I’ve had a few questions about what was good in Melbourne, and what I did there, so I figured out it might be good to open source my travel plan for AU in case people are looking.
Click here for the full itinerary.
DFO South Wharf was really worth going to. The food was amazing, as was the view. Easily spent a couple of hours eating and enjoying the river breeze.
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Headed to the immigration museum next, and it was an eye-opening experience, understanding why the government does the things it does. If there’s one thing I took away from the AU trip, it was that the AU govt was really good at explaining its policies to the people. There was 1 exhibit that I still remember, with clips of a potential immigrant interviewing to get into the country, and the visitor had to decide if the guy should be allowed in.
After that it was just heading to the gardens and the cathedrals. St Patrick’s Cathedral was beautiful and huge, and Fitzroy Gardens had a really nice place you could get coffee/chocolate from, and sit there enjoying the breeze and scenery.
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I spent day 2 exploring the govt buildings. I was lucky because the Parliament house had an open day that day, and I headed there with my good friend Steve.
Started the day with bacon steak (yes, a steak made of bacon) from The Grain Store. It was bloody awesome.
Headed over to the Parliament House after that, which had a really good exhibit of how the government functioned, and what actually goes on in those halls. Headed over to South Melbourne Market after touring the Parliament, and it was quite a nice place to visit, even if I did not get anything. It had a more local vibe as compared to QVM, and I would definitely visit again.
Ended the day with a visit to the State Library of Victoria, and I was mind-blown again. The exhibits were awesome, as was the library section. They even had a room for people to play chess in, and an art gallery in the library. This was a country where knowledge was made available freely for everyone, and I felt inspired just being in these buildings.
Started this day by flying to Sydney, but not before having breakfast at The Little Mule. Nice ambience, but food was just ok. Nevertheless, still a good place to sit down and have coffee in the morning.
Started my stay in Sydney with a chicken schnitzel wrap, and it was really good. Would recommend it to anyone looking for food in that area.
Headed to the State Library of New South Wales after that, and that was probably the second best thing I did this trip. Learnt a fair bit about public architecture in Australia, and it made me realise that the government, by experimenting with public architecture, could push the country’s public spaces forward, and set new standards in both construction and design.
“One of the things that was unique about the government architecture was that they designed everyday buildings. From day one, with Greenway, people have criticised them as too grand. But I think that was one of the best things about them. They represented the best architecture of their time even if [the buildings] had very ordinary uses. They tried to set the standard.” – The Sydney Morning Herald
QVB, Martin’s Place and The Strand Arcade weren’t that interesting (for me), and I headed towards the Maritime Museum soon after. Again, most of the exhibits at the Museum was actually free to enter, although entering the warships required a ticket, and the free area was very educational, and included exhibits on naval combat, as well as the Shackleton Expedition.
Went back to Darling Harbor at night to enjoy the breeze and scenery.
for some reason, the waters calm me down, and I'm at the waterfront of a different city today, being philosophical and all that. and as I reflect on my travels these past few days, I realised how my visits to the state libraries in nsw and vic have changed my ideas of what it means to be an intellectual, and what it means to know. sometimes we think we know, but we actually are completely clueless. and sometimes the people who we think don't know, actually know more than us. I guess the key thing I need to do is to keep this zen mode going even after I return to Singapore, and to integrate what I've learnt in taichi and meditation into my daily life.
Started the day with coffee and banana bread from Single Origin Roasters, which was really good.
Headed over to the Maritime Museum (again) after breakfast, and started touring the warships. And the tour was amazing. The guides knew their stuff, and was able to introduce the stuff on display with a passion that I rarely saw elsewhere.
After the museum, I started on a 30min walk to Harry‘s, and the pie was amazing, and it was so good, I got 2 tiger’s. Word of warning though, it’s a walk from the CBD area, and there are many birds there waiting to feast on your food if left unattended.
Walked to the Sydney Opera House afterwards, and then up the Harbour Bridge. The views were pretty good, and despite the harsh sun (I actually got sun burnt that day), the chilly wind made up for it I guess. The views were good, but once was enough I guess.
Headed over to the Sydney Observatory after that, and had a tour from an actual astronomer, and learnt about how the sun works, and abit about the equipment that they had there.
Went to O Bar and The Australian Heritage Hotel for drinks and dinner, and called it a day. The kangaroo pizza at the hotel was actually pretty good. The view from O Bar was good too.
This was the day I had to head back to Melbourne, so I visited Single Origins Roasters one last time. The bacon roll was amazing, as was their coffee.
Went to the Old Melbourne Gaol shortly after checking into the hotel, and was just in time for the Watch House experience. It was pretty good, and gave a pretty interesting experience on what being an inmate back then was like.
I was lucky because that was also the night the Queen Victoria Market’s Night Market was actually open, and went there and tried the food there. It wasn’t spectacular, but the atmosphere was pretty good. Also, listened to a musician play music from instruments made of fruits while having dinner, and that was definitely an interesting experience.
Headed back to the gaol after that for the Hangman tour. Now that was an experience that I’ll never forget. The guide, dressed in the hangman’s attire was sharing about the prisoner experiences, and also telling us stories of the prisoners and the hangings. The performance from the guide was really good, and that made me sign up for the ghost tour the following night.
Had breakfast at Seven Seeds the following morning at the recommendation of a friend. Hot chocolate was really good, the mains was decent, and it was easily a 10min walk from the edge of the CBD (10mins from the last free tram stop).
Headed to QVM to get rocky roads (rocky roads from QVM are way better than their supermarket counterparts) back for the guys in SG, and then caught tram 35 for a free tour of the CBD area.
Had vietnamese food after the tram ride followed by Koko Black at the Royal Arcade (If you like chocolate, you have to visit them. Their ice chocolate is amazing).
Visited the National Gallery of Victoria, followed by Federation Square, which were both free by the way. I was quite impressed at how such a large art gallery was made publicly accessible for anyone to visit, even though I couldn’t actually appreciate any of the art in there.
Ended the day with the Ghost tour at the Old Melbourne Gaol, which is another tour that I would strongly recommend, except for the faint hearted.
Ended the trip with breakfast at QVM, which wasn’t all that good, but decent for the price.
Had coffee from Market Lane Cafe, which was good, as usual.
And a final walk in the market.
And that wrapped up my AU trip in March. And photos can be found on Flickr!