My night bus arrived in Melbourne early in the morning and I had a short train ride to my booked accommodation. I went to buy a ticket and was instead handed a valid one that had been left on the side by the ticket attendant - bonus! And then there was a huge power failure in Melbourne and so most of the trains were either unable to run or were experiencing heavy delays other than the train I needed to catch. Something began to tell me I was about to have a very good day. And then I managed to take a wrong turn out of the station and walk for what seemed like miles in a big circle before I found myself at Vic Hall.
I couldn't check in until 2pm, and so I left my bags in the storage room and headed out in to Melbourne to explore the area. I walked to the markets and had a look around, before catching the free hop-on hop-off tourist bus to visit Docklands, Southbank, the Botanic Gardens, Federation Square and a few other destinations which I cannot remember for the time being. I do know however that I covered a lot of ground on this first day. And that I really loved the look and feel of Melbourne from my first few hours in the city. I also went to the Australian Centre for the Moving Image to see the Tim Burton exhibition, where his early and current work were showcased for all to see. After I had fully exhausted myself I went back to the hostel for a little snooze before making some dinner and then meeting some fellow guests in my room and the TV lounge.
The hostel is currently undergoing huge renovations and so the kitchen was only a temporary facility, and builders are everywhere, but I still thought it was a really nice hostel.
For my second day I got up early and went running around the Botanic Gardens along with what felt like 9 million other runners. Then I headed back to the hostel to make myself look presentable before catching a tram to St Kilda to suss out the suburb that everyone has raved about. Unfortunately, with it being winter over here I didn't expect to see it at its best, and its true that it was too cold and quiet to fully appreciate this beach resort, but I could certainly see its potential. And the cake shops are to die for, so I was happy I at least saw it. That evening I got an early night ready for an early start.
In the morning I walked down to Flinders Street to join the official Neighbours tour. I ummed and arred about whether or not to do this overly touristy thing or not, especially as I haven't really watched it since I was still in school. But in the end decided I would give it a go. And whilst I am not sure it is worth the money, and that the character that we met was lost on me, I still enjoyed the morning. And it means I have visited the sets of all Australia's greatest exports - Home & Away, Neighbours and Crocodile Dundee. Jobs'a'good'un.
The afternoon was spent with my friend Anita whom I met in Bondi during my very first week in Sydney all those moons ago. We had lunch on Lygon Street in the Italian quarter of the city, and then went for coffee and further laughs in one of the little side streets that Anita recommended.
I really enjoyed my time in Melbourne and a part of me wished that I had visited there sooner. But I refuse to dwell on that fact. And whilst I was in Melbourne I changed my plans and decided to head to Gurley in NSW to work in a bar in remote Australia to make the most of my Working Holiday Visa and sample something a little out of the ordinary. From Melbourne it is on to Sydney before waving goodbye to the city life for a while for a few weeks 'outback'...