We started our most recent trip to Australia in Melbourne, spending three days there before setting off along the Great Ocean Road. The first two days covered popular attractions, with day three becoming more niche, visiting the film set of Neighbours and following in the footsteps of my great great grandfather who lived here over a century ago. Here are my favourite ten things we did on our visit to Melbourne.
We caught the SkyBus into the city centre. The SkyBus is a convenient way to get to the city. It runs approximately every 15 minutes terminating at Southern Cross Station and has onboard Wi-Fi. Tickets cost $22 for a single or $34 for a return, available from a ticket booth just in front of the pick up point.
Melbourne has an extensive public transport network of buses, trams and trains. Although it’s also a lovely city to just wander around on foot and we mostly did just that, with the occasional tram ride.
Where We Stayed
We stayed at The Jazz Corner Hotel, a centrally located funky boutique hotel with a jazz theme throughout. Our accommodation was a one bed flat on the 25th floor. It was clean and comfortable with all mod cons including a kitchenette (I was disproportionately excited when I discover the washing machine). But the best bit is the balcony with spectacular views across Melbourne and the River Yarra.
|1||Queen Victoria Market|
|3||Royal Botanic Gardens|
|4||Shrine of Remembrance|
|7||Parliament House and Gardens|
|8||Royal Exhibition Building|
|10||Neighbours Set Tour|
No 1 – Queen Victoria Market
We started our visit to Melbourne at Queen Victoria Market (apparently the largest market in the Southern Hemisphere). It’s huge and you can buy practically anything here, but we made a beeline for the very comprehensive food court and had fish and chips for brunch.
During our time in Melbourne, we made several return visits to Queen Victoria Market both to eat at some of the many restaurants that line the food court and to purchase souvenirs.
2 – Harbourside
The harbourside is a pleasant area to take a stroll with parks, sculptures and terrific views of the city.
My favourite was Sandridge Bridge.
This steel bridge contains ten structures, each depicting different groups of settlers; from convicts and the Gold Rush to assisted migration and refugees.
3- Royal Botanic Gardens
The Royal Botanic Gardens consist of a series of themed gardens which circle a hill and some lakes. There is 5 km trail around the edge of the gardens, here, a radio station were handing out chocolate bilbies (imagine a genetic mutation of half rabbit half wallaby).
The Gardens themselves are free to enter and are beautiful. We wandered around for a while admiring the different gardens.
The lakeside is a popular picnic spot; our we ate our chocolate marsupials here.
4 – Shrine of Remembrance
The Shrine of Remembrance is a huge shrine originally built to honour the dead of WW1.
A forecourt with eternal flame was built later to commemorate those who died in WW2. The shrine remembers the service and sacrifice of all Australians in war and peacekeeping.
The area underneath the shrine houses the Galleries of Remembrance, a moving and informative museum detailing the role of Australians in conflicts around the world. Entrance is free, although donations are welcome.
5 -Hosier Lane
This narrow street is famous for its abundance of street art.
Not only did we get to admire the art already there, but were able to watch artists at work on a new piece.
No 6 – State Library
We spent some time visiting the enormous State Library, which is surrounded by book themed sculptures.
Inside, the six storey octagonal dome structure reminds me more of a cathedral of books than a library.
7 – Parliament House and Gardens
We visited the exterior of the opulent Victorian Parliament House. It is possible to take a tour of the Parliament, but we made do with a couple of photos on the grand steps.
The building is set in the pretty Parliament Gardens with a fountain installation which looked very inviting on a hot day.
The Great Petition
Adjacent to Parliament House is The Great Petition, a sculpture commissioned in 2008 to commemorate a century of (non-indigenous) women’s suffrage in Victoria.
8 – Royal Exhibition Building
Carlton Gardens is home to Melbourne Museum and the Royal Exhibition Building. This grand Victorian building was originally built for an exhibition in 1880.
When we visited, there was a craft fair taking place, so we were able to go inside and admire the beautifully frescoed interior.
9 – Polly Woodside
The Polly Woodside is a 19th century tall ship similar to those my great great grandad would have sailed to Australia on.
You can board the ship to see what conditions were like and there is also an interesting little museum. Entry costs $16.
10 – Neighbours Set Tour
On my final day in Melbourne I got to indulge one of my passions. Having watched Neighbours for 30 years, a visit to Melbourne would not be complete without a Ramsey Street tour. Reviews are mixed so I had high hopes and low expectations. The package includes a meet and greet with a star of the show. I was intrigued to see who they had coaxed out of bed on a bank holiday morning.
After a shaky start (the bus driver reversing into a street sign) it was actually a really good tour. The clientele are exclusively British (the Aussies don’t watch Neighbours) and super excited. The driver/guide spent the 18 mile drive to the suburbs engaging in Neighbours themed banter.
We started at the studio. Because there was no filming taking place, we were allowed onto the set, which was a bonus, and I got to take loads of cheesy photos.
Then on to Ramsey St, which isn’t actually called Ramsey St. But the guide had a makeshift street sign for more cheesy photo ops. The star we met, Ben Nicholas, played the character Stingray. He seemed really nice and was happy to chat and pose for photos. All in all, a great morning.
Note: Since our trip to Australia, Neighbours has been cancelled, although it is soon about to be reprieved – hooray! So I have left this in my blog because it was one of the highlights of the trip and hopefully set tours will resume again soon…
- Date of trip: March 2018
- Updated: February 2023
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