arrived shortly after we got back and after a quick catch up we were ready to plan our exploring of the city and its environs over the next couple of weeks.